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, December 26, 2016

Y is for YEAR

The year 2016 brought many changes to my life - some good, some not so good.  Regardless, I am looking forward to what 2017 might bring - better health I hope (especially regarding my back as I will be facing the prospect of another back surgery), more travel (dependant on the back situation), and making new friends.  One thing I am happy about is that 2016 brought me to a new home.  I love my condo and have already made some good friends here. 

As this is a busy time of year for everyone, I will keep this brief.  Just would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and may all your wishes come true.  Blessings to all.

Click to play this Smilebox invite

Monday, December 19, 2016

X is for XMAS

This is partly a repeat from last year's X week so I thought that with X being our letter of the week and landing just days before Christmas Day, I thought I'd take this opportunity again to wish everyone who celebrates it a very Merry Christmas.

Christmas is also sometimes known as Xmas. Since Christmas comes from Christ-Mass, the Church service that celebrated the birth of Jesus, some people don't think it's correct to call Christmas 'Xmas' because that takes the 'Christ' (Jesus) out of Christmas.  But that's not quite right! In the Greek language and alphabet, the letter that looks like an X is the Greek letter chi / Χ (pronounced 'kye' - it rhymes with 'eye') which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos.  Therefore, Xmas can also mean Christmas; but it should also be pronounced 'Christmas' rather than 'ex-mas'!

The following is a shot that I took last week just outside the front doors of our local library.  I think it encompasses everything we should all aspire to for every day of the year, especially with all the terrorism, wars, hunger, and strife happening all over the world right now!

from -  'Twas the Night Before Christmas

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

W is for WHITBY

Whitby is a seaside town in the North Yorkshire Moors, at the mouth of the River Esk that empties into the North Sea.  The area around this wonderful town is one of my favourite places that I have ever visited because of the history and beauty of the countryside.  My dear friend Jill lives in a small village about 3 miles inland from Whitby and, after two visits, has shown me so much of the area that I wish I could live there!  If I could drive standard shift from the right hand side of the car, I'd be there in a flash.  However, I did try it once and was totally upside down and twisted.  Although I do know how to drive shift, doing it with my left hand had me flummoxed!  So I guess I'll just have to make do with visits when Jill or her husband can drive me.

Whitby's history is amazing!  The earliest known settlement was in 656 when the Christian king of Northumbria founded the first abbey.  In 867 the monastery was destroyed by Viking raiders and another monastery was founded in 1078. It was during this period when the town got its name Whitby, meaning "white settlement" in Old Norse.  The town functioned as a fishing settlement until, in the 18th century, it developed as a port and centre for shipbuilding and whaling, trade in locally mined alum, and the manufacture of Whitby jet jewellery.  See my post on jet jewelry here. 

Whitby Abbey is the town's oldest and most well-known landmark.  Whitby also has a strong literary tradition and has featured in literary works, television and cinema, most famously in Bram Stoker's "Dracula."  There's a fascinating article about Dracula's birthplace in Whitby right here, well worth reading!

The actual town of Whitby has an "old" side and a "new" side so after we had seen Whitby Abbey and the Abbey House plus St. Mary's Church high on the hillside, we wandered down to the older area of town.  As someone who has lived in or near Whitby all her life, Jill knew all the little nooks and crannies.  Suddenly, she said "Come with me!"  And we crept down the narrowest alleyway I'd ever seen and at the other end was a spectacular sight.  We saw private gardens, little shops, artwork and crafts and sights that the other tourists would never see!  We went to the Jet Museum, but just as we were going to leave, a rain cloud dumped its load.  As tourists scattered, we crossed over to Marie Antoinette's tea house where we had hot chocolate and carrot cake beneath the most beautiful chandelier.  All I could think as we sat there was "Let them eat cake!"

When the rain finally stopped, we crossed the bridge into the newer side of Whitby and went into a modern grocery store to pick up a few supplies.  Then we headed back home to her village of Grosmont on the bus.  What a ride that was!  Bumpity bump along the winding roadway up the hills and down until we arrived home.  What a wonderful day!
There's a slideshow waiting for you to view, should you wish to do so.  The music is the theme to the movie "Black Beauty," very subtle as you view my photos.  Enjoy!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, December 04, 2016


Venta Silurum was a Roman town in the province of Britannia (Britain) that was established in AD75.  Today, some of its remains can be seen in the village of Caerwent, Monmouthshire in south east Wales.  One day this past summer, my friend Jane and I were on our way home after spending most of the day at a place nearby.  Jane said that she often goes by this way, but had never stopped to see what was beyond the wall at the side of the road.  She suggested we investigate.  Lo and behold it was part of the remains of Venta Silurum!

