Saturday, October 31, 2015

For the love of Art

This is the Rosetta Stone, as if you didn't know. (Don't forget to click on the photos.)

I wasn't alone when I saw it. . .

. . .although I usually manage to elbow my way to the front. People notice that I can't see over a lot of heads so they usually let me through.

I saw the Mona Lisa with a crowd also. Can you see her? You may need your magnifying glass. She's at the far end of this long room.

I did what I do though and soon enough, it was just the two of us. She's behind an unbreakable glass barrier; it reduces the intimacy a bit.

I wrote recently about the vast numbers of people travelling, all lining up to see the same age-old attractions. I was told about a traveller who got home recently and wrote to his brother, "Europe is more crowded than I remember." It's funny (Homer would say it's funny because it's true) because it sounds a little like you'd say, "The line-ups at the bank are longer than they used to be." I know what he means though.

I'm not sure why it's so awe-inspiring to see the originals of antiquities and paintings and sculptures. It is though. I looked up the Rosetta Stone after I got home and I learned much more about it than I was able to take in with the hundreds of other visitors at the British Museum.

Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, 196 BC

A valuable key to the decipherment of hieroglyphs, the inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a decree passed by a council of priests. It is one of a series that affirm the royal cult of the 13-year-old Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation.

In previous years the family of the Ptolemies had lost control of certain parts of the country. It had taken their armies some time to put down opposition in the Delta, and parts of southern Upper Egypt, particularly Thebes, were not yet back under the government's control.

Before the Ptolemaic era (that is before about 332 BC), decrees in hieroglyphs such as this were usually set up by the king. It shows how much things had changed from Pharaonic times that the priests, the only people who had kept the knowledge of writing hieroglyphs, were now issuing such decrees. The list of good deeds done by the king for the temples hints at the way in which the support of the priests was ensured.

The decree is inscribed on the stone three times, in hieroglyphic (suitable for a priestly decree), demotic (the native script used for daily purposes), and Greek (the language of the administration). The importance of this to Egyptology is immense.

Just think. It was amazing to consider that I'd seen it.

And it's the same with the Mona Lisa. At a certain point, all those other people didn't matter at all. She was breath-taking and I was glad to see her, even through the barrier.

There weren't so many people around when we reached the Venus de Milo.

It was quiet enough that I was able to sing for Dan and William a few bars of a song from the 1950s:

Venus de Milo

Was famous for her charms

But strictly between us

You're cuter than Venus

And what's more you've got arms. . .

I would direct you to a place where you might listen to this song but it must not have been as popular as I remember because it doesn't seem to be preserved here on the Internet. Moreover, it was sung by Bob Manning and I don't remember him at all.

Venus was exquisite though and I was happy to spend time with her.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hallowe'en: The Preview

These pictures are from last year, 2014. Every year is different so we'll see how this year measures up.

Not every year has five jack-o'-lanterns but the official carver-in-residence (Dan) must have been feeling particularly creative and ambitious last year. This is what the jacks looked like in the daylight:

William was not a conventionally artistically-inclined kid in school. His drawings (usually in pencil) were often detailed and enigmatic, with levels of great complexity and many incomprehensible things happening. The teachers never appreciated his drawings – there were no nice colours on them – but I used to at least try to figure them out.

If, however, the teacher gave him a piece of orange construction paper and told him to cut it into a circle and put a face on it, he was quite capable and co-operative. His pumpkins with faces are part of our Hallowe'en decor to this day. You can see them on the front door. It's not so easy to see the smiling witch but she's there. She's attached to those orange hands.

Speaking of smiling witches. . . I wear this hat in solidarity with witches, of course.

I don't really like Hallowe'en but I do it anyway. My late mother used to recall that I didn't like Hallowe'en as a small child either. She said I always objected to being made to get dressed in a costume. She said I gave her the impression that I felt it was unseemly to go to other people's houses, asking for candy. Years later, when I told this to a friend, he said, "I don't think I've ever known a five-year-old curmudgeon."

Who knows? Maybe I'd miss it if it weren't here.

This is what the jacks looked like after dark. They're real works of art, aren't they?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Play ball!

