Friday 31 December 2021


    In Scotland Hogmanay, New Year's Eve, is actually a bigger celebration than Christmas - at least it was when I lived there 50+ years ago! People went from house to house after midnight with a bottle of whiskey to toast the new year with friends and family.

   There are several other customs linked to Hogmanay but the one I am most aware of was the "First Foot". This was the first person to enter your house in the new year. It had to be a tall dark-haired stranger. This  dates back to the time of Viking raids as Scandanavian invaders usually had fair skin and hair. So it was safe to allow the dark-haired visitor into your home. 

Getting ready to welcome in the New Year with some bubbly! Prosecco and orange juice.

   I probably won't manage to stay awake until midnight but my hope for 2022 is that it is a massive improvement on 2021!

Monday 27 December 2021

A Bit of a Letdown

    Weather not cooperating today. I haven't been out since last Friday but, luckily, have plenty to keep me busy indoors. Today is strong winds and snow squalls, and the forecast is for freezing drizzle overnight, Yuk!

   The last of the Christmas meal will soon either be eaten or tucked away in the freezer and that includes the soup I made yesterday. Time for something different and it may well be vegetarian. You can only eat so much meat before the stomach requires a rest. I think there may be a couple of mince tarts calling my name later this evening but that's it!

   The decorations are starting to come down but I am interspersing it with reading or working on a puzzle. There's no rush and the tree will stay up until the new year. I love its sparkly brightness! 

Sunday 26 December 2021

My New Toy

   Despite no working oven, Christmas lunch went without a hitch. Daughter cooked the roast tatties and capon (I'm not a fan of turkey) to perfection, and they transported from her house successfully. Gifts were exchanged and here's my new toy from them.

An Instapot - really a high tech pressure cooker but nothing like your mother's version.

   I have given it a trial run and am ready for something more adventurous. Maybe after I have finished eating all the leftovers. Today I cleaned up, stripped the bird and made stock from the carcass so won't need to cook again for the rest of the week. Even though I sent lots home with the visitors, there's still a ton of food to eat up. Nothing wrong with that IMHO!


Friday 24 December 2021

Merry Christmas!

 And a gift to all my blog followers. Enjoy!

Can't believe they delivered this with barely a single smile or grin!

Thursday 23 December 2021

An Early Christmas Gift myself! I couldn't resist when I was shopping at the liquor store today. It's something I looked for last Christmas but couldn't find so this was my lucky day! Naturally, I have already sampled it, after all it's only two days early. It is seriously yummy!!

It's not a very clear photo but the flavour is salted caramel!

Wednesday 22 December 2021

The Last Dance

    We had our last dance night of 2021 on Monday and it was a relaxed evening with dances we mostly knew so just needed a quick review. We did 7 dances and I was gasping by the end - not the only one either! Usually we have a party with food but not able to do so this year because of Covid but it was a fun night.

   Here's my favourite of the dances we did - quite an unusual formation. Each couple dances once from each position in the set. Once again, not us!

Sunday 19 December 2021

And So It Begins......

    Although we had snow earlier this month, it didn't stick around. However, yesterday's snow may be here to stay. In other words it may last until March or April with more loads added along the way! At least I can put away my lawn mower for the next 3 or 4 months.

   See my trusty snow shovel! I do have a small snowblower but only use it for major snow falls.

  The city sends round a little snowplow that clears the sidewalk but the driveways are left to the home owners. It took me just under an hour to get my car cleaned off and the driveway cleared and that was my exercise for the day. I did it early to take advantage of the sun to dry off the paved areas. It was rather chilly (-10C) and I worked until my hands were icicles then went in to warm up before going back out to finish the job.

   There wasn't enough snow for the big snowplows to come around to clear the street which meant no windrow across the end of my driveway - a bonus, for sure as it tends to turn to ice and weigh a ton!

Saturday 18 December 2021

Finally Socializing

    Thought I'd better check in - it's been a while!

   Thursday was the Probus Club Christmas lunch and although the meal was a bit disappointing and expensive, it was lovely to see so many familiar faces. I won't complain about my other social group's lunches ever again (when and if we get to return to them) as they are far superior and quite a bit less in price. We were rather a small group of about 30 (usually over 100) as many were nervous about mixing. However, I had a lovely chat with the ladies at my table and left much cheered. We are heading into increased safety measures starting on Monday so we just sneaked in ahead of restrictions in numbers.

