Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Well, it wasn't the legendary icestorm of '94, which I was apparently the only person in Kingston to miss, but it has been a spell of pretty dirty weather.  But we didn't lose power like a lot of others, and, in the end, it didn't really affect us all that much.  But the landscape certainly looks different.  I took my camera out in the back yard:










At work everything was covered in ice as well.  Hard to remember the hot, hazy days of summer horse shows!



The horses finally got out for a few hours.  They were pretty happy to be out of their stalls, even if the thick crust put a damper on their hijinks.  Here's Junior, wondering why I've stopped the tractor:

 



Sunday, 22 December 2013

On Sunny Acres Road the water treatment plant is being enlarged.  A lot of the site is fenced off, but there is still some access.  I found this bucket in the snow, and a rock drill resting nearby.














At work the horses who live outside seem pretty happy, althought the freezing rain was too much, and they all crammed into the barns for a couple days until things got easier.  Here's Ben, a big friendly fellow, in the snow:



Thursday, 19 December 2013

A few weeks ago at Lemoine Point:




But much of the ground now looks like it does here at work.  This is the west side of the haybarn, with the indoor arena right behind it:




A few weeks ago at my sons' school, a fence I've been looking at almost every day while waiting for them to come out after class:






Saturday, 7 December 2013

It feels as if there's been a pause.  After that first dramatic and beautiful snowstorm the temperature had gradually crept a little higher, and the grey skies didn't drop anything more.  At Little Cataraqui there was still snow on the ground when we walked there on Friday, and the chickadees were hungry.




 At work I see this line of trees every time I get the tractor out of the hay barn, and every day they look a little different.  This snow's melted now, I'm just hoping the mud doesn't thaw until the spring.  We had enough of that already, thank you.


Monday, 2 December 2013

Snowy panorama, last Wednesday morning.  Winter isn't always easy to work in, but I'm always glad to be working outside, and mornings like this are just icing on the cake.


This was the view from my office window on Wednesday morning, where I work at Gladstone Farm.  A grand morning to be working outside; who doesn't like to plow snow with a tractor?



Down in the paddock Ben(left) and Buddy(right) having breakfast.  In my experience every stable has a horse called Buddy, and he's always the oldest horse in the barn!



Of course all that hay goes somewhere, mostly into the manure pile, which can get pretty warm and steamy waiting to be removed!  If I remember correctly, the writer Katherine Mansfield lived above a stables while staying with Gurdjieff at Fontainebleau because it used to be thought that the manure vapors were good for tuberculosis.  It didn't help her, but it seems I'm unlikely to get it!



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

When the sleet is blowing, I'm inclined to look downward when walking, where there is a whole other language to be found written on the pavement.  Some apparently official, some less so.





My son said that he finds oil stains quite beautiful, and I have to agree.  A molecules-thick super-nova lying on the the rainwater:




Elsewhere, I spotted a comet...



Sunday, 10 November 2013



Fall came, a few weeks of glorious colour and sunny, calm days, and then the switch got thrown, and the rains and winds washed and blew it down the drains.  But sunny days still happen, and then the remains of the leaves glow in puddles.  In the sheltered corners a few seeds are still left:



Sunday, 3 November 2013

Well, that was windy!  A couple days of heavy winds, culminating in a night of real gale.  I went down to Patterson Park in the afternoon, a park exposed to the whole width of the lake, where the rollers break on the wide shallows.







Even in that wind a few leaves were still clinging to their branches:



Thursday, 3 October 2013



Every week when my godparents went to London I had dinner with my "god-grandfather", who was always called "Gaffer".  He was in his nineties then, spry and sharp.  He had been a missionary in India, and used to scold the dog Hannibal if he begged at the table, "Tashi deh leh!".  Then Gaffer would turn to me and say "D'you know, that dog doesn't speak a word of Urdu!"  He liked to tell anecdotes about "TS" (Elliot), whom he knew.  After dinner in that great dark kitchen he would always refuse help walking across the cobblestone courtyard to his apartment in the old stables.  I often thought of him as a living connection to the Raj, and a grainier, tweedier, and grander era of English history.  My godparents built him a summer house in part of their grounds, and Gaffer would very slowly walk there, and sit in the sun.  The summer house is there still, as you see; though the grass is longer now.  I miss Gaffer.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

When I was young and troubled and all Sturm und Drang, my Godparents gave me sanctuary in their incredible house in Berkshire-


  


 -where, at various times, I did house painting, groundskeeping, or working at a documentary film studio in the basement.  Somedays I followed the paths to the beech trees around the tree called "Some Old Boy":



and, although Some Old Boy is now just a stump, the beeches still form a lovely leafy space inside:




But for an even more secluded spot you can sit in the walled garden, surrounded by gently crumbling orange-red brick, greenhouses, and lush vegetable patches.



Friday, 27 September 2013

Montacute House isn't far from my parent's place in Dorset, so we went there for a morning.  Aside from the huge Elizabethan house itself -visited and lived in by a bunch of famous people over the years- the grounds themselves are rather fine.  The hedges and trees are quite remarkable and whimsical:







...but in other places formal and mysterious:





Back in Dorset that evening we walked through some fields in the evening, lush grass growing for sheep:




...and wheat ripening.


  


I wouldn't care to live in England any more, but I wish we had their tradition of public trails across the countryside.  It's always disappointing to see so much land here at home without any public trails.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

We went to England for a couple weeks, some time in Berkshire, Dorset, and London.  London is basically a theme park run by Eastern Europeans now, but perhaps I'm just getting old and jaded.  We did brave the August crowds to go on the London Eye, which really is an amazing piece of machinery.  I can say it gives an excellent view.







There is a growing number of outrageous skyscrapers built or being built in London, but the old city is still growing even where there isn't any room.  This made me think of Megacity One:


 

Another apartment block of the future:




Earlier, we had been to Lyme Regis, a quintessential English seaside town, famous for the fossils which are being eroded out of the tall soft cliffs by the sea.  Some of the boulders are almost as soft as soap.  The fossil in the picture was about 50 cm across, and in the middle of a morning organizing and negotiating family and relatives gave me a sudden apprehension of enormous silence and age:









Saturday, 10 August 2013

 At one end of the scenic and idyllic Collin's Bay Marina I found a cluster of rusting metal hulks, likely some old industrial docks.




 And on the north shore of the bay, behind Collin's Bay Public School is a tightly closed building apparently owned by Bell:




But the Bell building isn't much more foreboding than the school itself, although I'm sure what goes on inside doesn't reflect the exterior:






Sunday, 4 August 2013



An old stone staircase on the grounds of the former psychiatric hospital on the waterfront.  The stairs are just by some old greenhouses, now abandoned...





...which I found rather sad, because they hinted at at a belief that contact with green things could be good for mental imbalances, an idea not suggested by the current KPH building.  But most of the old buildings are pretty grim, too: