Stratford July Day Trip

sky over 401 as we set out
tarts galore at The Shakespeare Pie Shop
sky over The Shakespeare Pie Shop
dining a la fresco at Features
new Tom Patterson
other side of the new Tom Patterson
another view of the new Tom Patterson
paddleboats on the Avon

for more about the trip & more photos see Stratford Protocol  https://topoet.ca/2020/07/24/stratford-protocol/ 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee
sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Stratford Protocol

Earlier this week we took a day trip to Stratford. This is the first summer in decades I haven’t seen show there, & the first time since the 50’s my partner hasn’t seen a show there. Neither have never been there when they wasn’t a show running. Unlike out usual visits there we didn’t have to pack as much in the way of snacks & fluids 🙂

With most of the province inching into phase 3 I was curious to see just what that meant outside of the golden horseshoe. We left later than usual, no rush to get there for 2 pm curtain. The weather was perfect. The traffic was the usual with slowdowns outside of Kitchener. Our first stop was the Tim’s at the edge of Cambridge. 

Masks on & in we went. No seating but washrooms were open, on request, one person at a time. Follow the arrows to the exit please. Staff masked & gloved. Coffee up to their standards. From there we took the New Dundee Road though New Dundee, Haysville & on to Shakespeare, This was the only major slowdown for highway work being done on the intersection there. 30 mins while road-plows plowed the road. It seems university guys aren’t doing construction this year to pay their tuition 😦

It was worth the wait for our next stop: the Pie Shop. There we bought chicken pot pies, lemon tarts & other nutritious snacks. On to Stratford for lunch at Features.

Yes Features was open for ‘take-out’ only. But they had patio tables set up & brought your order to your table. The town had more people than expected wandering in & out of the fudge stores. But the Festival theatres were all shut down even the gift shops. With so little tourist traffic the town opted not to do any gardening along sidewalks etc.

We did drive around to see the new Theatre. The rush for opening has allowed them to take their time with landscaping. The lots was fenced off so I didn’t get any real close up photos. People in paddle boats on the Avon was out matinee performance 🙂

Drive home was good. Road workers on lunch break as we passed through Shakespeare. One last stop at the Pork Shop for their excellent pulled pork. Home by 4:30. exhausted by all that sitting, taking photos & enjoying the scenery? Maybe we’ll hit Niagara-on-the-Lake for an August day trip. A big maybe because there isn’t even a favorite restaurant we miss there.  

Birding Ontario

a pause of pigeons

 

a feeding of ducks & geese Stratford, Ontario

silver goose

ducks & swan Stratford, Ontario

a mist of pigeons

a waddle of geese Stratford, Ontario

unhappy in pink at Toronto zoo

a party of pigeons

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Summer Events

The state of emergency has been extended to June 2, 2020. Social distancing will be deemed unnecessary on June 3, 2025. Masks will be become a legal requirement. There will be boom industry in making them & also a boom in clear plastic face guards. Face guards will be available from optometrists with your vision prescription built right in & also as sunglasses. Sales of sunscreen will plummet.

Many of the events I look forward to in summer are not happening. Capturing Fire postponed to fall (maybe – but I doubt if travel restrictions/conditions will be lifted by then. Who can afford 14 days quarantine in USA?) Stratford Festival has cancelled its 2020 season, the same with the Shaw. If social restrictions for restaurants loosen we may make a day trip to Shakespeare to pick up some pies & on to Stratford for lunch at Features – to make sure we remember the route 🙂

Resorted to Amazon for vitamin c and zinc – if we could have found them on the shelves at Shoppers I would have bought them there but both have been out-of-stock since early March. I’ve frequently at least 5 different Shoppers at various days & times & unlike toilet paper, the have not returned.

