Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thomas Reminiscenses

From Mary

Eight Thomas the Engine Fans

We still have a huge bin of track and a slightly less huge bin of trains. They only get played with 4 or 5 times a year when younger children visit out house, but I just can’t bear to get rid of them. Xavier must have played with trains every day from age one to age three. And beyond, just not daily. We even toted them all out the lake and back more than once to enhance Arta’s collection and ensure we had some to play with at our other stops along the way.

We were looking through old photo albums and found this picture from Arta’s house at the lake. How sweet. I’m thinking summer 2005.

Long live Thomas and Sir Topham Hatt.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Doral Pilling in London

I have just spent the last hour scanning parts of Doral Pilling's autobiography into a computer.  I am in the process of sending this information to Dr. Bruce Kidd who is a professor at University of Toronto and researcher the history of athletics, amongst other topics.  He was at the University of Manitoba several months ago and I went to his presentation then provided him with the family story of Doral helping Percy get through his Olympic events without throwing up etc.  When I read the account in his history (thanks Arta for all your transcribing and work on that book), I can't help but think that Grandpa Doral was using sport psychology techniques with Percy long before the term was even identified.  A forward thinker for sure.

Having just taken a peek at a website dedicated to Percy Williams created by Samuel Hawley, I came across several pictures of Grandpa Doral that I have not seen in any relatives houses.  Once again, I look at these pictures and wonder why my brother Trent is there (or several of the Wood's boys), give my head and shake and remind myself I am looking at Doral.  Here is my favourite shot mostly because many of us have now been in London and here is Doral in the same city long before the rest of us even existed in the flesh.

Taken from website:
From left to right: Doral Pilling, Percy Williams, Stanley Glover

Two dollars to the first family member who can name the place in London where this picture was taken?

I just love this shot!  Take a look at the website to find even more information and amazing pictures about Percy Williams, with Doral Pilling often hanging in the background.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

In a Given Moment

... rocks, rocks, rocks ...
More on rocks from Ina and Trell

Our face book page, In A Given Moment. is up.

Presenting we are working on finishing the webpage Crystal Daggers which blogs all about rocks.

The first article will be posted  Saturday.

Also our business and .com is almost ready to go on line.  I just need to figure out the shipping page.

... concentric circles moving away from the shore ...

Computers and me an evil mix.

They always do what I tell them to never what I want them to.

Oh back to the topic our facebook page -- .

... another beautiful evening falls ...
I would have sent you the info on facebook or the family blog but I am not yet connected to most of you.

My main facebook is under Ina Given.  Go there and friend me if you want to see what I am up to.

We also have a table this Sunday at the Hillhurst/Sunnyside community Centre from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm to flog stuff.

We would love to see some of you there.

Ina Given

Crepe Batter with Soya Milk

Crepe Batter with Soy Milk
testing its viscosity
Alex has been asking me for crepes for a number of days.  On each occasion I explain my reticence to make them, for he wants them created out of eggs and soya milk.  No flour.  I ask him why the soya milk and he says it is because it is good for you.  But he is not interested in crepes made with flour.

Two days ago I told him to go out to the internet, find a recipe for crepes that take eggs and soya milk and will do the work.  He thinks that just doing it is easier than going to find a recipe, so I obliged today – an egg crepe.  The recipe was 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon of soya milk, and pour the batter into a pan that has about ¼ of an inch of oil in it.  I do this for eggs strips that go into deluxe fried rice – why not for him.  After sprinkling freshly grated cheese on the crepe, I rolled it and offered it to him.

Whoops!  That is not what he was wanting and he would show me how to make it himself.

Rebecca and I have discussed her kids in the kitchen.  We decided that it is better to experiment with eggs, maybe make a few mistakes, than to trouble ourselves about having them turn out a perfect project.

So I stood back.  Alex put one cup of soya milk in the 12 inch skillet (no oil, for that was part of what I did wrong – too much oil).  He let it boil.  Then cracked an egg in and added a lot of cheese.  Then, stir, stir, stir.  Then try to flip the product over – which was a couple of inches high – the cheese stretching out as he stirred.  He went to the strainer, trying to correct something – though he did not know what.

Finally he put it into a bowl saying it didn’t really work out as he had planned.