   Got my booster shot yesterday without too much trouble and no side effects except I had a rather long nap this afternoon - it may not be related but that's my excuse for being lazy!

   Snow today and quite a lot of it so I didn't go anywhere. It's still coming down but I shoveled a bit (just so it's less to do tomorrow). I have started making lists of things to do between now and the 25th., mostly involving sprucing up the house for visitors, even though it's just family. I even got out a few Christmas decorations although the grands are going to decorate my tree when they come over for lunch.

   My favourite Christmas song from the movie "Love Actually". Hope you like it.

Saturday 11 December 2021

Hold Onto Your Hats!

   Very strong winds here today - just praying my roof stays on as I have already had to have parts of it replaced this year. I can hear the wind buffeting stuff outside and it's set to continue overnight.

   While I was out running errands today I had to be careful when getting out of the car as the wind would grab the door out of my hands, that's how strong it was. Tomorrow will be interesting to see what has been blown around the neighborhood. Fingers crossed there is no serious damage but there have been tornados down south in the States, part of the same weather system.

Friday 10 December 2021

This and That

    At a loose end this afternoon so decided to tidy out the closet in my office. That turned out to be a bigger job than I could possibly have imagined and, after filling three garbage bags, I abandoned it for another day. Who knew I had accumulated so much of what can only be described as rubbish? I tend to shove things in and close the door, always a mistake!

The mess in my office - and that's just half of what was in the closet!

    I continue to investigate vegetarian options and this week I found a reduced package of veggie burgers. I have used two so far - the first I ate as a filling for a wrap but even with a healthy dollop of brown sauce and some salsa, it was a bit dry. Next day I crumbled another and added it to spaghetti sauce - that was much better and made two satisfying meals with the addition of more vegetables. I probably won't buy it again as, even with the reduced price, it was more expensive than ground meat. I guess you get what you pay for!

It did have quite a nice spicy taste and the texture was "OK".
 something I have found disagreeable with other products.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Cauld Kail (Cold Cabbage)

    Another couple of new dances last night - I think Nigel is determined to knock us into shape before we take a break for the holidays. I was so tired by the time I got home, but my legs were throbbing so I had trouble falling asleep. I think I am still rather out of shape after the long time away from dancing. This was one of the new dances we learned.

   Not us again, we just had ten brave souls as it was a miserable windy night. This dance, "Cauld Kail" is interesting as it has a change of tempo to make it a medley. First a Strathspey, then a Reel. No idea how it got its name!

Sunday 5 December 2021

A Quiet Sunday

    Got my overseas Christmas cards written today and will get them in the mail tomorrow. Each year it seems that there are one or two less to send and I am always expecting some may be returned as most of my relatives are getting on in years. 

   Other than that it has been a quiet day, too miserable to get outdoors so I have contented myself with finishing my most recent jigsaw puzzle. It was very satisfying to get that last piece in place!

It is from a collection of Indigenous art and was quite challenging!

Saturday 4 December 2021

Festive Special

    Visiting Swiss Chalet for the Festive Special is a Christmas tradition chez nous. We were rather earlier in the season than usual but met last night at our local restaurant. Great fun was had by all as well as a delicious meal and still time for a second visit later in the month. In a way it was rather bitter sweet as we were just 6 instead of 8, but this is our new normal since my son and his wife departed for the west coast. Perhaps we can persuade them to make the trip east next year!

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Getting Back in the Groove

    I have finally got myself motivated to resume attending the Scottish Country dance group I belong to. It is on Monday evenings and I rarely go out at night any more so it was a real effort to get there. Once there I usually enjoy myself and am glad I went. They have been going since late September but last week was my first visit. Our teacher, Nigel, and his wife Lourdes, have made every effort to keep it fun and enjoyable. 

    I found dancing in a mask very bothersome but loved to see most of the familiar faces. I found I was quite out of shape and breathless after each dance despite getting lots of exercise over the summer. We aren't able to have our usual "tea break" but Lourdes has been supplying home baking at break time. Catherine brought herself a flask of tea so maybe I will do that next week instead of my bottle of water. Here is one of the dances we learned last night, "Pinewoods Reel". This is NOT us dancing, you can tell as they are not wearing masks!

