Thursday, 9 December 2010

All Moved In!

It's said that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences in life, right up there with birth, marriage and death, and it's true.
The actual move went very smoothly, with the moving truck and a posse of beefy men arriving on time, the loading and unloading was a breeze with only two trips from the old house to the new.
But from the next day on, I was incommunicado!
The phone company installed the phone, but no internet.
So I had a phone for a couple of days.
But then I was accidently disconnected while they tried to connect the internet.
Which affected the security system, so every time I opened the front door, the alarm went off.
WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH for 5 minutes.
I don't think my new neighbours appreciated this very much. Especially at 6:00am when I went off to my babysitting duties.
And to top it off, the doorknob between the house and the garage broke, so I was forced to use the front door if I wanted to go outside.

I was in seclusion.

But all is repaired now.... new doorknob mechanism, phone and internet are working, but now my monitor screen has died, so I am working with a borrowed screen, which will have to be returned very soon, so I'll be a non-blogger again for a while! So if you don't see me commenting on your blogs, you know why. sigh....

Meanwhile, I'm 90% unpacked, and I'll have to start preparing for Christmas. It snowed last week so we are going to have a White Christmas for sure.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Time Out.....

I'm on the move, will be blogging from my new house in a few days, see you then!
Meanwhile, back to the packing...... now, where the heck did I leave that sticky tape.....

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Remembering

In Memory of

Private JOHN TURNBULL CHANDLER

175142, 5th Coy., Canadian Machine Gun Corps who died age 20 on 03 July 1917.

Only son of John William and Agnes Chandler, of Gedney Dyke, Holbeach, Lincs.

Native of Southea, nr. Wisbech.

Remembered with honour

BULLY-GRENAY COMMUNAL CEMETERY, BRITISH EXTENSION,

BULLY-GRENAY, FRANCE


John Turnbull CHANDLER was my mother's cousin. He was born 31 August 1896 in Lincolnshire, England, and was known as Jack.
Jack left England to learn farming techniques in Canada and settled in Grimsby, Ontario. He joined the 86th Machine Gun Battalion of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on 13 August 1915 at Welland, Ontario, stating that his date of birth was 1894, not 1896. At that time he was already a member of the 44th Regiment of the Canadian Militia. His enlistment papers show him to be “apparent age 21 years 8 months”, 5’4”, fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, a member of the Church of England, and fit to serve with the Forces.
His life ended in
France on 3 July 1917, serving with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps.

His obituary:

GEDNEY DYKE SOLDIER FALLS We regret to report the death in action of Pte. John Turnbull Chandler, son of the late Mr. John W. Chandler, schoolmaster, Parson Drove, and of Mrs. Chandler, schoolmistress, Gedney Dyke. The deceased was educated at Barbourne College, Worcester (1908) and Framlingham College (1909-1912). He learned farming and went to Canada in April 1912. He enlisted in January 1916 in Grimsby, Ontario, came over to Shorncliffe June 1916, went to France October 1916, and was killed in action July 3rd. He was only 20 years of age. He leaves a mother and six sisters to mourn his loss.


I visited his grave in France with my two sons in 2005.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Shadow

My living room window used to look out on an empty lot overgrown with wild cherry trees... so pretty in the spring.... but the land was sold for a new house to be built about six years ago, and since then, this has been my view.

Another reason to be glad I am moving.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

What I've Been Up To

I haven't been a very good blogger over the past couple of months.
And I have a really good excuse.
I've been house hunting. I've looked at big, small, old, new, detached, semi-detached, town houses, condos.
But I've finally got myself a new home and I move in a couple of weeks.
So now I'm doing this.

And this.

And since I last posted, this happened. Yes, I had a birthday. A significant one too. I can't imagine how I got to be this old (not telling just HOW old) but it's better than the alternative!

So the whole family got together and we went for a birthday dinner at the Mandarin Chinese Buffet. Mmmm... buffet style Chinese food, and if that doesn't suit you, there's pizza, or roast beef, or spare ribs or sushi.... I love the baked salmon and the spicy shrimp, and the hot and sour soup, and the mango salad... it's all so good!
And then home for a cuppa and fancy birthday cupcakes.
And finally both my grandboys. It's hard to get a picture of them both at the same time, they move so fast.

We've had a couple of new family additions in UK recently. William (baby brother to Oliver) arrived 4 weeks ago and baby Charlie arrived last week, cousins to each other and new second cousins for Callum and Isaac. That makes 5 little boys born in the last 3 years in our family.
And in The Bride's family there are 4 more little boys all under 4 years old.
We're aiming for our very own football team!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Jungle Creatures on the Loose!

That's it, folks! Hallowe'en is over and done for another year.
I spent the evening shelling out at YoungerSon's house, and there were only about 10 doorbell rings. Probably because it was a cold night, and it's in an older neighbourhood with not many young families.
Oh well, that means more chocolate for us!

Here's Mr Pumpkinhead before he got wrestled yelling and screaming dressed into his costume.

But once inside the cosy tiger outfit, Isaac was a happy boy. Although he didn't really get what was going on. Next year will be different!

Meanwhile, Callum went out trick-or-treating with his cousins, he was "the elephant in the room".

Watch out for wild animals!
It can be downright dangerous out there!


Sunday, 31 October 2010

It's Pumpkin Time

Isaac took his Mummy and Daddy and Nana on a trip to the local pumpkin patch."I want this one..... no, this one..... or maybe this one..... I just can't decide! Too many to choose from."

" Let's go home and carve a scary face. Daddy, will you help me?"

Happy Hallowe'en to everyone out there in Blogland!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Flying Lessons

He flies through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze.......

... and Daddy is providing the safety net.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Forest Trail

I've been given the very important job of puppysitting for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Tessa is three years old now, but she's convinced that she's still a puppy. It was a perfect blue sky morning so I took Tessa for a walk er, I mean top speed doggy romp, frolic, gallop, run ten times further than anyone else, through York Regional Forest to tire her out. She's less trouble that way!

The colours are glorious with the sun lighting up the leaves. One more wind and rainstorm and they'll all be gone.
A couple of weeks ago EG Wow posted a picture of this strange tipi made of sticks in the middle of the forest. It seems to have more sticks now.... maybe passers by add a stick to it and make a wish to the forest fairies?

I tried to pose Tessa in front of it and asked her to smile nicely for the camera but she wouldn't cooperate.

There were lots of walkers with their dogs, horses and riders, and even a mountain biker taking advantage of the lovely October weather. And lots of people leaving the trails and carrying large buckets. I wondered what they were doing....

.... and then I met a group of Italians who proudly showed me their harvest, courtesy of Mother Nature.
They'll be eating well tonight!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Vroom Vroom

More pictures from the adventures at the Rally Cross at Bancroft last weekend.

YoungerSon and his Dad-in-Law were competing with the 1992 Suzuki Swift that OlderSon and YoungerSon used for Rally competition about 10 years ago. They were competing in Class 1 - front wheel drive. Other classes are rear wheel drive, four wheel drive and turbo.

First task... get the car off the trailer.

When the 1992 Suzuki Swift was new, it was prepared for Rally competition by Four Star Motorsports, fitted with racing seats, roll cage, racing harnesses, fire extinguisher, navigation computer etc, all the bells and whistles needed for competitive rallying.

But the car is outdated now and no longer conforms to all the current North American Rally rules, so after spending 5 years collecting dust in my garage, and then another 3 or 4 in OlderSon's garage, YoungerSon had it towed to his house, cleaned it up, gave it a new coat of paint (you can hardly see the brush strokes), replaced whatever needed to be replaced and it's back in RallyCross action.

YoungerSon and his D-in-L wait anxiously at the start line. First time for D-in-L, he was feeling nervous and rightly so. Sliding round those curves at top speed can be a little scary.

Many of these crazy rally cross drivers use their every day cars to race round the track. And they take off their licence plates in case someone takes a picture and posts it on the internet and their insurance company notices!

The track was pretty dry, but that didn't stop the car getting filthy... but that's what racing against the clock on a dirt track's all about isn't it?

While the car was stored in OlderSon's garage, it became home to a thriving family of mice who lived in mouse nest luxury surrounded by fiberglass insulation. Nice and warm during a Canadian winter. Every time the car zoomed round another corner, more mouse nest material appeared from the nether regions of the car accompanied by lots of mousiepoo. Luckily for the mice they had already been evicted by the new landlord.

During YoungerSon's last run, the Suzuki popped a tire and lost it's transmssion fluid, so D-in-L wasn't able to have his turn to finish, but there's always the next time.... October 17!

For a video of the track, see the previous post.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rally X

This is what we were doing for fun at Bancroft last weekend .... video taken with a camera bolted to the driver's side of the Suzuki. YoungerSon driving.
More pictures in the next post.

Meanwhile..... Buckle up and hold on tight! WOOHOO!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Garage Sale

We had a "Man Stuff Garage Sale" today, getting the garage and workshop cleared out of old tools, automotive stuff, camping equipment, electrical wiring, nuts, bolts, nails, you name it, we had it for sale!

Isaac was our official greeter. As soon as a potential customer arrived, he beamed at them from his stroller and said "HI!"

When they left he said "BYE!" and waved.

At times there were so many people coming and going, he got his "HI"s and his "BYE"s all mixed up.

Most people who shop at garage sales are pretty honest, but one person slipped us some Chinese money with a handful of coins. Oh well. It'll come in handy if I ever go on a trip to China I suppose.

And there's always the guy who wants something for nothing.

YoungerSon was helping a man with some drill bits and electrical parts. The guy was giving YoungerSon a lot of bad attitude, arguing the price down, and rolling his eyes in a very nasty manner at every price suggestion. They finally came to a sort of grumpy agreement, and YoungerSon even carried the guy's purchases to his car.

Then the guy turned to YoungerSon and said "Hey, can I take a p*ss in your back yard?"

NOOOOOOOOOO!


It takes all sorts to make a world.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Flash Mob Frenzy

Remember that Flash Mob we did at the Strawberry Festival back in July?
Well, there's no stopping the crazy Flash Mobbers now.
We were invited to dance at Richmond Green at an outdoor movie night last week. We got started OK, but about half a minute into the dance, the music failed. But we're troupers, and of course, the show must go on, so that's exactly what we did.
Here's the video... a bit wobbly at first, but persevere with it.
I'm at the back on the right, white pants, black top, white glove!

Ooops, I can't upload the video, here's the link!

And a couple of weeks ago, we did the same Flash Mob in the Centre Court at Hillcrest Mall. Here's the video, again, it won't let me upload.

If you're anywhere near Markham Theatre on Saturday afternoon, it'll be happening again, be there at about 2:30pm.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

SOLD!

My house is SOLD!

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

The good part is that I won't have to put up with critical strangers tramping through my house every weekend, complaining about the lack of A/C, and what? No central vac? And no powder room on the main floor?? Well, what do they expect in an 115 year old house?

I've lived here for more than 30 years. My children grew up here. I have a lot of both happy and sad memories tucked into these four walls.
I have delightful neighbours, and we live on a pleasant tree-lined street where everyone knows everyone else, and I am very sad to leave this lovely old neighbourhood.
But the house is too big now, and it needs a young family to move in and look after it, which is exactly what is going to happen.

So now comes the hard work of getting ready to move.

First priority.... find somewhere to move to! I've been looking at houses, both resales and new but haven't found anything that really grabs me yet. I'll keep looking. A tent in YoungerSon's back yard might be a bit chilly during a Canadian winter.

Second priority.... Clear out the garage and workshop. There are 30 years worth of "man stuff" stored here. Tools. Spare parts for cars we haven't owned for years. Tires. Lumber. Poles for a tent we don't have any more. Scrap metal. Paint. Motor oil. Bricks. Garden equipment. Nuts. Bolts. Nails. Electric wire.

A lot of the stuff has been tossed into a rented bin in the driveway.
I had a garage sale back in July and we'll have another in September.
I've taken 6 boxes full of paint, motor oil, various automotive liquids and polishes etc to the Hazardous Waste Depot.
The local charity shop has been given boxes of kitchen equipment.
The Diabetes Association Clothesline truck has picked up 5 bags of gently used clothing.
I gave numerous boxes of books to the Library Sale last spring. And there's more destined for the sale in 2011.
I bought a new shredder and have filled 4 bags with shredded paperwork so far. I love shredding!
The scrap metal man is picking up next week.

It's really liberating to be getting rid of all this stuff.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Nice Nose... Good Legs... Great Body...

Before you all get too excited by the title, let me explain.
I went on a wine-tasting tour this weekend. I've never done that before. It was fun!

It was a birthday party for The Bride's mum. Thirty people started the day at Al Dente with a yummy breakfast and the first alcohol of the day.... Mimosa which is a blend of champagne and orange juice. I don't usually drink before the sun shines over the yardarm, but I had to make an exception in this case.... of course!

The bus called in at three wineries in the Niagara area. We stopped at Fielding Estate, which was modern and bright and full of gleaming stainless steel tanks, Calumus Estate, small and rustic and located in a converted barn, and Vineland Estate, one of the biggest commercial wineries in the area. All beautiful in their own way.

At each stop, we were treated to samples of two white wines, and two red wines.

But I have to admit, once I had tasted six or more wines in quick succession, my taste buds were starting to rebel, and my tummy too! But the wines at Calamus were all good, and I bought a couple of bottles of the 2007 Calamus Red Reserve, which, I was assured by the nice Calamus owner, was a very good year for red wine. Lots of summer sunshine trapped in those bottles.

Growing grapes and winemaking have been a tradition in the Niagara Region for over 200 years. The mild climate is ideal for growing grapes, and all kinds of fruit too... cherries, peaches, apples. It's gorgeous at apple blossom time.

But even though I tried to "see, swirl, sniff, sip, savour" and appreciate the subtle differences in each wine, I have never been able to detect "aromas of raspberry and green pepper" or "citrus notes with a hint of spice and honey" as enticingly described in the brochures.

I just know if I like it or not.

At the end of the tour the bus took us back to Al Dente for a four course dinner with Niagara wines paired with each course. The food was mmmmmm great! And so were the wines. By the end of the day we had tasted at least sixteen different wines.

I don't think I need to look at another glass of wine until some time next week. And maybe not even then! I think I'm all wined out for a while.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Chubby Cheeks

Cousinly love.... I think that's what it's called!

But he might be just taking the opportunity to have a quick torture session loving squeeze and not get told off.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Petty Harbour

More pictures of Newfoundland.... just because it's so pretty.
The town of Petty Harbour (and it's neighbour Maddox Cove) has been occupied since at least 1598.
We stopped at the only cafe looking for some refreshment on a hot afternoon.

OlderSon and I had stopped there a few years ago and asked if they served coffee.

" Right away, my dears, just take a seat and I'll bring two coffees over to you".

We sat at a booth by the window and enjoyed the tranquil scene of fishing boats in the harbour.

There was the sound of conversation and a kettle boiling in a back room, and then a tray arrived.

Two fancy china cups of hot water, two teaspoons, a sugar bowl and a jar of instant Nescafe!

"There you are, my dears, make it as strong as you like!"

Times have changed since my last visit to Petty Harbour. The booths have gone now, the windows have been boarded up to make room for shelves and the little cafe has turned into a tiny grocery store selling everything a Petty Harbour resident could possibly need. And there's one of those fancy coffee machines, where you choose a little container of flavoured coffee, press a button, WOOOSH! and magically, coffee dribbles into a paper cup. Such is progress.

We settled for icecream instead.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Red Sky at Night.... Sailor's Delight

Ahhh... that's better! A little cooler yesterday and today. A welcome reprieve from this summer's endless high humidity and heat.

And yesterday evening.....

.... this fiery sunset lit up the sky! The promise of another lovely day in store.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Meltdown

I've noticed that the phrase "global warming" isn't bandied about any more. Instead we get "climate change" which sounds much more benign. But whatever it's called, it's here.

All those weather people on TV were right in their dire predictions that 2010 would be a recordbreaking hot summer. It's been hot hot hot throughout North America, and I'm finding it a bit much!

Up here in the Great White North, Canadians live for the summer. We endure below freezing temperatures from November to April, and at the first sign of melting snow, we joyfully throw off our scarves and gloves and winter coats, open all the windows, put on our shorts, and bask in the sun.

I look forward to summer. I love the sunshine.
I love wearing teeshirts and capris and sandals and bright summer colours.

But this summer has been just too darn hot for me. I've spent a lot of time in the shade, or seeking out air conditioned shopping malls (no a/c at my house). Or desperately begging friends to let me swim in backyard pools to stop my brain from melting.

I hate to admit it, but I'll be glad when this summer cools down a bit.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Harbour Grace

The people of the town of Harbour Grace on Conception Bay have traditionally made their living from fishing and fish processing, but in the 1920s and '30s, the town airstrip was a favourite starting point for attempts to cross the Atlantic by air.
Amelia Earhart took flight from the airstrip at Harbour Grace on May 20, 1932, to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

"The Spirit of Harbour Grace" is a restored 1943 Douglas DC-3 on display at the Riverhead since 1993, commemorating Harbour Grace's rich aviation history.
And in the bottom left corner, the "Kyle" is visible.

The SS "Kyle" was built in Newcastle, UK, in 1913, and was used as a ferry between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and later between Newfoundland and Labrador. By 1960, she became a sealing vessel, but after a losing encounter with an iceberg in 1967, SS "Kyle" returned to Harbour Grace for repairs.
That winter, she broke her moorings in a vicious storm, and instead of breaking up on the rocks, the winds drove her to the Riverhead, where she has remained ever since. Local legend says that it was not the "Kyle"'s destiny to go to an underwater grave
.
Instead, the SS "Kyle" was guided to it's final resting place in Riverhead by the "seaman's ghost" - where the vessel's illustrious past would never be forgotten.

The history of SS "Kyle" is here. If you have time, read it, it's fascinating. A way of life that's gone forever.


The Harbour Grace shipyard is full of fishing vessels under repair. Will this one ever challenge the high seas of the North Atlantic again?

Just across the road from the shipyard, we ate fish'n'chips at the Harbour Grace Hotel. Fresh cod, right out of the ocean.
Mmmm, their fish'n'chips are some good, b'y!

More posts about our time in Newfoundland below.... just scroll down.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Ocean Sciences Centre

The Ocean Sciences Centre at Logy Bay just outside St John's is a cold ocean research facility operated in conjunction with Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Research is conducted on North Atlantic organisms ranging from bacteria to seals. Seal behaviour has been studied here for more than 20 years, and the seals look well fed and happy.

We watched the seals until the "nippers" drove us away.... but the best of all was the Touch Tank. The tank is at child level, and is full of fascinating and colourful creatures found in the rock pools and beaches in the area. Isaac loved it. He wanted to get in there with both hands.

A beautiful orange sea anemone.

A spider crab, who didn't really appreciate being picked up, and waved his claw menacingly.

An enormous sea star. One of the biggest I have ever seen. And in a fashionable designer colour too. Most sea stars have 5 arms but there are species with as many as 40 arms, or more!

A hermit crab has made his home in an empty whelk shell.

Everything in the Touch Tank is safe to touch, and is presided over by two knowledgeable University students. A great place to spend a couple of hours on a mausy Newfoundland morning.

For more about Newfoundland, see previous posts below.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

You Missed a Bit!

Just popped in to the harbour....

.... for a quick paint touch-up!

For more Newfoundland pics, see posts below.