Thursday, 30 September 2010

I don't usually do this.....

Post twice in one afternoon that is! But I just happened to look out the window this evening and I thought I saw chippie in the yard. I haven't seen him for two days so excitedly I grabbed my shoes and a handful of nuts and headed outside. I sat and called to him but, unusually, he didn't come down from the steps he just sat there very still. Then I noticed that he didn't have little black stripes down his side and his tail was a little bushier than usually. I then realised that it was infact a little red squirrel! SO sweet. He scrambled up the tree and I dived indoors to retrieve my camera! Lovely Man was sitting expectantly waiting for his supper and I disappeared out the door saying "Can't visitor!" I also swore a little on account of cracking my knee on the corner of the coffee table in my haste to get back outside. Anyway this dear little chap sat quietly watching me as I crawled about under the tree, letting me get real close, methodically chewing on the small pine nuts!


Well people! My first column piece has been published in the Manitouwadge Echo! I am, officially, a freelance writer! Check it out by clicking the link in my blog sidebar! My very special thanks must go to, in the main instance; Lovely Man who always encourages me to follow my dreams, to my best and longest ever friend Jan who told me years ago "you need to write and get published", and to Lorrie who is officially my mentor in all things creative (and technical!). I should also thank all my Blogger friends and everyone else for their gentle nudges too! Thanks guys! And Kassie if you read this thank you for all your valuable advice, I am approaching other sources as we blog!!!

Oh and you'll never guess? I have a veritable feast of lamb stashed away in the freezer! Oh yes my lovelies. Why am I SO excited you ask? Well because, it seems, Canadians just don't eat lamb! I am amazed that I have had at least 5 woman today tell me a) they have NEVER eaten it and b) they wouldn't know how to cook it. One man even said "I'd never eat lamb that's dog food" I traveled to Marathon earlier in the week, absolutely convinced that the "big' shops there would have some. But NO! The guy in the meat shop told me I needed to go Thunder Bay or the Soo ("there's more ethnic minorities there" he said "so the shops will have it there"). Anyhow the long and the short of the story is that Mel, my neighbor happened to be in Thunder Bay this week ( a mere 5 hours away by car!). Dear George, her hubby, phoned her on her cell phone and told her to bring me as much lamb as she could get in the car!!!

Last night at about seven o'clock there was a knock on the door. There stood my new best friend (I'm easily bought) with a shopping bag full of half legs of lamb and lamb chops apologising because she couldn't find any neck of lamb and she knew that was my favorite! What a STAR! so Thank you Mel. Mwah!

Oh and talking of my lifelong friend, congratulations also to Jan (and Mandy) who just ran the Great North Run in just over 3 hours and raised over £3,000 for the Autistic Society! Great stuff mate, I am just SO proud of you!

Oh and just in-case you're having trouble finding the link in the sidebar here it is!!!
The Echo not that I'm desperate for you to read it of course.......

Monday, 27 September 2010

This is a lake??

Today we went to Marathon, a town on the north shore of Lake Superior. Originally we went to get some supplies that are difficult to get around here but we happened to find the beach. Oh WOW! I just spent absolutely ages here just sitting listening to the waves on the shore. The sun was bright and there was a strong breeze...well ok a strong wind! I have never seen so much driftwood on one beach, and the pebbles. They were the size of small rocks, perfectly round and smooth. Pink, grey, white pebbles with stripes and circles and small speckles. Each one called to me, inviting me to take them home. I just sat there picking them up, stroking them each one in turn. They were just SO tactile. Anyway eventually Lovely Man started to fidget and I knew I probably stretched this moment as far as I could. So, reluctantly I got up and we headed back to the car. I struggled a bit up the hill. Probably on account of the half a dozen large pebbles that stowed away in my pockets!

Lovely Man checking out the biggest piece of driftwood you've ever seen!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

My Mama told me..

never to speak with my mouth full!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Space to work

Friday it rained ALL day! Although in truth I didn't really notice. I spent a productive morning downstairs typing up several reports for Lovely Man's nursing registration. Also I had a very long conversation on the telephone with the lovely Kassie and made a yummy steak and kidney pudding for supper. But..... Lovely Man excelled himself and put up the shelves I needed to hold my craft stuff, sewing machines, books and so on. Ooooh I was just SO pleased! So...supper was late. I spent ages faffing about moving stuff here and there, dusting and sweeping and generally 'moving in to my space'. It's not finished by a long stretch. It needs some things on the wall, pictures, a notice board and maybe a few more shelves, but at least it's fairly organised and I have a space to do some work!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Hold on to my bumper baby...