Saturday 27 November 2021

Another Treat

    A miserable day and I haven't set foot outside, in fact I have no plans to go anywhere until Monday. It seems too early in the winter for us to be having sub-zero temperatures and my body just hasn't adjusted to the change. At least no snow yet.

    After my request for more no-bake recipes, sparklingmerlot (see my sidebar) sent me a recipe for Lemon Coconut Squares. They turned out really well and are stored in the freezer for when I want some comfort food. Now I am on the lookout for something chocolatey, maybe a chewy chocolate brownie!

They were pretty easy and I had most of the ingredients on hand.

Sunday 21 November 2021

No-Bake Baking

   Since I am still without an oven it has been difficult (though not impossible) to keep myself provided with sweet treats to nibble on in the evenings. But today I dug out my friend Cathy's no-bake recipe for energy balls. They turned out well, I think the secret was to chill the mixture well before trying to roll it into balls. 

It's probably too small to read but you get the idea. Cathy's helpful comments included.

Here they are ready to go in the freezer from which I will extract one a time for a snack.

   Granddaughter's 14th birthday yesterday so I was summoned to join the family party. It was lots of fun and a nice meal besides. No cake but we had Creme Brulee (Natalie's choice). I am now officially the smallest person in the family. Beside my tennis friends I feel quite tall as two are shorter than me, but around the grandkids I feel like a shrimp!

Friday 19 November 2021

A Special Treat

    I treated myself the other day to a special cheese and some new (to me) crisps. They went perfectly together and the veggie chips were just the right size for digging into the cheese. It doesn't take much to make me happy!

Despite being full of vegetables the chips were not particularly healthy but, boy, did they taste good!

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Something to Cheer About!

    It may be gloomy and wet outside but, in my house, the blooms are still coming!

Both hibiscus plants loved being outdoors for the summer and are rewarding me with these gorgeous blooms after being taken indoors.

   Second raking done this week but there are still leaves to bag up and dispose of. Some will go in the composter but it already is almost full.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Saying Goodbye at Rosemary and Thyme

    You will be tired of seeing the same four faces in my photos but, truthfully, these are the only people, other than family, I am seeing at the moment. Things are very slowly opening up here and we are ultra cautious about venturing out. The masks only came off when we sat down at the table. Brunch was lovely especially the endless coffee. Cathy and I had Eggs Florentine and the other two had different breakfast specials.

This was our final get-together of the year as we go our separate ways now that tennis is over. My first meal out since I was treated to a meal in a restaurant for my birthday in September 2020!

    Cathy (in red checks) will be playing tennis in Florida come January but the rest of us will be on hiatus from tennis until April at the earliest. After this taste of "life after Covid", I am excitedly looking forward to the family Festive Special outing at Swiss Chalet next month! We had to miss it last year for the first time in about 10 years.

Saturday 13 November 2021

Catching Up

    Just dropping in to say I am still in the land of the living and haven't succumbed to any viruses! Nothing happening here - tennis over for another year although I was invited to play indoors this week. Still no working stove but fingers crossed the new part is installed before Christmas. It will be touch-and-go!

   More leaves to rake but it was too cold today. Although parts of the country have had snow, it has passed us by for the time being. All good!

Sunday 7 November 2021

The Plum Pudding

      It is 5:30 and it is already dark!  The clocks went back last night so we will be spending more time indoors with the lights on, I guess. There has been lots of talk of stopping Daylight Savings time but I like the lighter evenings in Spring and Summer.    

   The Christmas plum pudding was steamed today and turned out well. I soaked the fruit overnight (I am not usually well enough organized to do this) and that made the actual preparation much easier. Now to pack it away to mature for a few weeks!

One last rose from the garden. There is another bud but I don't think it will survive the frost long enough to  open.

Saturday 6 November 2021

Returning to Normal

    I had an overnight guest (actually two nights) this week - my DIL from Victoria who stopped off in the city after a holiday in Newfoundland. That is where she is from and still has many friends there. She was busy while with me, seeing friends here too but we had to make sure to stop in to see her niece and nephews (my grandkids) before she left. We had a nice family dinner with them and got caught up on everyone`s news.

  Other than that it has been a quiet week. On Thursday I had two Zoom meetings to attend which ran a bit too long. Usually I find Zoom meetings can go quite efficiently but that was not the case this time - too much to discuss, I guess! We had to decide when to start up activities again although nothing was settled. It will probably be 2022 before we can get back to our normal schedule, just waiting for the go ahead from Head Office and the Health Department.

   One piece of good news! The Probus club I belong to is planning an in-person Christmas lunch which will be exciting. I haven`t eaten in a restaurant since my birthday in September 2020! It will depend on whether sufficient people are interested as we need at least 50 to sign up. I got my name in right away. Fingers crossed it`s a `go`!



Friday 5 November 2021

My Most Recent Reading

    These are going back to the library tomorrow. Both kept me guessing until the last page, "The Blame Game " was quite suspenseful. I have ordered the next book by each author.

   Lots of these around on the ground now but I haven't started raking yet.

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Will It Never End?

 .....the saga of my stove, that is. The oven is still not working but another new (expensive) part has been ordered. At least this time I was not charged for labour and I can still use the stove top and the broiler. 

    My major worry is that the part will take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive and that will be almost Christmas - I am supposed to be cooking the Christmas meal this year. Then another week to get the technician here to install it. I have forewarned my daughter that she may have to pitch in with her oven or even take over the whole meal. It will be the first time since 1970 that I won't be cooking the Christmas feast. I will, however, be able to steam the plum pudding which grandkids were rather worried about.

   Tuesday's tennis was another chilly experience but we are determined to keep playing until they lock up the courts. Just praying there will be no snow before then!

Thursday 28 October 2021

Chilly Weather

 It was *b.....* cold on the tennis courts this morning, hence the gloves and winter jackets, but we managed two sets although the wind got stronger, the longer we played. Kathy and I were the big winners, more because of the conditions than our better play! You can see we weren't the only crazy people out on the courts. Although we are all wearing sunglasses there wasn't really enough sun to warm us up so we quit after an hour and a half.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

One More Thing

    Just when I thought things were finally getting done, I woke up to a rather cold house this morning. The temperature was 13C, no wonder I got up in the middle of the night to put an extra layer on the bed!

   I got on to the energy company toute suite, and within minutes had an appointment booked for later in the morning. Very efficient! The technician came around 10:00 a.m. and had things sorted quite quickly - it was the thermostat not the furnace which was the problem. 

    Yesterday's trip to the car dealer went without a hitch although I decided just to wait for the work to be completed instead of bussing home and back. A couple of little repairs needed but not too serious for a 14 yr. old car! I was there for three hours so not much else accomplished.

   It has been a miserable day today and I haven't been outdoors at all. But I am thankful for a nice cozy house once more!       

Sunday 24 October 2021

Good news!

 My neighbour coughed up for her portion of the repair to our communal fence after complaints about the guys I had hired to do it. Of course she had the option to find someone else but never did, so it was up to me.  So money in the bank and I am solvent again!

   Still waiting for the electrician to install a new outlet for the stove but he has agreed to come on Wednesday. Things are getting done. One minor annoyance - the car dealership is not providing taxiing service because of Covid so I will have to bus it home after dropping off my car tomorrow. I'm hoping daughter will be able to drop me off on her way home from work to pick it up. It should be ready by then. Best laid plans and all that!

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Things Finally Working Out

    Judy came for lunch on Tuesday as it was her birthday and we had a lovely chat although she had to be back at work in an hour. After tennis I went and picked up Dim Sum at the local Chinese supermarket. It was a bit tricky as I didn't know the name of the items I wanted - a lot of pointing and gesturing as English was a second language for most of the girls behind the counter, but a fun experience! I got home just before Judy arrived and popped the Dim Sum in the steamer to keep it warm. Then we had it with a pot of green tea.

   One less thing to worry about - the back fence got fixed today. It looks so much more sturdy and I am very happy to have it upright again. My neighbour has agreed to help with the cost - as they say, "good fences make good neighbours", so I hope she is as happy with the work done on it as I am.

   And, "hallelujah!" the guys are supposedly coming tomorrow to fix my leaky basement. Frankly I will believe it when I see it as I have been on the phone to them several times to get the job done. Stay posted!

Monday 18 October 2021

Heating Turned On

    When I got up this morning it was only 14C in the house so I started up the furnace. I may turn it off again later in the week but, for just now, it's needed! I have brought in all my outdoor pots just in case there is frost. The plants all look so healthy having spent the last few months outdoors.

   It was cold at tennis on Sunday but I was quite comfortable (compared to one of my friends) as I was dressed in layers. Having said that I must say I didn't shed any layers as we played. The Scandinavians have a saying, "There is no bad weather, just bad clothes", and I entirely agree. No point in being cold when you can add another layer!

