Wednesday 30 December 2020

A Windfall

    One of my Bridge friends, during our Zoom chat yesterday, offered to lend me a brand new jigsaw puzzle that she got for Christmas. She has decided it is too tricky but I'm eager to give it a shot.

   Off I toddled to her house (the longest trip my car has had in 9 months) to pick it up. She kindly gave me another one as well so I will be kept busy for the next week or two. I will post a pic of the new one if/when I finish it.

   On the way home I stopped at the library for a book I had ordered, "The Prisoner's Wife". We are back to waiting outside the library for our holds but, fortunately, there were only 3 people ahead of me and it wasn't too cold. Now I have lots to keep me entertained.

   I had a walk up to the Mall this morning, combining exercise with a couple of errands. It started to rain on the way home but I was well protected. The rain is on top of a couple of inches of snow that fell overnight so we are likely to have icy conditions if the temperature drops below freezing tonight. Tomorrow I will stay indoors!

Saturday 26 December 2020

White Christmas

    Yes, we had snow yesterday (and lots of it) and more today. Son had to dig us out to go to daughter's house for Christmas dinner, and again today. But at least it wasn't too cold and not a huge amount.

    We had a lovely dinner with the other family in our bubble and were careful not to get too close (no hugs and kisses!). But it was so nice to just hang out with some new faces. That is the first Christmas dinner I have not had to prepare in about 50 years although I did supply the roasties and the plum pudding. Hope daughter will take over soon as I have done my bit, and then some!

Saturday 19 December 2020

Broken Resolution

     Already broke my resolve to stay safe - the library had the latest Louise Penny book for me and two DVDs, so I just had to make that one trip. While in the Mall I dropped by the bulk food store for something I forgot to get last time. I am determined to stay away for the rest of the week but it will depend on what we decide to do for Christmas Day. I may still have to cook a turkey and I still need to pick up a can of Devon custard for the plum pudding!

Friday 18 December 2020

COVID Statistics

    Things are getting pretty bad in T.O. (in fact in the whole of Ontario, over 2,000 new cases each day and many more deaths). So we are just hunkered down hoping things will improve. The weather is quite cold so I have had to do without my walks. At least today was sunny so I managed to the drug store. Only allowed out for essential shopping and not many places open. Needing a haircut - luckily I got one just before lockdown was announced but that isn't going to end any time soon. We have all said "goodbye" to Christmas!

   Would it be better for our mental health to ignore the data with which we are bombarded each day? I think I would rather not know the number of new infections  but at the very least it serves to keep us on our toes and follow the necessary steps to stay safe. This, too, shall pass!

Thursday 10 December 2020

Getting the Christmas Spirit

    Felt a bit of the Christmas spirit to day so brought out my Snowman pitcher and my small, already decorated tree. Also got my first batch of Christmas cards on their way overseas. I have friends or relatives in the U.K., South Africa and Australia. 

Since the grandkids can't come over to help me decorate the big tree, this will have to suffice!

Of course, as soon as it was up, the cats had to come and check it out!

A festive decoration in my front hall. Too bad I won't have any visitors this year.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

A Productive Day

     Another major snowfall overnight and into the morning. Once it stopped we were out shoveling (Steve worked hard, me not so much). The snow had turned to rain so the stuff on the ground quickly got wet and heavy, not fun to shovel. At least it wasn't cold.

   I got going on the Christmas mincemeat tarts this afternoon but had a terrible time with the pastry! It wouldn't come together despite following the directions carefully. Any advice would be gladly received. They are edible but not my best effort, unfortunately. I may try another batch later on. One of the cats almost got into them, knocked the tin to the floor before I got it in the freezer. We can't leave anything out on the counter as he is curious about anything that smells interesting.

   Finished my overseas Christmas cards this afternoon, too, and will get them in the mail tomorrow. One less job to do.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Give Me a Break!

The last few days we have had sunny skies (good for the gloomy blues) but below zero temperatures. Today was also sunny and actually managed to get into positive numbers, 2C! Nothing on the go today but did get started on writing Christmas cards - I received another one in the mail today. I did visit one store (my bread maker has given up) but I had forgotten that only essental services are open at the moment. So, no luck on getting a replacement. We will have to rely on store-bought bread until the lockdown is over. At the moment the numbers are indicating that it will be extended until the New Year.

Saturday 5 December 2020

Mail From Overseas

    First Christmas card arrived yesterday from my Mum's cousin, David. My mum has been gone for 17 years but he is still hale and hearty, living on his own and only recently gave up a daily swim at the local pool. I hope I am still alive and kicking at his age, he has to be in his nineties!

I love this cheery Robin!

Friday 4 December 2020

Already Too Much!

    Snow again! I'm sick of it already and it's only the first week in December. We still have 4 months to look forward to.

    It snowed all morning but is already starting to melt. This is our third go through of this routine. Usually once we get our first heavy snowfall it is here until Spring. I don't mind not having to shovel it but the gray skies are very depressing and already I am longing for sun. My only trip outside today was to the composter and I had to put on my winter coat and boots to do that!

   Steve barbecued a steak tonight (out on the chilly porch), I am really eating well while he is here. None of my usual thrown-together meals! We had it with some roasted vegetables, corn and a salad, followed by the leftover apple crumble. Now to just lie on the couch with my book while I digest everything!

Thursday 3 December 2020

Trying to Keep Busy

 Thought I'd better put something down so you know I'm still alive.

   Today was Senior's discount day at the drug store so I walked there this morning. Didn't save much as several things had been cleaned out by the early bird seniors! But I did get a couple of bargains. One thing I noticed - if an item is on sale you don't get a further discount

   This afternoon I walked up to my local mall for the things I didn't get in the morning. It took me 45 minutes all round so, with my one hour workout this morning, I have done well with exercise today. I should sleep well tonight!

   Butter chicken for dinner tonight, one of Steve's favourites so there probably won't be much leftovers. I am going to make an apple crumble too, to use up some over ripe apples. I will be popular this evening!

Sunday 29 November 2020

Christmas Lights

   Put up some outdoor lights today as it continues to be unusually mild (got up to 10C today with blue skies). I don't usually bother (my string of lights has to be almost 30 years old) but since son is here to reach the high places, we gave it a go. I'm sure it will add to the festive feel of our street. A lot of the bulbs had burned out and some of the sockets aren't working but we had enough to mount a reasonable display.

      Everyone seems to be starting Christmas early this year. I think it is due to wanting to add some festivity to our dull lives. Not much chance of Christmas shopping unless you want to buy online which I don't. I like to see the item before I plunk down some cash. The grandkids have given me their choices for charitable presents (i.e. they choose a gift from the PLAN catalogue to be given in their name) but I will try to find something for them, either money or a gift card. The adults don't exchange gifts.

   A nice healthy stew tonight, cooking in my crock pot. I'm not a big meat eater but it does smell delicious, probably because I used some red wine to deglaze the pan when I browned the meat! I will serve it with a salad and some bread to soak up the gravy. Yum!!

One of my neighbour's displays.

More Christmassy houses.

Saturday 28 November 2020

Back to Exercising

    Nothing much happening here as we under lockdown again, so haven't been posting in some time. A friend fell and broke her hip so I have been touching base with her to try and keep her spirits up. Not possible to visit her in hospital due to COVID but she is going to a rehab centre on Monday so things are improving for her. We are lucky to have such good care.

   Have started my daily walks again and, although it was a bit chilly today, it was sunny so I walked for about 40 minutes. When I got home I pottered in the garden and got a bin filled for pickup next week. 

   I made a loaf in the bread machine today and one of the cats got into it while it was cooling! I managed to salvage most of it except for the nibbled section. Bad cat! A pancetta and veggie frittata with salad for dinner tonight followed by a slice of apple crumble. Steve made fajitas yesterday so we have been eating well. Glad I had a good walk this afternoon!

Sunday 22 November 2020

Winter Wonderland

    It's a bit early for this kind of weather but we have had big wet snow falling all day and it is set to continue into the wee small hours. We won't bother cleaning off the cars or shoveling it as it will melt in a day or two. 

It looks very Christmassy with my neighbour's lights shining through the snow.

Saturday 21 November 2020

Christmas Plum Pudding

    I have been in two minds whether to make a plum pudding or not this year, since it's unlikely that we will be celebrating as a family. However, I have been prevailed upon by the grandkids to keep up the tradition even though we won't be able to enjoy it together. 

   One of the main ingredients in most plum  pudding recipes is ground beef suet, giving it its distinctive flavour. However, that has been difficult to find recently and I went on a hunt for some last week - no luck! Fortunately one butcher cut me a chunk of beef fat but that posed another problem, how to process it into the fine ground suet I require. That took quite a bit of effort but, along with soaking the fruit in brandy, that was eventually accomplished. 

    Yesterday was "Pudding Day" and having everything ready beforehand made the job easy. It steamed for 3 hours, was allowed to cool then wrapped up well to "mature" for the next 5 weeks. Mission accomplished! I just hope it lives up to expectations despite the problem with the suet.

   On Christmas Day (or just before) I will send a good portion to the family and when they flambee it at their house, I will do the same with my portion and we can enjoy it together over Skype!

Friday 20 November 2020

Two Gone, Three Still Here

    Lucy arrived safe and sound in Vancouver this morning and was so happy to see her mom (my DIL) there to take her to her new home in Victoria. I think it was quite an ordeal for her, not knowing what was going on, but she will soon forget once she has settled in. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and prayers.

   Now just the other guests to send on their way although it may be some time until they depart. I am quite happy to have the company as we head into another lockdown.

Blaze and Duffy waiting for their dad (my son) to get home from work.

Thursday 19 November 2020

A Final Departure

     If you have been following my blog you will know that I have had my Son and DIL staying with me for the last two months while they sell their house and get ready to move to Victoria B.C. 

   DIL left about a month ago to supervise some renovations on their new home. Their dog Lucy was supposed to go with her but the airline wasn't happy with the crate they had purchased and wouldn't allow her on the flight, so she has remained here. But today, finally she is to depart and will arrive in Vancouver tomorrow morning. There she will be reunited with DIL who will take her on the ferry to Victoria. I am praying she has an easy time of it as she is travelling alone. Son has to stay here until the house renovations are more or less complete and it is cat-proofed. She was not a very happy puppy when he left her at the airport!

