Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wind and waves at MacDonald Hill

Last weekend Hurricane Gonzalo passed by us far out to sea, giving us some strong on-shore winds and higher than usual waves.

MacDonald Hill is a marvellous spot to look out over the Ocean or down at Lawrencetown's Stoney Beach.

The Kite Surfers were out in full force.  I counted eleven of them at one point.
It's also a terrific spot to walk a couple of happy dogs.

Sooki sometimes acts first, and thinks second.  Here she is rolling around, itching her back along the edge of the steep hill...

The expression on her face is priceless as she seems to suddenly realize her folly.

And "no", she did not fall down the hill.
But the wind !  Oh the wind was marvellous !   And of course Wendy enjoyed chasing the ball and Sooki rolled down the hill.   Here, let me show you.

I hope you remembered to turn up the sound on your computer.  You really need to to get the a good idea of the wind.

And then of course there were the Kite Surfers: I wasn't the only one who guessed that they'd be out enjoying the waves on Sunday.   And while you're looking at THIS noisy video of the Kite Surfers, check out Wendy poking around in the waves at the water's edge.

Did I mention that this beach is 25 minutes from my house ?

When you come to visit, I'll be sure to take you there.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Great Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival.

Last Tuesday I drove down the South Shore to Mahone Bay to check out their annual Scarecrow Festival.

It's just over an hour's drive from the Passage, down Hwy 103.   Along the way I passed the exit to the famous Peggy's Cove and kept on driving.

And wasn't disappointed once I got there.

"Marilyn Munroe" on the roof, with the wind blowing up her dress.
Wendy and I had a lunch on their outside patio.
Did I mention that Wendy had come with me ?

That middle stuffed dog looked a lot like Wendy.
I ended up with almost 40 photos of different scarecrows and had a real problem trying to figure out which ones to show you.

Being Canada, of course there had to be curlers ...

 This welcoming damsel at Zack and Nemo's Fudge Shop, was trying to lure us inside with the offer of free samples.

 I loved the wacky face on this chap, reminded me of the British comedian, Terry Thomas.  Anyone remember Terry Thomas ?

I could almost imagine these lovely ladies calling: "Hey sailor!".

"Lance Arm Straw" found himself suspended from the wall of a bike shop.

I don't think I need to explain who these folks are -- do I ?

I was surprised to see Ike and Tina Turner back together again.

Dining in style on the verandah of a local B&B.

A more traditional looking scarecrow couple.

Wendy and I had a lovely wander around town.  The actual festival had been the weekend before and sadly it had rained heavily on the scarecrows.  Someone had done an excellent job of fixing them back up again once the skies cleared.

We stopped for one final photo before heading out of town.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

If it's Tuesday, this must be Toronto.

I was raised on Musicals. I grew up thinking that all families were obsessed with Musicals.

On car road trips my mom, dad, brother and I, would play a game where someone would sing a line from a song, and someone else would have to sing the next line, or perhaps sing a line from another song from the same Musical. We all thought this was great fun.

My  beloved dad worked as the House Manager at the O'Keefe Centre in Toronto back in the heyday of musical theatre.  The O'Keefe's official opening in October of 1960 was celebrated with the world premier of "Camelot" starring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet.  Sadly being only 10 years old, I fell asleep and missed most of the second act.  As time went on big musicals would use Toronto, specifically The O'Keefe  as their "try out" location before heading to Broadway with the result that I was immersed in musicals throughout my formative teen years.

I am delighted to report that that love of musical theatre is shared by my daughter, Kaitlyn, who at age eight, asked for row seats to "Phantom of the Opera" for her Birthday.

This all goes to explain why Kait and I flew to Toronto last Tuesday afternoon, saw two musicals, and then flew back to Halifax on Thursday afternoon !

The story begins last June when I discovered that the cheeky musical "The Book of Mormon" would be coming to Toronto in September.  The die was cast when I realized that "Wicked" would be in Toronto at the same time!  On-line tickets were ordered, a Porter Airline seat sale was taken advantage of, and three months later we were off on our much-anticipated adventure.

Toronto's distinctive skyline.  See the SkyDome and the CN Tower ?
Flying into the small island airport on Porter Airlines you are presented with stunning views of downtown Toronto. 

We are lucky enough to have wonderful family who live in the core of the City and let us flop with them, took us out for a lovely dinner and just generally made us not feel like free-loaders.

In a frenzy of flights and transit and walks, the big trip has come and gone.

The Toronto I visited, is so very different from the Toronto of my childhood.  I felt intimidated, thrilled and  over-whelmed by a feeling of not belonging.  As the saying goes: "A great place to visit: but I wouldn't want to live there".  Kait felt quite the opposite: she loved the excitement, crowds and frenzy of of the City.

Took me a bit to figure out how my hand was reflected in that far off building. 
Dundas Street approaching Yonge.

On Wednesday I met up with a dear friend for lunch at Milestones.

Me and my good friend, Bonnie.

I must admit that there is a beauty to the City, but I found the stunning contrasts of the pretty people walking past the beggars most troubling.  I struggled with how to deal with them too: giving to some and speaking to others.  I just wonder if at some point, I too would find it easier just to walk by ...

And then of course there were the shows.

I loved each of them for very different reasons.  I know the music from both shows well, and though I knew the story of each, I found "The Book of Mormon" to be a grittier than I expected.  Each musical won a "Best Musical".   Here is the hit song "Defying Gravity" from the 2004 Tony Awards introduced by Joel Grey who played The Wizard.  Book of Mormon won its award in 2012 and "I Believe" is our anti-hero's touching statement of his suddenly rattled. Mormon faith.

 I think you either like musicals or they just aren't your cup of tea.  There seems to be no middle ground.  Which camp do you fall into ?  


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Expect delays ... and Pirates !

Maritime Race Weekend saw lots of runners in the Passage for 5k, 10k, half and full Marathon races. ...

You can't say we weren't warned.

My friend Mickie was running in the 5 k on Friday evening and her partner, Amy was going to take photos.  Did I want to meet up with them ?

"Sure", I said.  "I'll meet you near the start area."

Want to take a guess how THAT worked out ?  

After scanning a thousand or so faces, and realizing that I wouldn't be meeting up with my chums, I reconciled myself to enjoying the race on my own.

And I did.

Participants and spectators were encouraged to dress up in keeping with the Pirate theme.

I was really impressed with the costumes folk came up with. 

Family and friends came out to show support for the runners.

And ... "THEY'RE OFF !"

The setting sun cast its orange glow on the runners.

Yep.  She ran the 5 k in a "boat" !

Along the route on Shore Road, encouraging signs, cow bells and cheering watchers urged the racers on.

And what better way to celebrate the end of the race than with fireworks ?

Almost makes me want to lace up the running shoes and get out there.

I said ALMOST.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A disastrous walk around Lawlor's Island

I know what you're gonna say: "You've already told us about your walk around Lawlor's Island".

But when I say I "a walk around Lawlor's Island", I don't mean a walk upon Lawlor's Island, I mean a gosh darn walk all the way around the Island.

The view from Lawlor's looking back toward Woodside and the oil storage tanks. 

Of course I wasn't alone on this silly undertaking: I had Trey with me.  I've stopped taking a ball to throw for him, after our last visit where he ran into the woods with a ball, and came back with a rubber boot !   (Hey !  That was a $6 ball you stoooopid dog !)

It didn't take Trey long to find something for me to throw.

On this trip he brought me a running shoe, a sandal, a Croc garden shoe, a rubber boot, a diver's rubber hat, a stick and a six foot tree !

Some things are more throwable than others.

Trey and the tree he wanted me to throw for him. He carried this damn thing for ages.

It wasn't long before the boot was shredded.
Cooling off on damp sea weed.

A thong, or do you call them "flip flops" ?

His pièce de résitance was glomming onto a massive truck tire that was embedded in the sand.  To his profound shock and displeasure, I was unable to pick it up and chuck it into the water for him.

The walk was a mite longer than I expected.

Each time I'd walk around a point, I'd expect to see the end of the island.  Instead I would be presented with yet another cove.
Finally I climbed a hill to see where I was and if I'd be able to cross from one side of the island to the other..

And found that the answer was, "no" as it was too overgrown, and covered in deadfall to cross easily.

But oh, it was pretty.

Looking toward McNab's Island and the far side of Halifax Harbour.

A lobster boat, and Devil's Island can barely seen in the distance.

So what part of this walk was "disasterous" you ask ?

Well, it wan't that it was over four hours of walking over rough and rocky ground on a very hot day.

And it wasn't that my kayak had been carried into the harbour by the rising tide, as this time I had secured it to the shore.


It was something else.

Something that I didn't realize until Trey and I were most of the way around the island.  Something that happened after we'd made it 'round the point and back down to the shore where I blithely threw a stick into the water for Trey.
The "something that happened", happened in this cove.

And I didn't know it had happened until Trey, Trey my indomitable, over-the-top dog, lay down on the sand and refused to get up.

And still I didn't get it.

I thought he was just tired and tried to cajole him into following me down the shore.  After all, it was still a 1/2 km walk to the kayak.

He refused to follow me.

Trey never refuses to follow me.

I walked on, calling back to him, and calling his bluff.

He refused to get up and follow me.

WTF ???

I walked back, knelt down and checked his feet.

OMG !!!

They were shredded !  Every one of his paws was ripped.  Some pads had flaps of skin just hanging off, while on others fresh raw skin was all there was.

I realized too late that in that final cove, I had been heaving his stick into water where just below the surface the rocks were covered in razor sharp Barnacles !   What an idiot I am !   I had no frikkin' clue and of course, Trey refused to listen to his body until it was too late.

Photo after we got home and cleaned his poor paws.
Alone and worried what Trey would do left on his own, I hustled down the shore, got the kayak and paddled back to where I'd left him lying bewildered by my abandonment.   It was over half an hour before I got back to him.  He had moved a mere 50 feet down the shore in a vain attempt to follow me and was just standing there mournfully.

Oh it was a miserable paddle back to the mainland with a sodden, whimpering dog hunkered down down on my lap.

Back home his  feet were cleaned and Trey's enforced period of quiet began so his paws could heal.

That was almost three weeks ago now and his feet are a good as new, but what an awful way to learn a lesson.

It seems that Trey and I are destined to always learn things the hard way.

~~~~~~  ~~~~~~

If you missed my scintillating post about walking on the island and the lesson I learned on that visit, you can see it here.