Sunday, November 30, 2014

colourful birds

Birds is the theme for Sunday Stamps this week. In all honesty, I could probably post bird stamps every week for a year and still not have shown my whole collection. 
maybe because I keep collecting them...

anyway, these little songbirds are the only ones from the series I have (though I'm sure I have a bluebird somewhere) 
I need to get more postcards from the US
and then there are these posing parrots from Australia
from L to R we have the 
Princess Parrot with the pretty pink chin and baby blue crown
Rainbow Lorikeet with the blue face
Green Rosella whose colours blend beautifully from blue to green to yellow to red
Red Capped Parrot who has a distinct red cap and yellow beard
Purple Crowned Lorikeet with the unexpected subtle soft blue breast

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

street signs - Light

I have no idea where Light St in Woodstock got it's name. It just made me smile to see that that sign was in the sunlight, while the Dundas St sign was in shadow.

and a green porcelain sign is unusual.

twelfth in the resurrected series on street signs

EDIT: thanks to Andy and his sleuthing, we now know that Light St was named for Alexander Whalley LightBy the 1830's retired British military men were encouraged to move to the colonies to help settle the land and ensure loyalty in the community to the Crown. Colonel Light was the first of these new British immigrants to arrive in Oxford County.

below is an excerpt from a diary entry in 1833 by Cpt Phillip Graham
Monday, 21st. A fine day. Went to visit Colonel Light’s new building on his land adjoining mine. This building is of brick — a good large house 42 feet by 28 but when the wings are added the front will be 84 feet facing to the south in a fine elevated situation about the River Thames which is there rather narrow. The country here is well cleared and finely undulated with high hills. Walked to the Village of Beachville about 1 1/2 miles from Light’s. Here are grist mills and saw mills and two whiskey distillers — with a small Tavern and good stores. The road from the bridge at Cedar Creek runs principally along and near the South Bank of the Thames and is one of the best roads I have seen in the Province — along which an English carriage may be driven with safety. The country all the way from Hamilton to this part abounds with apples and all kinds of vegetables of the first quality — also abundance of cherries. 
--- sadly, there is not now the same abundance of all kinds of all kinds of vegetables or fruits.

in 1849 he also wrote a book called 'A plan for the systematic colonization of Canada' and all other British colonies which you can read here.  Interesting to read what others think of your pioneer country.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

art is therapy

Two of the museums form my summer trip...
I don't like taking photos of the art (and I like it even less when other people insist on photographing every piece that's on the wall...) so these were pretty much all I took
Below is the inside of Amsterdam's refurbished Rijksmuseum 
(with the Night Watchmen in the distance)

the pleasant and restful cafeteria and excellent giftshop (surely the best gift shop in any museum). the big yellow post it notes were part of an exhibit from Alain de Botton. This link takes you to an explanation from his Art is Therapy. I found these quotes as interesting as the art.

the garden at the rear of the Rijksmueum was always a popular oasis
In Glasgow, the floral Clyde (the mascot from the Commonwealth Games) still stood outside the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
in case you can't tell, he's meant to be a thistle

inside, you can see an intriguing installation by Sophie Cave of several dozen heads 

each with a different facial expression
we were fortunate to have timed our visit with a noon hour organ recital

there were two large screens with one showing the organist's feet, the other his hands. pretty cool! 

I've never seen an organ in a museum before. this one was built in 1901 for the Glasgow International Exhibition and after the exhibition, was moved from the temporary concert hall to this Centre Hall. there are daily recitals at 1pm and on Fridays there are tours up close and personal in the organ loft. we were not there on a Friday, unfortunately.

 a few shots of two museum strolls for Jo's Monday Walk and something for Toby's WWDD

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

street signs - Kerr St

It's been many weeks (okay, a year) since I last posted a street sign. Has anyone noticed or cared? I didn't mean to take so long to continue the series, but once I'd gotten so far with the alphabetical order, I had to carry on thusly. The next letter was K and I had a street in mind, but not the picture of the sign. Every time I thought I'd get one, something got in the way. And time went on, and on... But the interruption has been hanging over my head for so long  so I abandoned that street and finally chose another.

