- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -

Art--Animals--Dates--Filming Locations--Food--Links--Lists--Map--Music--Nature--Places--Performances--Souvenirs--Structures--Timeline--Wishes

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns

Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns New York
 
Location: Wheatley Heights, New York, USA
Address:  185 Colonial Springs Rd.
Date:  September 2022
Website:  jackolanterns.com

  As Halloween season approaches, all sorts of creatures prepare for October 31st to arrive.  Nothing represents Halloween quite like a carved pumpkin or Jack O'Lantern.  While we were in New York City we visited the Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns.  The Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns is a winding trail through the woods and is filled with hundreds of pumpkins.  There were pumpkins from all sorts of movies from animated Disney to Pulp Fiction.  This blog is going to focus on some of the spoookier carvings.  We followed the trail into the woods towards the glowing orange lights.

The Scream Carved In Pumpkins.

   The first pumpkins we encountered were based on famous works of art.  There was American Gothic, Mona Lisa and this more Halloween appropriate, The Scream.

Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns Marge Simpson Carving.

     The next section featured all the Simpsons characters.  While not normally spooky, the animated show does a special Treehouse Of Horror episode at Halloween.  This year they will have made more than 32 of them.  Also Marge's hair reminds us of Bride of Frankenstein.

Venom Pumpkin Carving.

     There was no shortage of comic book heroes and villains.  We have pictured Venom above, as we find him to be the creepiest.
 
Jack O'Lantern With Fangs.

  While all the character carvings were made out of groups of pumpkins, there were still more traditional carvings scattered along the trail.

Uncle Fester Pumpkin Carving.

  The next group of carvings were from the creepy and kooky Addam's Family.  The Uncle Fester above appears to be from the movie version with Christopher Lloyd.  Further down the trail was also Christopher's most famous character of Doc Brown from Back to The Future.

Skeleton Biker Carved Into Pumpkins.

    This skeleton biker reveals a bit of the secrets behind how these intricate carvings are made..

Pee Wee Herman Pumpkin Carving.

    A Pee-Wee Herman carving was the next we encountered.  Pee-Wee's Big Adventure was Tim Burton's first feature film.  Pee-Wee himself is not very scary. 

Large Marge Pumpkin Carving.

    But Large Marge is!

Beetlejuice Pumpkin Carving.

    Tim Burton's movies have always had a darker feel to them.  They have been associated with ghosts and strange creatures and Halloween.  He is responsible for Beetlejuice.

Jack Skellington Pumpkin Carving

    Burton created the stop motion classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Jack Skellington has become both a symbol of Halloween and Christmas.

Mars Attacks Martian Carved In Pumpkins.

     There were also some carvings from the hilarious Mars Attacks!
 
Crying Carved Pumkin.

    We headed further into the woods to see what else awaited us.

Linus Pumpkin Carving.

    There was a section for Peanuts characters.  Each Halloween, Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin to appear.  This year a great pumpkin carving of Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.

Flowers & Skeletons.

    There was a section dedicated to artwork made up of flowers and skeletons.

Nightmare On Elm Street Pumpkin Carving.

   There were some classic horror film villains such as Freddy Krueger and the clown from It.

Darth Vader Pumpkin Carving.

    In the Star Wars section there were lots of carvings.  Sorry Rebel forces but Halloween belongs to Darth Vader.

Happy Halloween Pumpkin Carving.

    There were so many more pumpkin creations along the Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns trail.   We were impressed by the amount of work that went into the carvings.  If you need to get some costume ideas or enjoy a fall evening walk, these type of events can be found in many cities across North America.   Happy Halloween!


Map of Our World
Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns

Post # 316

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II

Statue of Queen Elizabeth II Outside Manitoba Legislative Building

 Location:
London, England
Address:  Kensington Gardens
Date:  August 2015
Website:  www.hrp.org.uk

  Queen Elizabeth II lived to be 96 years old and was Queen for just over 70 years.  She was not only the Queen of England but also other Commonwealth countries such as Canada.  Her reign was the longest of any British monarch.  Most of us have only been alive during her reign.  Sadly, she passed away on Sept 8 2022 and will now be succeeded by her son Charles.  In this post we look at a few of the places we have visited where the Queen was honoured.

 
Queen Elizabeth II statue in  Winnipeg Manitoba.

    This statue of the Queen above can be found outside of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnpeg, Manitoba, Canada.  We wrote a short blog about it during the Queen's 90th birthday.
 
Queen Elizabeth II Riding A Horse Outside Saskatchewan Legislative Building.

   In the next province over we found yet another statue of the Queen.  This time she was riding a horse outside the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.  The name of the horse is Burmese.  Burmese was born in Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan.

Queen Elizabeth II Statue Riding Her Horse Burmese.

    Burmese was given to Queen Elizabeth II as a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969.  The Queen rode Burmese every year in the annual Trooping of Colour ceremony until 1987.  The Trooping of Colour happens each June and is also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade.  It involves over a thousand officers and hundreds of horses on parade during the ceremonies.

Queen Elizabeth II Leaves Secret Garden Inn In Kingston Ontario.
 
