Lovely Morning for a Walk

Back in October I joined a group of ladies who like to hike in and around London. Usually we meet at a train station, take a train to the countryside, hike, go to a pub for lunch and come back.

Two days ago I received an email from our leader, Emine, explaining that she had a bad back and she wanted to do a local walk around the Regents canals. I looked at the weather forecast. Forecast was great so I signed up.

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I want to go kayaking!

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Gorgeous morning.

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Never knew this area existed.

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All these boats with people living on them and also we saw some offices on some of them. 

 

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This is where you come to hire a canoe or paddle board. 

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Beginning of the canal, just above Hyde park. Who knew?

We met at Hyde Park corner, crossed Hyde park heading north and eventually we were at the beginning of the Regent canal. I am always amazed with how different London can be from one borough to another. We walked along the canal, all the way to Regents park. We walked through the park to Marlybone High St. There we stopped for a coffee break at La Fromagerie (excellent little café). After leaving La Fromagerie  we walked to Oxford Street. This is where I left the group. They were heading to walk around Green park and eventually loop back to Hyde park corner but I had to get back home. I am hosting book club tonight and I have some cleaning to do.

Lovely morning, it was nice to see some blue skies and to find this new area to explore.

Nigel and Robert Are Here, Hooray!

Who are Nigel and Robert you may ask?

They are the packers and movers who are here to pack stuff that we have been moving around the globe since 1992. Among what they are packing are 4 pieces of furniture, board games and some books I have been moving since we left Montreal. That stuff has gone to Ottawa, Toronto, New Hampshire, Bermuda and London. Now it’s going back to Montreal. Talk about stuff going full circle.

These items are being shipped back to Montreal for two reasons. Some of it is going into our new condo, I call that the good stuff. And the rest is going to the old condo with Thing 1 and Thing 2, I call that the crap!

Nah, just kidding, Mackenzy will get an antique table that belonged to Nanna back in New Brunswick. I will have the table raised in order for him to fit his legs under it comfortably and he can use it as a writing desk. May it produce many bestsellers….it’s not crap. But I must say, out of the stuff going to their condo (yes, now we will call it, their condo or should we say Sarah’s place. Maybe I will have a plaque made?) all they are getting are books, board games, old paintings, knick knacks from their childhood, Mackenzy’s baby box (he was such a cute cuddly baby who used to love hanging out with his Mama, what happened?), 40 water globes (Sarah used to collect them), and tons of more books (Mac is a huge reader and wants to surround himself with his books and comics. Dude, I can make that happen for you).

All this plus the mirror I made in Bermuda, the old buffet from Nanna, some of our books, our good dishes, some paintings to decorate the new place, some of our knick knacks and the pots and pans that do not fit our tiny oven here in UK, (yeah we found that out when we were putting the turkey in the stove on Christmas morning…Peter improvised very well but we could not fit more than a 7 kg turkey in there if we wanted to). Plus other dishes that I never get to use here but hopefully will start to have a purpose whenever we are in YUL in our new condo.

Nigel and Robert are working very hard. They should be done in a couple of hours. They will put all of it in their van and off it goes to their warehouse where all our stuff/crap will be loaded on a container with another persons junk, and at this point it will make the transatlantic journey once again to Montreal. I swear, some of this stuff has traveled more than the average person. In six to ten weeks everything should be in port in Montreal. At that point we hope to take possession of our new condo. I will go to Montreal, move it to the new place and sort things out and give the kids their crap.

I must say, it feels liberating to be decluttering, well, it feels liberating to have Nigel and Robert pack and declutter for me while I sit here and check emails, have a tea and write this. Love it!

 

Beautiful St. Petersburg

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Mosaics at Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.

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We are back from frosty St. Petersburg. Of course, the day before we arrived it was +5 and the day we arrived -5. -5 is still manageable for 4 Cannucks who are used to it. But when the mercury dropped to -13 (-21 with wind factor) on January 1st, we realized we just didn’t have the proper winter attire. We needed our warmer coats and some of my crew (okay Sarah) needed warmer boots. I had my Uggs, I was smiling the whole way. Never mind, we are in Russia, we are Canadians, we are Coopers, ADAPT AND SURVIVE and SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!!!!

We saw many beautiful Churches in St. Petersburg. This first one, (pictures above), the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded in March 1881. The unbelievable thing is that it was used as a vegetable storage building during the soviet era. That’s correct, the beautiful mosaics of saints were staring at cabbage, potatoes, carrots etc…

 

Another remarkable place of worship is St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

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St Isaac’s Cathedral is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest (by the volume under the cupola) cathedral in the world. It is dedicated to St Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron Saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast of that saint. It is breathtaking. Again, during the soviet regime, when there was no religion in the USSR, this Cathedral was a depot for pieces of art. At least it wasn’t vegetables….

The third beautiful church we visited is on an island within the walls of Paul and Peter’s Fortress. This is where the tsars, emperors and empresses lay in state. This is where you also find the remains of the late Romanov family tragically killed during the revolution.

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Finally, what can be said about the Hermitage museum and Winter Palace. Grand rooms, elaborate decorations, large tapisseries, and one of the largest art collection in the world. Catherine the Great bought the biggest collection of Rembrandt in the world. You can find more Rembrandts in the Hermitage than in the Netherlands.  We toured the museum with our own private guide and I recommend it. So much to see and after three hours I think the four of us were just walking with our jaws dropped. It is a must see. These are some pictures I took of the ceilings.

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If you ever consider going to Russia, go to St. Petersburg. You will not be disappointed. Just go in the summer when it’s a little warmer.