Spring reflections in photos -Pt 2

Yesterday I posted some spring photos. Several of the pictures I took had interesting reflection in the smooth lake so I have grouped them together here.  Part 2.  You can see yesterday’s other photos here if you missed them. It delights me that I have been able to take all these photos within about 10 minutes of my home in beautiful downtown Kingston, Ontario.

Island Queen 2

Reflect 1Reflect 2WIFDucks PosterDelta reflect poster


Celebrating Spring in Kingston Ontario

Exactly three weeks ago I posted a blog with some photos I took along the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Kingston. (You can see them here) The lake was still covered in ice – enough, in fact, that people were out playing hockey and walking and ice-boating on the lake.

Today is Easter Sunday  – March 27.  It is a gorgeous sunny day. The ice is gone from all but a few corners of the lake. Folks are out with their kids and their dogs and cameras and even a couple of boats are in the water.  What a difference three weeks makes.

Here are some photos I took today, some of them from precisely where I took pictures of the ice on March 6.  I am happy today to be celebrating spring in Kingston.


Photo 1H



JoggersTime 1SplashHarbourCity hallOntario St

March 6, 2016

Today seemed like we were on the brink of spring – a clear, sunny, cold day in early March that promises springtime but hangs on to the vestiges of winter.   Lake Ontario had been made smooth by the partial melting of the surface ice in the sunshine.  Students couldn’t resist walking or skating or skimming over the frozen lake with ice boats.

Pictures always worth 1000 words.

My  friends in Africa won’t quite comprehend how the lake could be like this.


Bright day.jpegwindmills.jpegLake walk Mar.jpegyacht club.jpegIce lake walk.jpegIce lake 1.jpeg


Spring in New York City – A Trilogy – #1 Spring Flowers

For the past few days I have been wandering around New York City.  April is a great time to visit.  Spring flowers and trees in blossom. Perfect temperature for walking from one end of Manhattan to the other.

Since a picture is worth 1000 words  I will stick to photos instead of exposition. It will be a trilogy.          Spring Flowers  – Icons  – People

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

59th St and 5th Avenue

59th St and 5th Avenue

Central Park

Central Park

In Central Park

In Central Park

Chrysler building from 42nd St

Chrysler building from 42nd St

Empire State Buliding

Empire State Buliding


“Treno kaput.” Now what?

I planned ahead. Train ticket bought. Researched the town of Aosta online. Arrived 15 minutes early at the station to be greeted by the conductor with “Treno kaput.”  I didn’t need a translator to understand that one.  Now what?

Three Italians waved their arms and yelled at each other to try to find me an alternative route.  They suggested I get on the train to Milan and change at Chevassa to take an electric train to somewhere close to Aosta. I thought of the Marx electric train I had as a kid. It wasn’t very big.  Time was short.  They all hustled me onto the train and it soon started moving. Unfortunately they had put me on the wrong train heading in the opposite direction.

Whistle stop at Chiomontre.

Whistle stop at Chiomonte.

There were no signs or announcements on the train. I had no idea where was going.  When the conductor arrived he spoke no English.  I tried to explain but he just looked at me like I was stupid (maybe I was) then wondered if it was Chiomonte where I was wanted to get off. It sounded vaguely similar so I said OK rather than provoke him further. He handed me a little paper on which was scribbled “Chiomonte 9:17”

When the train stopped briefly in Chiomonte I was the only one to disembark.  I soon understood why. The station was deserted. Doors locked. Ticket machine broken. No one in sight.  I really didn’t know where I was but it was certainly a beautiful setting. I considered just waiting for a train back to Torino, but I knew I was already heading into the Alps and I wanted to see the mountains.   An hour later a train arrived heading in the direction of the mountains.  I got on.

imageThe last stop as a little town called Bardonecchia.  It is the most westerly town in Italy and about 5 km from the French border.  In 2006 it hosted the snowboarding events for the Winter Olympics.

I meandered up the Main Street and at the end of it found a path that appeared to be heading up. I remembered an old slogan, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

imageFor the next two hours I headed up, and up, and up, until I was at the snow line in the mountains.  There was no one else around.  It was absolutely silent except a few birds chirping.  The air was fresh.  I lay down in the sun in a field of crocuses, thinking that if I had a heart attack and died there, no one would find me for a while.  But what a great place to go!  And obviously I did not succumb to the exertion.

imageThe day turned out to be a complete surprise and exactly the experience I had hoped to find in a day in the Alps.  My legs were tired and I welcomed a soak in the sauna in my hotel in Turin when I got back abound 6 o’clock.


Sometimes it is best just to go with the flow.



Grandmother’s Breath

It is 15 years, almost to the day, that I first went to Sarajevo to start work with the Queens Family Medicine Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.   I find it hard to imagine where those 15 years have gone.

I remember arriving in Sarajevo, flying into the airport over houses whose roofs had been destroyed by the recent war.  The city had been devastated and in the dreary spring weather looked particularly tired.

On March 24 we had a light snow and a cooler dip in temperatures to about 2 degrees.  The locals called it “Grandmother’s Breath”.  I always wondered why that might be the nickname for this last burst of winter.  I always had associated grandmothers with warmth and comfort. Maybe it was grandmother winter saying “I’m not done yet.  There is still breath in me.”  Just when it looks like spring is on the way, there is a brief and surprising turn to the life of old winter.

photoThis past two days we have experienced Grandmother’s Breath in Kingston. We wake up in the morning to a fresh whallop of snow.  As the day goes on the sun quickly warms our spirit however and melts much of the snow on the sidewalks and streets.  Winter saying, “Don’t give up on me yet, I am not through.”

This reflection made me look through an old journal entry I had written on March 25, 1998.  It was the start of  an adventure in Bosnia that lasted for 11 years and my foray into International Development that has taken me in a direction I would never have imagined.

It is also obvious that digital photography has come a long way in the past 15 years!

 Sarajevo. March 25, 1998.

The apartment where we are staying is very interesting. It is an old, high-ceilinged place on the top of a hill. It has a great view from the balcony overlooking the main part of the city and the mountains beyond.  There are several places in the wooden floors that are splintered from bullets that would have come through the windows during the war and the outside of the building is pock-marked with the shelling from grenades.  Buildings nearby remain totally gutted.

The view from our Sarajevo apartment in March 1998 after "Grandmother's Breath" had dumped a bit of snow on the city.

The view from our Sarajevo apartment in March 1998 after “Grandmother’s Breath” had dumped a bit of snow on the city.

There has been a light dusting of snow. The locals call it Grandmother’s breath, the last winter’s snow. It is about 2 degrees. Today the sun is shining. There are a lot of funny things about living here. The water is often shut off during the middle of the day or at night which makes flushing the toilet a bit of a problem. You have to plan your washroom activities around the water or let it sit there until the water comes back on.

Many of the buildings in Sarajevo had been destroyed by the recent war.

Many of the buildings in Sarajevo had been destroyed by the recent war.

The food is great. The Bosnians tend to be meat and potato people. Lots of Lamb and Veal but they have some other great vegetable dishes as well. Today for lunch we went to a little restaurant to have Cevapcici, a sort of pita  thing made a local bread called Somun filled with grilled sausages, vegetables and onions. This is a popular meal like a hamburger in North America. Last night we went to another little restaurant that was like a deli with lots of good selection of local foods. The local beer (pivo) is called Lachka (or something similar) and I have had a few cans.