A Sad But Happy Day???

Yesterday was the celebration of life for my friend Heidi that passed away in October last year.  Why wait 9 months to have the COL?  Because her husband wanted it to be at her happy place, which is in Point Roberts WA where their cottage is.  Such a pretty place…..she spent most of the summer there every year.  Winter was not the time to have it and yesterday was a gorgeous day…..warm, lots of sun, just what she liked.

After the service at the cemetery, where the ashes are, we all headed to a little local restaurant that was right on the water.  Beautiful garden, beautiful view….kids and dogs running around….just what she would have wanted.

It was sad because she’s gone. Such a great tribute to her by many people….family, friends, neighbours.  She will be remembered as a kind and giving, generous person….and for some of her quirks such as shopping!!  Happy because of all the good memories and lots of laughs.

I know her husband waited until now so all would be just perfect for her but such a long time for him to get some closure.  He said it was hard especially the last few weeks putting all this together…..those things that you’ve slowly started tucking away at the back of your mind all come back bringing that emptiness with it.  He had lots of help from lots of good, close friends which got him through all this.

A bunch of people went back to the cottage after which was nice.  I hadn’t been there for years….Ken was still here then….I’d gone down for the day, for a girls day.  Heidi made a great lunch and we talked and laughed for hours….was a really nice time.  We were going to do it again….but life got in the way and it just never happened.

I think Mike will be OK now.  He’s got a bike (motorcycle) trip planned in the next couple of weeks with some buddies which he’s looking forward too…..you need things to look forward too.  There is no going back so the only way you can go is ahead and you’ve got to make the best of it and take any opportunity to do things or get away or whatever that comes up.

Today for me is a yard day…..I hope to finish the bark mulch and get a bit more of the moss sprayed.  I just did a small patch the other day with the dish soap and water and it’s working!!  So happy about that, except of course I’m going to have to rake all that up and will likely have a few/many bare patches to reseed.

We’re heading into a bit of heatwave here for the next week…..I love it!  Highs up in the mid-30’sC (95ishF).

Tomorrow is the last baseball games of the season and our wind up party.  It should be fun.  I’ll miss it but I’m not that into it that I’ll be joining another league as many of the other do.  Once a week for a few months is good enough for me for now…..maybe next year I’ll get into it a bit more but this was a good start.  Lots of great ladies so tomorrow should be a lot of fun.  One of the best things about this league is that the total cost for the season was $15!!  That includes the wind up party…..not a bad deal at all.



I Love The Summer!

And it’s been a pretty darn good one so far!  Lots of sun, very little rain (maybe not good for fires..), not too hot (high temps 24ishC/75-80F).

I’ve been out and about just about everyday for the last couple of weeks.

One of the fun things we did was on Wednesday…..my friend Donna and I met another friend for lunch but because we were a little early we stopped by a winery for a quick tasting…..turned out to be a little longer than quick!!  Tasted about 4 of their wines and then the winemaker came in and we chatted a bit with him…..he then pulled out a couple of bottles that they were working on and wanted out opinions on what we thought about them!  We’re far from experts but he didn’t care because that’s not who would be drinking his wine!

Lunch was lots fun once we eventually got there…..lots of catching up.  Donna and Loyann had not seen each other since out trip to China almost 2 years ago!  More wine of course 🙂

Yesterday was my granddaughters appointment at Childrens Hospital, which is always a fun day for us.  Lunch and then back to my place for the rest of the afternoon.  Bev and I “played” tennis and she joined us as our ball girl and was treated to a couple of bucks and a big popsicle!  She saved us a lot of bending over!  I say “played” because we really are not very good….really, really not good.  It was a little warm so maybe that was out problem…lol.  But practice makes perfect right so we’ll definitely get out again……one day.

A few mornings of work here and there, gardening, some housecleaning (cleaning lady only comes once a month now 😦  ) and I’m not sure exactly what else but I seem to be keeping myself pretty occupied which is a good thing.

The other day I was talking to a friend and she was telling me about a little morning road trip to somewhere that her and her husband had done….that was the first time in a long time that I had a bit of a pity party for me!  Just one of those things that you don’t do when there is just you!  I’d been so busy doing whatever it is I’ve been doing and hadn’t really had one of those “moments” for a long time.  I must say I kind of tuned her out….that’s why I can’t remember where she said they went……it just made me think of that as one of those things that I can’t do now.  I love my lunches and excursions with the girls, but it just isn’t the same.  Luckily I got over it quick enough but I do wish those things wouldn’t still bother me….oh well!

Work today and gardening….I’m making my own homemade mosskiller for my lawn…..I’m just going to try it in a small area first because my lawn is pretty much all moss and I’ve worked really hard at getting the bits of grass here and there back to green-ish (was all brown when I got back from holidays).  It’s just dishsoap and water but you have to get the proportions right or it could also kill that grass.  I’ll also have go and invest in a new rake to rake out all those moss once it’s dead.  Should be interesting to see if this really works.

More holiday pics and reports to come…..Italy next time.  I’ll probably have to do a couple because there is just so much there to appreciate and share.



Another city to go back and spend some time in!

Ten years ago we drove through it, this time I spent one night there.  Next time it will be a couple of days…..lots to see, lots of history, lots of good restaurants, food, wine and shopping!

The flight (British Airways from Heathrow) was great…just a couple of hours but they served us breakfast!  Had clear skies all the way so flying over the Alps was pretty spectacular.  Mountains, lush valleys with lakes….



Bologna and the beautiful surrounding rolling hills……and smog!

We arrived in Bologna early afternoon which at least gave us some time to do a bit of exploring.  Taxi from the airport to “centro storico” was a flat rate, which I can’t remember now.  It took a while because it was a holiday weekend and traffic was a little crazy as everyone was heading out of town to hit the coast….the heatwave had started! We stayed at the Hotel San Donato, which was in a great location for walking everywhere.  They also have a couple of lovely terraces with great views of the city.  We started our visit off with an aperol spritz (good but a little too sweet for me!).  Drinks were served with peanuts and other little snacky things…..which is pretty much the norm anywhere in Italy or Europe…definitely doesn’t happen at home!!

Bologna view from terrace

View from the terrace…

It’s a beautiful old city with lots of piazzi and porticos or colonnaded walkways which nicely protect you from the weather while shopping  Lots of great cafes, restaurants and shops with beautiful clothes, jewelry….if only my suitcase hadn’t already weighed a ton!!  And shoe stores…..and the scarves……


Bologna also has a leaning tower.  There used to be a couple of hundred but of course over the last few hundred years they’ve either fallen down or been taken down.  Supposedly they were built by rich families as a form of protection or just simply to show off their wealth.  There are only a few left standing today….one of which leans.


We had lunch a great little café just down the street from our hotel……13E for your choice of a couple of different kinds of pasta and a salad.  We celebrated the next leg of our trip with a couple of bottles of wine…..a nice leisurely lunch to get into the Italian way of life!

The doumo (San Petronio Basilica) is very interesting…..the front façade has never been finished!  Over the years (hundreds…) apparently a number of people were commissioned to do a plan for finishing it but I guess whoever was in charge wasn’t impressed so today it remains as it was 500+ years ago.  The inside is beautiful….huge.  It is the largest basilica in the world built of bricks!!  There was a mass happening so we didn’t venture inside too far but like most churches in Italy many frescos, beautiful tile and a lot of decadence.IMG_1882

The food shops were most impressive…..as they are everywhere in Italy!  It’s “eye candy” for your stomach…..everything is displayed beautifully.  We did pick up a few goodies for the next day when we arrived at our house.  Lots of wine stores…..picked up some of that too!!


We had dinner at a pizza place…..good but not the best I’ve had in Italy.  One thing I should have learned from other trips there is that a small pizza really would feed a family!!  We probably should have just split one or two between the 4 of us…..live and learn, or in my case, NOT!!  Next time I will remember!

One thing that was pointed out to us by taxi drivers, the desk people at the hotel, the waiter in the café and just about everyone else we talked to……contrary to popular belief, Bolognese sauce is not from Bologna!!  I must say we didn’t see “spaghetti Bolognese” on any menu, so we have to take their word for it!

Back to the hotel for a nightcap on the terrace which had a terrific view of the Bologna rooftops and the towers.

Breakfast the next morning was included at the hotel…..very good continental type with lots of variety…..cheeses, meats, fruit, bread and hardboiled eggs!

I was joined on the terrace by pigeons…..as soon as they see you, they appear hoping for a crumb or two…..it was a gorgeous morning and a great place to just sit and enjoy my coffee.

Bologna pigeons

It’s a very clean city…..I was very impressed with the garbage system!!  I know really …..but I did wonder why the garbage cans were never overflowing at the end of the day like you see in many other places……who knew!

Bologna garbage pick up

all you see on the street is the small garbage can-ish thing on the top…..the rest of the container is buried under the street!  The truck comes along and lifts the entire contraption up and somehow dumps it in the back….really quite impressive!

So much more of Bologna to see on another trip…..



…and the other 16000 or so yesterdays!  All MY troubles did seem to far away.

Yesterday was our 43rd anniversary……Happy Anniversary Ken!  I know you are with me all the time in spirit.

Who knew where life would take me…..I never thought about this time in my life.  There were no “real” troubles back then.  Young and happy in those days.  It’s a good thing in a way that you don’t think too far into the future….all the what could be’s, all those things that happen to someone else.  Life would be awful if you worried about that!!

I don’t think my trouble are here to stay though….moving forward is the only way to go, right?  No going backwards, no changing what has happened….it is what it is.  Life is good!  Perhaps not as good as it could have been, but I have nothing, at least nothing that I can change, to complain about and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of making it work.

This anniversary kind of just went by…..I did think about it of course but it wasn’t as emotional as the last three……the first one was especially hard.  Now it’s a day that I celebrate in my head and in my heart.

Happy Anniversary Ken.  Love you always…..





BC is Burning!!

So many forest fires happening right now……very scary!  I was going to post about our one day in Bologna……next one.

B.C. wildfires map 2017: Current location of wildfires around the province

This morning the sky is that hazy, orange/pink-ish colour which means the smoke from all the fires is heading this way.  The closest one is a few hundred miles away but after days and days and days of it and with the wind/current direction being what it is, it’s working is way towards us.  The same thing happened a couple of years ago and I think back then the fires were even further away.


The mountains have disappeared……a very hazy blue sky this morning.


The air quality here will be terrible now for the next few days…..until Thursday when we’re supposed to see a bit of rain.

I feel terrible for all the people that have been evacuated or worse still for those that have lost their homes.   I just can even imagine what that would be like.  Some relatives and friends of friends have relocated hundreds of miles from their homes.  In a number of areas that haven’t been hit with the fires communities have set up evacuation centres and campgrounds for people that have had to pack up and go.

I love summer but inevitably if we have the great weather for any period of time the possibility of these fires becomes reality.

I’ve been doing yard work……this seems like an endless project but one that is really quite satisfying and gives me a great sense of accomplishment.  Part of my problem is deciding what to do with certain areas of my yard, then doing it AND not changing my mind the next year!!  Slowly but surely I will get there.  Who knew there are about 4 or 5 different kinds of bark mulch??  One inch fir or cedar mulch, there are “chips” of both kinds too and then another that is made from something else and just looked like lumpy dirt!!  The landscape store sells it by the bucket….small buckets to me about the size of regular pail that you would have hanging around.  I can manage 4 buckets per garbage bag…..anymore than that and I can’t lift the bag.  Hostas are the latest plants….a few more to get and few more bags of mulch and I’ll be finished with the area around the patio under my deck.  The grass thing that I started a couple of years ago just didn’t work…..looked awful.  Not enough sun there and now that I’m cutting my own grass was way too much trouble to get around there.

Before…..looking down from my deck.  Not so nice 😦

And a work in progress….looking better already but a lot more to do.  My neighbor, the landscaper (too expensive for my budget!!), got some rhodos for my from one of his reno sites….very nice of him and he planted them too!!  He told me to just put newspaper down to block the weeds and grass….he said it works just as good so we’ll see!


I’m hoping I’ll get this finished today, or at least most of it……then I’ll get back to that walkway at the side of my house.  A lot of bending and crouching happening……advil to the rescue!


And lastly my hanging basket.  I had to buy one this year because of being away in June.  It was too late to start a moss basket when I got home and I didn’t want to start one before I went away…..my daughter would have had to remember to water it, along with all the other stuff.  I was lucky because I found one I liked and they were all 30% off!


East End Foodie Tour

What a great day this was!!  The east end http://wikitravel.org/en/London/East_End is an up and coming neighbourhood….in the  transitional stages….a mix of old and new, trendy and trashy, traditional British food markets and an ethnic mix from the Middle East, North Africa and even the Caribbean!!

We started at Spitalfields market…..one of the oldest in London.  Tons of “stuff”….new and used (sourvenirs and flea market combo), household goods,  fresh veggies, flowers, meat shops, cheese shops and take out food stands galore……the food all smelled delicious and looked amazing and incredibly appetizing.  We had a coffee and croissant while waiting for our guide….Harry.

He was a young guy (25) kind of a hippy and right into food, which made him a great guide.

We tasted everything from bread pudding to beer and cider.


First stop for a “Bacon Buddy” and a glass of wine!!  Apparently the best bacon buddies in London….definitely good.

Next stop….one of the oldest pubs in London for bread pudding with that decadent white sauce that Brits put on everything!!

Cheese! A transplanted Frenchman that knew his cheese!

Poppies fish and chips….supposedly the best in London.  Very good.


That’s Poppy in the background in the striped shirt….he’s had the business since the 50’s.  Now ran by his sons but he still goes everyday to sit and visit with customers.

Another “oldest”…..tasted a couple different beer/ales and ciders, which is apparently what everyone is drinking these days.


Harry in the white shirt telling us all about the pub, which was packed at 1PM!

Signs…..old and new buildings and Truman, the original brewery in the area.  Has been brought back to life by someone that seen the potential during the transition of the east end.


A big gin sign on Bacon street!  Two of my favorite things 🙂



Still a soup kitchen today…..this one is relatively new.  This area has always been a “foodie” place going back a few hundred years when it was outside of London city proper…..there was always food for the working poor.

Our last stop of the day was for Pakistani food…..I was so excited I forgot to take any pictures!  We basically had a whole meal….I think there were six different dishes and breads, all were delicious and beautifully presented.

We also visited one of the first and oldest bagel joints in London……no pic 😦

The tour was not cheap at 69GBP ($110CDN) but well worth it.  We were absolutely stuffed by the time we finished and had learned so much about this relatively unknown, to us, area of London.  It lasted 4+ hours and I can’t even begin to think how much ground we covered.

We finished in Shoreditch (not sure where they came up with these names….all meant something in their day I’m sure!).  Another trendy area where they’re using old containers for shops and old buildings and businesses are being converted into trendy and modern new restaurants and bars, all while keeping the original facades which is really great.

The whole area is amazing and part of London that up until recently most people didn’t explore…..but like everywhere, things change and in this case I think for the good.

This was our last day in London.  Off to Italy bright and early the next morning……



Such a great city!  A real mix of the old and the new…..

Iconic London……the Tower of London with a rather ominous looking black cloud hanging over it and Big Ben.  Luckily we didn’t get rained on…..missed the storm completely!


Many new modern buildings….this one is referred to as “The Shard”

And of course we stopped for lunch……on our last trip I had the best fish pie ever somewhere along Fleet Street.  This was not the same place…..good but not as good as the last one….the drink was really good though!  I was the special of the day….a fancy gin and tonic….so very British!


Fish pie with peas and kale…..and a G & T

As a teenager in the late 60’s I would have given anything to visit Carnaby Street!  Twiggy, Mary Quant and everyone else that shopped there or had their products advertised in Seventeen Magazine…..it’s still a fun street to visit.  Lots of shops still, pubs and cafes and some eclectic street art.

Crappy pictures I’m afraid….I always seem to be facing the wrong direction and they look so dark!

We also visited St Pauls Cathedral…..18GBP’s to get in!!  We found the “secret passage” which turned out to be about a 1000 steps up to the dome!!  Beautiful church and was where Chuck and Di were married.

London is not the most “walkable” city just because it’s sooooo big.  Thankfully they have an excellent tube system that we made use of along with the HOHO bus.  Once you get to a certain area, walking is easy (no hills).  We did Piccadilly Square, Carnaby and Oxford streets one afternoon.  Another day we did Fleet St, St Pauls and the Tower of London area….and so on.  Our last day we did a “Foodie Walking Tour” of the East end…..will post about that next!  England is a lot more than roast beef and Yorkshire puddings and mushy peas!

This was my 3 or 4th trip to London…..next time I go I’m going to head north to Yorkshire or the Lake District or west to Cornwall…..I think I’ve seen all London has to offer and there is so much more of England/Great Britain to explore!   I’ve never been anywhere except London and a day trip to Brighton….which is a fun place.

My last trip there was in 2010 en route to Greece!  Ken and I stayed a day or two so we could visit the British Museum to see the Elgin Marbles https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgin_Marbles and all the other Greek stuff that was there and not in Greece!!  I remember we had a great lunch at the Museum Tavern across the street…..bangers and mash and a pint!  Seems like such a long time ago now…..

Today is yard work day……I’m making progress but there is still a lot more to do out there.  The kids are coming over so I’ll put them to work….they like to “help”.  I’m going to tackle my new lawnmower too…..that will be interesting and I’m sure I’ll have a few choice words for it.  But then I can use my new leaf blower….which is just the best thing ever!


Jet Lag….Delayed!

I was fine, or so I thought……until Monday!  I could barely keep my eyes open all afternoon.  Tuesday was OK…back to work for a few hours and bought myself a new “yard toy” (leafblower/vacuum) so that kept me busy but again yesterday it was all I could do to stop myself from going to have a nap…..which I did eventually end up doing around 2.  That was after I dealt with the ants!!

OMG….they are everywhere this year.  Last couple of years I’ve had them on the deck but this year they’ve found their way into the kitchen.  I put a little dish of sugar water near the door and just left it for a couple of hours…..I was able to see where they (all 5000+ of them!!) where coming from and, after putting the cats in the bedroom, sprayed like crazy.  They were coming in from under the door to the deck so I sprayed both inside and outside and then spent an hour sweeping up ants, inside and outside!  So far no sign of them today….I’ll pick up some ant traps today and keep that spray handy though.

I’ve gone to bed the last couple of nights before it was even dark!!  That is so not like me.  Both nights I got a good sleep, so I’m hoping today I’ll get some energy back…..so much I want to do outside especially since we’re really having summer now.

I started going through my pictures…..not as many as usual but more than enough!

London to start……such a great city!  Lots of walking of course.  Brenda and I did the HOHO bus one day, which was a fun way to get an overview of the city.



Covent Gardens…..now a shopping centre with some great boutiques and just behind it a market, sort of a combination of sourvenirs and flea market stuff.  Fun place to wander around and listen to the music.


The mews behind our hotel…..notice the Rolls! I’d love to live there….once they were all out buildings (staff housing, barns and garages) from the old manor houses and estates. I saw more fancy cars….Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys etc. in London than anywhere I’ve been, including Dubai!!


The last part of the changing of the guards….they close down “The Mall” all morning for this….a zillion people out to watch it.  We sort of stumbled on it….my plan was to walk up The Mall along St James Park, which is very pretty with lots of ducks and swans on the lake….not realizing that the changing of the guard was still happening!  As a result it was incredibly crowded with lots of police doing crowd control so more less just had to follow the crowds….be we did finally get to Trafalgar Square!


Very pretty and very crowded….a great place to wander around and people watch!

I’ve been to London a few times and really enjoy the city.  Did and seen a lot of the same things I’ve done before but really you can’t get too tired of doing that….the history itself is so impressive along with the buildings, old and new.  And it was so good to see it as busy as it was…..not so much from MY touristy perspective (too crowded, lone line ups etc.) but for their sake…..it’s good to see that people are still visiting in droves and from everywhere!  I’m pretty sure it was more crowded that it has ever been when I was there before.

Time to get stuff done around here……that is if I can stay awake!


I’m Home!

And back to reality…..ah sigh.

I have emptied my suitcase and got all the laundry done but I’ve still got bits and pieces, mostly papers, scattered all over the place.  All those things that you keep because of course you’re going to get it all put in an album or box or somewhere so you can look back on all those special travel moments…..

Hopefully over the next day or two I’ll get back into my old routine….or with any luck a somewhat better routine….and get posting again.  Lots of pictures but not as many as usual.  I tried to take more food pictures this time but was often so excited about whatever it was I was going to eat I’d dig in before I remembered to take the picture!!

There were a couple of nights that we had super 3 or maybe even 5 star dining experiences in France…..simply because there was nothing else close to where we were staying….what a great opportunity though to be able to enjoy meals like that…..not cheap though so not something that I would normally treat myself to on my trips.

Biking was good….I certainly could have been in better shape, although I don’t think anything except a lot of experience and mega leg muscles could have prepared us for some of the hills we encountered…..we were definitely not expecting those based on the description of our level 1 tour!!

Italy and France are really two incredibly beautiful countries to visit…..the food, the people, the scenery and of course the wine!!  I’ve never been disappointed by either.