Our troubles of a vehicular nature were not over it seemed.  You may recall that during our recent trip down south our Dodge Durango  broke down two days.  Well we got home and a week or two passed when suddenly we had another strange noise.  A sort of grinding rattle that came and went from time to time.  So on Saturday morning Lovely Man set about giving the car an inch by inch inspection in the hope that he could find, and cure, all it's little problems once and for all.  He started with the wheels. Almost immediately he discovered that the passenger side wheel bearing was seized.  This wasn't causing the grinding noise.  No that, he discovered, was a plate holding the rear end of the exhaust which had come loose and simply needed a screw.  So!  There we were, noise cured, but now needing a new wheel bearing.

Today the new part arrived.  Lovely Man disappeared out into the car port with trusty toolbox and shiny new part.  I was summoned from my cleaning, typing and phoning from time to time to put my foot on the brake, or supply glasses of coke.  Chippie came to observe the proceedings.  Actually I don't think he was really interested in the mechanical expertise but rather he hoped that there might be some peanuts available.  Apparently he ran circles around the tools and sat looking expectantly whilst Lovely Man struggled with wheel nuts and rusty metal.  Well at least they kept each other company.

And so around 3 o'clock a cheerful announcement from the back door "It's fixed!"  Great.  Then "Ro...QUICK".  Then again "RO! QUICK" this time with just a tinge of panic.  As I looked out the back door all I could see was a Large Black Dodge trying it's best to get away down the slope with a rather red faced man in blue overalls holding on to the front bumper!  And get my panic I ran to get to the driver side....behind the was going backwards down the hill?!  Doh!  Anyhow I managed to do a La Mans start style leap into the car and put the brake on! So, all's well that ends well.  The Dodge, for the time being, lives to see another journey!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I know I shouldn't, but.......

get distracted that is. This morning I had a plan.  Shower, breakfast, finish the basement, do the housework, do the that order. So what happened?  I tell you what happened.  Lovely Man, a bag of peanuts and a chipmunk is what happened!  It is beautiful and sunny....again...and so Lovely Man took some nuts and went out on to the deck because Chippie had arrived.  Half an hour or so later I am still out on the deck, with my camera, playing with Chippie and Stumpy!

Chippie meets Buddha!  
Chipmunks are very territorial and will not often tolerate another chipmunk feeding at the same table as it were.  At first their visits were quite well timed with one leaving just as the other arrived.  This, however, did not last.  At one point they both arrived together.  I should point out that one has a nest somewhere on the back hill (Chippie), the other has a nest in the garden across the street from us out front (Stumpy).  So I was sitting there camera in hand when Chippie came up from behind and Stumpy arrived on my lap with a plop.  For a second or two there was a sort of Mexican Stand off, each trying to stare the other one into submission.  Then there was a flurry of tails and squeeks which resulted in Stumpy taking refuge down the front of my tee shirt.  This did concern me a little.  I have no objection to one of them down there but I certainly didn't fancy the two of them sorting out their differences down my cleavage!  Stumpy, however, jumped out (probably in need of oxygen) and climbed up onto my head.  There he sat watching Chippie with utter contempt until he took his share of the booty and set off along the path.  Stumpy then took a couple of nuts, allowed me to stroke him for a few minutes before disappearing off across the street.  Unfortunately in all the commotion one of them sat on top of the camera and altered the settings which meant none of this escapade was caught on film!  Never mind.  I got some nice pics of my favorite boys once I reset the camera.