I tasted some.  “Mmm.  Good,"  I said.  Who wouldn’t like all of that cheese melted and soft .  What he had created was a delicious sharp cheese fondue.

... Alex rescuing the crepe batter by
putting it through a strainer...
“Do you want to finish it off,” he asked.

“Too much fat for me.  I would gain weight and weight is too hard to walk it off,” I sorrowfully replied.

Thus ends the tale of crepes made from a cup of milk, 2 cups of cheese and one egg.


Shining Shoes for the Queen

When I was raising my kids, I liked everything to go right. Now that I am involved with my grandchildren, I have no expectations of my days, nor of their days, going right. If their parents leave me with a charge card and a security code – then everything seems like it will go right ... at least for me. there is not much that can’t be worked out with cash.

Unless of course, one is going to visit the Queen. Duncan announced that ½ of his class was going to Buckingham Palace today – but he would not be in that half. The day would be too long – from 7 am to 9 pm he told me, and he is tired of trips. His idea was just to stay home for the day.

My idea was that he should visit the Queen, so I shined up his black shoes, and asked him what was his heart’s desire for a packed lunch. He wanted Pepsi Max poured into a thermos that he bought at Thorpe Park. While I could see it was not a leak proof container, the canister carries the memories of fun in the amusement park – and I was trying to bring the maximum amount of happiness to a person who did not want to visit the Queen. Accordingly I packed his lunch as he desired.

Then I had to call one of the mom’s in Duncan’s class to confirm the time we had to be at the school. No she said, it would just be normal hours. But Duncan had carried home different information, so I walked him to school in the morning, to confirm for him at the front desk, that he would not be arriving at 9 pm to a darkened walk home, all by himself.

“How was your lunch?”, I asked when I saw him after school.

“You didn’t screw the cap on tight enough. I lost ½ of my pop and I had to eat Pepsi soaked sandwiches,” he said. “I fed the apples to two squirrels,” he continued, “and I saw the Queen on her balcony and the Prime Minister at #10 Downing Street. They both waved to us.”

I can only confirm that the part about the Pepsi Max soaked sandwiches is probably true.


August Long Weekend in May

Here is what came of my cake making.
  Apparently I should be kept away from food coloring.

While I am here in London, most of my kids got together at Dorals -- more of them got together than we will see during the long week-end at the lake this year.

And Miranda made a cake for last night's event about which Rebecca said, "It TASTED good! Chocolate and banana flavoured cake, with an orange icing in between, and then a festival of blue and green on the outside! Yummy! And I got a brief moment of holding mike WITHOUT him crying! ... and got to taste the honey wine that Trell made on his own! Wow! a fabulous night!"

Mary and I wish we could have been there.


Rock Hunting

Trell and Ina decided to take a trip to B.C.

This might be one of the landmarks all of us remember along the way there.

They got to hang out at the beach ... and visit with Moiya and David.

Some childhood hobbies can go right from childhood to adulthood.

Take rock-hunting, for example.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Gabe in Gypsy

Last night was preview night for GYPSY, a musical at the Pumphouse Theatre that runs from today until June 9. Gabe is one of the characters when they are young, so all his time on stage is in the first half hour of the first act. There weren't many boys that auditioned, but there was 16 girls that auditioned and 5 parts. So Gabe and 3 other girls play boys and sing behind another girl whose character name is Baby June. At one point each of the 4 background "boys" have a 5 second solo dance part. Gabe is a good 6 inches shorter than the other "boys". When he does his little dance number he has a goof grin on his face and looks straight up to the ceiling, and the audience could not stop laughing. On the way home, he asked me why everyone laughs when he does his part, because the other "boys" don't get the laugh when they do their parts. I didn't know why either, but I laughed too. I told him it was because he was cute and entertaining... I am lousy and these encouraging mother answers I should give.

Anyway, it was so entertaining.

The first Act is PG rated. Act II is certainly PG13, maybe even R.

Since it was the preview, Gabe and the other girls could sit in the audience to watch.

As the final striptease finished, I leaned over to Gabe and said "are you sure you have seen this part". He looked up with a goof grin.

The hardest part for me (cuz it really should be all about me, since that is the theme of the musical, the overbearing stage mother)... anyway, the hardest part was teaching him twinkle twinkle little star on the on the clarinet.