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Working Out

    Tuesday has been a tennis day since May but today I had to resort to the rowing machine for my daily exercise. I managed 20 minutes at low speed with a break in the middle but only used 92 calories. I may have to sytep things up in the future but "easy does it" for the present time.

   It is extremely cold today with a bitter wind from the North Pole. Only 4C and we are set for some negative numbers overnight and tomorrow. Luckily I found a new (to me) and very cozy winter coat at Value Village yesterday so it had its first outing today. I also found a couple of jigsaw puzzles as I am getting heartily fed up with my current selection.

I had a trip to the bulk food store to buy the makings for the Christmas Plum Pudding. The only thing I couldn't find was ready-to-use beef suet but the local butcher cut me a chunk which I will have to cut up and process myself. My oldest grandson declared it wouldn't be Christmas without setting the plum pudding ablaze!

Sunday 15 November 2020

A Better Time to Shop

    Much colder today and rainy. A quick run to the grocery store early (for me - 9:30 a.m.) this morning and it was blessedly quiet with no lineups. I think Sunday morning will be my regular shopping time from now on. I did pass one person not wearing a mask but didn't challenge them, just kept out of their way.

   Haven't ventured out since. Even Lucy the dog won't go out - too miserable!

Saturday 14 November 2020

Calling it a Day

I picked up my car yesterday afternoon and immediately ran a couple of errands that had been planned for the day it died. It is now working well as it got its annual maintenance too, but my bank balance is severely depleted! However, that should be it for the next year. Today has been a quiet day at home except for a stroll down to the post office to mail a letter; just a few chores as well as baking a loaf of bread and cooking a rather delicious dinner of Osso Buco. I have a movie to watch tonight and, before you know it, it will be bedtime. How time flies!

Thursday 12 November 2020


End of Season Party

    Since tennis is over for the year, our small "social bubble" of four had a last get-together to celebrate the good times we had this Spring, Summer and Fall at the tennis courts. This took place at Cathy's house (you can see her reflection in the mirror on the wall) and consisted of lots of good food and drink. Everyone brought a course and Cathy provided the wine. It was a very merry occasion despite the sadness of it being the last time we are likely to see each other until next April!

From left to right Susan, Kathy and me. Cathy supplied the goofy glasses too. Having seen this I immediately rang to book a haircut!

Wednesday 11 November 2020

More Repairs Needed

    Well, yesterday set a record ( 23C ) for the warmest November 10th since records have been kept. Today we awoke to rain and it got decidedly cooler as the day wore on. Only 8C at the moment.

   We had our last day of tennis for the season and a lovely day it was too! Now the nets and windscreens have been taken down and stored until Spring and we will have to look for some other activity to fill our days and keep us fit. I may have to resort to the rowing machine. Usually I play pickleball in the winter but the community centres are still closed. 

   My car is finally being repaired today and I should be able to pick it up tomorrow. Also today Ahmet, my handyman, came to clean my outside windows and eavestroughs ready for the winter. I did the inside windows myself over the last two days so the house looks sparkly clean. Unfortunately, while he was on the roof he found four holes that raccoons had dug in my shingles which he will have to come back and repair.  This has happened before - just one more bill - so I hope he can do something to prevent the raccoons coming back. This has been an expensive month so far and it isn't quite half way over!

Friday 6 November 2020

Basking in the Warmth

    Car still in for repairs but parts have been ordered and/or delivered so I should have it some time next week. Luckily the weather has stayed brilliant so no problem walking here and there. This is the forecast for the next week so we should be able to continue with tennis.  We played again today.

Look at Tuesday! The normal high would be around 10C and the low 1C. No rain in the forecast.

Thursday 5 November 2020

Beautiful Days

    We are in a warm spell just now - what we call an "Indian Summer" as it is occurring so late in the year. Daytime temperatures have been in the high 'teens and are expected to continue that way until next week. Long may it last!

   We played tennis this morning (the club decided to keep the courts open since the weather was so nice) and will play again tomorrow and on the weekend. This is a real bonus especially as it is basically the only activity we are allowed to do during the pandemic.  No dine-in restaurants but son is going to pick up a takeout pizza for dinner tonight so I am being spoiled.

   Lots of people out taking advantage of the nice weather and raking leaves today. I had a long walk this afternoon and, along with the tennis game this morning, I should sleep well tonight!

Tuesday 3 November 2020


     No good news about the car but I have decided to get it repaired (despite the cost and the long wait for a replacement battery). Meanwhile son is driving me back and forth as needed. We went to the grocery store for the weekly shop on Sunday (no lineups!) and to the library and the bulk food store today, really the only trips I need to be taking. I walked to my local mall yesterday and picked up a few things.

   Still rather on the chilly side for the beginning of November but we are due a few warm days this weekend. Unfortunately the tennis courts are now closed for the winter but I will be able to work in the garden and take a few walks. We had a bit of snow yesterday but it is gone now.

