Friday, November 7, 2014

Dog Parks.

Where you live are there dog parks ?  What are they like ?  

Halifax is blessed with some marvellous off leash dogs parks.  Does the image below look like a big dog park ?

Coz it's not.   It represents about 1% of Point Pleasant Park.  Can you imagine ?   The full park is 190 acres, of which 90% is designated "off leash" !   Ms. Wikipedia tells me that the park is owned by the Government of Canada (something I did not know) and is leased to Halifax for a ceremonial one shilling per year.   Prior to Hurricane Juan, which devastated the park in 2003, the shaded paths meandered through a massive forest of tall trees.

Before and after images depicting the devastating effects
of Hurricane Juan.  (Image from Wikipedia).

Now the park is far more open and bright with the new young under-story hiding the bare areas.

Located at the Southern tip of Halifax and facing the open ocean, Point Pleasant Park was once seen as a strategic military location,  hosting several artillery batteries,

and still contains the Prince of Wales Tower which is the oldest Martello Tower in North America (1796).

The Prince of Wales Tower

And if you know the right places to explore you can find some hidden ruins.

Many roads and narrower hiking paths criss-cross the park.

You could walk for hours without walking on the same path twice.

Sookie greets a dog walker with his large group of charges.  

And you'll never be short of doggie company !

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Autumn ...sigh.

 I love Autumn.

And this Autumn hasn't disappointed.

Lately I've been taking Wendy and Sooki to Shubie Off Leash Dog Park almost every day.  (Trey isn't an "off leash dog park" sorta dog).

Walking there gives the dogs the socialization and exercise they need, and I have a nice walk and the time in nature that I need.

Oh the leaves smell so marvellous as they lie in browning drifts along the paths.

I try hard not to think of Winter which is lurks just around the corner, and savour the rich colour of the season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wind and waves at MacDonald Hill

Last weekend Hurricane Gonzalo passed by us far out to sea, giving us some strong on-shore winds and higher than usual waves.

MacDonald Hill is a marvellous spot to look out over the Ocean or down at Lawrencetown's Stoney Beach.

The Kite Surfers were out in full force.  I counted eleven of them at one point.
It's also a terrific spot to walk a couple of happy dogs.

Sooki sometimes acts first, and thinks second.  Here she is rolling around, itching her back along the edge of the steep hill...

The expression on her face is priceless as she seems to suddenly realize her folly.

And "no", she did not fall down the hill.
But the wind !  Oh the wind was marvellous !   And of course Wendy enjoyed chasing the ball and Sooki rolled down the hill.   Here, let me show you.

I hope you remembered to turn up the sound on your computer.  You really need to to get the a good idea of the wind.

And then of course there were the Kite Surfers: I wasn't the only one who guessed that they'd be out enjoying the waves on Sunday.   And while you're looking at THIS noisy video of the Kite Surfers, check out Wendy poking around in the waves at the water's edge.

Did I mention that this beach is 25 minutes from my house ?

When you come to visit, I'll be sure to take you there.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Great Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival.

Last Tuesday I drove down the South Shore to Mahone Bay to check out their annual Scarecrow Festival.

It's just over an hour's drive from the Passage, down Hwy 103.   Along the way I passed the exit to the famous Peggy's Cove and kept on driving.

And wasn't disappointed once I got there.

"Marilyn Munroe" on the roof, with the wind blowing up her dress.
Wendy and I had a lunch on their outside patio.
Did I mention that Wendy had come with me ?

That middle stuffed dog looked a lot like Wendy.
I ended up with almost 40 photos of different scarecrows and had a real problem trying to figure out which ones to show you.

Being Canada, of course there had to be curlers ...

 This welcoming damsel at Zack and Nemo's Fudge Shop, was trying to lure us inside with the offer of free samples.

 I loved the wacky face on this chap, reminded me of the British comedian, Terry Thomas.  Anyone remember Terry Thomas ?

I could almost imagine these lovely ladies calling: "Hey sailor!".

"Lance Arm Straw" found himself suspended from the wall of a bike shop.

I don't think I need to explain who these folks are -- do I ?

I was surprised to see Ike and Tina Turner back together again.

Dining in style on the verandah of a local B&B.

A more traditional looking scarecrow couple.

Wendy and I had a lovely wander around town.  The actual festival had been the weekend before and sadly it had rained heavily on the scarecrows.  Someone had done an excellent job of fixing them back up again once the skies cleared.

We stopped for one final photo before heading out of town.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

If it's Tuesday, this must be Toronto.

I was raised on Musicals. I grew up thinking that all families were obsessed with Musicals.

On car road trips my mom, dad, brother and I, would play a game where someone would sing a line from a song, and someone else would have to sing the next line, or perhaps sing a line from another song from the same Musical. We all thought this was great fun.

My  beloved dad worked as the House Manager at the O'Keefe Centre in Toronto back in the heyday of musical theatre.  The O'Keefe's official opening in October of 1960 was celebrated with the world premier of "Camelot" starring Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet.  Sadly being only 10 years old, I fell asleep and missed most of the second act.  As time went on big musicals would use Toronto, specifically The O'Keefe  as their "try out" location before heading to Broadway with the result that I was immersed in musicals throughout my formative teen years.

I am delighted to report that that love of musical theatre is shared by my daughter, Kaitlyn, who at age eight, asked for row seats to "Phantom of the Opera" for her Birthday.

This all goes to explain why Kait and I flew to Toronto last Tuesday afternoon, saw two musicals, and then flew back to Halifax on Thursday afternoon !

The story begins last June when I discovered that the cheeky musical "The Book of Mormon" would be coming to Toronto in September.  The die was cast when I realized that "Wicked" would be in Toronto at the same time!  On-line tickets were ordered, a Porter Airline seat sale was taken advantage of, and three months later we were off on our much-anticipated adventure.

Toronto's distinctive skyline.  See the SkyDome and the CN Tower ?
Flying into the small island airport on Porter Airlines you are presented with stunning views of downtown Toronto. 

We are lucky enough to have wonderful family who live in the core of the City and let us flop with them, took us out for a lovely dinner and just generally made us not feel like free-loaders.

In a frenzy of flights and transit and walks, the big trip has come and gone.

The Toronto I visited, is so very different from the Toronto of my childhood.  I felt intimidated, thrilled and  over-whelmed by a feeling of not belonging.  As the saying goes: "A great place to visit: but I wouldn't want to live there".  Kait felt quite the opposite: she loved the excitement, crowds and frenzy of of the City.

Took me a bit to figure out how my hand was reflected in that far off building. 
Dundas Street approaching Yonge.

On Wednesday I met up with a dear friend for lunch at Milestones.

Me and my good friend, Bonnie.

I must admit that there is a beauty to the City, but I found the stunning contrasts of the pretty people walking past the beggars most troubling.  I struggled with how to deal with them too: giving to some and speaking to others.  I just wonder if at some point, I too would find it easier just to walk by ...

And then of course there were the shows.

I loved each of them for very different reasons.  I know the music from both shows well, and though I knew the story of each, I found "The Book of Mormon" to be a grittier than I expected.  Each musical won a "Best Musical".   Here is the hit song "Defying Gravity" from the 2004 Tony Awards introduced by Joel Grey who played The Wizard.  Book of Mormon won its award in 2012 and "I Believe" is our anti-hero's touching statement of his suddenly rattled. Mormon faith.

 I think you either like musicals or they just aren't your cup of tea.  There seems to be no middle ground.  Which camp do you fall into ?