Sunday, 30 October 2011

Have a Magical Day!

Did I mention that it rained when we were at Disney? We were there for five days and it rained every day, but the Saturday was the worst, torrents of non-stop rain all day! It was like walking around under Niagara Falls.

We stayed at Fort Wilderness Campground, and sorry about this very dark picture, but here's the enormous puddle right across the road. We needed a snorkel and flippers to leave our cosy cabin.
The Disney organisation made a killing on $8 plastic ponchos that weekend.
But the sun did eventually show it's face and guess what.... Mickey was still smiling.
Mickey turned up everywhere. I wish I had taken pictures every time we saw a Mickey face disguised as something else. He was there on the ground outside our cabin. There was a Mickey shaped pond for the hippos at the Animal Kingdom. Mickey even appeared in the pine cone pattern on the fabric of our rustic cabin drapes. I don't think Mickey has made a blockbuster movie in years, has he? And yet he's still a force to be reckoned with, at least at Wally World.
And it was Mickey overload at the inevitable gift shop.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Wally World

 Well, we did it! We finally got there. We left home on a Monday and arrived at Walt Disney World on Friday, and when we arrived.....
.... it was raining! Not just your gentle shower, but REALLY RAINING! The forecast for the next four days was quite discouraging... rain, rain, and more rain. But that didn't stop us from visiting all the Disney Parks and having a great time. And it didn't rain all the time, although at times it seemed like it would never stop.
Callum loved meeting the Disney characters...  especially when he got a bearhug from Duffy...

... and a high five from Stitch.
To tell the truth, I have no idea who Duffy and Stitch are, I am so far behind the times, but Callum was suitably impressed!
Here are the Three Mousketeers incognito.....
..... and here's a couple of riders having some fun with Dumbo.
As if we hadn't already got wet enough, Callum had a good time spraying everyone in one of the fountains at Epcot.
The Disney Parks are amazing, so organized and clean. None of those disgusting black gobs of pre-chewed gum stuck on the sidewalks.... they don't even sell gum there. The staff. ... no, I mean the Cast... are always smiling and so helpful. OlderSon has a theory that if they don't smile, they get tasered... maybe he's right!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

On The Beach

I spent my growing up years in England living within sight of the sea and walking on the beach every day, and now I live many miles from any coast. Even though Lake Ontario is huge, and looks like the sea with only water as far as you can see, it just doesn't excite me. Where's the salty smell? Where are the sea anemones, and the crabs and the rock pools?
So I try to make an annual pilgrimage to the ocean to renew my energy. Last year it was the rocky Atlantic shores of Newfoundland.
This year it's the same Atlantic Ocean, but a little further south (and a lot warmer!) at St. Augustine Beach in Florida.

Callum had never seen anything as vast as the ocean in his 3-1/2 years on this planet, so when we walked onto the beach for the first time he just ran right into the water, chasing the sandpipers and soaking his shorts in the salty waves, much to his mum's disapproval.

A storm threatened so we did some rather rainy sightseeing in the City of St Augustine in the morning, but the sun came out after the storm so we headed to the beach armed with towels, sunscreen, sunhats, snacks and a bucket and spade.
I bought Callum a plastic boat and we found a piece of string and secured the boat to his finger so he wouldn't lose it in the waves.

He was a happy boy. Only one day at the beach wasn't quite enough, but there's always next year!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Rick's White Light Diner

If you're ever in Frankfort, Kentucky, make sure you visit Rick's White Light Diner on Bridge Street for lunch or an early supper. We arrived at 4:55pm, and Chef Rick Paul closes his doors at 5:00pm, but he said "Yep... just come on in...." and so we did.

Rick's White Light Diner was featured on the TV show Diners Drive Ins and Dives and for some strange reason OlderSon is determined to eat in all the places noted on the show. I think his score is 4 now. Or is it 5? Only another 40 or 50 to go!

Owner and chef Rick Paul is a character with a crazy personality... a curmudgeon who loves to chat to his customers, especially if you are inclined to talk politics. Here he is taking our order. Feet up on the counter, might as well be comfy while at work, right?

The food? Well, let's say it was nothing less than great! OlderSon ate his way through samples of Rick's crawfish pie, oyster po'boys, pulled pork, black beans, sweet corn... and something with shrimp in it. The Equestrienne had a home made black bean and garlic veggie burger which she proclaimed delicious and I made short work of my spicy Cajun burger... oh yeah! All washed down with Kentucky's famous Ale-8-One.

And dessert? Well...... click on the pic and your mouth will be watering!

Let's just say that given the chance, we'll be back!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Stud Finder!

Three Chimneys Farm at Versailles, just outside Lexington, Kentucky, has been breeding champion racehorses since 1984, although the farm has existed for almost 40 years.
The first Stallion to stand here was Champion Slew O'Gold, then followed by his famous sire, Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in the history of racing.
The barns are a luxury hotel for horses. Each stallion has his own groom, and is treated with personal hands-on attention all the time. The horses are exercised each morning and spend time outside in the fields, then are brought in to be washed, groomed and fed and generally pampered.... what a life!

This is Point Given. He was the first horse to win four $1 million races in a row, and is in the Racehorse Hall of Fame.

And this is Dynaformer. Dynaformer has sired more than 120 stakes winners, including the ill fated Barbaro. Do you remember Barbaro? Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby but shattered his leg 2 weeks later while running the Preakness. His owners went to great lengths to heal his life-threatening injury, but eventually decided that complications were too much and Barbaro was euthanized.

His trainer said that Dynaformer was the most difficult horse he ever trained, and when we visited his barn, we were told to stand well away from him as he can be very unpredictable and definitely has a mean streak. His current stud fee is $150,000.00 per live foal.
Update: the great horse Dynaformer passed away April 29, 2012 at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky following suffering a cardiac event 10 days earlier.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Photo Finish

All good things come to an end and my vacation is over. I'm at home sorting the pictures and doing the laundry. Our first stop was Kentucky...... and Kentucky is definitely Horse Country. The Equestrienne was so happy!

Wandering through the downtown Thoroughbred Park at Main and Midland Streets in Lexington, we found ourselves in the middle of a horse race.

Seven life-sized bronze statues of jockeys astride racing horses rush towards an imaginary finish line.


 These detailed bronzes are by Gwen Reardon. Gwen Reardon is the daughter of a prominent horse trainer, and became an accomplished equestrienne at an early age. Her beautiful bronzes are the product of a lifetime working with horses.

On a grassy slope behind the fountain, bronze broodmares are watching over their playful foals.  I loved all these horses, so lifelike and the details are astonishing.

 This little foal is named PROMISE, the promise of the next generation of thoroughbred racehorses.
If you'd like a bronze foal for your garden, there were ten of these limited edition foals made, and one remains for sale, a bargain at only $20,000.  Get your wallet out.... you know you want it!
In my next post, we visit a Kentucky Thouroughbred farm, and meet some of the famous stallions that are at stud there.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Giving Thanks

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Those of us who live north of the border don't want to wait for November to eat our turkey dinners and our pumpkin pies like our neighbours to the south. We want them NOW!

Here are a few of the things that I'm thankful for today.... and there are many more than this.
  • Good health.... myself and my family.
  • A roof over my head, a comfy bed to sleep in, and food on the table.
  • My cheeky grandchildren; tomboys Callum and Isaac, feisty little Max and sweet Emma.
  • Hot water coming out of the tap whenever I want it.... that has always seemed like a miracle to me.
  • The fact that I'm enjoying the rides at Disney with my family around me today (yes this is a scheduled post).
  • My dishwasher.
  • Electricity. I grew up without it.
  • Chocolate. Especially DARK chocolate. Actually, any kind of chocolate. I'm not fussy. mmmmm.
This is a scheduled post as I'm still away... back in a couple of days.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Here there be Dragons....

This magic dragon lives breathes fire in the field in front of Ken Nice's studio in Cannington. Ken creates welded steel sculptures that vary from larger than life fanciful mythological creatures to small whimsical characters to decorate your flower beds.
I'd love to wake up every morning to see this handsome fellow on my front lawn.
This is a scheduled post while I'm away for a few days.

Monday, 3 October 2011


 The colours of late summer.
 I wish I had planted some of these happy flowers in the spring. I'll have to remember next year.
This is a scheduled post while I'm away for a few days.