Tag Archives: Holiday

The Canadian Gravel Experience

So we’ve been back on British soil for about a day after taking advantage of the early Easter to spend the school holidays in Canada. I’m slowly working through the pictures – delights to come include a bit of a cattle round-up, a cattle sale, plus a little bit of Canadian winter driving courtesy of their very own late season snowfall that we drove through on our way back to the airport.

By way of a taster, here is a slightly different drivers eye view to the one we took in the UK a couple of weeks ago. This one is a sample of the Canadian Gravel Road experience. Some of the lesser used roads are maintained with a gravel surface, although in some cases they could be regarded as fairly important, for example the most direct route from Buffalo to Oyen in south-east Alberta is gravel.

Anyway, this is the last seven or so miles of the drive to Beth’s parents ranch, so also gives an idea of the kind of countryside around where Beth grew up, and also shows that despite what one or two of Beth’s classes might have thought, she wasn’t taking pictures to avoid the trees. The prairie landscape is pretty typical of what you see around the area, with the only significantly treed areas being the river valleys. You also get somewhat of an idea of what Beth means when she talks about the “big sky” out on the prairie.

Slightly atypically we do actually pass another vehicle on the road, as the fuel truck had just made a delivery. It’s also worth pointing out that the prairie isn’t always this colour – on other occasions the same views will be green or white as far as the eye can see, depending on the time of year. This being the early spring view, currently the new green grass growth is hidden by last years dried grass – subject to the right amount of rain the same trip would look rather different.

A couple of other notes, the beeping part way down is the sat-nav deciding to reset itself for no apparent reason, and the vehicle we’re using is a second generation Toyota Highlander. Camera was my normal Fujifilm F50d.


Canadian Gravel from Richard Peat on Vimeo.

A Quiet Last Day? No Way…

Maybe it was optimistic to expect my last day before the Christmas Holiday to be quiet…

So far this morning:

  1. Last parcel from Amazon turns up having been damaged in transit – and probably no time to replace the damaged contents. Just waiting for Amazon to get back to me. Update: Just got an e-mail from Amazon – replacement items being despatched first class.
  2. After half a days worth of testing, we’ve found a trailing space in a bit of test data. Following a quick fix, as it is a fully validated system we have to go all the way back to the start of the tests and start again.
  3. Just had a call from one of my colleagues who should be on annual leave today. His team is doing an install in Cardiff and got to site to discover that they’d left the install CD that he’d put together for them at home.
  4. Had a moderation request from the Affirming Liberalism site – Peter Ould probably about as opposite in Anglican terms as you can get has linked to the site under the category “heresy” pairing it up with an unrelated video and a comment about growing liberal Churches seemingly implying that he doesn’t think there are any… Of course he’s most welcome to come along and visit St James – but he’d probably have trouble finding a seat, especially over the next couple of days.

Holiday Pictures

Sunlight through Stained Glass

I’ve uploaded my pictures from our holiday in France. Beth has a whole load more on her camera that I’ll link to when she’s uploaded them. Most of the pictures are actually in two places as I’ve done one big set with everything, and then a number of smaller sets for particular places we went.

Looking through the pictures, you’ll spot that we went to a lot of Churches – including finally getting round to doing the abbey tour at Cluny. It is certainly worth doing if you are ever there, as you get to see inside the one remaining part of what was the largest Church in the world before St Peter’s in Rome was rebuilt. Although you can get an idea of what it looked like inside by visits to Tournus and Paray-le-Monial both of those are smaller.

We also saw some of the smaller town churches, an interesting comparison being those in Saint-Gengoux-le-National and Buxy. The building in Saint-Gengoux-le-National is in serious need of restoration – with a noticeable crack running pretty well the length of the nave in the roof, and large lumps of plaster missing from the walls. Buxy is much luckier, in that they have been able to restore the building.

Both the building at Tournus and Paray-le-Monial (Paray-le-Monial being completed since our last visit a few years ago) but with slightly different styles. Tournus has opted for some modern stained glass, which certainly the writers of the The Rough Guide to France disliked. Paray-le-Monial has a little bit of modern glass away in the transepts, but seems to have stuck with largely traditional designs, which certainly produced some good pictures as the sun shone through them. Where Paray-le-Monial has gone modern though is in the light fittings, which I initially took for sculptures – definitely a different approach to trying to ‘hide’ the lighting. They also had put very discreet recessed sockets into the floor at regularly spaced intervals on the floor of the building. Perhaps one other thing to note, particularly from someone in England where to remove them would be considered sacrilegious by some – not one of the Churches we visited had any pews at all. It’s worth considering that despite what English Heritage might say about the matter, with medieval buildings such as these, no pews is much more authentic to the original building.