Thursday, January 23, 2014

A dangerous place for rabbits

It is not uncommon to see rabbit prints in the backyard snow. Rabbits are very adaptable and have learned to live within cities. Still, it can be a deadly dangerous place for a rabbit to live. Cars are bad but cats are worse. Last week I found a large rabbit dead in the snow. Its head was completely ripped from its body. It was gross. Cats left to roam free take an awfully large toll when it comes to wildlife. Rabbits, chipmunks and birds are the main targets but they take the occasional groundhog too. My granddaughter has never stumbled upon one of the bodies and I am dreading the day that she does.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Snowbanks make crossing the street dangerous

Snowbanks make walking difficult. To cross a street one must find a break in the wall of snow and then take care that drivers see you before you enter the street.

This pedestrian was crossing at a light when hit by a car making a right turn. Both the pedestrian and the car driver had the right light but the pedestrian had the right of way. The height of the snowbank hid the walker from view until the driver was well into the turn.

After being struck, an ambulance was called. I understand the pedestrian was lucky and may have suffered only a broken leg.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thick fog yesterday

I had to take my granddaughter to her Irish dance lesson yesterday. The thick fog amazed her. She couldn't understand why the air seemed so thick with smoke. Cars passed us, disappearing into the mist. Oncoming cars, lights ablaze, appeared first as just two dots in the mist. She thought driving in this was dangerous, and she was right.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rain, fog and flooding

Today, just days after breaking out of an extended deep freeze, the snow in London, Ontario, first it was thick fog followed by a heavy rain to wash away the remaining snow. I'm sure the area creeks and rivers will overflow their banks. The flood plain in the city core will be under a foot or more of water, no doubt.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bone chilling cold one day; warm drizzle the next

Just 24 hours earlier it was bitter, stop the school buses cold. Today, it is warm drizzle and gentle fog. This is what is both right and wrong about Southwestern Ontario. Those who hate winter, who hate the cold, think it grand that the intense cold is often delivered in short bursts. Those who love winter, love the cold and enjoy the outdoors, for instance, London, Ontario, has a decent little ski hill, find the warm spells trying. The snow on the slopes melts, the toboggan runs turn to mud and any outdoor rinks without under-the-pad cooling pipes become shallow pools.

Tomorrow will be worse. It will be weather that pleases no one: Heavy rain.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A traditional '60s and '70s neighbourhood

When my wife and I moved to London, Ontario, the area around the Hunt Club, a private and very exclusive country club and golf course, was among the best places to live in town. Today it is still a fine place to live. The homes are beautifully maintained and the neighbourhood still has that upscale '60s or '70s feel.

It may be called suburbia by Londoners but this area is only about fifteen minutes from downtown. I could, in a jam, walk from this home downtown.

Whenever I drive through the Hunt Club area, I always feel I am in a neighbourhood that Beaver Cleaver would have loved. I'm sure Ward and June Cleaver, the Beave's parents, owned a home similar to these residences.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Schools open but some school buses not running

It has been so cold in London, Ontario, that area kids had snow days but not because of snow. It was the cold. It was simply too cold.

Today, Wednesday, the schools were again open but my granddaughter's school did not have its fleet of school buses running. The kids had to be driven to school in the morning and then picked up at the school in the late afternoon.

The street in front of the school was plugged with cars, as were the side streets in the area. The school parking lot was jammed with the overflow spilling onto the street.

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's winter right across North America

The news is filled with stories of winter. Aircraft skidding off runways, wind chill factors dropping to -50 degrees, entire cities (like St. Louis) shut-down on account of snow, high winds and freezing temperatures.

London hasn't been badly hit, so far. But the cold arctic air mass moving east is pushing into Southwestern Ontario. The temperature is dropping, the wind picking up and snow is falling. It is not going to be as bad in London as in other areas far west of here but it will be cold. By tomorrow morning it should be around twenty below. That's Celsius, of course.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Around Woodholme we now find . . .

New homes now sit near the gated entrance to Woodholme.

Yesterday I featured a picture of Woodholme, the home of the late Col. Tom Lawson and his deceased wife Miggsie.

The Woodholme Estate, with its concrete castlelike home dating back to the late 1880s, was a special residence in London, Ontario. The grounds were extensive. Before Col. Tom past away, he and his wife donated a large track of land to the city. Today that land is known as Lawson Park.

At one point, tearing down Woodholme for redevelopment was discussed. For the moment, the home has been saved. The land surrounding Woodholme has been subdivided and upscale private homes have been built.

Woodholme is still sitting in a pretty nice location in the expanding city.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Woodholme: Col. Tom's London castle

This castle-like home in north-west London, Ontario, is Woodholme. The residence of the late Col. Tom Lawson and his now deceased wife Miggsie. Woodholme has quite the history and it may even have a future. Time will tell.

Built in the late 1800s, Woodholme is showing its age. It's a cool home to look at and I'm sure it would be a cool home to live in. Very cool. Downright drafty and cold, in fact. While working as a newspaper photographer I had occasion to visit the place. If it had not been for the engaging, eccentric design, I would not have been impressed. I kept my coat on all the time I was there.

My wife attended the 50th wedding anniversary party held at Woodholme for Col. Thom and Miggsie. She had a lot of the same feelings about the place that I did. The best thing about the old concrete castle was Col. Tom and his wife -- especially his wife. Miggsie was at home in Woodholme.

When my wife and I were married, we got a card from Miggsie. My wife worked in the charity world and thus worked a little with Miggsie. Miggsie did not forget friends nor acquaintances. My wife was acquainted with Miggsie but she was certainly not a friend. Still, Miggsie sent a card with a short, handwritten note.

In 1983 the Lawsons put Prince Phillip up in their London, Ontario, castle. The prince came to town for the Royal Canadian Regiment 100th anniversary celebration.

Today the grounds have been subdivided for upscale housing and a residence for seniors. A ravine to the north and the land around it was donated to the city by the Lawsons some years ago. That area is now known as Lawson Park.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Water vapour envelops home during cold wave

Last night it got down to something in the neighbourhood of -22 Celsius in London, Ontario. That's cold. This home, heated by natural gas, is enveloped in the resulting water vapour being exhausted at the back of the home. This cloud of vapour is causing frost to form on the roof and eaves.

To read a warning about the use of insulating window blinds, see my post with pictures. We are always surrounded with water vapour but during the coldest days and nights of winter, this water vapour becomes briefly visible.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

London, Ont., has rare eight-day garbage pick-up

January second and finally my neighbourhood has its garbage bags picked up and recycle bins emptied. It has been twelve full days since the last pick-up -- a long time.

London, Ontario, is the only city I know of that has garbage pick-up on an eight day schedule. If the pick-up is Monday one week, it is Tuesday the next week. Then it moves to Wednesday. Holidays can really stretch out the time between pick-ups. It get so confusing that the city distributes a calendar with the garbage days clearly marked.

The city claims this approach saves money. A lot of folk, especially in the hot, summer months, don't think it is worth it. Garbage tends to, shall we say, ripen in the heat. City council may bring back weekly, same-day pick-up but I wouldn't hold my breath -- not unless its the summer.