Saturday, March 31, 2012

Evolution of a building

I'm not an expert when it comes to architecture. And my memory is failing. All that aside, I believe this lovely little home in North London was once white with a red tile roof.

Back when I was in the market for a home, I can recall it being listed as a mission style home in white stucco. It couldn't be listed quite that way today. It is not longer white and its roof is now simply shingled. The mission look is still there but subdued.

Buildings change over time. Often the changes are quite dramatic but they occur over such a long time period the changes go almost unnoticed.

North London is one of the finest areas in town. I would not be surprised if, in the future, this place undergoes some big and very dramatic changes. Already some of the neighbouring homes have undergone some incredible makeovers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Magnolia blossoms threatened

The incredibly early spring has encouraged London, Ontario magnolia trees to go into full bloom all too early. Now, the weather has turned chilly during the day and is deep into freezing territory at night. The beautiful blooms may all soon tumble to the ground, victims of the frosty March nights.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring is here!

Mud baths are fun, unless you're the dog's owner.
The game of fetch is over.
It was the winter that wasn't. I could have slipped through this past winter without owning a snow blower. There was so little snow that the local ski hill was only able to remain open thanks to its sophisticated snow making equipment.

It is only March and the parks are filled with kids playing, dogs relaxing after a game of fetch and other dogs sneaking off for a spring mud bath. Everyone is loving it, except possibly the owner of the mutt in the mud.

The water is only an inch deep but a rock still makes a good splash.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

London Orchid Show

Yesterday, Saturday, March 17 the London Orchid Society's 35th Annual Show and Sale started. It is on again today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School, 1065 Sunningdale Rd. (just east of Adelaide).

The well attended event attracts vendors from across the province. The London Orchid Society can be found online. Just click the link.

Shooting orchids, as incredibly beautiful as they may be, can prove difficult at a show such as the one in London. One must be careful that the light illuminating the blooms is not cold, green fluorescent or overly warm tungsten. I focused my interest on the flowers nearest the large windows. They were bathed in wonderful bright but soft, clean light.

It is also important to watch the background when shooting blooms. All too often backgrounds can be very busy and very distracting with other flowers pushing themselves into the picture.

As you cannot touch the flowers at a show such as this, moving the flowers is out. Move your camera. Pick your angle with care. Do not allow yourself to be blinded by the beauty of the bloom to the detriment of the beauty of you picture. Think picture and not just flower.

Orchid in a plastic container ready to be taken home.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A simple, concrete block home - nice!

I wish I knew more about heritage housing. This home, sitting on a large lot in an older section of London appears to have exterior walls of concrete blocks with a surface treatment reminiscent of cut stone. This may be what is known as rusticated concrete block.

I love the home's simple presentation, but I think a covered porch of some sort must have originally graced the front.

I worry little homes, like this one, are always in danger of being bought and demolished by a developer intent on maximizing land use by replacing the heritage structure with a densely built, in-fill style, multi-unit, condo development.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

London Normal School sits vacant

Recently I did a post on the former London Normal School. Normal school is the name given to a teachers' college back in the 1890s when the London heritage structure was built. The building hasn't been a normal school for decades. The teachers' college is now in the north of the city and associated with the University of Western Ontario.

The structure is presently sitting vacant but it is still in fine shape. Recently I did a blog post on the building called Promoting a Dream. For more info, please follow the link.

Monday, March 12, 2012

10 degrees and foggy in Southern Ontario

Winter has been a non-starter in London, Ontario. I don't think I got out the snow blower more than a couple of times. And even those times when I cleared my drive, the snowfall was minimal.

Today, not quite spring, the temperature was about ten degrees centigrade (50 degree fahrenheit), a bit rainy, and a bit foggy. Later in the week the temperature is forecast to climb into the high teens or low 20s.

It is time to remove the snow tires. When the temperature is above about seven degrees centigrade, the tire tread wears quite quickly.

Monday, March 5, 2012

So green it's silver

St. Joseph's Hospital in London is getting an extreme make-over, hospital edition. One problem being fixed is the deteriorating exterior brick. Bits of wall were breaking free and falling. A safety issue.

This is being corrected with new cladding and new exterior insulation. The windows are being replaced, too. When done, the old hospital building will be so green that it will be silver, LEED Silver.

This may be green but it comes with few bragging rights, the LEED standard has Gold and Platinum levels above the Silver standard. But Silver is still a great improvement.

According to the hospital, the present structure, as it stands, does not meet today's fire standards, nor is it up to code for floor loading. Windows leak and the lack of insulation results in higher energy use.

The construction causes a little inconvenience for patients and visitors but it when it is done it will have been well worth the trouble and expense.

I saw the gleaming framing for the new cladding and thought "art."

Of snowmen and hot cocoa

When it snowed recently in London, Fiona just had to make a snowman. She'd never made one but was familiar with the concept from television. Still, she wasn't prepared how fast a rolling snowball grows in size and how heavy it rapidly becomes.

One big surprises was how cold snow can be. She slipped off her mitten to work on her snowman and her fingers were soon painfully cold. She slipped her mitten back on.

With the snowman done, and her fingers regaining their warmth, it was time to go inside for hot cocoa. Fiona likes measuring out the powder and stirring the hot drink until it swirls about in her cup. If grandma and gugah come to her "tea party" all is right with the world.