Pictures of my every day life

General

Learning About Light


I went to Mod Squad in April, and learned about lighting, amongst other things. I was lucky enough to be taught by Steve Richard who is one of may favourite photographers.  Eric Boutiler-Brown also taught what he knows, which is just about everything anyone needs to take a decent picture.  Then came the chance to take our own shots with lighting set up by Steve:

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Two lovely models, and some red fabric 

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We all just snapped away

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until our cameras started to get hot

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What an opportunity

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It was magical

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and more,

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and more

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Thank you Steve

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Thank you Eric

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I’ll be there for the next course.


Starting Up


I haven’t been attending to my blog, or myself. Here’s a re-start

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This broken church has been left to collapse without interference. Although strange to see a building abandoned like this, it captures the imagination.

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What circumstances could have led to this?

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Sometimes, when my back is sore, it feels like what’s left of the roof of this church.

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Or when my knees creak they feel like they will give way eventually.

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But I have not been abandoned and left to rot. I have people who will look in to my rusty joints and give me medicine to keep them going.

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And there it was; new growth emerging from the ruins 

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and sunlight coming through the window broken frames.DSC_1080

After all, every one has their day don’t they?


I Found the Sun


Lucky me. I have a friend you asked me to tag along to Costa Rica with her. Being polite, I agreed. I think I’m in paradise!

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It was -21 when I left Halifax, and this is what I’ve come to: Paradise.

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There are special birds here

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Some fresh-water

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Others seeming to live on waterlilies.

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This little fellow lives on what he catches from the sea

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and this handsome chap hangs out in our garden.

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Trips on the river can be taken, either looking for fish or property for sale

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Flora and …….

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…fauna in abundance. Think I’ll stay a while.


Winter Day in Halifax


It was one of those sparkling winter days that just has to be photographed. The location was Halifax, mainly on the waterfront.

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The day started in the North End of the City where there is a lovely stretch of water near a boat club. I enjoyed its green railings.

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Feeling patriotic.

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Most of the water’s edge is frozen.

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Once in the City, this caught my eye. Why not?

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Empty mooring sites. In summer, fancy little yachts park up here.

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The sea is still. Reflections are good.

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These little lights are stung up like socks on a washing line.

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There was an excellent band playing in Halifax Market. This fellow had just played his violin at 100 mph. He was out of breath when it was over.

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Graffiti is always fun.

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I like these shadows.

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It was a day for looking at shapes and patterns

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There were plenty to be seen.

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The snow curved round the Lieutenant Governor’s driveway.

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I love this City.

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Not a bad end to the day aye?


After the Storm


Yesterday was the big blizzard of the season. It was spectacular to watch from within a warm house. Today was clear and sunny. There were some beautiful snow sculptures to be seen.

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Although there was drifting, last years seed-heads still stand.

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Our lawns have turned into snow deserts

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The water on the shore is frozen

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Melting slightly as it gets nearer to the ocean.

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Fishing boats are staying put.

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This little jetty is frozen solid.

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No one is launching off there today.

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A hammock reminds me of the summer that won’t be seen round here for many months.

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Shapes of unknown objects settle down for another freezing night.

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While Jimmy……

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Has no real plans

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For the rest of the winter.


2013 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Ice Art


At minus 12 you are going to find some good ice art along lakes and rivers in Nova Scotia. We chose Wooden’s River and weren’t disappointed.

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If you can stand still long enough you will see layers of sculpted ice 

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Some form an attractive edging to granite boulders.

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This one has been scalloped neatly all round.

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This one reminds me of a crystal windmill.

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Frozen floating grass.

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Dripping icicles.

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More carefully lit edging. But now it’s snowing and my feet have gone numb

Happy New Year

 


So Many Pictures


So, I’ve been away from my blog because my camera has been otherwise engaged in learning how to use itself. Rather, I have been learning how to use It! A photography course has been a revelation for me on all the bells and whistles my camera actually has. My teacher is a lovely fellow called Steve Kaiser, who is an ace photographer.

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We have been learning about lighting. Finding interesting materials to work with.

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Getting as close as we can with what lenses we have.

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Making a portrait without the person. 

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Or, in some cases with the face. Who’s face is this?

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We are learning to look, and then look again.

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To enjoy the colours of ordinary things.

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To use soft light for soft creatures.

