Searching for locations: Niagara Falls, Canada

We visited the falls in winter, just after Christmas when it was all but frozen.

The weather was freezing, it was snowing, and very icy to walk anywhere near the falls

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Getting photos is a matter of how much you want to risk your safety.

I know I slipped and fell a number of times on the ice just below the snowy surface in pursuit of the perfect photograph.  Alas, I don’t think I succeeded.

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The mist was generated from both the waterfall and the low cloud.  It was impossible not to get wet just watching the falls.

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Of course, unlike the braver people, you could not get me into one of the boats that headed towards the falls.  I suspect there might be icebergs and wasn’t going to tempt the fate of another Titanic, even on a lesser scale.  The water would be freezing.

We’re out in the country

Or almost

When you venture out from the city, particularly, this city, you find yourself among the blocks that run to several acres, allotments that are ideal for keeping a horse or two.

Inner suburban living often runs to high rise apartment blocks, with no gardens, except perhaps on the roof.

Outer suburban living runs to individual houses on allotments that are from 600 to 2,000 square meters. We have not yet gone into mass building of duplexes or terrace housing because for the time being, we don’t have the population.

And, this is why you only have to go about 35 kilometres from the centre of the city to be able to buy acreage.

So, we are visiting, and on such a glorious end of winter day, it’s a pleasure to sit on the back verandah, spending some time soaking up the sunshine, breathing the country fresh air, and let the inspiration flow into writing.

It works.

I’ve manage to write another photograph inspired story, number 124, which will be published on my writing blog in the next day or so.

Also being tackled will be the next chapter of PI Walthensen’s second case.

Unfortunately though, the inspirational location didn’t afford me a title for this new case but it will have the opening three words “A Case Of…’

The rest, I’m sure, will come as the story unfolds.

It’s just another Sunday

Outside it’s sunny but cold. We have had better days, but winter has been struggling to get through about of reasonably warm weather. Now it’s going to hang around for a few days, before it’s gone forever. Well, till next year. Wednesday is predicted to be 27 degrees centigrade, and will no doubt be the start of a very long summer.

Of course, we were all dreading winter because of the possibility of a second wave of COVID 19, but in Queensland that didn’t happen. It was further south, in Victoria and New South Wales.

And, oddly, over the seas in New Zealand.

It put a dent in our travel plans because we were planning to go there as soon as the borders opened, but that’s gone by the wayside. They had it stamped out, lasting 102 days before it insidiously came back.

It’s nasty this virus. It apparently came over from China as part of a container of frozen chicken wings, the virus surviving in sub zero tempertures so that it can infect anyone who picks up an item. It got into the food distributor’s factory, and ran riot after that. One infection has turned into 40, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

So, now we have to beware of imported frozen food, and there is a lot of that here, and more than likely, its all over the world as time, a hidden threat to everyone.

Perhaps its time to stop looking at the news, because it’s all depressing.

Instead, it’s time to go back to reading thrillers, starting with James Patterson.

I’ve lost the will to work on my latest book, mainly because the draft is finished but I don’t like some of what’s written, so I’ll let it sit for the time it takes to read a few of my favorite authorsg and see if I can draw some inspiration, or determination, from them.

Or maybe tomorrow I’ll feel different.

Delving into the inspirational photo bin

Does a rainy, cold, miserable sort of day usually reflect your mood?

This was taken on the morning of the following day we arrived in the Gold Coast hinterland when we were staying at a cottage in the countryside.

Good thing we had a GPS to get us there.

Going away for a weekend, in winter, can be challenging.  Not always, but for some years now, we have been going away when it is winter elsewhere in the world, and thought nothing of minus temperatures, simply because our summers are very, very hot.

With the pandemic travel anywhere is all but closed down.  This was at a time when we could only travel up to 200 km from home, in a low-level set of restrictions.  It’s since changed to the whole of the state because the other state borders are closed.

But winter here is not as bad as winter on the other side of the world.  Wet, raining, it was still about 16 degrees celsius, so it turned out to be a weekend where we could just sit on the patio and watch the rain go by, a rather interesting phenomenon watching it and the low clouds pass by going up the valley.

I was trying to read a book, but it was one of those that required no distractions.  I’d also tried doing some crosswords, but that too required concentration.

And being in the middle of nowhere with nothing but hills, bush, fields, farm animals, macadamia nut plantations, and a river, there was plenty going on around us.

I still have to bring a fishing line the next time, and tackle fishing in the river.  Maybe I’ll catch a trout. 

 

It’s a cold snap, and a do or die playoff game for the Maple Leafs

It’s an interesting expression, a cold snap, which probably would be more suited to describing freezing vegetables than the state of the weather.

But, it’s a fitting description, made all the more miserable watching the Maple Leafs playing the fourth game in the series, vying for a chance to continue their campaign for the Stanley Cup.

It’s two goals to none and no prizes for guessing who is none, and as much as I hate to concede defeat, it doesn’t look good.

So, it’s back to the weather, currently a more interesting topic of conversation.

Usually in winter, in Brisbane, it’s a lot warmer, and it’s supposed to be 26 degrees Celcius today, which would imply blue skies and sunshine.