    Still without my stove. The repair man came today and replaced the part but now I need an electrician as it seems it's the outlet which is at fault. That won't happen until next week, I'm afraid, but I have one booked.

    The car is booked for its service next week and I will call to have the furnace serviced before the end of the month - always something needing doing!

Saturday 16 October 2021

Waiting - not my best attribute

    Still without a stove - they have promised to come on Monday (the part has arrived) but were supposed to send me a "robo-call" with the time but no message so far. I will just have to wait and see, I guess.

    I am managing without the stove quite well although yesterday I just had a cheese toastie for dinner. I have made soup and stew in the rice cooker so far and made my breakfast omelet in it today. I also made a batch of green tomato chutney which turned out well. Tonight I am going to try to cook chicken thighs in it, in a salsa sauce with mushrooms. The main inconvenience is that there are only two settings - cook and keep warm, so there is no way to control the heat. So far I haven't burned anything!

   I will have the fire on tonight as it has turned quite cold. It will be chilly on the tennis courts tomorrow!

Thursday 14 October 2021

What I Am Reading

    Great day on the tennis courts this morning! I was actually feeling too hot by the time we finished just shy of 11:00 a.m. Kathy was the big winner today after two sets but I was lucky enough to be her partner for the second set so basked in her glory!

   On to my current reading material:

Set in Glasgow, Scotland ( and in my home town of Bearsden) it's a rather dark but intriguing crime novel with a very twisted ending. Recommended.

Every book list is agog with reviews of Sally Rooney's latest novel but I thought I would start with an earlier one. Set in Ireland, the characters in this one are far from "normal" in my opinion and I recommend it with some reservations. 

Set in France this one is highly recommended by a friend but I am rather sated with WWII stories.  The characters are mostly stereotypical  (cruel Nazis, beleaguered Jews, downtrodden but brave French).

   I would say the Sally Rooney book is the most well written with The Nightingale a close second.

Monday 11 October 2021

Thanksgiving Monday

     Just a regular Monday for me as we had our big feast at daughter's house yesterday. That way she has a rest day before returning to work. There were seven of us and, as is our custom, we went around the table before we ate telling what we are thankful for - and there was a lot!

   It has been very summery this weekend and I finally pulled up the last of the kale plants. Now my vegetable garden is empty as that is the area the guys will have to dig up to fix my leaky basement. No word yet as to when that will happen but at least I am prepared. 

I got quite a good picking from the last kale plants and will use it tomorrow.

Saturday 9 October 2021

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

    The stove is still not fixed but a part has been ordered - to come in `two to five business days`! With this being the Thanksgiving long weekend that means it will be at least the middle of next week until I can cook again.

   What to do in the meantime? First I figured I could get by with my toaster oven and microwave. That was OK for a couple of days but limited my choices of meals. However, today I got out my crock pot and simmered a big batch of stew all day. It is almost ready and smells delicious! 

   Also I realized my rice cooker can be used to boil or reheat loads of things. Today it was soup from the freezer and tomorrow I will use it to prepare the roast potatoes for the Thanksgiving lunch. Luckily daughter is hosting the meal at her house but my roast potatoes are on the menu by special request. I like to parboil them first and will take them to her house to roast. I`m sure I will think of lots of other tasty meals using these appliances. 

   I am trying to be philosophical about the whole experience (leaky tap, wet basement, falling down fence etc.) but have come to realize I have plenty to be thankful for, especially to be able to celebrate the holiday with family.

Wednesday 6 October 2021


    Expenses keep adding up. Yesterday my stove went dark (only way to describe it, nothing worked), but luckily, just as I finished cooking dinner. A guy is coming tomorrow to fix it (I hope!) but tonight it is leftovers heated in the microwave. The worst part is the initial visit is $120 just to evaluate the problem and give a quote. If I go ahead with the job that payment is deducted from the final bill. So, who knows what it will turn out to be. 

    However, I haven't heard back from the wet basement repair guys or the chap who is to fix my back fence, so no money laid out there yet. Maybe I can put them off until the Spring?

   I have decided to get a new liner for my pool as it is looking rather shabby and I suspect I have a small leak. That will be done in the Spring but, wouldn't you know, they want half the cost paid up front. I will try and put them off until next month.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Last Trip to the Dermatologist

    Final visit for treatment to my ear but - halleluiah! - I got the all clear and no need to return. I am so relieved, I wasn't even upset that I had to wait half-an-hour for my two minute visit. I skipped out of the clinic with wings on my heels, I can tell you!

    We had tennis planned this morning but it was a drizzly start. It has been on and off rain since Sunday and we were itching to get on the courts. However, we persevered, dried off the courts as much as we could and hit the ball tentatively for half-an-hour. Finally the drizzle stopped and the last hour was fairly dry. Not many opportunities to play before the courts are closed at the end of the month so we have to make the best of it while we can.

    One more thing to check off my "to-do" list - got the plumber here to fix a leaking tap and it took him literally 10 minutes to replace the leaking part. It was the line leading to the cold tap and he replaced the other one while he was at it. No charge as I have a Parts Plan with the energy company, well worth the monthly premium as plumbers here are expensive!  


Monday 4 October 2021

The Last Barbecue

     I'm afraid I am not one of those hardy souls who BBQ all winter, so I had my last BBQ last weekend. Just sausages but they were yummy with a freshly picked corn cob. Yes, I did find the farmer who comes down here with his crop and sells it from the back of his truck.

Can't claim this beautiful display - it's one of my neighbours who definitely has a green thumb.
Another view of my neighbour's front border.

The barbecue sits on the front porch with this lovely planter. It comes indoors when the weather gets chilly.

It's just a table top BBQ and is stored in the garage for the winter

It's powered by this propane tank which is just about empty - it's done the whole summer.

Thursday 23 September 2021

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    A day and a half of almost constant rain so I have been mopping puddles in my basement again. However, I have had someone come and look into the problem and they will be back to fix it relatively soon. In the mean time I am hoping for no more heavy rainfall as I am extremely tired of the constant mopping!

   I went back to have my ear checked this week ( I think I wrote about it earlier) - it was a basal cell carcinoma and, unfortunately, they didn't get the whole thing on the first visit so there was some more cutting and scraping, thankfully all under anesthetic. It wasn't as bad as the first time and should be all healed in a couple of weeks, fingers crossed.

    I was getting tired of the fish dishes I have been producing recently so tried something new the other night - curried fish with braised kale. It was quite good. It had shredded coconut in it which was an interesting addition.

It made quite a lot but I ate the whole thing! I added tomatoes and black olives to the fish (not in the recipe but a good addition). The white on top of the kale is grated Grano Padano cheese which I prefer to Parmesan, everything enhanced with a squirt or two of lemon juice.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

The Fruits of Fall

    My mountain ash (Rowan) tree is ready but no sign of the robins. They have usually stripped it bare by this time. Folklore says that when there is an abundance of berries it is going to be a hard winter.

   One rose bush still blooming, this is one of my favourites as the blooms and the buds are so delicate.

Sunday 19 September 2021

An End-of-Summer Right of Passage

    I have since had two swims (actually twice today so that makes three) as it has been a beautiful weekend. So happy I postponed the pool closure until next week. We often have a summery week late in September so that has been a definite bonus!

   I cleaned the pool yesterday so it won't be too disgusting when the pool guys come to partially drain it and put the cover on. That is always a sad day but at least my electricity bill will be reduced considerably, and the water bill as well. I couldn't survive the summer without a pool but it is quite an expensive luxury.

Still looking good!

Thursday 16 September 2021

Easing Into Fall

    A lovely morning at the tennis courts, clear sky, mild temperatures, not much of a breeze and super friends. I was on the winning side for both sets for a change (on Tuesday I was the big loser) thanks mostly to my stalwart partners, so went home happy. We are still starting at 8:00 but that will have to change soon as the sun is rising later and is lower in the sky, making it difficult to see the ball for the first hour. 

   Senior's Day at the drug store so I walked down and picked up the mail and a couple of items. Always nice to get a 10% reduction although that barely amounts to the tax! Since then just gardening and reading outside, an easy day. The pool is still open but too chilly for a swim.

Monday 13 September 2021

A New Week

   Tennis Grand Slams over for another year. The finals at the U.S. Open were both exciting matches but neither had predictable results. All players excelled themselves though. Now what will I do for entertainment?

