Friday, 29 April 2011

118/365 I'm cultured don't you know.

And I don't mean in the same way as yoghurt.

Spent an erm....interesting, evening at the ballet last night. Its my second attempt, and whilst I found the first one dull (The Nutcracker), this one was bizarre. And that was bizarre beyond my expectations. I went to see Wonderland at the NAC, which was put on by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I was quite prepared for weird, to be fare it would be difficult to base anything on the tales of Alice without some degree of weirdness, that's why I love it. But sadly this erred too far on the wacky. Interesting as I say.

We did get to paint plaster-cast buffaloes before hand though, all nights out are dramatically improved by surprise crafting.

Then today, off to a concert in the Rideau Chapel, in the heart of the National Gallery. Performing this time were Camerata Nova, a choir from Winnipeg with a mixture of early music and Native influenced tunes. Fabulous. Very atmospheric venue and beautiful beautiful voices.

And a (slightly disappointing) grilled cheese sandwich afterwards. Jobs a good'un.

A completely unrelated-to-post photo of a Magnolia warbler. No photography allowed in the gallery and the pther photos today are of knitted gifts which need to be kept under wraps.

Night all. x

Thursday, 28 April 2011

117/365 Welly envy

The weather has gone a tad crazy today. 110km wind gusts, mad bursts of torrential rain for a minute at a time, interspersed with bright blue skies. Managed to get out for a fabulous stomp in puddles with N this morning in between showers, and I now have welly envy:

Don't get me wrong, I adore my fruity wellies (although one has a hole in the heel which seems to be beating all efforts to repair it), but these little wonders have fins on the to source a pair in size 11!

(Yes, in Canada my clown sized feet are labelled as even bigger than they were back home, 11s I ask you. I put up with it though as the upside is that my bottom fits into a size 10 here - hoorah!)

116/365 Hmmm....

Now I like a marble statue, I love asparagus, and I have a fair few photos of fire hydrants (they are iconic really).....but just like peanut butter and brown sauce sandwiches, some things just aren't meant to be combined.

Ever so slightly wrong, or is it just me?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

115/365 Tuesday makes...

Turns out I only took one photo today, of a little crocheted sheep I finished this morning as a present for a yarn-loving friend.

Other than that not a whole lot to report.....caught up on The Archers, went to work, came home, ate sweet potato fritters - bed. Lovely jubbly.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

114/365 - Monday breakfast

Breakfast (and lets face it all other meals too) are always better when someone else cooks them, and the weekend was filled with culinary delights. This calorific wonder puts the good old English breakfast to shame however.....French Toast (3 slices); pineapple chunks; banana slices; home fries with onion and crispy bacon. Oh my oh my....

And yes, I was the first to finish. Some things never change. Yummy!

Monday, 25 April 2011

113/365 Ice-breakers

A day of ice-breaking. Friends from near and far getting to know each other, otters knocking the ice about whilst celebrating spring:

and then some ice-charging in the canoes to finish the day:

All in all a fab weekend. Great walk in Gatineau park, with views of the lakes and watching the otters. Yet more delicious food, fires, canoeing, egg-hunts and card games - what more could a girl want?

112/365 Hot cross buns....

Easter weekends are for heading to a cottage with friends and hanging out - and for FOOD!

P and I's contributions were pitiful in comparison to the others this weekend, but succesful anyway.

Visitors from England make us look at Ottawa anew again, remembering the stuff we love - and also the things we haven't got around to yet.

Oh deary me I have some calories to work off this week!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

111/365 New animal finds

Good Friday was a good day. The sun is back out, P is off work and (after a mad morning of spring cleaning) we enjoyed our books and had a wander with the dog - and discovered yet another Canadian animal we had not heard of before. Check out the Urban tree Lobster:

Amazing! Apparently they spend most of the year under water, but in the spring time if you're very lucky you may spot one as it ventures out onto dry land to feed on tree bark, fattening itself up after the harsh winter. Thankfully this one was a little dopey and I managed to snap this shot without endangering my fingers.

Friends from England here now (who have already ticked off 'beaver' from their things we must see in Canada list) and we're off to a cottage for board games, over indulgence and hopefully some canoeing. Back Monday, have a great holiday weekend everyone. x

110/365 Catching up....thursday

Slipping behind so a mad catch up before we run off to a cottage for the long weekend. Exciting photo isn't it? Represents walking to work in the SNOW on Thursday morning. Not sure when I'm going to get used to this changeable weather, sandals and lying in hammocks one day, winter boots and mittens the next. At least I didn't have the morning the owner of the brolly had though.....

