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Women’s March in London

I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit

On January 21 2017, the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, women-led marches, welcoming all participants took place across the world, with over 2 million (and counting!) global participants.

We marched for the protection of our fundamental human rights. I marched to remind Mr Trump that we exist, we are watching, and we will not let him take away our rights. I marched along with my sisters (and brothers) across the globe to remind the world that love trumps hate. We will not remain silent. We will not allow Mr Trump to take away rights for women, the LGBT family, or minorities.

I attended the march in London. There were many marches across the UK – some even in some of my favourite places to be – but I chose to attend the London march to march with some of my fellow ex-pat friends. At last count, they estimated 100,000 people participated in London alone….and the police only expected about 10,000. So given those numbers, you can imagine how crazy the event was. This led to me thinking the event wasn’t very organised, but after speaking with a friend who was part of the volunteer base, I found out that the problem actually was more people than they had planned for, but in my friend Bonnie’s words:

When a march greatly exceeds its expected size, the very fact that it strains the organised plans is a mark of success. Traffic is tied up, streets & rally points overflow, AND THAT MAKES THE CITY & COUNTRY TAKE NOTICE. It is a bit of bother for participants but it means you got your point across. So pat yourself on the back. You just launched a Movement!

Of course we will need to do things to keep this movement growing, and I am committing myself to making whatever difference I can, in the UK, US, and globally.

Same shit, different century*


I share in their sentiments.

My day started off early in the morning. Too early, in my opinion, but when you can catch a lift into town with your husband on early turn, you take it. Even if it means waking up at 0400 and arriving in town at 0530 and your train isn’t until 7! But that’s OK. I had plans to grab a coffee from wherever was opened and then sit in the warm waiting room in the station, which opens at 6 (the waiting room opens at 6. The station opens earlier for the 0526 train, but then you’d have to sit on the cold platform until they unlocked the waiting room). I wound up going to McDonald’s after noticing a distinct smell of oranges coming from my back.

I bought a coffee, grabbed a stack of napkins, and found a corner. As soon as I opened up my rucksack I saw the problem — my bottle of orange juice to go along with my packed breakfast had leaked…everywhere. Fortunately, I am a smart packer even for a day trip so everything inside my bag was inside bags (plastic or cloth) and my electronics (my kindle, selfie stick, and emergency charger) were all in a separate pocket. The item that really got the damage, which I ultimately threw away was an A5 sized make up bag from Accessorize I had bought on clearance for £2 (because it was damaged by missing a single bead!) last year. Inside the bag was some extra layering items in case it got colder. All the items inside the bag were fine as the bag absorbed most of the juice. The juice also got on the drawstring bag my butterfly twist flats are stored in and a folding shopping bag (I kept both of those). I also had some face wipes in my bag, so I used those to give the inside of the bag a quick clean, re-loaded, and headed over to the station. It was around 0630, but the London train was already on a platform so the guard let me board even though the lights were out. Fortunately, by dumb luck I picked an unreserved seat once the reservation signs lit up! I managed to sleep for part of the journey until about Nottingham when other people boarded and sat with me (I was at a table) and we chatted – including a girl who was also attending the march. We arrived into St Pancras a few minutes before 10, and I made a beeline for the toilets since I knew we wouldn’t have many opportunities for a loo once we were part of the crowd.

I arranged with my other friends coming down from the North that we would meet up at the Meeting Point at St Pancras, also known as The Lovers. It’s a huge statue of a couple embracing right in front of the Eurostar platforms (which are behind glass). It’s a relatively quiet spot too, so I knew we’d easily be able to meet up. People started trickling in, and we finally had our group by 11AM so we headed to the tube. Plans were to go as far as Oxford Street and then walk to Grosvenor Square from there as we knew it was going to be hectic.

What we hadn’t planned on was how hard it was going to be to keep 6 adults and 4 children (one in a pushchair) together, and we actually became separated with one child with us on a platform while mum and the other 3 had boarded a train! No worries, we just took her with her and kept her calm until we met up with her mum again at Oxford Street….where we joined massive, massive groups of people all with signs all with one purpose. Fortunately, several of us know the area pretty well and we knew to go down a different side street than everyone was being directed on….but we met with a wall of people just shy of Grosvenor Square!

