Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Jarvis Holiday - The floor is lava

From a previous post, you might remember that Hebe has a new game she likes to play called - The Floor is Lava. When she yells that, you have five seconds to get your feet off the floor. Well much to Hebe's surprise, the floor in Iceland really is lava. We arrived in Iceland late yesterday afternoon, rented a car and headed to the grocery store for a few supplies. Our first stop was the Blue Lagoon. Check out the landscape. Reminds me a bit of Hawaii. Here we are walking through the lava fields to get to the spa.

Here is some information about the Blue Lagoon from Wikipedia.

"In 1976, a pool formed from waste water at the site of a geothermal power plant that had just been built there. In 1981, people started bathing in it after its supposed healing powers were popularized. In 1992, the Blue Lagoon company was established, and the bathing facility was opened for the public.The lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every two days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in."

"The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.[2]The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 37–39 °C (99–102 °F). The Blue Lagoon also operates a research and development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water."

So here we are bathing. Sadly we missed taking a photo of the Jarvii with silica masks. Even Eric gave the silica mask a go, after much cajoling.

Here I am outside of "the cave" with the kids.  
You can see a the entrance to the cave on Rebecca's left in the photo below. The cave audio might have been one of the silliest things I have ever hear. I wish we could have recorded it. A woman in a sultry voice gave the history of the Blue Lagoon using every possible adjective availalbe in the english language. Here are a few snippets we can still remember. Eric told me he is trying to repress it as it was so over the top.

"The water's luxurious temperature" "the water start below ground at a scorching 200F, then gentle rised to the surface where is reaches the relaxing 36 degrees..."

"Wisitors" instead of Visitors


"Some come seeking pleasure and rejuvenation, others its healing properties..."

 We all laughed pretty hard. Wishing I could play the entire text for you.

One small problem in Iceland--things are really expensive.

The kids tried to buy a donut at the airport. Cost $8 Canadian, and that's not for a box, but rather a single donut. I think we won't be eating out much, or eating much at all. 😊


The Jarvis Holiday - Louvre and Tuileries - Birds and Rats

Thursday, July 27th

Eric and I took an early morning walk to the UNESCO building for his presentation. When we passed by Trocadero, they were still trimming the verge and cleaning the algae off the bottom of the fountain. (See the photos I sent from Wednesday). It was obviously not a simple taskt --a two day job.
Wow, you wonder how much time and effort it takes to keep all of the Paris Parks looking ship-shape.
We were temporarily detained at the Eiffel Tower as they were doing a film shoot for Taxi 5 along the roads in front of the Tower.

Eric's presentation went well and afterwords, we had a chance to view the UNESCO buildings from the top floor. Feels a bit like a communist era building, with very strange subterranean gardens. Not exactly a beautiful building, but functional. At least the art work inside is interesting and beautiful and reflects their desire to bring together the people of the world through education and history. There is an interesting piece of Indigenous Art from Canada in the room where ERic spoke. I'll try to post it on Facebook.

Eric spent the afternoon at the conference, while I went home to take the kids to the Louvre and Tuileries. The teenagers wanted to go inside the Louvre, which was the last place Hebe wanted to go. 

While they headed there to explore, Hebe and I went to the Tuileries gardens to play. She spent one hour on the playground equipment, then wanted to go and see the carnival rides. She checked out every single one, commenting on whether or not she could do it (too scary, for babies, too wet, etc), before deciding on this obstacle course adventure called Crazy Space.

... Crazy Space ...

Here is Hebe's assessment of the ride.  
That means a lot since her usual response to most things is two thumbs down.  I guess there is still room for improvement since it only got one thumb up.

On our way back to the Louvre to meet up with the teenagers, we found the bird man.  
He had the entire park of pigeons around him.  His pockets were filled with bird seed and he was giving us quite a show with how he could make the birds dance around him and finally sit on his hands, arms or shoulders.  
He waved to Hebe and invited her over, I think to please the crowd.  
He put out her arms, then filled her hands with seeds.  
I think I even see her giving me a thumbs up.  
Twice in one day.
The Jarvii all regrouped in front of the Louvre, including Eric. It was after 6 p.m. and people were clearing out of the square so we sat to enjoy the view. I personally was exhausted and understood why after checking my step counter - over 20.000 steps. Almost a record for me.

