About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, February 20, 2017

G is for GREAT ORME


Last week, I took you to North Yorkshire and St. Stephen's Church in Fylingdales.  This week, we are going west to northern Wales to the Great OrmeGeographically, it's a prominent limestone headland next to the town of Llandudno and juts out into the Irish Sea. Llandudno was a must-see for me as my paternal grandmother was born there and I was not disappointed. However, it was a stretch for me to imagine her life there in the late 1800s and early 1900s as the city is so modern, albeit with its Victorian architecture everywhere, and vibrant with tourists as it is a seaside resort town. The Great Orme overlooks the city and you can even see Liverpool's solar wind turbines from there! Here is an aerial view of the Great Orme that I found through Mr. Google. Llandudno is behind the promontory.
Parts of the Great Orme are managed as nature reserves and about half is used for farmland, mostly goat and sheep grazing.  Humans began mining for copper as far back as the Bronze Age and after these mines were abandoned, the Romans reopened the workings.  In 1692, copper mining resumed and kept going until the end of the 19th century. In the 20th century, the mines were once again reopened, and the Bronze Age mine workings are now a fee-paying attraction for the public to experience. I didn't see this attraction, but rather went to the official visiting center where there was a fascinating hands-on history exhibit that transitioned into a lighthouse area and flora and fauna exhibits, for which the Great Orme is famous.

One note of interest is that a herd of about 200 Kashmir goats has roamed the headlands of the Great Orme since the Shah of Persia presented a pair to Queen Victoria just after her coronation 1837.  All the goats that roam here today are descended from these two goats by artificial contraception.  Also, the Royal Welsh Regiment of the British Army  is permitted by the British Monarch to choose an animal from the herd to be a regimental goat (if it passes selection, it is given the honorary rank of lance corporal). 

We took the official Great Orme Tramway to the summit and spent a long time looking around.  We saw the visitor center, the gardens at the back, wandered across the grassy slopes to the edge of the cliffs (thank goodness there was a fence!), took lots of great photos, and then thought we'd take a gander in the Summit Complex.  There, we got a bite to eat with the obligatory tea, grooved with a statue of a famous Welsh boxer, and took in the gleaming bar! When we walked outside into the glorious sunshine, the wind almost took us off our feet.  So we took a selfie looking very Welsh and pale and wind-blown, but I'm sharing it because we are acting goofy and not looking at ALL glamorous!

When we arrived in Llandudno earlier, we got lost looking for the Great Orme.  We ended up pulling over at the edge of the Irish Sea and beside a great cliff.  While Jane checked her map, I hopped out to take some photos.  Little did we know that the cliff WAS the Great Orme; we just needed to find where to park the car and find the entrance to the Tramway to take us up. And what an adventure it was!  See the Smilebox slideshow and turn up your music for some ambience.  Most of the photos are mine, but I think it's pretty obvious which ones aren't (like aerial views!)
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow


Monday, February 13, 2017

F is for FYLINGDALES

Welcome to ABC Wednesday!  This week, we honour the letter F as in film, fancy, farmer, flamboyant, and fervour.  I'm going to continue my travel log by telling you about a fascinating area  I visited in North Yorkshire, England.  FYLINGDALES is a parish in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park that includes the village of Robin Hood's Bay and Fyling Hall School.

One afternoon, after exploring Whitby Abbey, Jill's Mom suddenly thought we should drive out to the moors to show me an old church perched on a small knoll with its cemetery that is visited by local sheep to keep the grass down.  The first church was founded in the 11th century but in 1870, the building was replaced because it was in poor condition, being both dark and too small.  As of 1986, it is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

I took many photos inside this fascinating church and Jill and her Mom told me the story of the Maidens' Garlands.  The heartbreaking display is of garlands made out of strips of cloth that women wound into "crowns" at the funeral procession of young, single and chaste girls who had passed away, never to experience the joys of womanhood and motherhood.
Outside, sheep were grazing among the grave stones and across the narrow lane, cows contentedly munched away.  Gazing into the distance and down the hill I could see Robin Hood's Bay with its red roofs, a beautiful, small fishing village right by the seaside.  It has a "tradition of smuggling, and there is reputed to be a network of subterranean passageways linking the houses. During the late 18th century smuggling was rife on the Yorkshire coast. Vessels from the continent brought contraband which was distributed by contacts on land and the operations were financed by syndicates who made profits without the risks taken by the seamen and the villagers. Tea, gin, rum, brandy and tobacco were among the contraband smuggled into Yorkshire from the Netherlands and France to avoid the duty."

