castles, Toronto and Spring – oh my!

After all my moaning about Snow Madness this past winter, I am happy to report that spring seems finally to have arrived in Toronto!

Of course, the weeds were the first greenery to make themselves known, even pushing through concrete:

And until very recently, the cold finger of Winter was still more evident in the forest than the lovely leaves of Spring…

…but finally the spring greenery is emerging more clearly!

Now, because this is a part of Canada in which spring takes a while to appear, some flowers are slower to emerge than others.
But these budding tulips make me happy – they make me think of dancing arabesque ladies of the mystical East.
And funnily enough, just down the street there are fully-fledged tulips!
In fact, the road to the Castle is strewn with flowers.
There are also lots of other lovely spring colours there:
… as well as another sign that Winter is ever so slowly giving way to Spring:
The colours are overwhelming at this time of year after all that grey bleakness.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! (for once in my life, anyway).

I don’t even care that it is grey and damp outside when I see lovely blooms all around!

And even lovely cherry trees!

So, today I’m very happy. To top it off, it is that all-hallowed of holidays, PayDay. So, doubtless there will be more photos of Nature’s lovely colours as depicted through yarn on display here tomorrow.

Happy Wednesday!


The Forest Adventures of Brouhaha

I keep telling people I live right next door to a forest. No one believes me, given that I also live in an apartment building five minutes’ walking distance from a subway station in Toronto.

Well, here’s the proof: the view out the front entrance to my building:

I decided to venture out this evening and take some photos of the ravine. No small feat, given that I’m afraid of heights and depths.

But it was quite lovely, really:

Hard to believe there’s a major thoroughfare 50 metres away, isn’t it?

But then I spied some evidence of civilisation:

Hmm – maybe that’s why those bloody kids were whingeing outside my balcony on Saturday?!

But everything else appeared to be untouched by humans…

…until I spotted this.

Now – who would pitch a bike down a ravine, I ask you?!?

A-ha! Millionaires’ Row. Must be them. But then again, the world is their trashcan, no?

I keep having to remind myself that The Rich Ones don’t control everything. After all, check out this UFO!

(And no, this isn’t one of those ones I keep flinging off the balcony in a fit of pique. It’s the real thing. Honestly. Big lights started flashing off it but just as I raised my camera to take a photo, it vaporised.

Sigh. Now no-one will ever believe me!!)

And, just as I was about to come in, I spotted this.

The Easter Bunny, come early?! (Orthodox Easter being this Sunday)

But apparently not. No chocolates in sight. Just a rabbit, pigging out on grass.

Too blissed out by all that green, apparently, to notice the carrot right next to it!

Dumb bunny.

Happy Thursday!


Brouhaha at the flea market…

Sunday, I must say, was an amazing day in the life of Brouhaha.

First of all, proof of spring as I was leaving my apartment:

These are weeds, by the way, next to the forest near where I live. But isn’t the colour lovely?

I was headed downtown to meet my friend J for an afternoon trolling the flea market near her place. On the way, I saw this lovely item in a shop window

… and then passed yet more evidence of spring:

The fountains are on! (Actually, it’s an odd spring so far – today was 24 C/ 74 F… not complaining, let me tell you, but it’s odd – more like summer).

Anyway, I swung by and picked up J and then we headed to the St Lawrence Sunday Flea Market!

And, by the way, if you live in Toronto and have never hit this place, it’s at Front/Jarvis and it’s a complete blast. Where else can you come across great items like this:

Gotta love the butterflies!

Or, you can gaze upon beautiful glass like this:

and see novelty items like this:

(old toothpaste with some rotting teeth on top? And it’s yours for only $20!!!)

Or, blasts from the past like this:

(I thought Sinatra only had lusts, not loves. But hey… I believe everything I read in print!).

But now for a little tip from Brouhaha as to caution at fleamarkets and spending. For example, the above mag was priced at $30. Yet when one looks very closely at it, the date on the mag is … 1996. Hardly vintage.

I’m probably, mind you, a bit too cheap when I go on these outings. An example: I saw an Orthodox icon that looked somewhat like this (unfortunately couldn’t get a photo)

…except that it was all cracked and beaten up. Now, I have a very very strange attraction to old beat-up looking Orthodox iconic art…

and so I wanted the one I saw at the flea market. I couldn’t see the price tag in the back and asked J to decipher it for me. She peered at it and said “$6.50”.

I was thrilled, but then got scared because another guy came up and started playing with the doors. Then the vendor came along and took it away. I rushed up immediately and said “I’d like to buy that.”

“Really?”, he said.

I mean, I was dressed like a slob, but $6.50? Come on.

Well, of course it turned out that he actually wanted $650.00 for it.

Colour me embarrassed. I tried to give J hell for misleading me, but she felt I should have known she meant six-fifty. And, in that place, she was quite right…

But back to the main programme now. Sort of, anyway. For example, someone wanted $45 for these:

Now, if anyone knows when these big ugly glass grapes were popular, please Email me. I see them all the time at these flea markets… I can’t actually imagine anyone ever displaying them, let alone paying any serious money for them!

I was, however, tickled by this item I spotted:

And no, not Mickey – the kangaroo. This was a hopping kangaroo made by Fisher-Price. If you squeeze the little plastic bulb, it hops..

J and I (J is one of the Tenant Advocates, I should note) thought that this would be a perfect addition to our arsenal of rants against the state of the justice system. But not for $30. Sigh.

On our way out, we caught a look at this lovely glass bowl:

We did ask how much it cost (although knowing that it would be way, way too much for our bargain hunting pockets). The guy beat around the bush for about 10 minutes telling us that it was from Malta, etc. etc… then said “well, I’d have to charge you $120”. Probably not too much for the piece itself… but a wee hint to any vendors reading this: we don’t want the biography before the price. The spiel I got, I would have been turned off if he said “$10” and would feel I was being ripped off.

Anyway, I did purchase some things, hit a local patio with J for a while, got a wee suntan and came home. A perfect afternoon.

But, you ask, what did I buy?

First, a fabulous lamp:

Only $10!!!! Isn’t it fancy?

And, I discovered another relative for the Duck family:

I must thank friend J for this discovery. Obviously, I was half asleep during my travels through the flea market. I’ve decided that this is Aunt Hortense from the fancy side of the family…. stay tuned!

But friend J is also very, very evil. She introduced me today to one of her favourite glassworks people, William of Goodfellow Designs (I can’t find a web link for him – I wish I could.)

So, I had to pick up these two pendant pieces:

(This one, he told me, cracked when he was first making it. So the little gold piece in the middle was an addition after the fact. When I told him it reminded me of an evil eye, he said “Oh, a 21st century evil eye! Cool.” Indeed.)

And this one…

This photo fails the piece, and words fail me to describe it.

So, all in all it was a fantastic Sunday, and I feel like a complete

Happy Monday to you!