Sunday, 27 October 2013

Escaping Before the Witches Fly


Autumn did arrive in a more subtle way this year. We spent many days outside enjoying the warmth and striking cloudscapes at sunset. Hiking under the colours has been grand but the fall palette was subdued this year.   

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I enjoyed designing my Christmas card outside on the picnic table, watching the chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and chipmunk snacking on sunflower seeds. One evening by the fireside, I heard an animal’s footsteps nearby. I grabbed Dixie’s collar as her hackles went up and she let out a low growl. I knew something was close when the sensor light on the coach turned on. We headed inside as I saw a coyote run across the grass a few feet from our campsite. Exciting and scary at the same time. With less campers in the park it seems like nature is coming closer and we hear the coyote choruses extremely close each night.                                           


I participated in the Bay Studio Tour with my friend Wendy. Her paintings were favorably received and she made some sales. My work was admired but not too many folks wanted to pay for it. We had a fair turnout on Saturday and a small number of guests on Sunday, not bad considering that it rained all weekend. We met some great people and Wendy and Lachlan and I had a fun weekend.

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Wendy Storey works in oils and watercolour.  She isolates a small portion of  her own photographs for her painting compositions.  She focuses on the  light, colour and texture of her subjects.

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I created some clay eggs and painted them with the likeness of a few bird species. I build the pins using found beads and old jewelry, playing with colour and texture.



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Marilyn and Mike arrived from England in time for two Thanksgiving dinners. We had some fun family time and also got to Kleinburg to the McMichael Gallery. The Edward Burtynsky photo show was spectacular! If you do not know his work, he creates huge highly realistic photographs emotionally portraying the impact of mankind on nature. Very powerful…check them out on Google. We lunched out on the balcony of a pub and strolled past the beautiful fall flower and harvest displays in town.

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The weather has become very cool very quickly. Even sitting out at the campfire has been uncomfortable in the last week. Unseasonably early, we have had some sleet and snow but it did not stay long. Today we watched a young doe nibbling grass just outside our front window. She found some apples and daintily took small bites always nervously keeping a close watch on us. What a contrast to the roly poly raccoons that shove any food into their faces and barely flinch when humans approach! We are taking the cue from the migrating birds and are gearing up to head south. Having cleaned and done the necessary maintenance inside and outside the motorhome, we are almost ready. (Chris does the majority of this) Each day we take a few more steps at restoring our campsite to its original state. In our time at Albion, we have enjoyed visits with family and friends. We will leave for our third RV adventure with Dixie and CC next Tuesday, October 29.

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Sadly, we say goodbye to Don Coburn, whose enthusiasm for life has touched everyone he has met. Don will be missed by his wife Jane, his three sons and their families and many close family members and friends.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Bittersweet: Last Day in Sydney


Danielle, Al and I broke our fast at Piccolo’s and perused more items at the outdoor market before heading back downtown. We boarded a ferry and headed out into Sydney Harbour. From the water, passengers are treated to a spectacular view of the city’s waterfront, a cruise ship, tour boats, yachts and sailboats plus a marvelous panorama of the famous Harbour Bridge. The ferry glided within yards of the incredible Sydney Opera House and I filled my camera with way too many photos.




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                                                                       Open your eyes and say AWE!

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It’s a must when you are in a town or city on a lake or the ocean, that you get out on the water. The ferry that we took was a part of the city transit system so was very affordable. We docked on the island that houses The Taronga Zoo. We spent the day exploring the lush grounds, its exquisite foliage, quaint sculptures and engaging villages and settings for the animals. The aviary provided views of many Australian species walking, flying, perching and squawking. Their shapes and colours are so unique and it was a treat to see such variety of birds in a short span of time.

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The gorillas and monkeys draw the crowds and entertain appropriately acting like humans,or are the humans acting like monkeys? I could watch them forever!

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The Australian animals were plentiful and great to observe so closely. Kangaroo, Wombats, Alligators, Crocodiles, Koalas, Platypus, Emu, Wallabies and Echidna were a few that we saw.

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Danielle had prepared some snacks for lunch and we found the ideal spot to sit in front of the elephant compound. It was lunch time for them too and the pacaderm keeper hung bags of grass for the gentle beasts. We watched the hierarchy dine with the large male choosing the best grass, the mumma had second pick and the baby was last at the “buffet’. For their size, they stepped lightly and silently together.


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The reptile and insect displays were fascinating and the glass that separated them from us comforting!


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The views of the Sydney Harbour are impressive from the Zoo. Observing the wildlife is only half the enjoyment of visiting this great island Zoo. As in any zoo, there are always sightings of humanimals!



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We were most impressed seeing the giraffes at feeding time. The low sun of late afternoon created an enchanting light across their towering necks and rich patches of white and brown. They glided across their paddocks like royalty. Their mellow, friendly glances betrayed any air of indifference that their lofty forms implied.

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Our trip back to downtown Sydney was pleasant as there were many more sailboats in the harbour and a golden light provided a different perspective on the bridge and opera house. We walked along the harbour front where entertainers performed: a violin, a didgeridoo, a human statue aka a guy painted silver holding a pose forever and a hugger!?! The walkways were filled with Sunday walkers, shoppers and tourists as we headed up to take in the Opera House at arm’s length. The angles and and shadows changed constantly across the tiled roofs and reflective glass. The interior, rich in wood and 1970’ flavour, was spectacular. What a treat to explore an icon that everyone around the world recognizes.

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If you see any dark spots along the top edge of the bridge(below the flags), that would be hikers. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is not only a famous landmark but a destination on many folks “bucket list”.


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Off we went to The Rocks, an urban hangout on the south shore of Sydney Harbour. Now a historic district, the great old structures have been restored from their decrepit state. The area was home to the the seedy side of society in the 1870’s and fell into disrepair. So many great cities have these gems that now shine with history and attract artists, trendy shops and unique bars and restaurants; a lovely destination for the tourist.

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Lord Nelson, one of three hotels in The Rocks claiming to be the Oldest.


We sat outside the Lord Nelson Hotel and had a beer while the sun was disappearing. We walked over to Chinatown where we had a fabulous “last supper” together. ‘The Mamak’, a lovely Malaysian Restaurant, served up dishes that were a delight to the eye and the palette. We were exhausted after our busy day and needed to leave early the next morning for the airport. Al drove to the airport on Monday morning. We had breakfast together after I checked in my baggage. Dani and I had a bit of a sob-fest as we said goodbye. I took a couple of pics in the airport, the sheep shearing sculptures were really cool. The return trip was better as I knew what to expect and I actually got some sleep. Chris was waiting at the airport to pick up his weary wife and welcome me back to Canada!

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Thank you Danielle, Al, Dot and Ian for a wonderful vacation and unforgettable family time. Love from Caron