About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Welcome to ABC Wednesday where this week we celebrate the letter G as in goat, gorgeous, giant, golly gee, grand, gigolo, general, etc.  I've made up a slideshow for you about two places I visited this summer in North Yorkshire, England, and where I had absolutely the most generous hosts to whom I'd like to dedicate this particular blog - Phil and Jill Ellis. I hope that I was a great guest in heir grandiose home, a 17th century stone house in the village of Grosmont.  Jill and I also drove through Goathland, a place I'd seen with her in 2012, but we slowed down so I could take some photos from the car window.  Just to help you out a bit, Grosmont is pronounced "grow-monT" and Goathland is pronounced "goth-land"(emphasis on the "goth")

Here's a bit of background about these two villages.  From Wikipedia...

Grosmont is home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway engine shed.[51] A number of structures in and near the village are listed, including: the three arch sandstone road bridge over the Esk, dating from around 1700;[52][map 9] the early 19th century 'Eskdale Villa' on the eastern outskirts of the village;[53] and in the village the 19th century 'Rose Cottage'.[54]  Several railway related buildings and structures are listed, including the 'Station Tavern' public house and outbuildings (originally "The Tunnel Inn");[16][17] the Post Office (c. 1835);[18] and the former horse tramway tunnel, now a pedestrian route;[55][56] all built for the Whitby and Pickering Railway in the 1830s. Also listed are the Murk Esk railway bridge (1845);[34][map 10] 1845 railway tunnel,[35] and the G.T. Andrews designed Grosmont Railway station (1846),[36][map 11] all built for the York and North Midland Railway.

The village of Goathland was the setting of the fictional village of Aidensfield in the Heartbeat television series set in the 1960s. Many landmarks from the series are recognisable, including the stores, garage/funeral directors, the public house and the railway station. The pub is called the Goathland Hotel, but in the series is the Aidensfield Arms. After filming for some years a replica was built in the studio.[5] 

The music I chose to go along with the photos is called "It's Almost Perfect Here" and that is how I feel about these two gorgeous villages in North Yorkshire.  I fell in love with the place even more than I did four years ago.  Some of the lyrics you'll hear are "the reason is coming crystal clear", "I think I really dig this atmosphere", "you're the one thing I've got this thing about", "go with the flow" and I think the only thing that could make it more perfect is if I could actually live there!

With great thanks to the generous Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, and the gallant Roger, our administrator.  Also glorious thanks to the goofy team of assistants who visit everyone's post each week to leave glowing comments.  Turn up your sound and expand to full screen to enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, August 14, 2016

F is for FREDDIE

He sits on his bench in his overcoat, cloth cap pulled slightly down, gazing out to sea.  His walking stick is loosely held in his left hand, his right arm draped casually over the back of the bench.  It looks like a favourite spot along Scarborough’s North Bay.
This is an astonishing, giant sculpture in rusting steel.  It has a kind of serenity and, up close, the texture of the steel is amazing.  Even without the title, this would be an arresting piece of art.  It is based on a former miner from County Durham who, as a soldier shortly before his 24th birthday, was one of the first allied troops to enter Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in April 1945.  They found more than 60,000 prisoners, most of them seriously ill, and thousands of unburied corpses.  Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers represents ordinary people pulled out of ordinary lives because of war, who involuntarily experienced extraordinary things and whose lives were profoundly affected as a consequence.  The inscription on the sculpture’s plaque says:
“They said for king and country,
We should do as we were bid,
They said old soldiers never die
But plenty young ones did.”
 Freddie Gilroy died in 2008.  But the story doesn’t end there.  The artist, Ray Lonsdale, loaned the sculpture to the town for a month, but local resident Jakki Willby began a campaign to keep it in Scarborough.  Out of the blue, local pensioner Maureen Robinson donated the £50,000 needed – and Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers is now a permanent feature on North Bay.

While I was in Scarborough with my dear friend Jill, she showed me the sculpture and I was fascinated.  Then we looked at each other, giggled, and took each other's photo in the crook of Freddie's arm.  It wasn't until I returned home that I looked up his story and feel a bit foolish for taking the sculpture so lightly and acting like a frivolous teenager.  But here we are to show you the perspective of the sculpture's size!  I'm 5' 6 1/2" tall and Jill is about 5' 9" so you can see just how huge this fantastic sculpture is.  It's bigger than life, just like Freddie was when he took part in freeing all those prisoners from Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

With fervent thanks to our fancy "scarecrow-making" Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to our faithful servant Roger who administrates ABCW with the assistance of a fantastic team of fellow contributors.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