He was scared about squeaking, but he didn't squeak once, and I had a tear in the corner of my eye.

Treats - Soap Candies

From Mary:

This is better than the duty-free shop and for Rebecca but also for everyone else who likes Floral Gums, (also known as Soap Candies).

Knowing that she will be flying out, there is a candy store at the Calgary Airport once you get through security at which you can buy soap candies. It is at the far end of the domestic flights area and is the kind that is in the middle of the aisle, not along the sides.

You will likely be departing from a different part of the airport, but if you get through security early and feel like a walk, go for it.

I just googled it – Sweet Factory, concourse D.

At least they had soap candies last time I was there (aka floral gums). You may have to ask as they are often hidden somewhere not too obvious. The only other places I have been able to find soap candies at in recent years are:

-Nutters in Salmon Arm (surprising, no?)
-Banff and Canmore Candy stores
-Sugar Mountain in Ottawa

Yours for more sweets,


Boomwhackers and Precious Vests

From Mary

Photo: Association libérale fédérale de Westmount--Ville-Marie
The Helping Hand Clean-up Day is on its third year I think -- organized through the Jewish Christian Dialogue Group that Catherine Jarvis participates in. Everyone was to meet at a downtown park, get into groups, then fan out the clean the neighbourhood around the park. I stayed at the Park with Hebe, Rhiannon, and Naomi (still on crutches).

But it was not a playground park, so had to keep those three occupied. We “washed” the trees by giving the two little girls spray bottles we had brought to keep us cool. Naomi walked around the park finding pieces of glass for Cathy to pick up. I tried picking up cigarette butts but got in trouble from Cathy when she saw me on my hands and knees picking them up. 

Photo: Association libérale fédérale de Westmount--Ville-Marie
Later I took the kids 3 blocks away to playground outside the nearby Children’s Hospital. Close to lunch we headed back to the park for the re-grouping of everyone for picnic lunches, speeches and a participatory percussion activity with Leo. Someone had arranged a donation of a couple of crates of fruit to be shared.

There were over a dozen park denizens there that day, happy to consume free goods. They all registered and got their free t-shirts and asked if there would be food. They were told if they would help with the clean-up they could have food afterwards. They all wore their shirts and ate the free fruit and helped to the extent they were able.

Photo: Association libérale fédérale de Westmount--Ville-Marie
There were over 120 people there participating, and Cathy had brought a box of brightly coloured “Mormon Helping Hands” vests to identify team leaders for each group that went out for the clean-up. After people had eaten, there were some speeches.

I must admit I was a bit wary of the personal possessions left behind at the tables when people went to listen. I stayed at the back watching my own things (snacks for the kids) and Leo’s percussion instruments. Quite a few park denizens were floating close the tables “checking things out.” I eventually went back to the tables and stood by my things.

Photo: Association libérale fédérale de Westmount--Ville-Marie
That did not stop the floaters. At one point, someone opened the box that the vests had been put back in.

 He already had the free t-shirt, but when he went to take a vest, I felt compelled to tell him we needed to keep them.

“OK” he said, and walked to the next table to look in the box that had the gardening gloves. Why did I feel compelled to stop the fellow from taking with the vest? Think of how much free advertising it would have meant for the church.

Photo: Association libérale fédérale de Westmount--Ville-Marie
I didn’t intervene when a lady stole someone’s lunch sandwich. This is how that happened. Not long after the attempt on the vest, another floater came to by check out someone’s bag lunch that had been laid out but not yet consumed. She grabbed the sandwich bag in a flash and was eating the sandwich and walking away before I could blink my eyes. I didn’t try to stop her. When the owner came back to his table and was looking confused, I told him someone had stolen his sandwich and that I thought she probably needed it more. He laughed and said she would probably be disappointed since it was just bread with mustard – the he held up the baggie of smoked meat he had planned to put inside it.

A very boisterous lady had been participating in all the music and dancing all day. When the speeches began, she tried to get up the mic and speak too. Cathy was grateful to Leo who led her away from the microphone. The same woman came over to where I was. Rhiannon was playing under the table. At 15 minute intervals she kept telling me and Naomi, “Keep an eye on your baby.” She must have said it 15 times. I thanked her and told her I would. Before she walked away she said “don’t let her get nabbed.”

