Monday, January 13, 2020

Short Update

Hi friends,

This will be a very brief update to let you know why I have been silent.

My eldest nephew, the horseman was in a very bad accident yesterday (Sunday) in Kamloops (5 hours north of where I live).  The weather was very cold and stormy which is unusual weather for Kamloops even at this time of year. He was hit by a train while out looking for horses in distress.  My nephew's horse took the brunt of the force from the train and my nephew was thrown into the air and then the ground. The horse is dead and my nephew suffered physical damage but he is alive. He is awake and he is talking but cannot remember much. Please keep him in your prayers or send good thoughts. It is a miracle he survived the accident.

My my nephew and his wife (Photo credit: Candace C)

Also yesterday I learned that one of my primary credit cards was compromised. I signed up for email alerts every time my card is charged so I learned about this fraudulent charge almost right away.  The charge was significant and made to a university in England, a university I have never even heard of before.   I had to spend some time with the bank yesterday and it being Sunday it took more waiting time than usual. But at least the card is cancelled.

The weather is very bad across the province right now. It means that the mountain highways will be very dangerous. In Vancouver where I live, we have had snow off and on since last Friday.  The first snowfalls of the year.  There was even a warning to keep off the city roads if you were not prepared for challenging driving.  In this city the roads become like ice rinks once the temperatures drop given the dampness of the climate.  My brother and I are hoping that once the new card arrives and the snow and wind storms pass through the province we will make a quick trip to see my nephew.  He needs a few days to rest and get stronger before he would be comfortable with visitors anyway though I understand he had some today.

Downtown Kamloops in snowstorm

My general neighbourhood, note the ice on the streets.

In Vancouver we do salt or sand the roads and sidewalks but things still get very messy and icy.

* None of the photos were taken by me.

In Kenya, Jonah who I've been working with for many years has contracted some kind of bacterial infections likely caused  by contaminated food. He has been in hospital since late last week and now that lab tests are back he is on the proper medication and has also received IV fluids. My friend Eunice is still in hospital and so no one has been able to attend to her while Jonah has been sick. Still praying for her recovery. If anyone can assist with her medical costs the Go Fund Me page is still open (see the side bar at the right). Ernest, the man with the injured leg had to have a 2nd surgery as his leg was not straight after the first surgery and months of healing. I don't have an update on how he is doing at the moment but will update when I can. Last but not least, my young friend Alvin, has been busy preparing his university applications for study in Canada, study scholarships and is looking for work in Kenya. I pray for his success.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope regular posts can resume before the end of the month.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Gardens of Versailles Palace

Hello everyone and welcome to 2020, the beginning of the new decade ahead. 
May it be a wonderful year (and decade) for us all.
It is always exciting to start a new year full of promise and our hopes and dreams.

I hope to make progress on some of my own modest goals toward living a better life.  I usually set a few goals at the beginning of each year.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I achieve them and when I see that I am using my time well and learning a few new things along the way.

 However big or small, may you also be able to make progress on your goals.  
Whether you set yearly goals or not, it's likely that you have some ideas about things you would like to do or see happen in the coming year.

 I will be taking a few weeks in this month to really consider how I want to approach the year and to set a few goals.
In the meantime I am in reflection and preparation mode. I spent a lot of time looking at planners and finally purchased one which should be arriving any day now.

 With the first post of the decade I am resuming my travel posts for the travel I commenced almost one year ago..
I didn't blog as much in 2019 as I normally do, thus I didn't post about as many things as I was hoping to post.

This first post is about the gardens of Versailles in Versailles, France.
It is part of a travel series on my trip to Paris and Versailles in France and to Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa in January and February 2019.
(Please click on each photo to enlarge).

In 1662, Louis 14th, entrusted a man named André Le Nôtre to create and renovate the gardens of Versailles. The work on the gardens started at the same time as the work on the palace and lasted about 40 years. Le Nôtre collaborated with a few other men on different aspects of the project and I understand the King himself reviewed each project (and presumably approved) as he was keen on the details of the gardens.

Having walked some of the gardens and taken the on site train to other parts of the garden, it is clear to see just how massive the gardens are and to appreciate what a monumental task it was to create and renovate such splendid gardens. Soil had to be moved to create level places, parterres like the one above had to be created, fountains and canals had to be dug and built and trees brought in from various regions in France. The work occupied thousands of men, sometimes even entire regiments took part in the building of the gardens.

Once you step outside you have a pretty good idea of the massive grounds you are about to cover. I decided I could not walk that far as I was struggling even with my walking poles. Fortunately I found a small train that would transport me to the next major part of the grounds, Le Petit Trianon.

The train is a hop on and off train and costs 8 Euros. The train does not cover the entire gardens. Make sure you know where it goes before you use it as many tourists get upset when they discover the limitations. For me, the train was a God send and I thought it was worth the cost to save my knees especially as I had no idea how far I might have to walk. Besides I was already tired from the hours spent walking inside the palace.

The train runs approximately every 20 minutes and you catch it to the left or west of the center of the Palace.  You will see a small ticket booth and queue to help you know where it is. Here is a link to all the information in English about the train.

Below is a map of the Gardens of Versailles.  If you locate the center of the palace and let your eye wander straight down the middle you will see the majority of what I've been showing in this post and my last travel post here.

I was very much in awe of the expansiveness of the palace and the grounds on which it sits. 
The statuary and fountains are magnificent. 
It was also wonderful to see the bird life enjoying the fountains.

 These people are walking in the direction of Le Petit Trianon.
 Le Petit Trianon is where Marie Antoinette spent much of her time.
My next post will show you a bit of what I saw there.

Thank you for your visit.
I wish you an excellent week ahead.

Neighbourhood Street Scenes

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