Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca
Showing posts with label Ottawa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ottawa. Show all posts

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sunday 14 February 2016 – A Walk, A Skate, and A Cake


We rose from our warm beds to a temperature of minus 28C outside, the coldest it has been here this winter. Too cold for comfortable skiing, so Sue and Ken went for a skate on the Rideau Canal.

Helen stayed at home and I walked down to the canal to meet Sue and Ken for lunch. We are about the same distance from the centre of Ottawa as we are in Timperley from the centre of Manchester (13 to 15 km), but some of the riverside stretches here are on private land. So it’s a 4 km road walk to Hog’s Back falls, into which the water in the top picture pours.

Nearby, the footpath beside the Rideau Canal is joined at this lock.


After a couple of kilometres the end of the skating rink is reached. The sign at the end of the canal indicates 7.8 km to the Parliament Buildings – claiming to be the longest rink in the world.


I walked about half way down the rink before meeting Ken and Sue. Here, the rink passes under a bridge, near the TD football stadium, home of the Ottawa Redblacks. Note the motorist who appears to have taken the wrong exit at a roundabout. Canadians don’t ‘do’ roundabouts!


It was a day for wrapping up warm.


It’s traditional to snack on ‘BeaverTails’ when skating on the canal. These are flavoured pastries, our favourite being cinnamon and sugar. By the time we had queued up, we were sufficiently cold to need to indulge in a bit of speed eating, so photos of the actual BeaverTails (which is exactly what they look like) will have to wait.


I walked and the others skated back to where Ken’s car was parked next to the Dow’s Lake extension to the ice rink. Somehow I managed to arrive first, and I was relieved to see them not too far behind me on this icy cold day.


In between all this activity, Helen and Sue had been baking a cake. It was Ken’s birthday today. Just two years to go before retirement for him.

The kitchen had, during the manufacturing process, been designated a ‘no go’ zone due to a minor explosion of sugar. Surely they were making a cake, not a bomb! But I was allowed to record the results of their efforts, as portrayed below.


Careful! It’s about to explode!


I dread to think what’s in the turquoise icing…


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Saturday 13 February 2016 – Down by the Riverside


It was too cold to ski, so we enjoyed a short stroll by the River Rideau, accessed from our doorstep. Few pictures (2) were taken as frostbite was a serious risk if gloves were removed for more than a few seconds.

It was a lovely sunny day though.


The underground car park at the National Gallery of Canada enabled us to avoid the frost and visit the gallery, a favourite spot. We drove alongside the Rideau Canal, the longest skating rink in the world, to get there. There were a few hardy souls on the ice.

The gallery building is magnificent, and the Monet exhibition was interesting.


We also visited the rooms housing the work of the Group of Seven, a group of Canadian landscape artists whose work between 1920 and 1933 has earned them much acclaim. It’s good to see the originals of some of the prints in Ken and Helen’s house.

Here’s more on the Monet Exhibition:


About the Exhibition

Claude Monet (1840–1926), one of the most renowned and beloved French Impressionist painters, is celebrated for his seemingly fleeting impressions of the natural world. While he has been hailed as the plein-air painter par excellence, his art is not, however, as spontaneous as it may first appear.

Monet: A Bridge to Modernity is the first monographic exhibition in Canada devoted to the artist in almost two decades. Here, the National Gallery of Canada brings together twelve seminal works from collections around the world that highlight Monet’s methodical approach through his innovative experiments with the motif of the bridge. He did not simply paint what he saw; rather, he was an astute and deliberate artist who used this motif as a laboratory for working out his painterly technique and aesthetic ideas.

Monet painted these works during his stay in Argenteuil, a bustling suburb of Paris where he settled in late 1871 after his self-imposed exile in London and Holland during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). Upon his arrival in the small town Monet became fascinated with the local highway and railway bridges, repeatedly returning to this subject. In his important early work Le pont de bois (1872), currently on long-term loan to the Gallery, he depicts the highway bridge under repair following the destruction wrought by the war – a tribute to France’s return to order. With a cropped view and flattened perspective reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, Monet frames the river basin with the wooden structure of the bridge and the scaffolding, effectively creating a picture within a picture frame. This daring composition, in which the artist demonstrates a conscious interest in “picture-making,” became the point of departure for similar explorations of the bridge theme, each with a different viewpoint, technique, colour and brushwork. What resulted were paintings of startling modernity that cemented Monet’s status as one of the leaders of the nineteenth-century French avant-garde.

This focus exhibition casts new light on Le pont de bois as it delves into the historic, sociological and artistic context of the early years of Impressionism in the early 1870s. The twelve paintings on view are accompanied by a collection of nineteenth-century photographs, illustrations, guide books, Japanese prints and postcards. A truly immersive experience, Monet: A Bridge to Modernity provides a fresh view of some of the Impressionist’s most treasured works from a pivotal period in his career.

