My only sibling lives in Ottawa. She is and always has been precious to me, but the sad truth is that years go by between our visits. When her first grandchild was born, I knew it was time. Bill, bless his heart (I know I say that a lot, but it is heartfelt every time), came with me, as did Black Jack. Here, she sits in the lobby of my building at 5:00 a.m. She is not sure what is going on, but confident that she is to be included, she goes with the flow. I have not been to bed at all. For some reason, I am a last minute packer. I'm not sure why that is.Here, Bill and Black Jack wait at the airport. Neither Bill nor I fly very often, and to be honest, we are both a little nervous. Black Jack, on the other hand, is completely at ease. She is with "her" Bill, and all is right with her world.
In the line-up at check-in, Black Jack thinks it's time for a treat.
Finally, we are on the plane, and Bill relaxes. It's the check-in and security procedures that get to him. He took a picture of me as well, but I have deleted it. My face after an all-nighter is just too scary to contemplate.
Black Jack is in the bag at my feet. She doesn't make a sound. I slip her small treats during the take-off, and all goes well. I love the feel of her cold little nose reaching through the tiny opening where the zippers meet, to my fingers.
I am stunned when I finally look out the window. The sun is just coming up.
The entire flight is beautiful, perhaps the most spectacular I've ever seen, but the Rockies..
are a highlight. The landing is smooth, with no whimpers from Black Jack, who happily munches on treats. Finally, approximately five hours after our take-off,
we are in Ottawa. This is the first sight I have of my sister. She has spotted me first, but I am so anxious to get Black Jack outside for a pee, I rush blindly past her. Black Jack isn't desperate at all. She doesn't hurry to escape her bag, but stretches, emerges slowly, takes a look around, and then casually does her business in the snow patch where I deposit her. I love this picture of my sister, her smile absolutely radiant.
My new grand-nephew and my niece are there too, and I am thrilled to see them, and to finally meet our new family member. He studies us and I feel his brain working as he processes these new faces and surroundings. He and my niece leave to get their car, and so this picture is taken a few minutes after our second meeting. This time, his expression is one of, "Oh, okay, I know these people." I am blown away by the fact that he now sees us as familiar. I am also amazed that he remains cheerful, even with his hat over one eye. Okay, I admit to a certain amount of bias, but I honestly cannot remember meeting a more even-tempered baby.
We head to my sister's home where we collect her dog and off we go to Fletcher's Central Experimental Farm. It is my sister's favourite dog-walking spot and although darkness is falling, I can see why. From our vantage point at the top of a hill, we can see down to a lovely little bridge, and a view of The Rideau Canal.
Black Jack adapts immediately to the snow, or perhaps I should say she barely notices it, only interested in exploring this new, squirrel-stocked territory.
And, awa-a-ay we go-o-o!My sister's dog is also thrilled. She does this delicate little curtsey,
and then she and Black Jack run full-tilt toward us.
No tobogganing allowed. Darn it!
Bill is disappointed too. The three of them contemplate breaking the rules.
Later we visit my niece's house. Below, her brother, my nephew, is doing feeding duty. He is a cool bachelor but sure is attached to his new nephew. It is heartwarming to watch them interact. Apparently, grandpa (my sister's husband) has taught my grand-nephew to stick his tongue out. One of many things about babies that amazes me is how quickly their sense of humour develops. I don't know if this photograph shows it, but there is a twinkle in his eye that I find hilarious. His dad arrives home from work, and I remember that he is a man who truly enjoys a good joke. His son comes by that eye-twinkle honestly enough.
*An interesting side-note to me: I've just explored this forum to see whether he should be called my great-nephew or grand-nephew, and the conclusion seemed to be that grand-nephew is correct in North America and great-nephew is used in Britain.
The next day, we drive through the Ottawa Valley and make a stop to see Burritts Rapids lockstation. The history of the lockstations is very interesting. One summer, a few years ago, my sister took me to see the locks in action and explained something of how they work. Now, they are closed for the winter season, but they are still an impressive sight. The lockstation links in this post are due to the hard work of a gentleman by the name of Ken Watson. He has researched for years, written a book called A History of the Rideau Lockstations, and put the contents of that book on line because he believes as many as possible should know that history.
I am so happy to find Santa on his bike. The first word in the title of this blog has been ignored for far too long. Okay, that wasn't my first thought, but it does occur to me, and I snap a few photos before we walk over to the bridge :)
More snow pics of Black Jack. She is always willing to explore. I love her "yippee" attitude.Here, my sister looks at one of the many heritage buildings in the town. She has long been fascinated with history.
I'm not sure if that first building (below) might be the lockmaster's house.
The sunshine in Ottawa is magnificent, and brings out the blues in the sky, in the water, and behind the reflections.These next pictures are taken at the lockstation in Merrickville.
I'm not sure. Are we having fun yet?
The day is slowly warming up, but it still feels cool to Vancouverites :)
I love walking through the town of Merrickville. There are so many heritage buildings, and..
I spend some time trying to capture different angles of this window.
We have a wonderful lunch at Baldachin Inn, seen at the left, in the photo below.
The next building to Baldachin is a delightful little pet store called Paws A Bit. Black Jack really enjoys her visit there.
Bill, my brother-in-law and my sister pose in front of a lovely sculpture/lamp after our meal.
Heritage signs and colour and quaintness catch my eye constantly.
Our next stop is at the glass blowing studio of artist, Kevin Robert Gray.
We look down through a window to see him, and my photo is poor, but I am happy to have one of him in action. (There are much better photos at the link.)
So many shades of blue.My sister buys me this beautiful pendant. I know this will become one of a few pieces of jewelry that I love because they bring back a cherished memory.
We finally head back to Ottawa, but with lots of stops whenever something catches my eye. There are wonderful, old barns,
and original log houses.In the photo below, my sister, her husband and Bill wait for me while I try to capture this house, and the view beyond it. I think they may be laughing (with) me :)
Some people arrive at the house, and this young man approaches me. My first thought is that he will ask me to stop taking pictures of his home (a reasonable request), but instead, he invites me to walk around the back to see the view across the river. The pictures are over-exposed as I am struggling with my camera after its repair.I move on to the deck, and am awed by the blue skies, the frozen river, and the potential for wildlife. If you look really closely, you can see my shadow standing on the deck.
Here is a zoomed-in shot of my shadow.
What a neat fellow this young man is. I feel an immediate bond when he invites me to see his bike, set up for him so that he can train for an upcoming competition. His mom and dad both worry about the neatness of the room, but all I see are loving parents who spend time outdoors with their kids (they have just returned from x-country skiing), and who enthusiastically encourage their son's passion.This visit has been one of many highlights in a spectacular day, and I take a final shot of the front door of the family house, complete with reflections, before we continue on our way.
When Black Jack sees the shapes on this building, she becomes very alert.
Although she began the trip in the back seat, she now opts for a closer view from my sister's lap. It does not occur to her to ask permission.
I have had the pictures for this post loaded for far too long, and have been punished once more for waiting too long to publish. All the pictures below have suddenly disappeared, and as in the two previous times this happened, there seems to be no way to get them back. I will publish the portion that remains, calling it "Part 1", with Part 2 to follow when I can. The positive? Each time I look through my pictures of the trip, they bring back happy memories. Also, I am learning to say "Oh well" and carry on when this happens. One day, I will learn my lesson and write shorter posts. Right? Maybe :) Thanks, as always, for reading.