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Try to get everything in focus 

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Keep looking for what interests us. We are now forgetting about that ‘automatic’ button, and learning what light can really do. We also have had to make a few purchases in newfound and wonderful camera shops. Oh how lucky we all are!!


Family Walk


 

 

Sometimes we walk to the river down an overgrown path beside the house.

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Poppy likes to examine the flora and fauna in some detail, so it takes a little time to get to the river.

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Before long…..

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Meepster the cat joins us. She’s fond of walks with humans.

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You can get across the river at various points. But today it’s high, so we go on.

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Little legs need a ride when they get tired.

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Not Meepster. She walks the whole way without help.

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It’s peaceful down by the river. Time for a sit down and stick games.

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Meepster waits patiently while we rest.

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This is a good place for a two year old to explore.

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Dragonflies rest on the hot granite boulders.

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This is the special place we like to explore in detail.

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You never know what you will find.

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We have the whole place to ourselves.

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Meepster is never far from us.

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 Still pinching ourselves every day at how lucky we are to have found this glorious place to live.

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It’s a good place for Poppy to have stored in childhood memories.


Evening Light


We wanted a the sunset at Peggy’s Cove.  So does everyone else it seems.

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On the way we saw pink misty sights.

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The light was getting better in preparation for that sunset.

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A small queue of cameras on tripods was forming for this view.

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We queued and snapped.

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We waited for the sun to sink further.

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Reflections catching our eyes.

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Then the show started

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Changing by the minute.

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People waited

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The sky did its thing.

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The best show.

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Worth the wait

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It just got better.

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This fellow carried on long after we’d moved on for scallops and chips.


Pause


There has been a long pause between blog entries.  Many weeks have passed without posts. There have been changes, new lives starting and loss.  Time now to return to what’s familiar.

The first Nova Scotia summer turned our wilderness into a lush overgrown jungle.  Camping out over a hot day and night was an education in nature.

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We hiked the final loop of The Bluff Wilderness Trail.  The man who made this trail, Richmond escorted us with his dog Zeke. How lucky am I to have Richmond as a friend and neighbour!DSC_0107

Ferns were at their newest, greenest best

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Lady Slippers are rare and protected. They flourish in this cared for environment.

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As do the many other flowering plants which are now offering up their fruit to the birds, squirrels and bears.

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A good spot for lunch and a dip.

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Zeke kept an eye on me, as he knew I had no idea where I was going.

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This area is scattered with granite boulders. Some have split over time. Many covered in lichen. There are so many species here, which must be a sign of the purity of the air.

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Tree around our camp site are old and gnarled

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Someone has camped here before. We don’t make a fire this time.

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I am intrigued by all this tree lichen

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Some is like seaweed.

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Tree and it’s residents seem to live together well.

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Pine trees are fruiting now. These are well established cones by now.

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There were sitings of frogs and snakes, too fast to capture on camera, except for this little chap who sat it out while I got his picture.

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Not a bad way to get started again. 


Marathon



There’s something about a marathon that brings out the best in people. Today was the 10th Halifax Bluenose Marathon, and I went to watch and cheer.  Memories of the Boston Marathon bombing are all too fresh. There were moments of silence at the start of this one to remember and respect those involved.

Conditions were perfect. The sun was bright with a good bit of breeze to cool people down.  Halifax was looking good.

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The runners looked happy in their own worlds of perseverance.

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We cheered them on by calling their names…come on Sara!

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Plugged in to their music carried them along

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More and more flooded past

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Bill was feeling the heat. But he kept going until the finish.

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This police officer danced his way round the runners to keep the traffic flowing. 

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Despite the pain, there was much shared happiness. 

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Darlene knew she was just approaching  the Citadel, and then on to the finish.

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Some spectators would have given their furry ears to join in.

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One by one, they crossed the finish line.

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Most managing to smile

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Just about.

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Some hobbled, hanging on to the first-aiders

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Others somehow managed to stay on their feet to get over that line.

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Shared achievement.

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Camaraderie.

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Joy.

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Willpower.

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You did it!

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It took sheer bravery for Marlene to get to that finish line.

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Yay!

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Teamwork.

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Utter happiness

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They did it. The Paramedics escorted them home.

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Well done, Well done!

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I love this wonderful city. Congratulations, you are all winners.


London Part I


I have just returned from a visit to England for what is likely to be the last time in a long while. A day in London was therefore required, so Mandy and I took our cameras in an effort to capture one sunny spring day in the capital.

