This is an attempt to monitor lake & ocean conditions, especially on those windy days, to be in touch,
and to maybe find sources that will assist with some on-water moves.

Responses to emails that may be of general interest, wandering about, and some ongoing thoughts rational and otherwise, may also be shared.

 return to windinsight's main page  JF's web site and blog  Marty's web site and blog  email address & site information

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2009 - 2011 Mar.Apr
May.Jun Jul.Aug. Sep.Oct.Nov. Nov.Dec Jan.Feb
Mar.Apr May.Jun Jul.Aug Sep.Oct

Nov.Dec Jan.Feb
Mar.Apr May.Jun Jul.Aug Sep.Dec Jan.Mar
Apr.Jun Jul.Oct Nov.Dec Jan.Mar

      February 27th     Back in London for a week.

Staying in a flat at 25 Cheval Place, SW7, City of Westminister about two blocks from Harrods, and not far from Buckingham Palace.   Back in the hustle and bustle of very busy, fast moving London.

Lots of stairs.

      February 26th     San Remo, feels just like home.

Headed back into Italy for a last afternoon in oh so sunny and user friendly San Remo.   A 4 euro demi of white wine on the beach, a great meal, and a real lemon gelato along the boardwalk.

Already looking forward to coming back.

      February 26th     Our last few days at the Villa

We'll miss the pastries each morning and close moments we've shared in this wonderful home.   The five weeks have passed quickly and although a bit homesick we're already looking forward to returning one day and continuing to explore and enjoy this very different lifestyle and culture.

Speaking French is now a personal priority and we'll be involved in both conversational and written language for the next year.

      February 25th    

We are getting ready to head back to London on Monday and then home in March.   Bronchitis was a misdiagnosis and am on a new course of antibiotics for an acute/chronic sinus infection that has laid me quite low for the past few weeks.   Will be ok to fly with the new meds as well.   Am hopeful that the specialist knows his stuff and the old bod will be ready for some serious work out improvements over the next few months.

Reaching one's Heath Care Provider from Europe can be somewhat problematic with toll free numbers that also require up to 3 additional zeros plus the 1- for Canada that didn't show on the provider card.   The numbers do work with some trial and error but require French operator assistance for toll free assistance.   Three calls that finally went through with acceptance from the provider were not actually toll free.   Worth taking some time beforehand to get the system figured out just in case.

      February 19th     Never made it to St. Agnes, checked out a wonderful medieval village called Gorbio.

Gorbie is a unique, somewhat restored but not all tarted up with twinkle light and scented shops like so many other of the restored towns. The only thing of odd suspect here was a Ciroen Deux Chevaux built of lemons, fitting.

There are still vacant structures for sale that are 100's of years old.   One church has a date if 1465 AD and neolithic life here dates back some 12,000 years. Gorbio is involved in the lemon festival during Carnivale and overall is a thriving, vibrant village.   It's highly forested with old olive trees found most everywhere.

Would love to grub around in the caves and trails around here, maybe during our next visit.


      February 18th     Still wandering about.

    Driving about we pass small Roman amphitheatres, ancient walls, medieval towns and villages mixed with recent and modern structures.

    In Europe a 100 miles is long, in North America 100 years is old.   Not sure that my camera does justice to the magnificence of the French Riviera.   But we have some shots that we'll treasure till we return.   Have slowed down with the camera.

    Our month in Provence is coming to an end.   Heading back to England in a week or so for one last week there before heading home.   The London Eye is working again and Westminster Abbey awaits.

    Carnivale has begun and both traffic and parking is problematic.   Once parked there are restrictions about moving your car and moving about with a car is very slow.

    Time too to think about returning home and get back into decent shape for spring/summer on the Great Lakes and The Outer Banks.   Life is good.

In La Turbie - Le Trophy De Auguste 6 BC

a cute slideshow - a month in Provence

Heading to Sainte Agnes Village today (photos- Russ Collins)

      February 15th     That car.

    Ok, I'm a die hard motor head.   Absolutely taken with vintage racing cars.

    This Alpha Romeo Ferrari was parked on the street in front of the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco.   I wanted to ask the owner why the Ferrari insignia was placed at the front and not lower mid or just in front of the driver like the photo below right.   There must be a good reason.

    Enzo Ferrari also created the Alpha Romeo Bimotore, similar to this one (with two Ferrari engines) that produced a top speed near 200 mph in the mid 1930's. It's weight and thirsty power shredded tires, forced pit stops, handled poorly in the corners, but went like a rocket on the straights.

The first Ferrari

      February 14th     Waited a bit too long to seek medical help.   The French Health Care System is excellent, affordable and fast.

Have had a persistent cough since November.

It would diminish from time to time but would recur.   The discomfort was becoming more than this aging windsurfer could bear.

Went to, a very charming, Dr. Bouskila Pierre-Yves in Beausoliel yesterday with Bernard, our villa manager.   Thoughts of some terrible terminal disorder in the lungs or esophagus were happily replaced with, "You have bronchitis Mr. Grant, we'll have you healed within a week."   All in a jovial French/Italian accent.

Being Canadian I was charged 40 euros for the consultation, twice the price a French citizen would pay.   The antibiotics, a steroid spray, codeine, and something to stop the cough and promote sleeping amounted to about 17 euros.   The wait time to see the doctor was about 20 minutes, no appointment necessary, and the examination was both professional and thorough.   Impressive.

Vive La France

      February 7th     Duff Beer and parking in Monaco

    Surprise surprise.   Didn't know that Duff beer actually existed.   Thought it was a make believe brew found only on the Simpsons.   It's actually brewed in Germany and it's a great tasting lager.

    Went looking for a kids' park in Monaco.   Did see some magnificent yachts and found the local Lambo dealer across from a toy store that sold all kinds of exotica.   While parking the car in an extensive underground labyrinth found a number of park and wrap high end vehicles.

    People who have only one parking allocation at their condo or apartment in Monaco will simply buy or permanently rent spots in underground public parking facilities for their additional vehicles.   Life is good if you're a car here.

      February 2nd     We can see Bill Gates former home from where we're staying.   POP-ARatSee reporting

What a beautiful home and surroundings.   The Gates reportedly paid $750 million for the place, and another $76 million to remodel it.   Must have installed windows everywhere.   Sorry.

Known as Villa La Leopolda, it was originally built by King Leoplold of Belgium.

Villa Leopolda ~ Bill & Melinda Gates' former Home

Some recent history of Villa Leopolda

      February 1st     A beautiful snow cover this morning.

It started last evening.   About 10 cm of beautiful snow covered the ground. We tried to get up the driveway but slipped a bit and didn't want to chance the drive.   There are no snowploughs, no sanders, and no salters on the road we take to get down to Villefranche below.

Nearby ski resorts reported 40 cm.

It's 11:45 a.m. and most of the snow has melted.   The bright warm sun fills the house, the yard, the Ville Franche Sur Mer and the bay below.

      January 31st     Divorce Iranian Style (real scary Reality TV)

When you travel about you get a little smarter, a little more confident, a little more flexible, and a little more aware.   You learn new values and customs.   Experiencing new cultures helps us better understand the world in which we live.   Ok, so I complain a bit about the driving, but really, only a little.

This is going somewhere, I think.   Here goes.   Sean saw an Iranian divorce trial on tv a few nights ago, Only available on European satellite I believe.   We talked about it.   I was surprised to find an excerpt of the show on YouTube and posted it below.   There are more episodes.   This just a tip of an iceberg in my opinion.

She went out with our asking my permission!   I want a divorce.

As a Canadian I find that it's rare to not be able to accommodate different societal values.   In particular and in my opinion Iranian values are quite unfair.   Found it somewhat amusing to watch but in reality very difficult to stomach.

The expression, when in Rome do as the Romans do certainly wouldn't work for me in Iran.   And that said they must think we're nuts.

Will give this some more thought.   Maybe not that much.

Good to be Canadian, eh?

Iranian Divorce TV

      January 30th     Driving east along the coast.

Nancie and I spent the day driving east to San Remo along the northern coastline of the Mediterranean.

Getting used to the motorcycles, often in twos, sometimes less than a meter off my butt passing at any opportunity in 80+ kph tight corners and the generally fast pace of the traffic in the fast turny, unpredictable mountain roads.   The right/left right of way in towns and cities still gets me if I'm on auto pilot but when staying tuned in I can almost keep up with the best of them at least some of the time.

For the three times I felt like strangling Nancie in close encounters of the highway kind she wanted to do me in double that.   I think that we're the only people that ever got totally lost in Monaco.   (It's only 2 square kilometres)

Road signage is generally confusing or vague for tourists and at best doesn't come close to what we're used to on the QEW.   That said there isn't nor couldn't be a QEW here in this wild geological confusion of uplift, sheer drops, and faults.   It's kinda like driving through Effingham on a skateboard surrounded by Formula One cars and Moto Cross Extreme bikes racing in a free for all for a million bucks.   Ok, maybe that's a bit of a stretch.

Ok, changing the tirade the scenery is blow your mind beautiful.   Cote D'Azure is aptly named.   The turquoise waters, the many pastel buildings making beautiful towns and cities, Roman remains, snow copped mountains, and rugged coastline all help to create an ever-changing, awesome, visual composition.

Had a traditional Italian lunch of gnocchi and salad with a glass of wine at Victory Morgana Bay in quaint San Remo.   A memorable moment.

      January 28th     Just for fun.

There are some serious yachts moored around here.

You know that you're getting old when the lure of a 42 foot sailboat is undermined by a sweet 30 foot open runabout with chez lounge, a neat compact galley, potty, somewhat cramped sleeping for 4, and a huge swim platform.

Yup, that's about it.   Good news, bad news Nancie.   Ok, Ok, good news, bad news John.   Such is the stuff of dreams.

      January 27th     Boys' day out.   Upscale Monaco is an amazing stop.

We had a great time yesterday seeing Eze and driving into Italy.   Sean drives extremely well and can handle both the traffic and local road geography with ease.

Motorcyles seemingly from nowhere quickly pass slower and stopped traffic from both sides and take advantage of any opportunities.   Cars follow right up your butt even when you're going well above posted speeds.   I still drive too apprehensively and unrelaxed to go with the flow here (yet).

Monaco is an absolutely amazing city.   The second highest density of population living very closely in smart, tall buildings (quite unusual for someone from Niagara Falls)   Monaco has the highest GDP PPP per capita at $186,175 of any country in the world and is the second smallest area in the world, the Vatican is the smallest.   Its about the size of Central Park in New York (2 square kilometres).   (No income tax.)   Monaco boasts the world's highest GDP nominal per capita at $151,630.   Monaco also has the world's highest life expectancy at almost 90 years, and the lowest unemployment rate of 0%! (source below - Wikipedia*)

Will return to Monaco for a day to get some good shots to keep.

All that said a nearby Mcdonalds serves Kronenbourg beer, and amazing Sean somehow deftly got my Netflix working here in Europe with a fake location ap.   Breaking Bad (way, way better than Dexter) is back up.   (Different kinds of - Priceless!)

* Facts about Monaco

      January 25th     First light and near dusk.

The light at dawn and dusk is exquisite.   The home is situated to take advantage of first and last light.   Soft morning sun comes into our bedroom on the east side through trees and hillside growth.   The setting sun viewed from the upper floor lights the French Riviera to the west.   By mid morning the house is filled with light.

It's difficult to take a bad picture anywhere.

      January 23rd     In France.

Flew to Nice this morning, rented cars and made our way to an amazing home in Villefranche Sur Mer where we'll be for the next five weeks.

We're pretty much settled in and about to do burgers.   The temperature is noticeably milder than London and the view is absolutely spectacular.

      January 20th     Wandering about at night, traffic in general, and some thoughts

Headed out toward Buckingham Palace along Stanhope to Cromwell Road.   Have never quite made it to the palace, maybe tomorrow.   It's about 2 miles from here.

Went looking for frozen lollies (popcycles) for young Grant.   He has a sore throat.

Often walk about at night alone for some brisk exercise leaving the flat anywhere from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.   Am getting quite used to the traffic and can dodge across busy streets with the best of them.   Usually walk more bravely with crossing crowds.   It's safe and have never felt threatened in any way.   At least half of the people at any time along the way are not speaking English.

This area is a delight of exclusive shops, restaurants, pubs, museums, dealerships, hotels and homes designed by 19th century architect John Nash (The Georges Haussmann of Paris).   It seems to keep going deep into the night.   Smartly dressed pub cliental spill out into the street with pints of ale.   It's a seriously busy city with more hustle and bustle than anywhere I've ever been and seen.   It's actually busier than Port Colborne during Canal Days.

