Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 10.219: New Scotland

Nova Scotia may have a fancy name in English but the Francophones say it like it is Nouvelle Écosse - "New Scotland". Today we learned a slice of Scottish history in Pictou where there is a replica of the Hector - a ship that brought 179 Scottish immigrants to the area in 1783. The ship is astonishingly small and the story - which includes children dying of smallpox en route and a journey that took 10 weeks - after a storm caused a two week delay when they had nearly arrived - is fascinating and well told.

We enjoyed a couple of short walks - one in Pictou along the waterfront and another in Tatamagouche where we stopped for dinner on our way back to camp.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 10.218: Prince Edward Island

We took in our third Canadian province of the trip with the drive over the impressive Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island. We visited Charlottetown where we largely avoided everything Anne of Green Gables related (though we thought of friends who are big fans). We spent some time at an art gallery where E5N1 waved to and pulled faces at people in Edmonton thanks to an interesting exhibit including video screens and a camera which exists in three identical installations - those two and one in Newfoundland.

We ended the day with pizza and s'mores cooked on the campfire.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 10.217: Beach day

After a couple of days involving significant trips in the car we decided to spend the day that looked to be the warmest and sunniest at the park. We spent the morning at the beach where the water was almost weirdly warm - we had heard that it is the warmest sea water north of the Carolinas - and amazingly clear. We saw hermit crabs and shrimp and flat fish and schools of small fish and a couple of sea stars as we paddled and waded. Exile #4 and I swam and watched terns fishing out to sea and we all had a great view of a bald eagle as it gave us a fly-by.

The afternoon wa spent lazily at camp reading and playing games and then we ventured out for dinner 20 minutes along the coast but over the border in New Brunswick.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 10.216: Fundy tides

After another good night's sleep, we went to satisfy my main ambition for this trip - to witness the largest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy. We also managed a visit to a geological museum and a tidal power research center and still had time to cook dinner on the campfire. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 10.215: Truro and a gathering

After a surprisingly long and sound night's sleep, we headed down to Truro where we ate lunch at Tim Hortons, walked and played and listened to live country music  at Victoria Park and then had dinner with some friends. Yes there are pictures. No I can't post them!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 10.214: The 3R's: Wrong, rain and red

Today we discovered that, like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia is also on ADT at the moment so forget that part of yesterday's post - the part about hoping for AST all year round stands.

We drove to our campsite in almost continuous rain, and - with no sign of a break to come - pitched camp (in record time) also in the rain.

 By the time we were done with a late lunch/early dinner, the rain had mostly stopped and we walked down the beach at the other end of the provincial park we are camping in. It's extremely beautiful with red sand and red rocks and very green pine trees. Sadly phone-blogging does not allow for photo uploads - so you'll have to imagine until I get home.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 10.213: Atlantic Daylight Time

There is a movement in Maine to have our time zone changed to match our across-the-water neighbors in Nova Scotia who are on Atlantic Standard Time year-round which is the same as Eastern Daylight Time. This would mean that Maine would stick with our summer time offset for the whole year and avoid the twice-a-year torture of the hour shift.

This afternoon, we set out on our vacation road trip journey to Nova Scotia. We had thought we would make the trip as far as our overnight in Fredericton New Brunswick after my normal work day was over but we were a bit concerned that the border crossing and rush hour traffic would threaten our ability to make it to the University of New Brunswick before their office closed at 11 pm so I took the afternoon off so we could have a more relaxed journey. In the end we got away around 2 pm and it took us about five and a half hours. However, we did not arrive at 7:30 pm but at 8:30 pm because New Brunswick spends the summer on Atlantic Daylight Time. Just as well we allowed some extra time!

We are now settling down to spend the night in a three bedroom student apartment - which is rather a good arrangement and fairly inexpensive compared with even a single hotel room. E5N1 is the most significant beneficiary - in a hotel room he usually has an air mattress on the floor. Here he has a large bed to himself in his own room!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 10.212: Google Photos does "peaceful"

Following on from yesterday's post, I asked Google Photos for "peaceful" pictures from my collection and it recommended this (among others) from nearly a year ago:

I don't know about you, but I needed that!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 10.211: A nice calming photograph of flowers

Here's another picture from our visit to the Children's Garden at Fort Williams Park the other day.