Crowds at Grosvenor Square

The rest of our friends were “near the drums”, so we asked a volunteer how to get there and they directed us to use the pavement to get down to our friends, but we soon were blocked there as well. Two of our group managed to get through (though I don’t know if they ever found the rest of the group!), and the rest of us were stood on the opposite end of Grosvenor Square from the US embassy for at least a half hour. Probably longer now that I really think about it. At some point we got shoved around by people behind (obviously wanting to get moving) and the official march time start came and went. Chants of “We want to march” rang out, and my friends and I kept ourselves amused by looking at all the different signs people had brought. I pulled out my selfie stick to grab some pics of the crowd, as I knew this was the only way I was going to get any!

Eventually, a volunteer with a megaphone came near us followed by a motorcade of motorcycles and told us we needed to move, so we threaded our way through the taxis to a little slip….where we stood again for probably another half hour before we finally started to move! We got to the corner and people were being directed to march back towards the embassy building, but we headed straight instead and caught up with another section of the march further on.

We were finally on the move! But the crowds were still very large and it became harder and harder to keep our small group together. At one point, I got cut off from my friends and I thought I could see the hat of one of my friends, but it turned out not to be her and I was well and truly separated from them. I marched on, but I really needed a loo.

I got as far as the Hard Rock Cafe, and I decided that I would go use their loo, even if it meant that I had to get a table or go to the bar, but fortunately, they were allowing people who asked in to use their loo. I then walked a bit past the Hard Rock to try to find out where my friends had got to, but a police officer told me I needed to keep moving as “this wasn’t a stopping area”. Err…Ok.

I wound up on a quiet side street where I managed to get myself back in with the main march crowd, and I had hoped closer to where my friends were…..but then I soon gave up on finding them or getting through the crowd. Someone near me murmured that online it was reported that we had 50k (this figure later turned into 80k, then 100k as they realised how many were there). Someone else was loudly complaining that they didn’t understand what all these people were here for (I’m assuming they were a tourist and got swept up in the crowds by accident). I finally saw the Green Park tube station, and that was when I decided I was going to head back to King’s Cross as I knew I wasn’t going to be able to find my friends again, and it was already well past 1500. The rally was supposed to have started at 1400, and I knew if I didn’t make it back to KGX by 1830, I would have to wait until 2030, which would be the very last train that could get me home on a Saturday.

After looking at the National Rail app and talking to Tim, I decided to get something to eat and made plans to get on the 1630 Virgin East Coast train to Newark, and then onto Lincoln from there. I even made it home and was in bed before some of my friends made it out of London!

I’m really glad I went, I’m glad I was counted in the numbers demonstrating, and I would absolutely do it again if the need arises.

Artist remains anonymous, but gives her permission for her art to be shared/used.**

***

*I saw these ladies, but I did not take this picture. This picture was taken by Tara Rose. I just borrowed it for instagram (So this pic has been edited by me via Instagram).
**As stated in the caption, the artist wishes to remain anonymous, but has given her permission for others to use her art and to share her art. This image is not mine.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday Beacon Lighting

HMQ90-logo

Today marks Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday and people up and down the country are celebrating, including my small village in Lincolnshire. And this isn’t the Queen’s only birthday! on 11 June, we will also celebrate the Queen’s official birthday! Why, you ask? Apparently, it all started with King George II who was born in the Autumn, but the military cavalcade celebrating the king was held over the summer. Ever since, the reigning royal can have two birthdays – the day of their birth, and a day during the summer when weather would be more suitable. I’m not kidding. Seriously. Google it.

Anyway…..

Our village applied for a beacon when we were celebrating the Queen’s jubilee, and apparently we were the only local parish to be given one! I attended the Jubilee, and so I thought I would have a wander down to the village hall for her birthday beacon.

It really does make me feel proud to be British and proud to be part of this country when I see so many people turning out for these kinds of events, even at the local level.

Here’s a short video I put together for the lighting:

What a fun and chilly evening. Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth!!

***
The contents of this post, including personal images and videos are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Bonfire Night!

Bonfire Night was a few weeks back, and it also happens to be our wedding anniversary. We decided that every year we are able to (it’s always subject to Tim’s work schedule), we will attend a local bonfire to celebrate. We had several options – some were on Bonfire Night (the 5th), others on Saturday or Sunday. We picked the Lincolnshire Show Grounds because it was only about 3 miles down the road from where we live.

We had a great time. It was cold if you weren’t near the bonfire though, and we had to queue for food for about a half hour! The food stands were the same ones at the Sausage Festival the week before, including the Hog Roast stand, so Tim got to have Hog Roast again. We didn’t get anything to drink and once we had our food, made our way towards the bonfire. The fireworks were pretty, and lasted around 25 minutes. Most of the crowd started to leave once the fireworks were done, so we were able to get closer to the fence around the bonfire. We were nice and toasty warm, but thirsty, so we wandered off in search of some Hot Chocolate. After trying two stands that were out, we found one that still had some hot chocolate and I decided that next year, I’m bringing along a flask of it! £3 for two small styrofoam cups of instant hot chocolate is a rip off!

Since the parking lot had started to empty, we decided to head back to the car…which we couldn’t find. After about 15 minutes, we finally found it surrounded by cars trying to leave – everyone had decided to make their own lane.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I9rRAQqp84

Can’t wait til next year!

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Lincolnshire Sausage Festival

A few weeks back, Tim and I attended the Lincolnshire Sausage Festival, held on the castle grounds, sponsored by Tastes of Lincolnshire. I get a lot of comments from my friends living in other parts of the UK about how jealous they are that we have all these food festivals and they don’t, but well….that’s what Lincolnshire exports! We’ve got loads of farmland and lots of farm animals, so having lots of festivals makes sense.

Anyway. We didn’t really know what to expect at the Sausage Festival, other than some sausages, and we were really surprised at the number of stands, including our friends at Lymn Bank Farm and many of the other stalls I usually see on market day. In addition, there were many food stalls selling all sorts of local fare – sausage (naturally), Lincolnshire beef burgers, Lincolnshire lamb burgers, locally made candy and beverages…if it got made in Lincolnshire, I’m sure there was a stand for it!

We had a great time. There also was a cooking demonstration set up, where I met a fellow American volunteering. She has been in Lincoln for 5 years and tells me there are more of us around. And even funnier? This month’s Good Taste features Whoopie Pies, a PA Dutch treat! How ironic!

We tried several sausages and Tim wanted to try the Hog Roast – they had an entire pig on a spit. Tim said it was good, but I think he liked the Guinness sausage more.

I’m hoping we can make it to the Christmas Food and Drink Show at the end of the month.

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Armed Forces Day

This past Saturday, Lincoln Castle held their annual Armed Forces Day and my chorus, Lincoln Sounds, performed. Armed Forces Day offers free admission to the castle and grounds. Everything is open at the castle, so it’s a great day out for anyone who hasn’t yet experienced the castle. On the lawn, each branch of the armed forces, as well as their youth programs, organizations for retired service men & women, widow/widower organizations, and support charities set up booths with information, demonstrations, and exhibits.

The youth organizations all appeared in uniform and participated in a group march from the castle to the cathedral and back, including one of the military bands.

The whole concept of an Armed Forces day was “foreign” to me. As far as I know, we’ve never done anything like this anywhere in the US, and Armed Forces Day is a country-wide event in the UK. I’ve seen various booths set up for each branch of the US military at fairs and expos, but usually they were only there for recruitment. It blew me away to see all the crowds there. An email my chorus received told us they had over 8,000 people come through the gates! That’s absolutely amazing. All money raised at the event went to Help for Heroes, an organization for wounded soldiers (of all branches of the military).