Monet’s talent… in my opinion is very serious and very pure… it is a highly conscious art, based upon observation and derived from a completely new feeling; it is poetry through the harmony of true colours…

Camille Pissarro, 1873

Claude Monet, The Bridge at Argenteuil, 1874, oil on canvas, 89.8 × 81.4 cm. Neue Pinakothek, Munich. 1912 Tschudi Contribution. Photo © Neue Pinakothek / Art Resource, NY

Claude Monet: The Argenteuil Years

Monet’s stay in Argenteuil, from late 1871 to 1878, marked a critical period in his career. Thirty-one-years-old, newly married and with a young son, he returned to France after the Franco-Prussian War and settled in the Parisian suburb near the banks of the Seine, embarking on a period of intense creativity during which he developed his powers of observation and visual analysis and refined his distinctive approach to landscape painting. In his first year at Argenteuil, Monet produced almost as many works as he did in the three years prior, painting the town’s busy streets and buildings, vine-covered hillsides, his own family in their rented house and garden, and the rippling Seine with its modern bridges. Until the end of 1873 the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel purchased Monet’s works nearly as fast as he could paint them, granting the artist a measure of financial success for the first time in his career.

Monet’s colleagues, including Alfred Sisley, Édouard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, would often join him in Argenteuil, painting together and benefitting from one another in the process. Monet also played an important role in organizing the first of eight exhibitions of the “Société anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.” in April 1874 in Paris, where the artist’s Impression Sunrise (1872) garnered much attention. Monet’s paintings of the Argenteuil bridges, executed during these momentous years surrounding the birth of the Impressionist movement, are among the most experimental and innovative compositions in his early career.


Claude Monet, The Port at Argenteuil, c. 1872, oil on canvas, 60 × 80.5 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Photo: Hervé Lewandowski. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Life in the Freezer


We arrived in Ottawa safely after an uneventful journey (apart from bumping into Sue’s former colleague - Mary Jepson - and her daughter, whose wedding cake Sue provided some five years ago – it’s a small world!) on a balmy Friday afternoon and were soon installed in our ‘Winter Quarters’ and provided with a hearty meal from Helen’s vast inventory.

My ski pass awaited me and I’ll be taking full advantage of it. But not today.

Here’s the view from the sun room. Which is very warm and sunny. If you look carefully you can just see the top of the hamster’s cage near the bottom left of the picture. That poor animal really does have to put up with life in the freezer. He doesn’t seem to have moved since we were last here!


The kitchen thermometer shows both the indoor and outdoor temperatures. The bottom two measurements (minus 26C and plus 36C) are the lowest and highest outdoor temperatures recorded since Ken and Helen moved here two years ago. This winter has been warm, with little snow. People were sunbathing in 17C temperatures at Christmas. But you’ll perhaps notice that at 8.55am this morning the outside temperature was minus 26.0C. It’ll be rather colder in Gatineau Park. And with wind chill?

Brrr! We won’t be going far today!


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Saturday 5 February 2011 – A Parkway Circuit, and Sue Visits Ottawa

Skiers on Gatineau Parkway

My heels were feeling much better, so after waiting for Ken to return from a Triathlon (skating, skiing and running – 1 hour 20 mins) and establishing that he was well exercised for the day, I tootled off to car park P8 in Chelsea and did a standard Parkway circuit.  Gatineau, trail 36, Fortune, Champlain, and back along Gatineau – a 20.6 km route.  A sunny couple of hours, by which time I felt I could join Ken on the ‘well exercised’ couch.

I had dropped Sue off in town, and by the time I returned from Chelsea she was also on that couch, having taken a few ‘Winterlude’ snaps:

Outside the National Library:

Outside the National Library

Reflections (the new and the old):

Old versus New in the City Centre of Ottawa

Parliament Building, with an eternal flame:

The Eternal Flame, outside Ottawa's Parliament Building

Rideau Canal – crowded at its  northern end:

A crowded Rideau Canal at the start of Winterlude

An ice sculptor at work:

Competitive ice carving

A long queue for Beaver Tails, flat deep-fried cinnamon pastries:

Winterlude's favourite snack - 'Beaver Tails'

Yin and Yang, a completed ice sculpture in Confederation Park, where temperatures above zero weren’t helpful.

Yin and Yang - an ice sculpture

Luckily, by the time I got back, Ken had recovered sufficiently to clear the back deck and defrost the steaks in preparation for our traditional first BBQ of the year.  Melt in the mouth T-bones.  Delicious.