Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge – Belonging

thanks to Sue W and GC for hosting Weekly Prompts https://weeklyprompts.com/2023/02/01/weekly-prompts-wednesday-challenge-belonging/

Before COVID I belonged to a group of bakers. Every week, twice a week, we got together to make dough and bake bread in the wood burning oven at Montgomery’s Inn, one of Toronto’s Historical Museums. When COVID hit in March 2020 all volunteer jobs were eliminated and bread baking ceased to exist for almost three years. I loved belonging to this group of men and women who came together every week and I look forward to the day that we can once again get together to make bread.

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I also belong to an organization of mostly women artists but also some men and that too has reduced it’s in person activities considerably since COVID hit. I love belonging to such a creative group that shares knowledge and ideas so freely and openly. It’s given me the confidence to pursue my art journey and I even hosted my first solo art show in 2022.

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I also belong to a lawn bowling club and this past year we’ve been able to get together in person to play ‘normal’ games where we can have three people per side and use all the lanes at the same time. We were also able to celebrate Canada Day and we had a year end dinner. A great group of people that I’m happy to call friends.

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The most precious of groups that I belong to is that of my family and friends. COVID has been difficult but thanks to ZOOM and WhatsApp, I’ve been able to stay connected. In the past year we’ve been able to travel again to visit family overseas and on the east coast and we’ve even gotten together for celebrations to acknowledge milestone birthdays.

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Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge – Resolutions

thanks to Sue W. and GC for hosting Weekly Prompts https://weeklyprompts.com/2023/01/04/weekly-prompts-wednesday-challenge-resolutions/

Every year I find myself making the same resolutions….lose weight, continue to walk daily, eat healthy. This year I’m going to add two more resolutions. Make art at least weekly and visit my family in New Brunswick and in London once or twice. Of course making resolutions doesn’t work if you don’t have a plan to meet your goals.

For Christmas I received a new Fitbit so sticking to my plan of walking at least 10 000 steps a day makes that goal easier to track. My course of action is to try and get out before noon for a walk with my camera, walk instead of driving to shop at the top of the street and when I do need to use the car park as far from the entrance as possible.

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I already eat pretty healthy. I just need to stop snacking in the evenings. To do this I’m going to make art in my studio or read a book in a room away from the kitchen. In the past I resolved to make art every day but I found that goal was unattainable. Instead I’m looking to work at my art table at least once a week. I’ve also signed up to do another solo show in May so I’m motivated to make more art.

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A Healthy Meal
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White asparagus salad
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My first solo art show in 2022
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Visiting our son in London last April
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Visiting our daughter in New Brunswick last October

I always find it helpful to post a photo of me so I have a before photo. Not the most attractive photo but it was taken a few days ago. It clearly reminds me of how I need to make better food choices and stop eating in the evening.

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Two Hours in a Propeller Plane

I was worried. I was told that it might be noisy, uncomfortable and turbulent. It wasn’t any of things.

The night before I heard that traffic in the city was expected to be heavier than normal on Saturday and to count on delays. I ordered my Uber to pick me up two hours before my flight was scheduled to leave. I had to be at the airport 45 minutes before take-off.

My ride arrived promptly at 8:30 and 17 minutes later I was dropped off at the airport. No delays whatsoever. I made my way to the tunnel which is under the lake to the island airport. Again easy peasy.

Security was also a piece of cake and by 9:05 I was in the lounge area. I ordered a coffee and a croissant. Here I experienced my first disappointment. My croissant was stale. No big deal.

Foyer before security at Porter Airlines

Luckily I brought a book to read to pass the time. Finally, about 10 minutes before the plane was to depart we were given directions to go to our gate. I was worried that my carry on luggage would be too heavy but no one questioned me. Instead I was given a special luggage tag because it turned out that my bag didn’t fit in the overhead compartment. Turns out that at least ten of us were given these special tags and they were placed in the baggage hold. No extra charge.

The plane was by no means full but I discovered that my chosen seat was next to an occupied seat. When I chose it there was no one next to me. I had a feeling that the woman next to me would be happier and more comfortable if I could move. I politely explained to the attendant that we were not travelling together and was it possible for me to take another seat. No problem, I was allowed to move to the empty row in front of me.

Fifteen minutes late, we finally took off. The seats were comfortable, the noise was quieter than a jet plane and the flight was smooth and without turbulence.

Leaving the Island Airport in Toronto

Despite the delay the flight landed in Moncton on time. Our luggage was delivered to us on the tarmac and after a short walk I found myself at the pick-up area outside the airport. Day one of my adventure in Moncton was about to begin.

Flying over New Brunswick

On a Mini Adventure

I’m hoping to keep my blog going but if the site is empty for a few days it’s because I’m in New Brunswick

It’s not that New Brunswick doesn’t have the internet, it does, but my granddaughter might have other ideas about how her Oma should spend her time. I’m really looking forward to this trip but I’m also nervous. I always get nervous before getting on a plane and this is the first time I’m getting on a propeller plane. I know lots of people who love this airline but it is the first time I’ve flown with them. Wish me luck.

Hopefully I’ll have a few photos of the ocean, lighthouses and lobster rolls to share with you during the trip or at least when I get home. I’ll be back in five days. Here’s my little ‘monster’ that I’m on my way to see. She loves Hallowe’en so I don’t think she’ll mind the reference to ‘monster’, although I have no idea what she wants to dress up as this year.

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Thursday Trios – Random Trios From Our Vacation

….scrolling through my photos I discovered there were a few trios that I had forgotten about

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A happy trio from the top of the Royal Amboise Chateau
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A trio of actors at the Royal Amboise Chateau
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A trio of rocks from the Stonehenge Exhibition at the British Museum
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A trio of soldiers on the War Memorial near St. Paul’s Cathedral

If you have any trios you’d like to share just copy my link from this post and paste it into your post. I’ll get a ping back and I’ll be sure to leave a comment. Have fun.

Last Minute Shopping in London

….today was our last full day in London

Tomorrow morning an Uber driver will pick us up at 8:00 am and take us to the Heathrow Airport. All week I wanted to return to Liberty so that I could browse through this amazing but expensive department store.

Today we took the Victoria South train and headed towards Oxford Circus. When we got there I wasn’t disappointed. When you first arrive you are greeted by the most wonderful flower shop attached to the Liberty store.

As you enter the store your senses are accosted by the smell of perfume and the bright colours of the fashion display that is currently featured.

I was hoping to find a nice Liberty scarf for a friend’s birthday but the sticker shock may have sent the feint of heart back onto the street. I proceeded to the elevators and headed for the floor where the Liberty fabrics were on display. I knew that on this floor I would find something that fit into my budget. I wasn’t disappointed.

Kevin was walking around the floor while I went through a bin of fabric ends. When I selected a couple of pieces he assured me there was nothing else to see. When I peaked into the next room I found plenty of things that caught my eye. At the far end of the room there were some cosy chairs so Kevin settled in while I browsed some more. He quickly engaged in conversation with a couple of middle aged American women and I could hear them laughing half way through the store.

After making a few more purchases I picked Kevin up and we made our way to the basement where the men’s wear resides.

One of the things that Kevin has wanted for many years is a Barbour coat. Sure enough they had them there but unfortunately or perhaps fortunately they didn’t have one in his size. I say fortunately because we walked over to Carnaby Street and there was a store devoted to only Barbour clothing for men.

Not only did they have Kevin’s size they also had it in the blue colour that he really wanted, The best part, however, was that it was £90 cheaper than the same coat at Liberty.

We continued to walk through Carnaby Street and throughly enjoyed being tourists.

It was a great way to end our trip. After returning to our flat we started to pack up a few things and brought some of our leftovers over to our daughter-in-law, Azadeh, and we had a couple of new picture books for Sevin. Azadeh made us a wonderful farewell dinner. Unfortunately our son, Brendan had to work late tonight. He will drop by early tomorrow morning before our Uber arrives to take us to the airport.