Chippie takes a nut whilst Stumpy watches with contempt!
Stumpy stays awhile!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Law of Attraction

I have been reading lots about the Law of Attraction.  It's one of the seven Laws of the Universe.  It's all about vibrations.  Put very simply, when you want something you have to think and behave as if you already have it.  The energy and vibrations working within the universe then cause a manifestation of the desired outcome.  Hey I thought it would be simple to explain!  And you guys are thinking it's all jiggery hokey pokey!  It's nothing new.  It's been around for years apparently.  Maybe it's simply believing in yourself so much that you actually get past the fear of failing, get off you butt and actually do it!  Either way I believe it works.  One day I'll explain why.  For now though let me just say that I have met some very nice people, both here on blogger and the new town where I live.  They have been bought to me, by the universe, and they have all, in one way or another, given me help and support to realise my dream.

For years I have wanted to write, I also wanted to paint and craft and earn a living from it.  It started with my good friend Lorrie  who encouraged me to start painting, sketching and blogging!  Then I got to know about a lovely lady Kassie who is an inspirational writer.  Her column in the Manitouwadge Echo reminded me to believe in myself and to behave and think more positively.  Then came Lisa, her blog inspired me.  It felt like I was listening to myself, the me that thought I wasn't good enough to call myself a writer or an artist.  But Lisa decided to invoke some positive thinking.  Instead of saying "I want to be"  she now says "I am".  This was the kick up the ass I needed.  It's so empowering.  I am.  I am a writer.  I write everyday.  I am an artist.  I create every day.  When you say "I want to be" it simply implies that you might be one day if you ever get around to doing something about it!

Lastly, Lisa put me on to a super duper person, Jamie Ridler, who was giving away these fab buttons for people to use on their blogs.  I love them!  Thank you Jamie.  Also thanks to Lorrie for helping me, once again, with the technical stuff!

So from now on guys I am officially referring to myself thus....I am a writer....I am an artist...I REALLY AM!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday Stroll

Thankfully another sunny day!  Hydro One scheduled a power outage from 8 am till gone 3 pm so there was nothing for it but to take to the streets!!  Well actually we had to walk to the Friends Cafe for a hot drink!  So we went via the Perry Lake Walking Trail.  Some lovely views although I have to confess I was a little nervous as this end of town has had numerous sightings of bears!  We didn't come across any, thankfully!  I love the bears I just don't fancy meeting one face to face right now while they are trying to stock up for the big sleep!

Perry Lake Walking Trail

After coffee and a lovely Butter Tart we walked back through town and decided to take a hike along Wilroy Road, a bush road which runs from the beach up along the edge of the bush behind our garden and on down to Caramat Road which is the road to the landfill and beyond!  On the way up we stopped to see the two horses at the local stable.  I haven't got to know them or their owner yet but already have a plan to take the winter sleigh ride which they offer.

Wilroy Road
About 3.30 the power finally came back on and I finally got out my new sewing machine.  We now have net curtains in the kitchen!  And I am working on the lounge ones.  Yesterday we triple glazed our windows with this neat stuff.  You stick up this sheet of plastic with double sided tape to the window frame and heat it up with a hairdryer!!  It sort of stretches and becomes invisible and more to the point it's supposed to make quite a difference to your heating bill!  Sounds good to me!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The colors of Fall

This morning we ditched the morning run in favor of a light breakfast followed by a three hour walk around the lakes, the town and beyond.  I needed to take some photo's of local landmarks for a project I'm doing and we needed shopping so it seemed an all round sensible idea!  It has been an absolutely glorious day here, the sun has shone and there hasn't been one cloud in the sky!  Although we started out in sweatshirts it wasn't long before they came off and we were in our vest tops!  The colors around us right now are becoming quite spectacular.  The leaves on the shrubs outside the post office are the color of a good claret, and some of the other leaves have turned the color of cinder toffee.

And the lake is a beautiful bright blue.

Lunch, again, was taken on the deck.  With rain forecast for tomorrow we thought we just needed to make the very most of this wonderful sunshine.  Looking out over the gardens it just confirmed how lucky we are to have this opportunity to live in such a beautiful setting.

Hopefully on Saturday, if the forecast is correct, the sun will shine again and we will go on an adventure into the bush at the back....there is a trail leading to yet another lake which is just begging to be found!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A great more ways than one!

