Friday, 18 July 2014

Bloomin' Luvverly!

Last week I went on a tour of back yard gardens created by the talented members of the Horticultural Society of nearby Port Hope.
It poured with rain all morning, and we almost decided not to go, but by lunchtime the sun had chased away the grey clouds and it was a gorgeous afternoon. No need for captions on these photos, they are self explanatory.

Monday, 14 July 2014


One of my very favourite places to visit in this beautiful world is St Johns in Newfoundland. Unfortunately I can only visit every so often so I monitor the NTV web cams that show me what's going on in and around the city. Icebergs start drifting south from the Arctic region in spring, with most of them arriving in the cold waters near St Johns in April, May and June.

NTV Web cam shot. Spectacular iceberg grounded just outside St Johns Harbour in May, near Fort Amherst.  Only 1/8 of the iceberg is visible above the water, the other 7/8 is stuck on the ocean bed.  2014 was a bumper year for icebergs. Does this indicate Global Warming? Or as it is called now, Climate Change?
NTV Web cam shot. The same iceberg changed shape as it gradually started to break up a few days later. This iceberg stayed in position for at least 2 weeks before drifting out of view of the internet camera.
Photo borrowed from The Telegram, St Johns newspaper. Sorry, I don't know the photographer's name or I would give credit where credit is due. The same iceberg caught in the act of calving.... gradually disintegrating in the warm spring winds.
Last time I was visiting Newfoundland during iceberg season, the bergs were of the low flat variety, rather like gigantic ice floes. Perhaps next year I'll see these impressive towering icebergs in person!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Python Returns

And now for something completely different........

My whole family have been fans of Monty Python since the beginning. Monty Python's Flying Circus started it's TV life in Britain in 1969, and was exported to Canadian TV screens in September 1970. The show immediately gained a huge fan base, although many people remained completely bamboozled as what it was all about.

The Python crew.... Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.... are credited with changing the direction of British comedy.
This month Monty Python is being revived on stage in London by the original cast, minus Graham Chapman who died in 1989. Press reviews are mixed. Some say the show is brilliant. Some say it's a bunch of 70+ has-beens in search of extra cash. Perhaps a bit of both?

I saw a travel presentation by Michael Palin at U of T a few years ago, and he took questions at the end. Of course, after all the serious questions, someone asked him for the Lumberjack Song.... which he happily provided, to a huge ovation!
About 5 years ago I went to see "Spamalot" live performance in Toronto. Brilliant, lots of laughs, lots of classic Pythonesque comedy sketches which never lose their charm, no matter how many times you hear them.

So if you are ever searching for the Meaning of Life, my advice is to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. And laugh!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Grace Lake Retreat

It's a three hour drive away from home, but such a nice change to drive north to cottage country. The countryside changes from gently rolling hills and fertile farmland to the Canadian Shield.... rocks, trees, lakes, and more trees and more lakes and even more rocks.
OlderSon and The Equestrienne and Callum (and large hairy dog Badger) rented the cottage at Grace Lake Retreat for a week's getaway, and were kind enough to ask me to join them for a few days.

The cottage sleeps 8 and has everything needed for a week's vacation. All conveniences: fridge, stove, microwave, coffee maker, TV, DVD player, X-Box.... you name it, it's there. Plus kayaks, a canoe, a fishing boat, comfy Muskoka chairs, a BBQ on the deck.....

Just remember to bring the bug spray. There are lots of trees sheltering hungry mosquitoes who like to come out in the evening to hunt for unsuspecting vacationers.

The orange kayaks got lots of use out on the lake, as well as the blue canoe. There was a big rainstorm the day before I arrived, and the lake water level was about 12 inches higher than normal. Normally there is a small sandy beach in front of the steps. A lot of cottage driveways were completely washed out.

The motor boat was used for fishing, but they didn't catch anything. The lake at this point drops off to about 60 feet deep. The water was cold to get in .... I'm such a coward.... but once in all the way, lovely! And sitting out on the dock after dark watching for shooting stars was a new experience for us all, especially Callum.

A great place to take sunscreen, sunhat, a good book and just watch the world go by on the lake.
Thank you to OlderSon and The Equestrienne for inviting me. I loved it!

Monday, 30 June 2014

World Pride Toronto

Toronto has been host to World Pride celebrations all last week. The rainbow flag has been flying high wherever you look. LBGTQ people from around the world have been streaming into the city to take part in the party. To honour the event, the CN Tower was lit up in rainbow colours.

One of the highlights of Pride Week was a mass wedding of 120 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer couples all getting legally married at the same time in the grounds of Casa Loma. The numbers: 4,000 glasses of sparkling wine, 100 floral arrangements, 100 feet of red carpet, and officiants from 12 different faiths: Catholic, Anglican, Pagan, Unitarian Universalist, Sikh, Humanist, Jewish, United, Bhuddist, Muslim, New Thought, and First Nations Elder.

Huge crowds watched the downtown Pride Parade on Sunday, with over 1200 participants from all over the world. An event like this gives a voice to those who don't have the same rights in their home countries.
I was downtown with friends to go to the Big Pride Singalong on Saturday night. A good friend sings in the Singing Out chorus and we go to all their events. The concert was pretty crazy, lots of laughs and poking fun at themselves, but room for some serious singing too. Beach balls flying around in the audience as a warm up, and the concert finished with a dance battle between Madonna songs and Lady Gaga music.... hilarious!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Summer in a Jar

We be jammin' again.
Somehow, as soon as the summer sun starts to shine, I get an irresistible impulse to make jam. I just can't help it. Must be something to do with preparation to survive the coming winter, I think.

And I don't make just a couple of pots of jam, I make enough to spread on toast for a hungry army.
I made marmalade back in February, when the Seville oranges were available. Yummy!

And now it's raspberry jam on the left, and strawberry jam on the right.
And blueberry, plum, cherry and peach season is coming up....... Help! I think I'm addicted.
(If you click on "Jam" in the labels, and scroll through all the previous jam posts, you'll KNOW I'm addicted!)