We've made two visits to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. William was quite young when we made the first visit but he was already a ballplayer and, what we didn't know then, he would later qualify as an umpire. We had barely got inside the door – I think we were at the second exhibit – when he told me he wasn't feeling well. I felt his forehead and, oh oh, at least 101.

We went back to our motel with a stop on the way for children's Tylenol and we put William to bed. After awhile, we decided that there was no point in both Mum and Dad sitting in the darkened motel room with a sick kid so Dan went off to the Hall of Fame, with my blessing. He had a great time!

When we went back to Cooperstown a few years later, we were all in good health and we did the Hall of Fame properly.

(Don't forget to click on the photos.)

We were taken by surprise to discover that we were in Cooperstown on Induction Weekend and it turned out that some legendary people were also in town. We were walking along the street and saw some of them being transported toward the Hall – a banquet, I think – and I couldn't have been more excited to watch them pass. Of course, if we'd known they were coming we'd have crossed the street and got better photos but I was beyond thrilled anyway.

There was Frank Robinson:

There was Whitey Ford:

And, oh my goodness, there was Hank Aaron:

There were several others but these were the highlights for me.

We went to Mass in Cooperstown and had quite quite a funny priest who let us know that he always ended his homily as soon the bells of the Baptist Church next door began to ring. He was as good as his word.

The highlight though was at the end when he announced, "Our closing hymn, as it always is on Induction weekend – and I encourage all of you to sing along! – is 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'." I can't express how it felt to be in that lovely church, with the whole congregation belting it out. So exciting! (Here's a great version.)

The two books I bought at the Hall of Fame were a biography of Joe DiMaggio, The Hero's Life, by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ben Cramer:

And Voices from the Great Black Baseball Leagues, oral history compiled by John Holway:

The exhibit from Women's Professional Baseball was opened in Cooperstown in 1988 and the movie about women's baseball, A League of Their Own, was released in 1992. I saw it then and I saw it again a couple of months ago, on a plane coming home from England. There's an exchange in it between Coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) and star pitcher Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) when Dottie is explaining to him why she has to stop playing. She tells him it's just too hard for her to keep playing.

(Jimmy, pleading, with passion:) It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.

I always loved those lines – and the sentiment.

The World Series resumes tomorrow. The Blue Jays came back for a bit after losing two in Kansas City. Can the Mets? Or is it all over?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Changing the shape of our world

Every so often, I hear myself say, "That's something that changed my life."

It's usually something small – it's not like the death of a parent or like the day I met my husband or like carrying my newborn baby out of the hospital. Those, it goes without saying, are true-life-changers.

But there are degrees.

The most recent time I said it was a few days ago, watching a friend leaving my house roll her suitcase along the sidewalk. "So easy," I said. "When I got my suitcase with wheels, it changed my life."

It did, in a way. I remember the first trip I took with my new wheeled-suitcase. I was alone, traipsing through airports as if I owned them. No more shifting from hand-to-hand or stopping every so often to try and get a more comfortable grip. Instead, it was like walking along with my eager and obedient puppy on a leash.

It most definitely reduces a lot of the stress of travel and I think, for that reason, I will continue to think of it as a life-changer – a fairly minor one.

Over the years, I've made the life-changing claim about several books but I think, in the interests of accuracy, there's only one book that really fits the definition. And yes, you can take this literally: this book changed my life.

The first time I tried to read Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, I had no idea what I was reading. Mary Daly, a Catholic theologian, philosopher and radical feminist, was coming from somewhere that I couldn't recognize and furthermore, she had invented a new language in her strange unrecognizable new place. I put the book away.

It was a year or two later when I picked it up again. I might have been the same person or maybe not. Maybe some little barrier that I didn't even know was there had been knocked over and I was now ready to absorb Mary Daly's exotic language and ideas. I knew I was ready when I read the table of contents. I felt everything shake up inside my head and when everything settled into place, it was as if the world finally made sense. She had connected dots that I had never seen connected – or had never considered connecting – and it just made so much sense.

Some of what I read in that table of contents:

Indian Suttee: The Ultimate Consummation of Marriage; Chinese Footbinding: On Footnoting the Three-Inch Lotus Hook; African Genital Mutilation: The Unspeakable Atrocities; European Witchburning: Purifying the Body of Christ; American Gynecology: Gynocide by the Holy Ghosts of Medicine and Therapy.

