Thursday, 27 November 2014

One year later

George died one year ago today, actually it was on the Wednesday at 4am. He had this thing about marking the day rather than the date. For instance he liked to celebrate our anniversary on the Friday closest to June 26 as we got married on a Friday evening. So, obviously, the whole week has been a bit rough. Family and friends have been very thoughtful, checking in with me, making sure I'm Ok.
The gravestone finally was installed in September. I chose the sailboat in front of the lighthouse
because George loved to sail across the lake and took pictures of the Long Point Lighthouse every time.
To commemorate George, and his love of sailing, and racing in particular, we commissioned an award in his name. It was made by Jack Worton who lives on Long Point, near-bye, and George would often go and visit him as he could be counted on to be working on a sculpture in his workshop.
This is how it started, just a block of stone.
A simple line drawing on to the stone.
The finished sculpture that Jack placed on soapstone waves and then on to a wood base.
The name of the award was put on by a local trophy shop.

George and I took our White Sail course for our first wedding anniversary. We bought the Laser (now with the Port Dover Sailing School) the following year. He sailed the Laser every summer. We took our Basic Cruising in Toronto Harbour and then started sailing keel boats. I cant remember when he started sailing with the PDYC race division but the oldest Interclub shirt he had was 2005 and I think it was a couple of years before he did that. He sailed and raced on many boats so it seemed fitting for the award to go to an Outstanding Crew Person with the Port Dover Yacht Club Racing Division.
The first recipient was Mark Boerkamp. He crews on Ritual and has also coached and otherwise contributed to a number of other boats this season. It was awarded at Sailors Night in October and I am very thankful that Simon was able to make the speech and do the presentation. I would have been unable to and I know he found it difficult.

Monday, 24 November 2014

October colours, November colours

Before I left to go to the UK I took some fall pictures. I posted some under "My Hunt for Red October" but hadn't got around to posting the yellows and oranges. I have read that October 2014 was the warmest on record and I can certainly believe it, as there were still fall colours when I returned in November.
October picture. View over Long Point Bay
October Picture. Pile of pumpkins. I was away for Halloween and I didn't mind at all as it is my least favourite
celebration. I was surprised to see it in the UK as it wasn't celebrated there when I was a child. The emphasis was
on Guy Fawks (Nov 5). I gather it was celebrated in Scotland as a Celtic celebration.
October picture. Yellow and orange trees are not as impressive as the red and burgundy ones.

October picture. Both the soy beans and the corn have a pale yellow hue in sunlight in the fall.
November picture. Bob's maple trees had finally turned.
November picture. Mums in flower among the fallen leaves.
November picture. Stupid daffodils. I planted them just before I left, in October, and they
were up and in bud 3 weeks later. I don't think I'll get any in the spring.
Walking on the beach was lovely , the first week in November.
Then it all changed .......

First a dump of snow.
And some wild wind
With some beautiful results.
I am going back to the pattern of ending a blog post with a Rasta picture. Cyndy and Jim were down for the weekend with their dog, Ceilidh. She is a hunter and of course believes that a cat is for chasing. Upon meeting, Rasta ended up climbing the walls - literally - so we kept Rasta upstairs and Ceilidh downstairs for the weekend. Neither were happy about that arrangement. Ceilidh kept whining about it and this picture shows you how thrilled Rasta was.
Pissed off cat, on the top bunk.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Random UK 2014 pictures

I've been back for 3 weeks now and its cold, windy and snowing, so revisiting my pictures is a nice break from the howling (literally) wind.
Paxton's Folly from the Welsh Botanical Gardens. I posted a different picture of this before. We visited some
beautiful and impressive ruins in Wales, England and Scotland. They were built for shelter, fortification or worship.
This was built just for fun, for outings, to see from the mansion.

New telephone box, old post box. I took this the day we walked "The Gower", in southern Wales. That
day we saw surfers off one remote beach and lifeboats in the nearby town. The next week 2 people
drowned trying to save a young surfer which bought home the power of the sea and the need for the
lifeboat system.
Fountain base in Harrogate. Are they mermaids? Cherubs? Cherubic mermaids?
Whatever they are they don't look happy about linking arms and holding up the fountain.
I love the little English Robins but also enjoy the Magpies as they have striking colouring and are quite
prevalent. This one was in the gardens in Harrogate and I had to chase him around to get close enough
for a photo.
Bolton Abbey was the most photogenic place we visited, aided by a lovely sunny day. The
setting, in a green valley surrounded by rolling hills, is on the southern edge of the Yorkshire
Dales. In a field, full of sheep, next to a manor house, it is quiet and peaceful. It is easy
to imagine how impressive and intimidating it must have been when it had the roof , windows and
religious order and what a contrast it would have been to the farm families close by.
This young lady fetched her horse from a field next to where we parked the car. She didn't want his picture
taken because he was all muddy. I love the shot of them walking towards the moors. We saw horses everywhere
but although I intended  to ride on this trip, it didn't work out in Wales or in Scotland. Mind you, I didn't
really push it beyond a few calls to riding stables.

Friday, 14 November 2014

UK 2014 Glasgow

We left the house in Kingussie on time and in style, an 8 seater people mover, leather seats and our own personal driver. Lovely way to travel and not that expensive when divided by 5. Checked in to the airport hotel, literally steps to the departure terminal, in the early afternoon and then took the bus (#500 airport to downtown shuttle, very convenient) into Glasgow.
I had in my mind that Glasgow was a dirty, industrial, scruffy kind of place. As we drove in the amount of industry was obvious but downtown is beautiful and a nice mix of the old and the new. On a Saturday afternoon it is also a very busy place.
Getting off the bus we were greeted by the sound of primal drums and bagpipes and turned the corner on to
a pedestrian street, full of sound and people.

We wandered the pedestrian streets and admired the old buildings.

We admired the statues.
If its not a pigeon, it's a seagull. 
We admired the toilets, really!
Thistle on the side and
Lion on the top.
Having spent the last week in a small town (except for the trip to Inverness), the crowds were a bit of a shock to the system.

After a search for the tearoom with MacIntosh decor and gifts and some last minute souvenir shopping, we went in search of food and drink. The downtown pubs and bars were hopping on a Saturday evening (far earlier than they would have been in Toronto).
The ceiling of a beautiful bar downtown, The Counting House. 
Heather and Don stayed for a pint while Pam and I went in search of food and a place to sit, across the street in Cafe Andaluz. We ended up having one of the best meals of the trip in the lovely small, tasty, tapas choices that we shared. When Don and Heather joined us they voted it the best meal we had had.
Back to the hotel, bed and up early for the long trip home.

This post is 2 weeks late, ironically the internet at all the places we stayed in was better than mine at home - thanks Bell!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Iona Gallery Ceilidh

This is a continuation of the previous post, the same day, a really busy day. After lunch we went to two local studios. The first was in the house of a friend of Jennifer's friend, Kate.
Studio in a really old house that they are beautifully restoring.
The name implies that it was the house for the widow of the estate.
A framed article inside said that it had been visited by D. H. Lawrence.

Kate's friend makes items (Christmas stockings, purses, eye glass cases etc) all from Harris Tweed wool.
They where all lovely and I bought a cushion (without the stuffing so it will pack flat)
We then went to a studio that I think was called the Tin House or the Tin Shed and were lucky to find the proprietor there. She does lovely sewing, again in wools, and I bought another cushion. Suitcase is going to be heavy!
When we got home Don and Peter were home from their distillery tour day.
I think Peter enjoyed his Scotch tasting.
After a quick supper we went next door to the Iona Gallery as they were having a Ceilidh (sounds like Kay Lee) to end the Homecoming Exhibition. There was a musical group with at least 4 fiddles, two drums, 2 guitars, a keyboard and a harp.
Musicians on a break
One of the young fiddlers had a lovely voice and she sang a couple of solos. There was a bar with donations suggested. A storyteller stood up a couple of times and recounted a local story. There were people to help those of us who didn't know the dances and as you can see in the video, Jennifer had no problem. She said it was like riding a bike, you always remember how.

I twisted my ankle (again !) during the first dance so sat out the rest but enjoyed the watching and the listening. It all wrapped up at about 11pm but we were told later that some of the music and dancing continued at a house ceilidh. We were having a final drink in our living room when there was a knock on the front window and the leader of the musicians was at the door and gave us all a CD as a memento.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

UK 2014, The Highland Folk Museum

The Iona Gallery, where our rugs are part of the Scottish Homecoming display, had arranged a tour at the Highland Folk Museum, just down the road in Newtonmore. Jennifer is over, visiting her family and drove up for the tour and gave Pam, Heather and I a ride to it.
The folk museum was started by I.F. Grant, a woman who realized that everyday items were being discarded as modern implements became available and wanted to preserve those items of everyday life. The museum has been housed in a number of locations and until recently was two old houses close to the Iona Gallery in Kingussie. It has now moved into modern buildings on land shared with the outdoor part of the museum where old buildings are relocated, furnished and demonstrated in (like our pioneer villages in Canada).

A thatched croft with sod at the peak. Another nearby house being rebuilt will be furnished
with the 1950's collection.
The collection is stored in this modern building with ample warehouse space, climate controlled areas for the textiles and
leather, a lab, meeting room and offices.
Prams on top and dishware in the cupboards.
Farm equipment, machinery, transportation, large home appliances all have ample space.
A shelf of butter churners.
We were there to see the textile collection and the curator had bought some, out of storage, to show us
and talk to us about. These 4 are "shepherds plaids", traditionally a small check, used by shepherds as a cloak,
hood, blanket etc.
A selection of birds eye pattern blankets.
Blankets and quilts set out by the curator.
The curator had also displayed the dress donated by one of Jennifer's relatives. Jennifer
was thrilled.
The museum has a dress that they have been told was worn by Queen Victoria. They have been trying to validate this claim. The dress was made for someone under 5ft with a 48 inch waist. When the queen died she had a 50 inch waist. It is known that she had a pocket sewn in all her skirts on the right hand side. This dress has such a pocket.
When the dress was displayed the mannequin had to be rounded out with bubble
wrap and foam.
I could have wandered the collections for days and it was obvious that there is a lot of work to be done, pulling items out of boxes they have been stored in for years, cataloguing and searching for history. We were very privileged to have had this "behind the scenes" opportunity.
We had lunch at a lovely little café in Newtonmore, The Flour Garden (I think
that was the name) and I had this weirdly named drink (it tasted quite good
although vaguely like root beer) with my delicious pumpkin soup.