I’ve kept busy with covid deep house cleaning, purging & rearranging. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see, or rather not see, energy moved out of the house. When the city picks up the various bins it’s like losing weight. I feel no remorse or regret, yet, for shedding those things saved for donation, or for a time they’ll come in handy. It has been a week of in house work – too cool in the morning for working in the garden 😦

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts

– sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

My Peeps

birds on a wire in Toronto

all alone am I in Toronto

seagull in Stratford, Ont.

swans in Stratford, Ont.

geese in Stratford, Ont.

swan in Stratford, Ont.

swans & ducks in Stratford, Ont.

pink flamingo in Toronto

#Toronto #WordPress #pigeons #swans #geese #ducks #seagull #flamingo #Stratford #travel #photography #Ontario

 

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop

https://capfireslam.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees &  eat at Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Bye Bye 2019

Over the past year my TOpoet.ca following blog grew from 298 to 363! That’s 65 new followers without me going out of my way beyond blogging regularly. The only stat WP doesn’t give is where the followers are located but WP map does show my hits have come from 91 countries around the world. That India tops the list is interest but that Bangladesh & Kenya are in the top 10 is a surprise. Kazakhstan! Kuwait!

My Tumblr is at 255. I no longer post there as regularly after the ‘porn’ crack down that had my pictures of random toys, or lost shoes, red flagged as being possibly against community standards. I didn’t have the energy keep asking for a review of the flag. Twitter 217 followers. Yes – my account was un-suspended after my appeal. Seems my hashtags were inappropriate for some reason. #Whatever.

2019 has been a pretty good year for me. Health has been good. Finances have been stable. Finished the edit & blogging of Coal Dusters. I hate to bring it to an end as I really loved these characters – but their stories had been told. Response was good for the novel. There’ll probably be another revision if I get back to again. Next up is Picture Perfect.

The other highlight of the year was my visit to Cape Breton where I had a great time with my sister – she loves to drive – with some old friends & also just on my own. Revisited old schools, churches of my past, took lots of photos & lost weight!! I also took my favorite photo of 2019 while at Fort Petrie.

Saw great shows at the Stratford Festival (my fav Nathan The Wise) & disappointing show at the Shaw (Mae West’s Sex was given a frenetic but poorly performed production.) Already have some shows booked for the 2020 Stratford season.

The big event for 2020 will be the 10th Anniversary of Capturing Fire in Washington DC. I do hope to get there, if I can afford it & before the Trump implosion closes the borders to the unemployed sneaking in to steal jobs. paypal.me/TOpoet I’ll be booking my trip once the dates are confirmed. 

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January
Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

A Christmas Mantle

Decades ago I decided our fireplace mantle piece was too boring at Christmas so I got out my trusty staple gun & a festive table cloth & covered it with fabric. It, to me, had a sweet old-fashioned almost Victorian feel to it which I loved. Stockings were hung to complete the scene. Over the year it became busier & the fabric has changed a few times – always something festive.

In the mantle clutter is an angel balancing a horn – the horn is from a set of four that my Dad had – each of us kids got one. The horn makes no sound 🙂 The cherub that holds it is from some yard sale a few years ago. 

The plastic tree once was eliminated but the light socket disintegrated. It is one of my Cape Breton work life souvenirs. It was given to me by one of my Famous Players co-workers & had been in her family for many years. The bead garlands are my own addition. Not so festive is the brass letter opener under it – it gets lots of use this time of year. Stacked along beside it are some gift boxes. The boxes nest inside each other & get un-nested every year for display on the mantle.

On the mantle by the wall is my Cock-of-the-walk. One of favorite kitch items, it spends most of year on the front hall table. It is mainly a rooster morphed into great clothes & human hands. I bought it up at a store east of Woodbine on the Danforth. It store is no longer there. Made of some resin, not plaster, it is beautifully hand painted. Dangling from one hand is a Starbucks ornament. The beads are my additions over the years.

Covering the mantle this year is fabric that I got at Fabric Land in Stratford a few falls ago. The previous mantle treatment was a more tradition poinsettia & holly print which I found too dark. The blue is more fun too. The tinsel swag & lights are more recent – the lights have four settings but I stick to the one glow that changes colours. We don’t need a light show. The fireplace works but it has been years since we’ve had gifts that deserved to be set afire. 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy more Christmas kitch– sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

The Keys To Sense of Purpose

Nothing To Lose

I was sure I left it there

it was there the last time I looked

I haven’t seen it

have you looked in here

have you looked anywhere 

or did you expect me to know

to keep an eye on things

without being asked

I don’t know where it is

I have more important things to do

no I didn’t move it

I didn’t see anyone take it

this is where I usually put it

I can’t leave the house without it

it can’t be replaced

there’s no reason for it to be moved

it has to be here always

it’s the perfect spot for it

it didn’t move itself

did it fall to the floor

is it under here

is it upstairs

did you even bring it with you

did you leave the house without it

you can always get a new one

it was time to move on

time to let go

of the hold of things

free yourself of objects

find a place

where there is nothing to lose

nothing to be looked for

nothing to be hidden

and everything

to be revealed

This piece is part list poem – various thoughts on misplacing something & usually not realizing until one is leaving, in a hurry but can’t got without it. I have a spot by my front door where I always put my keys, my sunglasses etc. Before heading out I have to make sure I have everything in my pockets or shoulder bag before I leave. Gone are the days of just putting a jacket & going somewhere.

 

By everything I mean phone, camera, coffee cards, credit cards, points cards, wallet (I no longer carry credit cards with my $), sometimes iPod, Kindle & something else, but I can’t remember what. If one of those items isn’t where I think I put it then I can’t leave without it. I change jackets and/or shoulder bags from day to day, so have to remember to transfer from one to the other.

 

Not too long ago I misplaced my Starbucks gold card. I searched every item of clothing I was wearing the last time I used it, shoulder bags were emptied, jacket pockets turned inside out, I checked the shop to see if I dropped it there. No where to be found. I went to the website to get a replacement but that process was endless & so I think I applied for a replacement but didn’t get even an auto-response so I must have done something wrong? 

The getting out a credit card out comes the Starbucks card stuck to it – I had tucked the card into a different part of the wallet than I usually do & never checked sufficiently the tiny tight compartment. It did mean I avoided Starbucks for a week or so, no big deal. The replacement never arrived, just as well, right.

Anyway back to this piece. It wavers between the list & a bit of a dialogue of being accused for losing whatever is lost – I didn’t see anyone take it. It take a slight philosophic turn with ‘free yourself of objects’ – to free myself of Starbucks wouldn’t be such a big thing. It delves into the mystic for the ending. What we can’t find may not be hidden or lost. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

“I danced for the Devil”

Does this sound familiar: rabid anti-gay rights activist caught making pass at a man in washroom – admits he is gay. The accuser being guilty of what he accuses others of – this is a part of the many layers of guilt in The Crucible. Guilty of one crime you are guilty of all crimes. Accusation = guilt. Being innocent doesn’t undo the stain of the accusation. The Crucible functions on many levels – the use of authority is more important that justice, the denial of guilt is really an admission of guilt.

My last theatre day trip to Stratford was to see Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. A play about witches in October – what a concept 🙂 The production was intense, riveting & the political allegory hasn’t dated a bit. Except these days many don’t care about guilt if the guilty are rich enough – a president can admit to ‘grabbing pussy’ (underage beauty contestants should be flattered he grabbed their privates) & is still in power. But I digress.

The simple set with side pieces of tall trees moves silently & easily to accommodate several locations. The ambient sound before the play starts create a a sense of forest. Once the plays starts with the ‘possessed’ child (nice nod here to ‘The Exorcist’) it moves with constant intent & mounting emotional & physical intensity.

The performances were strong for a cast who clearly enjoyed these characters, had dug deep into the text itself, & gave unexpectedly raw performances. Tim Campbell as John Proctor & Scott Wentworth as Reverend Parris gave amazing performances – perhaps the best I’ve seen by Scott Wentworth. I was drawn into the dense emotional mire both men were feeling on opposite sides of the conflict.

Shannon Taylor as Elizabeth Proctor was strong – her moment of ‘truth’ brought gasps from the audience. The tempted ‘girls’ lead by Katelyn McCulloch as Abigail Williams were given great dramatic moments of demonic possession. Katelyn was good but was more saucy than vengeful. They were women not girls or children, as they were referred to on the text.

I had seat in 4th row orchestra so had a very close view of the superb costumes plus I was impressed by the meticulous wig work. This is an excellent production, perhaps the best I’ve seen this season & one of the most compelling I’ve seen of stage in some time. Jonathan Goad’s direction brought performances that were deeply effective & made a challenging text engaging & challenging at the same time. 

“I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book.” Arthur Miller

other 2019 reviews:

Costume Warehouse Tour – Me? Caped Crusader https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vQ

Henry VIII – ‘Abject Object’ https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vW 

Our Father Issues  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3CB

Cape Breton (Liberation Army) Day 7 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Gj

Mae Brecht’s Sex https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ND

Plant Food For Thought https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Oo


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & 2020 theatre tickets. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet