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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

Pickleball

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

Update

     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.