Saturday, March 28, 2020

I'm not sure where to start ...

A lot has happened since I last prattled at you; like a couple of mini strokes and an ill-timed visit to Toronto.

And now like most of you I am staying at home and only walking in the neighbourhood.  I really miss exploring the many wonderful trails here in Nova Scotia; but we've been told that if we have to drive to a trail -- it's too far away.

Spring is famous for being late here.  We can't plant most things until late May !  So I've ordered a seed catalogue and a plastic greenhouse to help me get through until then.

My trip to Toronto had been booked some months ago to coincide with my 70th birthday.  When I left Halifax on March 12 Covid was just being spoken of but within a day of my arriving things as you know accelerated exponentially.  Rather than staying with family in Toronto I ended up in Peterborough.  

Gifts from Sandy
The surprise party list

My friend Sandy had arranged a surprise birthday party for me; which for obvious reasons never happened.

During my stay at |Sandy's, things switched up from good night hugs to a parting "namaste".

My brother drove down from Ottawa and it was so difficult not to hug and kiss him.  Things were in a state of flux and we had a breakfast at the local Holiday Inn where we were the only customers.  The next day the restaurant closed entirely.

My chum Pat took me to visit her horse Babe.

I managed to hook up with friends Sue and Julie in Peterborough.  Social distancing was just starting to be mentioned and I'm retroactively concerned that we stood so close together.

Things changed daily at an alarming rate.

I was due to fly back to Halifax on Thursday March 19.  As things ratcheted up I thought it would be better if I went home sooner; so I went on-line and for $178 changed my return flight to Wednesday.  Three hours after changing my flight I got an email from Porter Airlines.  The subject line was a real eye-catcher.  It read:  "RETURN HOME IMMEDIATELY" !

I'd arrived on Thursday the 12th and here it was Monday the 16th and I once more switched my return flight only this time to the very next day, my birthday, Tuesday March 17.  It was interesting to change a flight and have no dollar figures showing for flights.

I'm glad I was flying on Porter which does not fly into Toronto International but rather into the small Toronto Island Airport called Billy Bishop Airport.

I bought a bus ticket from Peterborough to Toronto but my sweet nephew Keith insisted on driving to Peterborough to pick me up and drive me back to the city.

A tunnel connects the island airport to the mainland.  This is that tunnel at mid-day on the 17th.

I love to fly.   It is quite magical.  We often take it for granted.  I am riveted to my window, marvelling at the view below.   The island airport from which we had just taken off, is at the middle left in this photo.

I quickly discovered that when I looked at the plane's propeller on my phone's camera screen,  fascinating illusions appeared.  

Propeller "flying off"
"Melting" propellers
I've seen car tires in commercials that seem to be turning backwards.  I would guess the illusions we see here have to do with the speed of the props VS the speed of the film, with the added factor of the curve of the window pane.

To my eyes the pops were spinning so fast  as to be invisible. But on the camera screen they stopped.  Sometimes a prop would seem to be missing or even "flying off".  It was highly entertaining.

There should be SIX props.  

Have you ever noticed this phenomenon ?

Our shadow chasing us.
My birthday lunch. White wine and kettle chips at 25,000 feet !

Mystery lake. I'd love to follow a super-detailed map as we're flying so I can track our progress.

Been home over a week and roaring boredom has convinced me to write a blog about my recent doings.

About the TISs or mini strokes, thanks to our health care system I had a catscan and MRI and am on meds to control high blood pressure.

Now if something could be done to forward spring so I can go out and play in the dirt.

Stay well my friends.  Maintain social distances and do not go out unless absolutely necessary.

Sending you virtual hugs.

If you get a chance, let me know how you are amusing yourself in these interesting times.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

A bleak and barren place.

I went for a chilly walk today with my friend Mickie and her dog, Remi.

The words that immediately come to mind to describe the scenery are "bleak" and "barren".   

In the dictionary, bleak is defined as "lacking vegetation and exposed to the elements", while barren is "(of land) too poor to produce much or any vegetation".   

And yet I use these two words come together to describe a place of incredible beauty; the High Head trail beside the Atlantic Ocean.

The land is covered in erratic rocks; those that have been left behind by the receding glaciers.

Vegetation is sparce and low to the ground as it has to cope with the high winds and salty sea spray.

A storm passing by,  far out at sea was the cause of some pretty impressive waves crashing onto shore.

The ocean rushes in and out like some gigantic breathing entity.  In and out.  In and out with great roaring power.

 Never fear, Mickie used a zoom setting when she took this shot of me and the dogs and the waves were not as close to us as they appear to be.

Between the foamy waves and the snow covered rocks sometimes it was hard to tell where the land stops and the sea begins.

Aren't bleak and barren beautiful !

