I am going home to Nova Scotia tomorrow to plant my seeds and to begin to divide and lift the daylilies. So I shall be offline for a couple of days. The weather forecast is not good, but it is what I have and I need to be grubbing in the dirt again.
I was on my way back from the bank after I had paid my taxes when this bush caught my eye. The blooms glowed in the late afternoon sun. I was stopped in my tracks by a burning bush. It brought me back into the real world - the universe which enfolds me in its mystery.
. It started with an advertisement campaign inon the buses in London, England. It got picked up in this country. Some cities allowed the ads on their buses and some didn't. Radio shows and newscasts used it as fodder. Then my denomination ran this ad. The original is the first line. The second is ours. My take is that I wonder what concept of God probably does not exist. The God which probably does exist is certainly not the same concept. So I tacked the newspaper page on my office wall and considered it.
Saturday evening the police stopped a couple of boys in the town after two in the morning. They were told that they were breaking some curfew and were told to go home. So the boys took to the railway tracks. The tracks run along on the opposite side of my street. A good sidewalk runs along in front of my apartment. A slow freight clipped them, and a sixteen year old was killed. He leaves an unborn child. And so across the street, this little altar has been constructed with pizza boxes, cigarette cartons, sunglasses, memoriams with obscenities, the usual flowers, solar lights and in the centre, a cross - remnants of a life.
Here are sixty bottles needing to be washed for the wine which will need to be bottled in twenty days or so. Doing it yourself saves money. In this case I have a partner in the crime and I'll end up with thirty bottles. Then I can follow my doctor's orders to drink a glass of red each day.
Yesterday I lost my wallet. It was found. Today after the morning service I drove to retrieve it. Nine hours round trip, and, yes, I know how stupid it was. But right now I'm feeling relieved and exhausted.
This was our last stop - Tuscany - and from all that I had heard I was prepared for stunning beauty. We took a tour to a small village and a vineyard - but I have seen other more beautiful landscapes in the Mediterranean. It was a typical mountaintop village but it overlooked an industrial valley. The vineyard had high tension wires running through it. We have beautiful vineyards in Nova Scotia. We saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the distance from the highway and then it began to pour rain. It is either over rated or there must be more to it all, but we were not to find out because we flew back to Canada the next day.
It had been a glorious trip, even thouigh Italy washed out, we still had a whale of a time.
Here's some photos I took when we walked around Monaco, the most heavily populated country in the world - and it was just garden after garden in a country built on the edge of a cliff.
I'm in Nova Scotia for three days. I have crossed over the mountain and am in an "Internet Cafe" in Bridgetown. I helped myself to coffee and dropped coins in a dish. This is a used book store. As soon as I publish this, I am going to check out the stock.
Least anyone think that my time on board the ship was total slothfulness, I did go to the towel folding demonstration. As I have a guest for a few days, I made up the hide-a-bed and sculpted a towel. This is a duck, in case you were wondering.
This is what greeeted us here in the Maritimes this morning. Somehow I always resent April snow, and when it comes on Easter, it seems doubly cruel. Nevbertheless he is risen, although for the Orthodox this doesn't happen until next week.
We caught the local bus to Las Ramblas and strolled down the boulevard on a Sunday morning. We walked all over the city searching out Gaudi's buildings. Here's three of them. They are quite astonishing. You can see how he took the local style and stretched it. They are still building his church. There was a long line to get buy a ticket and get in. But this was Sunday morning and we went around the side and joined the faithful going into mass. The interior columns are like palm trees and the windows that are in are amazing. On our way back we walked over Joan Miro's mural. My big accomplishment was buying two futbol (soccer) jersys for my grandchildren who were cat sitting. I had been given instructions for a Real Madrid shirt, because they are such a good team. The second shirt was Barcelona colours, and this team is doing very well this year. So one each for the up and coming soccer stars.
Then we sailed to the Balearic Isles. We began the day in light rain, so we sat in a small bar with chocolate and churros. Then we explored the town, finishing in the sunshine. Here's some photos from along our way.
Computer glitches led to my being unable to blog yesterday - so here I am at the office trying to make up. I just loved Cadiz. We wandered around, had tapas in an open air cafe, and just enjoyed. An old man we talked to in the plaza outside the cathedral told us about how the citizens watched the Battle of Trafalgar from their roof tops. That was when war was a spectator sport. (Some ancestor is said to have been shipwrecked during the battle and walked home to Scotland. This may be an exaggeration. I presume that he got a lift across the Channel.) We sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar well after midnight, but some of us were up for the experience. The rock loomed in the darkness. Africa was very close. Then just before dawn we entered the Eastern Hemisphere. I was asleep for that major event.
On my second day in Portuguese I was able to purchase tapestry wool in a colour that I needed, but which is now out of production - a real find! This is our Lisbon, from our walking through the city. We stopped for little cups of coffee and a sweet roll, and later on we ate in a street cafe. We had taken the public bus into the city, but we walked back along the sea to our ship. We're in shape! I loved the city colours.
Today was dull and raining and my thoughts turned to Funchal in Madeira: an archipelago which is part of Portugal, craggy volcanic mountains, flowers and sunshine, and, of course, wine. Have some madeira, my dear. It was our first landfall after the Bahamas. Utter loveliness. So we walked into the city, just snapping pictures of green and flowers and buildings and then to the market. We walked around lovely gardens and finished the afternoon in a park buying ice cream.
I purchased our cones in some sort of foreign language. It worked, but the vendor replied in English, laughing that I was speaking half Spanish and half Portuguese. But this was my first day ever in Portuguese, so I didn't think that I had done half bad. Of course, it wasn't half good, either.
Then we tottered back to the ship, which by then we were calling home.