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Stratford Walk 1: the lake

Perth County Court House in Stratford

The walk begins at the Perth County Court House in Stratford

Are you confused? Do these photos look nothing like the Stratford you know, that lovely medieval English market town that gave the world William Shakespeare? That’s because this Stratford — and this Avon River — are in Canada, 130 km (80 miles) west of Toronto. And it also has a strong Shakespeare connection, which we’ll get to.

From the court house, the path around the lake is about 5km. I like to do this walk when I visit Stratford. My maternal grandparents moved to the town in the 1970s, and my parents in the 1990s, so I’ve made quite a few visits since I was a teenager.

This is a pretty, leafy, landscaped walk with not a hill in sight.

If you don’t fancy walking, there are watery alternatives.

Art in the Park has been a feature for years.

Amusing garbage cans, though I’m confused by the bee theme.

This lovely bridge has been the spot for many, many photos over the years.

Approaching the bridge

Looking back at the bridge

Here is the Shakespeare connection I mentioned. In the early 1950s, Stratford local Tom Patterson drove the establishment of a theatre festival dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare. On July 13, 1953, English actor Alec Guinness spoke the first lines of the first play produced by the festival, a production of Richard III: “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York.” For the first four seasons, performances took place in a concrete amphitheatre covered by a giant canvas tent on the banks of the River Avon. The permanent theatre that followed (photo below) deliberately echoed the look of a tent. (source)

The Festival Theatre

The festival now runs from April to October and in addition to Shakespeare it presents a variety of theatre including musicals and contemporary drama, in four theatres. (My mother and I saw “The Music Man” in August last year, when I took these photos.) Famous actors who appeared at Stratford include Maggie Smith (1976 to 1980) and William Shatner (seasons 2, 3 and 4). (This short interview with Shatner has some interesting photos of the festival’s early days).

This statue of Shakespeare is in the garden behind the theatre.

Back to the path now. Near the theatre is where you’ll find the largest numbers of swans and geese. They definitely have right of way.

At the east end of the lake you can look back to see the spire of the court house over the trees.

Time to cross over and head back on the other side. There are some inviting spots here for just sitting and watching the world or having a picnic.

This is the path opposite the theatre.

William Hutt was described as “Canada’s great classical actor” when he died in 2007. I remember seeing him as Falstaff in the Merry Wives of Windsor, 40 years ago. (I can’t believe I’m old enough to say that, but according to a review in the NY Times it was indeed 1978.) That’s more of the court house peeping over the trees, and you can see a number of bright orange pedalos on the lake by the shore (something else I remember from 40 years ago!).

At this point, you must walk across the bridge because the path that continues around the west end of the lake has been closed.

Here you can see why it’s “unavailable”: rich people not wanting riff raff walking in front of their houses. I certainly remember walking there in the past. Time for some “reclaim the ancient rights of way!” agitation by the people, I think!

I know Jo likes cake at the end of her walks, but as much as I like cake I do gravitate towards ice cream after a walk. 😉

Stratford Walk 2: history and houses” is now live.

For more walks from all around the world, head to Jo’s Monday Walks.


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Blue Foot Boogie

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

Check out my blue feet, babe!

According to National Geographic, “Blue-footed boobies are aptly named, and males take great pride in their fabulous feet. During mating rituals, male birds show off their feet to prospective mates with a high-stepping strut. The bluer the feet, the more attractive the mate.” I photographed these birds in the Galápagos Islands in 1999. The images are poor quality but you can see those blue feet.

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

Struttin’ my stuff.

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

So I’ve got blue feet. What’s it to ya?

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

Posted as part of One Word Sunday: Blue

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Gilded

Rear view of one of the "Fames" statues flanking the Pont Alexandre III, with the Grand Palais and French flag behind.

Rear view of one of the “Fames” statues flanking the Pont Alexandre III, with the Grand Palais and French flag behind.

One a recent visit to Paris, I was struck by the quantity of gilding flashing in the light. I didn’t remember there being quite so much gold on previous visits! These two photos are of two of the four statues that sit at the corners of the Alexandre III bridge over the Seine. “Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge, supported on massive 17 metres (56 ft) masonry socles [that] are crowned by Fames restraining Pegasus.” (source) I was confused by these “Fames”, and another wikipedia entry says, “In Greek mythology, Pheme (Roman equivalent: Fama) was the personification of fame and renown, her favour being notability, her wrath being scandalous rumours.”

The front view of one of the statues, in which a Fame restrains Pegasus.

The front view of one of the statues of a Fame restraining Pegasus. This photo gives a good view of a ‘socle’ also.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Gilded

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London Lights

street lights admiralty arch

If you know of my fondness for tall ships, you won’t be surprised that I was enchanted by these lights.

London has no shortage of interesting street lights, but I’ve settled for two for Nancy’s A Photo a Week Challenge (street lights). The ones above are near Admiralty Arch, those below are outside the St Pancras hotel/train station. The small feature photo at top has lights from Kew Bridge.

street lights St Pancras


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The view from the window: A hotel in Rome

The balcony beckons ...

The balcony beckons …

I know what you’re thinking. This series is called “The view from the window”, so why did I caption this photo “The balcony beckons”? Well, outside the window was a lovely wide planted terrace, and it was no more than the work of a moment to lift a chair out that window and climb out after it myself, there to sit in comfort with a glass of wine and admire the view.


The view from the window