August 26, 2016

Summer of 2016 - Part 3


World War I Cemeteries and Memorials

We've all, of course, learned about the War at school. Those of us with good memories could probably still discuss the social and political events that came together to result in the conflict. We can name some of the major battles, and will roughly recall the number of casualties - 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded.

But seeing the European cemeteries and memorials to the fallen truly demonstrates the magnitude of it all  more than anything else. We have been to sites in Belgium and France and heard about those in the Netherlands. These countries continue to respect and honour the memory of those lost and continue express their gratitude to the Allied countries for coming to their assistance. If children everywhere could, at some stage in their education, visit these sites, it might go a long way to preventing such horrors in the future.

The Island Of Ireland


Messines, Belgium

Adam took us one morning to Messines to visit the Irish memorial site and it was truly a moving experience.

The 36th Ulster Division had 32,186 casualties. The 10th Irish Division numbered 9,363 and the 16th Irish Division had 28,398 casualties.


The Peace Tower

The inside of this tower is lit up by the sun only on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - to mark the day the Armistice was signed.


A leaf motif on a low wall.
When the light changes, the upper part of the leaf becomes a line of marching soldiers


One of the most poignant aspects of the park, for me, were the nine stone tablets inscribed with the words of Irish soldiers. The one above says:




August 25, 2016

The Summer of 2016 - Part 2

We flew from Reykjavik to Brussels on June 23rd. Then made two train connections to arrive in Lille on one of their hottest days of the summer. Alas, for the rest of our stay, it was drizzly, grey, sometimes cold, and generally unsettled.

That didn't stop us from having a great holiday there. The time with family was one of the best parts of the vacation. We met our grandson, Alec, for the very first time. He is the happiest toddler imaginable, loves being outdoors and is going to play soccer for France some day. His favourite pastime is throwing or kicking a ball. Lucy continued to learn to knit while I was there, working on a garter stitch scarf and doing a good job of it. And Apolline wanted more than anything else to go to the park at the end of their street to demonstrate her athletic skills on a really great selection of playground equipment the town has provided.

 
We celebrated Canadian Grandfather's birthday with a visit to an Asian fusion buffet style restaurant, Dazya, in downtown Lille. The girls were thrilled to have the all-you-can-eat option with so many choices, including an ice cream bar! The décor was lovely and food was very good - not like North American buffets where quantity often trumps quality. We had a great time.
 
 
And, later that day, a casual supper with snack food appetizers, pizza, Cookie Monsters
 

and a pretty raspberry tarte!
 
 
A quick drive (15 minutes?) took us over the border to Belgium to pick up cases of beer at St. Bernardus.
 
 
And, of course, there is no sense in driving to another country and not getting a goodly supply!
 
 
Prayer Hut
 
At the crossroads on the way back to France, we saw this little hut. Curious, I got out of the car to peer inside. There was a tiny room with a shelf holding a candle and, on the back wall,  a large ceramic tiled mosaic picture of the Madonna. We assume it was built long ago for farm labourers or passerbys to stop and pray. Apparently, they can be found around the countryside. I tried researching the origin of the little buildings but have not had any luck.
 
 
Canada Day
 
We had a backyard Canada Day party with family and friends. The husband from the other family at the gathering is Quebec born while his wife grew up on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The family is, in fact, in the process of moving there to live. We had adult and child tables, small Canadian flags, maple leaf face tattoos, serviettes, paper plates, lapel pins, etc. Lot of food, wine, and beer and a good time had by all. 
 
 
Meanwhile, back in our Canadian backyard, the foxgloves were in bloom and Movita Beaucoup and Derek were maintaining the lawns and gardens for us. 
 

August 16, 2016

Iceland, France, And A Wee Bit of Knitting - Part I

We loved Iceland - a country of magnificent scenery, loads of outdoor activities, and friendly people who all speak English! Hiking, cave exploration, snowmobiling, horseback riding, beachcombing, swimming in mineral springs, sightseeing, shopping, eating - there is something for everyone.
 
Iceland is one of the safest countries on earth and has one of the highest levels of literacy. We were only there for five days and we took three tours during that time. I would highly recommend the Iceland Horizon tour company to anyone thinking of visiting the country. Our guide, Odin (how's that for a good Norse name!), was knowledgeable and informative.
 
Iceland puts its hot mineral springs and waterfalls to good use - supplying the nation with low cost hydro power and heat. We only got to see one of the major waterfalls in the country - a good reason to go back.
 
 

The Gullfoss Waterfall
 
 
 
And you can hear Gullfoss!
 
 
 
Strokkur Geyser 
 
We had the opportunity to view the Strokkur geyser. It erupts every five minutes. Tourists should take note of wind direction lest they get sprayed with very hot water! There were a few people with a tour from India who stood beside me while we waited for the geyser to erupt. I told one of the ladies that their voices would be on my videos - my own Bollywood soundtrack! She laughed and encouraged me to include them in my memories!
 