Saturday 31 October 2020

'Flu Shot

    Up and out early to get my 'flu shot this morning. I usually go to the drug store but they ran out very quickly so it was off to my family doctor for the seniors' dose. No lineup and no paperwork to complete so it was a quick and simple procedure. It will be two weeks before it is effective so I will try to stay clear of infection.

   Still no car and, unfortunately, it may be some time until I have wheels again. Luckily I have nowhere that I need to go! Seemingly the car needs a new battery and they are out of stock with no idea when they will be available. All told, with the other repairs the cost was going to be ridiculous so now I am considering whether to have it fixed or to trade it in for a newer model. I have had it 12 years but very low mileage. I will spend the rest of the weekend considering my options. Stay tuned, a decision will have to be made by Monday!

Friday 30 October 2020

Mission Accomplished!

   The shed was completed just before the weather turned for the worse. Today has been bitterly cold so we were into winter jackets, hats and gloves.

   I had a rude awakening this morning, going out to take off for my once-weekly jaunt to the grocery store - the car was dead! I called CAA for a battery boost but there was another shock - the catch for the front hood was broken so it was impossible to boost the battery. Long story short the car had to be towed to the dealer and they will have to fix the hood, boost the battery and repair the faulty catch on the rear hatch which was the cause of the power failure. The car is still there but fortunately son will be able tor drive me on any errands that can't wait.

Taken through my picture window - it was too cold to go out!

Thursday 29 October 2020

Under Construction

 Back in the Spring I think I posted photos of my old garden shed being demolished. It is where my pool equipment stays. I finally got the wherewithall to purchase a replacement and it was delivered last week. 

   Yesterday was reasonably pleasant, albeit quite windy, so son got started on constructing it. It was supposed to be a one day project!

   So far so good although the wind was causing it to sway until the stabilizing bar was in place. The hardest part was getting it behind the pool equipment. This was yesterday. Today he got the roof on but rain stopped play. Hopefully it will be finished tomorrow.

   We managed one more day of tennis and it was really quite pleasant as the wind had gone. No frozen fingers but no layers removed either. We were well wrapped up. Hoping for a nice day on Sunday!

Sunday 25 October 2020

A Chilly Start

   Freezing on the tennis courts  this morning - I didn't really get warmed up until we were almost done. The nets and wind screens will probably come down this week. Time to call it a year!

    I think it was 2C when we started (all bundled up) and only made it up to 6C this afternoon. The worst part was our hands - it was hard to grip the tennis racquet with numb fingers! 

   Needless to say I haven't been out since except for a quick run up to the grocery store for a few items for dinner. I found a piece of flank steak in the freezer (never cooked it before) but searched a good crock pot recipe on the internet so that's what we will have tonight. I have been trying out some new recipes since I am cooking for two (son is still here) instead of one. Hope it gets good and fender!

Friday 23 October 2020

A Better Alternative

    An Air Canada approved crate has been purchased (from Kijiji, so used) and Lucy has given it the seal of approval. I couldn't catch her in it but Blaze checked it out too. It has its own food and water dispensers so she will be more than happy in it (I hope!).

It is quite massive but very secure. No flight plan has been established yet so it may be some time until she leaves. Meanwhile it is sitting in my living room for her to get accustomed to it.

   Amazing day today, high of 22C and sunny, so we had a full morning on the tennis courts. But it is to be shortlived as storms and possible tornados are forecast for this evening as a cold front comes through and drops the temperature dramatically. I sat outside in the sun for probably the last time this year and reveled in the warmth!

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Travel Disruptions

    Well, unfortunately, Lucy the dog did not go to Victoria this week. The airline rejected her crate as she is what they term a "strong" breed. Next step is still up in the air as DIL did go but all three animals are still here. Several options are being investigated. Stay tuned!

   The last two days have stayed mild and I have been playing tennis, gardening, taking Lucy for walks and, today, just sitting out enjoying the sun. Long may it continue. We have had quite a lot of rain but mostly and conveniently, overnight.

   Hallowe'en has been cancelled here for which I am not entirely sorry but it will be a big disappointment for the kids. However, who in their right mind would send their child door to door in this pandemic is a mystery anyway. I am sure they will get their share of candies in other ways!

Monday 19 October 2020

A Way With Words

  Saw this on Facebook today and intend to use it frequently. Saying "I can't go out because of the virus" sounds so whiny and boring! 

"I've sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from the land."

Here's another one:

I just told my suitcases we're not going on vacation this year. 

Now I'm dealing with emotional baggage

Saturday 17 October 2020

Return to Normal

    Well, we certainly have seen the end of our pleasant temperatures. Thursday was rainy but not too cool. Yesterday got up into the low double digits but today there was an icy wind and, although sunny, decidedly frosty. 

   I got my new garden shed ordered the other day, not online, which I would have preferred but I had to go to the store as the website wasn't cooperating. But now it is done and will come in a few days, delivered to the curb. Hopefully Steve will be able to put it together but he may have to call on help from my SIL.

   A day in the kitchen today - my only break a walk with the dog. I made turkey soup with the carcass that I had stowed in the freezer last weekend, lemon cheesecake bars to share with my tennis buddies tomorrow (if the weather cooperates) and now I am off to make a cauliflower casserole to have with the second turkey breast, also stored in the freezer since Thanksgiving dinner. A relatively easy meal all told!