Kerr Street in Oakville has undergone a renaissance in the last few years. Unlike Bronte, Kerr was never a village. Named for a former postmaster and mayor of Oakville (in 1866) who was the son of one the town's founders, it used to be just another ordinary retail strip that was rather run down. Now, with an injection of government money over the last ten years or so it has become a 'destination' through an intense rejuvenation project. Situated just west of the downtown, this north-south street is now full of many new restaurants and cafes as well as some of the older establishments to meet the needs of the community.

It's not a particularly charming street, full of strip malls like this one

but it is an improvement from only a few years ago before the facelift of some of these businesses. The new banners are serious and sedate looking, a change from the previous ones which were a bit more fun, and quite frankly, I think gave a better indication of the village feel.

If you find yourself on Kerr Street, stay awhile and explore.

see more signs over at Lesley's signs,signs
and click on the street signs tag at the bottom of the post to see the first half of the alphabet!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

grave post - William Miller

To a person, everyone we mentioned our visit to the Necropolis asked "did you see the "wee willie winkie" stone? Glaswegians are proud of their homegrown author of this nursery rhyme, William Miller. 
I, and possibly most people, only really remember the first verse

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it's past ten o'clock?

but there are more verses. quite a few more.
(if you're interested, here's a link to the Scots version)

Hey, Willie Winkie, are you coming in?
The cat is singing purring sounds to the sleeping hen,
The dog's spread out on the floor, and doesn't give a cheep,
But here's a wakeful little boy who will not fall asleep!
Anything but sleep, you rogue! glowering like the moon,'
Rattling in an iron jug with an iron spoon,
Rumbling, tumbling round about, crowing like a cock,
Shrieking like I don't know what, waking sleeping folk.
Hey, Willie Winkie – the child's in a creel!
Wriggling from everyone's knee like an eel,
Tugging at the cat's ear, and confusing all her thrums
Hey, Willie Winkie – see, there he comes!"
Weary is the mother who has a dusty child,
A small short little child, who can't run on his own,
Who always has a battle with sleep before he'll close an eye
But a kiss from his rosy lips gives strength anew to me.

According to the Scottish Poetry Library:
William Miller was born in Briggate, Glasgow, in August 1810.  He served an apprenticeship to a wood-turner, and became a skilled cabinet-maker, a trade which he followed for the rest of his life.  He began to write poetry while still a youth, contributing to local newspapers and periodicals; the appearance of 'Willie Winkie' and several other nursery poems in the 3rd and 4th series of Whistle-binkie  (1839-43) established his reputation.  His best poems were thus produced before he was thirty-six; he then wrote little until the year before his death.  He died in poverty in 1872, and is buried in Tollcross, in a plot that does not bear his name.  There is a memorial to Miller in the Glasgow Necropolis, and in 2009 a plaque was placed on the wall of the brewery which now stands on the site of his former home in Dennistoun.

Monday, November 17, 2014

city of the dead

Yes, I did go visit a cemetery while I was on holiday in Scotland in August. and in a perfect case of serendipity, a guided tour was happening the day I arrived. it was free, but you needed to register and my cousin and her husband and I managed to reserve spaces. it wasn't a very big group, not even the limit of 25 people (the guided walks in our cemeteries tend to be extremely popular with dozens of people, but maybe it being a Bank Holiday weekend had something to do with it) and by the end of the over 3 hour (!!) walk, only four us were still with the group leaders - yes, us three plus one other hardy soul! but we all found it well worth the time. 
after crossing the Bridge of Sighs, we did have to climb up a rather steeply terraced hill... and back down again

The Adjoining Bridge 
was erected by 
The Merchants House of Glasgow
to afford a proper entrance to their new cemetery continuing
convenient access to the grounds with suitable decoration to the 
venerable cathedral & surrounding scenery to unite the tombs of many generations
who have gone before with the resting places destined for generations yet
unborn where the ahes of all shall repose until the resurrection of the just when that  which
is born a natural body shall be raised a spiritual body when this corruptible must put
on incorruption when this mortal must put on immortality when death is swallowed up in victory.