In other news, we watched the final episodes of Deadwood in the evening, and so now have to leave our Wild West friends behind. Calamity Jane may well be one of my favourite characters of all time.....and after three seasons I'd even got used to Lovejoy playing such a rude and villainous role....

what next? Dr. Who is back this weekend - hooray!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

109/365 Guess the Duck Round 5

Woop woop, its that time again. And this week I have enlisted the help of one of my favourite two year olds who has aided me in creating this masterpiece of a famous cartoon quacker.

Challenging huh? In N's defence I'm not sure that he has ever actually seen this duck, and lets face it, I have and my part of the drawing isn't that helpful either!

I have written down who it actually is on the back of the picture to avoid accusations of competition fixing (don't think about this security measure too much as it won't hold up to it!). One guess each folks and let the best duck-guesser win.

(Competition is open to anyone, previous winners are welcome to try again, winner receives a handmade duck-themed postcard of questionable monetary value).

108/365 Tuesday photo panic....

I had a bit of a paddy late on in the evening trying to decide what to take a photo of for today....Some days just aren't as interesting lets face it, so in a last ditch effort, I have for you (wait for it......) my freezer door:

Exciting isn't it?
Let me give you the guided tour.....

Here you see an array of magnets, mostly presents from family the first year we were here. I had a big selection of magnets on our fridge back in England, which we chose not to ship over (this may seem like a sensible decision but you should see some of the things we did decide we couldn't part with!). There are more on the fridge door below too but maybe they'll make for an emergency photo on another uninspired day. There are cheeky sayings (from mum and dad); Nightmare before Christmas ones (from a crafty swap); a couple from a local craft fair; mushrooms from a friend, some of the alphabet ones from my sister...

You can see a piccie of me with Mum and Dad at the beach in Wells next to the Sea, a week or so before we left and chips.... (Wendy, please note that the photo of you sticking your tongue out on your wedding day is on the side of the fridge, and be suitably grateful I haven't shared it here!).

Erm, a few flyers and coupons which will inevitably stay until way past their use-by-dates (rest assured that the laser hair removal one is not for use, there is discount fish and chips on the other side, sensing a theme?!)

A postcard of lovely Ipswich.

Shopping list from way back, which pretty much resembles the shopping list I should have at the moment.

Wow, rocked your world with that post didn't I? Apologies, you won't ever get those five minutes back. Go and have a cuppa and think about that!

Monday, 18 April 2011

107/365 Enjoying the moon

It has been a strange old day, but I think for the most part a positive one. Not much photogenic going on though so I snapped away at the moon on our evening dog walk....

I have finally started on the 'ten word' challenge that was set months ago and has a deadline of Saturday night. We have ten words (chosen by a random word generator) and are challenged to choose 5 of them and create 'artworks' inspired by said words. We've extended the deadline several times, as well as reducing the challenge from all ten words to five....and I'm guessing that most of us are still struggling. I'm glad to say that I've finally had a breakthrough.....I'll share the results next week but for now I'll share the words and see if you find them any more inspiring:

Breach; centre; guilty; particular; bloody; fragile; unfair; terminal; hostile and computing.

Not the most cheerful selection are they?

Night all. x

Sunday, 17 April 2011

106/365 What happened?

How did I end up in a place and time where words like this are options on my predictive text?

P can't even send a text message (at least not in less time than it would take him to catch, train and send a carrier pigeon), so he hasn't been entering these scientific terms into the phone. I really don't remember using it either, how is it possible that the phone comes programmed with 'femtolab', and yet does not recognise 'crochet'? What is the world coming to?!

In other news, its snowing again. But thankfully we made it home from concert and pub before the blizzard. Fantastic cello and violin playing by teenage musical geniuses (genei?) at a fundraiser for Japan.....

I managed to crack out the theme from Pingu on my clarinet this week and now feel that maybe I should have practised more in the intervening years. Ho hum.

105/365 Saturday distractions....

Rainy Saturday mornings, what is a girl to do?

Why, make fancy dress outfits for corks of course!

Introducing Sir Corkival of the Cork-table:

And you can just about see him with his friends the Ninja-cork and Mr.Corky Gnome, hanging out on our mantlepiece......

Quite the little collection up there isn't it? One of P's photographic masterpieces; a wooden loon; paper robot duck and friend; flowers from yoga in a coffee-porter bottle; our recent Aboriginal art acquisition and my crocheted-daffodil pop art piece. My little shelf of smiles.

Friday, 15 April 2011

104/365 Sweater challenge update

So, the ongoing challenge to complete 11 sweaters in 2011 continues, with Number 7:

I LOVE it! Knitted with yarn courtesy of my lovely Blisters for my birthday, and finished just in time to get some wear out of it before temperatures hot up around here (-2 again this morning, perfect sweater wearing weather).