   Today has been quiet as Mondays usually are. I didn't accomplish much but did walk down to the local polling station to cast my vote in the advanced poll. It was held at the Seniors Centre where I play Bridge, attend exercise classes and volunteer in the kitchen and, good news, they may be opening for "in person" activities later this month. Can't wait, I have really missed my Bridge group. Hope I remember how to play!

The last tomatoes - I pulled up the plants today. Strangely, for the first time in forever, I won't have any green tomatoes to ripen indoors.

This afternoon in the kitchen - bread just needs a final bake and Eggplant Parmigiana waiting to go in the oven next.


Thursday 9 September 2021

Thunder and Lightning

    Don't know if I mentioned the big storm we had a couple of nights ago - trees down, power outages etc., but I just got some water in my basement that necessitated much sponging and mopping. I will have to have someone come and fix that REAL soon!

   As a result of all the rain I have been gung-ho to pull up all the weeds in between the driveway and the sidewalk. They came out a treat and the area got a good spray of "Weed Begone". This is something that needs to be done before winter as it makes shoveling the driveway so much easier if they are not there. Hopefully that is it now taken care of.

    The storm, unfortunately, brought down most of my gigantic sunflowers and some devious animal(s) had a field day feasting on the seeds. So that left a mess to be cleared up. I think it was probably raccoons, although the squirrels may have joined in. Either way, they had a real party. The remains are now in the composter but I wouldn't be surprised if that got raided too.  

Wednesday 8 September 2021

A New Author to me, that is.   It's Alex Michaelides, whose latest book, "The Maidens", I have just finished. It's a thriller/mystery with a very creepy component. If that is a type of story that appeals, give it a try. I have requested his earlier book, "The Silent Patient" which I'm sure will be equally compelling. Can't wait to get it!

Tuesday 7 September 2021

A Final Summer Long Weekend

    Labour Day yesterday - as far as I was concerned it was just my usual Monday. In the past (before COVID) there would have been a social at the tennis club and a barbecue lunch, but that has gone by the wayside for the last two summers, along with the Victoria Day, Canada Day and Thanksgiving socials.

    However, I have been engrossed with the U.S. Open tournament in which Canadians have been doing pretty well and there have been some spectacular matches. Today I spent a tense 2 hours watching Leylah Fernandez make her way into the semi-finals. She has just turned 19 and is one of three teenagers into the quarter finals. If she goes no further she will have covered herself with glory, without a doubt. Another Canadian is playing tonight to move into the next round but it will be a nail-biter, for sure!

    I had to have minor surgery on my outer ear this morning for a growth and it is throbbing a bit, nothing that a glass of wine won't put right. I don't have any tennis until Thursday so, hopefully, by then it will be a thing of the past. I will go back in two weeks so the doctor can check that it is all gone. Fingers crossed! 

Friday 3 September 2021

Maybe the End of Summer

    The grandkids were over today for what might be the last swim of the summer for them. The nights have been cooler this week and it takes about 3 or 4 hours with the heater running to get the temperature up to their standards. I will keep having a daily dip until the water is just too cold even for me.

The boys were in for almost an hour, Natalie not so much!

 She barely managed to get immersed. As you can see, her hair is still dry.

Elliot noticed this cardinal snacking on a cicada on the back fence.
 We had a fun afternoon while Judy was getting her classroom ready for the start of school next week.

Tuesday 31 August 2021

A Display of Birds

    Much more comfortable today but, apart from an hour of tennis, a bit of gardening and my swim, I have been indoors watching the U.S. Open tennis tournament. It is on for the next two weeks so you know how I will be spending a big chunk of my free time! Lots of amazing players so sure to be several exciting matches.

   During the hot spell I was working on my newest (to me, from Valu Village) jigsaw puzzle, and finished it yesterday. I t was fun to do and I will definitely try it again.

Monday 30 August 2021

A Good Buy

    These are the plant-based sausages I used for the sausage rolls. I fried one up and it did taste just like an actual sausage in both texture and taste. I would definitely recommend them. They are a bit more expensive than regular sausages but they were reduced for quick sale.

Their main ingredient is pea protein.

Sunday 29 August 2021

Trying Something New

    Weather continues brilliant (or awful depending on your preference) with it still in the 30's. We are promised cooler nights next week which will help somewhat. We did have some heavy rain yesterday and it did go somewhat towards eradicating the drought. Another storm, please, that would really help! At least I haven't had to cut the grass much recently as it has basically gone dormant.

