Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 6.324: Quarter quelled

We spent the morning and the evening doing a family jigsaw, but the middle of the day was taken with a trip to the cinema to see Catching Fire. The girls have both read it and seen the first film, so we risked the PG-13 certificate and some warnings of the dark nature of it and took them (E5N1 went to be doted on by three teenage girls - tough for him I'm sure!)

The film was, in my opinion, pretty much perfect - it captured the spirit and content of the book without losing anything in film-craft or pacing.

And the girls...seemed fine at the end as they posed with my favourite of at least three different movie posters we've seen.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 6.323: Fair Trade and unfair trades

This morning, we had a long-ish walk in the cold, visited the Bethlehem Fair Trade Market where we chatted with some friends and did some Christmas shopping - not exactly classic Black Friday bargain-hunting perhaps. There is still time for some more FT shopping at the excellent and varied market tomorrow.

After that, we felt the need to really get the financial wheels turning, so we (except for E5N1) played a long and intense game of Monopoly.  The one true version from the streets of London of course.

Exile #3 was the first to go out. Knowing a good thing when she saw it, she then teamed up with Exile #2. For a while they seemed unbeatable, but then I exercised my right to do any deal I saw fit, by donating all my property to Exile #4. I then joined her as a financial advisor and it could have gone either way for a while - but in the end Exile #2 (and Exile #3) triumphed - as ever the game turning on a few lucky or unlucky turns of the dice.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 6.322: Thanksgiving - deep fried!

We were invited to a family Thanksgiving meal today. The four-generation family in question spans both this area and the town where my new job in Maine is located - it's a small world after all.

We had a great time - first with tending the deep-fried turkey (a very successful first-time for this gathering as well as for us!), then with sitting down in the amazing garage-turned-dining-room.

And later, playing pool (I cunningly showed some skills and therefore managed to avoid revealing my complete incompetence at darts) in the basement.

I believe there was football on TV and Jenga (with English-accents) and other activities, but they mostly passed me by. At some point we realised that more than 5 hours had passed and decided we should call it a day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 6.321: Weather all over

On Monday I ran under this:

On Tuesday I ran in the snow and then had an eventful commute on very slippery roads.

This morning, I packed a few things into the car in the middle of a torrential downpour, went to work and then drove back to New York through strong winds, heavy rain, snow and pre-Thanksgiving traffic.

I'm quite relieved that this week has been a short one - I'm not sure I could have coped with any more.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 6.320: I like these signs (and I cannot lie)

These are from the beach on Saturday.

First, if you go swimming in the woods - you do so at your own risk.

(there was no water in that direction as far as I know).

And then there's this:

And so, after nearly two years absence, we welcome back the feature that says: that was pop pun 122 for title watchers - you other brothers can't deny.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 6.319: of The Doctor, The (3D)

On Saturday, after my visit to the beach, I was in need of a late lunch, so I drove to Brunswick (as you do) and fell on my feet when I wandered into The Little Dog Coffee Shop.  They were running low on lunch things but they had the makings of this fantastic salad - just what the doctor ordered.

Talking of The Doctor, I was back in Brunswick this evening with a whole lot of other people (at least three screens' worth) - some of whom were wearing fezzes and stripy scarves and bow ties.  Whovians one and all to see The Day of The Doctor.

My showing was in 3D and very excellent it was too - with a very nice making-of documentary to follow with an appearance by one more former Doctor!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 6.318: Popham Beach State Park

I'd decided for my first solo day in Maine yesterday to see something of the coast. On a Saturday in November, hiking a trail would mean making sure I couldn't be mistaken for a deer by bleary-eyed hunter, so I decided a beach was a safe option. I drove about an hour total - north then south again on the far side of Casco Bay - to an area of long peninsulas and islands known as Maine's mid-coast.

This is what I found:

Oh yeah!

I love that in photos you can't tell that it was crazy cold and windy - it really was that beautiful though.

I walked around for quite a while marvelling at the patterns in the sand made by wind and water - and then by the transitions between them.

There were islands just off shore:

One of them would have been accessible if I'd been willing to brave some cold sea water:

but did I mention that it was barely above freezing (if at all) and windy - so paddling was out of the question.

Until I actually did.

Yes I took off my shoes and socks and paddled over that stream.  I didn't actually stop to take photos while in the water though - I took those first while still shod. Shoeless time was definitely kept to a bare (see what I did there?) minimum.

Between that area and the low-tide-ish sea was an area of grasses which must be just above sea level at high tide.  There I saw a flock of today's mystery birds - they were doing circuits and I got a lot of quite decent photos but have still completely failed to identify them.

Anyone know what they are?

The only other live animals I photographed were of the domesticated variety:

Apparently only (mad) dogs and Englishmen go in the water in November in Maine.

I loved how the wind was exposing things in one place (sand dollar on a pedestal and the other top photo here) and burying things in other places (shell, lobster pot and dead crab).

As I was leaving, the tide was coming in - the largest waves washing over parched dry sand.

Apologies for the 23 photos.  If it's any comfort, I took a lot more than that!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 6.317: All play and no work

Today was my first day alone in Maine without work. I packed a few things in (including a nap and watching lots of YouTube videos!). My first adventure was a 13.5 mile run which took me over the Casco Bay Bridge to South Portland. On my way over I was passed by about 60 cyclists en peloton - the sound of that many bicycles on a steel draw bridge was quite mesmerizing for a moment.

My destination was the Bug Light - pictures here along with a huge ship and a view of Portland across the inlet.

The vast majority (9 miles) of the run was on park cycle/pedestrian trails, including the last section where I ran by this graffiti that I've seen many times in the dawn half-light.

When I saw it on my very first run, I though the first message, "Maine - don't worry - Fall is fantastic here!!" was just for me.  The rest of the artwork is really rather impressive!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 6.316: Not going home

Exile #2 sent me this - it seems someone is sad I'm not going home this weekend...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 6.315: Timing it right

The danger with my seaside runs is that they can be a bit flat. Fortunately I have found there are two nice hills within reach. One of them overlooks the bay and, if I time it right, as I did today, gives a new perspective on the sunrise.

Timing of blog posts is less efficient these days apparently!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 6.314: Not so wild horses

One more picture from the family's visit to see me in Maine a week and a half ago.

This makes the carousel at the mall look quite a lot more exciting than it was:

but when you only go to the mall about 3 times a year, it's not a big overhead.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 6.313: Fort Williams Park

Back on last Sunday (Day 6.304), we went to see the Portland Head Light - a lighthouse in a very nice park near Cape Elizabeth.

Proudest Dad-moment of the day was seeing how the kids, deprived of anything to work with but their hands still had only one thought on a small sandy beach - build a sandcastle and watch the incoming tide wash it away!

Clockwise from top-right: the lighthouse, building beginning, the happy moat-stage, total destruction (taken from a distance on the walk back up the coast to the car).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 6.312: Spwing!

It's like a swing, but it spins!

From a happy hour-or-so I spent with Exile #4 and E5N1 at the park on Saturday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 6.311: Cross-country run

After starting the day at home with the family in New York, I am ending it at home alone in Maine. I had a pretty uneventful non-stop drive so that's good.

Earlier today, I glanced at my "lifetime" running stats (since July 2011) and saw this:

Exile #2 asked me where I could have got to.  The answer is that 2813 miles is longer than any as the crow flies distance between cities in the 48 contiguous states, but if I'd started from our house in NY and run all my runs the same length I did, but end to end, I'd be just about arriving in Seattle WA now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 6.310: Five sit down for dinner

Exile #3 was not feeling well today - which means we didn't get out much, but also we didn't see much of her - especially at meal times. At dinner time however, we did have five at the table, thanks to a morning-creation of E5N1's and mine.

He started out with feet, and then gained wheels.  As for what he likes to eat...

...nuts of course.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 6.309: From dawn to dusk...

...I was in Maine, but by bedtime I'm home in New York.

Talking of dawn, this is what it looked like at Casco Bay this morning when it distracted me from my running:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 6.307: I'd, er, been wondering...

...what these birds are:

As I might have mentioned, I'm pretty sure I know what the top right one is (common enough!) The top left might be a sharp-shinned hawk. It was tussling with the squirrels in a Portland park.  Bottom left might be buffleheads (or maybe that's me). but the other one is a complete mystery at this point.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 6.306: Mackworth Island

Our other site-seeing trip on Saturday was to circumnavigate Mackworth Island. The island is accessible by road over a causeway and a trail runs all the way around it.

This is a picture from a small 'pier' on the far side of the island from the causeway.

There were little beaches to investigate:

Fairies to build for:

Portland's answer to Fort Boyard to marvel at:

Mirages to squint at (for quite a long time):

And signs that show you that you must tidy up after your dog, no matter how well dressed you (or he) might be: