Monday, August 31, 2009

No Reason to Panic!

Yikes, the temperature has really been taking a dive lately. I'm even back in long pants! Before we know it this blog is going to be forced inside for that season "that shall not be named" and there will be no more outdoor shots, or at least no more blooming outdoor flower shots for a long while. But let's not rush things. After all, it is only the last day of August, and there is still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. No reason to panic!
And my potted flowers are still going strong, mostly thanks to those vibrant pink geraniums. The pots didn't get to that exhuberant over-the-top flowering mass that I always dream of when I plant them up in the spring, but at least they look robust. And I'm quite pleased with how the pink blooms and black pots tie in with the pillows and lounge chairs. I remember how I was inspired to use this colour combination by the pots I saw on Crescent Street in Montreal that I featured in my post of May 19, 2009, "Crescent Street Chic".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Featuring Blue #6

Well well, who knew that the top of a fire hydrant could look so decorative when you approach it from above? And lucky for me, the tops of our city's are painted a lovely shade of blue!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Featuring Blue #5

Just what everyone can use on a hot humid sunny summer's day. This sign was a stand-out on a street filled with signs. Or maybe that was just because of my search for anything blue. No, graphically, I think it packs a lot of punch!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Featuring Blue #4

I was in Montreal a few days ago and saw these large blue windows just across the street from Place Ville Marie, and because I am on the lookout for things blue, they jumped right out. They practically screamed "photograph me!" ... and so I did.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Featuring Blue #3

Sometimes patterns come in the most surprising places, like the patterns in the water that I came across while walking along the river. Something in the water had been churned up to make these intriguing patterns.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Featuring Blue #2

What is that expression about sitting around and watching paint peel? Well, if I ever was that bored, then I would want to have a wall of peeling paint that has as many pretty shades of blue as this one has to gaze at hour after hour!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Featuring Blue

This little graffiti cutie is here to announce that for the next few days, this blog will be putting the spotlight on the colour blue. From time to time I plan to concentrate on a particular colour and see what in my environment pops up to answer the call. So for now, it's blue!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunlight and Shadows

While sitting underneath the carport with a good book, I suddenly looked over to see a study in sunlight and shadows. The sun's rays were directed on a single area, casting a spotlight on some of the objects that lay in its path. The vibrant colours and contrast between the lit objects and the shadowed darkness was striking... and worthy of a few quick shots.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Charleston Lake Provincial Park, Ontario has some good hiking trails. We tackled two of them today. Well-signed paths with lots of information documented in illustrated booklets.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not the End of the World

I suppose it's not the end of the world that summer has only just arrived. Better late than never. And in true Canadian fashion we can now complain about the heat and humidity!
And this photo is not the end of the world either, despite the street sign, it's a road in Birmingham, England (taken one summer around 30 years ago!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Posting Myself to England

Came across this photograph the other day. I can't believe that it was taken almost 15 years ago. Even more unbelievable is that I haven't been back to England since then! Various circumstances have played a role I suppose. But really, a trip is long overdue. I will say so here in the hopes that if I put it out there for the universe to hear, then maybe my return will happen sooner, rather than later. This photo captures one of the cottages in the lovely village of Bucks Mills, Devon, on the road leading down to the beach. What is particularly interesting is that the post box dates back to Victoria's reign. If you zoom in enough you will see the VR at the top of the box. I guess it got missed in its out-of-the-way location with each succeeding monarch. I'm so glad. If only I could post myself! A little bit of brown paper and string, some stamps and an air mail label...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Planter Transformation

Thought I’d show you what I did with the metal planter I picked up at a thrift shop back in February and that I posted about on April 17th. Back then I showed it with all the pink coral and cream bargains that I came across that day. How surprised I was at the end of my shopping spree to find that everything I’d put into the shopping cart coordinated as if I had selected it with that intention.

Well, I’ve had the cream-coloured planter just hanging around since then, but finally decided to fill it with some ivy and impatiens and hang it on the shed door for the summer. It looks rather cheery there and adds a spot of colour to an otherwise dark space. The planter will come back into the house in the fall, minus the plants. Most likely it will be put to an all-together different use, and one that is yet to come to mind! Though I think some sort of Victorian-inspired display might be in order...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Flower Box Beauty #2

Another set of flower boxes that drew my attention recently. This time in the most unlikely of places... at a local french fries stand. The stand is painted a bright orange, and the boxes are chock full of a large assortment of bright flowers. And they are so healthy and lush. Which is rather surprising since the flower boxes are not that large. What is the secret to having tightly packed plants grow lavishly in small spaces? I have never been able to figure that out.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tea in the Garden

Yesterday I invited my friend M. over for tea. It was one of the loveliest days of this summer. Sunny and hot, though not too hot. It was the perfect weather to take tea outdoors.

