Friday, October 12, 2012

War Horse

War Horse was just as everyone said – fantastic, and don’t miss it.  Oh, I was planning on going a second time until the end of the first show, at which time I said to Greg, I don’t think I can do that twice, in two days.  Too intense.  He agreed.  But now it is day three and I am looking for a way to go back.  When we were buying our tickets, there were some medium priced ones, and some of the economy tickets.  Look, said the guy at the ticket wicket, if you buy the cheaper tickets you can go twice.  Now he is our kind of ticket-wicket personnel.

What was fantastic about it.  For one, the omniscient narrator is a peasant with an accordion, who has a violinist at his side.  He moved the plot along with another verse of the play’s theme song.  He was found on stage, placing the actors in their correct positions before the action started, heard singing as he walked along the theatre isles, or stood back by the exit. That was cool. 

There is a significant portion of the play done in German, since the horse in question is captured by the Germans.  I liked the fact that the actors could keep the English speakers still enthralled in the events going on, just with gesture and mime.  I had the first seat in the house – row A, far left.  That is where there was a foxhole, so at the intermission, the stage hands took away part of the stage.  When I came back – there it was at my feet – I could have reached out and touched the actors.  I have no idea why that seat was worth less than other seats in the house.  To me it was worth more.

I was so close to the stage that I could see the faces of the people moving the puppets – the same people who made horse noises.  Wyona was entranced, for she has been teaching Ivan how to do dog talk, and now both she and I will take that to a second level with our grandchildren, for we got the idea of how to make horse sounds.  She was already practising some of them of them on the way home.


Elements of Risk

I hear a giggle in Wyona’s voice.  It is about risk and thrill.  Having never been to Venice and stayed in a hotel, there is an element of risk in the instructions  – be at St. Marco’s where someone will meet you and walk you to the hotel.  You will not find this place on your own.

If all goes well on Moiya’s plane and vaporetta travel plans, she is the one who will get to the hotel first.  But as I heard Wyona just say to Greg, “Still scary, doing something we have never done before.”

I don’t have the wits to be frightened.


St. Mark's Square, Venice

10 pm.

Typing live from St. Mark's Square in Venice.  All we could have ever wished for, is here to see.

We took a cruise on the hop on/hop off water bus to check out all of the museums that  we will see tomorrow.

We stop at all gellato shops.

There are 3 orchestra's playing in the square.  Wyona and Greg have already danced to one.

Arta, Margaret Oldham, Greg and Wyona Bates, Moiya and Dave Wood.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mermaid Camp


The First Annual Mermaid Camp was held at the Shuswap in 2012.

Look at Tonia's blog for the results.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Shakespeare Staging the World

... see the corkscrew on the side of the lunch menu ...
...fork at bottom / knife at side ...
My compliments to the cruise planner, Greg said to Wyona when he woke up this morning. The three of us split up after we picked up our evening tickets to War Horse– Greg went to see the 2012 Olympic Site (they were taking down temporary buildings, so he didn’t get a chance to see everything he wanted to see); Wyona to shop (she looked splendid in a new outfit tonight) and take a nap.

I went to the British Museum to see the exhibit "Shakespeare Staging the World".

I know when I first knew I loved Shakespeare. I still remembeer James Mason in Julius Caesar at the Plaza – black and white. I will never forget Brutus’s speech, “This was the noblest Roman of them all ...”. I had learned those lines in Grade X as part of an English assignment to learn 10 lines of Shakespeare. I liked Shakespeare when I had to sit by Kelve and help him know what the gossamer wings were in Romeo and Juliet. I was doubly enamored of Much Ado about Nothing, since at the lake it was Charise’s TV and that is all she watched one summer – and so it was for every other cousin who wanted to see something on T.V. I loved the colour palette on screen of the scenery when Burton and Taylor did Romeo and Juliette. Remember how many of us saw MacBeth in the outside theatre – really outside – on a farm just outside of Enderby. At the university I heard Grant Patterson do an hour set of Shakepeare’s sonnets. And that is just off the top of my head, the moments I can remember.

Theatre Royal Promenade
Greg has asked 3 times
if we can go to Shrek while we are here
The British Museum has mounted a display of objects– paintings of people who lived in Shakespearean time, small clips of plays read by famous British actors (Cleopatra’s suicide speech, the patriotism of St. Crispian’s Feast in Henry V, more from Brutus in Cleopatra). There were tapestries, Venetian glass, black marble busts of Othello. I saw Oldcorne’s silver eye reliquary – people tortured by having their eyes pulled out, boiled and then put in a silver box for others to see what happens to thieves. I saw the Robben Island Bible. When I saw Nelson Mandella’s name inscribe therein beside his favorite passage, a tear might have slipped out of my eyelid.

I was topped up with the tears – could feel them at the tops of my bottom eyelids when I stepped into the exhibit at noon– the water there was those fullness-of-life tears, where a person reflects on their life and then thinks – all of those moments I spent in the texts of plays or helping some resistant child with an essay on Shakespeare – and now here everything is before me – all the background knowledge I could have used tin the past and now, here it is, about to unfold.

I didn’t leave until the exhibit guards were coming through, telling everyone the museum was closing.

... a baby buggy filled with flowers at Drury Lane ...
They said, “Please leave. We want to go home.”

So I slipped away to walk up and down Drury Lane until War Horse started.



On leaving Calgary

... the aisles are so narrow, you have to pick up
you carry on and go down them sideways with it ...
now that is really travelling economy
Because the flight was late leaving, I wheeled my carry-on and walked the airport halls so that I could get some good exercise in before the long flight. Circle one, I watched a clerk crouched down beside an old woman who had a shoebox full of meds. Round two, there was a paramedic with them. Round three, six paramedics, two of whom had arrived on the mo-peds. Round four, a gurney taking her out of the building. She was now hooked up to oxygen. For some reason I looked at her feet. At least, I thought, she is going out with her boots on. About mid flight, and out of no where the plane began to shake. Up and down and sideway, I couldn’t tell which was going to come next. “If this happens much longer,” I thought, “I am going to throw-up.” I was trying to manage the cup of water that I had just put to my lips, keeping as much of it in the glass as I could, I was trying to do up my seat belt at the same time. It was not easy. The captain came on and said, “We have hit some unexpected turbulence. We did not see it coming. If you are not in your seats, lay down on the floor where you are.” That news did not give solace to anyone on board. When calm skies returned, I turned to my seat companions and said, “Are you fine? And? How did you like that for adventure.” “Worst I have ever felt, as well,” said one of them and I fly often. “You know, we could fly direct over the ocean and do this flight in 3 hours, he contined, “but they take longer in the air so they can stay close to land if they have to go down. Right now we are in Greenland. I don’t know how we could be saved, if we landed on ice. We would freeze to death before anyone got us.”

What I don’t like,” I said, “is that this is the first part of a nice long trip for me, and already, I think I have had the ten most memorable minutes of the whole journey.”

Well, I guess the turbulence got to my fellow passenger. It even got to the captain. When it was clear sailing again, he came on the intercom and said, “Ladies and Gentleman, what just happened is why we suggest you always keep your seat belts done up when you are in your seats. That turbulence came out of nowhere. ” He was preaching to the converted.

... sunrise as seen from the Gatwick Express ...
I left my bags checked at the Grand Park Hotel in London by 9:30 am. I had done the Gatwick Express to Victoria, and transferred Victoria and Central line, all the while dragging those two bags that are my house and home for the next seven weeks. It wasn’t really a Gatwick Express, the train engineer kept telling us. The station master in charge of the tracks had put a train in front of him that stopped at every junction. He apologized each time we stopped.

I have never seen Hyde Park, so to keep myself awake and upright, I strolled along the Italian Gardens, down the Serpentine, past the Water Memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales.

 ... Peter Pan in Hyde Park ...
I stopped to look at the Peter Pan statue.

I watched the runners out jogging, raising money for health charities.

The park was packed. Yes, I got lost – there are acres of park.

 ... stopping to talk to a bird ...
I kept walking on sheer will power.

And besides that, I had to find the right gate through which to leave and go back to the hotel.

We went out to tonight – down to Regent and Oxford, going to buy a few groceries at Tesco. The store had only close 3 hours before we got there. Needing another option for food, we hopped a double decker bus to go back to what Wyona termed, “fries and a greasy spoon joint “ but it was her choice. I stood up before the bus stopped. She bawled me out. “No standing while the bus is still moving”. She told me that twice, so I finally sat down.

We exited the bus, Greg first, me next, Wyona last. When she got out tears were streaming down her cheeks and she leaned against a telephone pole, crying, moaning, my hand, my hand, I think it is broken. It was limp and she was holding it. Greg stood by, powerless, but trying to figure out which hospital was closer, St. Mary’s or University. I had a knot deep in my stomach. She leaned against the pole for a while, moved her fingers, and decided she did not have to go to the hospital.

Later as we sat beside the curb on Oxford street, eating our chicken schwrma’s she explained to us that she had caught her hand between the glass safety panel and the metal pole of the railing that one grabs onto to go down the stairs. The bus lurch, her body went ahead, but her hand didn’t release. I didn’t take a picture of her injury. When she gets home she will still be carrying the bruising on her left hand. Do touch base with her about her wonderful holidays when you see her. Greg and I agreed. She plans wonderful holidays. Next time we will leave her at home where she is safe and he and I will go on these adventures alone.

Continuing on our walk down Oxford I saw a beautiful faced woman, a product from MacDonalds in her hand, leaning over, offering it to a street person seated on the ground. It was 10 pm. The street light filtered ointo the sidewalk of the tight building corner that he was leaning against its wall as he sat, holding himself up. “Please, I bought it just for you. Please take it,” she was saying. “I just bought it for you.” I could only glimpse his face – a long gash now coated over with dried blood on his nose and he was staring at her, no affect in his face, no response – just staring stone faced ahead.

Oh London!

A story around every corner.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Sibling Lunch

Test question:  Which one of us is wearing clothes from Value Village?
Glen said that he was on a trip with fellow foresters, looked at them, and noticed that all had white hair.

The same could be true of the sibling trip to A & A for lunch today – it would be a toss up as to whose hair was the whitest.

No matter the colour of the hair our interest in food from the Middle East was piqued as soon as we opened the doors to Sami’s deli – shwarma, spanokapita, samosas, tabouli, chili humus, regular humus, olives stuffed with garlic or almonds, all of the baklava that a person could ever desire.

The way you can tell this is a good spot to pick up lunch is that the line-up is long and no one in it complains – all wait patiently, almost reverently, for their turn to get to the till and pick up their food.

Yup, nothing like lunch at Sami’s.

They have added an ice-cream parlour upstairs – an idea for the next time you visit.  The main course was enough for us.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Laser Surgery

... dry leaves as the light dawns on the avenue at the park  ...
The leaves are golden and now laying on the ground. The waters of the Bow are rolling from the mountains toward the prairies. Wyona drove me to Dr. Huang’s office which is situated right on the river, so I could see both the trees and that water as I went to have some lazer eye surgery. After my third set of drops, he came into the room. I placed my chin on a small white indentation in front of me and he told me to look at the green light, which I did. He then told me to open my eyes wide. I did.
... dawn breaks on a  knoll  in Centennial Park ...

He put something in my left eye to hold it open – the equivalent of the dentist’s rubber dam, I think, but now was not the moment to think, because, of course, every muscle in my body was tense.

 I was in the place between his words to me to keep very still, and his imperative to me to keep my eyes on the green light.

 “I can't see the green light,” I said to him.

“Then open your other eye,” he said.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pics from the Past

While searching for some pictures from the past, I came across this one of my brides maids.

 I sent the picture to Moiya.

She said she could remember those flowers because they had a cute little handle that she could hold onto.

In return, Moiya sent me the picture below.

 ... Moiya casts a long shadow ...
She said, "I could do the Hoola hoop for hours on end and never drop it to the ground. Dad used to make me do it for everyone who came to the house. I was 6 years old in this picture taken in October of 1958."


Monday, October 1, 2012


Not actual photo of trees at Lake.

On our way to the beach today, we noticed lots of cut wood along the road past the turn in the road on the way to the beach. I am pretty sure the tree was the one that had two leaders spitting off half way up the bowl, because I can no longer see that tree from my bedroom.


Not actual photo of trees at lake, and may
not match earlier picture in type of tree
(I hope Glen is not reading).
We decided to make an obstacle course, so we turned the wood over so we could walk on it. It took the two of us to build and test the course for saftey. I am going to guess, at least 10 stumps now line the road to the beach. We moved them as far to the right as possible so as not to impede traffic. We wonder who will try our obstacle course before the wood cutter comes to split the wood for winter.

David has been loving a new Canadian TV program called "Splatalot". Teenagers attack a medieval influenced castle by going through an obstacle course that floats on water. The "defenders" of the castle get to shoot water, foam, slime, paint balls, etc, to try to protect the castle. David laughs uncontrollably during this show. We don't have any "defenders" on our Annis Bay obstacle course, but if we did, David would be "The Davidunator" and his weapon would be the Splatana or the Splatzooka (I think I am remembering right). I would be "The Bon-meister" and my weapon would be slime filled water balloons.

Until next summer, may you not run into any "defenders".