I squealed when I saw this week’s travel theme! Yes, yes, yes! I’m in the mood for some bragging.
I play very few sports so this bragging is not about me. It’s about my friend. She’s heavily involved in the Quidditch community. Yes, I said Quidditch as in the sport that Harry Potter plays on flying brooms.
She recently attended the Quidditch World Cup in which Australia came first. Way to go Australia! The Quidditch Canada National Team placed 4th out of 21 teams at the IQA Quidditch World Cup. Pretty good if you ask me!
What to see how Quidditch is played; follow this link to YouTube videos of Quidditch World Cup 2016.
My friend not only plays Quidditch, she also coaches and refs. She was at the World Cup mostly as a ref, I do believe.
I’m in awe. She brings imaginary sports to life. I’m more of a non-athlete. Sometimes I’ll watch ice skating on CBC. Occasionally, I will go and watch a sports game if nieces or nephews (or grand-nieces/nephews) are playing.
I never really got encouraged into any sports. I played a bit in elementary school but by the time I started grade eight I was relegated to the sidelines (like scoring in baseball – I can still fill in and read baseball score cards)!
Sports are harder to pick up as you get older. I do like walking. I do a lot of solitary walking but sometimes I wish I had my friend’s bravery to try something new and spectacular like Quidditch.
Photo credit: Alix Marie d’Avigneau
This is not my picture. I cribbed it from my friend’s FaceBook page. (I may have to remove it but I hope she’ll be okay with me using it).
Congratulations to all the Quidditch athletes world-wide.
Keep on being innovative!
“Although people rarely died playing Quidditch, referees had been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara Desert.” ~J.K. Rowling
“I’m sitting in the bleachers, watching longingly as all the boys and umbumped girls in my Personal Health and Fitness class play Muggle Quidditch. I don’t even like the game very much, I think it’s silly, but I so miss physical activity that I’d be thrilled if I could run around the gymnasium with a broom between my legs, chasing after the human snitch wearing a gold pinny.” ~Megan McCafferty
These are pictures that I took when I was experimenting with capturing ground coverings, garden design and other such details. I thought they would work well with this week’s travel theme.
This is a pair of neighbourhood bears. This picture is from last year. The display has been added to since. I must get a new picture. I love the white tree on the left and the happy bears always make me smile.
This is a pair of grey frogs surrounded by grey ignoring each other. I wanted to see how much of the detail I could capture in a grey on grey on grey picture without resorting to black and white. I like the way the picture turned out. Next time I might manipulate the frogs some but I didn’t feel comfortable doing so then as this wasn’t my garden. However, it does belong to my mother’s cousin so she probably would let me play with it.
Here we have a bug couple (a couple of bugs). Look at the tiny detail on her shoes and what is he holding? Is it a flask? I see a green flask and a yellow love note. Again this Bug couple makes me smile. I love to take pictures of objects that make me smile. 🙂
“…the springtime of life isn’t a chain; it’s a pair of wings.”
~Sok-kyong Kang, “A Room in the Woods,” in Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton, trans., Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers (1989)
“When a pair of magpies fly together / They do not envy the pair of phoenixes.”
~Lady Ho, “A Song of Magpies” (c. 300 B.C.), in Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung, trans., eds., The Orchid Boat: Women Poets of China (1972)
The Queen turns 90 on April 21, 2016.
She’s been through a lot in those ninety years. There was Wallis Simpson & the abdication, World War II, the death of her father at an early age, the Diana years, the loss of both her sister and her mother. A lifetime worth of trails and tribulations.
She is old enough to forgive and forget. Myself, I still hold grudges. I still want people to admit they done me wrong and some of these people are dead.
The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. That makes her a Taurus like my eldest sister. Like most Tauruses, she’s reliable, practical, ambitious, and independent.
On her official birthday during the weekend of June 10 – 13th, there will be many celebrations. There will also be celebrations from May 12 – 15th.
We’re not celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday here in Canada as far as I know. The RCMP Musical Ride will go to London to join the Royal Celebrations there and we are publishing a charming children’s book to mark the occasion.
Our government here in Canada is pretty boring especially compared to the British Monarchy (though there was that Prime Minister who had seances to contact his mum).