The rattle of the many diesel cabs and buses, brightly dressed bicyclists, the buzz of scooters, motorcycles, and roar of exotic cars are all more than enough to keep this old motor head smiling.   Harrods Department Store actually has an electric Fisker in their showroom window below (Top Gear's luxury car of the year, in case you wondered)

Two very congested cities, Los Angeles and Toronto, should have a look at the subways, bus, rail system, and availability of compact taxicabs here.   You can go anywhere in London (including to and from airports Heathrow to Gatwick) anytime easily.   You truly don't need to own a car.   The underground and overground provide almost hassle free traffic flow throughout the day.   People even file right on the escalators to allow faster walkers easy access to pass on the left.   Nice.   (Take a lesson QEW'ers)

      January 18th     Science Museum, London

Spent the better part of the day seeing some more of this vast, amazing museum and then reuniting with young Grant in the educational area.   I love the wonder in his eyes when he sees the effect of his manipulations.

The exhibits are impressive and meaningful to say the very least.   We still have a large part of the Museum of Natural History to do and just next door the Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design (aka The V & A).

Leaving for France this coming Monday.   Fortunately we'll be returning here for a week before flying home giving us some more time to see the many sights and enjoy London.

Adjusting to and thankful for Look Left/Look Right signage on the streets to prevent being run over.   Traffic moves briskly and with little regard for pedestrians, who seem to take advantage of breaks, red lights, and whatever to scoot across busy intersections and streets without fear.   Unnerving to say the least.   Daily excursions on foot, exercise hikes, and walking home from the pub can be more than a bit of an adventure.

      January 17th     Tussauds, London

Madame Tussauds was a surprise hit for young Grant.   He loved the figures of all his Super Heros and in particular their 4D movie produced in London for Tussauds

The floor rumbled and shook, jets of air blasted from around the seats, spray and mist came from seemingly nowhere, seats moved and poked at your back, and the theatre came alive in realistic sights making you duck and booming sounds.

The story was strong and comic book like.   All in hyper 3D.

In the museum all of the figures were truly lifelike and accessible for everyone.   An amazing experience.

Marvel Super Heroes 4D Movie Trailer (in 2D)

      January 16th     Want to rebuild in London?

The office building torn down and being rebuilt was replaced with a prefab structure on steel beams and erected outside, in front of the old building, and over the street.   Traffic moved underneath the temporary structure.

With all of the historical and heritage restrictions getting a permit to do this is impossible in most areas and where permission is obtained it's sometimes feasonable and even necessary to relocate on the same address in a temporary structure.

Connecting or somehow obtaining all of the water, electrical, heating, and toilet services in the prefab would be an expensive inclusion in the rebuild.

      January 15th     Found a postbox from the Reign of George (GR)

The mailbox below was used during the reign of George V1 (GR),   the current Queen's father.   It has been in continuous service at this same location in Richmond since 1938.

There are a number of old post boxes in the Richmond area, one dating back to the reign of Victoria (VR) located in nearby Twickenhom.

Thinking ahead to the reign of Charles (CR),   I wonder how emails will be sent from England on a MacBook.   (iCamilla?)   Sorry.

History - some very old post boxes around London

      Saturday,   January 14th     Trip to Richmond

Rode the tubes into Richmond from South Kensington today.   The underground is a vast complex of trains and rails that is surprisingly easy to use because of colour coding and a clear schematic.

Met with Gary Harvey and we walked down Hill Street and along a narrow cobble street made from the ballast of merchant ships centuries ago.   The city is an amazing collection of quaint, historical buildings.   We saw Pete Townsend's home and the home where Mick Jagger lives today.

We toured along the Thames to Richmond Park, originally a property owned by King Henry VIII.   It's about 2500 acres in size and has a large population of deer.

Of particular interest is King Henry's Mound where he once created a view of St. Paul's Cathedral.   It's still seen today because of his royal decree.   (below right)

Of interest to Canadians, we bought a few pints and were able to stand outside the pub, and wander about freely in the warm sun and enjoy the afternoon along the Thames with our beer.   Liquor and beer regulations are much more liberal in the UK unless you're at a football match.

some history of Richmond Park

      Friday,   January 13th     No Parking   No Problem   No Car

Stow and Go.

