Monday, 28 July 2014

Peterborough Lift Lock

The Peterborough Lift Lock is Lock 21 on the Trent Severn Waterway which runs between Trenton on Lake Ontario and Port Severn on Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron. I took a lunchtime cruise on the "Island Princess" along the canal a couple of weeks ago. Weather was a bit iffy, but it only rained for about ten minutes and we were under cover. This a typical cloudy sky for this summer.... lots of cool breezes and rain so far.

The lift lock was opened in 1904, and has been lifting and lowering vessels up and down the waterway ever since. The lock has two identical ship caissons (in other words "bathtubs" holding water only a few feet deep) in which vessels are taken up or down a journey of 19.8 m (65 ft), the highest hydraulic boat lift in the world.

Lock 21 - Peterborough Lift Lock
Each caisson is filled with water and the boats enter, tie up to the rails, and the gates of the caissons are closed. The lift lock functions by gravity alone using the counterweight principle. One caisson always ascends and the other always descends during each locking cycle. There water level is a bit higher in the upper caisson making it heavier, so as the top one carries boats to the lower water level, the lower one ascends.

 Heading towards the lift lock. We're going to go up in the left caisson.

The black pillar is the hydraulic cylinder that supports the caisson, and allows the heavier caisson to push the lighter caisson upwards. Once the boats are secured and the gates are closed, the crossover valve is activated and the action begins.

The "Lady Catherine" was on her way down as we were going up. Lots of waving going on as we crossed over.

 And the view from the top as we were on the return journey. This boat was going up and we were going down. Lock 21 is rumoured to be haunted by a woman who was burned for being a witch in the 1840s and/or a worker who was killed during it's construction.... or a pair of starcrossed lovers.... take your pick.... details here. (There's also some pics of the lock construction at the same link.)

"July Saturday 9, 1904, Opening day of Hydraulic Lift Lock at Peterboro
Went down by Ogemah, got off at old Chemong Station where met by rig & drove across to Lakefield by 9:45 am. Got on Empress there & went down with her & 'Stoney Lake' to No. 5 dam where Parliamentary party after lunch['ing' has been crossed out](in big tent there) boarded the two boats about 1:30 pm & proceeded down (in pouring rain) to Lift Lock which was formally opened by both boats being let down at 2:30 pm..."

Lock 20 at Ashburnham on the way back to the main dock at Peterborough, not quite as impressive as Lock 21.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

It's been a Hard Day's Night....

The twinnies after a hard day playing at Nana's house.....


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Guest Bedroom

Can you imagine yourself sleepily opening your eyes and waking up in this wonderful bed?
No, not my guest bedroom, unfortunately. This is the hand made bed in Park Cottage, one of the guest cottages at Chatsworth House in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire, England.
Chatsworth is the magnificent home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

The closest I have been to Chatsworth House is to watch a TV programme about it, which is where I first saw this fantastic bed. The house is open to the public and hosts many events... concerts, fairs, theatre, art shows. There are a number of beautiful cottages that can be booked for holidays.
I fell in love with this unusual bed created from from willow harvested on the Chatsworth estate. I was thinking..... if I went out to nearby York Region Forest and cut a few branches.... tacked them together....  no, it just wouldn't be the same.

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!