Good-bye London. We had a great time and hopefully we’ll be back soon.

Castles in France – Part 3

….a visit to Blois to see Chateau Royal de Blois

The interesting part of this castle is that it has four wings from four different eras and in four different styles, arranged around the same courtyard.

From the Outside

On the right side is the original medieval château built by the Counts of Blois beginning in the 9th century

Inside the Courtyard

This is the Louis XII wing built the Flamboyant Gothic style between 1498 and 1508
The Francois 1 wing was built in 1515 to 1519 inspired by the Italian Renaissance
The Gaston of Orléans wing was constructed between 1635 and 1638. This wing was one of the first masterpieces of Classic French architecture

Inside the Château

Decorations over one of the two fireplaces in the King’s room
A throne with a fleur-de-lis canopy is where audiences were ranted by the king
The music room
The Queen’s Chamber dedicated to Queen Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II
The Oratory, a private space for prayer
The Estates General Room built in 1214 and used as a courtroom
One of many fireplaces found in almost every room
The vestibule of Gaston of Orléans giant construction project which was brought to a sudden stop

The wing remained an empty shell covered by an impressive oval dome…..the wing now houses temporary exhibition rooms

In the next post I will share the gardens and the views from the château.

Castles in the Loire Valley

…..as of today we managed to take in two castles, the Amboise Châteaux Royal and the Château Royal de Blois

Visiting both castles required taking trains from Tours. The actual trips took about 30 to 40 minutes unless the train was delayed because there were too many bicycles on board. Yes that’s a thing apparently. The conductor refused to let the train continue until some of the bikes were removed or properly stored. Our last trip back to Tours took an hour. I’ve never seen so many people run as they left the train trying to catch their connecting train.

We have been very lucky with the weather since arriving in Tours. Our first castle trip was to Amboise and it felt like summer. We started out in an outdoor café got a bite to eat and then made our way through the old town to the entrance of the Château Royal.

The caste’s foundation was started in the 4th century by the Celts and over the medieval period the rights to the fortress was disputed between the counts of Anjou and Blois. In the 1400s the château was confiscated by the crown and became a place for all the Valois and Bourbon Kings to live, play and raise their families.

The style of the castle was greatly inspired by the artistic vitality of the Italian artists of the period. They were invited to Amboise and together with French tastes the Early French Renaissance was created.

Queen’s bedroom and nursery
Sitting at the top
View of the Loire from the top of the castle
Making our way to the gardens

One of my favourite parts of the Château Royal in Amboise was the garden.

Looking down from the top of the château

The Gardens of Amboise…..to be continue

Priority Admission at the Louvre

…..walking with a cane has it’s advantages

When we travelled throughout Italy in 2016 with our 9 month old granddaughter we found that museums, galleries and restaurants bent over backwards to accommodate us. Six years later in France we’re finding the same thing except now it’s walking with a cane take gets us priority admission.

Back in April Kevin needed an emergency hip replacement and even though his recovery was remarkably fast he occasionally has balance issues. As a result and playing it safe he brought his cane with him on this trip to France.

On the day we went to the Louvre Kevin brought the cane, knowing that there would be a lot of walking. We preordered the tickets, thinking that would get us into museum without having to line up. We booked for the last time slot of the day and ended up in a line with hundreds of people in front of us. Our son was visibly upset. I asked him him if there was priority admission for people with mobility issues. He asked us to stay in line while he investigated.

Upon his return he told us to follow him and we walked directly to the entrance where security waved us through. This is something that all travellers with babies and mobility issues should know. Once inside I can’t say that the Louvre was easy to navigate, as there are lots of stairs but fortunately my husband was able to go up and down without too much difficulty. Had we investigated a bit more we would probably have found more elevators.

Foto Friday #49 – Return

….thanks to Rag Tag Team for hosting Foto Friday

Of all the places I’ve visited the place I’d like to return to is Venice. I loved everything about it.fullsizeoutput-6f42
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