A sign told us quite a bit of history of the place and referred us to other areas within the village center. So off we went, found a parking spot at the side of the road and started to explore. "Venta Silurum" apparently means "market town of the Silures" (a Roman tribe in Wales).  For more history of the place, check out sites online.  Not everyone is interested in the history of the Romans in Wales, but if you are, it's quite extensive.  There's a Roman museum and amphitheater in Caerleon that I visited in 2006 with Jane.  Following are some shots from then. 

The village of Caerwent continues to excavate, concentrating on the forum-basilica (the market place and civic hall) of Venta Silurum in order to study the urbanisation of Rome-Britain.  It's incredible how the village has grown around these ruins...imagine having that history in "your" backyard!

So this year, having seen the Roman ruins in Caerwent, I thought I'd put a few shots on a slideshow. I chose the music, called "The Emperor" because it sounds just like you'd hear in a movie when the Roman troops come marching in...powerful yet haunting.   So enjoy - only 12 photos, most mine but a couple from Mr. Google.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, November 28, 2016

U is for UNUSUAL

Round 19 has flown by!  Already, we're at the letter U so that means it's not long until our ultimate Round will start.  As Roger has mentioned, it will be the "Farewell Tour," thus the emblem for Round 20 is the ultra-deluxe t-shirt designed by Troy.
Those who have been contributing for a long time will remember that Denise Nesbitt (from North Yorkshire, UK) began ABC Wednesday many years ago and it became unusually popular, getting posts from people all over the world!  Roger took over as Administrator of ABCW several years ago and I became his Assistant Administrator.  We then managed to put together a team so that everyone who posted to ABCW would receive visits and comments from as many people as possible.  Now, after 20 Rounds that equals 10 years, most of us on the team are, as Roger says, "fried" and even though we want to continue, our lives and availability to put so much time into it have become limited.  I, for one, would like to continue but only in a contributing manner, not as someone on the team. A few people have expressed interest in continuing ABCW in a different way, so by all means, get in touch with Roger with your ideas and he will assist you in how to do it. 

Now for my "Unusual" photo of the week, I bring you a few shots of a very special and unusual train that I saw near Darlington in North Yorkshire last summer.  My host pulled over on the side of the highway and told me to get my camera ready.  Uncertain as to what I'd see, my jaw dropped at the sight of this unconventional and unadulterated work of art.
"Designed by leading contemporary artist and sculptor David Mach, Train is made from 185,000 local "Accrington Nori" bricks and commemorates Darlington's illustrious heritage as "home of the railways."  Here are a couple more shots from the website.

Mach describes his train as "as much a piece of architecture as a sculpture," 60 metres long and 6 metres high, it is a perfect rendering of the 1938 classic locomotive "Mallard", complete with plume of billowing smoke.  Creating a large scale, life-like whole out of thousands of commonplace objects is Mach's trademark. To read more about this unusual piece of art and the artist, view the website here.

See you all next week when we venture into the terrain of the letter V as in violet and vegetables.

Monday, November 21, 2016

T is for TENBY (Wales)

Last week I was telling you about stained glass windows in Liverpool and York, but this week we swing down towards the south west of Wales to a town called Tenby.  It's a walled seaside town in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, on the western side of Carmarthen Bay and it's known for the buildings that are painted in pastel shades.  It was a beautiful sunny day in June when I arrived with my dear friend Liz, who's from Swansea.  After finding a parking spot, we travelled by foot through the old center of town where lots of shops tried to entice the tourists inside to buy their wares. My camera was in hand and I was happily snapping away because I was transformed by the architecture, the bustle of the small crowds, and all the colour!  Oh the colour was totally amazing!

After wandering the shops in the town, we headed towards the water.  From there I could see high on the hill to my left, an entire wall of pastel coloured homes and other buildings that overlooked Carmarthen Bay. What a view they have from there.   The harbour was full of boats and it appears that almost everyone who lives there must have one! You could buy fresh fish and even fish and chips right there in the harbour.  Then we hiked up the very steep Castle Hill to see the view and the memorial statue of Prince Albert and the cannon that was used to defend this walled town of Tenby.

