Today I Rode The Rails

But before I get to those thoughts I just saw the cutest photo from The Telegraph, and no it isn’t a cat. Or kittens. Or toddler. Well closer to the last one but not quite.

From 1958

How sweet are those faces?

Okay, I could go off onto that tangent, but will proceed as planned. Loosely planned.

Back to the rails.

When I was a little girl, bout five or six, we got our very first TV. Okay it was 1953ish. And sometime after that there was an old movie about hoboes jumping onto trains and riding from place to place. I wasn’t sure what a hobo was but they were always portrayed as nice ‘fellas’ down on their luck.

I must admit that the idea of being able to ‘hop’ a train appealed to me.

Riding the Rails during the Great Depression

https://livinghistoryfarm.org › water_07

Riding the rails was dangerous. The bulls were hired to keep hoboes off trains, so you couldn’t just go to a railroad yard and climb on

Today I took a much longer trip than anticipated on our intercity train, known as the LRT or ION.

First, I sauntered to our library to return a book, thinking I would have a lovely coffee at their Cafe, but the library was closed. They started closing on Sunday during COVID and have yet to change. Most inconvenient. Anyway, I put the book through the slot thingy, and headed downtown.

I had a mind to take the LRT to Waterloo -adjoining city- to Vincenzo’s, to buy some fresh pasta. But guess what? THEY WERE CLOSED!

So then I took the train the other way where at twice the distance, there was Farm Boy. The most delicious market, though more expensive than most.

Food aside, or I shall not be getting to the rail riding bit, it was my changing perspective and perception I wanted to talk about.

When I board the train I like to sit next to the big windows that look down on the rest of the world. Make of that what you will.

This time I chose a seat that had me riding backwards. A different perspective. Normally riding forward I see the lovely buildings and gardens and not much else.

This time, on this bright autumn Sunday I saw things that disturbed me. Partly because I had not noticed them before.

I saw an emaciated fellow hanging on to some scaffolding bars. I didn’t know if it was drunks, alcohol or if he was sick.

I saw people huddled in groups in dark corners of churches passing around a bottle.

I glimpsed some tents that were part of an illegal Tent City.

And I was troubled. And asking questions.

Why are some struggling so badly. Hurting. What can I do?

Funny thing, when I was that same little girl in front of the TV set I did not enjoy Christmas. Because on that best Day of all, when my folks had piled their five children into the backseat of the old car, to take us to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for feasting and laughter, on that One day, I saw a bedraggled emaciated, stumbling fellow wandering down a street. Alone and poorly dressed in the driving snow, and my heart broke.

I think of children being abused, and terrorized. I think of people all over the world who suffer.

And I keep asking the same two questions.
Why? How can I help?

I have helped one on one over the years but it is still so little.

When I lived in Uvalde Texas for a couple of years (yes that one) there was a large poverty stricken part where my nurses used to deliver Home Care. I had never seen anything like it and I cried every night for two weeks. And then I came to understand that if I had all the money in the world I could not cure that problem. Which is just one problem.

The other is the pain, hurt, and abuse that humans do to each other.

Here in Ontario a lowly paid Social Worker needs a Masters degree to work. High stress, high suicide rate, etc etc…………….

And that is how I got on to thinking about those riding the rails. As I did today.

Good grief!! Sorry about that! Otherwise the day and dinner was delightful!

So, from here North of 43, I do hope your thoughts are much brighter. Go bac k to the lovely faces on the young Fab Four!

Chris G October 2nd ‘22

It’s Only Words!

“She had always wanted words, she loved them;
grew up on them.
Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”
Michael Ondaatje  1943 –

from The English Patient.

I am sure by now, you know that I am a logophile – a lover of words. From a very young age, I have been fascinated by words. I just love words.  I like the sound of them, I like to see them written down, I like to see them used by others in different ways, and I just like playing with them.

Today, as the Rain Drips, from somewhere in the back of this elderly brain, came the word Onomatopoeia.  I am sure you know what it means but my dictionary defines it as – “The formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss.” My late husband’s favourite was “The water lapped at the lake”

So after playing around for a time I came up with this –

Onomatopoeia

Actors mumble
Birds flutter
Cats purr
Dogs bark
Eagles swoosh
Friends chatter
Guns boom
Harnesses jangle
Insensitives belch
Jellies squish
Kites swoosh
Lovers whisper
Mothers murmur
Noses sniff
Orchestras zing
Pigs snort
Rain drips
Snakes hiss
Trains rumble
Victors roar
Xylophones twang
Zealots blare.

Sorry, I couldn’t come up with words for Q, or U. Perhaps you can. And I am sure you can come up with many others.  But it was an interesting way to spend an hour today.

Better than a thousand hollow words
is one word that brings peace. ”
Buddha

JB Wellington, NZ
October 2, 2022

Sometimes it’s nice just to take a breath and relax

When the world gets crazy, and it does, and you have done what you could, or, perhaps there is nothing you can do but pray, a few minutes of rest helps a wee bit.

Now if you are British, which many of my friends are, they swear a cuppa eases the pains of life somewhat.

But if you are more visual, then you can’t beat photos of nice scenery. And whilst JB New Zealand way is wondering if indeed spring has come for her part of the world, we in the northern hemisphere celebrate colour.

So here are a few soothing pics:

Tripsavvy.com

Our beautiful east coast recently savaged by Hurricane Ian, but that won’t stop nature’s art work.

Tripsavvy.com

Our French province Of Quebec. I think the accents of fall are known worldwide and need no interpretation.

National Geographic

Maine is beautiful any time of year but….

National Geographic
National Geographic
Tripsavvy.com

And lastly from Spring Bank Park in London, a city about an hour away.

So from North of 43 I hope you have had a moment of respite.

Chris G September 30th ‘22

It’s Official

I know you were/are absolutely sick of hearing me moaning and complaining about the wet weather we have endured this winter. Oh yes, I know it has been a very hot summer for all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but here in Wellington, it has been wet! Incredibly wet and now we have the official figures to prove it.

Today we got new rainfall figures from Greater Wellington’s Environmental Science team to confirm that last winter was the wettest on record, following the misery of a summer that was also the wettest on record in the Wellington region. 

The figures we are told, and on which we have to agree, “paint a portrait of suburbs soaked and districts drenched by record amounts of rainfall which exceeded many of the previous highest totals recorded across the entire region. On average, June rainfall was approximately 160% up on long-term seasonal averages, with July coming in higher at 200 per cent and August at 170 per cent. 

“The main causes of the extremely wet pattern were three-fold, says Climate Change scientist Dr Alex Pezza. 

“Background global warming increasing moisture in the air and leading to higher rainfall, a third consecutive year of a developing La Niña and the development of semi-permanent marine heatwaves around New Zealand. 

“These factors contributed to an enhanced northerly flow and formation of the phenomenon known as ‘atmospheric rivers’, which brought large amounts of tropical moisture into our region. The compounding factor of the wet seasons is important and has led to lasting, disruptive and expensive consequences, says Dr Pezza. 

“A chain of significant rain events effectively prevented our saturated soils from drying out, contributing to the severe slips seen in many areas of the capital by the end of winter.” 

And just for your edification, this was our driveway for a couple of days during the worst of the rain.

And today almost as if it is mocking our joy that Spring is here, it has poured nonstop from early this morning, and still, it rains!

End of rant about the weather, except..

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain
falling on the sunshine…” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

JB September 30, 2022
In a very wet Wellington

100 years 100%

Big scientific breakthrough!

I often wonder if we really do get wiser with age. And guess what?

After today, I believe it is true.

At 3/4 of a century I have attained knowledge that is surprising. An awareness, if you will. Truths that have surfaced. Misconceptions corrected. Perceptions that one believed for decades or eons. And the rest of the story (as they say).

Something happened today that completely and thoroughly shocked me. I won’t give details, because I never do.

I had an idea about a particular person that I had clung to for over fifty years. An idea in which I believed this person had had a particularly lush lovely life, which secretly I resented. Though I would have denied such a thing and believed the denial to be true.

Not only was my perception completely wrong, I then had to consider, why I let this thing live rent free in my mind for all those years.

See truth brought wisdom. And there have been several similar -on a much smaller scale – things that have come to light in my seventh decade.

That have made me wiser. Really wiser, Really!

So I got to thinking and came to the realization that at this pace of epiphany I should be 100% wise by 100 years!!

P.S. no need to inject reality here folks!

So I am off to contemplate the approach of perfect wisdom in twenty-five short years and bid you adieu from North of 43!

Chris G September 28th ‘22

What Was I Thinking?

I know that it is my turn to post today, so why did I spend the afternoon with a friend and then dinner with another one, allowing me no time to write. So, 10.30 pm here and no idea what to write about.

I must say that Chris’s post yesterday horrified me. Particularly the photo of the school teacher who thinks it acceptable to turn up to school in a totally inappropriate form of dress.

I thought about all the outcry around much of the world in 2011 about the young woman who had to adhere to the dress code of Harrods or risk losing her job. The part of the code about which she was arguing was the need to wear makeup at all times at work. Read about it here.

So if a young woman is either sacked or forced to leave her chosen place of business because of an item in the dress code to which she cannot or will not adhere, how come then a teacher, in charge of a mixed class of children, teenagers perhaps, is allowed to appear at school in this ridiculous, and embarrassing to young women, attire.

I think I have said enough. I share Chris’s embarrassment and trust that the Halton District School Board works quickly to right this very obvious wrong happening right now. Perhaps the Board and the teacher should dwell upon the quote from Loretta Young –

“Wearing the correct dress for any occasion
is a matter of good manners.”
Loretta Young. American actress, 1913-2000

A Very Grumpy JB
September 28, 2022
Wellington NX

And the booby prize goes to..

Canada. Again.

THINGS HAVE GONE TOO FAR.

The other day it was our Prime Minister of questionable intelligence yet again, singing Bohemian Rhapsody, in a bar, in London England, the night before Queen’s funeral. He does us so unproud so often.

Now, companies and institutions have policies for a reason. In this case it is The Dress Code. It determines the public face – and sets the standard for professionalism. And this isinglass particular

We now have a situation – with more than one idiot – that demonstrates we have surrendered all standards, and probably ethics and morals.

