Mon Pays – Aylmer, Sunday March 4, 2007

One of the oldest grand houses in townMon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
Mon jardin ce n’est pas un jardin, c’est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n’est pas un chemin, c’est la neige
Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver

Rose arbour in our garden
La Maison Blanche My country isn’t a country, it’s winter
My garden isn’t a garden, it’s the plain
My road isn’t a road, it’s the snow
My country isn’t a country, it’s winter

The Barns Next Door
Mulberry Tree in the Garden Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
Mon refrain ce n’est pas un refrain, c’est rafale
Ma maison ce n’est pas ma maison, c’est froidure
Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
The Town Square Cenotaph My country isn’t a country, it’s winter
My refrain isn’t a refrain, it’s a gust of wind
My house isn’t my house, it’s the winter cold
My country isn’t a country, it’s winter

Mon Pays – Gilles Vigneault

Say Cheese!

My First Digital - Sony Mavica
I’ve never been big on taking pictures when I travel – in fact until I bought my first digital camera in 1998 I very seldom took photos on my extensive travels. I found – and still do – that you spend so much time taking pictures you often miss the sights. That first digital was, as you can see, a rather clunky affair – a Sony that recorded pictures on a floppy disc. The pictures were not the greatest (click on the camera to get an example) and frankly as a photographer I’m no Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Back in January 2003 as I was getting ready to board The Canadian, VIA’s TransCanada service from Winnipeg to Vancouver, I realized that I had forgot to bring my old clunker. I made a quick trip to a Kodak shop in an underground mall – it was January, it was Winnipeg, it was -37c at the corner of Portage and Main – and I bought the first thing I saw that looked reasonable and easy (yeah I know, at the corner of Portage and Main, that would normally be Brandy or Tiffany.) It is what I have been using ever since. Still not the greatest but ….

So why bother to mention it? The past few days I’ve been going through photo files of Venice and a few other trips we took between 1998 and 2003. The photos are not the greatest quality and PhotoShop can only do so much but I thought I might post some of them. I guess this is just a word of warning.

Short Legs in the Snow

Reese in the snowKristina, our housekeeper in Warsaw, called Reesie “Nishki” (a bad transliteration as everyone knows that in Polish there has to be a least one letter with a line through it somewhere.) Apparently it is a term of endearment for a child but I’ve never had the heart to tell Reese that it translates as “short legs.” But in his case it’s certainly true – he’s legs can’t be more than 3 inches long. This can be a real problem with steps or on a snow day.

Reese in the snow 2And yesterday was definitely a snow day. We only got 20 cm but the winds were high and bitter and the ice pellets stinging. Today is one of those strange days – its either overcast with snow or bright sun and melting.

Reese has always liked the snow – it’s great for burying your nose in. But this year there hasn’t been much hardpack so the odd foray off the deck has resulted in a stranded daschie. Its hard to go either forward or backward when you’re halfway up your chest in snow and your butt is stuck. Twice now the rescue brigade has sprung into action.

Snow ToesOf course there’s also the drawback of having hairy toes in weather like this. The snow sticks to your feet and can be really uncomfortable once you get back inside. That is unless you look really pathetic and someone comes along and dries you off. And maybe if they’re a kind loving person who cares about poor sad daschies (and doesn’t everyone) gives you a biscuit to warm your feet.