Thursday, June 23, 2022

Things go on

June has been a bit of a mess thus far. I got back from London, Stephen went to Edinburgh. When he got back we all we under the weather for a week at least. 

So not much walking has been done. Not much cooking has been done. And it is just too much to go back and remember what I did cook out of which book. 

I did start off well, a picture of feet from the beginning of the month. I believe the cute little purple bag was from Liberty in London and contained a chocolate bar for a friend. Not a fancy chocolate bar, but she insists the English ones are better than our Canadian ones. The bag was just a wee fancy touch. 

I saw a nice rose. (I'm still always amazed at the clear pictures one gets with a gol-darned phone these days.)

I went for a walk with friends. We thought we'd end up at the beach but we were hundreds of feet up at the top of unstable cliffs. Nice view; we'll try to find the beach on our next attempt.

One day I was downtown and tried to get an arty shot of other people's feet. This sort of worked with a lot of cropping.

There was a party. One of our longtime neighbours is moving about 6 or 8 blocks away, so an outdoor potluck was called for. Great fun! I do really like my neighbours and my street! 

We had our annual street party for the first time since 2019, and though Stephen and I stayed on the porch because we were unwell, everyone else seemed to be having a pretty good time. I did make a delicious beef stew for just us. 

Hopefully we can move forward and I can get a few more feet pictures and a few snappy recipes made before the end of the month. I even looked at my knitting today, so that is a step in the right direction. 

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Back on track in June

May's cook book was Small Plates Perfect Wines, and June's will be Nantucket Open-House Cookbook. 

I made a couple of things from May's book and think it is a keeper. One just needs to plan and think a bit, because these recipes are not necessarily quick and carefree. If you don't have crabmeat or radicchio on hand, you'll need to pop out to the shops. 

The other day I made Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes, which is just what it says. Cut long thin eggplants into strips (I just cut them in half longwise but I could have done thirds.) and grill on the barbecue. Then cut tomatoes and grill them. Make a dressing with oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, orange zest; throw some fresh basil over it all. Nice! I also made a flank steak from this book... I did not, however, have the presence of mind to blog it earlier. As I recall, it was fine. This book goes back on the shelf! 

June's books is one of those that I've had forever, know a couple of tried and true recipes in, and rarely look at the rest. It is more of a party, entertaining, slightly fancy-pants recipe book. I think it will be great for June because there are lots of meal-sized salads. 

May's photo theme was Environmental Trash, and if I hadn't gone to England I imagine I could have kept that up. I did get a few interesting moments with that theme. June's theme is Feet. 

As you may have noticed I put my feet into photos quite often, so the trick will be to take my feet to interesting places, I guess. 

We'll be in a bit of a tizzy here for a week or so while we get Elaine settled in her new digs, Stephen goes to the UK and comes back again and we contemplate our future. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

I was away and now I'm back

I have had this post half-written for a while so I'd best just post it and start afresh!

May seems to be over. I did not cook from my book for two weeks and I took loads of pictures but hardly any with my photo theme of the month. Oh well. I will do a recipe round-up in a day or two, because I did get in a couple.

Let's see if I can condense two weeks holiday into a reasonable number of pictures... 

We missed spring flowers by a couple of weeks, but when we were in King's Lynn, the California Lilac was simply amazing! What a colour.

Everywhere we went we saw preparations for the Jubilee celebrations coming up next weekend. I did not add to my pile of royal plates. (I have thrift store pieces from both the Charles/Diana and Andrew/Fergie weddings.)

We spent a few days getting our bearings in King's Lynn and then quick took the bus to Hunstanton, where our walk started. 

The cliffs at Hunstanton are white chalk and red chalk and red carstone. Very striking. I know from 2019 that there are also cliffs in Cromer, the other end of our walk. 

I was unprepared, however, for the miles and miles of marshy, sandy, tidal flats in between. It's great bird habitat. We are not birders. 

Early on, we could see the beach and the sand and, way out there, the water. 

As time went on, though, the salt marshes took over and the water disappeared. The "coast" is pretty ill-defined, with shifting sands, grassy bits, dunes, erosion from one year to the next. We often walked along the top of a dike, or sea defense. 

Marsh on the left; fields on the right. And we just kept going, in between. 

After a couple of days of apparently endless salt marshes, we played hooky. We took a bus to Morston Quay and got a boat out to the seal colony. Alas, May is not a good month for seals, but we did see a few, and we got a boat ride. As you can see it was a bit of a grey day. We got to wear our woolly hats, so we didn't carry them all that way for nothing!

Our last day started in Cromer. We were scheduled to take the bus back to Blakeney and then walk to Cromer but we decided to walk to the next town along, Sheringham, and see what we felt like once we got there. It started to rain, so we nipped in to the museum, but it was nice and clear when we got out so we walked back. 

Then, magically, we turn up in London! 

Impromptu Covid memorial: 

More Jubilee prep: 

What's on the fourth plinth?! 

