Saturday, 29 March 2008

What are you doing for Earth Hour?

Earth Hour starts tonight at 8pm tonight. People across Canada and the globe will turn off their lights in a demonstration of support for action on climate change.

In the Toronto Star today, it is described as 'A ray of hope'. Earth hour is seen as a questioning of social norms in much the same way as drinking and driving and smoking in public have been questioned in the recent past.

Earth Hour is a public show of support which cannot be ignored by the policy-makers in government. It may be only a tiny step, but there is a growing momentum of support that can make a difference.

*Image courtesy of WWF Canada website.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Cabin Fever

I know that I have spent far too long indoors recently and I am feeling the effects. The weather has hardly been conducive to being outside, as even when it wasn't actually snowing, it was invariably icy.

Even though I am feeling completely exhausted after working about 84+ hours in the last week, I decided that today was far too nice to be stuck inside. I can always tell that it has been a long, cold winter when a day like today, when the temperature only reached 4 C actually felt mild! Yes, I ventured outdoors in a fleece and gloves (no coat) and enjoyed the experience.

A brisk walk around the neighbourhood put a glow in my cheeks and filled my lungs with fresh air, which was such a relief after breathing recycled air for weeks. Walking is not only good for my physical health ~ it is good for my soul. I am so glad that I made the effort, as it would have been only too easy to put it off for another day. Now I can really start to recover from that cabin fever.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

In Case You Were Wondering...

In case you are wondering what has happened to me, drop by and see me at my other blog.

Normal service will resume after the weekend, so I send my warmest wishes for a very Happy Easter.

Friday, 14 March 2008

The Magic Apple Tree

'...I had experienced a growing discontent and dissatisfaction with town life. I seemed to be only skimming the surface of things, to be cramped and hurried and tense, I noticed the smell of the traffic more....I longed for more space around me, for growing things and time and all the sounds and scents of the natural world on my doorstep...'

I first discovered this enchanting book when I read an extract in the January issue of Country Living magazine. They published 'The Village In Winter' and it was beautifully illustrated by Lucy Grossmith.

When I realized that it was from Susan Hill's book, I decided to track down a copy. I found that the local library did not have it, nor did Amazon. I struck lucky when I tried The Book Depository and ordered a copy. For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Book Depository, you may be interested to learn that they offer free shipping worldwide. I love their service, which is prompt and efficient and there is no minimum order to claim free shipping.

The excerpt that I quoted mirrors my feelings so well that I could have written it myself. Although I have lived in towns and cities for most of life, I still yearn for the countryside: fresh air, peace and quiet. I'm definitely a country girl at heart.

Until such a time as I am able to fulfil my dream of living in the country and hopefully by the sea, I can dip into Susan's book and savour her story of a year, as seen from her cottage.

Obviously, I am not alone in enjoying this book: in the twenty-five years since it was first published, it has never been out of print.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Sunshine And Seaside

Sunday morning dawned clear and bright after Saturday's storm. The photo above was taken shortly after sunrise; hence the slight glow in the sky. In the end, we had 25 cm of snow here in the city, which was less than forecast, but more than enough. It is hard to tell the depth of snow from the photograph, but I did not feel like venturing out early in the morning for a photo opportunity.

I would like to introduce you to some new bloggers. Oliver and Olivia are having a free giveaway for a cute frog. To enter, click here and then post a link on your blog.

Summer by the Sea is written by Natalie, who is lucky enough to live at a seaside town in North Yorkshire. Raindrops to Rainbows is another blog about the dream of living by the sea, so I couldn't resist taking a look. Drop by and say hello.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Calm Before The Storm

We had snow flurries again this afternoon, but they didn't amount to much. It is now almost 7pm and we are having light snowfall, but this really is the calm before the storm. I watched the weather forecast an hour ago and they said to expect between 30-40cm over the next 24 hours.

It looks like we could be doing a lot of shovelling again ~ the second time this week! No wonder my back is aching at the thought. Is there no end to this winter?

Apologies for the lack of photographs, but the camera batteries have died. If they recharge, I will try to get some photos to post next time. Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Adventure Of English

Some time ago, I discovered The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg. I have long been interested in the origins of words and their meaning and I enjoyed reading about how the language that we speak today came to being.

However, there was something missing ~ the sounds of those early words which at times, seemed so foreign to the modern-day reader. Then I found that the book was linked to a series which traced the history of English and really brought the words and their meaning to life.

Did you know that Modern English has Germanic roots and that our ancestral language can still be heard in Friesland which is part of the Netherlands? When we see as well as hear a language spoken, it totally transforms its meaning and gives us greater understanding.

The series is being repeated at the moment on Public Television and it is a fascinating history. It opens with a weather forecaster giving the day's forecast:

'En as we dan Maart noch even besjoche, Maart hawwe we toch in oantal dajan om de froast en friezen diet it toch sa'n njoggen dagen dat foaral oan'e grun'.

This may seem barely comprehensible when written, but when we see and heart the spoken words of the presenter, we find that we can understand much of what he is saying: 'trije' (three) or 'fjour' (four), 'froast' (frost), 'frieze' (freeze), 'blau' (blue).

Watching and listening is like taking a step back in time through the centuries and hearing English as it was spoken at that time. As the series progresses, it also gives an appreciation of the richness and variety of the spoken word and the many and varied dialects that contribute to English today.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day in the U.K., so I called my Mum and sent her my love. She doesn't read my blog and as I am keeping Sundays computer-free, I am late in posting about her special day.

The day falls two months prior to Canada's Mother's Day, so it is always a challenge to buy a card ~ added to which most cards here are addressed to Mom, which she definitely is not! Fortunately, I found that Hallmark always have a small selection of cards for Mum, so I usually manage to find something suitable.

I hope that all my readers who are mothers enjoyed their special day and that they received lots of cards and messages of love.