Monday, October 20, 2014

You Have To Love Sundays...

For my husband and I, Sundays are an adventure. Each week, we hop in the car and pick a direction to drive. Some of our jaunts keep us reasonably close by. Others involve hundreds of kilometres and an arrival home time in the small hours of the morning.

On this last Sunday - windy, warm and grey - we chose to visit Steveston, a beautiful spot not far from Vancouver.

On arrival, we came across a man feeding copious amounts of birdseed to the seagulls and crows. This gave me a chance to get some close-ups of birds in flight, always a welcome opportunity.

Next on our list was a visit to the boats docked by the pier, selling their fresh salmon, tuna and sea urchins. 

Because it's been a decent fishing season, we were able to get a large and 
inexpensive salmon for our dinner.

We managed to pass on our usual outdoor fish and chip feed, knowing we were going home to cook, but the dulce-de-leche gelato was beyond resisting.

The tide was higher than we've ever seen it, but I only took a few pictures of the slough as two swans vied for my attention. A local resident told me they are a pair who fly in every fall, and excel at begging for food.

Having just bought an enriched fresh loaf from the bakery, I thought to give them a slice each. 

While the female was shy and dainty, the male was pushy and bold. My fingers ended up in his beak a few times, as he saw them only as an extension of the food he was desperate to clamp on to.

Good thing I'm not   easily bothered by such things. 

The big male went on sentry duty at the end of the bridge, looking for more handouts, and while I passed him easily, the woman behind me did shriek when the swan stretched his neck  threateningly.

'Twas a wonderful day, with the sky closing in as we crossed the Alex Fraser Bridge to home. The salmon dinner went on the table a little later than usual, but it was well worth the wait...

I'm linking up with Our World Tuesday. To see more shots, click on the link below...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kenya's Mountain Lodge

Although I haven't been blogging lately, a friend of mine has recently returned from  South Africa, and her photos served to remind me how much of my heart I left on that continent. I thought I might do a series of posts to highlight the wonderful lodges we stayed at in the course of our safari...

 My husband and took a photo safari through Kenya and Tanzania eight years ago.This trip remains one of the true highlights of my life. I felt immediately at home with the golden savannahs that stretched on forever, and the hot sun that loosens tight muscles and seems, indeed, to slow down time itself. 

 Our first stop after leaving Nairobi was the Mountain Lodge. Mount Kenya is in the highlands of Kenya, so shrouded in mist that when we were there, I was only able to capture a shadowy shot of the mountain itself.
It is simply a magical place. The
lodge is wrapped around a waterhole that abounds with animals day and night.

(Google photo: We weren't allowed out there!)

Arriving just before dark, we found hot water bottles 
nestling in the cold beds to bid us welcome.


Sleep was the last thing we were thinking about. Each room has its own private balcony with a view of the waterhole and its visitors. Sitting there watching Elephants and Cape Buffalo wander in to drink, the rest of the world ceased to exist for me. 

With the shuffling of hooves and splashing water the only sounds to be heard, we could sit quietly and watch the animals go about their evening as if we were not there. It was a privilege to do so. 

Management informed us they 
could awaken us in the night if the more elusive animals showed up. As soon as the pre-dawn knock sounded on our door, I rushed out to our balcony and watched a leopard lap warily at the waterhole. 

I did not take a picture for fear of disturbing him in any way. It was one of the two very brief times we were to see a leopard on our safari. 

I may have no shots to show for it but my mind can instantly conjure up the long, tense lines of this striking predator who soon fled that open space for the safety and visibility afforded by the tall trees.

Monkeys are prevalent in Africa. Although undeniably cute, they are considered pests, and tourists are directed to discourage them. 

As well as viewing the animals from above, the lodge features an underground tunnel leading to a viewing room with tiny barred windows at ground level. It is wonderful to see the wildlife close up, though a somewhat dubious pleasure in the case of the very homely Marabou Stork!

The next day we were led on a walk through the forest, escorted by armed guards,one in front, one in the rear - rifles slung over their shoulders and fingers at the ready.  

We grew accustomed to their presence in East Africa.The guards protect tourists from possible animal attacks, but are also vital in the control of poachers whose ruthless greed is reducing the herds of African wildlife to alarming low numbers.