And what did I serve? Homemade Devonshire scones, lemon loaf, lavender cookies and fresh fruit salad. M. happened to bring me a jar of real Devonshire cream, even though she hadn't known I was serving scones. How perfect was that? It was a lovely afternoon as we sat and took tea, to the sounds of the water fountain gurgling nearby.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mill of Kintail Cloister

Just before you walk down the slope to the Mill of Kintail, you come across the very picturesque Cloister-on-the-Hill, nestled in a garden under a covering of large trees. People can arrange to hold their wedding in the cloister, in a serene and peaceful outdoor setting.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mill of Kintail

R., S. and I went for afternoon tea at the Mill of Kintail today. Half a dozen small tables were waiting in the garden at the back of the Mill beside the narrow but rushing Indian River. The tea menu is simple, a choice of tea or lemonade and tea bread (slices of lemon loaf, lemon poppy-seed loaf, cinnamon loaf, etc.) for $4.00. Lemonade on its own is $2.00.

I had never been to the Mill of Kintail before. It was a lovely discovery. Classified a heritage building, it is now the R. Tait McKenzie Memorial Museum, set in the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area. Originally a grist mill built in 1830 by Scottish pioneer John Baird, it was made into a summer home in 1930 by Robert Tait McKenzie, a doctor, sculptor and phycial educator. The museum now houses a small collection of furnishings, memorabilia and many of McKenzie's sculptures.

The 154-acre grounds contain numerous hiking trails, gardens and picnic areas. It is a lovely peaceful place to spend some time in a natural setting.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flower Box Beauty

These gorgeous flower boxes were tucked into the windows of this 19th-century stone building in Merrickville, Ontario. Try as I might, my potted plants never grow to such profusion. How picturesque! But then, what wouldn’t look this great nestled beside such beautiful old stone walls and paned windows?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Historic Merrickville

Today, our travels took us to the charming Victorian village of Merrickville, a little less than an hour's drive from Ottawa. And the place was hopping with visitors. The main streets have lots of unique shops which makes wandering up and down a chance for a different retail experience.
Built along the Rideau Canal, the Merrickville Locks are of special interest because of the bridge that spans the Lock and swings away to allow boats through, creating a gap in the road. Cars and pedestrians must wait until the bridge swings back into position before they can continue on their way.
We were on the second floor of the 1827 stone Blockhouse Museum, looking out the window, when the bridge swung away, affording us a bird's-eye view of the process. It was amazing how quickly and easily the span moved in and out of position. No wonder the Rideau Locks earned their UNESCO World Heritage status in 2007. What an feat of engineering it is!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Billings Estate

Yesterday we visited the Billings Estate National Heritage Site in Ottawa. The on-site museum had a special exhibit on Victorian medicine that continues until October 31, 2009. The Billings Family home, headed by Braddish and Lamira Billings, is Ottawa's oldest wood-framed house. Five generations of the Billings Family lived here from 1829 to 1975. Braddish gave up the lumber business to concentrate on farming in 1827. The small stone building in the photos above is the dairy house.

Unfortunatley, the Estate's Victorian Tea-on-the-Lawn is not served on Saturdays, when the kitchen is taken over by the many weddings that are held on the estate's grounds. Our visit, however, did coincide with a special show on Victorian medicine, performed by a professional reenactor.

The one-and a-half hour show was held under the shade of some large trees and there were refreshing breezes that made the outside setting very pleasant. The show was equal parts informative, entertaining and fascinating. With its descriptions of blood-letting, use of leeches, amputations and brain surgery, it was at times a wee bit gruesome, but performed in a light-hearted manner with authentic props and a liberal use of fake blood. The re-enactor chose people from the audience who were "ailing" from a wide variety of ills then proceeded to put them to "rights", while explaining and demonstrating (to a point) the treatments of the time, then dispatching them back to their seats. One of the more light-hearted moments was her reading of the bumps on one audience member's bald head, the science of Phrenology clearly pointed to his great love of family, the ability to save money, but oh dear, there was also that bump that showed a propensity for murder. Fortunately, there has never been any evidence to validate the theories of Phrenology! I can't say enough about this particular reenactor. Not only did she know her stuff, she was able to deliver the information in a very entertaining way. And with a subject like Victorian medicine there are a lot of shocking aspects that can be played up by a talented performer. Truely a great example of bringing history to life! I congratulate the Billings Estate Museum for offering this type of program. So enjoyable!