Monday 31 July 2017

Bamberg, Germany

   Spent the weekend in bed with a stomach bug - had to be close to the toilet. I spent most of the time sleeping which is a shame as it was a lovely weekend. I managed to eat something today and felt well enough to go to Bridge. I left early as I was bushed but got someone to take my spot. Will try to have some dinner tonight but it will be another early night.

   Next stop on the cruise was Bamberg where we had a culinary walking tour so I had a light breakfast. We had liverwurst and a kind of meatloaf at a butchers, a croissant and rhubarb cake at a bakery. Next stop was a brewery but I didn't sample the beer - too dark and frothy! Last stop was a street vendor where we had a sausage in a bun. We had a little free time for a walk around the town and met back in the main square just as it started to rain. It was the coolest day so far. The rain became quite heavy but we couldn't use the sundeck anyway as it is still closed for the low bridges.

The town centre is on an island and this is one side of the river.


Friday 28 July 2017

First Tomatoes

   Loads of tomatoes on my six plants and I have picked a few cherry tomatoes. I should start getting some of the big ones in the next week or two.

    The day started overcast and a bit windy but by noon the skies had cleared and the wind dropped. Two sets of tennis then home for a swim, lunch and a nap. More gardening and another swim - this is getting to be my regular routine. Fried fish with lemon and peas for dinner. I enjoyed it but found that my usual choice of fish, Basa, is quite high in cholesterol and salt. I will have to check the nutrients chart more carefully. 

   More about the cruise tomorrow.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Murphy's Law

   I'm not sure if this qualifies as Murphy's Law but you be the judge. Yesterday the pool guy left me a note to add 2 inches of water to the pool (we use the metric system here, believe it or not!). So I dutifully did so. This morning we had a couple of hours of really heavy rain which added another two inches to the pool so now it is up to the brim. I could have saved myself the money and the bother if I had been a bit lazy and just waited until today. Luckily water here is not very expensive - we have so much of it.

   Lunch with the RODEO ladies today at Bluffer's Restaurant down by the lake. I had a seafood quiche with a Caesar salad - all very delicious. Still stuffed so just soup and a sandwich for dinner tonight.

   Next stop on the cruise was Nuremberg - a bus tour that included stops at the Justice Court House (where the Nuremberg trials were held) and the castle, which we only viewed from the outside - rather underwhelming. We had the option to return in the afternoon but I declined - and avoided a soaking as there was heavy rain. That evening my quiz team shared a bottle of "bubbly", our prize for winning the quiz the other night!
The courtyard of the castle - didn't realize the crane was in my view!
The view of the town from the castle ramparts.

The rooms in the Court House where the trials were held.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Regensburg, Germany

   Another overcast day but still mild and no rain. The pool guy was in bright and early to balance the chemicals and do a backwash. He left a note to fill the pool a bit so the hose was on for a couple of hours. I haven't had to use much water this summer with all the rain we've had.

   Usual day at the Seniors centre and home by 3:00 p.m. I filled another bin with weeds and tidied up a border on the north side of the house. My north neighbour has really let that area of his garden go to seed so I think the weeds are blowing over from his property. I hope I will shame him into doing something about it. 
   I have been overdosing on "Game of Thrones" this week. It's season six and I finally got it from the library last Friday. I will watch the final episode tonight. It's very brutal but the villain was eaten by his dogs in last night's episode so things may be working out for the good guys!

   Our next stop on the cruise was Regensburg, walking tour of the town, visited the cathedral to hear the choir - wonderful organ music - and visited the Thrum and Taxis museum, an example of Baroque splendour. The boat departed at 12:45 and shortly after we left the Danube and entered the Main canal which links with the Main River and then on to the Rhine. In the evening we crossed the Continental Divide so now all the locks would be lowering us as we proceeded towards the North Sea. The sun deck remained closed for the next few days as the bridges on the canal are all very low. Don't want to lose out heads!

Another cathedral!

Entrance to the museum - the Thrum and Taxis family (fabulously wealthy) still live there.

We couldn't go under this bridge - the captain had to back up the way he had come to reach the canal.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Passau, Germany

   Started off overcast, windy and cool but improved immeasurably as the day progressed. First thing this morning was to turn on the pool heater as the grandkids were coming over for lunch and a swim. The water was only 72F this morning!

    Tennis until 10:30 then I stopped by Judy's school to see how she was doing organizing her new classroom. It's a bit of a disaster area at the moment. Natalie and James had been "helping" her but they came home with me. She stayed for another hour and got a few more garbage bags filled. The room has been the domain of a (now retired) Kindergarten teacher who left everything behind. How exasperating!

   Next stop on the Cruise was Passau, our first stop in Germany (Durstein and Melk are actually in Austria) which is on an island between two rivers. We had a walking tour of the town centre including the cathedral. Back to the boat for lunch and we sailed at 3:45.  As soon as we were underway we had a strudel making demonstration by the head chef (the meals were all fabulous) followed by samples. Another fun quiz in the evening which my team won.

Interior of the cathedral - we stayed to hear the choir - wonderful!

Strudel making - he made it look so easy.

Monday 24 July 2017

Durstein, Melk and the Wachau Valley

   Much cooler today and some rain this afternoon as I walked home from Bridge. I had several good hands and made the contract each time - my partner, Marie, had a Grand Slam - her first ever!

   I had to look in my diary to see where we went after Vienna - it was Durstein, an interesting town in the wine region of Bavaria, and a hike to a ruined castle overlooking the town and the river. After lunch on the boat we arrived at another town in the Wachau valley, Melk, where we visited a monastery. Bus there but we were given the option of walking back through the town, which I did, getting back in time for afternoon tea. As if we don't eat enough during the day! In the evening there was a lecture on the history and origins of wine. The weather was much cooler but still pleasant.

Interior of the church.

Exterior of the church.

View over Durstein to the Danube.
Entrance to the monastery in Melk.

Didn't quite make it all the way up to the ruined castle.

Sunday 23 July 2017

Vienna, Austria

   It has been overcast all day today, but quite warm - mid 20's. Two sets of tennis this morning and my wrist is much improved, almost back to normal. Kathy and I won the first set 6-2 but Cathy and Henry were up 4-3 when we had to vacate the court. I'd had enough anyway and was glad to stop.

   A rain shower later but not much so I was able to cut the rest of the grass this afternoon. The garden is looking very tidy, finally. I have some lamb chops marinating for dinner. It's ages since I had lamb - probably Easter -  but I will have to make my own mint sauce.

   Our next stop on the cruise was Vienna and we needed a bus to take us to the city centre. It was extremely hot again and although I enjoyed the walking tour, I was quite glad to get back to the boat. In the evening we had a demonstration and dance lesson of the Viennese Waltz which was fun. I got to dance with the instructor who really had me floating on air. 

Saturday 22 July 2017

Bratislava, Slovakia

    Overcast but warm for most of the day today. I cut the back grass and got the strimmer working on the borders. That should be it for the next week or two. A swim was called for after I had swept up all the clippings.

  Back to the cruise. After boarding the boat at Budapest and spending the day sight seeing, we set sail for Bratislava, Slovakia. We arrived early next morning  and went on a walking tour of downtown. It was extremely hot so we tried to keep in the shade.

Friday 21 July 2017

Budapest, Hungary

   Just my usual tennis and gardening today and two swims - my blog is getting very repetitive. However, Wednesday was different as James was over for his half birthday sleepover and we went to Red Lobster for dinner. He had garlic shrimp and popcorn shrimp with lots of French fries. I had lobster and crab dip with tostitos - pretty light on the lobster. I ate some of his shrimp and fries. We were both stuffed when we got home but we had made sausage rolls before going out and he managed to put one away before bed.

  The construction site which was my front yard is now filled in with earth and awaiting some grass seed. They were very speedy and the street is quiet once more. So on to my cruise photos.

The "Amadeus Silver" double parked in Budapest.
The "Pest" side taken from The Fisherman's Bastion on the "Buda" side.

Hero's Square, Budapest

Thursday 20 July 2017

A Construction Site

   This is what I see when I walk out of my house these days. One of the big telecom companies is laying cable all over town and it is my street's turn this week! The noise on Tuesday, when they were digging the holes, was horrendous all day - quite gave me a headache. Wonder what the next stage will entail? Stay tuned.

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Finally posting photos!

   It was a lovely day at tennis although it became quite humid as the morning progressed. Not too many people - just the regulars - so we didn't have long to wait between sets. I brought cookies to go with the coffee and they got snapped up lickety split! A swim when I got home was called for and I had another after working in the garden later this afternoon. One more border cleared of weeds!   

Some garden photos to see if the photo link is still working.

Phlox and Bee Balm (sideways).


Roses and more Bee Balm

Yah!! Tomorrow I will start loading some photos from my cruise.
So I now have posted from the computer file and the camera.

Monday 17 July 2017

Busy Monday

   Got my hair cut this morning, now the back of my neck is rather itchy. She gave me a really short cut but it will grow back (I did say "cut it shorter"). I made a pot of soup when I got home so have lunches organized for the rest of the week. It is still on the cool side (low 20's) and so comfortable. We really haven't had our usual humidity much this summer. Hope it continues.

   I walked to Bridge at noon and we had some good cards but so did the other pair. Home for a nap and some gardening. The violets are almost all gone but I know they will grow back next year. The bins are full and ready to be emptied on Wednesday along with the garbage pickup.

   Still enjoying my book, "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir" by Jennifer Ryan and I sat outside reading after the gardening. I had half an avocado topped with salsa for my appetizer followed by pork loin and broccoli casserole with lots of cheese. There will be some for tomorrow's dinner too. Going to have some frozen yogurt with a few strawberries soon!

The grandkids in the pool last week.

Sunday 16 July 2017

The Last of Wimbledon

    I managed a decent night's sleep and was up just before 8:00. A quick breakfast, tidied the kitchen, then settled in to watch the tennis. Another rather one-sided match but with some good rallies. The result was never in doubt as Roger played his usual brilliant game. At least it went to three sets (out of 5).

    A busy afternoon. After a short nap I vacuumed the pool (in between showers) came in to read for a while, than back out to dig up a border overgrown with violets. They are lovely when in flower but do tend to spread. That was backbreaking work so when I was happy with the final result I retired to the couch to read. Now it is raining again which will clean up the mess I made on the deck next to the border.

   Broiled salmon and green beans for dinner followed with some good shows on TV. I have a fairly quiet week ahead so should get my book finished.

Saturday 15 July 2017

A Lazy Day

   Just the usual Saturday routine although I started by watching the Women's Final at Wimbledon. A very close first set and I was looking forward to a real battle but the second set fizzled into Venus getting a thorough drubbing. Too bad! I hope the Men's final tomorrow is a closer match.

   I had a really long nap this afternoon which doesn't auger well for my night's sleep. I will stay up late watching TV. I don't have to be up early tomorrow.

   Just a bit of gardening later in the afternoon but it was too hot and I got tired very quickly. So a quick swim and then sat in the shade reading. My kind of summer afternoon!

Friday 14 July 2017

What a Waste of Time!

   I have just spent the last two hours waiting for Windows to load some updates (two hours!) only to find all my favourites have gone the way of the dodo! I will gradually reload them as I need them but, really, what a nuisance!

   Everything else seems to be working - when I installed Windows 10 I lost my printer connection - but my new printer is still online. I'm afraid I am not very tech savvy. I have held off getting a cell phone or tablet although I think I might be ready to take the plunge if I see a good deal. Sometime I feel I am the only person on the planet that still uses a landline exclusively!

   A nice, busy day today - out early for three sets of tennis spread over 2 hours, then home to watch the Federer/ Berdych match which Federer won in three straight sets. Marin Cilic won the other semi-final. Tomorrow is the Women's final and the Men's on Sunday.  That will fill in my weekend nicely. 

    This afternoon Anne had the "girls" over for afternoon tea so I had an early light lunch. There were 6 of us and she served finger sandwiches, luscious strawberries and melon and a delicious almond torte - and, of course, lots of cups of tea in delicate china! We had a really good gossip. Then we had a tour of her garden which is beautifully landscaped but looks like a lot of work! 

   After all these treats I didn't feel like a big meal so defrosted some shrimp and did a stir fry. It was very tasty. Another bowl of raspberries from the garden for dessert. Now a quiet night in front of the TV.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Three Days of Catch Up

   Finally able to post! I need a new blog spot - this one was unavailable for the last two days so now I have some catching up to do, not to mention still not able to post photos.

   Tuesday was a lovely day, tennis in the morning and the grandkids came over for lunch and a swim. In the evening I went to the Aviva Centre for the Rogers Cup Orientation meeting. Sandy supplied dinner - chicken souvlaki, rice and roasted veggies. Wednesday was also nice but a bit cooler and some rain in the afternoon. My usual day at the Senior`s Centre. First I watched the men`s quarter finals at Wimbledon - all the big four are out except Roger Federer, including the Canadian!

   Today was quite cool, started at 21C but dropped to mid-teens by the afternoon, intermittent rain for most of the day. Susan came over in the morning to pick up her package from the orientation meeting and stayed for coffee and to watch the ladies semi-final match with me. Then in the afternoon I had to present the financial report at the annual meeting of my Scarborough dance group - only three of us there so it was quite casual - no pressure!

   Hope the weather tomorrow is nicer. It has been an unusual summer but at least we have been able to keep the hydro costs low with no need to use the air conditioner. Picked the first batch of raspberries today and there are still lots to come. I will eat most of them but freeze some for jam later.

Monday 10 July 2017

Keeping Busy

   Not much going on today - watching tennis in the morning (still one Canadian in the mix), bridge at noon (terrible cards although Wendy and I did win one contract) and all my e-mails read and answered. I walked there and back to the senior`s centre this afternoon but that is all the exercise I have had since last week, other than gardening.

   I had a few busy hours in the kitchen this afternoon making sausage rolls for tomorrow`s pot luck at the tennis club, cauliflower soup for when the grandkids come for lunch tomorrow and my favourite Tuscan chicken dish for dinner. Now all that remains is to clean up the kitchen!

Sunday 9 July 2017

A New Book and a Quick Dinner

    A few raindrops this morning but I decided not to go to tennis as the skies were pretty dark. It didn`t actually rain but by then I had gone on to do other things. The morning seemed to go in pretty fast and I had a short nap this afternoon before finishing some gardening. The borders are looking so much better and I cut back a bush that was threatening to squeeze out the beebalm, which has grown very tall. There`s another that needs the same treatment.

    I spent quite a bit of time today reading a new library book. It has the unlikely name of `Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall` by Suzette Mayr. Like its title it is a rather quirky story but I think I am going to like it.

   I had crudites for my early evening snack (red and orange peppers, cucumber, broccoli and some pita) then used the leftover dip to prepare my dinner. I had some leftover salmon which I flaked into the sauce, added frozen peas, stirred and sprinkled it all with grated parmesan and warmed it in the toaster oven. It literally took 3 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to heat up and it was delicious!

Saturday 8 July 2017

A Quiet Day at Home

   The house cooled down nicely overnight with all the windows open and has stayed cool today with lower temperatures. I spent a good chunk of the day watching Wimbledon and saw some good matches. Still one Canadian, Milos Raonic, in the mix.

   Now that I have made a dent on the weeds, I have started trimming the borders. I bought a new pair of shears and they are working a treat - hope they stay nice and sharp. I had a nice refreshing swim after gardening. Yesterday I was in the pool twice!

   Nothing else on the agenda other than the usual Saturday chores. Salmon with peas and cauliflower for dinner, and I will have the last of the strawberries for dessert. They have kept well.

Friday 7 July 2017

Air Con is On!

   I couldn`t get on to my new post page yesterday so I will catch up today.

    I left home at 8:45 yesterday and wasn`t home until 3:15 - fitness class started yesterday, a run to the garden centre, then three hours in the kitchen. At least it was busier so I wasn`t bored. I had an interesting dinner. I cooked some chicken drumsticks in salsa (without the skin), chopped up the meat and had it in a pita (with more salsa) with veggies and lots of cheese. It was a bit messy to eat but quite yummy.

   Today I was out early to the tennis courts but I didn`t play as my wrist is still sore. It was heating up quite a bit but was overcast so not unbearable. I came up with a new system to make sure people weren`t sitting around too long. It helped that there wasn`t a big crowd! We will try it again next week.

   I spent the whole afternoon watching Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini battling it out on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Murray won although he wasn`t at his best and Fognini was on fire! Andy was lucky to pull out the win.

   More chicken tonight with Brussel sprouts but first an hour in the garden. I am gradually making a dent in the weeds. The air conditioner has just come on so it must still be hot out.

Wednesday 5 July 2017

A Close Call

   I hate it when I do something stupid but it almost happened again today. Here`s the story:

   Last Thursday I took my Prius into the dealership for an oil change. This is not a big job but they managed to find enough things wrong with the car (OK, I hadn`t taken it in for a service since last fall and it is 10 years old) for me to end up with a humungous bill - about 10 times what I had expected.

   I reasonably expected that it would now be in tip top shape. However, on Saturday, an excessively hot day, I turned on the air conditioner only to be blasted with hot air. How had they not noticed the AC was on the blink!

   I tried it again on Monday and it was still not working so yesterday I made an appointment to have it fixed. On the way over there this morning I decided to give it one last try and only then realized that the thermostat had been turned up to over 30C which was why it was heating the car instead of cooling it! Lo and behold when I turned it down to a more appropriate number, cool air flowed out.

    My only assumption is that the guys who worked on it on Thursday turned it up to test it and forgot to turn it down. So it wasn`t really my fault but I would have felt very foolish if I had made a huge fuss at the dealership only to have them fix it in seconds. So I dodged a bullet there.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Still Scratching

   Sunny and warm today so I had a swim before lunch - very refreshing! Tried to play tennis this morning but my wrist is toast! I could barely get my serve over the net. Luckily I am "on the board" on Friday so won't have to play. Watched Wimbledon this morning - one Canadian through but the others are gone.

    My ant bites are itching like crazy (only a couple of them) so I am not a happy camper. On the plus side, I managed another batch of strawberry jam today and prepped the rest of the berries for the freezer. I kept out a few for desserts today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, a few were too ripe when picked and had gone so mushy they had to go in the composter. 15 jars of jam - that should last me all year. I still have one jar left from last year even though I gave some away as gifts. I will make some rhubarb and ginger jam later in the summer.

   I bought a sweet pepper plant at half price on the way home from tennis today. It looks very healthy despite being so late in the season for plants. I may get another later. Still space in the vegetable patch for some other veggies if I can find them.

Monday 3 July 2017

Strawberry Fields Forever

   Out of the house early to pick strawberries. I forgot it was a holiday and the strawberry farm was crawling with people carrying baskets and buckets - also lots of kids. But I was there early enough to get my bucket filled and out of there in half-an-hour. The strawberries were plentiful and humongous!

   Luckily the grocery stores were open despite it being a holiday so, after several attempts, I did find one that had some of my favourite brand of pectin left. I also needed sugar and a couple of lemons so that went on my grocery list too.

    After bridge I got all the ingredients for jam ready and scalded some jars. The strawberries were so big it didn't take long to prepare the fruit. Once I got the mixture boiling away a problem that I'd never experienced before developed, the mixture was about to boil over! I was using the same pan as usual and the same quantities so I have no idea why it occurred. However, I managed to control it by removing the pan intermittently from the heat. Once it had cooled down a bit I got the jars filled and sealed - first batch done!

   Still can't load photos here but I have put one on Facebook.

Sunday 2 July 2017

Ants In My Pants!

   It started out nice and sunny - and not nearly as humid - but it is looking quite black again so we may be in for some more rain. The temperature has dropped 5 degrees in the last hour which is rather ominous!

    The tennis courts were busy this morning and we had to resort to the "timing" system, to many players disgust but otherwise they do tend to hog the courts. We had a ladies foursome for our first stint - Betty and I were in the lead when we had to give up the court, then got back on with a different foursome when Cathy and I were ignominiously defeated 6-0 by Kathy and Tamara! I was exhausted by then and barely staggered home.

   I went out later in the afternoon to work in the garden, but I was defeated by a swarm of tiny ants which were crawling all over me and biting me. I went to another part of the garden to pull weeds but quickly lost interest as I was scratching from the ant bites. It was nice enough to sit reading in the shade - more my style!


Saturday 1 July 2017

Confederation Day

   Today, here in Canada, we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Normally July 1st. is just Canada Day but this is a special one. There are tons of special events today - at my tennis club we had a BBQ with two large cakes in the shape of the Canadian flag - and tonight there will be lots of firework displays. I plan to stay home and watch it on TV. I'm not a big fan of crowds plus the weather is a bit iffy.

   It was extremely hot and humid at tennis and I only played two sets. Gayle and I won the first set, and Cathy and I won the second. But that was it for me! After lunch I headed home for a swim (8 laps today, but they are pretty short), a nap and a bit of gardening. It rained lightly for a few minutes but not enough to freshen the plants.

   After the big lunch, sausage in buns, Greek salad and potato salad, I just needed a light dinner so had a bowl of soup and salmon croquettes. I made my own tartar sauce and, along with a slice of lemon, that was enough.