It's that simple.   The street across from us had been signed for a few days indicating a work project.   Cars were not even tagged, just picked up and taken away.   In less than 10 minutes the two cars shown below were lifted and taken.   Priceless.

Was happy that it wasn't the Aston in the foreground.   The police came and shooed away some loud and unruly soccer players in the street the day before kicking a ball around in a pick-up game.   Unnerving.   Pretty sure neighbours called them.   Could have been some expensive dents if the ball hit any of the cars.

      January 12th     On Tour

Nancie and I started a 48 hour double decker bus tour of London this morning.   The city it absolutely incredible.   The mix old old and new, some dating back 20 centuries, all adjoining and integrated is quite overwhelming.

In particular, St. Paul's cathedral is a masterpiece.   Christofer Wren designed St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of 1666.   It was finished in 1704.   It stands perfectly today, surviving a blitz in WW2, a tribute to his brilliance.   No photos are allowed inside the building.   Outside it was a tent city today with hundreds of people protesting the banks and finacial institutions for there recent misdeeds.

The late afternoon light was exquisite and so a few shots were squeezed off late in the day along the Thames.   Will definitely return over the next few weeks and fill in some of the many pics missed in the somewhat full agenda and rushed activity of the tour.

      Tuesday,   January 10th     Look right before you cross   (unless it's a one way street coming from the left)

In order to keep North Americans and Europeans from being struck by Right Hand Drive vehicular traffic either LOOK LEFT or LOOK RIGHT is painted on every corner easily read before you step out into traffic to cross.   This has no doubt saved many lives.   With a population of 10 million people warnings like this are essential in a city the size of London.

One day in the next week all of the exotic car dealerships nearby will be incorporated into a walk.   Might even do a photoshoot to help remember them in my older age.   I'm such a die hard motor head.

      January 9th     a.   slight time out/white outs occasionally     b.   London

Am not sure why uploads simply fail and a page will white out.   It takes a while but things restore eventually and the page can be uploaded.   Could be the distance from home,   the connection here,   or the service provider.   Not me for sure.

While moving about London things about are dated from the very recent to very old.   Emerging from the underground yesterday the London Wall (200 AD) and a part of a Roman wall were alongside buildings not more than 20 years old.   The uniqueness of old cities like London is the way in which the history and heritage is so well preserved.   It's easy to understand the saying Tired of London, tired of living.

The wall behind the swing below is 18 centuries old.

      January 7th     Out and about.

Walked to the British Museum this afternoon with grandson Grant,   just around the corner.

Our flat is near High Park, Harrods, and the British Museum.   Every step most everywhere in this huge, historic city is most interesting and constantly provides new and exciting vistas.

To help him get used to the time change Sean and I are going to walk Grant William to Harrods' Dept. Store a few blocks away and buy him a book.   It will most likely work for me too, no book thanks.

      January 6th     settled in our flat (29 Stanhope Gardens, South Kensington)

Greenich Mean Time 11:48 pm.   A smooth flight and cool taxi ride from Heathrow Airport.   We're staying in Kensington, not too far from Hyde Park.   The kids have been fed, bathed, and are asleep.

Heading out to a Pub just down the street for a pint.   If I see that David from Coronation Street I plan on straightening that little bugger out.   He's been aggravating the crap out of me for years.   Don't actually know why I keep watching the damn show.

Here are a few pics of our flat in Kensington following Nancie with the Shaker half way here.   One to come from across the street when the light improves a bit.   Gotta remember to look right when crossing streets here.

      January 4th     Last minute

Setting up a new MacBook to take on our journey.   Working through a few challenges with updating older programs for a new operating system.   This is the first html and new pic upload with the new laptop.   Still having a few issues with the server.   Not sure if it will all work all of the time in Europe.

Hopefully it's ready and good to go.

      January 1st    

Not so sure about internet connections, electrical outlets, language, and laundromats.   Hopefully the old MacBook will motor on.   Not yet familiar with the location of any Apple stores or good beaches in Europe.   Will be leaving this coming Friday.   Maybe taking a seat harness just in case.

2009 - 2011 Mar.Apr
May.Jun Jul.Aug. Sep.Oct Nov.Dec Jan.Feb
Mar.Apr May.Jun Jul.Aug

Sep.Oct Nov.Dec Jan.Feb
Mar.Apr May.Jun Jul.Aug Sep.Dec Jan.Mar

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