Oh my. She was not at all popular. She was fearless in expressing her often outlandish opinions and she never backed down. I can't imagine that she was very pleasant company although many people who knew her speak of her wit and her wry sense of humour. She was the least compromising enemy of patriarchy that the Catholic Church has yet produced and she never flagged in the fight. She was so much more than that though.

I eventually acquired and read all her books – many of them just as difficult as Gyn/Ecology, none of them quite as life-changing. I didn't expect them to be. They're now on my shelf along with Germaine Greer, Susan Brownmiller, Gloria Steinem, Dale Spender, Robin Morgan, Andrea Dworkin – and so many others. They've all helped make me into who I am and I feel grateful to every one of them.

The second-wave feminists helped shape the world we live in today and we know that the struggle continues. It also continues to change. Branching out, setting new goals, recognizing and joining the struggles of others are the new objectives. As with any great struggle, there are times that are disheartening but that only adds to the challenge.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Old enough to know better

Every so often, I resurrect the story of the day I was in Sobey's, looking carefully over the lovely selection of in-store-baked bread, when a store employee came up to me and said kindly, "Do you need any help, dear?"

I'm capable of giving a very withering glare – I know that because I've been told by some people who have been on the receiving end – and I thought about it but I desisted. She was trying to be nice so I was nice back: "Do you mean do I need help choosing my bread?" I asked disingenuously. I think she caught a certain edge in my voice because she smiled a little coolly and told me to let her know if I needed anything.

I come from the Miramichi and I have lots of friends and relatives in Cape Breton so I'm very familiar with the use of the word "dear" as a verbal punctuation mark. But I can tell when the person using it can barely resist patting me on the head at the same time and that's when I take offence.

As you can tell, I'm sensitive to being stereotyped as a dotty old lady. I'm not there yet.

A friend and I have been aware for a few years that if, God forbid, something happens while we're driving, we will – no matter who or what has caused the incident – be referred to as "the elderly driver." "Elderly" drivers are getting younger; I saw one a few days ago who was 68.

There’s a video going around on Facebook that I won’t even open that shows two oldsters shakily dancing together and comments underneath saying many variations of “aww, so cute.” I hate that!

We went to see the movie Grandma earlier this evening. It stars Lily Tomlin and is clearly a "vehicle" for Lily.

We enjoyed the movie – I wasn’t sure if I would. I love and trust Lily but I’m always – see above – a little worried about how older women will be portrayed and whether it will be condescending and there will be people leaving the theatre wishing they could pat her on the head.

It wasn't like that at all. Lily’s character was only a little over-the-top – lots of bad words and hitting (with a hockey stick) an obnoxious teenage boy where it hurts and standing up fearlessly to bullies and other boors. It was fun but it was serious too. I think we would say that once again, Lily has lived up to her real-life persona and in this movie, she was surrounded by an interesting collection of non-stereotypes of all ages.

It came at a good time as I’ve just watched the first two seasons of Last Tango in Halifax and I loved it. In that series, the older couple — in their 70s — are real and multi-dimensional. They are much more than just old. They live real lives with real problems and real pleasures. They can be flirtatious and romantic and they can be impatient and angry.

They don’t talk about their ailments at all – except when it’s appropriate. And they're no more forgetful than their 45-year-old children!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Presentation matters

What do you think?

It's a pork tenderloin encrusted with a mustard, herb and garlic coating. The onions were roasted with it.

The tomato slices are topped with parsley-walnut pesto, freshly made today as the parsley is still growing thick and green. The parsley pesto doesn't make as definitive a statement as basil pesto does – but it's good and I'm glad to have used a lot of parsley before the weather does it in.

Life is full of ups and downs but one of the constants at our house is Sunday dinner. It keeps us grounded.

Today, it was quite photogenic and it was also delicious.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dressing up, dressing down

We went to a concert this week to celebrate the 150th birthday of Sibelius with Symphony Nova Scotia and guest violinist, Giora Schmidt. It was our third time seeing/hearing Giora and I've informed Symphony NS that we will happily attend every time he comes back to play here.

When we saw him last time, even the sophisticated Halifax audience burst into applause after the first movement of the concerto he was playing and he laughed because it was so spontaneous that the audience clearly couldn't help itself. It happened again this time – applause mid-concerto but no harm done. He's so cheerful and pleasant that it only adds to his performance.

He's a showman too, of course – which is probably partially responsible for the audience reaction – but he's fun. He's the son of two Israeli musicians, was raised in the US and has been playing violin since he was four.

If Ashley is the genius of the fiddle, Giora is the genius of the violin.

We had a conversation at the concert about the way people dress. It used to be that people would dress up somewhat for a concert but over the years, we've noticed that changing. More people than not nowadays, just wear whatever they had on during the day. In one way, that's rather nice. It's as if they feel comfortable and at home and they dress the same way they would if they were going out to pick up groceries.

Not me though. I'm one of the one who dresses up a bit. I say to myself, "It's the Symphony, for God's sake!" So although I can appreciate the people who take it casually, I like to treat it as if it's special. I dress up a bit for the theatre too. Not for movies, but for live theatre.

It's interesting, I noticed at the theatre that, besides me, the women who were dressed up, were young women – women in their 20s. Giora attracts a young audience and maybe they don't have the same sense of familiarity with their surroundings as their older audience-mates and maybe they think it's proper to dress up. It could also be as simple as the fact that there aren't that many places where people dress up nowadays so it gives them a chance to wear their pretty clothes.

I have some pretty clothes. I saw an article in a magazine not too long ago (yes, at my hair salon) that asked the question: Do you dress appropriately for your age? I didn't read the article but I'm guessing they didn't offer the option, "I have no idea," as an answer. I'll tell you this though: I don't wear old-lady clothes.

But who decides if they're appropriate?

I have a lot of clothes that glitter and sparkle. I have both of these and several in different colours:

I wear them under pretty jackets. This is the sort of thing I would wear:

I have all these – and probably more:

I have nice white blouses – some a little dressier than others:

I usually wear black trousers.

In winter, I wear much the same styles but turtle-neck instead of tank top and maybe a sweater instead of a blouse. The basic style remains the same though.

I have nice jewellery. There are days when I decide I'd like to wear a certain pair of earrings and I build my day's wardrobe around them. It makes getting dressed so easy! I'll come back some day and tell you about my jewellery.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A roof, a window, some stones

Did you know that if you buy a thatched cottage in England or Wales, it is, in all likelihood, a property registered with English Heritage Trust, a charity that looks after the National Heritage Collection? That means that if you have a lapse in judgement and decide you want to put some kind of tacky shingles (or even nice shingles) on your roof, you probably won't be allowed.

We saw a lot of thatched houses on our drives in the English countryside and, as always, our guides with The English Bus were full of information about the roofs, the regulations, the building materials, the advantages and disadvantages of a thatched roof. Who would know there would be so much to learn?

This is the Bath Abbey. There has been a church on this spot for more than a thousand years. It's really interesting to read about at the link.

"The Abbey as we know it is the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott, who from 1864 to 1874, completely transformed the inside of the Abbey to conform with his vision of Victorian Gothic architecture. His most significant contribution must surely be the replacement of the ancient wooden ceiling over the nave with the spectacular stone fan vaulting we see today." (From the official site.)

Did I mention some stones? I'll be back.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Looking at our past: A postscript

Earlier this week, I wrote a piece called Looking at our past through rose-coloured glasses about the false perceptions we so often have of our country's past. Things were not as rosy as we remember them.

After I published that piece, my cousin, the author Dale Estey (he blogs right here), left me a poem on my Facebook page where I had let people know about the piece.

The poem was by the late Fred Cogswell. Fred was a distinguished poet, mentor to younger poets, long-time editor of The Fiddlehead literary magazine, and an old friend.

Fred's own life (as described in some detail at the link) is a good illustration of some of the very prejudices I was writing about. His father's side of the family had come to New Brunswick from New England and was granted land that used to belong to the expelled Acadians. His mother was of Acadian ancestry.

From the profile that I linked to just above:

Fred was aware of his mother’s Acadian ancestry when growing up; however, in deference to his father, he never investigated that part of his background until after his father’s death. The irony of those sorts of denials, and the limitations they placed on provincial autonomy, are still typical of the peculiar sociology of New Brunswick.

