Sunday 31 May 2020

Staying Safe While Exercising

   Another tennis game today - Susan and I haven't joined the club yet but are playing in the public hours. It was very windy but the windscreens really helped. We were lucky to get a court today as it was quite busy. We will join once we see how things are working out with all the new rules. Although we had a good workout, I would rather be playing doubles!

    I made a pot of soup and a loaf of bread today - the basics of life! I could live on that alone.  

My African Violet seems to like this sunny window as it has suddenly burst into flower!

Saturday 30 May 2020

Finally Tennis!

   Susan and I met at the tennis courts today for our first chance to play since February. It was a bit windy and had rained in the morning, but during the hour we spent on the courts it was a beautiful day.
   There are all sorts of rules attached to this opening but we worked around them. The main one was only singles play which is tough for us oldies. Also you are only supposed to handle your own balls but we decided to ignore that and there was no one there to object. It felt great to be outdoors and getting some exercise!

Friday 29 May 2020


   One wigelia bush is gone but the other is just coming into profuse bloom.

I love the big long strands. I pruned it severely last year and it is coming back well. More heavy rain today but I did get out in the garden for an hour this afternoon. Always something to do there!

Thursday 28 May 2020

At the Garden Centre

   It's been raining all afternoon but I took a quick trip out to the lilac bush to catch the blooms before the rain spoiled them. They look pretty.

    This morning, before the rain arrived (remnants of storm Bertha), I dug up an old Wigelai bush which was only sending out a couple of branches. It was quite difficult to get out but it is now gone and I need a replacement. So, since I couldn't work in the (by now very muddy) garden, I ventured to the Garden Centre!

   The garden centres only opened last week and my one attempt to visit was met with frustration as there was a huge lineup and it was inevitably jammed with erstwhile gardeners. So a rainy afternoon seemed like an ideal time to venture forth. A good move as it turned out as I was able to get in and out without much trouble. 

   I bought a clematis for the empty spot where the wigelia had been, some Swiss Chard and a big pot of basil to share with Judy. She had found tomatoes so it was a good exchange. They will go in the garden tomorrow and that will be all I can fit in my tiny vegetable patch.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

A Day Brightener

   I had an early morning walk today, because of the heat, and came home with this beautiful bunch of lily-of-the-valley from the local church yard. The perfume is wonderful. My own plants only produced two flower stalks!

Breakfast on the porch.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

A Bit of a Blow

   When the pool guys came to open the pool last week they couldn't get the heater to start up. It has been a bit "iffy" for the last couple of years. Now, I don't mind swimming if the water is at least 70F but my guests (grandkids) like it closer to 80F so a heater is basically a necessity. So, I had to bite the bullet and get it replaced. It is over 30 years old so certainly doesn't owe me anything.

    Problem was how to remove it and get the new one in - the shed that houses the pool equipment is very close to my neighbours fence and I guess was put up after the heater was installed. Solution? Remove the shed! It also is very old and quite decrepit. 

   Yesterday my handyman son came over with all his tools and dismantled the shed and we stacked it by the front curb. It took about 4 hours on the hottest day of the year and we were both sweaty and grimy by the time we were finished. But, lo and behold, overnight it is now gone to scrap metal heaven, we presume. At least it is no longer there.

   The new heater will be installed in a couple of weeks and my bank account will be empty. Never mind, " 'fits money?" as my old uncle used to say. I just hope I won't have any more major expenses for a month or two.

Once the new heater is installed I will see about getting a new shed.

Monday 25 May 2020


    Today was our first day of extreme heat - 29C -  really too hot to work, or even sit, outside. I did water the plants after the sun had started to pass overhead but came in sweating and thirsty.

   The pool was opened last week but is still a tad chilly (69F) for swimming so I had to resort to a cold shower instead. The A/C has just come on,first time this year. I just turned it from heating to cooling last week!

Looks inviting but still a bit chilly even for me!

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Around My Neighbourhood

It's been a good year for Grape Hyacinths.

Somebody's already been to the garden centre.

Professional landscaping I think!

Monday 18 May 2020

Another Indoor Day

    A wet and dreary day today but not cold. Still no milk at the store so I had to substitute evaporated milk (half milk, half water) in today's loaf of bread. It turned out well so that is something to remember in the future.

    I spent most of the day reading. My current book is "The Autobiography of Henry Vlll" by Margaret George. It is a fascinating (although fictional) look into the life of the notorious monarch. The author uses an effective device to carry the story forward with passages inserted into the king's account by his jester, Will Somers. I am thoroughly enjoying it and it will keep me going for some time as it is very long. The libraries are still not open.

   I had a phone call from one of my Bridge friends today - we are both missing Bridge very much but there is little likliehood of us getting back to playing any time soon. It would just be too difficult to keep social distance from each other and avoid sharing germs on the cards! Not to mention the community centre where we play is still shut and probably won't open again for months.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Joining a "Bubble"

   We are now allowed to connect with one other family group while still maintaining social distance, so today I visited my family in Markham for a back yard barbecue. It's the longest trip I've taken in weeks (about 30 km there and back) and the roads were significantly quieter than usual. I was honoured to be chosen to join their family bubble.

   We had lunch outside with me on one side of the table and the family on the other. But we were close enough to talk. No hugs, though!

It was sunny and quite warm, hence the shade. Dave (SIL) manned the barbecue, Elliot baked a loaf and Judy and Natalie made corn and a Caesar salad. I brought a baked bean casserole.

James, youngest grandson, made this delicious dessert. Light and fluffy, not too sweet, with just the right amount of fruit. No need for supper tonight!