Other notable features of Tenby are the 2 1/2 miles of sandy beaches, the 13th century medieval stone walls, the 15th century St. Mary's Church, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (part of Wales' only coastal National Park), and the offshore monastic Caldey Island.  I'd love to go back and travel over to this island to explore. Click on the link to see a bit of it. 

Tenby is so beautiful, I thought it best to do a slideshow for you because even though the photos would never capture it perfectly, it's better than just writing about it. I even caught some seagulls in a few of the shots. So do enjoy!  Please note that all the photos are mine except for #s 8, 10 & 21 all of which came from Mr. Google. Also, this post is dedicated to Liz, my friend who took me to Tenby for the day!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Welcome to ABC Wednesday, the superlative of weekly memes, created by the stellar Mrs. Denise and administered by the saintly Mr. Roger.  This week we celebrate the letter S as in sunshine, salad, sensational, soup, and sincere.  During my travels last summer, I chanced upon several spots where I stood in awe at stained glass windows. 

I was very excited to arrive at the sacred Liverpool Cathedral and exited the Hop On/Hop Off bus with spirit and sparkle.  After seeing the singularly exceptional entrance, I excitedly entered the cathedral.  Such was my anticipation of this visit that I had my camera secure and at the ready!  To the left, was a beautiful window with flower boxes brimming full of splendid and stately selections of showy blooms.
This stained glass window, although extremely pretty with its pinks, blues, yellows, and greens was nothing compared to what awaited me in the cathedral proper. As I slowly walked down the wide entry hall, I was completely unaware of what awaited me. To the right, I gazed upward toward the west window which has been designed around the "Benedicite," a canticle (hymn of praise). Below it, in pink neon, reads "I felt you and I knew you loved me“ and was installed 2008 when Liverpool became the European Capital of Culture.
 I then turned to the east where the altar is located and took a photo of it with its stained glass window rising strikingly above it.  Unfortunately the lighting was not conducive to very good photos, but this is the best I could do.  Then I moved closer to take a shot of just the window itself.
In the front of the abbey in Rosedale (that I wrote about last week) I found this next stained glass window with a lace-covered table beneath it. 
The Liverpool Cathedral has many more stained glass windows within its walls, but as I mentioned, the lighting was not good for taking photographs, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.  When I had a day in York, I found two more very special stained glass windows.  One was in the Medieval Guild Hall, one of the most important buildings in the medieval city.  It was built in 1357 by a group of influential men and women who came together to form a religious fraternity called the Guild of Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the largest timber-framed building in the UK still standing and used for its original purpose. Inside, I found this stained glass window that appears to evoke life in medieval times in York.
Finally, in a second location, I found this one that symbolises agricultural life in the York area.
We don't see many stained glass windows here in western Canada, but there are probably some in the Catholic churches here or in the east.  So it was a real treat to see these ones in Liverpool and York.  There are some artisans who make them here, but they're more modern and artistic in style, not like the old religious ones of the "old country."  Hope you enjoyed these shots, and that you have a sensational week.  I'll see you all back here for the letter T when I'll show you what it's like in the town of Tenby in the south west of  Wales.

Monday, November 07, 2016

R is for ROSEDALE in the North York Moors

One of the most fascinating places I visited last summer was the village and surrounding area of Rosedale, found in the North York Moors.  Now a peaceful, rural dale in the heart of the National Park, in the 19th century, Rosedale was part of industrial Yorkshire, with its ironstone mines, kilns and even a moorland railway. There's a fabulous 7½-mile circuit you can walk from pretty Rosedale Abbey village through rolling valley farmland and back into Rosedale. Along the way, you pass the old railway tracks and the impressive ruins of the old iron mines. 

We first went into Rosedale Abbey where services are still held.  There was a lovely tapestry hanging inside, old wooden pews, and a beautiful altar.  Then we wandered the village itself, with its row houses beautifully decorated with climbing roses and other exquisite gardens.  Entering what we thought was a china shop, we discovered Mr. Gillies Jones working on his stunning glassworks! He uses buildings built in 1827 that were used by village blacksmiths.  We had a lovely time admiring his absolutely stunning works but I was disappointed that I couldn't buy anything - because of the fragility of his pieces (and the cost was quite dear!).  To see his website click here.

After lunching at "Graze on the Green", we took a tootle around the countryside to see the moors full of sheep and the old iron mine entrances.  They really are quite impressive! We also saw farmyards with outbuildings, the old railway line, which was an impressive feat of engineering, built in the 1860s and winding 14 miles over the moors, across difficult terrain. 

From 1855 until 1926 the entire area rang with the sound of the Victorian industrial age. The valley was transformed with the opening of the ironstone mines, especially because of the building of giant roasting kilns, where the miners roasted the iron ore to reduce its weight for transportation and remove impurities. Vast quantities of ore were tipped into the kilns from the railway line above, mixed with coal and then set alight. A huge workforce was needed and the population of Rosedale increased rapidly to nearly 3000 people – more than ten times what it is today. Terraced houses in the dale were built for the miners, while the railwaymen occupied homes closer to the mines – you can still see their ruined remains.

Now you know a bit about the village and area of Rosedale, I'd like to present a short musical slideshow so you can actually "see" some of it.  Hope you enjoy it.  And with that, a resounding thanks to Mrs. Nesbit, Roger, and the team at ABC Wednesday for their unending work in keeping ABCW one of the longest running and most popular meme on the internet today.

Note:  all photographs were taken by me except for the ones of Gillies Jones and his studio and glassworks. Please see his website here.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, October 31, 2016

Q is for QUAINT

Welcome to ABC Wednesday where this week we honour the letter Q as in queen, quit, quiet, quintessence, queer, and quench.  This time, I'm basing my post on the word QUAINT and would like to share with you a few photos from my summer travels in England and Wales that I felt were rather quaint...like shops, gardens and garden pots, artwork, restaurants, and more.  The word "quaint" defines things that have an old-fashioned charm, are oddly picturesque like a quaint old house, are peculiar or unusual in an interesting or amusing way, or are skillfully or cleverly made.  Dear friends John and Marion took me to see Jane Austen's museum where I saw her bed, writing desk, and artwork while other dear friend Liz took me to the most quaint town of Tenby in Wales. Wait until our T week!  And because my dear friend Jill has lived near Whitby, North Yorkshire all her life, she knows all the shortcuts to out-of-the-way spots that most tourists would never see.  Thus, I got to wind my way through narrow alleys to see the most beautiful and quaint back gardens and quaint little shops that only the locals know about.  So click on the photo below, turn up your music, click the arrows for full screen, and enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, October 24, 2016

P is for POET (Dylan Thomas)

This week at ABC Wednesday, we honour the letter P as in place, person, pastry, pancakes, pigeon, peculiar, popcorn, painful, passionate, and pepper. 

Going back to my trip to Wales this past summer, I'd like to tell you a bit about Dylan Thomas, who is considered to be "Britain's last romantic poet.  Now poetry has never been my particular "thing," but after visiting his house in the small village of Laugharne, (pronounced |Larn) I recalled that I had read many of his poems throughout my life.  To begin with, here's a bit about him from Wikipedia:

"Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion"; the 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood; and stories and radio broadcasts such as A Child's Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. He became widely popular in his lifetime and remained so after his premature death at the age of 39 in New York City. By then, he had acquired a reputation, which he had encouraged, as a "roistering, drunken and doomed poet".

Arriving in Laugharne, Liz and I parked along the estuary of the River Taf - below the homes straight ahead in the photo from Mr. Google.  You can see Dylan Thomas' boathouse on the right just above the water line.
We headed past the ruins of Laugharne Castle (built in 1116) hanging above us on the cliff and climbed the path that would bring us to not only Dylan Thomas' house, but also to the shed where he did most of his writing. 
First, we found the shed and peered inside.
It was locked to preserve the interior and its contents, but by putting my camera right up to the window, I was able to get this shot. Thomas' jacket hangs over his chair in front of a window out of which he would gather inspiration from the spectacular views across the estuary.  There was a small pot belly stove and wood beside it so he could keep warm in the cold winter months and a bookshelf that appeared to be as he would have left it.  Do you see the crumpled up pieces of paper under the desk?  A true writer of the times - no "delete" key then!
Outside the shed, on a sign posted in his memory is one of his famous poems, fitting the season in which we are now, "Poem in October."  The photo isn't great, but it was the best I could get at the time.  And I feel honoured that I share an October birthday with this famous poet.
Liz and I then continued further along the path admiring the views until we found the steps down to Dylan Thomas' house.  The first thing I noticed was a pair on long johns hanging from a tree and blowing gently in the breeze.  I laughed, but then realized that they would have been Thomas' and where he would have hung them to dry - as there was no washing machine or dryer in the house.  This bit of history was the introduction to his house where things had been left (or placed) as they would have been while he was in residence.  Tourists are not allowed to take photographs inside the house, but I did get several good ones of the views Thomas would have had.  If you're interested in seeing the interior of the house, just look up Dylan Thomas Boathouse online.
I was thrilled that Liz asked me if I'd like to stop by to see this area, as we'd already spent half the day in Tenby.  Considering my bad back, I feel great that I was able to manage all that in one day...there was a lot of walking, but it was slow and meandering, and we took many small breaks.  So, thank you Liz so very much!  This post is dedicated to you in remembrance of a perfect visit!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

