Wednesday, 30 November 2016

No Smoking

Definitely NO SMOKING here!

Schell Lumber has been the local centre for providing building supplies and equipment to commercial construction companies and eager home do-it-yourselfers since 1922 when Wesley Schell purchased the property then owned by The Canada Bee Supply Company.
Wesley Schell's sons Harry and Percy started helping out in the 1940s, and ran the business until 2002. The next generation of Schells is now in charge, with a fourth generation of the Schell family as employees.

The main brick building is over 100 years old. Many pairs of boots have clumped up these stairs to the Sash and Door Shop above the main store where a variety of antique milling machines can reproduce practically any type of molding, dovetailing, cornices, crown molding, mortise and tenon window frames etc.... you name it, Schell Lumber can make it for you.

And just in case you didn't see the NO SMOKING sign, here's the heart of the very necessary sprinkler system. For some reason I really like complicated piping..... must be all those years I spent designing natural gas pipelines!

Friday, 25 November 2016

What Am I Bid?

If you want a couple of hours of free entertainment, just come to one of the local country auctions. It's great for my favourite hobby of "people watching" and you might score a bargain at the same time.

The auctions are held in the local Community Centre, usually on a long holiday weekend, like Easter or Thanksgiving. Notice goes out in the newspaper, and interested buyers come long distances to take a risk and spend their money.

I occasionally find something I really want, and bid on it, not always successfully I admit, but this time everyone was outbid by a couple of  buyers who were intent on clearing all the tables, and other bidders just didn't get a chance. I watched one of the men make notes in his notebook after each successful bid.... in Arabic. I was amazed at the different items they bought.... furniture, pictures, books, antiques, junk. Perhaps they were opening a store???

See anything you might have bid on? Too late, it's all gone.... sorry. See you at the next auction.

Saturday, 19 November 2016


It's known as T.O. Short for Toronto, Ontario. The Big Bad City.

I was in Toronto recently, visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario to view the current exhibition "Mystical Landscapes". Paintings by Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edvard Munch, Paul Gaugin, James McNeil Whistler, Emily Carr, many more. Wonderful exhibition! Paintings by 37 artists from 14 countries, exploring the mystical experiences of a spiritual path to faith.
On the way, I stopped at Nathan Phillips Square in front of City Hall to admire the TORONTO sign. It was first put up for the Commonwealth Games held in Toronto in the summer of 2015, and was so popular that it's still there.

And I stopped on my way back too.... it lights up at night. And the colours are always changing.

After an exhausting afternoon admiring the works of Monet and Van Gogh and their painter friends, I was close to starving.... so there's nothing better than a bacon and cheese sausage on a bun, smothered with lots of onions and pickles and hot sauce from one of the street vendors on Queen Street. I sat on a bench and munched my sausage and watched the people climbing all over the TORONTO sign.

Then I caught the train home!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Leonard Cohen

No words, just my tribute to a beloved novelist, poet, songwriter, recording artist, performer and above all a great Canadian.
Sorry Leonard, I know it's not the best likeness.

Friday, 11 November 2016


Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McRae wrote this poem on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer who died in the gun positions near Ypres.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The poem has been set to music many times, but this is my favourite version.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Fun Art

My Art Group likes to try different crazy things. You get stale without innovation. Last month we tried painting on pre-printed fabric and changing it to something totally different. I found a sample of terribly boring upholstery fabric, stapled it to a used rubbish 12"x16" canvas (a painting of tulips that resembled lollipops), slapped some gesso on, and started painting.

Here's the Before Version, horrible isn't it:

And here's the After Version:
Fun to do, but I can guarantee that this masterpiece will never be hung on a wall anywhere!

Last week we tried stamping with leaves and painting with twigs and seedpods. Rather messy and a total waste of paper and paint, but definitely fun. Rather like going back to those happy days spent with Miss Goss in the babies class at Primary School. This is one of the cleanest pages of the sketchbook.

Next week we are trying Tie Dye.... that should be even messier!

Friday, 4 November 2016

Oh What a Night!

Back on a rainy day in September I went on a bus trip with my friend Ms VS to the Walters Dinner Theatre in Bright, near Woodstock, Ontario. After a yummy buffet lunch of roast turkey and dressing and spuds and veg and cranberry sauce, with apple crisp to follow, we saw "Oh What a Night", a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, supposedly direct from Las Vegas. 
I'm never quite sure about those tribute shows. It seems they are trying to make a buck copying performers from the past, and never quite replicate the original, but this show was really good. An assortment of different performers present this show in many locations, but the cast featured here were talented and acted and sounded just as amazing as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons back in the 60s and 70s.
Do you remember Walk Like a Man, Oh What a Night, Can't Take My Eyes Off You, My Eyes Adored You, Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry.....

And of course, we both took advantage of the inevitable photo op after the show.

The youngest member of the group was awesome... he was the son of the tall chap on the right..... the one who reminds me so much of Donny Osmond.

BTW, in case you need to know, Frankie Valli was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio in New Jersey in 1934, and is still touring with the Four Seasons. Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli, Nick Massi and Bob Gaudio were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Scary? You Bet!

Hallowe'en Night doesn't get any scarier than this!

My eyes still hurt from looking at all those glowing pumpkins.