After about a 15 min rest, a well dressed waiter came over to announce that the cafe was closed, but would reopen in 30 minutes. He could serve us at that time. CODE FOR: get out of here. These chairs belong to someone else. You aren't allowed to sit in these seats. Although quite frankly there was no sign indicating the chairs belonged to anyone. They appeared to be "public". Oh well. We all obliged him and Eric encouraged him by indicating how very generous the french people were. (I however was thinking how absolutely crazy it was that we were not allow us to sit in empty chairs when no one was around.)

We have had a lot of problems with chairs throughout Paris. We were told off by some police officers in the Jardins de Luxembourg for moving public chairs into the shade - they had to stay along the edges of the garden only. Were were also told yesterday by the police to take our feet off the opposite chair while riding the train. I guess we haven't learned the rules of chairs in France, because there clearly are some and we are not yet educated on this matter.

We decided to head to the Latin Quarter for dinner after stopping by Notre Dame for a quick look.

I love this photo of Hebe because it looks like she has photoshopped in front of the cathedral.

BUT NO, this is a real photo!

As if Hebe hadn't had her fill of birds today, a lonely pigeon flew by at Notre Dame
and landed right on top of Hebe's head for a quick rest.  
This made us all laugh.

After some indecision, we finally decided on crepes for dinner.  

The one of the left is Chevre and tomatoes for Cathy, and the one on the right is Hebe's Bacon and Egg.  

We headed with our crepes and an orangina in hand to the nearby St Julien de Pauvre church gardens for dinner.  

I never mind sharing a meal with the poor (pauvre) but our dinner companions made my skin crawl.  As we were sitting on the park benches eating when Catie suddenly exclaimed, "there's a rat".  She was in fact very correct.

We could hear a lot of noise coming from the hedge and on closer inspection, we found that we were sharing the park with a lot of guests.  The park was infected with rats.  I mean infested.  Check out the image below where you will see them in search of an evening meal.  To say that we spent just a short visit here would be un understatement.  Rats in Paris are to be expected, but bold enough and in such numbers to feel comfortable joining us for dinner was a bit much for even me.

On our way through the Latin Quarter, Hebe made a request.  The first demand for a "thing" other than ice cream since we arrived in Europe.  Her  desire was for a pink beret.
We obliged her, which just made her day.  Here she is looking French and so very happy.



Saturday, July 29, 2017

Jarvis Family Holiday - Auvers-sur-Oise - Day trip from Paris

There is so much to do in Paris, a life time of visiting. Equally there are tons of day trips from Paris that could amuse a person. I would highly recommend a trip to Auvers-sur-Oise the next time you are in Paris. Totally off the beaten path, and a real gem. This is the village where Van Gogh spent his last 70 days. He died in in rented room here after a gun shot wound to his chest.

What makes this a suprising gem is that there are few tourists in this beautiful country village. There are no direct trains, except for on Saturday and Sunday during the summer and it is difficult to buy train tickets online, so you have to just go to the Gare du Nord, stand in line at the train ticket counter and find a route using the communter trains to and from Paris. So worth it.

This is a living museum. You can go here and travel to the various sites where Van Gogh painted his last 70 painting in 70 days. The village has signs indicating the location of his various works, and have posted a copy the original work for you to compare it to. The village looks much like it did over 100 years ago when Van Gogh was painting in this location.

We just happened to be in Auvers-sure-Oise the day before the anniversary of Vincents' death which is July 29, 1890. Before you take a look at our photos of the day, check out this song about Vincent Van Gogh written by Don McLean. A beautiful song set to the works of Van Gogh.

Our first stop was at Auberge Ravoux to see the room where Vincent stayed. He painted several pictures of this room. No one has been allowed to rent this room since his death. They have left the original chair in there, but all the rest of the furniture is long gone. Does this chair look familiar?

... the original chair ...