   In Kingston, Ontario, Canada we once had afternoon tea in a place called the Secret Garden Inn.  After our tea, as we were leaving, we noticed a photograph in the front room.  The photo is of Queen Elizabeth II and was taken right in front of the inn.

The Spire Kingston Ontario.

      Had the Queen visited the Secret Garden Inn for tea?  Perhaps.  The photo was most likely taken as she visited the Sydenham Street United Church across the street.  This church is more commonly known as The Spire due to its long pointy top that can be seen all across Kingston.

Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip Photos Royal York Hotel Toronto

    At the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada there is a special book that can be found in the lobby area along the far wall.  The Queen has stayed at the Royal York many times and stays on her own floor in the Royal Suite.  The photos above are of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip.  Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died one year before the Queen in April 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II 7 Prince Philip Signatures In The Royal York Hotel

  In a glass case sitting below the photographs is a book signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip when they visited during the Golden Jubilee in October 2002.  They both signed using just their first names.

Queen Elizabeth Attends the 114th Queen's Plate.

    The Queen's Plate at Woodbine racetrack in Toronto was started with Queen Victoria's involvement in 1860.  Queen Elizabeth II has attended the event 4 times.  In 1973 she watched the horse races in a bright yellow dress.  The winning horse that year was named Royal Chocolate. 
 
Queen Elizabeth II Car Window Decal.
 
     We once thought we spotted the Queen sitting in a car outside a Toronto store.  It turned out it was just a fun window decal.
 
Toronto's First Post Office Stamps

    In Canada we are used to seeing the Queen's face everywhere we go.  She is on our money, our stamps and more.  The stamp pictured above is from a display on Adelaide Street East near Toronto's First Post Office.

Queen Elizabeth II Million Dollar Coin At The ROM in Toronto Ontario

    At the Royal Ontario Museum is a giant example of the Queen appearing on Canadian currency.  This million dollar gold coin weighs 100 kg and is made from 99.999% pure gold buillon.  The Royal Canadian Mint only ever made five of these in 2007.  At the time of release it held the Guiness world's record for largest gold coin.  Now that the Queen has passed we wonder what the coin's value is today.  Any new coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint will now feature King Charles on them.

The Queen's Cypher Over A Doorway In Windsor Castle.

    Aside from all the currency changes around the world there will also be changes to many structures throughout England and abroad.  This doorway at Windsor Castle has the Queen's Cypher hanging over it.  The letters stand for Elizabeth Regina.
 
The Queen's Cypher At Windsor Castle.
 
   Normally the letters in the cypher are shown as E II R for Elizabeth the second.  This wall at the Tower of London is only one of the thousands of places which will now be changed to C III R for Charles the third.
 
Guard Station With The Queen's Cypher.
  
   All of the guard stations will need to be repainted.  The Royal Guards are known to stand still and hold their post despite distractions or extreme heat.  Perhaps the painters will just set up a ladder and do their work around the stationed guard.

Post Box With The Queen's Cypher.

      Post boxes across the country will need to be changed.  Some of these marked for Queen Elizabeth II may have been around for 70 years.  We are not sure how quickly or if these changes will even be made.  King Charles is already 73 years old so he will be very lucky if he can serve as Head of the Commonwealth for even a quarter of the time that his mother served.
 
Souvenir Post Box Filled With Candy.

     Even souvenirs such as this post box shaped candy tin will see changes.  You will be able to tell from the cypher if your souvenir represents the Queen or the new King.  We predict that anything with the Queen's cypher on it will become highly sought after.
 
Solar Powered Waving Queen Elizabeth II.

    We also predict that souvenirs of the Queen will be around for many years to come just because she was so well loved.  Good news if you don't yet have your very own solar-powered, waving Queen figurine.

Queen Elizabeth II made out of Lego In Hamley's London.

     A Queen made completely out of Lego was once at Hamley's toy store in London, England.  It's too bad that this was not sold as a kit.  It might take a bit of time to build, but would be well worth it.
 
Mayflower Dinner Gown Worn By Queen Elizabeth II.

    In Kensington Palace we saw some more personal items belonging to the Queen.  This flowered dinner gown was worn by the Queen during a visit to Nova Scotia, Canada in 1959.  The mayflower is the provincial flower of Nova Scotia.
 
Dresses Worn By The Queen On Display At Kensington Palace.

    These two other dresses are a formal gown with beaded embroidery worn for the opening of the New Zealand parliament in 1963 and a yellow evening gown worn at the 1961 premiere of The Guns of Nazarene at the Odeon Leicester Square.
 
Memorial To The Queen Oakville Ontario

       These are just a few of the things and places that remind us of the Queen.  Memorials like this one at a British Grocery store in Oakville, Ontario will be showing up everywhere.  She will long be remembered by many people around the world.



Post # 315

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg South Africa

 Location:
Joahnnesburg, South Africa
Address:  39 Tyrwhitt Avenue, Rosebank
Date:  October 2018
Website:  www.clhg.com

  We travelled to South Africa in hopes of seeing as many different animals as we possibly could.  The first place we visited when we arrived was the Rosebank section of Johannesburg. We stayed in a Courtyard Hotel across the street from a busy shopping centre.  Little did we know that behind the gates of our hotel we would be introduced to so much wildlife.