Check out the Armed Forces Day website to see when an event is in your area!

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Swimming, Swimming…

Swimming, Swimming,
In a swimming pool.
When days are hot, when days are cold,
In a swimming pool.
Breast stroke, side stroke, fancy diving too,
Wouldn’t it be nice if I could go swimming with you?

We’ve hit a heat wave in the UK this past week (or two, actually!) and I’ve been spending time away from the computer and outside in the garden….until it got even too hot to do that.

Yesterday, we were melting. I had just finished making dinner, and standing in front of the hot stove/oven had overheated me. I went outside (where it was cooler!) and watered the garden before coming back in and Tim suggested we head on over to the Yarborough Leisure Centre to have a swim. Entry costs £2.90/adult for casual swim, which gives you about an hour and half of swim time.

It was….interesting. Nothing like what I expected, and nothing like what I’m used to in the US. In the US, I’ve always had community pools at my disposal (either in my development or within a short walk) and your fee for using it was always included in your annual fees. At the pools where I grew up, you would walk in, flash your pool pass, and then head into the gender segregated changing rooms/toilets. At this one? We all got herded into one single changing “pavilion” (I believe that was the word used) which had coin-operated lockers (£1) and individual changing stalls (with locks). Men, women, and children all together in the same room with plenty of attendants on hand. If you needed to change, you were expected to use one of the changing rooms, and the only shower facility was the group shower area (so no way to really wash with shampoo/body wash, etc. unless you went into the gym’s segregated changing facilities). To say that I was shocked was an understatement. The attendants didn’t even say anything when Tim and I went into the same changing cubicle post-swim.

After you changed into your swimming costume (US: swimsuit/bathing suit) you went through the showers (required before swimming) and handed your ticket to a lifeguard. He then handed you a colour-coded wrist band (though mine was large enough to go on my ankle) based on what time you entered. Along one side of the lifeguard station was a strip of bright lights. When your time was up, a buzzer sounded and a coloured light lit up based on your wrist band colour.

Despite the crowds of people waiting to get in and milling around the changing room, the pool itself wasn’t too crowded. I imagine the colour-coded wrist bands help. Tim and I swam a bit, and did “water aerobics” until our colour lit up. Then, it was out of the pool, back into street clothes, and home with just enough time for Tim to get ready for the overnight shift.

We’re hoping to swim again soon. Our plan is to eventually feel comfortable enough to attend lane swimming instead of open swim so we can get in more exercise, but it’s been a while since both of us swam, so we’re taking it slow!

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Consider Yourself One of Us

Tuesday night I went to see a local performance of Oliver! at the Lincoln Theatre Royal with my friend H while my husband and her son went to a steam-up. Interesting to note, I also saw Oliver! on the West End being performed at the Theatre Royal. Just a funny coincidence. The theatre in Lincoln is small….I honestly think my high school auditorium had more seating in it, but it made for an intimate evening. We were back in row L, but had a clear view of (most of) the stage. We couldn’t see the bits that were far stage left, but that was only a few dancers in the full adult company numbers (“Who Will Buy?” and “Oom-Pah-Pah”). Overall, I enjoyed the show. The young boy playing Oliver was adorable. I was worried when he forgot the words to his first big number (“Where is Love?”), but it turns out those were just first-number jitters, as he was word-perfect for the rest of his songs and lines.

My only real pet peeve about the whole performance was some of the actors relying on imitating actors from the most recent West End production, most notably the characters of Fagin and Nancy. I would have loved to have heard the actress playing Nancy singing with her own voice, not trying to imitate Jodie Prenger, but I understand as a singer how hard it is not to mimic someone else’s voice when you’re singing “their” songs!

But we had a great time. Everytime I go to a local performance it makes me want to get involved in local theatre. Perhaps sometime I will!

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To Market, to Market

Several times a month there is an outdoor farmer’s market in Lincoln. Tim and I managed to go once last year while I was visiting, but many of the stalls had already closed for the day, so this time we made sure we got in by noon. There were about nine stalls. I don’t know if this is a normal amount or not, but I suppose I’ll find out as it gets warmer out. I did notice the windmill stall (sold bread & organic flour) was missing, so hopefully they will be there on a different day.

