Monday, August 31, 2015

"G" for George(s), a few new words and a Grand Day!

"G" is the letter of the week for a Genuninely Groovy meme, ABC Wednesday"Thank you" to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting the meme and to Roger GreenReader WilLeslie, Melody and Trubes for hosting. All do a Great job of Galvanizing bloggers to find photograph/vocabulary Gems to share.

At breakfast a few days ago, Bill divulged that he is fond of Handel's Water Music.  Handel's baptized name was Georg Friederich Händel (pronunciation of Georg here, thanks to Bill.  The issue of spelling his name accurately is described here.  That Gripping article includes this quote from  The Musical Times" that I think speaks volumes about Handel's multicultural life. 
“No alien musician ever more quickly saw what the people of this country required or so promptly qualified himself to supply it. A German among the Germans, and an Italian among the Italians, Handel was an Englishman among the English and, if anything, bettered his model.” (Smith, William C. “Handel’s First Visit to England.” The Musical Times. Vol. 76, No. 1105 (Mar., 1935):  pp. 213)

It is also of note that the music was requested by King George the First.  This quote from the Wiki site is interesting: 
"It was rumoured that the reason for the spectacular performance of the Water Music was purposed to help King George steal some of the London spotlight back from the prince, who at the time was worried that his time to rule would be shortened due to his father's long life and was throwing lavish parties and dinners to compensate for it. In a long term, the Water Music's first performance on the water was the King's way of reminding London that he was still there and showing he could carry out Gestures of even more Grandeur than his son."

Water Music is a collection of orchestral movements, often published as three suites.  If the Frugal Gourmet is your thing (it's not mine, with all the poor critters on the menu, but I still like the music), you might remember the Bourree from the first Suite in F, as it was the theme song of that program.  Below, is the Alla Hornpipe from the Suite Number 2.  It is four minutes of pure Glory and probably the movement universally recognized.  

If you have more time, you may want to hear the entire version, including Suite Number 3 that was in the key of G.  This 2012 version recreated as closely as possible the original performance on July 17th, 1717, on the Thames.  Though the musicians played in Royal Albert Hall, rather than on a barge on The Thames, they used period instruments and were, I think, true to the spirit of the occasion. There is some commentary before the performance that encourages us to picture London's busy commercial life on the Thames in those days.  There's also a rather amusing conversation with the conductor.

Below is another attempt to recreate the original performance, this time actually on a barge (in the rain) on the Thames River.
I wondered about artists' depictions of life on the Thames in the 1700's and..
came across these two works (above and below) of Jan Griffier..
as well as this one by Edouard Hamman showing Handel sitting by King George.

Here are a few "G" words from the Phrontistery site:
gaudiloquent - speaking joyfully
gelogenic - tending to produce laughter
gelasin - dimple that comes from a smile
grisaille - art entirely in tones of grey or another neutral colour (example below shows Battesimo della gente, one of Andrea del Sarto's gray and brown grisaille frescoes in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence (1511-26).

And finally, some pictures from an outing that made me Giddy with happiness:

We took a new path to Beaver Lake after riding our bikes to Stanley Park (picture is of someone who happened to be riding by),
 Bill had carefully mapped out the route before we left home.
 The trail was called South Creek.  We came to a fork here,
 and Bill double-checked his map, but we correctly took the left one after some people saw us wondering and confirmed the right led to a dead end.
 We saw slugs.  I think they could be called Gastropods.
 Bill suggested a shoe reference (size 9 :) to give you a sense of their size.
 Two of them headed very, very slowly towards each other.
 There were Gigantic trees all along the trail!
 I was happy to see that there are still quite a few dragonflies around.
 We loved the Douglas Squirrels!
 So photogenic!
 The chick-a-dees were fun too.
 My photos of Bill hand-feeding (check left side of photo) chick-a-dees were over-exposed but..
 I managed a couple of keepers.
 Away s/he goes!
 Bird: "What's that in your other hand?"
Black Jack: "Bird?  What bird? There's critters in them thar woods!"
 Bird: "I guess the dog won't be a problem."
 Bill: "Hurry up with that photo, Carol.  A guy can only hold a dog and a bird at the same time for so long!"
 Beaver Lake was covered with lilies.  In the distance, we saw a Blue Heron.
 We sat on a park bench in the sun and contemplated life..
 and dragonflies.
 Everything was bathed in golden light.
 Many of my duck photos looked like this..
 but this duck said "hello" and ate a few sunflower seeds.
Three ducks sat in the same spot on a log for the entire time we were there.
 Bill made sure Black Jack was hydrated..
 and kept me feeling Gaudiloquent with his Gelogenic banter.
 He took this photo in the rose garden just before we left.  A Grand day.  Thank you, Bill!  And thank you for stopping by.   Perhaps some of you will visit the ABC meme, or contribute some letter "H" ideas (it's almost time!)  Happy Monday!
*The link-up told me I still had an hour to post, but the minute I added my link, it shut down.  Oh well.  Serves me right for taking so long to finish the post :)  Here's to an earlier letter "H" post!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fences, Properties and a Nail Trim

Here are a few Good Fences that caught our eye lately.  If you start looking for fences around you, you may be amazed at the interesting ones that turn up.  Check out TexWisGirl's fabulous meme for inspiration (thanks, Theresa!).  I'm betting it will be impossible to resist contributing a few of your own next week.

Sometimes, as Theresa has noted, it is not so much the fence as the stuff around it.  These daisy-like flowers hosted a Cabbage Butterfly..
 that agreed to share pollen with a bee.
 This next one is possibly my record for three different insects in a small space (that is, assuming the one on the right is not a bee).
 Walking home after our outing that day, we discovered a hide-a-way in our neighbourhood we hadn't seen before.  
We weren't sure if we were on private property,
 but the only warning signs informed dogs not to do their business.
Black Jack's "business" was acceptable (I think) since no one asked us to leave.
 This is the oddest excuse for a fence we've seen in our part of town.  Fence art?
The next day, we biked around the Coal Harbour route.  Though I've shown the Rowing Club before, 
 I thought its reflections that day..
 were especially awesome.
Bill, by the way, says "Hi" to Theresa and to her fence-loving posters.  Here, he patiently holds my 500 mm lens while I go to a smaller one for the longer view.  
The day after that, we rode in the opposite direction to Olympic Village Park.  The streams are wall-to-wall algae these days, most likely because of the drought.  (The good news is that rain is supposed to arrive tomorrow and is expected to last for several days.)  Sunlight on the algae left some rather neat fence shadows.
 My own image was startlingly clear.
 No fence here, but I spent a little time looking closely at the algae and noticed some bees in its midst.  One bee appeared to me to be struggling.  That triggered the question: "Can bees swim?"  At this site, I found some interesting information.  Here's a quote from it:
"From what I have observed, bees swim on their backs and use their wings to drive themselves along. They tend to curl up head towards tail, but they can't retain a vertical position in the water so they flop over on their left side. I haven't seen any flop over on the right side yet but it's possible. Maybe they do in the southern hemisphere. Flopping over means that when they swim they don't swim in a straight line, but in circles. These can be quite wide, so even though they can't swim directly to a place to climb out, they will eventually luck out and either hit the side of the water barrel or a piece of floating wood.  The only time I have seen them get into trouble is when the water is cold and they get chilled when they fall in."
I was still left with the question of whether the bees might get trapped under the algae and not be able to right themselves.  Perhaps, there is a bee-expert reader who also happens to likes fences :) 
On August 24th, Bill and I had no idea of our destination when we set out on our bikes.  We started up a rather steep hill, and perhaps Bill sensed I was flagging because he suggested locking the bikes up and exploring the area.  In fact, as we started to walk, I realized we were not all that far from The Pet Shop Boys on Cambie Street.  Every few weeks we go there because David does nail trims for dogs.  The charge of $10 is very low and he is the only person we know who does a completely stress-free trim for Black Jack.  That in itself would be enough, but there's a huge added bonus.  ALL of David's earnings for nail trims (at least a few hundred dollars each month) go to animal rescues. He and Christopher (and the other staff) decide together on the rescue of the month and I for one, deeply appreciate their commitment and concern for animals in need.  All to say, we made a snap decision to walk up to their shop and get Black Jack's nails trimmed.  I didn't want to bother David for yet another photo of him, so the one below is from June, 2014.  Don't you love his smile?  
But, back to fences.  The streets along our walking route were delightful.  Such a range of colourful and unique houses greeted us, and yes..
 the fences and gates..
 were unique and wonderful too.
 The house above is a heritage Queen Ann cottage, built in 1895, as described below.  It dates from the early European development in the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver.
Bill and I both liked this little bridge-ramp leading down the path to the house.
The colour schemes for each house were fun,
with no two alike.
I loved this blue fence..
and we were both impressed with the lights in the pillars..
by the gates on this property.
The fences were kept in good repair..
and the gardens behind them, even in the drought, seemed quite healthy.
There were some cute critters..
and some character art..
and something to admire in just about every property.  Bill had his hands full..
curbing Black Jack's desire to squeeze between the railings.
McClean House, one of the grander houses we admired, was also a heritage..
building with an interesting history.
The long stairway in the building next to it was guarded..
by this happy gnome.  I loved our walk and our visit to the Pet Shop Boys.  Thanks for stopping by to view our fence sightings this week.