The complexity of his own life is reflected in his poetry.

I was glad to see this poem again because it's one of my favourites of Fred's. As I remarked to Dale, it is full of such seething anger and contempt.

Ode To Fredericton

White are your housetops, white too your vaulted elms

That make your stately streets long aisles of prayer,

And white your thirteen spires that point your God

Who reigns afar in pure and whiter air,

And white the dome of your democracy-

The snow has pitied you and made you fair,

O snow-washed city of cold, white Christians,

So white you will not cut a black man's hair.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Where's Wal. . .um, Sharon?

I play a computer "game" — for lack of a better descriptive word — called GeoGuessr (sic). It's a geography game — well, it's described this way on Wikipedia:

"GeoGuessr is a web-based geographic discovery game designed by Anton Wallén, a Swedish IT consultant, released on 9 May 2013. The game uses a semi-randomized Google Street View location and requires players to guess their location in the world using only the clues visible. . . The Street View window of GeoGuessr does not provide any information beyond the street view images; things such as road signs, vegetation, businesses, climate, and landmarks have been suggested as some clues that may help the player determine their location. The player may also move about along the roads through the normal directional controls provided by Street View. Once the player is ready to guess the location, they will place a location marker on a zoom-able Google Map."

I'm good at this game. The highest possible score you can get for a five-round game is 25,000 points. My best score is 24,995.

I'm generally good at geography — sure, I remember those Neilson World Maps that used to hang in the classroom —

— but I also work at the game and by now, I have a lot of experience and I've learned a lot. There are no rules written in stone, as far as I can tell, so I use whatever means necessary to figure out where I am.

Yesterday, for example, I was navigating along what seemed to be a secondary highway. It was forested but not too wild. The trees and other vegetation led me to believe it was Northern Hemisphere. It was not North or South America because the painted lines were white, not yellow. The traffic was driving on the right so it was probably Europe. I didn't think it was any of the Scandinavian countries — might have been Poland or one of the Baltic states.

I think I had my answer before I came to the road sign. Sometimes it's just a feeling. When I got close enough, I zoomed in and there it was: I was five kilometres from Богородицк. Russia.

Russia is always a challenge, not least because of the alphabet. It's also a big big country — the biggest, as we Canadians know.

However, I have a few Russian tricks. I took Богородицк to my list of Russian towns and cities. The place names are both in Russian and in English and their oblast is also given. The oblast is like a state or province and is often a clue as to where the city will be found. Богородицк wasn't too difficult. Its English name is Bogoroditsk and it's in the Tula Oblast, south of Moscow. I located it on a Google map and went to GeoGuessr's map and pin-pointed it. Well, not quite. I was about 20 km. off — it's not easy to pinpoint a location on a deserted highway — but it was good for a pretty high score.

In my next round, I found myself in a very different landscape. The narrow roads were of red mud, the agriculture was like something I had never seen before. I travelled up and down several roads — I eventually came to a paved road — and in the whole time I was there, I never saw a car. I saw motor-bikes, usually fitted out with a colourful "roof" and various attachments hooked on to carry things. They were quite cheerful looking.

Eventually, I came to a road sign and it looked like this: เทศบาลเมืองหนองคาย. By now, I know this alphabet by sight so I knew I was in Thailand. I don't have a list of Thai towns and villages so I have to work a little harder. I was lucky this time. I came to a sign that had a few English words on it. It seems that เทศบาลเมืองหนองคาย had been given some kind of award and the congratulations were in English, including the words Nong Khai which I found on the map in northeast Thailand, right near the border of Laos.

Not all the rounds are as challenging as these two. I'll often be plunked down in the middle of a North American town and it's only a matter of time before I begin to see very helpful clues. The first clue I will always see if I'm in the US is a flag.

Two of my least favourite destinations are Brazil and the remote inland highways in Australia. Brazil is another great big country and it has the added disadvantage of having lots of towns, in lots of different states, that all have the same name. Sometimes, I just have to rely on guesswork.

