Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Holidays are here again


There being no real summer in the UK,
I abandoned Peter and went to absorb
some Italian ambience in Roma, before
joining Claudia and Bill back in the UK,
for a few (sunny) days.

"merry go round" Trentham Gardens, Staffs)

North Staffs monkey (Barbary Macaque)

Heron, Hyde Park

Bill and Claudia, Hyde Park

Trevi Fountain

Vatican: St Peter's Piazza


Arch of Constantine

National Museum

Riding in Style, THEN
Entering Vatican City on open top bus

Statue of Trajan

Columns at sunset on the Palatine Hill


Now it's back to work...........................................


Monday, August 20, 2007

Chinese Lantern Festivities

Greetings from Toronto!

I've invested in some pretty extensive body armour. Don't worry, Chil is as mild mannered as ever and I'm in no physical danger: it's all about the hockey! I had my first 'power skating' lesson on Monday, was easily the worst skater in the class which I guess means I've got the most to gain out if it. The group I play with will start again, probably in September and I hope to be able to skate backwards by then.

We went back to see the Blue Jays last weekend, this time to see them play the mighty New York Yankees , who are also local rivals. Tension was high amongst the 40,000 at the Rogers Center. The Yankees are the Man U of baseball and there were as many supporters in pinstripes as there were supporting the home team. There was a 'bench emptying' fight when the Yankee's best hitter "A-Rod" got a pitch aimed at him and another when the Yankees pitcher did the same later on! Despite these fractious activities on the field home fans sit with away fans with no hint of hostilities, women and children need not fear for even hearing abusive chants and the only real danger is the hot, hot, blazing sunshine.

Torontonians are a pretty law abiding bunch, most folk duly walked on that grass!

Last night we went to the truly amazing (annual) Chinese lantern festival. I'd expected the lanterns to be pretty, and at least the size of a large pumpkin, but actually...

...they were enourmous, including dragon-boats housing lantern-soldier navys...

...more dragons...floating pagodas...

...towering giants...

...armies of soldiers...

...and armies of pandas!

As well as a depiction of Baghdad!

I guess it's because the winters are hard here but these Torontonians really know how to make the best of the summer.

And no finer way to round off a weekend than a BBQ. You know you are at frenchman's BBQ when you are served goats cheese brushetta and your host cannot be seperated from his bottle of red! Our host St├ęphane is on the left...

Good news: I (finally) got accepted to a Master of Education program at the University of Toronto. I'm anxiously hoping and waiting for a study permit from the immigration people but if that is ok I will start in September.

Otherwise it's all good here. Chil is thrilled we've got a bed to put our matress on (as of this afternoon) and our flat is starting to look like a home.

Good luck Pete with your new job in Munich. I hope you managed to get the Skype phone working, and what's your Skype name?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New feature: links and polls!

I've added a new feature to the blog, links that will feature permanently on the right of every page. Included is a link to Eva's blog and photographs from Cameroon. Apparently a Kaela-vetted selection will appear on this site eventually, but why wait? Click on 'Evaristus' Blog' for the real deal!

You'll also notice you can vote on important issues on a new poll feature, only one vote per computer!

A weekend in Toronto: Baseball, Carnival and The Canadian way!

Hello everyone and welcome to the fabulous and crazy world of Toronto.

What you will soon find is that the blog will become inundated with beautiful pictures in an attempt to persuade as many of you to come over and see us! Fly or Air Transat for flights under £250 !!!! Is that an AWESOME DEAL or what, people?!!

For some reason Canadians say 'awesome' all the time and Dylan has now picked up the habit.

Firstly for all you Bowie and Dylan fans out there here is some stunning graffiti that commands the complete side of a building downtown. Inoffensive and beautifully done, but if you are looking for live music, there's lots around including a concert venue 2 mins from where we live.
Impromptu jazz festivals and live music everywhere..... But that was last weekend!

This is what we got up to this weekend while wondering the streets of Toronto

We have decided to completely immerse ourselves in the whole north American culture so we went to a baseball game.
Here is a shot of the CN tower from our seats.

Excellent seats, no queues, cheap tickets $10 and you get served refreshments in your seat!! Also absolutely no hooligans. Dylan was accidentally elbowed by a 250-pound bodybuilder who was profuse in his apology then offered to explain the game. I had to resist telling him 'Its just rounders played by boys mate, it 'aint an original game'......that would have been very uncanadian!

Dylan and I are now Blue Jay fans and had a truly excellent night.
Next we plan to see the Canadians try to play rugby with body armour.........ooops I must try to get rid of all this British sarcasm.

Saturday we followed the Canadian carnival through the streets of Toronto, in the scorching heat for about 3 miles, the steel bands were phenomenal, the costumes out of this world, the colours blinding and the atmosphere electric!

Dylan and I were a little underdressed for the occasion next year he wants us to go me in pink feathers and him as a Roman centurian!

Look at these fabulous outfits...

Occasionally a roman centurion danced by...

...or some displaced Valkeries...

...angels who had lost their wings

...steel orchestras...
...common or garden party animals...

...Peacocks Galore...

Not sure quite what this lady was but she featured as one of the few still dancing in the intense heat

Lots of kids pulled mini floats along...

Phew it was exhausting but the occasional coconut sure did help!

We opted out of the after parade party and went out for dinner in little Italy, wonderful!

Today is Sunday and its a long weekend so we still have 2 days to fill... were thinking of jumping on the ferry and going to the 'Islands' in the centre of lake Ontario for a picnic.

If this hasn't persuaded you to come visit us yet......... stay tuned for the next posting....... Chinese lantern and Dragon boat festival? Or maybe Taste of Danforth Fine food and wine festival? Or maybe a visit to Niagara Lake and Falls?

Toronto is AWESOME!
and as they frequently say when you buy a coffee to go...............'you have a perfect day now'