Unfortunately, the walk started at about 6pm and by then, the sun was intensely determined to create long shadows, making it difficult to get good photos. plus, because these were all unfamiliar names to me, I wanted to pay attention and not wander off as I usually am wont to do. so, fewer photos than I usually take.
The cemetery opened in 1833 as the first interdenominational garden cemetery in the city. though, the year before, a small Jewish burial ground was established in the north west corner (it would be declared 'full' by 1851 - it is very small) It is now a closed cemetery - no more burials are allowed. There are over 50,000 people resting here, but only about 3,500 monuments have been put up. 

climb up the walkways and you get the bonus of great panoramic views over the city. here, we are looking out towards the Cathedral and Royal Infirmary
this is to the south                and east

considering all the space, these souls are rather tightly packed in
eventually we get to the highest point where the statue of John Knox has stood on this high column since before the cemetery was built
and then we descend back towards the cathedral square 
and through the gates to the land of the living

sharing this walk with Monday Walks at Restless Jo

Sunday, November 16, 2014


There are some flavours that you might not think of putting together, but which are actually very, very good. Lime on pretty much anything from chips (crisps), to corn, to yogourt, for example. Bacon and chocolate also comes to mind. Surprisingly good, if you don't think about it too much.
And then there is my new favourite food.... cream cheese and chocolate
which, while searching online for a photo, I discover has been around for awhile in some places but only for a couple of weeks here. The sign in the grocery store said "limited offer", so in a bit of a panic that it might disappear, I've now stocked up with at least five tubs. Apparently there was no need.

Introducing NEW Philadelphia Chocolate. Made with the creamy goodness of Philly and a touch of pure milk chocolate. With half the sugar and calories of the leading hazelnut spread*, it’s great for Mom and the whole family. Spread it on toast as part of a complete breakfast.
I was a bit dismayed by the above description - seriously "great for Mom..."???
Anyway, you know where this is leading..... I still have my jar of Nutella, but it has been sidelined, for the time being.
When a friend went to Italy last June, I requested this stamp. Sure, no problem said she, not knowing anything about the Italian postal system nor about stamps and that these were brand new. She had quite a tale to tell about trying to find them, what with the limited Italian and some of the post offices not aware of their existence or having them in stock yet. I was thrilled to get these even if it wasn't cancelled on a postcard.

spreading the love on Sunday Stamps

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

poppies on the hill

On a drive home between Elora and Fergus last week, I came across this arresting sight. I had to stop, and even waited for traffic to clear and backed up to get a better look. Not a recommended action, but there was a wide shoulder.
dusk was settling in fast, so I only had a few minutes to walk among the rows.
row upon row of names divided into sections for each village in Wellington County.  the blue markers are for WWII and the brown for WWI.  apparently the Korean and Afghanistan wars are included, though I didn't see any markers for them.  there are 471 markers.

a simple marker stating a name with no rank or regiment, a hometown, age and date of death, and the cemetery where buried - if known. the really poignant ones had a name and town but no other information about them. 
at least their name is remembered.

teaching the young

Sunday, November 9, 2014


It was a quiet Saturday afternoon when I was visiting my Scottish cousin who I hadn't spent much time with over the years.  She suggested we take a slight detour on the way to her place to see the old family stomping grounds. It's actually more her family stomping grounds - our mothers were cousins and hers grew up in this Fife village while mine grew up in Glasgow. I don't think I'd been here since I was a teenager, but as soon as we got out of the car and walked towards her grandmother's house, it came flooding back to me.

Above is one end of the village, with Aunt Belle's house at the top on the far right. They later moved across the road into one of the end-of-terrace houses on the left, just around the bend. The outdoor privy is still there though is probably used for storage now.  
Yes, we wandered into the open yard to check it out!
A view from the other end looking in the same direction, showing how the burn cuts through of the village. A burn is a stream.
This pub looked like it might be a popular spot, and indeed all the reviews I've since found online gave it top marks (it is #1 of 3 eating establishments in Auchtermuchty), then again, do we really believe those reviews?
a not very straight picture of one of the signs on the pub
everybody sing together now, 
But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles 
to fall down at your door
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da
Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
and on and on.....
but, what we really needed to see was this plaque, unveiled last spring for my cousin L's great grandfather, the famous Potato Man, Archie Findlay. the old store house is now a private house

photo from the newspaper at the unveiling which some of Archie's descendants attended
 and a portrait of Archibald Findlay 
(artist unknown)

a short walk with a long family history for Restless Jo's Monday Walk