This is the headline:

This is about the male teacher at the center of a controversy –that shouldn’t exist.

Enter Idiot #2

This is the direction that regardless of poor taste or stupidity, it appears the School Board, is about to deep six standards in the excuse of the above≥

I support it all BUT THERE STILL MUST BE SOME KIND OF STANDARD. A decent one.

Regardless of every parent complaining and marching, no one seems to be thinking about the kids. The girls who are embarrassed and nervous about their own body development, and the boys who are snickering and sharing dirty grins. None of these children are gong to be learning.

And by the way – what you are about to see is a prosthetic so its not like its the guy’s real or fabricated through surgery body

Yup, this is what the idiot wears to school.

I believe every teacher who works in that school should wear clown suits and makeup.

I have so much to say but I AM SOOOO MAD.

I must wish you all well from North of 43 and I not putting a signature photo of me here.

Shame shame shame

Ticket to Paradise

After the excitement of Opera at the Met on Saturday, today we went to the movies and saw a totally different tale.  George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in Ticket to Paradise.

This is a fun and frolicking movie.  Clooney and Roberts characters were married for 5 years and have been divorced for 20.  Their only child, a daughter Lily, travels to Bali after graduation and meets and falls in love with a local seaweed farmer.

Her parents for once agree, they travel individually to Bali to stop their daughter from marrying and making the same mistake they think they made 25 years earlier.

There is no great story to be told, but the film is brightened and lifted by the fantastic scenery and some hilarious interactions between the stars. And of course, the stars brighten the screen with their smiles and their facial movements.

But a great movie it is not.  I am left wondering why these two mega stars became involved in this story.  Maybe the idea of travelling to Australia to film it during Covid was the draw.  

Having said all that, it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours as Wellington and New Zealand marked the Official Memorial Day for The Queen.

And now for the famous last line from Billy Wilder’s 1959 film, Some Like it Hot

“Well, nobody’s perfect!”

JB, Wellington NZ
September 26, 2022

Pulling turtle-neck over turkey-neck

Doesn’t work.

Well here I am first day back on my feet!

Took my time. Did yoga exercises for first time in ten days. Ate breakfast. Showered. Dressed.
Happy that real autumn temps showed up today (16C/60.8F). And I felt good!

Decided to swear a long sleeved turtle-neck body suit I bought a while ago.

Istock.com

I happened to come across some photos of me ten years ago. When did the turkey skin arrive?

So I made a plan to buy about a hundred turtle-neck sweaters. Long sleeved.
I was on my daily FaceTime with Scotland when I noticed a gap in the seam of a sleeve. Oh no, say I, I just took the tag off this and it has a hole in it.

We discussed the likely-hood of my mending the problem, when, oh no, this sleeve has a hole too. You’re getting the idea of how my day is going.

****it is 9:00 a.m. the next morning from this post and I see that for some reason only half appeared. I did have trouble publishing once I hit the button. But never looked to see that the full one published???

Here is the Rest of the Story

Then the proverbial penny dropped.

Me with proper use of the sleeves!

It reminded me of something my youngest grandson said during a recent FaceTime; Oh Ro, say I, I just noticed all my wrinkles while we’ve been talking.

Oh, grandma, says he, you always look like that. I don’t think you look any different. He says this in an innocent loving manner.

So that’s it. Again. From North of 43.



Chris G in yet another turtle neck September’22

Opera at The Met

I have told you before about the bijou cinemas we have here in the capital. They bring us opera from The Met, live in HD. And this enables those of us around the world to visit a local cinema to see world-class singers performing in this fantastic Opera House.  

And so, on a chilly early Spring morning, today we went to see the New York Met’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor.  

Wikipedia tells us – The story is “loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor“.

“The tale was originally set in Scotland, which, to artists of the Romantic era, signified a wild landscape on the fringe of Europe, with a culture burdened by a French-derived code of chivalry and an ancient tribal system. Civil war and tribal strife are recurring features of Scottish history, creating a background of fragmentation reflected in both Lucia’s family situation and her own fragile psyche. The design of the Met’s new production by Simon Stone suggests a present-day American Rust Belt, an area once prosperous but now fallen into decline and neglect.” from MetOpera.org.

Apart from watching the performance, we are taken backstage to see and hear interviews with the leading artists, the director, the orchestra conductor, one of the designers, and the overall stage manager amongst others.

This magnificent performance headed by Nadine Sierra, Artur Rucinski as Enrico. and Javier Camarena as Edgardo, was a joy to our senses. The incredible stage settings must have been a total nightmare to the overall stage manager – I am sorry that was not the title given to him in the interview. I was too engrossed to even mentally make a note.

It was quite a long production, 4 hours including two breaks, one for 10 minutes for coffee and another for 20 minutes for a light lunch.  The lunch was ordered before the opera started and was already served when we came from the theatre to the cafe.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our foray into the Rust Belt, somewhere known only to us through books and films.

This performance of this well-known story showed great promise as maybe a forerunner of other operas which could be brought up to date.

JB September 24, 2022
Wellington, NZ