England 2016 – a Photographic Sampler

Although not a birding trip, there are birds to be seen; rather more often there are gardens and vistas. The first ten days or so of May were spent visiting friends and family in England. Let it be said that this post is for our own amusement and reference but it has wider appeal, we know, so read on … be assured that the number of photographs have been carefully selected and drastically reduced in number from the rather greater number actually taken.

As usual, click any thumbnail image in a set to open up a full size version. Some images have captions that will pop up as you mouse over them.


Stop Number One – Hertfordshire

A few days with friends who go back to college days in the late sixties included the world’s most desirable greenhouse, the worlds most amazing, ancient bluebell wood, two “open gardens” and a graveyard. Something for everyone.


Stop Number Two – Huntingdonshire & Cambridgeshire

This was our old home for 25 years before coming to Canada and so there were many friends to catch up with, two RSPB bird sanctuaries to check out (Fen Drayton and Fowlmere), the morris side (Fenstanton) we danced with for many years and the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge.


Stop Number Three – Berkshire

Time for a family visit to a small town west of London that included some good pub meals and the Saville Gardens outside Windsor






Morris Dancing with old friends – life before birding

For some 20+ years we both used to dance and play the concertina for Fenstanton Morris, I did a lot of dance teaching too … but then I departed for Canada, life moved on and the birds moved in. On May 4 we were having a short vacation in England and visiting some old friends from those days who arranged for us to spend a happy evening catching up and doing some clumsy dancing (one gets stiff without regular practice). I used to be a good bit fitter when I did this every week and my hair was less white too so now, instead of capering I write about capering.

I know most of my Canadian friends have only the faintest, haziest idea of what English traditional dance forms are all about so, in the spirit of cultural enlightenment, here are a collection of photographs taken that evening together with four videos of the side performing. If anyone wants copies of any of this, just get in touch.

Four videos of Fenstanton Morris are below followed by a set of photographs:

…. and here are the photographs. Click any thumbnail to open a gallery at full size.

Earth Day in Baie-D’Urfé

I got myself involved in organising the town’s Earth Day events this year … and it has gone very successfully. We based ourselves in the Red barn near the lakeshore, the sun shone, free trees given away by the town for gardens got people out (lines were forming shortly after 8:30am to claim the best) in droves. There were information tables from local environmental and conservation groups such as Bird Protection Quebec, the Garden at Fritz, the Green Coalition and several others and well attended illustrated talks were given on home composting, native trees and wildlife in the town. At the end there was an official launch of the town’s new programme for collecting green waste and diverting it from the landfill (another initiative that has involved me as chair of the environment committee).

Very successful – and the sun shone too.

(click on any thumbnail below to view the pictures at full size)


Walking around the Town

I realised today, walking around our town (Baie-D’Urfé) that we really have come a long way from the northern council housing estate in England that I left for college about 49 years ago … for those who have not yet visited us (do come) here are some fairly typical views of the town about an hour before sunset in late autumn. Important that we don’t take this for granted. In sequence, these pictures are a regular walk we take when we need a half hour leg-stretch.

Click on any thumbnail to see the images in full size.

“Change and decay in all around I see … “

Nearing the end of October and we are gradually putting the garden to bed for the approaching winter. Leaves are being chopped for mulch/compost, dahlia tubers are being lifted, over-wintering pots of lilies have been sunk in a holding bed and shortly the vegetable bed will be dug over and top-dressed with compost. The garlic is already planted.

But even though plants are dyeing back they still have a visual appeal …