Lucy practicing for her trip to Victoria next week. She has been in and out of the cage all evening.

Thursday 15 October 2020

A New Toy

    For the first time in ages we have had continuous rain all day today. After a very dry summer the lawn has been abysmal with lots of dead patches so this good soaking should help it recover before it goes into hibernation for the winter. 

    DIL and I had a stay-at-home day and only ventured out when the dog needed to relieve herself. In fact, at one point I put her on her leash (the dog, not DIL!) and stood on the front porch while she wandered around and found a good spot to "do her business". She didn't want to stay out long anyway. 

   I am now the proud owner of a rowing machine! Son and DIL didn't want to take it to Victoria when they go later this month, and they couldn't find a friend to take it, so it will stay here. I tried it out this morning for 10 minutes and managed to work up a sweat so it might become a part of my fitness regime. I have it set on the lowest tension and that was plenty for me!

Luckily I have plenty of room for it in my basement.

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Too Hot!

    It started off cool and sunny but we were soon peeling off layers on the tennis courts. The courts were wet to begin with (overnight rain) so we had to be careful for the first half hour. We played until after 11:00 a.m. I was the big loser today but it was wonderful to be out in the fresh air and sunshine!

   I did a bit of gardening this afternoon (mulching and removing some annuals) then sat in the sun for half an hour. I was definitely over dressed as it felt as hot as an early summer day. The temperature was to go to 18C but I'm sure it was more than that!

   Last of the turkey leftovers tonight. I am making a frittata with the last slice of turkey breast and bacon, cheese and grated potato. This will be served with a salad and leftover stuffing (if anyone can face it another day). 

Sunday 11 October 2020

Things to be Thankful For

    Thankful for family and friends to celebrate with, a wonderful feast and our continued good health. The day started with a lively couple of sets of tennis even though the temperature barely made it into double digits! We will continue until the snow flies - or the nets come down, whichever happens first!

   We were just a small group of three for the Thanksgiving meal today (obeying the new regulations) but were able to connect with the others on Skype.

Turkey and all the trimmings despite our small group.

 This was followed by apple pie and ice cream. Talk about being well fed!

Thursday 8 October 2020

Getting Ready for the Long Weekend

    We four friends had great fun on the tennis courts today! No wind, sunny breaks and some great rallies. We were very pleased with ourselves and played for nearly two hours. I had prepared for a chilly start but was soon peeling off layers. There won't be many more days like that this year so we are making the most of it while the good weather lasts!

   It clouded over later in the day and a little rain fell, so we definitely had the best of the day this morning. I had a few clerical chores to take care of and a run to the store to pick up a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, so that took care of the rest of the day. The turkey will take another day to defrost and I plan to cook it on Saturday. We will probably have it on Sunday and then have Monday to rest and recuperate.

    It has been recommended that people only celebrate Thanksgiving with whoever lives with them so it is lucky I have son and DIL here or I would be celebrating on my own. Not looking forward to a lonesome Christmas but perhaps the virus will have abated a bit by then and I can have family over. The number of cases in Ontario is rising alarmingly but I will continue to stay at home as much as possible. 

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Another Quiet Day

    It was a struggle on the tennis courts this morning - very windy and cool - but we played for almost an hour and a half and had one very long set that went to a tie-break. Then home to watch tennis from Paris, the quarter-finals. I saw one very long, tense match and another that was rather one-sided. But very entertaining nevertheless.

   Since then it has been quite a quiet day. I made sausage rolls for dinner (I'm trying to clear out the freezer) and we had them with baked beans. Enough left over for snacks or lunch tomorrow.

Monday 5 October 2020

An Ordinary Day

    Not much to report today but it was a very pleasant day and I did a fair bit of gardening, went for a walk and generally enjoyed the outdoors. This morning I made a batch of cauliflower soup which we had for lunch, then put a loaf on to bake in the bread machine. It turned out really well for once. I used less yeast as my last few attempts have been hitting the lid of the machine and collapsing!

   I had a trip to Value Village this afternoon with a bag full of clothes I never wear. For that I got a 20% off coupon so scouted around and found new (to me) boots, two pairs of leggings and a very practical sweater for just wearing around the house. It has three quarter sleeves so I can put away all my T-shirts that are now a bit chilly. Value Village no longer has facilities to try on clothes so it was rather a hit-and-miss process. Their sizing is not always very accurate.

   Dinner tonight was salmon, French fries and brussell sprouts - no dessert but I may have a homemade oatmeal bar later. They are chewy but very good!

Thursday 1 October 2020

A Special Day

    Just 16C for the high today and a rather chilly start for our tennis game. I was the big loser today - quite the opposite of Tuesday - but blame it on the sun being directly in my eyes, being left-handed. The courts run north-south and the sun is much lower in the sky at 9:00 a.m. now that the days are getting shorter.

   Yesterday was my birthday - I am now a year closer to 80, horrible thought! Judy came over with a tasty lunch and some treats just before noon, then Steve and Alison took me out for dinner to a local restaurant. It was a treat to eat out after 6 months of home cooked meals! I had their signature minestrone soup (it is our local Italian trattoria) and eggplant parmigiana. Steve had veal parmigiana and Alison had chicken and pasta. All were very good.

