Saturday, August 31, 2019

Meaford Fall Fair

Today was the Meaford Fall Fair, put on by the Meaford and St. Vincent Agricultural Society.  We went and enjoyed seeing all the display entries, and then headed outside to see the livestock - poultry, cattle and sheep.  There are no horses this year because of the risk of a contagious disease in the area, but I'll dig up a picture from the past for you.

We headed for the exhibit hall first, and enjoyed seeing all the usual entries.  There were lots of flowers including these bright Glads.

Two whole tables full of flower arrangements in fact.

 I liked (as you'd expect) the four bouquets of 'weeds'.  I met the creator of this small entry, who had used Milkweed pods and Ragweed among other thigs.  I thought it was really pretty.

Another was full of jams and pickles.  I think Mrs. F.G. should enter this class.

And of course lots of vegetables, of every kind.

There were several nice quilts.  Mrs. F.G. knew most of the quilters from the local Guild.

If I could do so undetected, I would have slipped away with some of the Butter Tarts!

Fall Fairs across rural Ontario are very popular with farm families, and the chance to submit entries in all sorts of categories is taken as a big teaching opportunity for the next generation.  Many entry categories are geared toward young people.  Just seeing the exhibits is like seeing an iceberg; the big part is underwater, or in this case, has gone on for months in preparation for this day.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Orange Octopus

Our creative daughter-in-law has developed an interesting hobby of dyeing wool in interesting patterns.  She's been quite successful in selling her wool, and she was one of the vendors at Fibre Spirit.  It was great to see her, even though we weren't in the market to buy her wool.

In selling her crafts she goes by the name 'Orange Octopus'.  You can find the Orange Octopus on Instagram.  She's previously exhibited at the big One-of-a-Kind show in Toronto but finds she prefers the friendly atmosphere of shows in the smaller cities of southern Ontario - like this one.

Lots of wool and a little knitting.

She had three of the fabric bowls made by Mrs. F.G. with smaller items like these business cards.

More brightly coloured wool.

Our D-I-L's hair is about as colourful as her wool!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Fibre Spirit in Barrie

On Saturday we headed for a nice country drive to Barrie, down some rural roads we have rarely driven.  We were headed for Barrie where a fibre festival was being held.  Basically it was a big sale of dyed wool with 65 vendors.

 All kinds of wool!

There were a few other things for sale, like these simple hand looms.

And more wool.

 I learned a little bit about Alpacas too, and chuckled at this sign.

Only a few disconnected things for sale, like these cups at $45.00 a pop.

 Carol of 'Carol's Woolies' makes sox on her 100 year old sock making machine.

Not many, but a few very nice knitted items of clothing.

You may be wondering why we went.  Well, our daughter-in-law was one of the vendors.  Tomorrow you'll meet her.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Harrison Park Lunch

Last Friday we enjoyed another lunch at the Harrison Park restaurant, and took a few minutes for a ride/walk down the trail.  Another beautiful day here in Grey County.

We're getting ever more familiar with this place.  We now know to go in the back door even though the front door is "wheelchair accessible".  We literally bumped into the manager as we entered, so we explained our frustrations to her - even though the back door works perfectly well for us.

 We ate by the big stone fireplace under the watchful eye of the 'chef'.

 Do you think I qualify as a pedestrian?

There's a narrow diversion channel bringing a stream from the river to create a shallow manicured channel past the playground.  I remember playing in the water here as a very young toddler.

These folks in two rented canoes looked like they were fairly inexperienced, bumping into each other.  They have planted a lot of trees in memory of people, marked with small plaques.

Alternatively you could rent a small paddleboat and go for a ride.  My mother and I did this when I was about 10, and ended up securely stuck on an old deadhead just below the water's surface, half a mile downstream.  We had to be rescued.

I wasn't impressed with the resident Canada Goose families though.  You have to be careful where you drive.

I was hoping we'd see salmon swimming up the river, but no luck, even though the big Salmon Derby was this weekend.  The salmon are all still out in the bay and won't appear here for 3 or 4 weeks yet.

Here's a nice big one we saw last year.


The last picture in yesterday's post is the dorm at St. Andrews University where William and Kate met.  Remember our trip was in 2011, just a year after their wedding.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Adventure in Scotland

I know you're all anxious to get back to the seasons here in southern Ontario, so I'm going to cram a few extra photos of our great adventure into one post.  We rode the train up from London for a change, and had a couple of days in Glasgow before joining our tour group.

Nothing symbolizes the highlands of Scotland like the 'heiland coo', except maybe Scotch whisky.  We stopped at Stirling Castle to admire the statue of the famous Robert the Bruce and in the centre distance you can see the famous Wallace Monument.  These two great Scottish heroes won Scotland's independence from England in the early 1200's.  Did you know that eventually the King of Scotland, James VI, inherited the throne of England in 1603 when Elizabeth I had no children?  England never did conquer Scotland, which has a lot to do with the recent Scottish Independence movement.

Our first stop on out adventure tour was the valley of Glen Coe, where the infamous Glencoe Massacre took place in 1692.  A lot of Campbells and MacDonalds haven't spoken since.

After that we reached the harbour town of Oban on the west coast and joined our Adventure Canada cruise, and it was quite the adventure!

We sailed south first, to the Isle of Islay ('eye-la'), and hiked inland to visit Finlaggan.  This ancient ruined castle was the 'capital' of the Kingdom of the Isles from the 1200's to 1493.  An incredible story in its own right.  This is the origin of Clan Donald.  Today there's a new visitor centre.

That evening a group headed off to visit a distillery, but we were too exhausted and stayed on board.  These zodiacs were our means of disembarking except for the rare spot like Kirkwall, where the ship could actually dock.  This was definitely not a cruise for the disabled!  The ship had only about 100 passengers plus about 10 experts in various fields (people like the writers Margaret Attwood and Ken McGoogan) who made this a real educational experience.

 The famous Isle of Iona was next, another story in its own right, and for many the most famous place in Scotland.  Here Columba, an Irish monk, arrived in 563 to begin spreading the news of Christianity.  The island, though wiped out by the Vikings in 796, became and still is a place of pilgrimage.  For over 500 years Scottish kings including Macbeth in 1057, were buried here.  This is the original approach to the church, the 'Path of the Dead'.

 It has been repaired of course, but this is the best preserved medieval building in the Western Isles of Scotland.  It contains four of the best preserved carved stone crosses in Scotland. There is an active Iona Community which maintains it and runs programs here.  You can go and stay for a week if you like.  Small compared to other great medieval cathedrals, it never-the-less has more spiritual meaning than any other European church to us.  The modern sculpture in the cloister references St. Columba, the 'Dove of the Church'.

There was also an Augstinian nunnery established during the 1200's.  You can walk through it on your way to the abbey.

After Iona we stopped at the famous Isle of Staffa to see Fingal's Cave, an opening in the huge volcanic columns that are a continuation of the distant Giant's Causeway in Ireland.

And then we got to Barra, the southernmost inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides.   Previously the honme of the MacNeils, the island was sold to Colonel Gordon in 1838, and he promptly 'cleared' the island in favour of sheep grazing.  Just one of the horrific stores of the 'Clearances', though we owe them many of the hard-working Scottish pioneers who settled Canada.  The rescue ship is one of those 'self-righting' boats, at least in theory, and that's the vacant Kisimul Castle in the harbour.

Then we were off to St. Kilda and Orkney, which I've already told you about, before arriving at Foula, one of the outer islands of Shetland.  Here we jumped into the zodiacs (literally), and explored some sea caves.  It was an exciting, bouncy ride.  When we got back on ship, Mrs. F.G. said 'Oh let's go to Antarctica next!'

The landing platform on the ship was literally going up and down six feet - 3 feet below water and then 3 feet above.  You had to time your jump just right!

We stopped at the 2000 year-old Broch of Mousa, the tallest broch still standing in Scotland and one of the best preserved ancient buildings in Europe.  An amazing round tower all built of dry stone construction, with hidden stairways inside the walls.  Then it was on to the well-known Fair Isle, halfway between Shetland and Orkney.  There was a harbour, but not big enough for our ship!

And what is Fair Isle famous for?  Why its knitting of course (during those long dark winter days), especially its sweaters which we couldn't afford.  But Mrs. F.G. sprung for a toque in a traditional Fair Isle pattern.  Fair Isle is about the latitude of Baffin Island.

Finally we were back on mainland Scotland, and stopped at Dunnotar Castle, built on this rocky stack southwest of Aberdeen.  It was the seat of the Keiths for several centuries.

The last stop was St. Andrews to see the ruined cathedral and castle.  I'll end with the initials of George Wishart etched into the pavement outside the castle where he was burned at the stake in 1546.  An early Protestant Reformer, in the days of Mary Queen of Scots, he was a huge influence on the Scottish Reformation. 

And here's a quizz.  
The most popular tourist site in St. Andrews we were told, 
what do you think this is?