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There is so much to see at Butchart Gardens that I thought the gentle reader might indulge me were I to share another batch of images from last Saturday evening. Hope you don’t mind…

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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Photo by Andy Dawson ReidLast Friday was not the first Canada Day that I have enjoyed in the country (I arrived for a visit on July 1st back in 2012) but it was the first such that I have experienced here as a resident. We duly made a weekend of it.

Sidney spreads its celebration over two days and features a firework display on the night before Canada Day itself. At the last minute we decided not to attend – both being somewhat weary from our busy weeks – and reasoning that we could probably see the display from our windows anyway – which we could. We thus also saw the results of the ‘computer glitch’ that fired half the display within the first ten seconds – followed by a lengthy pause before the rest of it carried on as it should have. Glad we didn’t venture forth for that!

Our dear friends in Saanichton hosted a barbecue for the day itself which was lovely for all sorts of reasons – not least of which was meeting his father (a most redoubtable gentlemen) for the first time. At the end of the evening they announced that they had some spare passes for the following night (the Saturday) for Butchart Gardens. Summer Saturdays at Butchart mean live music and – yes – more fireworks… so we did get to see some after all.

The traffic queues to get into and out of the gardens on a summer Saturday night are all too reminiscent of some of those in the UK. If, however, one has a boat conveniently moored in a nearby marina – as do our dear friends – one can sail the short hop across Brentwood Bay and up to the Butchart back entrance off Tod Inlet. To my great delight this was indeed the plan and we duly puttered our way over in style.

Boats – music – picnics on the lawns – a stroll round the fabulous illuminated gardens – fireworks! It doesn’t get much better…

Here be a handful of random images:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid


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There are so many parks, trails and other good places to walk scarcely a stone-throw from our neighbourhood that it will be a considerable  time before we have visited them all even once. Bear Hill is pretty close to the centre of the peninsula – about half way between Sidney and central Victoria. The Girl and I ‘yomped’ up it last weekend – Fuji x10 in hand. Here be snaps!

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidIf you expand the panorama by clicking on it you will get a good idea of the vista from the top of the hill.

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid

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No – the Kickass Canada Girl and I are not emulating the couple in Ford Madox Brown’s painting of the same name. No quite yet at any rate!

These are instead a few random Fuji X10 images – most likely the last such for now – capturing facets of the English summer.

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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The Fuji x10 understandably gets more use in the summer months than at other times of the year and I try to ensure that it is always to hand whenever I am out and about.

I find myself looking out for interesting shapes and textures, or for the interplay of light and shade on different surfaces. Here are some snaps taken both in and out of town.

Hammersmith Bridge makes a constantly fascinating subject, even on an overcast day:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid…as do the ‘Canadians’ that live nearby:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidWhilst at the opposite end of the spectrum lies this rural idyll – observed on the occasion of a most pleasant Sunday lunch with good friends whom we have not seen for a while:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid


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Some studies of the north bank of the Thames in West London – basking in the July sun. I thought these were quite… funky!

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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admittance-98620_640I have been fortunate enough – for the past several years now – to have been the recipient of a kind invitation to spend a day as a guest at the Henley Royal Regatta.

The Stewards Enclosure at Henley is the most extensive of the spectator areas along the course and also encompasses the finishing line – which naturally makes it the most desirable spot on the river bank. The enclosure is – unsurprisingly – open only to members and to their guests. Such membership is primarily available to those who have at some point in their lives actually competed at the regatta – which encompasses a surprisingly large number of former boatmen (and occasional women). Fortunately my host – an old boy of the School – is one such.

The Stewards Enclosure enforces a strict dress code which – you may be surprised to learn – troubles me not at all. It also – however – apparently adheres to other codes concerning which I am less acquiescent.

My progress was arrested at the entrance to the enclosure by the now ubiquitous security operative. He invited  me to don my blazer, which garment – since the day was already agreeably temperate – I was carrying over my arm. I agreed so to do as I moved to enter – reluctant to hold up the queue. He stopped me…

Before you go in…” – he instructed.

I raised an eyebrow but – being English – acceded politely. I had – however – by this point clearly irritated the man. I was carrying – amongst other items – the reporter bag concerning which I have posted previously. He scented an opportunity.