As usual, the meteorological department has not quite got it right. Right now, its just past midday, and the temperature is 22 degrees centigrade, but there’s no sunshine, so there’s a ‘feels like’ factor here, and my guess is it’s more like 12 or 13.

And, just as I stepped out to check the weather, and the Blue Jack scored another goal. It’s now 3-0.

It’s looking very grim looking in this direction which is towards the ocean.

Looking the other way, there’s a ray of hope with slivers of blue sky trying to break through the cloud cover.

Where are the Maple Leafs?  One gets the feeling right now, they’re just going through the motions.

Oh, well, back to the weather…

Meanwhile…

Hang on, we just scored a goal and it’s 3-1. Hope springs eternal? The player I follow, Nylander, scores.

Now we’re playing with an empty net, sometimes a dangerous thing to do. OK, I just managed to catch my breath, and we just scored another goal. The score is now 3-2.

How many players can you fit in a net, because everyone is in the Blue Jackets net? Attacking. Attacking.

Yes, another score. It’s now 3-3.

I can’t believe it, and neither can the commentators. I don’t think anyone can, but if there had been spectators, there’d almost be a riot right about now.

So, we now have over time.

So, time to calm down, get a drink and a snack, and get back in time for the fourth period.

Of course, we expected the Maple Leafs would continue with their late boost in momentum, but things sorts of evened up as the minutes’ tick by.

Thinking that it was bogged down, I left the room to do something else, and, lo and behold, Mathews gets a goal and we won.

Typical.

Then I went outside and the weather had changed, more along the lines of what the weather bureau predicted.

Or was it because the Maple Leafs won?

Let’s hope the sun keeps shining because there’s another game to go.

 

Winter is back

This is the view from my car:

Winter has returned and because it’s time to pick up my granddaughter from school, it’s raining.

Not cold though, so there’s no need to have the engine running with the heater on.

I’m guessing though if I was in North America, or Canada, in Winter, I’d be outside shovelling the snow, so I wouldn’t get snowed in.

And as bad as that sounds, if this was a COVID 19 free world, being in Canada would be my first choice.

In Toronto.

The obvious reason, even though it’s the height of summer there, its because the Maple Leafs are in the play-offs, and I know I missed the first two games, but I did get to see the third, moving our time.

It was, in the end, heartbreaking, and I know if Chester was still alive, he’d have some very interesting comments on their performance.

But that was him, for my money, they tried hard, had their chances, and the breaks didn’t go their way. I mean 3 to 0 up, and to lose in overtime???

It’s probably the reason why its raining.

Perhaps well get thw next game and it will be down to that all important fifth. I know, with the miracle of the internet, I’ll be there in spirit.

And playing without a crowd? It must make it hard for Toronto not having tens of thousands of their loyal supporters cheering them on.

Only one thing left to say:

Go leafs Go!!!!

Look, up in the sky…

It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, and it’s definitely not superman.

It’s actually a good result for the middle of winter, but we do live in the tropics and winter here is not as harsh as it is further south.

Today, it was quite warm, and it is annoying that I do not have a deck out the back where I can sit and soak up the sunshine.

Oh, and read a good book.


Searching for locations: Lake Louise, Canada

A sleigh ride wasn’t the first activity that came to mind, but that first day we saw the sleighs lining up and thought it might be a bit of a lark.

It was New Year’s Eve and we booked a 2pm sleigh ride.  I figured any later we’d probably freeze to death.  The ride was for about 45 minutes, out around the edge of the lake and back.

Rides were on the hour and sometimes run at night.

We arrived at the departure point about 15 minutes before the ride and watched those who had been on the ride before come back looking somewhat frozen.  The only covering you had provided was a red blanket.

Wisely we put on many layers of clothing, hats, and gloves.

We managed to get a seat for ourselves where the maximum per seat was three.  The blanket wasn’t the thickest.

It was cold, and according to my phone, about minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  You could feel it, and it was lucky we were not moving fast.

 At the halfway point, we went out onto the lake to turn around.  It gave us a chance to take a photo of the sleigh, and the horses pulling it.  I felt sorry for the horses out in the cold.

As we turned around, we got to see a frozen waterfall.

Where am I?

This could be anywhere in the world

Palms swaying in the breeze

This could be taken from the beach of any tropical island retreat.

It could be taken at any mainland resort anywhere in the world, whist lazing away the hours with a good book and a long, cool drink.

But it’s not.

It’s taken from my back yard in Brisbane where we’re in the grip of winter, and the wind is lowering the temperature from 19 degrees centigrade to a ‘feels like’ 12.

Still, in a sheltered corner, I’m having a nice cup of tea and reading a good book on what could be called a pretend holiday.

At least for the afternoon, anyway.

A lonely tree on the foreshore

With a little time to spare before dropping the grandchildren off to a lunch party, we went for a drive along the coast south of Brisbane and ended up in a suburb called Raby Bay.

The foreshore park was quite large, but there was very little vegetation, except for this tree which stood out against the blue of the sea, and the blue of the sky.

Needless to say, it is one of the more expensive suburbs of Brisbane, and relatively new since it used to be mangrove swamp about 30 or 40 years ago.

Now it had a lot of very modern, and very e pensive houses and seaside apartments, especially those with parking spaces for their boats. I guess that’s better than having to store or moor it at the marina.

Except if the boat is this large: