It's not pretty, but this is the only photographic proof that we got caught in a butterfly shower this morning, driving to the Eastern Townships. A dead one caught up against the grill of the car.
I tried to take pictures of the live ones, but it's difficult capturing a bombardment of monarch butterflies from a moving car. A bombardment of butterflies? A swarm of butterflies... deserves better. A cascade of butterflies. A glory of butterflies.
Anyway, it was a beautiful day, a little on the hot side, with Simpson's clouds.
Add to that the bliss-shower of orange butterflies and the lush green mountains and valleys of the Eastern Townships and a lunch stop at bustling Magog by the BIG lake, and it was all good.
A bonus, I found a great Whole Foods Style Grocery in Magog! Marche Vegetarien (that also sold meat products).
I bought a couple of wraps, some bread and cheese and a cold tomato and basil pizza and my husband and I picnicked at the little beach where they permit dogs on leashes. It was sizzling in the sun but cool and breezy in the shade (where we sat) and there were a few large monarch butterflies flitting around there too.
We then drove through downtown Magog, a touristy spot that is on Lake Memphremagog, that straddles Quebec and Vermont.
And soon headed to Richmond, 20 minutes away. to say "hello" to the ancestors at St. Andrew's cemetery. The Nicholsons of School Marms and Suffragettes.
Two horses were grazing at the bottom of the hill. At the top we parked and let the dogs out loose as no one was around - and approached the St. Andrew's cemetery gate only to find a newly placed plaque.
Frederick Simpson Coburn is buried in this cemetery, says the plaque. He's the Melbourne artist who figures in my story, or at least one of his pictures does. The one with a white horse pulling a red sleigh through the snow. Coburn has a huge black marble tombstone.
My husband cleared the grass from his great-granny's Margaret Nicholson's plaque. Her story is told in School Marms and Suffragettes and on my website: Tighsolas. She is buried with husband Norman and daughters Edith, Marion and Flora. They have a little grey tombstone. Son Herb is in a cemetery in Long Beach, California.
Young Margaret: She was all for the militant suffragettes in her later years, as were her daughters!
Tighsolas is the name of the house. A Nicholson lived there from 1896 to 1977, until Edith and Flora died.
We drove up the street to Tighsolas, and guess what? The house has a sign in front of it. It's for sale.
And so is this house and a couple of other houses on the same street.
I only met my husband in the early 80's, a few years after Edie and Flo died so I have never been inside Tighsolas.
So when I got home I went on the MLS and looked up the place.
Here's the stairwell that Norman built. My husband says it is. (This pic belongs to Sutton Real Estate.) Imagine an old wood-burning stove in the kitchen and a few sturdy hand-made wood kitchen chairs, made locally. (I have a couple of them, and I tell you, they are sturdy.)Margaret was a maestro at the wood stove, testing the temperature using her elbow. In those days the cook had to be an engineer as well.
The Real Estate listing says that the house was built in 1890. Wrong! Tighsolas was built in 1896, the year Sir Wilfrid Laurier came to power, for 2, 718. dollars. Norman, a bark dealer, inspected every piece of timber used in the house himself and threw out more than he kept, so the house is very well-built.
Here's a list Norman made re: the house.