On this hot sunny day, we were also advised to cover up well, with trousers tucked into boots. The wisdom of that became clear when mosquitoes  swarmed around us and ants flooded over our feet in great numbers. Although tiny, these siafu have huge pincers that can inflict great pain upon reaching bare skin.

After walking for 
a while, we came 
to a clearing, and 
were delighted 
to see that tea 
had been set 
out for us. 

Sipping Earl Grey 
from a china cup and 
nibbling thin biscuits 
in the heart of an 
African forest is 
only one of the 
many lovely 
memories I took 
home with me. 

I strongly suspect no other afternoon tea I partake of will quite compare with this one... 

Next time, I'll take you to Kenya's Samburu Game Reserve.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Signs, Signs: Friends

When I came across this sign in a shop, I laughed out loud. 

I know I have good friends, and others who are true indeed, but clearly I am lacking in rowdy friends.

Luckily,  I do have my husband, (partner-in-crime and chief instigator), who absolutely gets the sentiment in this statement.

We have often said, "Damn...that was fun!", occasionally in situations it might have been wiser to avoid. (A few things come to mind.)

So far, we have managed to stay out of prison.

Some might say that's because we've been extremely lucky, if not always especially smart.

Now that we're senior citizens, it's undoubtedly time to settle down. I'll try to remember that next time we go on a road trip...:)


I'm linking up to Signs, Signs today. Do pop by to see other signs from around the world...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our World Tuesday: Bose Farm

My husband and I have been known to trespass.

 Although  generally law-abiding citizens who realize rules are in place for a reason, it must be admitted that on occasion our innate curiosity overrides common sense. 
The old Dairy Barn

 (In our defence, we would never vandalize's surprising how often entryways are inadvertently left open to allow easy entry.)
 A favourite spot to visit on our Sunday jaunts has been  the Bose Farm near our house, long left to the vagaries of time and weather. 
 We have passed this pretty knoll many times in the years we've lived in Surrey, and watched the buildings on it deteriorate with each passing year. 

When a whole chunk of the old barn succumbed and tumbled to the ground last summer, it was the end of an era for us.

Some of the farm's outbuildings have been demolished; others will be renovated in the name of local colour.
  Long slated for redevelopment, the bulk of the land is slated to be filled with high-end condominiums.

Progress cannot be stopped, nor should it be, but I will definitely miss how proudly the big old barn stood watch over Bose Road for as long as I have lived nearby.  
will miss its shabby elegance.

And though I should regret stepping in to catch sight of life in the old days, I am very glad to have these photos to bring back the peace of an afternoon spent watching  sunshine slant through weathered boards.

For more views from around the world, check out the link below...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vancouver's Olympic Cauldron

        Google Image

When Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010, our city was enraptured with the joy of being Canadian and playing host to the world. The games galvanized our national pride, made friends out of strangers and showed us we each have a heart that is even bigger than we know.
For most of us, the celebrations were a joy from start to finish. I still grin widely when remembering hands clasping and smiles shared in the busy downtown core where we'd previously walked unnoticed.

That gentle linking of humanity seemed to me to be Vancouver at its best

Russia has gone into the games with considerably more conflict than troubled us, and has drawn lines they're not willing to bend.
Few are more vehemently opposed to Russia's rigid stance on gay rights that I am. If we're lucky enough to be truly cherished -by anyone- we've already been given our own gold medal to treasure for all time.
No-one has the right to tell us who we may and may not love.

 That said, I remain in absolute awe of the athletes who are brave enough to try and fail - over and over again- until they finally succeed in pushing boundaries and forging new ground.

What spirit that must take, and how glorious it would feel to know you've given every piece of your soul to achieving your dreams! Surely that experience truly lets you know  you're alive.

Politics and bigotry cannot tarnish courage like that.

Our cauldron remains unlit most of the time, yet attracts many visitors who want to remember that wonderful time. Yesterday, the Province Newspaper ran an article highlighting complaints that the cauldron is still not being lit, even though Calgary has proudly ignited its flame from the 1988 Olympics.
Thankfully, voices were heard and the Vancouver Olympic Cauldron is to be lit each evening Canada wins gold medals and again on the final day of the games.
I'm still hoping for more but am glad we're stepping up and adding our light to celebrate the world coming together.

Today I'm linking up to several memes. Do stop by  
and visit'll be glad you did.

Sweet Shot Tuesday
Weekend Reflections
Skywatch Friday
 The Saturday Photo Hunt