Winter Barn Owl

Winter Barn Owl
Life's a Hoot !

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dining in Toronto

Having left Toronto over 20 years ago, it is always with mixed emotions that I go back for a visit.  I love my laid back life in the country, but miss my friends and some aspects of the life a big city can offer.
Although my new home town has many fine restaurants, the dining experience in Toronto is not to be missed.  Thanks to my friend Nancy T, I took an express elevator to the 54th floor of the TD Tower to spend a few hours feasting on an extraordinary lunch at Canoe Restaurant
One of the added bonuses is the breathtaking view.  Alas, the weather gods were not with us that day and these views from the ground showed the pea soup outside our 'supposedly' fabulous vista.

 The view did not stop us from enjoying our superb lunch!
We both started with the 'northern woods mushroom soup'.
Nancy opted for the 'West coast halibut, with summer squash, Swiss chard, fresh wasabi mayo + crispy brandade fritters'
Although I am trying very hard to cut back on meat, my European background yearns for dishes I grew up with.  One of those was satisfied with 'steak tartare, applewood smoked bacon, foraged flavours + pretzel toast'
 Again, my upbringing moved me to have cheese instead of a sweet desert and I was not disappointed with a choice of '14 arpents' which is a pasteurized cow’s milk, washed with salt water twice daily for 90 days, from Fromagerie Médard, Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec
 Not one to be beaten by weather, the following day, during the lull between lunch and dinner, I rode the elevator back up to the 54th floor, strode into Canoe and asked the M'aitre D if I could take a few pictures of the view I was denied the day before....
 This was after meeting my oldest friend who I have known since we were both 6 years old for a catch up lunch at Bannock Restaurant,
that specializes in 'comfort food'.  As we are both originally 'Quebecers', we couldn't pass up the 'poutine pizza with curds, fries, caramelized onions and duck confit'
  Walking back through the downtown, even the concrete jungle tries to bring a little 'country to the city'
 Visits are great....but heading home, enjoying the turn of the season, always warms my heart.
 Thank you Nancy T. and and Wanda L. for wonderful visit.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Good Bye Isle of Man

Two weeks fly by really quickly.
With the races, nature walks and museum visits behind us, all that was left to do was take a stroll on Port St. Mary's beach....
......and have our farewell dinner with our IOM friends, 
Barbara and Eric, owners of  West Lodge BnB.
We met up at The Station Pub in Port Erin

  After lots of laughter and hugs goodbye, 
we left the Isle of Man in rainy weather....
....and arrived in Manchester to an equally rainy day!
 The only thing that consoled me that my holiday was over, was a perfectly delicious lamb shank....
...and a warm brownie with cream sauce.

Good Bye Isle of Man....see you next year!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Glen Helen

One of the promises I made myself was to walk more 'Glens' on the island.  With plenty of race related activities eating away at time, I only made it to 2 this trip.  Glen Helen is a relaxed walk through treed paths, with flowing water rushing along side.
 It is so peaceful....
 Shirley stopped to enjoy the view
 No matter where you looked, the rush of water was close by.
 The other side of the path glistened with moist vegetation
 When we arrived at the end of the Glen, 
we were rewarded with a fabulous waterfall. 
 We turned around and headed back....and clocked over 4 kilometers!
   All that walking gave us quite the appetite, 
so we splurged on dinner out...

Almost time to go home......

The Final Race

The culmination of a week of practice and one of racing, has everyone anticipating the Senior Manx Grand Prix.  
We went back to one of our favourite spots, Harold's Farm, to watch.  
We were not disappointed, as it was an extremely exciting race, 
with the first 3 riders duking it out, neck and neck until the finish.

The winner, Tom Weeden, on a 675 Trimuph Daytona, 
clocked in at a time of
 Followed by second place winner, Andrew Dudgeon, on a 600 Suzuki, with a finish time of That's right, a difference of less than one second after 150 miles of racing.  Incredible!

 In third, was Joe Akroyd, also on a 600 Suzuki, 
with a finishing time of

Even if you aren't a fan of road racing, you have to be impressed with the 'seconds' between the finishing times.  
Most awe inspiring!  Congratulations guys!

With racing over and a free afternoon ahead of us, we went exploring areas of the island that we had never seen before.  
As we headed over the mountain....
  we checked out an old abandoned mine.

It must have been a very hard life for the miners.

I still am totally in awe of what lays before me....
....and the heather that graces the fields

A walk through Glen Helen coming up

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Little More Culture

A worthwhile attraction on the Island is a visit to The Manx Museum
The bonus is that there is no entry fee and they refresh the exhibits quite often.  Each time I visit,
I am thoroughly entertained with the displays.
This visit, the art of Roger Dean
was on display, whose work is featured on
 many album covers of the rock group YES.
Check out his bright and bold art!

 Also being featured were works of local artists.
Here is a painting of Castle Rushen, by William Holden c.1940-1950
 An added bonus to my visit, was a private showing of a work done by the father of one of Shirley's friends, Eric G. Houlgrave, a well known IOM artist.  It was not currently on display, but with an advance request, the curator allowed us to see it.
After spending our day walking around it was time for dinner.
Check out this tasty caprese salad.
Last day of racing tomorrow.....

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Little Culture

The Isle of Man is not just about scenery and motorcycle races; there is plenty of culture to soak up as well.
In Peel, you can visit The House of Manannan.
It boasts interactive displays of the history of the Island.
There is a new one this year, featuring ancient artifacts.
These ancient coins were in fabulous shape

Check out the sword
Shirley stopped to admire the full size replica boat 
that the vikings used to conquer the island
 This story reinforces the inportance of fishing on the island
 As Peel is the 'Kipper' (smoked herring) capital of the island, those of us who enjoy them (David & Christine), stopped in for this delicacy
 at a local lunch stop, Moore's Kipper shop
  Enjoy guys.....
 Shirley and I enjoyed a fresh crab roll instead
 More culture coming up with a visit to the Manx Museum