“What’s in the bag?”

I offered him a guided tour. He took a cursory look.

“Sorry” (he obviously wasn’t!) – “You can’t bring that in”.

I enquired as to why not. His eyes lit triumphantly.

“It’s the policy!”

To this there was no profitable answer. He pointing out the Left Luggage tent adjacent to the entrance. I sighed. Smirking a not inconsiderably unpleasantly smirk he applied the coup de grace…

“Of course – if you were a woman – I would have let you take it in”.

Now – I sense it likely that some readers of the gentler sex – and I include Canadian girls amongst this number – might consider this rank discrimination to be merely a much overdue rebalancing of the books when it comes to the treatment of the sexes.

Fair point!

Needless to say – I was far from amused!




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For me nature is not landscape, but the dynamism of visual forces.

Bridget Riley

High time for some piccies…

Here are some random summer shots from the garden:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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Flaming_June,_by_Fredrick_Lord_Leighton_(1830-1896)“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days”

 James Russell Lowell

Gentle readers of the regular variety will doubtless already be aware of my predilection for this season above all others.

I have waxed lyrical on more than one occasion concerning the joys – the virtues – the delights of the sumptuous months of May and June. The first fresh flowerings of summer – the crisp munchy greens of the new foliage – the delirious aroma of fresh cut grass – the scarce-remembered warmth of the sun on one’s shoulders – the caring caress of the balmy breeze – the drowsy hum of a somnolent afternoon…

…and so on…

…and so forth…

It matters scarcely a jot that in reality ‘Flaming June’ tends as often as not nowadays to the chill – the vaporous – the tenebrous… What counts are the possibilities – the promise!

And so as each day dawns we know that the sun will shine, that we will venture forth with a song in our hearts, and that all will indeed be for the best in the best of all possible worlds!

Or it would be – were it not for the fact that we have to go to work!!!

For those of us in academia these last few frantic weeks of the summer term are seldom restful. The days are ever filled with stresses and strains as a million and one things must be signed off before everyone else rushes off for a (well deserved!) long summer break.

This is just one of the many things that I eagerly – nay, hungrily – anticipate in my impending retirement…

I am looking forward to getting back my Junes!

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Photo by Andy Dawson ReidLast Sunday there was a break in what appears to have become in recent years the accustomed pattern of weather for the English month of May – chill, damp and unremittingly grey! The cricketing gods clearly smiled on me, however, for the day marked my first (and quite possibly only – though who can tell?) appearance in whites this season. The match was to be played on the downs above Guildford.

Long-time scholars of these humble scribblings might sense at this point that they can distinguish the sounding of some distant carillon – and they would be right so to do. Two years ago – almost to the day – I posted a screed entitled ‘Perfect Day’ in which – amongst other things – I extolled the simple pleasures obtained from the equivalent fixture then – the which was played on the self-same spot.

To quote myself (odious practice though that might be):

“The match was played in a suitably amiable spirit, I scored a few runs and the right side won. It was, all in all, a most satisfactory result and I rolled home close to 9pm tired but happy.”

I am delighted to report that I can repeat that sentiment word for word this year, even though – on this occasion – the spoils went to the opposition. The match had gone to the final over, was close and satisfying, and everyone was content.

The substance of my posting two years ago – however – concerned less the Arcadian charms of the occasion itself, but more the fact that such pleasures counted for little if one happened to be – as I was then – separated from one’s significant other. The Kickass Canada Girl was at the time but a few months into her sojourn in Victoria and I was missing her badly.

How different are things now! Not only was the Girl waiting to greet me when I stumbled back home after the match, but she had earlier driven over to Guildford to watch a little of the game – in spite of knowing that I would be in the field at the time and thus unable to speak to her beyond the odd snatched exchange. She strolled instead around the boundary – looking particularly windswept and gorgeous in the sunshine – and I found myself accruing serious kudos from my fellow flanneled fools for having snared what the tabloid press would most certainly term ‘a stunna!’ (defined by the Urban Dictionary as – “Someone who is always fly with gear, cars, jewelry.” – whatever that means!).

I am minded of a comment made by Oldest Friend (of whom I have written previously in these annals) concerning his wife. “A day not spent in her company” – he opined – “is a day wasted”.

He’s not wrong…

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