The remote highways in Australia — something like this

are time-consuming because there's nothing to see except regular signs warning you to stay awake or offering an indentation in the road where you can pull over and take a nap. It must be a boring drive in person although at least then you'd know where you are and where you're going. It's boring when you're doing it virtually and you don't have that advantage.

Sometimes though, oftener than not, you find yourself in a place with no signs, no landmarks, no hints at all as to where you might be. But it's so nice there, you're happy just to mosey along and look at the scenery and take pleasure in the occasional flock of sheep.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Looking at our past through rose-coloured glasses

There’s a puzzling contradiction on social media around the religious bigotry that has become an election issue.

On the one hand, I see the people saying, “I want my Canada back,” or, “I miss the country we used to be,” or variations on that sentiment.

In the same breath, there are references to what we did in 1938, when a ship carrying German Jews was turned back and its passengers had to return to Germany. There are also references to unwelcome immigrants over the years: Irish Catholic (micks), Italian (wops and dagos), Polish (polacks). There are, of course, numerous references to the First Nations.

We can’t have it both ways: either we used to have this nice country that accepted all cultures and religions equally or we have a sketchy history as quite an intolerant nation.

Which is it?

I grew up in northern New Brunswick. There was nary a Muslim in sight but there were the French and the Indians (sic) and to say they were second-class citizens is an understatement.

We had neighbours who were French. Their kids were smart in school and their house and yard were clean and tidy but in the neighbourhood, they were considered to be some kind of unusual French exception. We were still warned to stay away from the French we didn’t know. Head lice, or worse.

Bad feeling still exists. I have French friends who, if they weren’t going to visit family, would never set foot in New Brunswick.

I was scared of the Indians when I was a little girl. Most of the kids I knew were. Our family used to go for a Sunday drive and we’d often go through Burnt Church, an Indian reserve and one of the most beautiful regions on the Miramichi Bay. I just held my breath until we got through there safely.

In Nova Scotia, the history of the oldest indigenous black community in Canada is well-known: black loyalists who came after the American Revolution and were located to rocky lands where nothing could grow; blacks who came after the Civil War and after slaves were freed but who continued to be held in slavery in Nova Scotia; a tight-knit black community, Africville, who saw their homes bull-dozed in the spirit of urban renewal and integration but which led, in fact, to further isolation and alienation. African Nova Scotians continue to live, generations later, in a racially divided and racially-hostile society.

These examples are just in my little corner of Atlantic Canada. There are examples all over the country of the dominant cultural group making life less-than-comfortable for each generation’s designated “Other.”

Canada’s record of intolerance is not as bad as many countries and it may be among the better ones. The wistful longing to go back to when things were better, however, is just sentimental idealistic reminiscing.

We have to stop looking at the past through rose-coloured glasses and try looking ahead to the Canada we really want to be in the future. That has to start in the present.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Bless me Father for I have . . . murdered someone

I had watched five seasons of The Good Wife – American lawyers – and three seasons of Silk – English barristers – and I thought I needed a little break from the law.

I have begun to watch Father Brown, a series about G.K. Chesterson’s affable murder-solving priest. I remember Father Brown well from my earlier reading of the short stories. In the murder-solving genre, he’s a bit like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple – an unlikely detective.

It’s just what I was looking for. The stories and the characters are gentle; there are murders but they’re genteel and the murderers are usually not evil and they often come to an accidental end before the Inspector can get his hands on them.

That’s a relief because the stories this time around are set in the early 1950s – in the aftermath of the war – and the death penalty was still in effect in Great Britain. Much better for our murderer to stumble on to the track in front of a moving train than sent off to be hanged.

Part of my enjoyment of the series is the beauty of the village and surrounding countryside where Father Brown tends his flock. At one point, I said to myself, I think I’ve been there!

I looked it up and sure enough, the series is filmed in different villages in the Cotswolds. Some of those villages were on one of the tours we took with The English Bus. As always with the tour, our guide – Colin, in this case – had much information and many stories about these beautiful villages and as we had in other places, we parked the bus and he led a walking tour to make sure we got the maximum enjoyment.

Here are some photos of our stop – two different stops, in fact. As always, remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.

William and I agreed that we could live in one of these houses (below) – if they had good Internet. (A standard requirement.)