We may not have castles but our Prime Minister resides in a very lovely mansion as he governs the country. Honestly, we’ve not had anyone interesting living there since Pierre Elliot Trudeau was Prime Minister! Politics have been boring, boring, boring ever since he left but maybe his son (our current Prime Minister) can liven up our world-wide reputation.
What has the Queen been fantasizing about lately? Maybe these quick, amusing reads have the answer.
The Uncommon Reader deals with the Queen as a bibliophile.
What she was finding was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do. (p. 21)
As Queen…pleasure had always taken second place to duty. (p. 31)
To read is to withdraw. To make oneself unavailable. (45)
Once she been a single-minded woman knowing where her duty lay and [her] intent [was] on doing it…(104)
The moral, of this book, is that the love and act of reading can lead to the act of writing which leads to abdication.
A moral, I’m sure, our current Queen would be against considering how long it took her and her mother to forgive Edward and Wallis.
The Uncommon Reader is written by Alan Bennett. Faber & Faber published it in 2007.
In this fairy tale-ish book, the Queen takes a melancholy jaunt alone to Scotland to visit the decommissioned Royal Yacht.
People had been writing about her from the very first day she was born in April 1926. (p. 5)
It was Prince Edward [who had] shown her (he knew his mama’s bad habits) a website where she could place a small bet on the races. (p. 8)
She had already called the IT woman three times. She couldn’t call her again. The Queen knew she needed help, but she hated to appear helpless. (p. 4)
The Queen set store by doing everything as Queen Victoria had once done it. (p. 135)
This story is set in December 2002. It is a charming, small, book with lovely black & white illustrations throughout. Here the Queen’s world is populated by many charming and eccentric characters.
There is Lady Anne Bevil, one of her Ladies in Waiting who at seventy has little money left to support herself and is estranged from her son.
Shirley is the queen’s senior dresser. She is sixty and her grandmother and mother worked for the Queen before her. She has no family left.
William is the senior butler. He is gay and has made this job his whole life.
Luke, an equerry and Iraq vet considers his job to be temporary.
Rebecca is a stable girl who takes care of the Queen’s horses. Queen Elizabeth’s latest horse, who was born on the Queen’s birthday, likes cheese. This is a very important plot point!
Rajiv works as a shop clerk at a cheese store and has a sideline profession of taking & selling candid Queen shots to the press. He likes Rebecca (every story needs a romance).
The tale becomes a cozy mystery involving the queen’s household vs MI5. It is very Doctor Whoish. The servants are at friendly odds with each other. They are not sure who to like or who to trust and must find the Queen before it is noticed that she is missing.
Mrs Queen Takes the Train was written by William Kuhn. HarperCollins published it in 2012.
After 40 years on the throne, The Queen and her family are rehoused to a council estate because the People’s Republican Party has gotten rid of the monarchy. Everything the Royal Family once had belongs to the state; the new Prime Minister sells off some of royal treasures to Japan and Windsor Castle is turned into a hotel. The former Royal family have no servants, make no public appearances, and they must check in/out with a guard every time they leave the house.
This was subversive fiction written during the Thatcher’s 90s!
The sweetest scene is when the Queen Mum dies and is laid out by neighbours.
Even with all this upheaval, the Queen gets on with it.
The sequel featuring Camilla instead of Diana is not as strong.
The Queen & I was written by Sue Townsend. Methuen published it in 1992.
Further readings written by me:
Here is my article about Princess Anne’s wedding.
Here is my article commemorating Elizabeth’s longest reign in September.
It seems Ailsa & I both had books on our mind this week!
Happy Birthday Your Majesty.
Walking the dog in Spring,
Traversing a minefield of ice,
Breaking thin ice covered puddles with our steps;
She laps up the cold dirty water.
I step over a pile of deer droppings.
Morning after morning after morning,
The sun rises earlier and earlier –
We long for the refreshing end to Winter.
Is it Spring yet?
Thanks Ailsa for the prompt.
Early mornings, when the weather is decent (cool, not too sunny), I like to walk out to the local cemeteries and take pictures. I find this activity calming and relaxing. The long walk to the cemetery stills me. The aloneness centers me within myself. It is a time for me to reflect and take many photos (over 300 the afternoon I spent in St. Andrews, Scotland).
This image is from a Saskatchewan (Canada) cemetery. You can tell it was early morning because of the shadows.
It was a pensive day.
I have not found any cemeteries near my new home to shoot photos in yet. I fear there will be none within walking distance as that is the norm here. There is, however, a park with a labyrinth to walk right on the edge of town. I plan to go walk there after the snow melts.
This is my early state of mind.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to combine two challenges in one post.
Okay, I also give you cute cat pictures.
She keeps me optimistic. She makes me smile. She helps me to stay in the now and remember that all this too will pass.
She is also my future. I became her forever home a year ago when she was just turning two and I vow to be with her for the next fifteen to twenty years. Which means that we both will have to survive long enough to become old! Which means I have new motivation to eat better and exercise more. Which I need because some days I’m not the most motivated person in the room.
My cat is. She’s motivated to take her next nap after she tears around the room and pretends to hide.
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
– The Princess Bride
Santa is making a list and checking it twice; am I naughty or nice?
I’ve always wanted to be naughty. To be the child that would stick out her tongue at strangers who were annoying her.
What is naughty? Is it evil? Is it cruel? Does it involve committing one or more of the seven deadly sins?
I’ll admit that I’ve been envious and coveted what others seem to get so easily. I eat too much. I want too much. I laze about when there is work to be done. I lust after pleasures and in my darkest daydreams am quick to stomp my feet and come to anger. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated.
But I do these things more in my heart (Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart) and my imaginings than in my real life!
Naughty is not necessarily sinful. Naughty is slightly disobedient; it is indecent, risqué, bawdy, improper, indelicate. Naughty is a woman pushing back against the norm!
What’s the naughtiest I’ve ever been? Shh! Can you keep a secret? (Of course you can’t – this is the ubiquitous internet after all!)
What is Nice? Me, I’ve always been nice. Too nice. Too good. Did what she was told. Didn’t make waves. Behaved herself. Good daughter. Good student. Good wife. Good enough (for everyone but me)!
Then I discovered the etymology of the word: nice.
Nice derives from the Latin nescius (“ignorant, not knowing”); from nescire (“to know not, to be ignorant of”), from ne (“not”) + scire (“to know”).
To be nice I had to choose to be ignorant of many things. I had to be compliant. I had to be quiet.
I choose no longer to be nice out of ignorance.
I choose, in spite of Santa’s list, to be at turns both naughty and nice and to always be aware of why I am choosing to be either.
I am nice. I am naughty. Sorry Santa – your lists are passe anyway!
When you’re a girl, you have to be everything, You have to be dope at what you do, but you have to be super sweet, and you have to be sexy, and you have to be this and you have to be that and you have to be nice, and you have to – it’s like, I can’t be all of those things at once. I’m a human being. ~Nicki Minaj
I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse. ~Diane Arbus
The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live. ~George Carlin
These are Concord grapes. They are my favourite fruit. We were lucky to be able to afford one basket each September when I was growing up. Welch’s uses them in their juices and jams which I also love and never got enough of growing up. We had to buy the things everybody liked.
Now that I am a grown-up (mostly), I buy what I want to eat. I’ve bought six baskets of grapes in the last four weeks and I have eaten them all!
If you want to show you love me – don’t say it with flowers – send me raspberries, concord grapes and chocolate.
Written for Ailsa’s weekly travel theme.
Here are some seasonal additions to Ailsa’s new travel theme; which this week is Grey/Gray. I’m Canadian – we consider either spelling correct. It makes spelling bees easier!
I was in the city yesterday. My sister and I have an annual tradition of going to the Fringe and the Ex’s Saturday night free grandstand concert. Before the fun started, we went to a craft store where the pre-Halloween decorations were out. You need time to create the perfect scary display! But, then again, the Halloween candy is also out (who buys it this early? I would have it all eaten before Halloween if I bought it now).
Seeing all the orange, black and grey has me anticipating Halloween and Fall. I want a shorter summer and a longer autumn!
The greyish skeletons remind my sister of death and she fears them. I see fun and mystery in them. I see dancing skeletons and ghosts yearning to tell their stories to all willing to listen. She sees reality. I see story.
I like the raven pillow here. It makes me want to going around murmuring “Nevermore” under my breath. The tombstones dream of becoming sinister props in a fake graveyard. They yearn for pithy says.
The day started out gray. By the time we hit the festivals the sun was out and bright. There was a nice breeze flowing through the grandstand in the evening (it kept the mosquitoes away. Hooray!).
We traveled home in the dark and encountered greyish northern lights.
That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.
― Ray Bradbury