O is for OXWICH (a village in Wales)

Welcome to ABC Wednesday where this week we celebrate the letter O as in oven, ornery, oblivious, olive, obstreperous, ocean, and Olympian.  I would like to take you to a pretty little church in Wales that I visited this past summer with my friend Liz.  It's called Oxwich and is located at the Western end of Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula near the village of Oxwich and the city of Swansea. 
With a population of less than 200, Oxwich boasts two castles, lots of thatched cottages, and a National Nature Reserve.  Also, there is the extensive beach on the Bay with sand dunes, towering cliffs, and shady woods.   We bypassed Oxwich village itself, but the beautiful approach road travels down through the woods and out into the salt marshes and the Reserve. After parking near the beach, Liz and I enjoyed a very casual lunch at the little café by the water before heading along the pathway through the woods to the ancient church.  Here is a photo I took as I approached the front:
The church derives from a 6th century monastic cell. The present church was largely built during the 13th century incorporating the cell in the base of a massive embattled tower with a saddleback roof. For the millennium celebrations the tower  was re-opened into the church and the area restored as a  simple but beautiful chapel. 

Other notable features include the burial niche in the north sanctuary wall, would have marked the grave of someone of note; possibly even Illtyd himself. Also the bells: two are rung, dating from 1716 and the third, dating from the 15th century, now lies inside opposite the entrance. The massive yew tree  in the churchyard is believed to be as old as the church itself.

To the left as you look at the tower (above) and in behind I spied this old water barrel.
The church's cemetery surrounds the outer perimeter of the church building and goes up the hill in behind.  Liz and I wandered around the tall grassy area looking at inscriptions on lots of the stones. They go back centuries!!! And there are even some fairly recent ones there, too, as the church still has services to this day.  I don't want to sound "sappy," but I did feel a presence and a peace while on the church grounds with Liz that afternoon.  Hope you enjoy the very brief (12 shots) video presentation with its haunting accompanying music.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Nasty, Naughty, Nice

Welcome to ABC Wednesday where this week we celebrate the letter N as in navy, nice, notable, never, nephew, neutral, noise, and night.  I'm a bit late doing this post because we've just had our Canadian Thanksgiving, which was a long weekend.  I am greatly thankful for the team that works so hard to keep ABC Wednesday going - the neighbourly Mrs. Nesbitt, creator of this meme, the noble Roger, our administrator, and the group who navigates weekly to all the contributors to leave numerous notes extolling their photographs, poetry, or prose.

Anyway, I had a nasty fall yesterday along the trail where I take Tegan for her walks.  The sun caught my eyes and I stumbled over some roots that reached out to grab me!  Down I went, my shins landing right smack on those noxious roots!  I told myself, "You're okay! You're okay!" as I managed to get to my feet.  But later, I felt nauseated from the pain and swelling that quickly developed.  After icing my legs for an hour when I got home, I decided I better head over to the ER for x-rays.  Thankfully, they're not broken; however, they are very badly bruised.  I need tensor bandages to keep the swelling down, extra strength acetaminophen, and continuous icing.  This morning my right leg seems a bit better even though my knee aches something terrible.  But my left leg keeps sending wretched, spasmodic signals of pain every time I move it any little bit. 

"This too shall pass" as my mother used to say.  So taking a break from recounting stories and photos of my recent travels, I shall share with you one of Tegan's newest "boy friends" whose name is Angus.  They see each other in the back garden and love playing together, but Tegan is sometimes naughty with him even though she means to be nice.  They both love to play with balls and having someone toss it so they can chase after it.  Tegan usually gets it, but if she doesn't, she pesters Angus until he drops it for her. 
"Can I play, too, Tegan?"
"Try and get it, Angus!"
 "Not so close, big boy!" 
"Aw, c'mon, it's my turn!"
"Mommy!  She won't share!"
And one final shot of Tegan and her nose asking me if she has spinach in her teeth!