E is for EGTON

EGTON is a small, picturesque expanse in North Yorkshire, high on the moors near Whitby (famous for its Abbey) and has a most enchanting ambience.  You can see how the wind whips through the area from the way the tall grasses are permanently bent in one direction.  The Mortuary Chapel was built in 1897 on the site of the original church (before 1349) and is still used for special services.
We arrived by traveling uphill on a dirt road ending up in a countryside forested area overlooking the moors and fields of cattle and sheep.  A well-worn gate greeted us just outside a stone fence that hid the chapel from view.
We fought our way through the overgrown grass in the old section of the cemetery wondering about those souls whose stones have been there for centuries. 
I am glad we were there on a sunny morning and not during a dismal rainy day.  I think I could have been easily spooked!  However, we then wandered over to the more "modern" part of the cemetery where there were graves as new as a few years ago. There were a couple of plain and worn benches where one could sit a while to enjoy the views or think of a loved one or two. 
Being very respectful, we visited the bottom part of this section and my hosts told me that some episodes of the television show "Heartbeat" had been filmed on this location.  Whenever there was a funeral or gravesite scene, this is where they filmed it.
 Upon leaving through another wrought-iron gate, I glanced back and noticed that the gate had been installed in honour of someone else who must have had a some sort of impact on Egton.
Extensive thanks to the elegant Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABC Wednesday, and to the estimable Roger, our administrator.  Also extending thanks to the exceptional team of participants who embark on visitations to each and every person and goes to the effort of commenting on other contributors' posts.

Please note that I truly enjoy visiting old cemeteries and churches but not in a ghoulish way. I love their history because where I come from, there aren't many cemeteries, and the few we do have are walled and/or gated, sometimes locked.  I think it's an honour to visit and esteem the departed who perhaps will "hear" my prayers and greet me one day at those other "gates."

Monday, August 01, 2016


"Imagine discovering a lost garden with tunnels and underground grottoes buried under thousandsof tonnes of soil for over 50 years. That’s what happened at Dewstow gardens. Built around 1895 the gardens were buried just after World War Two and rediscovered in 2000." http://www.dewstowgardens.co.uk/)

This is from the brochure I brought home...One of the most exciting horticultural finds of recent years has been the underground Edwardian gardens at Destow House in Monmouthshire.

In1893, Henry Oakley purchased the ancient Dewstow estate, managing it until his death in 1940. A keen horticulturist and wealthy bachelor, Oakley embarked on the creation of a truly ambitious and unique garden in his ground.

Commissioning eminent London landscapers Pulham & Son, work on the massive project began in the late 19th Century.  While there are many examples of the Pulham's work in stately homes in the UK, Dewstow is unique in its scale and subterranean focus.

With no descendants the land passed from Oakley at his death in 1940.  During the forties the garden was filled in and the land reverted to working pastureland.  The vast majority of the private gardens were buried or destroyed and as no records of their existence remained, they were forgotten until the land was purchased by the Harris family in 2000.

After an initial investigation, the discovery of steps leading down and other evidence of the garden were found. Subsequent excavation has revealed far more than was ever imagined."

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting these gardens on one of my last days in southern Wales and was absolutely overwhelmed at its beauty.  So instead of writing about it, how about taking a look for yourself!  Be sure to expand into full frame mode and turn up the music (a jazz rendition of "Sunny")for a bit of ambience!  Here's a sneak peak from the brochure.
With divine thanks to the darling Denise, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to our dapper administrator Roger.  Also thanks go to the dauntless team of ABCWers who daily monitor and comment on all the dazzling contributions we receive from around the world. And now, on with the show!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, July 25, 2016


Hi everyone!  I've come home from my trip abroad and my mind is simply bursting with ideas for my weekly ABC Wednesday posts.  Since we're on Week C, I was trying to decide whether to do castles or cathedrals or colours, or the company I had.  After considerable concentration, I decided to introduce you to Castell Coch (Castle Coch) which is located in south-east Wales.

To begin with, this castle is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle. It was built above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans after 1081, to protect the newly conquered town of Cardiff and control the route along the Taff Gorge. Abandoned shortly afterwards, the location was reused by Gilbert Le Clare for a new stone fortification (1267-1277) to protect his annexed Welsh lands.  It was destroyed during the native Welsh rebellion of 1334.  In 1760, the castle ruins were acquired by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute as part of a marriage settlement that brought the family vast estates in South Wales.
I visited the castle with my good friend Jane, who lives nearby.  We oohed and aahed all throughout, especially when we got to the room where the lady of the house slept!  We had tea in the tea room with a piece of bara brith, a Welsh spiced fruit bread that's made with tea and spread with salted Welsh butter.  Yummy!  Afterwards, we received a tip that if we turned left at the castle exit and went right up to the top of the hill to the Fforest Fawr, we could see a carved wooden dragon.  (The dragon is the Welsh national symbol and on the flag.)  So off we went to see some fantastic wooden sculptures done by Ami Marsden who carved the dragon out of a dead oak tree. 

So this is what we could see as we drove towards the castle after we'd turned off the main highway. It rose up above the trees and beckoned us to continue on to its ramparts, dungeon, lord's and lady's rooms, kitchens, the dining room, the drawing room, the winch room, etc.  Castell Coch is well known for being used in the film industry for programmes such Dr Who, The Worst Witch and Merlin. Many parents in the local area will know it's also home to the 'tooth fairy.' The following photo is courtesy of the photographer RJMorgans...taken December 2012.
Enjoy the Smilebox video - all photos are mine except the very first one and the music is "Angel of Monmouth," which I chose since we're visiting Monmouthshire, Wales.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
I wonder what next week will bring - maybe I'll show you Dewstow Gardens and Hidden Grottos.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

W is for WEEPING

Oh, I am very weary,
Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tired of weeping,
My heart is sick of woe.
Anne Bronte

I had a shock yesterday! 