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rainbow Haven in winter.

Today the dogs and I headed to Rainbow Haven, that is after I checked the tide times.

Being on the Atlantic side it is not dangerous to get tide times wrong; it just means that you may be disappointed by the total lack of beach.  I learned that low tide was to be at 12:30 so I knew that by arriving at 1 ish there would be lots of beach, and I wasn't disappointed.

The beach is quite different in winter with blocks of ice that have been pushed up to the high tide mark.

Frozen in time the waves lie rigid on the shore.

 Not just bigger waves, but little ones were also stopped in their tracks too.

How remarkable is this ?   Frozen bubbles !

Of course I wasn't walking alone.    My best buds were with me.  I think Sooki looks particularly dignified in this photo; which isn't easy considering the crazy outfit she's wearing.

And of course they were glad to have a huge expanse of beach to run on. 

In a couple of hours this whole area would be under water.

In the summer we'd walk up the beach and then circle back down on the path that runs up the peninsula which juts into the harbour.

Compare the photo above with the one below.  Both images were taken at just about the same spot.

It would appear that even more of the land is being covered at high tide.  The land to the right of the path is covered by ice.

And in the foreground was an interesting ice formation with layered slivers of ice.  Of course I just had to taste a piece to confirm it contained salt.  And yep, it did.  

Wouldn't you ?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Good grief, I'm an arse !

Yesterday we went for a walk at Sandy Lake.   I wanted to walk to Jack Lake to see if the trail to the boardwalk there was reachable.   Sadly it was not, due to accumulated snow and bent trees blocking the path.

I thought a wander in the woods might be nice.   

I call it "bushwhacking"; wandering off trail through the woods to see what I can see.  

I came across another hiker and her dogs and together we  followed an orange flagged trail through the woods.  At one point a second marked trail veered off to the left and impulsively I took it.  The other hiker clearly was worried about my choice and asked me what sort of car I drove.  I guess she wanted to check if my car was still there when she got back.

The trouble with me is I'm overly confident in my sense of direction; far too confident in retrospect.

I was sure that that trail would get me out of the woods well ahead of the other hiker.  

I followed the trail until it came out on a wider rather familiar looking trail.  Instead of forging ahead in a direct line, I had blundered in a circle and come out on my original trail !

At this point you must be asking if I'd turned on my Geo tracker and the answer is "yes".  It was the tracker that showed me I was almost back where I'd started.  

So I went back into the woods.  Oddly enough when I came to a cross trail I would again rely on my unerring sense of direction and not check my Geo tracker until I'd slogged down the path for ten minutes and finding I was once more going the wrong way.

At one point in the woods I found a set of tracks and happily followed them for a while before realizing that they were my own.

Being lost wouldn't have been a big deal except that darkness was falling as it does after four o'clock in winter.

My tracker showed me where I was parked so I could see the general direction of my car but I didn't want to keep stopping to check the tracker as light was fading and my worry was rising.  I would think I saw a path ahead only to find it was a stream cutting across the woods.  I was entirely off trail and in deep woods.

I could relate to the irrational feeling of panic that causes lost people to make poor decisions.

Ultimately I reached my car at five o'clock.  I'd been walking for three hours and we'd covered five km.

Like I said, I'm an arse !

Friday, January 10, 2020

Point Pleasant in Winter

I haven't been to Point Pleasant Park in ages.  Sandy Lake and Shubie Park are our usual hangouts; and sometimes Second Lake; oh and Lake William ... oh and ...

Well you get the point.  We have lots of wonderful places to go dog walking and Point Pleasant Park a massive dog-friendly park located on the bottom of the Halifax peninsula facing the open ocean is an amazing treasure.

The main walking "trails" are wide, plowed, and sanded for easy walking.

Old ruins of defensive buildings add to the interest of a walk here.

In the summer time the fortification below is used as a backdrop for live theatrical performances by "Shakespeare by the Sea".  I can't believe that after ten years here I still haven't seen one of their shows !   Guess I should rectify that.

Across the peninsula are many trails, each of which has smaller side paths which are not plowed but simply packed down by previous walkers. 

Even though it was a work day and a mite chilly there were quite a few dog walkers in the park.  I did pass one or two people without dogs but they certainly were in the minority.

Sadly, even in winter nature calls.  Oh my the toilet seat was c-c-cold.

Single solitary tall  trees dot the skyline.

These lone trees are remnants of what was once a magnificent forest,  devastated by Hurricane Juan back in September of 2003.  The park lost 70,000 trees and was closed for over a year during the clean up.

All these years later a new generation of trees is growing up; but it will be many, many years before the park reaches its former state of glory.

In the mean time we'll just have to make do.  ;-)

Oh by the way, we had a terrific walk !