   I brought in the remaining tomatoes and dug up the last potato plant this afternoon as we are due for some frost soon. It has been a good harvest this year. 

They should continue to ripen over the next week or two.

The last of the Swiss Chard will go in tonight's supper dish.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

While the Leaves Fly

     A little cooler today but still sunny and pleasant enough to be outdoors. It had rained overnight (we really need some more rain!) but a good samaritan had mopped up the puddles on the tennis court so we were able to play right away. I was the big winner today with 6-2 in the first set and 6-3 in the second. That doesn't happen often!

   Things are not looking great here, COVID-wise. The numbers keep creeping up (700 new cases in the province, over 300 in the city alone) and there is talk of going back to Stage 2 with more closures and isolation. It is quite depressing to think about as winter approaches and we are confined to home. As a family, we have decided to cancel Thanksgiving dinner which is usually hosted by my daughter. They will have their own meal and we will do the same here. Just as well my son and DIL will still be here on the 12th. I am dreading spending Christmas alone!

   I did a bit of gardening this afternoon helped by Lucy the dog who was dementedly digging in all the fresh earth. Had to have her front paws washed. Twice! The green tomatoes and the last of the potatoes will have to be harvested this week, then the garden can be put to rest until Spring.

Friday 25 September 2020

Just In Time

 Almost forgot to renew my car license - no reminder came and it's due at the end of the month. Luckily I was able to figure out how to do it online and the agency is not imposing late fines this year because of the pandemic.

   We had a BBQ tonight as the weather is still so mild - yummy sausages and baked bean casserole. It will continue very summery all weekend so no need to get out the winter woollies just yet!

One last beauty.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Will They or Won't They.....?

    A friend recently sent me a recipe for Green Tomato Chutney, but I am hoping my tomatoes will ripen eventually. This is the "second" crop - I had an abundance of tomatoes earlier this month - and was quite surprised to find so many more coming along. Unfortunately with the days being shorter, they are not getting as much sun as before. 

   My nasturtiums are in all their Fall glory at the moment - worthy of a photo!

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Around My Neighbourhood

 The trees are definitely starting to change. Some have both green and red or orange branches. 

A particularly colourful border.

Monday 21 September 2020

A Nip in the Air

Fall is certainly in the air - the nights are cooler and some of the trees are starting to change colour. I had to turn the heat on the other day but it's off at the moment as it has warmed up a bit again..

    Today was beautifully sunny so I spent most of it outdoors doing several different chores while I had the chance. I dug up a couple of tomato plants that obviously weren't going to produce any more ripe fruit and a potato plant. These all came from just the one plant! My potatoes have done really well this year.

Tuesday 15 September 2020

     A lovely Fall day today - started off chilly but soon warmed up. We played tennis for almost two hours this morning and I was able to sit outside reading for some time this afternoon. My favourite kind of day!

Another of my house guests.

The pool now has its winter cover. It will stay like this until next May.

Can't seem to find out how to delete images in the new Blogger format. Anyone have a suggestion?

Thursday 10 September 2020

One thing After Another

    Tennis was a bit of a washout today - it wasn't actually raining but the courts were very slick so we had to be careful. Susan and I just hit for about an hour which is actually good practice and requires quite a bit of energy. The others felt it wasn't safe to play. We will try again tomorrow.

   I was home in time for the monthly RTO meeting which was on Zoom again. It  was a bit tedious but I managed not to volunteer for anything new! While on Zoom the guys arrived to install my new bedroom windows (I was quite happy to excuse myself for a bit!). They had that done lickety split and did a great job. Steve helped me re-install the draperies so everything is back to normal again.

The view of my favourite corner of the garden seen from my NEW bedroom window! The sedum is doing well this year - the bees love it.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

A Last Visit

    Last visit from the grandkids today as they go back to school soon and will be exposed to new infections, no doubt. We had a farewell hug but I hope to see them in about a month when we celebrate Thanksgiving.

   While they were here I got Elliot to vacuum the pool so that it is ready for closing next Monday. That will be a sad day! He found a drowned mouse at the bottom of the deep end but managed to fish it out.  Also, they put away all the pool "toys" as they won't be needed again until next year. No chance of a last swim as it is a very unseasonal 16C today.

   James and I made buttertart squares but they were still too hot to cut before they left so I sent them back to their place and have no idea how they turned out. It was a new recipe and he did it almost all by himself - very little guidance required. They certainly smelled good! Judy will bring some back on her way to work tomorrow.

One of my house guests on her comfy bed.

Sunday 6 September 2020

A Last Blast of Summer

      Tomorrow is Labour Day when we traditionally get together as a family. However, the others are all doing something different so we decided to celebrate today instead. As it worked out, today was a better choice as rain is forecast for tomorrow. 

   A full house for dinner for the first time since lockdown, but we were still below the limit of 10. The wasps were bad so we had to eat indoors. Although it was cool, the grandkids and son were in the pool but I had to heat it virtually all day. It was barely above 70F this morning but I managed to get it up to 80F by late afternoon. It will probably cool off again overnight but will still be warm enough for me to have a dip after a sweaty hour of working out tomorrow morning.

   Everybody contributed to the meal - Judy and Dave brought rotisserie chicken and quinoa salad, I made potato salad and corn-on-the-cob and Steve and Alison got pre-prandial nibblies and a delicious apple pie for dessert which we had with ice cream. All stuffed and there even were leftovers!

Thursday 3 September 2020

No Rest for the Wicked

     I was out just before 8:00 a.m. for my tennis game and the weather was much more conducive to active exercise. Not too sunny, a little breeze and low 20's. We played until about 9:45. and again the result was 1 set each. The first set went to a tie-break but by the second set we were all wilting a bit.

    Cathy invited us home for coffee and treats (Susan drove me) so I didn't get home until almost 11:00 a.m. What a pleasant way to pass the morning! Time for a quick swim and a few chores before the grandkids were dropped off. They had some fun in the pool, then lunch and a couple of board games. I was watching two Canadians battling each other at the U.S. Open.

   Judy arrived from work around 4:00 p.m. to pick them up, and she and the kids had another swim. I waited until they were gone to get in again - too much splashing when they are all in together! A quiet evening with son and the pets. DIL has gone out for the evening for what might turn into a  farewell meal with friends. Their house goes on the market in a couple of weeks and they are expecting a quick sale. House prices in the GTA have gone up 20% during COVID so they are selling at an opportune time.

    So it has been a hectic but productive day!

Sunday 30 August 2020

Summer Winding Down

    Kathy brought a big bag of tomatoes from her garden to tennis this morning so I am cooking a big pot of tomato sauce for the freezer. Fortunately I am between crops - the first glut of tomatoes are all consumed in one way or the other and I have another load that are still green or just beginning to turn orange.

   I dug up another potato plant last week and got half a dozen reasonably sized potatoes, so will boil up some of them for dinner tonight to have with chicken. One last little painting job was about all I did today.

   Son and DIL are coming for a short stay tomorrow (with two cats and a dog) while their house is being renovated. Not sure how long they will be here but I'm sure we will get on fine. I hope Alison likes to cook! They are both working from home so won't be underfoot too much. I will just keep on with my usual routines and they can work around that. 

   A lovely day today but I didn't get in the pool as it has cooled off quite a bit. Only two more weeks until it is closed for the year, Boo hoo!

Friday 28 August 2020

A Rose by Any Other Name....

   Cooler again today but sunny, so perfect gardening weather. It has become quite overcast but no rain in the forecast.

   Spotted in my garden today. Can't seem to figure out how to delete one of the photos. Perhaps someone can help me! 

    Just had lots of fun watching WindowSwap., courtesy of Anne Green (No Hat, No Gloves) Try it and tell me your favourite. Mine was Maseen and Mona's window in Tehran, Iran.

Thursday 27 August 2020

Onward and Upward!

    Cooler yesterday but hot again today. We had a considerable amount of rain overnight so today was incredibly humid. I came home from tennis basically soaking! It has become quite breezy in the last hour or so - that might clear out the humidity.

   The grandkids were over yesterday and kept me busy keeping them out of mischief. At one point we walked over to my local park to pick crab apples. The trees were loaded with fruit but most of it out of reach. Judy will make crab apple jelly if there is enough fruit.

   Not much to report today. I have put aside the Hillary Mantel book as I got a new Kate Atkinson book from the library, so I spent the afternoon getting into it. It's called "One Good Turn" and is an early Jackson Brodie mystery. I saw the movie version on TV recently but the book is quite a bit different. So, no reason to be bored when I have a couple of good books on hand!

There were a few spots of rain while we were playing tennis so Kathy got out her umbrella. Hard to hit the ball with only one hand free!

Sunday 23 August 2020

Another Scorcher

    Apart from my tennis game this morning, I have basically stayed indoors as we reached 31C again today. The pool has warmed up again to almost 80C without having to use the heater so I'm happy about that. I was in three times just to cool off and bring my body temperature back to normal.

    We started tennis at 8:00 a.m. but within minutes it was already too hot. We played two sets (split again so everyone was a winner!) but I was exhausted and shaky by the time we stopped. Cathy had us over for coffee afterwards and Susan brought delicious scones with jam and cream. Not a bad way to pass the morning.

    Now, by 6:30, I have finally recovered. I spent the afternoon watching tennis from the U.S (the Canadian lost) and reading my current book, "The Mirror and the Light" by Hillary Mantel. It is almost 900 pages but quite riveting! The third book in a trilogy; it will keep me occupied for some time.

Friday 21 August 2020

Nattering Along

    The heat is back - high of 29C today - and lovely blue skies with just a few fluffy clouds to give a bit of relief from time to time. I carried on with the painting - the  garage back door this time - and still have a little bit of paint left so I will look around for one other job to do. Then I will start with some black paint for the railings and other front porch accents. That should be it for this year. Now that I have written it, I will have to follow through!

   Things are still very undecided here about the return of school. Today it was announced that the kids will have an extra week and start the fall term on September 14. Some will be back full time. Others, half days and online learning for the other half, and classes will be smaller. Masks will be worn by all but the youngest - we'll see how that works out! I feel for the teachers who will probably be the recipients of complaints from parents and hassles from the administration. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place! I am so glad to be out of it.

   Still trying to stay ahead of the tomato glut, plus one of my tennis friends has been bringing us contributions from her garden. This week it is yellow beans. I like them but will have to eat them every day for a week!

Tuesday 18 August 2020


    I was out this afternoon doing a little paint touch up on my porch and I felt cold for the first time since early June. Admittedly I was only in a T-shirt and shorts but I had to go in and put on a sweater and long pants. I just hope this is not a permanent change in the weather. It was warm enough in the sun and we had mostly blue skies.

   Tennis this morning; one set each so a happy outcome all round and we were allowed to stay on court past our allotted time. I have decided I really like to be able to book a court rather than just show up and hope one is free.

    Other than my paint job which took about one and a half hours, I cut both the front and back lawns. Also pulled some more weeds and picked a couple of tomatoes. And that¨s my day!

Monday 17 August 2020

Hijinks in the Pool

    Quite a change in the weather. We have had fairly heavy rain in the last two days and today the temperature is down and the humidity is gone.

   I managed a bit of gardening this morning but was caught out by a downpour just as I was about to cut the grass. It`s useless trying to cut it when it is wet so that chore will have to wait for another day. Instead I baked a cake!

   It was still hot last Friday so the grandkids came over for a swim. They had spent some time at the zoo and were very hot and sweaty. Even Judy got in the water to cool off!

    As the nights are getting cooler (yesterday was only 14C overnight) This may be the end of their summer of fun. Once the water starts seriously dropping in temperature overnight I am reluctant to use the heater. I will continue to swim until it gets unbearably cold!

Thursday 13 August 2020

Keeping Busy

    The guys came today to measure for my new windows. Another cost. Seemingly the existing windows were a botched job with shims added to fill a gap so, an added expense. Hey ho, nobody said it would be a simple straightforward job! Some extra dollars added to an over extended budget.

   Tennis this morning then the ladies over for coffee. That filled the morning. Reading in the afternoon, my new Ann Cleeves book. It's set in Devon so a bit of a change from her usual locations of Shetland and Tyneside. I have ordered another Kate Atkinson novel featuring Jackson Brodie, her rather unconventional private detective. 

   Still hot, 29C, so I had several dips in the pool. No gardening today. Had bruschetta for my lunch, so used up another couple of tomatoes. So good!

Monday 10 August 2020

The Inevitable Glut

    A scorcher today - high of 31C but the humidex (how hot the humidity makes it feel) was 41C! I was in the pool three times just trying to stay cool. No gardening until it cools off a bit.

   Tomatoes coming in thick and fast. I have picked half a dozen in the last few days and will have to get them eaten before the next crop are ready. Maybe some will have to be cooked and put in the freezer. I much prefer to eat the ones from the garden raw, in salads or bruschetta, but if needs must I will make a tomato sauce to use in the winter when the tomatoes in the stores are tasteless and expensive.

Saturday 8 August 2020

Not Careful Enough

    I spent almost two hours today listening to a presentation on replacement windows from a very nice rep. Unfortunately, half way through his spiel I realized it is an American company (recommended by a friend) and I had vowed to "buy Canadian" from now on!

   I did order the windows (couldn't not after the effort he had made into convincing me they were the best product) but, half an hour after putting down a substantial deposit, I realized I hadn't checked with him whether it is in American or Canadian dollars! The exchange rate is pretty bad at the moment and if it is U.S. dollars it will be 25% more. Mea culpa. I am only having two windows replaced so it could have been worse.

Thursday 6 August 2020

All's Right With My World

   We got in our two sets of tennis this morning and it was sunny but not too hot. The courts were busy what with Junior lessons on one court and people waiting for the changeover time. We actually managed to stay on for 90 minutes before being "bumped". 

    Susan came back here for coffee and a chat (and, I admit, several cookies). The pool pump was acting up and I phoned for a service call, only to figure out what was wrong shortly after. It's still not working perfectly but I certainly don't want to have to pay for service if not needed so I cancelled the call. Let's hope it keeps working until the guys come for the chemical check and cleaning on Monday.

   Enjoying my current book, another Shetland crime mystery by Anne Cleves. It's her most recent, and supposedly last, set in Shetland and is titled "Wild Fire". I still have several of her previous ones to read so, no shortage of reading materials.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Filling My Days

    Still rainy today - second day we have missed tennis. Our usual days are Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday so we have our fingers crossed for at east one day this week.

   The pool guys were here today but I missed them which was unfortunate as I needed to talk to them. Since the new pump was installed, air has been getting into the circulation system, which isn't good. I guess I will have to wait until next week. 

   Since it was too wet to do much outside I was busy with indooor chores again. Over the weekend I painted some outdoor screens and shutters. With the leftover paint I got going on some touch up spots inside. That took me until noon. After lunch and a nap I made some pesto (my basil is doing really well this year) which will keep for a while. Then I stewed some dried fruit in wine and spices, a very tasty dessert after dinner tonight! I got the recipe from the Francis Mayes book I am currently reading, "Bella Tuscany". I've used her recipes before.

    It's amazing how the days go by. I am just happy I can keep myself busy.