Our dinner on Tuesday! 

We went to Hampton Court. Again we had just missed the spring flowers, but the peonies and roses were out, and the whole house (palace!) and garden were pretty amazing. 

A smattering of photos:

We had one more day in London which we spent in a couple of small museums and out wandering about. I left my phone on a park bench once, and had to retrace my steps, not sure where exactly I'd left it! That all ended well but it was a bit of a panic for a few minutes! We ate well, walked a lot, got hailed on once, were delighted with everything. 

I am sort of back in this time zone, but I do find myself awake early in the morning. Our youngest is moving to a basement suite 10 houses away, so soon I won't be awakened by her getting up in the morning. And we'll all be back to normal! Always a new normal...

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Some trash and some animals

The other day we went to High Park, home of a bunch of cherry trees and other things. The first thing we came upon was this polar bear made of trash. 

The ocean is made of bottles, a bike helmet, barrel lids, all sorts of intriguing things. 

A shoe, a fan, every little thing. 

A sewing machine case! Computer parts, big things, little things. 

Even a tray or something from the Toronto zoo, who I think sponsored this installation. 

It certainly attracted attention and will make people think about their garbage and recycling. I don't know how we can make people buy less, fix more, waste less, but this is part of the process, I am sure. 

Another part of the park we love is the little zoo. There are llamas and capybaras and this lovely family of Highland cows. Very cute. 

The peacocks were in fine form, but it is hard to take a picture through the fences! 

I have a couple of pictures of the back end of some with their fans up, but they were awkward and not very good. 

There were a couple of females who were wiggling their tails around, and the menfolk showed off for quite a while. As far as I could tell nothing came of it, but they gave us a great show. 

And we finally made it to the cherry blossoms. I could go on about the difference between the city streets in Vancouver lined with trees, and this one small clutch of trees here, but perhaps I won't. 

Roads in the park were closed to manage the crowds. There were classes of kindergarten kids, whole families with grandmas and babies -- and everyone had a telephoto lens and all that. Quite the spectacle. 

You can tell the seasons are changing, not only because of the cherry blossoms, but because the sunset is now sorta visible from our front porch. This one was pretty colourful! Once again I will restrain myself from making comparisons between this and your average sunset over English Bay....

We are making some progress in our plan for getting to Vancouver permanently, but it is slow. We have kicked one baby out of the nest and are gearing up to get rid of the second; then it will just be our problem! 

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Off to a good start, I think

I was a little bit worried about my May photo theme, Environmental Trash. However, first thing this morning I was on my way to volunteer for the film festival and saw these shiny, bright, bouncy helium-filled mylar balloons. 

They were discarded by the side of the road, abandoned and alone. They were blowing around in the breeze, making it hard to get a photo. 

It had clearly been someone's 80th birthday, a milestone for sure! Their friends gave them something pretty, something shiny, something actually completely useless. 

These balloons never biodegrade and aren't recyclable. They are terrible for wildlife and can mess up power lines if they escape and fly away. Totally fitting for my theme of the month. 

As if that weren't enough, on my way home from my volunteering shift, I walked up a lane and came across this: 

a small, toy drone. Someone undoubtedly crashed it and gave it up. Or, who knows, maybe they were just running around the neighbourhood trying to find where it had landed! It probably has a battery in it, unless someone had come along and taken it out. 

Unfortunately, there seems to be lots of trash around. 

I also saw a few masks discarded here and there. I have heard of someone in Vancouver who started picking them up and counting them, and had found over 30,000 in the pandemic. That's a lot of trash. I hope I don't resort to showing you pictures of discarded masks over this month. But I am a bit more hopeful that this could be pretty interesting. 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

The last of the dots and dashes

This is the end of the dots and dashes month, photo-theme-wise. I have been spending a lot of my mornings lately in the office of the Hot Docs festival, registering volunteers and helping out. We are not over-worked at all; people are coming in slowly but surely and there has been no rush, as least when I've been there. 

So I have time to look at things like plastic chairs, covered in dots. 

A heating unit, covered in dashes!

And out the window, I can see the diagonals of the cranes building us some new skyscrapers at Bloor and Bathurst, site of the Honest Ed's store in years gone by. 

Right in front of me was the base for the computer, diagonals all the way. 

This month's photo challenge was fun, but I wish I had gone looking in weirder places; gone into the woods or paid more attention to plants. It all seemed to be manufactured dots and dashes. 

Next month's photos will presumably be in outdoor settings, as the theme is Environmental Trash! I have almost two weeks here before I go on my trip, so I will see what I can do around town. May is also cherry blossom month here in Toronto, so stay tuned for that! 

I received my package from the walking tour company! I have two OS maps of North Norfolk and a nice book with loads of info. I have been fussing and planning and whatever, and this just gives me more fodder, so I am pretty happy about that. 

 Tomorrow I will introduce the May cookbook and see what I can do about finding some nice pictures of the environment with some trash. I'm interested to see how that works out.