Spider On The Wall Courtyard Hotel Rosebank South Africa
 
    Upon arrival, we checked out our room and found we were not alone.  On our wall we spotted a spider.  We generally like spiders as we hope that they will eat other flying pests.  We took a photo for later identification.  The best we can determine is it is a type of wolf spider and harmless.  It kept to itself patrolling the walls.
 
Black Jumping Spider Johannesburg South Africa.
 
    Above the window we spotted another spider.  This one appeared to be a black jumping spider.  It didn't jump at us when we took a closeup picture.  Enjoy your stay little friend.
 
Courtyard Hotel Doorknob Dolls Johannesburg.

    Our favourite thing that we found on the walls during our stay in Rosebank was these three ladies.  They were dolls designed to fit over the doorknob and let hotel staff know if we needed anything or just wanted to be left alone. 

Leopard Tortoise Rosebank Johannesburg

  After settling into our room, we headed outside and walked towards the main entrance.  Coming along the pathway was a leopard tortoise.  He stopped and gave us a look and then lumbered along.  This tortoise was a permanent resident.  His shell was far too big to fit under any fences.  He seemed perfectly content, but if he wanted to escape his only chance would be to make a break for it when security opened the front gate for a guest.  Security opened the gate for us to leave.  We looked back as we crossed the street and headed to the mall.  We didn't see any tortoises following us.

Beautiful Jacaranda Trees In Johannesburg South Africa
 
    As we returned to our hotel we were able to get a good look at the jacaranda trees that line so many of Johannesburg's streets.  We were lucky to be visiting during September to November when the purple flowers bloom.

Looking Up At A Jacaranda Tree in Johannesburg.

    These beautiful trees are not native to Africa, but came from Brazil.  The first jacaranda were said to be brought here and planted in 1888.  There has since been a ban on planting more but every year the streets of Johannesburg still turn purple.

Cape White Eye Sits In A Jacaranda Tree.

  As we returned to our hotel we noticed a cape white eye sitting up in one of the jacarandas.  These small greenish-yellow birds have a bright white circle around their eyes.  We wished that we could see the jacaranda from the bird's vantage point high up in the branches.

Common Myna In Johannesburg South Africa

  Another bird we spotted up in the trees was this common myna.  It had chosen a less colourful tree to make its perch.  This bird is also known as the Indian myna and is now an invasive species found all over the world.

Cape Robin Chat Rosebank Johannesburg

  Sitting on the edge of a bench in our garden was a cape robin chat.
 
A Cape Sparrow In an Eavestrough.
 
     Up on an eavestrough was a cape sparrow.  South Africa has many bird species whose names start with cape. It was done to represent that they came from the old Cape of Good Hope and Cape Province that made up a large part of South Africa.
 
Tortoise Courtyard Hotel Rosebank South Africa

    The next morning we walked along the edge of the garden to see who was visiting today.  We spotted the tortoise just sitting still in the leafy garden.  His busy day had yet to begin.

Hadeda Ibis Rosebank South Africa.

    This morning there was also another visitor walking through the grass.  It was a hadeda ibis.  They are named for their loud call of "HA-DE-DA" which many South Africans use as their early morning wake up alarm.  We did hear them calling out at various times, but they never woke us up.

Hadeda Ibis On The Roof Of Rosebank Courtyard Hotel.

    This hadeda did give out a cry as it flew away.  We had returned to our room, but we rushed out and spotted the ibis now perched up on the rooftop.

Go-Away Bird Rosebank Johannesburg.

    We continued our walk along the edge of the garden.  We heard another unusual noise and looked into the trees.  There was a grey bird hidden in the branches making a sound that sounded like the last whirl of something that had been wound up.  "Whirrrrrrrrrr".  The bird sounded most displeased.  It is called a go-away bird and perhaps this is why.  We were happy to spot a cat lingering beneath the tree the bird was sitting in.  At least the bird's displeasure was not directed at us.

Karoo Thrush Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg

    As we walked along the garden wall we saw some dirt falling from up above.  A small bird was busy kicking dirt out of the eavestrough.  We didn't take this personally as we were quietly walking along so the bird probably didn't know that we were there.  It did fly down to give us a closer look.  The picture (above) isn't the best, but this is a karoo thrush.
 
Snail In The Drain Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

     Near the pool area we spotted this rather large snail.  It was just hanging out in a drain.  Thankfully no wildlife was taking a swim in our pool.
 
Speckled Mousebird Johannesburg

    At the end of the garden we saw another grey bird and expected to get a good talking to.  It turns out that this was not a go-away bird but a speckled mousebird.  It is smaller than a go-away bird and has a different hairstyle and a darker face around its eye and beak.
 
The Garden Of The Courtyard Hotel Rosebank.

     The next day we were off to see some large animals such as lions, giraffes and elephants.  We also enjoyed our time visiting some of Africa's smaller wildlife within the walls of our hotel.

Map of Our World
Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

Post # 314