   I haven't done much gardening this month as it is just so hot out there, but have been keeping myself busy with reading and a jigsaw puzzle. Today I made sausage rolls with plant-based sausages. They look like the real thing but how will they taste? I will have a couple for dinner tonight.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Still Suffering From the Heat

     Thunder rumbling around this afternoon, then the sky got really dark and it rained for about twenty minutes. Of course, back to blazing sun right after. We need a really heavy downpour, everything is so parched. I have been cowering inside as it is still up in the low 30's and not cooling off much overnight. No relief in sight. Later I will go and have a swim and will feel more like eating dinner. Cooking is out of the question!

Monday 23 August 2021

Shouldn't Complain, but........

    Still very humid and steamy. I have given up on my daily walk as it is just too hot even early in the morning. Instead I have started to swim lengths each day - I'm up to twenty (the pool is small!) but that takes quite a bit of effort so I don't think I will be increasing that any time soon.

    We are still getting out on the tennis courts, usually from 8:00 a.m. to around 9:30. Sunday's game was interesting, Kathy and I took the first set 6-0. this is really unusual as, no matter what combination we play in, we are usually well matched. I guess the other two had a slow start. The second set (with a different combination) was much more even.

   I have shown off this hibiscus plant already but this is the first time it's had two blooms at the same time. Unfortunately it is losing leaves at an alarming rate, probably due to the hot conditions.

Thursday 19 August 2021

August News

    Nothing much has changed in the last week. My pool heater isn't working again - the guys are coming tomorrow to fix it, hopefully - but it is still hot here so the water is reasonably warm and I am swimming every day. 

   Regarding one of the books I wrote about last week, The Bookseller of Florence, it is a non-fiction and extremely well researched and well written. However it is a heavy read (both physically and mentally), more like a text book than my usually reading fare. I have been to Florence so that aspect of it is interesting. I am plugging away at it - it's fascinating how much is known about people and events in 14th century Italy - but it is definitely not a light summer read!

   That's it for this week. 

Wednesday 11 August 2021

The Heat Continues

    Still sitting here sweating - it is so hot and humid! I worked in the garden for about 10 minutes then had to jump in the pool!

    Yesterday's tennis was fine for the first hour (8:00 to 9:00) as it was overcast, but then the sun came out and we all wilted. Tomorrow it will be more of the same. I wonder how long we will last!

    Three more books from the library. This should last me over the weekend. I have just finished the Alexander McCall Smith book and would recommend it for a light but thoughtful read. The others were on some list or other so no idea what they will be like.

The bottom one is "The Bookseller of Florence" by Ross King.

Monday 9 August 2021

Another Hot Spell

    Not much on the agenda today as it is so hot and humid. The humidex makes it feel like 40C! Judy and James dropped by on their way to (or from) somewhere else and James had a quick swim. Since then I have been hiding out indoors watching tennis on TV. The Canadian Open (women in Montreal and men in Toronto)  is on this week but I am quite happy to stay home and watch it in relative comfort. 

It is set to be hot all week until Friday when we are promised rain.

Saturday 7 August 2021

Two Good Books

    A little rain this afternoon so I finished my current book and started another. After a period of nothing new arriving in my inbox from the library, three books arrived almost simultaneously, so I picked up one this morning, the others can wait. One good thing about the pandemic is that the library is currently not charging for overdue books.

  This is my third Mary Lawson books and I can tell I will enjoy it as much as the others. The others, which I have probably mentioned before, are "A Town Called Solace" and "The Other Side of the Bridge". All three are set in a small community in Northern Ontario and are packed with emotional, often tragic circumstances and complex family relationships that will stay with you after you finish reading.

  I finished this one today - a compelling tale of mystery and intrigue set in post WWII Eastern Europe, complete with spies, danger and human frailties. A good read.

o I picked up one today. 

Wednesday 4 August 2021

More Grandkid Photos

    Gorgeous day today - hot but not humid. The family came over for lunch and stayed for a swim. After his marathon 30 lengths last week, James declared he was going for 100 this week. Keep in mind the pool is only 10 meters long. None of us thought he could do it but he did! He was pretty tired when he finished and really deserved his medal and prize of cake and ice cream. I'm sure he burned off enough calories with his swim, he's pretty skinny anyway.

Here he is with his silver medal (I didn't have a gold one)

This young man is 6'2" so we had fun trying to figure how tall the biggest sunflower is.