It made me sad to think that she had possibly had kids of her own who were taken away from her. Naomi was confused about why she had said that so many times, so it opened a door for us to talk a little bit about alcoholism combined with homelessness and the sadness associated with that life.

The speeches ended and Leo started his percussion event – boomwhackers – plastic tubes of different length that you hit against your leg and they make different notes. Then you can get people playing fun, melodic rhythms. Of course, our boisterous friend went over to participate. Leo let her take two boomwhackers but told her he needed them back at the end. A few minutes later Leo shouted to me that there were boomwhackers to be retrieved. Sure enough, our friend was walking back to her group of friends with the boomwhackers. So I walked across the park following her to retrieve them. She didn’t see me following, but as soon as her friends saw me one of them yelled, “Run, she’s coming to get you.”

I had this ridiculous image flash through my mind of me, 7 months pregnant chasing a inebriated lady across the park to get two plastic tubes. Luckily, she did not run. She just turned around and when I got to her and said “I need those back” she handed them right over, put her hands in the air and said “I didn’t steal them.”

I told her it was OK, I just needed them back.

Boomwhackers and Mormon Logo-ed Vests -- I am the person take caring of important material items, even if I am forbidden to pick up cigarette butts.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Theatre Treats

Tickets for Wicked, anyone?
In the first film course I took, the instructor told us that we should come to the film viewing, readying to enjoy the whole experience, and to bring along our drinks, our popcorn and our treats.

I thought the professor was just making a joke.

But I have come to know that part of the filmic / theatre experience involved snacks and pre-theatre drinks.

Ice Cream at MacDonalds
the non-drinkers option for pre-theatre drink
In fact, most of the musical theatre shows begins with a voice remind the audiences that no photography is permitted, that they should turn off their cell phones, and that their sweets should be unwrapped now instead of during the performance.

Wyona has been a good example to me.

She thinks far ahead on the subject of treats and has the soda cold and in one corner of a bag that is just the right size for sweets, and the other treats are unwrapped in separate zip lock bags and portions for the number of people accompanying her to the theatre. There is a bit of heart failure at the door when an usher asks to look in the bag, but apparently we pass the test, for there is no alcohol content in our purses. In fact, one usher asked to look in Zoe’s bag, Zoe opened it up and the usher said, “Great snacks!” and motioned her on.

Duncan and I have been attending West End performances and varying our sweets. Last night we had Starbursts, Cadbury’s Bits Wispa, Cadbury’s Crunchie Rocks, Cadbury’s Caramel Nibbles and Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate. We entertained ourselves on the tube ride there, by reading the wrappers of the Starbursts.

1. Balance a Starburst on your nose.
2. Balance three Starbursts on your finger (it doesn’t designate which finger)
3. Keep quiet for one minute. NO giggling.
4. Make a noise like a pig while hopping like a kangaroo.

Duncan shared the treats with Thomas Ten Cate and Makmiller Pedroso, who had tickets on the front row with us. We had enough treats that we could have shared with all 20 people on the front row. All of this to say that I learned something else last night.
... the day after ...
a chance to retrieve Starbursts from melted chocolate

When the treat bag sits on the lap of a warm eleven year old, this is what the treats looks like at the end of the night.

We left it in the fridge all day and tonight we tried to mine the Starbursts back out of the chocolate rock.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Warm Victoria Day

 ... Kelvin and Mati in the sun ...

Here is the deal. 

If you drop me a picture I can get it up on the web. 

If you send me some text, I will add that. 

If you send no text -- I will add some of my own.

For example, here at two  men in the sun -- but not a lot of sun -- for both have on their coats.

Still, a wonderful way to enjoy Victoria Day which is not a national holiday.


Thinking of Verlaine -- from London

I have been thinking about Verlaine all day.  Rebecca has called me a few times, and each conversation sparks old memories.

I would liked to have typed long notes about going to Verlaine's home, about loving the comfort of her front room that was just inside of the main door.

I also tried to imagine the dinner parties she must have had with her loved ones around her big dining room table.  I had always wanted a table that big.

