Tag Archives: summer

Pinch me . . .

I suppose it is a bit like the early stages of a love affair.  Even after 21 months in Canada, I seem still to experience so many ‘pinch me’ moments!

In the city, often they come in response to the rich cultural mix . . .

A recent evening with friends Luc and Yuri at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario); Abstract Expressionist New York (much familiar, smattered with new discoveries, curated inspirationally); modern Inuit art (how I wanted to be able to run my hands over the carvings!); and the sung response of a First Nations open throat singer to Henry Moore (truly awesome and deeply moving) as part of the Juno Tour of Canadian Art; Luc and Paul chasing each other round the angular display cases, taking strangely distorted portraits refracted by the prismatic points of connection; then Dim Sum in China Town – truly a feast for heart, body and soul!

Our second Beaches Jazz Festival – I’m still blown away by the accessibility of so much wonderful and varied music freely available; by teenagers having a ball jumping around to the music that may date back more than half a century and by those who have lived more than half a century soaking up the new musical permutations offered up by young musicians; by small children utterly confident and safe amid the crowd; by a magical rock violinist, Dr Draw, who, I swear, channels the passion of Paganini; by this sensational street party that sums up summer in the city Toronto style; by dancing to a stomping version of Dancing in the Street on Queen Street.

When we can tear ourselves away from the revelry, there are quieter moments of awe. . .

Brilliant March sunshine belying the icy chill as we climb sand dunes in Prince Edward County – the curious juxtaposition of sun, sand and the ice sculptures that jewel the shore.
        Ice Alligator?
Clambering from our kayaks as the sun sinks past the horizon on Georgian Bay, having been dive bombed by Terns (anticipated, not scary) on a protrusion of the Canadian Shield that serves as a nesting colony for terns and a swimming stop for paddlers. On this occasion, these included a dog kitted out in his own PFD (Personal Flotation Device) who decided to join Paul in his kayak whilst his mistress swam in deep water.

        

A few days ago, at the start of a much needed break; the glassy calm of the sunny evening that follows a storm, out on the Rideau just above Kingston; jewelled fairies filling the air around our canoe (palest to midnight blue, rich red, fluorescent green) and swallowtails – and still, still water reflecting a light show up onto the green canopy above; returning to the dock, we are welcomed by a fat, furry water rat (but not a beaver!)

Now we are holed up in a rustic cottage in Quebec; 30 minutes or so north of Ottawa, yet, once you are off the major roads, very ‘backwoods’. There is nothing to do but sit and read on the dock and soak up the sunshine, rocked by the wake of passing boats and lulled by the occasional eerie call of the Loon or the honk of Canada geese as they rise.  Once in a while we venture off the end of the dock into the deep, clear (and surprisingly warm) water of Lac St Pierre or onto it in kayak or rowboat. The Canadian Cottage experience definitely has much the same capacity as the less developed Greek islands for recharging the body and soothing the soul!
        

I feel so very privileged to have been given this opportunity to re-connect with life through a lens of newness and immediacy. I hope I continue to say ‘pinch me’ for many years to come!

 

(Written when in Quebec, 1st week of August 2011)

Keppel Croft – a garden to feed the soul

Keppel Croft is an amazing, inspirational garden between Owen Sound and Wiarton on the shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario. It is filled with wonderful planting, art installations and, most of all, spirit.( Below is a slide show created from our photos.)

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Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsular

I am truly awed by the Canadian National and Provincial Park system! Boardwalks, steep wooden staircases or rock hewn steps traverse the wilderness, not only making it more accessible but protecting the natural environment. There are ‘facilities’ in utterly remote spots and such delightfully polite notices requesting that you stay on paths so as not to destroy rare species.

On Flowerpot Island On Flowerpot Island. Steep wooden staircase in the woods at the heart of the island On Flowerpot Island On Flowerpot Island - the Flowerpots On Flowerpot Island On Flowerpot Island. Azure waters . . .

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Hot town, summer in the city . . .

Beaches Jazz vignettes;

three guys wield corn-cobs in impromptu funky dance routine, ‘come buy’ . . .
salseros so tuned to each other that they almost dance as one . . .magic harp, now vividly blue, now pink – the coloured light cuts through the falling night . . . a watery halo behind darkly silhouetted trees as the moon clambers through the clouds . . . young couple dance close – in what the singer aptly describes as a ‘jazz love-in’ – but one hand rocks the stroller, connecting with their wide-eyed infant.

Continue reading Hot town, summer in the city . . .

Holidaying at home

We are enjoying a glorious, sunny Victoria Day weekend here in Toronto.

Probably the one thing we haven’t done since we arrived is to just ‘chill’ around our home.  After too long doing too many wonderful things, we decided we needed a rest cure.  What I can’t quite get over is really being able to feel as if we are on holiday whilst staying at home!

Yesterday’s long, lazy brunch at Quigleys on Queen Street gave way to an afternoon on the Balmy Beach, which more than lived up to its name!

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A cool breeze comes up off the water as the never-crowded shore plays host to beachcombers, a guitarist on the rocks, canoeists, games of volleyball. . . In the background  there is a gentle but ceaseless flow of promenaders along Boardwalk. Further back again, in the shade of trees now summer-green, cyclists and roller-bladers make speedier progress along the  Martin Goodman trail.

Paul in hammock on our balcony Paul in hammock on our balcony

This morning we breakfasted on our balcony, looking out at the trees and gardens of the street behind our house.  Paul is now ensconced in the hammock. Later we will head for the beach again, taking an evening pic-nic with us. Tonight the skies over Ashbridge’s Bay will explode with multi-coloured stars in Celebration of Canada’s historical and current ties with Britain.