Archive | January, 2015

Madigan’s – great food in Kingston

31 Jan

This morning I enjoyed a great Irish meal. It was my first visit to Madigan’s at 175 Bagot street at the corner of William street, and it could easily become one of my favourite places in town for a Saturday breakfast.  I’ve a weakness for quirky locally owned  eateries that feature really interesting food.  I’ve travelled coast to coast through the US and Canada on motorcycle adventures off the beaten path while always keeping an eye open for my next meal. Admittedly I do like to ride with a full stomach.

Imagine such a wonderful place right in my own town.

IMAG4221e Madigans's

Their handwritten chalkboard sign says “Here at Madigan’s we like to celebrate the Irish love of fresh food. In doing so, we introduce you to our culture and our heritage. What makes Madigan’s special is that we are an independant Irish owned and operated restaurant – deli, supporting independant companies. When we buy locally produced food from our local farmers, growers, and artisan companies, we are preserving an age-old tradition.”


I won’t spoil the menu surprises; walk in and smell the great food, see the open kitchen, sit down and enjoy quality food while being surrounded by real wood and limestone. Unfortunately as of March 2016 it’s closed; the location is under renovation and has a new name. Stumps me as to why a sucessful restaurant would close.


DN iceboats in Kingston

28 Jan

See for some very good safety information, the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club have included a helpful safety video “What to Do if you Fall Through the Ice.” 2015-01-28_10-59-13_1 I was on the ice in Kingston early this morning just after dawn to get some pictures of the preparations for the day of racing. I met a few sailors this morning, most of the boats had US  sail numbers, and some no doubt from the FLIYC. I was a pleasure to chat with some of them who gladly shared time and some details with me. I leaned a new sailing term from one of them; we were discussing sailing dinghies and keel boats and he referred to them as “software.” I had to think for a second, indeed he is right, his DN iceboat sails on a hard frozen surface. IMAG4207e

I left the house this morning at -16°C but there was virtually no wind on the lake. Maybe at most 2 knots, so it will be a light air racing day. I had bright sun and a cloudless sky and took as many pictures as possible with my Fuji X10 until I’d exhausted my camera batteries.  In most places the ice is clear and I could see the bottom in the shallows close to the shore. The large pressure cracks cause ridges along the shoreline.  What a great photo opportunity.

DSCF0438e  KYC                 DSCF0442e shallow water ice Hopefully there will be enough breeze in the light air today that the sailors will be able to will get enough races finished to make for a good competition. DSCF0514e DN  KC 5514 DSCF0598e   KYC The inside basin close the club house was completely full of boats, a few spent a lonely cold night outside of the break water securely screwed to the ice. DSCF0447e               DSCF0451e ice screw

DSCF0474e US - 4824 reflection

DN reflections

DN reflections

Monday I only had a chance to see the fleet racing at a distance of about 5km away, yesterday, Tuesday, the races were cancelled because of strong winds. I understand that during the Monday races a couple of boats were damaged due to heavy winds. Getting perfect ice conditions combined with 10 to 15 knots of winds is tough.

This is a recent promotional video made by Make Hay Media.

Due to an overnight snowfall of about 8 inches there are many disappointed DN iceboat sailors. I visited the club this morning, Friday, and all those who I’ve spoken with were happy with their stay in Kingston. Posted this morning on the IDNIYRA website:

“The 2015 North American Regatta is Cancelled! No other locations were found this morning.

Have a safe drive home.”

DN iceboat racing

26 Jan

Kingston is hosting the world championship iceboat races this week. The event alternates between Europe and North America each year. These solo cockpit one-design boats require particular weather conditions to make good ice for racing.  With good winds they can reach speeds of 100km/h.

crossing the lake to the course

In 1937 the Detroit News paper sponsored an iceboat design contest that led to the creation of the most popular class of iceboats.


For information and details of the international organization see

The final last minute decision as to the location with appropriate ice conditions was made on January 23.  We can expect to see about 100 boats and from as many as possibly 15 countries. IMAG4152_1   It’s lots of work for the organizers, many KYC members and CORK deserve a big thanks.

This video is from 2014 competition in Europe.

I’ve had a few chances in past years, when the ice conditions are just right to see a few of these boats. Today, January 26th, I saw the fleet racing way off in the distance.  It must be a riot to scream along at high speeds in such a small light weight sailing craft.  Unfortunately it was about -15°C so I stayed in our Subaru parked along the Kingston shoreline and had to settle for a view with my binoculars. The fleet was about 5km away close to Wolfe Island.   I was able to take a few long distance pictures this afternoon. Although they aren’t great photographs it does prove that I can take a picture with a cell phone focusing through binoculars and a car windshield, while sitting in a warm car. Wimpy eh? IMAG4150

Until I get some better pictures, hopefully on Wednesday, enjoy those posted by the yacht club.   DSCF0425

Comet Lovejoy

7 Jan

Tonight in the clear sky I could see Comet Lovejoy with my Celestron 8X56 binoculars, but not with my naked eyes. Tonight it gets closest to earth, only 44 million miles.

The temperature was -21°C and I did most of my viewing from my car. I knew where to look with respect to the constellation Orion so I parked in such a direction that with my seat seat laying back I could look out the open rear window.  I was just north of the City of Kingston and had a good view of the sky without too much bother from city lighting.


Terence Dickinson might not approve of my wimpy warm method but it worked for me. I also saw a brilliant meteorite. Keeping binoculars steady while standing in the open field with cold hands didn’t work. I was also concerned listening to the sounds of coyotes coming very close to me and so viewing from inside the car just made good sense.

Lovejoy Comet


This picture belongs to the Astronomical Society of Victoria’s Astrophotography Observatory, Heathcote Victoria, credit Phil Hart.  What I saw was only a fuzzy object that was slightly greenish in colour. Nothing spectacular but at least I did see it. Next chance is in 8000 years. What I saw looked like this:






Although I did get a picture that clearly shows Orion and the place in the sky where I saw the comet, my image taken with my Fuji X10 doesn’t show any evidence of the Comet Lovejoy.



Winter 2015 has finally arrived

4 Jan

In southern Ontario we can expect winter conditions in early December. We did experience sub-zero temperatures and get enough early snow to make starting my snow-blower worthwhile, but it all melted and we were pleasantly treated to some mild temperatures and green Christmas holidays.

I spent New Year’s Day in my Subaru driving in extremely poor winter conditions. It’s a well equipped all-wheel drive car and the Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires are the best  for the worst road conditions that I expect to drive.

Many of the drivers on highway #401 have no concept of a safety cushion, no clue as to the stopping distances required on icy surfaces, and seem to be oblivious to the dangerous conditions as they maintain the posted speed limit and gawk at the cars in the ditches.

Today we have a mix of new snow, freezing rain and light drizzle and fog. The temperatures are expected to swing from +5°C to -10° C.  I was watching a Blue Jay in our back yard and wondering how they can survive being cold and wet.

S0010390 Blue Jay