My sister was over and after going out for lunch, she came in and we were talking about some of the old times, old jobs, old boyfriends...

I told her about having seen my very first "real" boyfriend (from university days) about 20 years ago when I went and taught for a year in the area where he lived.  I saw him and talked to him a few times while there, and there was still a bit of a pitty-pat in my heart for him even though I knew it was never to be.

Yesterday, I found out that he is dead!  And it happened 2 1/2 years ago! 

I had seen something online the other day about an event he had been involved in and was looking to see if there were any more photos of him.  

Up popped his obituary!  

My heart broke and I wept for him.

It didn't say how he died, just that he was with his brother and sister-in-law in a different town from where he'd lived most of his life and where I had last seen him.  Apparently, they took him "home" and he was buried beside his father there.

I have always had good thoughts of him and the good times we had - the fraternity parties he took me to, the time we went to a formal dinner/dance and he was speechless when he saw me in my gown and my hair all done up,  the time we got dressed up sort of like "Little House on the Prairie" days for another party, the movies we saw and the walks and drives we took, our overnight ski trip to Mount Baker when during the drive he turned to me and said "You look like an angel with the moonlight shining on your face", the night he took me to a well-known nightclub in Vancouver for dinner and dancing and had our photo taken by a wandering photographer (anyone else remember those days?), our middle-of-the-night "magical mystery tour" to the back entrance to the Capilano Suspension Bridge property with a car load of his buddies and him jumping out from behind a tree in the dark to scare me and me screaming until we started laughing and laughing, how he travelled 500 miles to spend Christmas with me and my family one year and how much my parents liked him, and the kissing....oh the kissing.....and my Dad yelling down the stairs that it was "awful quiet down there" while I was supposed to be ironing his shirt for him.

I've never known someone of my generation to pass away, except for my husband 24 years ago, but that was different. 

 Yet this news is heartbreaking. 

I wish now that I had photographs of him and of us together, but in those days who could afford a camera?  Yet the images are in my mind and will forever be in my mind.  I think I always loved him for being my first true love.

Maybe one day we will meet again.

In the meantime, may he rest in peace here in the meadows beneath the mountains near
Bella Coola, BC, Canada.

Monday, June 06, 2016

V is for VOYAGE to VISIT

Welcome to our week honouring the letter V as in vitality, vitamins, vigil, van, visa, vine, vigor, vacuums, visit and voyage.

In about 10 days, I'll be departing YVR (Vancouver International Airport) and heading to England and Wales.  This voyage is something I've been anticipating for a very long time.  I'll try to post something next week, but after that I'll be gone for at least 4 weeks.  I will be visiting friends in Newport and Swansea (Wales) plus in Hampshire, Liverpool, and North Yorkshire (England).

About half the time will be to areas that will be new to me.  For example, I'll be seeing more of the south western coast of Wales (courtesy of Liz and her hubby) plus northern Wales with Liz and my good friend Jane.  Below, Liz and I enjoy lunch overlooking the beach at Rhossili back in 2012. Jane will pick us up at her place and the three of us will tour Northern Wales.  I hope to visit the seaside town where my paternal grandmother was born and brought up - Llandudno - as well as some other areas around there. 
Also, on my own, I'll spend a bit longer than last time in Liverpool, where my paternal grandfather was raised.  At the same time, I hope to visit with Di (from here on ABCW) and her husband for at least a dinner after I have completed the hop on/hop off bus tour of the city.  Here's a photo from 2012 when my friend Cathy and I met them for dinner at "Gusto's" on Albert Dock.
Then it's on the train to head east to North Yorkshire to visit my friend Jill and her family.  We plan on doing a lot of touring around the Yorkshire area plus spend a day and a night in York - just the two of us - a nice girly outing!  Here are Jill and me one day when we went touring around in 2012 and stopped here for lunch.
After a week with her, I'll hop on the train again and head back to southern Wales to stay with my good friend Jane, whom I met 10 years ago when ... well, that's another story for another time.  We plan on celebrating our 10 years of friendship both there and here when (hopefully) she comes over to visit me again.  This time, it'll be in a different home, but the same village. Our birthdays are 2 days apart and she's celebrating a "biggie" this year so we're going all out to party - maybe go to Whistler for a few nights and/or to the Okanagan wine region to tour and taste some wines!  Here we are 4 years ago!
The letter V came up at just the right time so I could announce all about my voyage to visit my good UK friends.  If anyone thinks they might like to "break into" my place, forget it.  It's like Fort Knox with all the locks and CCTV cameras, etc.  Plus my daughter will be living at my place to take care of Tegan while I'm away.  So if you miss me, never fear, I will return with more and more photos and tales to tell.

With vigorous thanks to that vixen Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, and to the valiant Roger, our administrator who is vital to the ongoing success of this meme. Also thanks to the valuable team of helpers who faithfully visit all the contributors to leave validating comments.