I’ve managed to misplace all the business cards, so apologies to the businesses if I skip links. I will be sure to post some links next time! (I also neglected to pull my camera out. Whoops!). There were three stalls devoted to meat, two to cheese, one for bread, one for fudge, one for jams/jellies, and one for organic veg. Oh, and there also was a stall selling ostrich burgers, so that actually makes ten stalls, not nine.

We were on a mission. Tim’s younger brother and his girlfriend were coming over for dinner this past Sunday, and a request had been put in for “giant Yorkshire puddings filled with bangers and mash”. We thought since market was on Friday, we’d scope it out and check out what options for fresh (and possibly bizzare/unique) sausage there was. I let Tim pick, since he and his brother (B) would be eating it. Brother’s girlfriend (M) and I decided we were going to have chicken, as bangers and mash just didn’t appeal to us. At the pork stall, Tim found some apple sausage as well as ale sausage. Reports are both were good…..I could smell the apples in the apple sausage while I was cooking them!

My second mission was to speak directly to the people at Woodlands Farm about their organic fruit and vegetable delivery service. I saw on their website that would deliver to our village on Tuesdays, and I wanted more information and needed to ask them about what to do in relation to my food allergies. The man we spoke with was really helpful and he had examples of the sizes of the boxes with him as well, so you could figure out what size box you wanted. We’re getting our first box today, along with a dozen organic free-range eggs. If we like it, we’ll be putting in a standing order.

Of course, we had to buy from the two cheese stalls. Our first stop was the Lymn Bank Farm stall. They had loads of tasty cheeses and offered you toothpicks to taste. If we had stayed any longer at their stand, we’d have eaten all their samples! We settled on three – Apple Smoked, Cranberries, and Double Barrel. We intend on working our way through the rest of their cheeses at some point. What we’ve had so far was super tasty! The other cheese stall was the stall for Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, a regional speciality. They also made several varieties and let us sample each before deciding on their Barrel Poacher (a strong, sharp cheese). According to their website, they even sell in the US (at Zingerman’s of all places and a few places in Philadelphia, too) and you can mail-order it. I highly recommend it!

Just around the corner from the organic vegetable stall was a jam and jelly stall. Unfortunately, I can’t remember their name other than it had the word sin or sinful in their name. I’ll get a link next time. We chatted a bit with the two ladies who ran the stall, and it turns out the one was married to an American and she knew exactly which jar I was headed to (pickles!). We also picked up a cranberry and orange marmalade, and something called Banofee Jam. Ah, they’re called Saints and Sinners. Helps if you check the labels of the jars you bought!

The last stall we gave our business to was a stall selling Lincolnshire Plum Bread, another regional favourite. I hope I’ve got the link right, as I’ve thrown out the paper from the loaf! The bread is quite tasty, but it’s more of a dessert or snack bread than something I’d want to eat a sandwich off of.

Oh, no, I lie. We also stopped at the ostrich burger stall. Tim tried it last time and thought it was tasty, so that became Lunch. We also discovered they sell kangaroo meat, so we might have to try it out.

After the market, we happened to be walking past the Corn Exchange market and I suggested checking out the meat stand in there. Turns out, it was a great idea, as they were selling 3 packs of bacon for £5. It’s turned out that each pack has had 12 slices, so that’s a lot of bacon for very little money!

If you’re ever in Lincoln, be sure to check out the farmer’s market:

Lincoln Farmers’ Market 1
Where: City Square [This is the area right outside of Wilkinson’s as you walk along the river]
When: 1st Friday of every month, 9am–4pm

Lincoln Farmers’ Market 2
Where: High Street [Usually the stands are set up in the open space near Barclays Bank]
When: 2nd Wednesday of every month, 9am–4pm

Lincoln Farmers’ Market 3
Where: Castle Hill [I haven’t been here yet, but I imagine it is in the area between the castle and cathedral]
When: 3rd Saturday of every month, 9am–4pm

[information taken from the Times Online]

Here’s a picture of our haul:
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Frostbite 2008 – Seven Layers of Clothing

Tim’s 16mm Garden Railway  group holds an annual get together on the Sunday after Christmas, and I was invited to tag along…after being warned that this was an outdoor event and I’d want lots of layers!