The Bessastadakirkja  Lutheran church with the President's house in behind.
 
On the city tour, we stopped to go inside this church on a very blustery morning. The location is beside the water, open, and windswept to say the least. The President's residence is the large white building behind the church. No fences, no security guards, no visible security measures of any kind. We were simply told not to go there!
 
And the knitting:
 
There was no end of knitted wear in traditional Icelandic motifs, using wool from Icelandic sheep.
And there were hundreds of balls of Létt Lopi yarn for sale everywhere. I wore my own handkint Strokkur pullover on several occasions while in the country.
 

 
Everything on sale from the heavier Icelandic Lopi sweaters to finer weight lace shawls and scarves.
 
 
And, of course, my favourite - socks!
 
 
There were reindeer skins available at many stores! Not suitable for use as rugs, I assume that people purchase them for wall hangings. Reindeer were imported to Iceland from Norway in the late 18th century and live mostly at higher elevations in the east and northeast. There is an annual reindeer hunt in order to control the population of the animals.
 
Summer knitting back home:
 
I have started a pullover from myself, September Morn, using DROPS Nepal yarn. It has been too hot and humid here at home to work on it so I have finished a couple pair of socks. I have to really rev up my knitting again now as my knitting group starts up again in September and I should have more to show for the time away!
 
 
Pattern: Thuja
Yarn: H&W Comfort-Wolle Sockenwolle Comfort Color
Colour: 116b.02
Needles: Circular - 2.25 mm
 
 
 
 
Pattern: K3,P1 Ribbing
Yarn: Berroco Sox
Colour: 1465
Needles: Circular - 2.25 mm
 
This is the first time I have used either of these yarns for sock knitting. They were lovely to work with and time will tell how well they hold up. I am not expecting any problems.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Iceland, France, And A Wee Bit of Knitting - Part I

We loved Iceland - a country of magnificent scenery, loads of outdoor activities, and friendly people who all speak English! Hiking, cave exploration, snowmobiling, horseback riding, beachcombing, swimming in mineral springs, sightseeing, shopping, eating - there is something for everyone.
 
Iceland is one of the safest countries on earth and has one of the highest levels of literacy. We were only there for five days and we took three tours during that time. I would highly recommend the Iceland Horizon tour company to anyone thinking of visiting the country. Our guide, Odin (how's that for a good Norse name!), was knowledgeable and informative.
 
Iceland puts its hot mineral springs and waterfalls to good use - supplying the nation with low cost hydro power and heat. We only got to see one of the major waterfalls in the country - a good reason to go back.
 
 

The Gullfoss Waterfall
 
video
 
And you can hear Gullfoss!
 
video
 
Strokkur Geyser 
 
We had the opportunity to view the Strokkur geyser. It erupts every five minutes. Tourists should take note of wind direction lest they get sprayed with very hot water! There were a few people with a tour from India who stood beside me while we waited for the geyser to erupt. I told one of the ladies that their voices would be on my videos - my own Bollywood soundtrack! She laughed and encouraged me to include them in my memories!
 
The Bessastadakirkja  Lutheran church with the President's house in behind.
 
On the city tour, we stopped to go inside this church on a very blustery morning. The location is beside the water, open, and windswept to say the least. The President's residence is the large white building behind the church. No fences, no security guards, no visible security measures of any kind. We were simply told not to go there!
 
And the knitting:
 
There was no end of knitted wear in traditional Icelandic motifs, using wool from Icelandic sheep.
And there were hundreds of balls of Létt Lopi yarn for sale everywhere. I wore my own handkint Strokkur pullover on several occasions while in the country.
 

 
Everything on sale from the heavier Icelandic Lopi sweaters to finer weight lace shawls and scarves.
 
 
And, of course, my favourite - socks!
 
 
There were reindeer skins available at many stores! Not suitable for use as rugs, I assume that people purchase them for wall hangings. Reindeer were imported to Iceland from Norway in the late 18th century and live mostly at higher elevations in the east and northeast. There is an annual reindeer hunt in order to control the population of the animals.
 
Summer knitting back home:
 
I have started a pullover from myself, September Morn, using DROPS Nepal yarn. It has been too hot and humid here at home to work on it so I have finished a couple pair of socks. I have to really rev up my knitting again now as my knitting group starts up again in September and I should have more to show for the time away!
 
 
Pattern: Thuja
Yarn: H&W Comfort-Wolle Sockenwolle Comfort Color
Colour: 116b.02
Needles: Circular - 2.25 mm
 
 
 
 
Pattern: K3,P1 Ribbing
Yarn: Berroco Sox
Colour: 1465
Needles: Circular - 2.25 mm
 
This is the first time I have used either of these yarns for sock knitting. They were lovely to work with and time will tell how well they hold up. I am not expecting any problems.