As it was a spur of the moment idea to take me here, it's fascinating that it ended up to be one of my favourite spots to see.This is a shot I found on Google and I like it because it shows the church and its cemetery on the hillside on a beautiful summer day.  You can see my shots on the slideshow which is, as usual, accompanied by music to set the mood.  I hope you enjoy it.  This post is dedicated to Jill and her Mom with greatest thanks for taking me there.
With fervent thanks to the entire team of ABC Wednesday, beginning with the flaxen-haired Denise Nesbitt, our creator, and the fabled Roger, our administrator.  Also, thanks to the faithful team who assist in visiting each and every contributor and to Melody, a familiar ABCW member who has agreed to take on the formidable task of being the new administrator beginning with the next Round (21).
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, February 04, 2017

E is for EAGLES

Welcome to E week at ABC Wednesday!   E as in eggs, Elvis, emerald, exertion, and EAGLES.  We see a lot of bald eagles where I live just north of the United States border on the west coast.  And especially at this time of year, we see them here teaching their fledglings how to fly and prey on small critters. 

I often go out with my camera to try to get shots of them, but this year is an exciting year because there has been an increase in those who have gathered in one location near the dyke.  Apparently, when the water is high due to heavy rains, it's extremely hard for eagles to access their main food source - salmon. Most of the salmon were washed out of the tributaries and into the Fraser River.  However, because there is an organic transfer station nearby, the waste has become a secondary source of food for the eagles.  Also, there are a lot of ducks and seagulls in the area so they are sources of food for them, too.

I haven't been too successful getting good shots of the eagles, but here are a few I can share.  Go and see some of a local photographer's shots at www.delta-optimist.com.  Scroll down to the photos and click to see 14 shots by Gord Goble.  Here are a few of my not-so-professional ones.




 
Everlasting thanks to Denise Nesbitt for creating ABC Wednesday, to our extremely erudite current editor Roger, and to the eager Melody who has enthusiastically agreed to be our next editor when this meme continues in July.  Be sure to explain all about ABCW to your friends and family and encourage them to take part.  I can tell you that I've met many ladies in person through ABCW and feel that I've made some enchanting new friends!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

D is for DRUIDS TEMPLE

Welcome to D week, D as in dainty, demagogue, dishes, dentistry, and dumpster.  Today, I'd like to deliver you to the Druids Temple near Ilton in North Yorkshire, England.  Usually, when one hears the word "druid" one automatically thinks of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.  And for sure, "lurid tales of religious ceremonies involving human sacrifice, presided over by a strange class of mystical priests, have come down to us. Often, these stories take place inside one of the stone circles, or "temples." While we don't know about the human sacrifices, we do know that the megalithic structures were constructed long before the first reports." http://www.britannia.com/wonder/michell2.html

The Druids Temple that I visited is a bit different.  It was created in 1820 by William Danby who owned nearby Swinton Hall. He created it in order to generate work for the local population who were paid 1 shilling a day.  A local Baroness even wrote that "One Sunday afternoon, my secretary was going for a walk with a friend when she found a pig's head sitting on the altar, which gave her a terrific shock. It is thought that there has been Devil worship there."  She continued on to explain that "On another occasion, I had to leave home early one morning. Just outside Masham, I found a small group of Leeds University students who had spent the night at the druids temple. They were cold and frightened. With the night shadows and the country noises, such as owls hooting, they had fled. As I was going towards Leeds, I gave them a lift. They told me that they had had a terrible experience."