We are in the midst of getting ready for a trip - but look at the flowers!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Day 10.210: How many flying shorebirds?

In the foreground of this composite photograph taken with my phone at the beach on Sunday morning, I caught some flying shorebirds - plovers or sandpipers. The question is how many did I catch (with the camera - obviously I was not actually catching them!)?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day 10.209: ...and back to the beach

After Saturday's craziness - a race and a gig - it was something of a miracle that I managed to drag myself out of bed early to run on Sunday morning and even more of a miracle that my legs cooperated to carry me 18 miles. They certainly were not entirely happy about it, but hard runs on Saturday followed by long runs on Sunday are the normal pattern of my marathon training weekends this cycle so it made sense to try.

I'll be the first to admit that marathon training is a kind of madness, but I think everyone could appreciate one of the things I love about long runs in the summer - making it down to the beach early in the morning and seeing sights like this:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Day 10.208: Exile #2's Sunday Column #188

Exile #2 writes...

We spent the afternoon in training (well, all except E5N1, who spent the afternoon watching movies!). Our congregation is one of more than a dozen in and around Portland embarking on a new program to help families experiencing homelessness in the city. One of the main features of the program is that, week by week, faith communities of all varieties turn spaces in their buildings into bedrooms to provide a safe and comfortable place for whole families to sleep and eat (many shelters separate men and boys over 12 from women and children). Whilst in the program, the families who, in Portland, are often new immigrants, will also be offered help to find permanent accommodation and employment opportunities.

After completing our official training, we had just about enough time left before dinner for a quick tent inspection ahead of our trip next week. We are looking forward to venturing north across the border again, but more of that later.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day 10.207: Beach to Beacon to bar

This morning I raced the Beach to Beacon 10K road race for the fourth time. This is the start - at the Beach (well, near to Crescent Beach State Park):

This was at the end at the Beacon:

The picture on the most-photographed lighthouse - Portland Head Light) is of Olympic gold medal winner and B2B race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson - today I shook her hand near the finish line where she looked just as fresh as she usually does - the only difference being that she had just run the race (she runs every 5 years) in a US record beating time for her division.

In case that wasn't enough excitement, this evening, Exile #2 and I were in Portland to sing some songs:

Quite a full day!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Day 10.206: Produced!

Exile #2 was rather apologetic of her tiny garden in a container next to the deck when she first got it started, but it is now producing some impressive...produce:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Day 10.205: Fort Williams at sunset

Exile #2, E5N1 and I found ourselves in Cape Elizabeth this evening - and just had 40 minutes or so to visit Fort Williams Park where we saw the lighthouse, some boats and - for the first time - explored the fairly-new Children's Garden

The park was in the throes of preparations for an event - it's where the 20th running of the Beach to Beacon 10K will finish on Saturday morning. That's also the reason that we were in Cape Elizabeth - for me to pick up my packet for the race.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Day 10.204: Chicago buildings

A few more sights from my trip - featuring the amazing round towers - the bottom third is parking garage, the rest apartments, some strange "stone" buildings including the one that appears to be a skyscraper with a Gothic cathedral perched on top (just to the right of the clock tower), some stunning modern creations and a view of the "L" (just like with TV shows and movies - I don't really believe it's Chicago unless there's a shot of the "L").

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Day 10.203: Surprising technology

I was not surprised when the ticket for the "L" in Chicago that I bought from a machine looked like this:

But I was a little surprised when I walked up to the gate and there was nowhere to insert it, just a "touch here" proximity pad for peoples fancy reusable tickets.

I knew it wouldn't work, but given no other option I held my ticket close to the pad and...the gate opened. I was not expecting that.

When I was on the train, I held the ticket to the light to find out how the magic works - and sure enough, embedded in the ticket is a little passive RFID circuit and my little paper ticket was also a fancy reusable ticket:

Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 10.202: Running in Chicago

I've been wholeheartedly getting back into the habit of running regularly and slightly halfheartedly doing marathon training. The former is definitely a good thing - the latter will probably get me into trouble come October 1st when I plan to attempt to race that particular distance for the 7th time.

Anyway, one of the really excellent things about my generally not-too-hideous business trip to Chicago was two morning runs totalling something like 17 miles - mostly along the river and lake shore.