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 It’s easy to forget how every inch of road can become occupied by something moving. People dart in and out of traffic. The noise is incredible.

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A team of window cleaners easily dangle off skyscrapers

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Sometimes you see pretty little pubs squashed between giant glass buildings. They know they were there first.

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The London Eye rolls people round giving them the best views.

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But today, we were interested in the people. Who’s out there? Well, for a start, the Americans are getting their shots for ‘Show and Tell’.

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People stand around at Westminster Abbey not knowing where to start.

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Buses empty them out and leave them to find out.

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The City has come round from a dirty winter, and it’s looking lovely.

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The railings have been spruced up.

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People stick to the paths. Nobody walks on the just-mown grass at Westminster Abbey.

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It’s quite warm. But not warm enough for shorts.

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There is a lot of looking up to do. Don’t want to miss a thing.

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Finally a green patch opposite Big Ben where we can all lie down and get the camera out.

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Just don’t want to miss that shot.

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Definitely his best side don’t you think?

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Time for a bit of lunch and a bit of ‘rubber-necking’ to see what’s going on.

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Cars wait for the lights to change. That taxi driver will get away first. I know it.

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And she will get there before all the rest. She’s overtaking everything.

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Hmmmm, something going down in Downing Street. He’s not going to be able to make his delivery, that’s for sure.

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The tourist hotspots carry on as usual. These chaps just stand around all day, being photographed, coping with people petting their horse. They never ever smile. That’s their job.

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London has a way of wearing you out like nowhere else. It’s not long before we are seriously in need of a good cup of coffee and a biscuit. These did it for us nicely.

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The Big Issue man decided to do a little turn for us. Very Nice. Thanks so much.

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The lovely doorman at The Savoy was happy to pose. Does it all the time.

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And then, what a spot of luck, they were making a film at Somerset House. We caught them in their break, but it didn’t stop us having a good snoop around.

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Turns out, they were making a horror film. I wonder who this is?

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You can’t see, but this fellow was having a quick fag-break.

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A perfect location for something with a bit of atmosphere.

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There were bits of kit unattended for us to explore.

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You’ve just got to laugh haven’t you during a long days’ filming?

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All he wanted was a bit of peace away from the cameras to eat his sandwich. Then I came along.

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Getting the throat lubricated ready for some more screaming.

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Well, better get back to it.

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Just time for a quick snack. Dobbin’s already had his.

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Is this my best side?

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Just finishing on the dog and bone and I’ll be back in character

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Moving on from the set, we head over to Fleet Street for something sweet. The day isn’t half way over yet, but you can catch wheat else we saw next time.


Woodens River Walk


Soon after I moved to Nova Scotia, I heard about a group of who are committed to protecting the natural qualities of the local watershed. They are the Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organisation. I liked what they were doing, especially as I live on the very edge of a designated Wilderness Area. So, I decided to go to a meeting, and now I’m on their Board! So, my first task was to find out where this Woodens River was, and walk along it.

Today was the perfect day for doing so and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with what I saw.

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My first sighting of this fast flowing river

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Crystal clear. Green and gold rocks.

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The sound of rushing water accompanies the whole walk.

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No navigation or effort is required along Wooden’s Lane. Pure pleasure.

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Periodically it widens out to a lake, all part of this watershed.

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The colours are exceptional.

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No chance of forgetting that we only just barely emerging from a tough winter.

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The track seems well maintained and well used by walkers and ATV’s.

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Huge granite boulders wrapped in moss, which stays bright all winter.

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Even with some snow still on the ground, new growth is evident.

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We meet a few fellow walkers. Most had dogs. This sweet Nova Scotian Duck Toller was happy to pose for her photograph.

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Light shines through the trees magically.

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Every part of this walk has something special to see.

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Took a slight detour to cross the river at this pleasing little bridge.

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My guess is that this sign is telling us we can or cannot fish for trout here.

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The air was as pure as the water looked.

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Underwater colours.

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Clear clear water which I plan to swim in much, much later.

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This majestic tree was draped with lichen. They called it Old Man’s Beard here.

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Fallen trees are mostly left to their own devices. Nature takes its course.

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Signs of Spring recovery.

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As the walk progressed we dropped down nearer to the river, and then moved further away.

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There are plenty of little tracks to follow that take you to the river’s edge.

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Time for a drink and a bite to eat.