For those interested, the pattern is Irish Coffee, and the yarn is Knitpicks City Tweed.

Right, I'm off to lie snug in a hammock. x

Thursday, 14 April 2011

103/365 New favourite word....

Today I have found a new favourite word.

For many years growing up it was 'Shelfanger', the name of a village in Norfolk which we used to drive through on the way to Band practise on Tuesday evenings. (At least, I think it was Tuesday evenings, I'm getting older and these memories get blurry!). It was usually dark when we drove through so I don't really know if it was an attractive place, but the name alone convinced me that one day I was going to live there....still time I suppose!

Last year, it was 'Granfalloon', which appears in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle, and is defined as 'a proud and meaningless association of human beings'. He gives examples as "the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company —and any nation, anytime, anywhere." I love the idea in the book, but again mostly just like saying the word.....

Today it has been usurped though, by a word in a book Paul has been devouring. Depending on your own experiences you may or may not have come across it before, but I'm not going to define it for you. Feel free to invent your own meaning...

NB. It is gratifying to note that all three of these words are not recognized by the spellchecker.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

102/365 Duck!

Didn't get very creative with my ducks this week, but then spotted this one while out with the dog. Which fictional duck does this photo represent? First correct answer gets a fabulous handmade duck-themed postcard.

And a bonus duck photo from our African correspondant this week:

Please feel free to send your own duck photos/art work/posters this way - lets face it, all Wednesdays should be duck-tastic.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

101/365 New things in common....

It turns out that when Paul is sick he has a much higher tolerance for Murder, She Wrote - a new found common interest. I have taken full advantage of this situation I can tell you.

My photo today is of the preparations for the debates this evening, for those of you unaware, Canada is heating up to an election in early May. The main candidates are facing off in English tonight and French at a later date. I must admit its quite hard to get that fired up about an election you can't vote in. However, I was surprised to see quite so many 'Harper' banners out, having yet to meet anyone who thinks anything positive about him.

Best banner? 'Vote green, 80% less bulls*%t'.
Sadly the maths teacher in me wonders if they have the evidence to back that up?!

100/365 Centenary Monday

My 100th post of the year, good grief. (Technically its Tuesday now not Monday but I'll let myself off).
Between taking Jasper to the Vets to flirt with his favourite ladies, and heading to the dentist myself, I clocked up some miles today. Spring is definitely here, the swallows are back and I managed to get a very atmospheric shot of a heron on the river.
(OK, possibly more blurry than atmospheric).

P came home early from work poorly (yep, poorly Paulie), so I have been in full on sympathetic girlfriend mode - tiring stuff! Bit of a bleurgh Monday all in all, but brightened by the daffodils I have been crocheting manically for a springtime project to be revealed later. x

Sunday, 10 April 2011

99/365 Another Sunday, another Sugar Shack

It is probably for the best that Maple Syrup season is such a short one, as the sugar rushes and crashes are really quite tiring. Post nap I can again look back on this morning with pleasure....

A morning out with friends, all you can eat breakfasts with lashings of syrup, rickety sugar shacks and farmyard animals - perfection.

The shack itself was old and dark, with sun shafts shining through the sweet steam.

The animals were very fond of humans - the ENORMOUS pig enjoyed having his belly rubbed and the cows were particularly fond of licking our hands with their ridiculously long and rough tongues.....but best of all were the turkeys.

Who knew turkeys were so interactive, you say 'gobble gobble' and they 'gobble gobble'.....hours of entertainment. These particular turkeys were far more responsive to the voices of small children, but that didn't stop us trying.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

98/365 Ice-cream season

A most entertaining morning with Les Miserables and the making of duck postcards (if you've earned one they are now winging their way).

And the reward for such hard work - the first ice-creams of the season! P and B went for classic starters with Rum and Raisin and Chocolate Orange respectively. I got off to a corking start with a Zabaglione flavoured treat - oh yes indeedy, an egg-nog flavoured wonder.

As per usual my light-weightedness became apparent as I appear to have been hungover from ice-cream for the rest of the afternoon.....what it is to be an adult!

NB - Check out Paul's Mario t-shirt - a present many moons ago which I'm hoping he'll still be wearing in his eighties.

Friday, 8 April 2011

97/365 Fishy Fridays

I am craving fish and chips, but although there are many many wonderful things about Ottawa, purveyors of fine fish and chips are few and far between....ho hum, I will make up for this in October!

However, in the mean time, I have spent this morning completing my first knitted fish, isn't he beautiful:

From a new and fantastic pattern based on Escher's tesselating fish, yes these fish tesselate, and eventually (probably when I hit retirement age), I will have a whole blanket of fish to snuggle up under. Who wouldn't want one?!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

96/365 Co-operation

In our defence it was early, pre first cup of tea of the morning.
So it seemed like a sensible idea when I spotted a Merlin fly onto the top of a telegraph pole, to attempt to take its photo through the binoculars. I held the binoculars, Paul dealt with the's our best shot:

(Hope that explains what we were up to this morning M, not spying on the neighbours!)

Said Merlin was oh so interested in his breakfast though, so stayed put when we walked Jasper and allowed us much closer, leading to this slightly less atmospheric but somewhat clearer shot:

In other news, it seemed like a good idea this afternoon to run down the street to catch a customer who had left a ball of yarn behind. And all in all it was. Sadly it was not until I turned round to walk back that I realised I was wearing my red felted slippers.....

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

95/365 Guess the duck returns

Well, I realise that 'Guess the duck' has entered many of your hearts and minds as a highlight of your week. I can tell, two entries in week one, and then 0 last week - your itching for more aren't you?!

Well, to shake things up a bit I've decided to go the crafting route this week, hopefully you'll find this one a little easier* (depending on how successful you think my tissue paper work is!)....

Answers in the comments please, first place gets a duck-themed postcard all the way from Canadia - these will be collectors items in years to come people, worth thousands on the black market**.

* Apologies to non-UK readers, I'm guessing this little man wasn't a hot British export.....

** Erm....maybe. This is by no means a guaranteed investment scheme.

NB. Previous winners (dad) need to wait til Saturday to enter please!
Oh, and those of you waiting on tenderhooks for last weeks answer, they were Goldeneyes....Bond? Get it? I'll get my coat.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

94/365 Astonishing news!

On February the 18th we went out. Not shocking news in itself, it was a fab night, chocolate fondue was consumed along with two pints of cider (which for me is still one too many). On the way home I realised I'd lost my hat.

Its not a spectacular hat. In fact it may not be technically a hat, more of a fleecy tube. I bought it on our first adventure in Canada way way back in 2001.

And then I lost it.

We rewalked our route the next day. We popped into the pub to ask if it had been handed in, all to no avail.

Until today that is. Yes April 5th 2011 is THE DAY I FOUND MY HAT!

On the walk to work this morning, I glanced down at a scrap of red fabric placed on one of the salt bins. My hat, my lovely fleecy, ridiculously soggy hat. Which is now washed and drying and awaiting return to my beautiful bonce next winter. Hoorah!

And a completely unrelated photo:

The desk in the craft room - this photo is intended to shame me into having a tidy up tomorrow. Lets hope the after shot is more impressive.

93/365 Monday blues

Well not so much blues as greys. Why is it that Mondays here are so grey, after such glorious weekends?

Anyhoo, not much to report today, expect for a delicious dinner:

Watercress and new Potato soup with goldfish crackers for that extra touch of class.

Some of them even have smiley faces - amazing.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

92/365 I spy....

...with my little eye, something beginning with P.
Yes, we finally saw our first porcupine today, sadly it was a dead porcupine which wasn't really what I had in mind, but did mean that we got some amazingly detailed piccies, and more importantly Jasper didn't get any quills up the nose (ouch!).

We made it up at 6am this morning, well quarter past anyway. Off to Morris Island conservation area for a trampse around the woods in the sunshine. Finally warm enough to sit on a bench and watch the world. So warm in fact that we caught the sun and have rosey cheeks to take to the jazz night tonight.

More photos as ever on flickr and here's a video of a frozen lake. Listen to the ice cracking in the sun. Jasper thought there were monsters coming up from under the ice.

91/365 Lost in Ottawa?

For those of you who don't have to an up to date list of my skills, map-reading and/or possessing any sort of sense of direction do not feature. I have now learnt to NOT go with my instincts, and thus I end up far far more successful...sadly i forgot this rule today and we made the same wrong turns on our way to Mer Bleue today that we made on our last visit, entirely my fault.

We made it eventually though. And sat in the sunshine munching on smashed raspberries and harvest bars. Lovely jubbly.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

90/365 Friday friday....

There was a little dog, mostly black with the odd spot of grey,
Who was usually grumpy and not too fond of play,
But occasionally a tennis ball came his way,
And he would become very attached to it and carry it everywhere, at least til he got bored and left it under a bush.
The end.

Friday, 1 April 2011

89/365 Art in the dark.

A trip to the Ottawa Art Gallery on the way to work, and a chance to explore art in the dark, by torchlight. I hadn't really spent much time here before, and will definitely be back. Some interesting pieces all in a maze of corridors - the gallery is the old courthouse.

And then to the evening and creating my own art work once again. Thursdays are turning into very artistic days all in all.

PS. Guess the duck clue - these ducks are famous for their bond.