Hers is the first house where I had seen an in door hot tub which could be seen from the family room and the kitchen.

I had other warm memories come back -- me studying the Christmas decorations she had put on the tree – really decorated because her grandchildren would be there at Xmas.

I was also thinking about Verlaine storing the marble Rebecca bought at auction with her first pay check.  That marble should have belonged to Verlaine -- for the cost of storage to Rebecca for all of those  years.,

One of my most pleasant memories of a day at her house was initiated by Verlaine  who had purchased many new outfits for Alex. Many. She brought them home to see which she should keep. Alex must have been seven months old. In this case, Verlaine must have shopped until she dropped. Steve didn't like any of the outfits.  To give him his due, he was a man ahead of his time -- wanting father-friendly outfits and none of the ones selected were that.

We acknowledged that they had to go back.

Still, we went in the other room and tried everyone of the outfits Verlaine had picked out, put them on the baby, came out and showed how cute he was in them, begged Steve if we just couldn't keep this one or that one.

Nope.  Not father-friendly.  Too many buttons, too hard to get over the baby's head, to hard to have an easy diaper change.

Little Lord Fauntleroy
Image: Freddie Bartholomew's Website

When we were finished that afternoon, we put the clothes back in their packages. Poor Alex, dressed and undressed so many times that day.

Who else was there that day?  I can remember one of the outfits had a "little Lord Fauntleroy"  look .. for a seven month old baby.


Maybe that one outfit should have gone back.


Looking Down in London

I would have imagined that Rebecca and I would actually have seen more of each other than we have.

But when I got the Tripit note in my email I could see why we aren’t having much conversation.

Right now she is in Calgary, booked to fly to London, then cruise to the Mediterranean, then fly to Yellowknife, then come back to London, fly from here, on to Victoria and then wait a month before flying to Australia – doing all of this before the end of August.

There is something upside down going on when I am at her house in London, and she is at my house in Calgary.

This wasn’t in the plan at all.

At this point, it feels perfectly natural.

When we are in the same room, which I am trying to say is not often, small pieces of conversation pass between us.

Like when she looked out of front room window here and said, “Come and see this Arta.  Amazing, isn’t it.”
Post Office - Telephones

She was looking at workmen who were lifting up a grate at the front of our house and then doing work with the wires underneath of it.
Electricity Supply

“Amazing that they don’t need to dig up the sidewalk – just lift a grate and do the work then need to that is underneath that grate.The rest of the time we walk on it.”

We watched for a while and then went back to trying to stay on top of what is going on at work and home – and like others before us, sometimes the task seems more than two women can manage.

 But the idea of looking down at the grates stayed with me.
So the last time I was out taking a walk, I decided to keep a record of what I was walking over.

Always my camera is pointed at the sky, or the water or the flowers.

This day it was just metal.

Heavy metal.

It is possible to get lost on the route I take. And having been lost already, I was going back this direction to better map the territory I plan to keep walking in.

But if my head is ducked down, with my eyes only on the pavement, it is possible to lose track of the small arrow hidden behind huge willows that marks the way off of Holden Road and onto Dollis Valley Greenwalk.

I don’t feel afraid.

If I get lost I can just roll through the pictures for someone and say, “This is where I have been. Can you tell me how to get back.”

This is only going to work with someone else who also knows the shapes and writing on the grates in the sidewalk.


Wicked, Encore

 ... the only musical still running 10 years later ...
Duncan and I went to Wicked last night.

I lined up at the theatre doors at 9 am to get two £27.50 tickets on the front row – a bargain.

Duncan likes to sit beside people he knows at the theatre.

Or perhaps have an empty seat between him and the next person – that will do also.
... Duncan getting Glindafied ...

But we were in a sold out house last night. The next best alternative was that my old boarder, Thomas Ten Cate, was there.

I had explained to Duncan that Thomas works for Google.

“How can that be? How can a person work in virtual space where there is nothing,” Duncan wanted to know.

“It is not exactly like that,” Thomas said.
... so much construction it is hard to find your way
through the maze and into the theatre ...

Duncan also wanted to know, “Can you get into people’s accounts and see everything when you work at Goggle?”

Oh, the mysteries of life!

Thomas explained that no one has powers that great – that he works with Google Calendar, just a small piece of Google.

I don’t know which held more of the evening’s fun for Duncan.

The play?

... on the steps of Google ...
Or going over to Thomas’s office afterward (a five minute walk away), sitting on the steps of a building that has high security, and imagining what must be going on inside while Thomas went in to retrieve some luggage for us.


There are chances to imagine even more in the line of mystery, than what we saw on stage – the changing of a man into a scarecrow, a woman who can defy gravity, a goat who is a professor.


Maybe some things are easier to imagine that others.


Verlaine Carter - Grandmother Extraordinaire

The day before Verlaine died, I spent the afternoon and evening in London with our shared grandson, Duncan.

As he and I were running through the tube, trying to catch the next train to an evening of musical theatre, we came upon three sets of escalators:  one going up two stories, one coming down two stories and then between them a set of stairs that commuters can use going either way.

Duncan and I jostled each other, taunting one another about who should take the stairs.

He said, “No, we are taking the escalator, for you will not be able to do all of those stairs ... like my other grandmother can."  Then part way up the ascending escalator he got my attention, pointed downward and said to me, "Grandmother Verlaine would be keeping up with us, even if she were going up the stairs.  But you?  You would be down there only ¼ of the way up and puffing, not able to go any further. You are weak.  She is strong."

She died the next day, in Duncan's mind, still a star in hospital bed.

I am used to that kind of banter.  I have been second to Verlaine for as long as Alex and Duncan have been born.
To begin with, the “other” grandmother was always younger than me. I am 18 years her junior.  Still, incontrovertible truth to them, she was younger, and this could be proved by hair colour. Her hair is red. Mine is white.

"You are older," they would say.

I would reply, “But think about years; I think she is still a little older than me.  Look closely at my face.  Please tell me she has just a few more winkles than I do.” The reply was always, she is the red-headed grandma and younger.

The second point that I was to learn right from the get-go is that Verlaine was incredibly generous.  Hers were the best gifts at birthdays and Christmas.  Someone has to be second.  But in our cases, it was never Verlaine. She was always first.    “This was from my other grandma,” they would show me with pride. I looked carefully.  Her gifts were carefully chosen and came in big packages.   Her only fault,  Duncan told me, is that she couldn’t hide gifts very well.  I asked Duncan how he could find what she had hidden for Christmas Day.  He said, “Easy.  Just look behind the shower curtain.”

Verlaine was a better cook than I.  I didn’t even contest this point.  I had been invited to her house over the Christmas holidays, and eaten the home made squares on the plates from her kitchen, and I knew they were the result of hours of work.

Verlaine was a good model for me, in ways that the boys will never know.  She raised her first family – Bob.  Then she started on her second family – Steve. 

Then the grandchildren came.  Kelly and Brian, had a joy few kids in the world can boast of – they had their own bedroom in their grandmother’s house. 

Verlaine was devoted to her loved ones in ways that cannot be measured by the size of gifts at Christmas or by the differences in our ages of the colours of our hair.   When she was alive, I did not know how to articulate to her my admiration, as I watched her model how to get older with grace and dignity.

This post has been about saying that thank-you publicly.

Good-bye, Verlaine.

I am glad I knew you.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Finchely High Street Friday Market

Glen and Janet provided some lovely meals while they stayed here.  Glen bought his fish at the Finchly High Street Market. He made BBQ-ING look so easy the Rebecca decided to try it.  She brought home some beautiful salmon and some briquets from the local convenience store.

She read the instructions on the package.

1. Put the briquets in the middle of the BBQ.
2. Start the bag on fire.

She did both tasks. Duncan was thrilled and and ran into the kitchen, asking me to come outside and take a look.

I did.

What I couldn't figure out is where we were going to put the salmon. Usually I would think that the hot coals should be below the grate, and not sitting on it.

BBQ-ing is not that easy, contrary to how Glen makes it look.


Piccadilly Market -- Last Notes

... crab for sale in the market ...
We went to check out the Borough Market last Sunday. Unfortunately the Borough Market is held on Saturdays.

Next we tried the Piccadilly Market. It is held on Sundays.

I like walking into this market Sunday mornings.