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Then, on we went on this increasingly beautiful track. Leaving no trace of having been there.

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So many luscious shade of green. 

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Green really is my favourite colour.

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Last year’s Bracket Fungus.

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A mighty great tree leaning right over the river.

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We sit and watch the colours.

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Over and under the water.

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I lie down for a moment and see just green and blue.

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It’s intoxicatingly beautiful here.

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And here, still covered in ice is last year’s leaf. Hanging on.

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A suitable road sign.

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Some form of log management here.

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I really could have walked all day and into the evening.

Next time I probably will!


Colours of February


Here we are, bang in the middle of winter. People in Nova Scotia have more or less had enough of it now, and want to see signs of spring. Not yet awhile I’m afraid. We are miles behind England.  So, I’ve been looking for colour, and I found an abundance. First outing was to Queensland Beach. It was cold. Freezing in fact, but I was after some natural colour. I found it in shedloads!

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Bright amber lichen

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Washed up collection of matching tones

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Tiny pebbles make the background for this arrangement

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More red, black green and white

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Lichen flourishes on Queensland Beach

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Seaweed draped over stones like flowing locks

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So many coloured varieties of seaweed

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Left over berries and snow

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Crystal clear water brightens speckled stones

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Blue blue water. Yellow yellow seaweed. 

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More and more of this yellowness.

Another day I go down to Halifax Seaport Market, looking for its’ colours

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The Tangled Garden was there, and did not disappoint

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Most flowers aren’t ready, but you can always find roses

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So expensive were these yellow blooms that each one was wrapped in its own netting

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I call this babies breath. So pretty

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Lovely

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Sweet tasting colours

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Inviting brightness

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Little lemon cakes were asking me to surrender to them. I did not.

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Felted bags leaping off the shelf

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No reason not to go for it with these colours

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For those who crave colours. It’s there if you look for it!


Sun, Snow, Ice and Water


I went to a Sun, Snow, Ice and Water show today.  There was a spectacular display. Quite a spectacle. The atmosphere was electric. Silence accompanied by rushing water. No one else came. The tickets were free.


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Reaching the display was tricky. You have to edge across a snow bridge. Good job I was wearing my brand new icers 

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Having made it across, the show began. This icy creature has round ‘feet’ where ever it makes contact with the water

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The river flowed at quite a pace today. However the jeweled Ice Feet hung on and reflected the light beautifully.

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Foam forms and freezes here.

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A solitary crystal covered twig stayed and stayed…………

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 …………gleaming in the light.

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What a performance this was!

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Then came the Lace-Bubbles. Layer on layer of tiny frozen bubbles.

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The branch show was a good one.

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Once more the light show came into its own.

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Then we had the Glass-Mushrooms

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A fine display.

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Can’t say I’ve ever seen better Glass-Mushrooms.

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Sound effects provided by this rushing river.

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You have to remember to keep looking up or you will miss the High-Branch show.

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After several encores, I decided it was time to leave. They hadn’t remembered to put the heating on.


Off to the Market


It is always best to go to new places with people who know their way around. Today we were lucky to go to The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market with good friends. We were immediately steered towards the Best Cinnamon Rolls in Halifax, where they were quickly purchased. 

Although it was a cold day, the place was buzzing. Beautiful vegetables, mostly roots were plentiful.

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I love the way they are packaged in little boxes and nets

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Squash is popular here. Especially when made into soups.

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These were only about 5″ long

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Apples have been cold stored until now. Very crisp and sweet.

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I bought carrots and golden beetroot to roast for supper.

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There were many displays of beautifully homemade pastries

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Flavoured with local produce. There were blueberry and gooseberry turnovers.

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Fancy a cream horn?

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This German baker had marvellous goodies

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Sweet little heart-shaped cakes.

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I know a little girl who would enjoy dismantling these little biscuits.

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Soft, sweet bagels.

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Preserving and bottling  is a big tradition here for the hard winters. 

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One of these pickles is called ‘Bread n’ Butter. Qu’est-ce que c’est cela ?

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Beautiful bottles of liqueurs

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Q. How do they get the pears in the bottles? A. When the pears are tiny on the trees, they pop them in the bottles where they continue to grow until harvest time.

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Then came the knitting

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I coveted these socks. Rather, I coveted the ability to make such fine socks.

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Traditional Newfoundland Thrummed mittens. So warm.