Here are some photos I took along the way:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Day 10.201: Exile #2's Sunday Column #187

Exile #2 writes...

E5N1, J and A, who were all sharing a room last night, managed to get up very stealthily this morning. When the rest of us finally caught up with them, they were in the basement, using the plastic food to create a restaurant (our plastic food collection is one of those toys that seems to go on and on).

T, S, J & A were driving on to a camp site today but we squeezed in a very nice visit to the beach before they went. The kids (bravely) swam, jumped waves, and built sandcastles. The rest of us chatted, waded, and walked along the shore, all in not much more than an hour.

By the time we left the park, wardens were closing the gate to new arrivals, and there was a small queue forming of hopeful beachgoers. We freed up a space for someone, at least.

We dropped Exile #4 off at her friends' house for a sleepover, then shortly after said goodbye to T, S, J & A. Since then, we've been putting everything back the way it was - apart from Exile #4's room. After giving it up for our guests to use it is looking much tidier than usual. She'll be back tomorrow to do something about that, I'm sure.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Day 10.200: Summer visitors (and summer traffic)

Our friends T & S and their kids are here to visit us from our old home in NY. It took them a bit longer than planned to get to us - thanks to the joy that is trying to get into Maine on a Saturday in summer. Nevertheless, we had time for a nice walk at Fuller Farm and a cook-out and lots of catching up.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Day 10.199: Sky Deck

I had a few hours to myself when I first arrived in Chicago - so I decided to visit the Sky Deck of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). The views from the 106th floor were fantastic:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day 10.198: Throwback Thursday: Exile #2 is history!

Here she is in the "Remember When" column from her amateur dramatics days back in the mists of time (1988 to be precise)!

With thanks to her parents for spotting it and letting us see it!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 10.197: Sweet home, Chicago

I have made it home - and it feels good to be back after a long day of traveling and waiting around.

Here is one of my photos of Chicago - there are more to come:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Day 10.196: Deer, me

Today was the main event as far as my trip to Chicago (congratulations to my Dad for that deduction!) was concerned. Meetings started over breakfast and only wound up around midnight (although the formal meetings happened only in the middle part of the day.

Anyway, here is a picture from this morning - a large deer and me:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Day 10.195: I don't mind; I don't mind

It's business travel time, but where in the world am I?

I approached the coast over the water:

I saw the skyline:

It's a place that doesn't mind having two different stations with the same English-language name on its transit system:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Day 10.194: Exile #2's Sunday Column #186

Exile #2 writes...

We got home from camp with E5N1 at around midday yesterday, so I set about throwing together some lunch. I had a couple of things going on the hob, and something else in the microwave, when the kitchen started to seem a little smoky - then really smoky. I started turning things off, and moving them off the heat. I was a bit confused because I had only just started cooking, but the smoke only got worse. I called for reinforcements, but we still couldn't figure out what was going on, until we looked up to see acrid smoke pouring out of the housing of the microwave. Our best guess is that a motor burnt out. I guess it decided it had done 20 years good service, and was ready for retirement.

So, after eating our lunch out in the fresh, not smoky, air, our afternoon was spent searching out and fitting a new microwave.

Today, Exile #4 suggested that we should replace the fridge (which is of a similar vintage) before it too has a catastrophic failure. I really have no idea whose child she is...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Day 10.193: Theatre boy

This morning, we had an early start (by summer/weekend standards anyway) to drive up to camp to watch the musical that E5N1's camp had been rehearsing all week (in between swimming and boating and campfires and all the other camp activities).

It was pretty amazing. An original musical written by the camp leader for the occasion and then rehearsed in just four days by this group of 9-12 year olds.

And then it was time to head home with our tired boy and his bag full of laundry - which our pastor who had watched him pack it up warned us was probably some kind of biohazard but Exile #2 having finished dealing with it described as "not as bad as last year".

Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 10.192: Libby River Farm

I toyed with naming today's post "When Nature Attacks!"

I was able to join the short hike today - we ventured out after dinner to Libby River Farm trails. We found some nicely tended trails, lovely views, wildflowers, birds and red squirrels and...


Still, as long as we were never still for very long, things were just about bearable. The general lack of stillness didn't do much for my photography, but I was still able to get a few pictures of the humans:

and the non-bug nature:

Definitely worth another visit - but perhaps not on a July evening.