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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

H is for HAMLET

How many of you groan at the thought of Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"?  How many had to read and study it in high school?  Anyone ever seen it on the stage or any of the movie versions?  What are your thoughts?

I am currently finishing up "Hamlet" with a student I tutor and have to say that up to now, I've never been a fan of the play.  However, every time I have to help a student with it, I learn a little bit more.  I think I've finally figured out the point that Shakespeare was trying to make through this story of a Danish prince.

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, Hamlet's father was King of Denmark and murdered by his brother Claudius, who then married his sister-in-law Gertrude.  The play follows young Hamlet as he professes to seek revenge on his uncle while at the same time, trying to love his mother as before, even though he feels she has committed the ultimate sin.

I have previously found the character of Hamlet to be frustrating because he talks a great talk but never acts on his words!  I still don't "like" the story that much, but at least this "go-round"  I finally "got it." Hamlet starts off in grief and is very depressed because his father, the King, has died.  The play works its way through Hamlet's desire to avenge his death when he finds out the truth of who and why he was murdered. 

It takes a long time, in my mind, to show how Hamlet evolves from being a "thinker" who never acts on his determinations to a "thinker" who realizes that one's life and death are in the hands of fate.

There are some words of wisdom in "Hamlet," a few of which I present here:
But he dies.  It seems like everyone dies.  As in all Shakespeare's tragedies.  My student is doing an artistic rendition (collage) to illustrate the progress of Hamlet's character through the play.  It was one option out of several, most of which were literary essays.  I convinced her this would be a lot easier and a welcome change from writing the obligatory essay!  She agreed and I think she will do well.

Thanks goodness my other grade 12 students are doing "Othello," which I find much more fun - even though it is a tragedy, too.  What might be your favourite Shakespearean play?

Monday, February 20, 2017


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


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!