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Too early for tulips, as we have a long time to wait for Spring. However nice to look at.

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Then the entertainment. This jolly chap was playing some sort of jig, and made us laugh.

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Whereas this young fellow was more serious. As was his lovely playing.

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I gather this lady is a regular here, and was pleased to have her picture taken. Lovely face.

And so it was, back home to eat our Best Cinnamon Rolls in Halifax with hot coffee. It’s hell being retired isn’t it?


What Winter Means to Me


Scott Thomas sets assignments to fellow bloggers/photographers. This one is all about winter, and what it means to us.  This year, more than any before, winter means a new life.

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People warned that the winters in Nova Scotia would be hellish.

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England’s winters can be mild. Snowdrops push up soon after Christmas. No chance of anything green in Canada until May.

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The cats would surely suffer. How could we uproot them?

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But I knew it would be OK. I was ready. Winter is turning out well for me. I happen to like snow.

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I like what it does to my garden. I can bundle up and be warm. I can hunker down inside and be cozy after a snowy walk.

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It suits me. 

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The snow and the sea combined excites me. 

In short, winter is OK by me. Winter in Nova Scotia is so far so good!


Snowva Scotia


My Christmas month in England is over.  On Saturday I returned home to Nova Scotia, and it snowed. To be expected really at this time of year I thought. But  people say it doesn’t usually get this cold in January. What! It’s going to get colder! OK, I can do this, I really can. Yesterday I woke up to the brightest, whitest sparkingest day. Childhood memories flooded in.

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The air is pure here, so lichen grows on tree branches, making a good place for the snow to settle.

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Seed heads survived the snow storms, and have a sprinkling of frost which is hard to capture on camera. Snow scenes present special problems for people like me who are not as versed in their camera’s bells and whistles as they should be.

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Frost coated branches are hard to define against a white background. They are so beautiful. They really are.

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A tiny vacant bird’s nest has a hat of snow. Hopefully, in the spring it will become occupied again.

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Tommy isn’t at all sure about this. Please excuse the rear end shot, but he couldn’t stop for photographs.

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Back inside where he has discovered underfloor heating. There are bathroom tiles with mats on them, he believes are specially arranged for his afternoon sleep.

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Meanwhile I stay outside for a bit longer, enjoying the transformation of our garden.

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So lovely. So Canadian. I love it!


Sunshine at Last!


Finally, and for one day only, the sun came out. It was a bright and vibrant day, so we quickly decided that the only place to go to was the seaside. It had to be West Wittering, on my favourite top 5 beaches in the UK.  As we neared the turnoff for the beach road, the traffic stopped, it must be road works or someone broken down, we thought. But no, it was a queue for the beach. Clearly we weren’t the only ones with this idea. The car park was packed!

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The whole world and his dog was there.  We slid through the mud to the beach.

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People were preparing barbecues. Dogs were on parade.

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The sea was choppy and glorious

 

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Poppy got straight to work, dealing with pebbles 

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Lunch was well underway by the time we arrived. 

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The flooded beach huts provided some good water activities for those unable to face a dip in the sea.

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This little dog was taking herself for a sedate walk. Not what dogs usually do at the seaside

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The odd tent had been pitched


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Poppy and her Daddy had lots of fun

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As did the several dozen dogs we saw.

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A flying spaniel

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Flying children

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Dogs on leads

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A Gliding Retriever

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Perfect kite weather

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Not sure if this is a dog or a flying cat

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Man on John, Man on!

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Where did that Poppy go? There she is!

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Some babies were just too young to be allowed free run of the beach

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All too soon the sun dropped and it was time to go home

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What a perfect day we all had!

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Come on Poppy, or we’ll miss the In Night Garden xxxxxx


Our Christmas Day


This time last year, we were excited about our plans to move to Canada. On Christmas day, I asked my daughter what she thought we’d be doing this time next year. She said we’d all be here in England celebrating together with our lovely Poppy, who will by then be 20 months old.    

So, that’s what we did.

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Poppy found a dolls house all wrapped up and waiting for her on Christmas morning. It was pretty exciting watching  her  in her jimjams making this discovery.

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There was some serious furnishing and occupancy going on inside, which required lying down for rearranging.

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Of course it was the process of present opening that was most interesting. I always wanted a saucepan set like this.

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Then there were the hats.

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Poppy got at least two

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Daddy got one

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They seemed to cause us to make daft faces,

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Silly Mummy!

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There was no reason not to wear a bowl on Mummy’s head. She still deserved a kiss.

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Her comes another one!

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Bouncy Cow was one of the best presents of the day.

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Phew, time for a story while inspecting her new bead collection.

I wonder where we’ll all be this time next year!


Wisley Has Gone to Bed


We had a brief outing to Wisley Gardens yesterday. The gardening team have put the plants to bed for the winter. Everything is quiet.

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The grasses have drooped over elegantly by the duck pond.

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The ducks are snoring

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This one was happily dozing on one leg in the water

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There was still plenty of colour around. This flower bed was positively glowing

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The Mahonia was superb in purple and green

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Poppy enjoyed the wavy seat while she drank her juice.

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There are whole patches of red stemmed dogwoods

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These were not planted, but arranged in a wavy line for Christmas

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Although most plants were resting, there was evidence that life was going on behind the scenes. These look like new leaves forming to me.

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Some shrubs stay happily green all year round. Good for them!

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As we left we passed the lovely old buildings of Wisley. Don’t they look festive and welcoming. Time for home and some tea. Nite nite Wisley, see you next year maybe.


It’s Happy Poppy-Time

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Here I am in England again to spend Christmas with my little family. Poppy decided to go to her NCT Group Christmas party as an angel.

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Yes, about as sweet as it gets. Other guests included: a snowman who did not want his hat on;

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Oh, and here’s Poppy again. Halo included

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The King arrived, but was a bit off colour. 
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He stuck it out though, and made it to cake time

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With a change of hat, the King felt heaps better.

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What a dear little elf. Contemplating how best to demolish the tree

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Not me….!
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Here come the girls. Santa and Snow white

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These two sweeties go to nursery together, so got the dancing going

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Poppy, like the good fairy she is, took care of those who weren’t quite up to the mark.

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Time for the group photo. You must be joking! There were some young people who got bored and decided to read up on dinosaurs instead.

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Poppy caught up on a few calls.

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Not doing it. Not doing it. I want my tea!

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Forget all this group shot nonsense. Let’s have fun instead!

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Bouncing on cushions fun is best

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OK let’s race.

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After several rounds of the Hokey Cokey Cokey, we all went home exhausted. Wasn’t long before Poppy went up the stairs to Bedford. Me too!


Exploring Around Blomidon


So, Sybil and I decided to have a last day out before I go to England for Christmas. The forecast was good, but didn’t quite live up to expectations. We weren’t put off, and headed over in the direction of Blomidon. I’d seen it from a distance, and was excited about going. Apparently there are bald-headed eagles in the area. This is a major treat for me, as I have only ever seen two. In Nepal. So, as we are nearing our destination, Sybil stopped the car and told me to look up:

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There he was, my first eagle. There was little light for my picture, but there he was!

On we went towards the famous ‘Look Out’ at Blomidon, but on the way found a falling-down church. We just had to explore

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Neglected for a long time, what’s left of this lovely old structure hides in the undergrowth.

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The roof had all but collapsed, showing it’s skeleton. No idea of its’ age.

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What is the history of this old church, why was it abandoned? Who came here? 

Further on, we found another wreck. This time it was a small holding

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We think this was the privy. The house was gone, but the outbuildings remained. Just.

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The wooden weatherboard tiles were worn as thin as paper

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Amazing that they stayed in place, given the winters they would have endured.

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I was also taken with this old tree trunk. No idea what it is, but the colours were lovely.

On we went, and finally there it was: that view!

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Dull as the weather was, we were still treated to wonderful colours

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How lovely is this!

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And this…….. Oh, and by the way, Trey and Wendy came with us too.

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Trey enjoyed the flavour of the local mud. It slipped down nicely as he squelched his ball. Mmmmm!

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Wendy, her usual sensible doggie-self, just looked on in disgust.

Then on we went to have a quick explore of Scott’s Cove. And who was there, hanging around waiting for us…..or someone….

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Two bald-headed eagles. No chance of getting any nearer, and my camera lens did the best it could. What a sight though. They stayed while we checked out the beach. I felt as if they were watching the four of us. Just in case we might turn in to supper. Not a chance boys. Sorry!

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What a perfect day. Thanks Sybil for taking me. Now I must dash. I’m off the England for a month. Expect posts about Poppy my granddaughter. Lots of them! Happy Christmas all my Nova Scotian friends!


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