Here is the restaurant at Auberge Ravoux where Vincent ate lunch at the same table for 70 days.
Remind you of any of his paintings?

The village has a walking tour set out that shows you various sites that have been immortalized through Van Gogh's paintings.  
Here is the painting called L'Escaliers d'Auvers.  

Here are the beautiful Jarvis at the bottom of the same stairs.

We next made a visit to the gardens at Dr Gachet's home where Vincent spend much time painting .
 Dr Gachet showed an early interest in psychological problems and was treating him at the time of his death.  
He was at Van Gogh's side when he died along with Vincent's brother Theo.  
The photo below shows the gardens at Dr Gachet's home.  
On the right side is the actual garden, and on the left is an image of a similar Van Gogh painting.

Here is some interesting information about Vincent's last 70 days including the words of Dr Gachet at Vincent's Funeral.  
"He was a gentleman and a great painter who had but two aims in life--humanity and art.  But it was art that he cherished above all else, and through it he would live on..."

Probably the most famous painting from this period is of the Church at Auvers.  
Here it is

Modern day photograph of the same church.

We walked along a road to see the graves of Vincent and Theo.  
A beautiful and surprising view when you come on top of the hill.  
Which Van Gogh painting does this resemble?  
The wheat field has been cut, but the image is familiar.

Here are the graves of Vincent and Theo, who died just 6 months after his brother.  

Theo died of Syphylis; Vincent of a gun shot wound that I always thought was self-inflicted.  However, the guide at the Auberge told us that in the village, there are stories indicating that Vincent died of an accidental gun shot wound inflicted by a 13 year old boy that was out hunting birds in the field where Vincent was painting.  

Vincent tried to protect the boy by stating the wound was self inflicted.  
No gun was ever found so many people think  this supports the accidental injury story.  

Here is a painting from the field just a few metres from the cemetery.  
Check out the three roads.  
"Le champ de blé aux corbeaux"

Here are the Jarvii at the same cross roads.  
The wheat fields are cut, but I love how the clouds in both images are boding.
Final photo of the day of four beautiful children along the Oise River.

Lots of love,


A Rake, a Wheelbarrow and some Clippers

I interrupted my walk this morning to ask Glen if he could hook up his charger to my car battery.  He stopped beer brewing and came right over, went back to get distilled water, and soon the job was done.  My only part was walking back and forth to get more steps in.  Along the way he reminded me that the last part of any job is putting the equipment away.

Photo: Marcia
... stopping to admire the beauty of others
who are using the same path ...
I tried to remember that as I have been gardening today.  I think that the last ounce of energy should be getting twigs and leaves into a wheelbarrow.  But no.  The last part is dumping the wheelbarrow and putting the two rakes and one set of clippers away.  And putting away my hat and the sweat band that I have to wear.

That salty sweat pours down my forehead, through my eye brows and ends up in my eyes.  Is that the way nature planned for this to happen?

At any rate, a joy to be alive and able to work.  I watered some tomato plants that I hope to keep alive, long enough to enjoy one or two toasted tomato sandwiches from.  And I ate all of the raspberries on the vines again.  I wanted to collect them, put sugar on them and give them to David tonight on ice cream.  But after I tasted the first one, and figured out how far it was to go to the house to get a bowl, I went to Plan B.  Just eat them and have raspberries on ice cream another night.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

A fish in hand ...

This is one of the times when an image
is worth 1,000 words.

Mmmm, is all I can say.

Tasty.  And I hope I get invited to dinner.


The Morning Walk

... chicory is everywhere ...
Chicory lines the road as I walk in the morning.
Chicory and lupines, but the lupines have gone from flowers to seed pods, so it is only the blue of the chicory that I see.

I read that I can eat the leaves -- the spring and the fall have milder leaves.

Bitter ones are summer fare.  Be sure to blanch the leaves say some of the books.
... top of Bernie Road ...

I get to see this stunning view at the top of Bernie Road.

I don't like to climb that far, for the last bit of the journey is in the sun and seriously up hill.   I can't enjoy the view when I get to the top for I am sucking air and gulping water.

And then I have to go downhill, a serious change of pace.  I am such a big baby.  I want the road to be smooth.

Sometimes I see Glen who has already done an hour on his bike before I even get on the road.

I do see Don Robertson on his bike, just at the end of one of my journeys.  So when you come to the Shuswap, join the bikers or the walkers who are out on the trails before the rest of the world is awake.


A Flicker in a Nest

Marcia and I have religiously been taking walks in the morning.  We go about 3,000 steps and then she drops off to go to work from home and I continue the walk.  Trent joined us one day, so we walked up to see Lot 13 which has a house on it.

The siding has not been finished on the house and when we walked to the north side, Trent was sure that he could see a bird head.

Check it out, because we did, getting just a little closer.

And then a little closer.

I couldn't help advancing and advancig, as near as the bird would allow without flying away.

When the flicker left its nest we wanted to see inside but there was no ladder, and as tall as Trent is,
he wasn't tall enough to get a glimpse of what was there in the darkness of the cavity.

Marcia left to go to work.
Dave Wood joined us for the last part of the walk.

A good time was had by all.


7 AM Start Up

... going fishing, anyone? ...
Art's fishing boat leaves at about 7 am, as do I, but for a different reason.   I am out beginning my walk for the day -- my 10,000 steps.

Ceilidh gets up to fish with Art.  He has room for 2 in his boat.   The early morning venture is not as valued as the evening boat rides, so Ceilidh can always find a seat in the boat.

Gabe is the other early morning riser.  This was their last morning before going home.  Gabe caught 2 Kokanee.  A perfect morning.

I heard someone asking all others not to cook that until they get back.

"Don't worry," said the others, who like to eat, but don't like to cook fish.


Yard Clean-Up

"Is everything O.K.? It looks like a bomb hit your yard."

The question from Glen was legitimate.

And so was the answer.  This look can happen if there is one day without clean-up and a lot of little people using the tea pots, the tables, the water stations, the four-wheeled plastic vehicles that go down the hill with breakneck speed, the dolls, the shopping carts, the cupboards full of dishes, the umbrellas and the balloons.

Now there is a large tent cover over one of the large tables.  It has a window and a door and was created when Marcia was a child.  Now it is back, 30 years later and I don't doubt that Audra has tried it out, making this at least a 2 generation toy.

Wyona's is the yard that has been  hosting s'more parties to the max.  One last hurrah of marshmallows, graham wafers and chocolate was planned for last night and then the plans changed.  Kids were loaded in cars and everyone went off to hear a band (Devon Coyote) play at Music on the Wharf.

People came home with screamers in hand.  Tonia told me this morning that if she had known the size of a medium, she would have ordered a small.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Jarvis Holiday - Fratta Fun in Paris

It is always fun to meet up with friends.

We seem to find our friends the Frattas every year, somewhere.

 Two years ago in Italy and then last year in Montreal.

This year in Paris. Ana Carina Fratta, my Colombian-Italian-American-Canadian Friend just happened to be in Paris this week.

We saw them on Sunday, but decided to get together for another day this week to do something with the kids.

Eric Jarvis and Timothy Fratty both had to work - but if you have to work, couldn't be a more interesting place than in Paris.
Ana Carina and I set out with the kids for our first adventure of the day.

Check out Eloise's rolling shoes (see the photo above). Now that is the way to travel the streets of Paris.

Hebe and I were both wishing we had a pair. Our first stop of the day was at the local Patisserie. Check out this giant Macaronnade Cake.


We bought baguettes and sandwich fixings, then let everyone choose their favourite pastry for dessert. It's always fun to see which treats people choose.

After a lunch at our cockroach infested apartment, we headed out to the Pantheon.

On the cockroach front, the house cleaner came to "take care of the roaches this morning." That amounted to spraying aerosolized "bug spray" under the cupboards of the kitchen.

I mentionned to her that we had in fact found roaches inside most of the cupboards so I didn't think simply spraying under the cupboards was going to solve the problem.

She insisted that the visitors came in through the window that overlooks the garbage bins, "when the last tenant forgot to close the window."

When I mentioned we had seen more than 20 roaches, she seemed a little surprised.

A metro ride took us to the Pantheon (Latin: pantheon, from Greek πάνθειον (ἱερόν) '(temple) to all the gods'[1]).

From Wikipedia you learn that the Pantheon "was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens."

My first time at this glorious temple to the secular world. Of course outside of the Pantheon, across the street, is the Law Faculty of the Sorbonne. Above it's doors is the famous motto of France - Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. (Translation: Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood.) Wonderful ideals borne of the French Revolution.Here is the whole gang outside the Panthéon.

Thanks to Camilla Fratta who took this great photo.

Finally, I'm in a non-selfie photo. Camilla also taught us how to put the "grid on" the iphone. The grid helps you with the rule of thirds.

 If you want to learn more about the rule of thirds check out this photography 101 article.

This is the painting that met us inside the Pantheon.

I was surprised by the headless man in the centre who was reaching out to collect his head.


Hope that's not what usually happens to one inside this secular temple.

I said, "well that's a great example of the French Revolutions search for equality".

Ana Carina's quick comeback was priceless. "No that's Fraternity- Brotherhood."

So cheeky!!

One of the highlights of the Pantheon was climbing up for the view from the dome.

Look, I'm already practising my rule of thirds.

Thanks Camilla.

Who knew I was going to get a photography lesson today?

Here are two photos from the roof of the Pantheon Dome of the 7 smart and capable girls/women I was travelling with today.

Thomas was avoiding my photos, especially when I tried to take anything that resembled a selfie.

What's wrong with selfies?

One of the most intriguing things to see inside the Pantheon is Foucault's Pendulum.

"The Foucault pendulum, named after the French physicist Léon Foucault, is a simple device conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth."

Here is is swinging from the central dome.

And now, the pendulum hypnotizing our group. 

"You are getting sleepy. You are getting very sleepy."

After checking out the crypts in the basement (of the famous french dead including Vicotr Hugo and Marie Curie) we headed outside where we decided to play a game - "The Floor is Lava".

This is a game where everyone has just 5 seconds to find a way to get off the ground or pavement.

Easy and fun just outside the Pantheon where they have made a ton of benches out of old stone carvings and blocks collected from inside the Pantheon.

How much fun is that to play "The Floor if Lava" and get to jump on old statues or stones.

There is never a bad time to stop for a crépe in Paris.

What kind of Crepe would you choose?

Some like salty, others like sweet.

Our final stop of the day was at the Jardin Luxembourg. This was my first visit to this iconic garden.

However my first introduction to it was in the Madeleine books I loved to read as a child.

My favourite book being the story of Madeleine getting out her appendix.

 No one can easily forget the following line.

"In the middle of the night
Miss Clavel turned on her light
and said, "Something is not right!"
Well for Hebe something was not right at Jardin Luxembourg. She wanted to sail the USA boat across the fountain.

Here she is with Sophia and Heloise, watching other kids push their boats across the water.

When it was their turn to choose a boat, Hebe had just one boat in mind --USA. 

No such luck.

 USA was in use and her second choice, Canada, was snagged up by another child right under their noses.

 There were few options left. In all her disappointment, Hebe ran away to "Florida". Thank Heaven's AnaCarina is a good runner, and that there is an oceon in the way.

 Ana Carina caught up with Hebe and brought her back for a second try.

 Eventually Argentina was choosen and the girls headed for the fountain.

 The next series of 4 photos shows how the girls enjoyed the boat for their allotted 30 minutes -4 Euros of fun.

"In an old house in Paris

that was covered with vines

lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

In two straight lines they broke their bread

and brushed their teeth

and went to bed."

It was impossible to leave this garden without at least one photo of girls in two straight lines.

Glad Thomas got out of line, so we would in fact know for sure that he in not one of the little girls.

To finish off the day, we needed one last selfie, so here we are in the metro.

(You don't see Hebe here because she is driving the train.

We're on one of the driverless trains in Paris where you can actually stand at the front of the metro car and feel like you are the conductor.

Loved that Heloise spotted a rat on the tracks when she took a go at it. Yuck.

Good bye Fratta's. Where will we see you next?