I visited the Druids Temple on a beautiful sunny day in July with my friends Jill and her husband Phil and their adult son Jack.  We drifted up the wide pathway to a forested area where Jill had us follow her through towards this divine area. She advised me to not deviate from the path as you never know what might be waiting for you if you get lost!  Yeah, right Jill!!!  She is such a comedienne. 
Upon seeing the site, I was delirious with joy!  It was absolutely delightful and I couldn't wait to get started photographing it.  We had a dreamy couple of hours going in and out of the stone settings and Jill even laid down on one of the flat rocks and raised her arms to the sky!  We told her to be careful or she might be transported elsewhere!  Jack climbed up one of the hills where there was a giant pile of flat rocks overlooking the circular temple below. And then he and I took turns pretending to be the dazzling "King" and "Queen" of the temple on another rock formation that appeared to be designed like a throne.

It was such a deliriously delicious day unhampered by any devious or diabolical devil worshipers, but then as I said before, it was a beautiful sunny July afternoon.  I'm not sure if I'd be so comfortable had it been in the dark of the night or even if the moon was shining! We might have run into the three witches from "Macbeth" dancing around their pot and chanting "Fair is foul and foul is fair:/Hover through the fog and filthy air." Act 1 Scene 1 Lines 10-11

I hope you enjoy this virtual tour of the Druids Temple - only 20 shots but one photo just doesn't do it justice and it was one of the highlights of my trip.  This post is dedicated to Jill and Phil and Jack with great thanks for delivering me to this idyllic spot.  Be sure to turn up the music for full ambiance as you watch!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, January 22, 2017

C is for CHEPSTOW CASTLE


Welcome to C week of Round 20 at ABC Wednesday! I'd like to show you Chepstow Castle that I visited last summer while I was in Wales. It is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain and construction began in 1067 under the Norman Lord William fitzOsbern. Those of you who remember your history lessons may recall the 1067 was the Battle of Hastings under the leadership of William the Conqueror and fitzOsbern was one of his pals.

What really impressed me was that it is built on a high rock above the swirling waters of the River Wye, standing guard over a strategic crossing point into Wales (from England). From the outside, it appears to be in good shape, but upon entering, one couldn't help but notice the views over the ramparts, over which I leaned in order to get photos of the outsides of the stone walls. Across the river were cows contentedly munching away at the green green grass of Monmouthsire, Wales. Outside overlooking the river was a straw replica of a horse mounted by a Welsh soldier holding the Welsh flag (see photo).

All photos are mine unless otherwise stated as "courtesy of Mr. G)
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, January 16, 2017

B is for BEATLES MUSEUM

As promised, I'm taking you to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool, England!  The first time I went to Liverpool, I was excited to see it because it was located under the hotel on Albert Dock where I was staying.  Unfortunately, it just happened to be the 50th anniversary of the band's formation and there were celebrations going on all over.  Thus, the museum was stuffed to its limits and I didn't want to battle those crowds when I only had one afternoon and a day in the city.  But...in 2016, I returned, stayed at the same hotel on Albert Dock, and things were much quieter in the museum.
I must say there are pros and cons to the museum - at least for me.  After buying my ticket and picking up the obligatory headphones, I headed downstairs.  It was very dark with people hunched against walls listening to their headphones while looking at the displays in each room.  I have to say it was a tad creepy as the whole place was made to look like dark streets with stages, a submarine, and displays - all things that made me feel rather claustrophobic.  I felt as though I were walking down gloomy alleys in a bad part of town expecting a barrage of bruisers to approach at any moment. Although cool from the air conditioning, there was a distinct oppressive atmosphere.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION
 RINGO'S DRUMS
THEIR GUITARS
   BACKDROP FOR A GIG
 THE YELLOW SUBMARINE
JOHN LENNON'S "WHITE ROOM"
PHOTO OF THE FAMOUS POSTER
That said, though, with my bad back aching badly after a while, I found the display that encompassed a set of seats from a jet with the story of the Beatles' first trip to "America."  There was a screen on the wall and when a seat became available, I was able to sit down and breathe easier for a bit.  I ended up listening to the end of the tape on the headphones so that I could continue meandering the museum unencumbered.
Anyway, I clambered up out of the "dungeon" to the gift shop (de rigueur at any tourist spot, of course) and took a brief look around.  As usual, things were pricey and I didn't have much room in my luggage for anything other than essentials.  So I passed and went back downstairs to the charming little restaurant to get a cold beverage before rising again from the darkness into the sunny afternoon.  That's when I went over to the Liverpool Wheel across from the hotel.  (see last week's post)

Just a few photos to give you an idea of what is in the museum - so much more than this and, no matter what I felt about the atmosphere, it is definitely worth a visit.  And when I went on the Hop On/Hop Off bus the next day to see the whole city of Liverpool, we went past the famous Cavern Pub but I didn't get off to go inside.  The street didn't look, shall I say, savory? But I did get this shot from the top level of the bus.
And this one of me with the Beatles' statues at the front of the Mersey Ferry Docks.  A stranger very kindly took the photo of me and I reciprocated by taking one of him and his wife.  I wanted to be in the photo because it's the only way to show how big it is - (I'm about 5'6 1/2" tall).  The bronze sculpture weighs 1.2 tonnes and reflects a real photo shoot of them walking along the Mersey.
Thanks to everyone at ABC Wednesday, beginning with Denise Nesbitt, the creator, to the beloved Roger, our administrator for the past several years, and to the blessed group of ABCWers who bounded on the bandwagon to keep the load of work down for each helper. Everyone who contributes to ABC Wednesday benefits from these devoted bodies who have bonded through our common dream of keeping ABCW going past Round 20.

Interested in participating?  Get in touch with Roger.

Monday, January 09, 2017

A is for ALBERT DOCK

Welcome one and all to ABC Wednesday's "Farewell Tour."  After Round 20 we will have been going strong for 10 years, thanks to the creative genius of Denise Nesbitt.  Thanks definitely go to Roger, our administrative wizard for the past several years and to the team (listed on the t-shirt) for their genuine caring that all contributors receive positive comments.  Anyone up for continuing ABCW in this format or in another, please get in touch with Roger!

Now on to the first letter of the alphabet - A as in apple, archery, appetite, acrobat, adjective, aerodynamic, and Africa.  This week I would like to take you to Albert Dock in Liverpool, England, where I stayed once in 2012 and once in 2016 before meeting with our team member Di and her awesome hubby at the amiable restaurant called Gusto!

I didn't stay long in Liverpool in 2012 because I was on my way to the Isle of Man, but did appreciate staying on Albert Dock, which was so close to the ferry terminal that I could walk there.  Last summer (2016) I stayed long enough to take the hop on/hop off bus and tour the city for the day and a half.  When I arrived by train from Wales, I spent the afternoon at the Beatles Museum and wandered over to the Liverpool Wheel where I got on and took lots of photos from the top. I got lots of photos everywhere I went the next day but this week will focus only on Albert Dock. If you click on the first photo, you can then just move forward to the next ones.

No introduction to this needed, I'm sure! Go HERE to check out close-ups and the story of when this was erected - 50 years after their last show in Merseyside.

Ronald William Wycherley, better known by his stage name Billy Fury, was an English singer from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s, and remained an active songwriter until the 1980s. Rheumatic fever, which he first contracted as a child, damaged his heart and ultimately contributed to his death. An early British rock and roll star, he equalled the Beatles' record of 24 hits in the 1960s, and spent 332 weeks on the UK chart, without a chart-topping single or album. This statue of him was between my hotel on the dock and the Mersey Ferry Terminals.
Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria - at the front of the Mersey Ferry Terminal

Albert Dock at night - I took this on my return from Gusto's restaurant after
an appetizing dinner with Di and Ian.  This week's contribution is dedicated to them!

See you next week when I'll take you to the Beatles Museum for Week B!