By the end of the day, I was wearing seven layers including two pairs of leg warmers, 2 pairs of pants, and a big blanket wrapped around my body….but it was loads of fun!  I posted the videos shortly after we got back, but I haven’t had a chance to share my photos other than on facebook.

We went with M, a young boy who got into garden railways after helping Tim work on his, and M’s mum, H.  It was a tight squeeze to get everyone plus trains into her car, but we managed!  The drive over to D’s house took about a half an hour, but we were still the first to arrive.  Tim actually had his train up and running and his was the first train to make a circuit (and also the last!).  D’s wife always cooks soup for Lunch, so we got to warm up for a little bit inside partway through the day. D told me if I felt cold, I could go inside, but I enjoyed watching all the trains, and I just added on a layer if I started to feel the chill.

Tim even let me “drive” his train towards the end of the day, after most people had packed up!  (Tim’s corrected me that he asked me if I wanted to earlier on in the day, but I passed the controls back as I was afraid of bumping other people’s trains.)

We had loads of fun, and I want to play with Tim’s railway in the yard 😉



Tim’s train, Dark Horse


This locomotive was hand-built by Rae Grive and won the 2007 model of the year trophy at the 16mm AGM Convention!

For more pictures: http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/uk-trip-2008/frostbite

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Frostbite Videos!

Today was Frostbite, the December get together for Tim’s 16mm Garden Railway group. Here’s a few videos I took of the trains (mostly Tim’s). A write-up and photos will be coming after I play catch up with my other posts!

Tim’s engine, Dark Horse steaming up:

Dark Horse:

Dark Horse pulls a long load:

Lady Jane:

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Manitoba Brain Injury Association

On Sunday, C IMed me in the morning and asked me if I had plans for the day. I didn’t have anything planned other than going grocery shopping, so I told her no. She asked me if I wanted to participate in the Umbrella Walk for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association, and I readily agreed.

The walk took place over at Vermillion Park in Dauphin, and the course was about two and a half miles by my pedometer. We were a small group, but all there for one purpose. Most of us had to put down our umbrellas because it was windy out, but we all walked the full course, and then enjoyed some food together and a door prize giveaway, where everyone was a winner!

We were provided with tote bags and water bottles by the Manitoba Nurses’s Association and given mustard yellow coloured wrist bands from the MBIA. My door prize was a T-shirt for the association – it’s going to be funny to wear it around Lancaster!

Taken straight off their website:

Every year, over 6,000 Canadians become permanently disabled by an acquired brain injury. The effects of a brain injury differ from person to person, but have an impact on everyone in that person’s life.

A brain injury can be a devastating diagnosis and because it is not a visible disability, those affected are often misunderstood and lack support.

The Manitoba Brain Injury Association helps individuals and families cope by offering support, education and advocacy. We also work to prevent brain injuries through public awareness initiatives and educational programming.

I realize we don’t all live in Manitoba, and why would you want to support a charity that’s not where you live? So I encourage everyone to do some reasearch, maybe even just using google, and find a similar organization local to you. Here is a list of brain injury associations across the United States, and here is a link to the Brain Injury Association of Canada. Perhaps you’ll find a way you can help someone.

Here’s some photos around Vermillion Park:



Changing leaves

And when I got home and emptied out my bag, Hobbes decided to get comfortable on my new shirt:

To see more photos from the park, check the gallery:
http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/index.php?album=winnipeg-manitoba-august-2008%2Fvermillion-park

I’ve also completely updated the cat photo album with all the photos I’ve taken while I’ve been here:
http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/winnipeg-manitoba-august-2008/quincy-hobbes-and-casper

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