Friday 15 May 2020

Technical glitches

   A rainy day but much milder - more like May. I managed a run (not literally but I did walk smartly as it was still spitting) down to the corner shop between showers to pick up a couple of items. They were completely out of milk but, luckily, I still have enough for my tea. When I did my grocery shop on Thursday (seniors' hours) the milk was all about to expire so I declined to buy.

   The rain finally stopped later this afternoon but it was too wet underfoot to do any gardening. I did some book keeping chores for RTO that I have been putting off - just organizing some reports for our Annual Meeting which has been postponed until October at the earliest. So, nothing urgent. My laptop has been playing up - may need to be replaced - but for once it was cooperating.

 We were to have a Zoom meeting this morning but it didn't happen. We were all ready at our computers at the designated time to no avail. Apologies all round from the meeting chair, but no explanation as to the cause. We will try again next week.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Learning to Live With Social Distancing

   My big task today was to go to the hardware store which has just been allowed to have customers inside. Previously it was just curbside pickup. I needed some gardening supplies and was able to get everything I wanted - in and out in ten minutes, wearing my mask.

   So now I can get started on weeding, feeding and seeding the lawn, clipping bushes and generally tidying up the property. It has finally warmed up and I was out with just a sweater today. I didn't buy any plants or veggies yet as we may still get frost but the garden centres are also opening this week. Now we just need to be allowed to get back on the tennis courts. I am really missing tennis and my friends at the club.

   I also went to the bulk food store and, although I had to wait to get in for a few minutes, that also went smoothly. They have an assistant do the bagging for you to cut down on contamination which I think is a good idea. 

P.S. I got yeast today!!

Monday 11 May 2020

Significantly Distant Mother's Day

   Judy came over on Sunday with a Mother's Day treat - afternoon tea in a box. I just had to boil the kettle!

   An enterprising local tea shop came up with the idea as they are only allowed to operate take out. It was delicious! Of course, we had to eat on the front porch to conform to the current restrictions and it was a bit chilly. We were both in our winter coats, but at least there was no snow. It has been very cold here recently. Saturday overnight set a record of -4C!

Cards from the grandkids and tea in my French Press.

There were sandwiches, scones, shortbread cookies and fairy cakes.

The scones came with little dishes of clotted cream and jam.

The loose tea was "Mother's Day Blend" Delicious!

Saturday 9 May 2020

Polar Vortex

   It has been extremely cold (for May) here recently, the result of a polar vortex which has brought frigid arctic air down as far as the Great Lakes region. Today's temperature has barely budged above 0C and there have been flurries of snow pellets off and on all day. Last night has supposedly set a record for the coldest May 8 in a couple of decades. I will have to check the weather report in tomorrow's newspaper. 

   Just short walks for me the last couple of days due to the cold wind. I am just glad I haven't planted any flowers or vegetables yet. I did work in the garden yesterday but today was just too chilly! Everything that has come up so far seems to be surviving and it should be slightly warmer tomorrow. Now I'm off to cozy up close to the fire with my book!

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Zooming Around

   Today I took part in my first Zoom meeting, and I found it rather underwhelming. It was arranged by the Big Bridge group (not to be confused with the small Bridge group which is just four of us) which meets on Tuesdays and has around 40 members. 12 took part so that was part of the underwhelming bit. I hardly spoke at all - just a bit shy, I guess - plus my picture was upside down so nobody recognized me! Maybe a smaller group would be more my style. Someone suggested that my laptop camera had been installed upside down. I will look into that.

   Still chilly but, thankfully, sunny with below seasonal temperatures. I did my usual routine - exercises before breakfast followed by some light housework in the morning, a stroll down to the post office in the drug store to check the PO box, a nap this afternoon after Zoom and a fairly good walk later on. Leftover lasagna from the freezer with a fresh salad and garlic bread for dinner. I might even have a piece of the sweet potato brownie from yesterday. It tasted much better when I spread it with cream cheese.

This may be my last puzzle unless someone will trade with me. It was an easy one, just 500 pieces and only took me a couple of days. 

Monday 4 May 2020

Two Fails

   Not complete failures, just not up to my usually (low) standards. They were both the result of having time on my hands and some food item that needed using up.

   The first was a couple of jars of marmalade. In this instance I had an almost ready to expire lemon and some cranberries from the freezer. The resulting marmalade is tasty enough but has a very strange texture. I think I may have boiled it too long and the sugar began to crystallize. I don't think I like the combination of cranberries and lemon either. It was supposed to be grapefruit and lemon. The recipe came from my favourite preserving book, which I have written about before, "Preserves and Pickles" by Catherine Atkinson.

   The second attempt was prompted by a sweet potato lurking in the fridge. The recipe was for chocolate brownies - I have made them before but for some reason, the batter was just too thick. I added an egg and some milk and the resulting brownie is edible and probably quite healthy but, frankly, less than appetizing! I will eat it anyway - chocolate's chocolate after all! It had cocoa and chocolate chips in it.

   Yesterday was brilliant - sunny and well above the normal temperature - but today was much colder. Back to winter clothes. I cleaned the inside of the car of all the remnants of winter so that kept me warm while working outside. I even vacuumed and shampooed the carpets and wiped down the dashboard. It smells heavenly now!

Friday 1 May 2020

Staying Sane by Keeping Busy

   Chilly start to the day but warmed up by the afternoon. I did my exercises this morning and had a walk down to the drug store to check the P.O. Box. This afternoon I cut the front grass (it looks so much better for being void of dandelions) and did some gardening, then sat in the sun with my book for half-an-hour. That`s about it.

   I am reading a very good book which I picked up from the Probus book exchange last year. It is `Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles` by Margaret George. I`m just at the part where she is tiring of Darnley and I know he is murdered in the next few chapters. Very exciting!