Every time I have been there, a revival group is singing hymns, clapping their hands, and inviting people to join them. Rebecca asked me the name of the tune. I thought it was “What a Friend Have in Jesus”. She thought it was “Come to Zion, Come to Zion.” Both hymns could be attached to the same melody.

I have been looking for a new bag, one that has a thick shoulder strap and a light weight bag. I looked through the Chinatown Market when I was there. And I searched for one at the Piccadilly Market. At one stall my eye went off of the bags and toward the man who was roasting nuts ... because ... he was yelling at a person across the way.

They were exchanging insults about who belongs in Britain and who doesn’t. Neither of them had accents that would lead me to believe they had been born in Britain. Finally the ultimate in insults was thrown! “Go back to Malta where you belong.” At these moments I wish I could stare right at what is happening to get the full impact of it, instead of keeping my eyes downcast or pretending I am not hearing. Or I would like to have my camera clicking. What stops me is that I don’t want to get close enough to the fight to become part of it.

Piccadilly Market -- a price for everyone
I watched a woman in colourful ethnic African dress who was pulling a plastic milk crate on wheels that was loaded with coffee mugs. The mugs were emblazoned with the words, Diamond Jubilee, and had the Queens face on them. They were the kind of cheap mug that I might buy in a Dollar Store...or might not. buy Her voice was clear and could be heard for half a block both ways. She was calling to people to look at her cart of mugs. At the same time she was also having a side argument with the man at the stall beside her.

“Get out of here. You are scaring away my customers,” the shop keeper was yelling to her.

She would ignore him, then taunt him, move a few baby steps, stop, let her voice ring out again, trying to get people to buy one of her mugs. The more she ignored him, the louder he shouted at her.

My guess is that she didn’t have a license for the market and he did.

She wasn’t getting any customers. Neither was he. Shoppers were hurrying on past to where shopping was calmer, as did Rebecca, Duncan and I.


Walk to Golders Green

I have been here a little over two weeks now.

I should be accustomed to the walk to the Woodside Park High Road by now.

But the foliage keeps changing character.

lilacs .. the scent is divine
It is not so much that there is a new For Sale sign next door.

Houses come and go.

What is new are these lilac bushes, now in full bloom.

The wind was moving the blossom.

I kept trying to capture an image that was just right.  I couldn't do it.  That is because I was trying to catch the smell in the picture as well.

Dollis Valley Green Walk
 ... North to Moat Mount...
 ... via Barnet Playing Field ...

I am taking a different route now, than the Dollis Valley Walk that goes toward Moat Mount, the beginning of the little stream that I like following.

But when I look at the images I have captured along the way, I wonder why I would change routes.

Everything looks graceful to me.

The shape of the boles of the trees.

The water that shimmers along the brook.

The reflection of the trees in the water.
... a perfect place for hide and seek in the park ...

I walk by trees, the size of which I have never seen in Alberta.

I go under the branches, point my camera up through them, and then I notice that they are always moving -- that slight breeze that never goes away.

On today's walk, I wondered if I should turn back.

At each step I could feel just the smallest bits of moisture -- not enough to put up an umbrella, nor to turn back.

Hard to believe I get all of this ... and a walk in besides.


Walk to Golders Green, III

Along the walk there is not a place where I do not want to stop.

Right now the sudden surprise of a burst of colour stops me.

Or the scent of the lilacs, a variety I don't know -- one that Rebecca calls the Victoria lilac, since Victoria is the first place where she saw them.
The yards I see are small.

The apartments are small, as well.

The one that we live in is split in two on the other side of us, and multiple families live there.

Some of the yards are well tended.

Other have a casual character.
I am not a skilled gardener yet, but I know that the casual-looking garden is as well tended as the one with straight edges and well clipped hedges.

When I go for the casual look at home, all that happens is that the weeds overtake plants that have come from the nursery.

Close to the end of my one hour walk there is a meadow – I came upon that spot just before the huge automobile interchange that marks Golder’s Green.

Cows were huddled at the corner of the fence when I walked by there yesterday.

Today they were further away – the seen looked idyllic – a small meadow of buttercups.

I wanted to get yesterday's shot of them huddled against the fence, but they walked up and down the meadow.

I left when I realized how ridiculous I must look with my camera, running along side the fence, taking cow pictures.