Friday, 28 August 2009

folk off

Our first taste of the music scene in Ottawa was pretty special, a fine day spent in the park at Britannia Bay, in the sun, listening to some folk at the Ottawa Folk Festival. We arrived just in time for the morning Ukulele Jam, swiftly followed by some beautiful (and mostly improvised) Music to Garden By and the unexpectedly great uke-cello duos, led by James Hill and Victoria Vox. You haven't lived until you've heard the uke-cello cover of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads. No, really.

My favourite moments of the day were probably from the saxaphone and flute of Linsey Wellman, very much in the avant/free jazz style of John Coltrane. He played two incredible solo pieces as part of the Life in Japan workshop, it really was music to disappear into.

Special mention also goes to the Balloon Orchestra, a group with instruments made from (yes) balloons. They avoided going a bit Stomp by innovations such as the balloon bass, complete with pick-up, and generally stayed firmly in the good part of "experimental".

We left before the headline acts (but after the majestic sunset over the bay), all a bit too mainstream folk rock/country for us dabblers in the experimental and traditional end of the genre. But play me squeeze box, rag time, uke-cello, hoe-down, jug band, electric cello, gourd, guitar, zither, shamisen, shakuhachi flute and the rest anytime!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

rollerblades and farm parks

Off he goes....

Paul has made his first big purchase, not a contribution to his digital empire, but a replacement pair of roller-blades, which have made him a happy boy indeed. We looked around a department store (his biggest fear), before we returned to the sports shop (yes, they let us in to a sports shop, twice!), and he even made conversation with the sales attendants. The man can shop when motivated. Then off to the park to roll away, leaving me alone - to knit on a bench overlooking the river where we spotted a beaver the other day. We even managed to catch an innings or so of a baseball match (if anyone can explain the difference between this and rounders please - apart from much more protective clothing).

We've had a lazy week - no surprises there. Lots of meandering around parks from tree to tree for frequent naps and book reading. I've made it through three out of four library books, fulfilling my thirst for bad murder mysteries....they even have a 'if you like Agatha Christie you'll like this' section - bliss. We also ventured out to the experimental farm hoping to find a replacement for the White Post Modern Farm Park back home.....a few too many tractors for my liking, although Paul enjoyed the interactive tractor driving:

and I got to stroke the new born calves:

we then wandered around the arboretum, more bird spotting (see flickr) and napping - rock and roll as ever.
We are off to a gallery event on Saturday - it doesn't start til 8pm which is pretty close to bed-time so will be a shock to the system. Then Paul starts work on monday, and I am left alone to fend for myself -eek!

Back he comes:

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

cycling to gatineau parc

We hired bikes.

It is four + years since I have been on a bike, and I am a nervy rider. But we hired them anyway, and headed towards Gatineau Parc, and I loved it (hence the very cheesy grin!).
We did make some classic mistakes though - like thinking if a sign says 'pink lake' it means 'this is the most direct and straightforward route to pink lake' instead of 'this is the twisty, mountain bike suitable route which will take you an extra 2 hours because you will have to push your delicate little hire bikes through the mosquito ridden woods'. A simple mistake to make. Thankfully the lake was worth it..

and we ate our sandwiches and spotted terrapins swim by, along with some prehistoric looking tadpoles.
All followed by a brisk ride back along the nice tarmacked path, home to a nice cuppa - and to nurse the 14 mosquito bites on my shoulders.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


There are many mosquitoes in Ottawa.

We are in Canadia - yes we are.

It is only two weeks since we arrived and as we sit to write this we now can't decide where to start!
We are here.
We made a five year plan to get to Canada, and 8 years later we made it. More by luck than judgement as with everything in our lives, but here nonetheless.

So, what news....
We arrived on Aug 10th and checked in for a few days at L'Auberge du Marche which as Paul had assured me before hand served top notch breakfasts - the best French Toast! Thoroughly recommend staying here to anyone who is not already planning to use our spare room.
We have spent much of our time meandering round the city. Paul now has a detailed city map imprinted in his brain although as usual if you spin me round I still have no idea which way home is (OK, that's true even without the spinning!).

We are now in our first apartment, overlooking the river and Gatineau, Quebec. We're here until September 15th when we move into a more permanent address in New Edinburgh (one of the poshest districts in Ottawa according to the paper yesterday....not sure they realise who they are letting move in).