Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 10.110: Exile #2's Sunday Column #174

Exile #2 writes...

A letter arrived in the mail on Saturday from Exile #3's high school. To our surprise and delight it notified us that she has been nominated by one or more of her teachers for special recognition this year, and we have been invited to an evening celebration. We are very happy for her, and proud of her efforts. Also, it will be a chance to experience another aspect of the American education system, which is always entertaining!

It reminded me that I still have books that I was able to buy with vouchers given as awards, including a well-thumbed book of piano music, and also Delia Smith's Book of Cakes. This one has yellowed with age but has a fantastic picture of Delia on the cover, sporting a bowl haircut and looking a little awkward behind a table groaning with cakes. It's worth it for that alone!



Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 10.109: Getting the job done

This morning, Exile #2, E5N1 and I took a trip to the transfer station to dump a car load of items that have been cluttering the garage. Meanwhile, the girls stayed home to get some homework done.

Not surprisingly, when the beautiful afternoon weather arrived, Exile #4 was still in her PJs in her room. However, in a break with tradition, Exile #3 actually ventured downstairs:


She's working on some watercolour paintings for an extra-credit assignment for her English class. Whatever the reason, it's nice to see her from time to time when it isn't a mealtime or time to drive her somewhere!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 10.108: In the clouds

I took the girls to Portland this evening so that they could attend Shabbat service at the local reform Synagogue with their confirmation classmates. I took the opportunity for an evening run in some of my old haunts.

It was a strange evening - with fog just out to sea making the coast rather dreamlike:


OK, very dreamlike:

When I got up to the top of the hill I was completely engulfed in cloud and there was no view at all, but then I came out again and could see the fog rolling into Back Cove from above:


I also had a pretty good run and bought myself a morning off tomorrow!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Day 10.107: Natural

We've been treadmill shopping.

This means that lots of adverts for treadmills and other fitness equipment have been showing up everywhere we go online.

This - ever so natural - photo of someone definitely actually using a treadmill is a special example:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 10.106: By the bandstand

Some time ago I texted Exile #3 to say I was ready to pick her up from a school event and I was parked "by the bandstand".

Apparently it's called "the rotunda" or something and no-one EVER calls ANYTHING a "bandstand".

When we were in Bar Harbor last weekend - I pointed, "Look a bandstand!"

"It's not a 'bandstand' Dad!"

"Yes it is - it says it right on it!"

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 10.105: Fort Knox

As Exile #2 mentioned, after a fairly lazy start to Saturday, we took a small detour to visit Fort Knox on our way back from our mini break. It's an extraordinary place - built in the mid 19th century to repel a largely by-then imagined threat from the British, it never saw battle and is - perhaps as a result - very well preserved.

We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours exploring outside:


Exile #4 is investigating one of the "hot shot furnace" designed to heat cannonballs so that they would set fire to ships that they hit (alas, in keeping with the theme of the fort, the cannons that were eventually installed were of a different bore - so these furnaces could not have been used in any case).

And also inside:


The passageways on various levels around the central courtyard were quite amazing spaces. We discovered that it took eight people to fire one of the cannons and that "A" battery is not a misuse of quotes but we were not sure until we discovered the "B" battery.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 10.104: Steamy

On Sunday morning, soon after the sun came up after a couple of cool wet days, I went out for a run. I noticed some trees steaming in the early morning sunshine in a few places, but when I turned the corner to see this fence in full sunlight, I decided it was worth pulling my phone out for a moment:


I'll write about the rest of our northern adventures soon!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 10.103: Exile #2's Sunday Column #173

Exile #2 writes...

After our mad 48 hour dash to Bar Harbor and back again, we were glad to spend a quieter day, soaking in the sunshine which had, with impeccable timing, returned just as we did. Despite the wet and chilly weather, it was a good trip, exploring various sites of historic interest where the British behaved in a pretty shady way. No wonder we are still always the baddies in movies! Still, we did enjoy the fact that we managed to infiltrate Fort Knox, built to defend against the British, with little or no resistance.


Back home, the trees are flowering, and other things have emerged too: Spring flowers, rhubarb, the washing line, various Exiles' legs. Oh, and the grill. The neighborhood has filled with the smell of smoke today. Partly from Spring clear ups that are underway, partly from the firing up of grills. Grilling season is short here, and is vigorously embraced when it comes. So, who are we not to join in? Back to school tomorrow for the Exiles but the end of the school year is surprisingly close.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 10.102: Mount Desert and Ellsworth recap

Here is a proper recap of our day yesterday.

After a three hour drive and a quick lunch, we had a short chilly walk on the waterfront in Bar Harbor:

before heading to the Abbe Museum where we learned a lot about the Native American tribes of the area. I also spent a while in the kids room with E5N1 where we tackled two of these beautiful (and surprisingly tricky) jigsaw puzzles:


and he insisted I photography him with every animal puppet in the menagerie:


After that, we took advantage of the free Acadia park access to drive up Cadillac. The top of the mountain was in the clouds and we didn't even bother to stop, but once we came down a bit we pulled over to admire the view:



There was time for one more quick stop on the island, so we stopped in at College of the Atlantic's Natural History Museum:


which has fantastic Maine animal dioramas and - more surprisingly - these:


Our day ended in Ellsworth where we were staying. We had dinner at Finn's - after posing in the shop window for a while:


After a large meal - a short walk took us along the river where we saw spring flowers and a dam (pictured) and had a close up view of a bald eagle when I stepped on a twig and disturbed it from the branches just above our heads (sadly not pictured).






Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 10.101: Baa Haa Baa

It's mini vacation time and we're in Bar Harbor!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Day 10.100: Technological solution

I noticed this at Exile #4's school concert a couple of weeks ago:


I could help wondering if the microphone next to the speaker wasn't the best possible way to get the music through the P.A. system.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 10.099: Marsh life

It's amazing how the marsh comes to life in the spring. Here are some of the things we saw there on Sunday.

A pair of red-breasted mergansers:


A loon wrestling with its dinner:


A large flock of glossy ibises:


and a harbor seal

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day 10.098: Scarborough Marsh

Our walk, late on Easter Sunday afternoon on the Eastern Trail at Scarborough Marsh:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dat 10.097: What I saw at the beach

Lots of distant birds, random "natural" posing, a ladybird/ladybug on a piece of driftwood and a loon in breeding plumage (or bleeding prumage as I misspoke at the time):

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Day 10.096: Exile #2's Sunday Column #172

Exile #2 writes...

Maybe we are part reptile. No sooner has the temperature risen, than so have our activity levels. We were up bright and early again today for the 9 am Easter service. Then, while I got lunch ready, the rest of the team cleared the yard of the many twigs and branches that were revealed when the snow melted.

We had a very American lunch. Ham, not lamb, for the first course and carrot cake for dessert - table mats designed specially for the occasion by E5N1.


Then back to the yard for a brief Easter egg hunt. We allowed ourselves a rest to watch Doctor Who, but then a supergroup was formed for some Rock Band and, to round it all off, we headed to Scarborough Marsh for a very nice walk.

Exile #1 is back to work tomorrow, but the young Exiles get to enjoy a bit more rest and relaxation.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Day 10.095: Easter beach trip

It was a busy day today - with a dance event and a birthday party, but that wasn't enough to stop us having our traditional Easter weekend walk on the beach. There are more photos, but this is all for now:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Day 10.093: Last, snow

Today was the last day of school for the kids before a ten day break. Yesterday I took a picture of this - before it was gone (which happened today):


So, one "last" and some "snow". I am saying nothing else.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Day 10.092: Still moving

Here is E5N1 demonstrating the Praxinoscope he received on his birthday and set up today:


There is something rather satisfying about having taken a series of still photos of him doing this and turned them into an animated GIF.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Day 10.091: Sisters

No, not my sisters, I did that yesterday! Today, it's these two:


That was at lunch on Sunday.