Well!  Firstly we went for a jog again this morning!  Can you believe it? Third day running (pardon the pun).  After breakfast I settled to put the finishing touches to a draft column piece for the local paper, printed it off along with a list of proposed ideas for future pieces and a photograph.  Lovely Man, in the meantime, disappeared to his 'office' (a desk in the basement) to work on his application for registration with the College of Nursing in Ontario.  By about 11.30 we were both done.  The sun was shining and there was  no wind so we decided to take a coffee and sit in the yard.  Just in case, Lovely Man took a bucket of peanuts with him.  After a few minutes a little chipmunk appeared at our feet, obviously bought out by the warm sunshine for one last foraging expedition.  As if this wasn't exciting enough as we sat and watched him hop across the yard toward the back fence something scrambled up on the other side of the deck.  Looking down we were overjoyed to see Stumpy.  Immediately he jumped up onto our lap and then the table, gently taking nuts from us and allowing us to stroke him.  It was as if he'd never been away!  What's more we were pleased to see that his tail was looking much healthier and seemed to have grown back a little.  He was a little nervous when the first chipmunk came back and quickly scampered off, coming back only when the first disappeared again with his hoard.

Later today I had a meeting with the Editor and owner of the local paper and they took me on as a freelance writer.  I get my own little 'column', think we're going to call it "Brits Abroad" or " Life Across the Pond"  it's undecided yet!  I also get the opportunity to report on local events when one of the other reporters can't do it.  It doesn't pay big bucks but it's a start and will build up my confidence as a writer.  So all in all a very good more ways than one!

Oh and finally a newsflash...Lovely Man is becoming a true Canadian and growing a 'goatie'!  And do you know... it's actually kinda cute...I like it!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Well!...Would you believe it.....

This morning Lovely Man and I were up at 8.30 - AGAIN!  And what's more we went out and did the jogging/power walking thing - AGAIN!  Well how about that?  It was distinctly chillier this morning but still pleasant and this time we didn't collapse in a heap on the bed when we got back!

We actually got a bit more done today.  A work bench was constructed for the workshop.  More pictures, in fact all the pictures, were hung.  Malcolm the moose has found his spot in the family room flanked on either side by a wood carved portrait of one of his relatives and a photograph of our local black bear!  I have made my own little art gallery on the stairway and displayed all Lovely Man's Army & Naval momentos in the family room and dining area.

The Fall is certainly well underway.  The trees at the back are turning quite golden now. The chipmunks are rarely seen, I quite miss them but they'll be back in Spring.  

Yesterday evening we had a double rainbow arched over the street.  It was the biggest, brightest rainbow I have ever seen.  It seemed so close too I felt that I could almost reach out and touch it!

 And just to round off a perfect day our neighbour, Jim, came across with some homemade cabbage rolls for us.  They were absolutely yummy, and saved me from having to cook too.  I have already searched out a recipe and will be experimenting in the very near future.  Once tried and tested I will post the recipe on here. Talking of cooking, you remember I made strawberry and raspberry jam?  Well recently I had a bash at grape jelly which was really good too.  My next project has to be Christmas Chutney though or Lovely Man will go into a sulk.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Oh My Oh My...where do the days go?

Yes where indeed!  Six days later and we are still sorting and putting up pictures!  There are still bookcases to be built, walls to paint, curtains to sew.  This morning we got up at 8.30 a.m.  Lovely Man decided we are getting very fat and unfit so suggested a jog before breakfast.  It was a beautiful sunny morning so we donned our sweat pants and rugby shirts, grabbed a water bottle each and set off.  We did the Power Walk for 3 minutes, jog for 1 minute thing.  Did a whole two blocks!  Phew!  Had a healthy breakfast of grapefruit and two small slices of wholemeal toast.  Then it all fell apart.  David went back to bed proclaiming he was 'exhausted', I had a leisurely shower!  Next thing I know it's nearly noon and we have done absolutely nothing!  How on earth I ever found time to go to work, cook, clean, paint, sew AND go to a yoga class and a dance class is totally beyond me.  Oh well time to start supper, guess those jobs will still be there tomorrow!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

And so the unpacking and sorting continues.....

Can you believe that it has taken most of the day to put away the CD's, DVD's and hang a dozen or so pictures?  No?  Well it has! I am actually very proud of both of us.  I'm proud of Lovely Man for his patience and expertise in the technical department and proud of myself for stepping back and letting him get on with it.  As most of you will know I can be a bit 'gung ho' with these little DIY projects!  I have to say for me to step back a wait patiently while he measured, scratched his head, re-measured and mumbled took ENORMOUS restraint!  Now the lounge, at least, is fairly straight. Apart from the curtains that is.  The basement, however, is still a bit of a disaster area.  Never mind tomorrow is another day.  It is very cold and damp here today, bit like being in the UK really!  All being well we'll make a start on the basement tomorrow.  I've got so many little things to do craftwise so I really need some space to work. 

Friday, 10 September 2010

It's nice to be home

Well what a lovely day!  In more ways than one.  Firstly the sun shone ALL day!  Secondly I managed to get the house tidy at last...well nearly... the basement is still in need of a little work.  We got up around 8 a.m. and, after a quick breakfast, set to.  For the best part of the day it felt like we were just taking things from one room to another and nothing seemed to be getting straight at all.  By three p.m. I was starting to flag a bit.  But the sun was shining and we decided to take all the soggy boxes and paper that we no longer needed to the landfill.  As we drove through town and out onto the road which leads into the bush, the landfill and beyond it felt so good to be here.  To be home.  We both commented that we felt so lucky to have such wilderness right on our doorstep.  The picture below is that road and it goes on for some 100 km plus with no houses, no gas stations and no highway, just wilderness.

Upon arrival at the landfill the usual visitors were there...well actually just one visitor today.  He just sat patiently in the sunshine waiting for us to go and the attendant with his big digger to leave so that he could have an afternoon snack in peace!

On the way back we stopped off at the local store and bought a CD rack, a DVD rack, some storage boxes for the closet and a shelf for the pantry.  Once home we spent a leisurely 20 minutes or so with a much needed coffee out on the deck.  After that we seemed to just whisk through the rest of the sorting out!  So far the bathroom is finished.  The main bedroom is finished apart from staining the chest of drawers and night stands to match the bed.  The second bedroom which is also to be a chill out room is tidy and just needs some big cushions and maybe a large wooden dresser.

All in all, we are feeling quite pleased with ourselves today!

The bathroom
Our Room

Chill Out Room
Tomorrow I plan to put up all our pictures and hopefully the new curtains for the lounge window.  Next on the list is the kitchen chairs which need to be re-upholstered with some lovely cream fabric I picked up a thrift shop for $1!  I just LOVE thrift shops!  I have accumulated two large boxes of brand new fabric remnants, all bought for a few $'s here.  And I have plans for ALL of it!  some for myself and some projects which I hope to sell. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Home at last!

Well after a long 14 hour drive we are home!  It's sort of like christmas eve.  The parcels are piled high in the trailer on the drive (aka Santa's sleigh) and we are too sleepy to open them. So we will go to bed with that feeling of excitement and anticipation like when we were kids dying to open the presents under the tree in the morning!

The drive itself was pretty uneventful, we didn't take any wrong turns, the trailer didn't break again and neither did the car!  I did make one fateful error tho.  I made a comment that the weather was being kind to us, bright, dry and not too hot.  Twenty minutes later we were driving at 40 kph, windscreen wipers at full tilt dodging great big thunder bolts!  It dried up about half an hour later and I figured we were in the clear.  No such luck.  It started again in the Soo (Saulte St. Marie) and belted down for the next four hours.  Finally as we turned on to the home stretch of highway 614 it stopped raining, infact it hadn't rained there at all the road was completely dry.  5 km on and the Ontario Highways Improvement scheme was forging ahead with it's latest improvement which left us less that impressed.  The next 25 km resembled an old logging road complete with potholes.  It was worse than when we left two weeks ago.  Exasperated I grumbled to Lovely Man "If anything is going to finish off the Royal Doulton Tea set this will."

But for now I'm off to my bed. I did manage to locate the bag with our duvet and new bed covers so we're nice a snug, the temperature having dropped a little lately!  Tomorrow is another day, and I just can't wait to get all our things out and make the house a little more like home.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

It's been a while...

since the last post.  It seems like a lot has happened and yet nothing much at the same time!  Well we traveled down south some 675 miles.   We left at 4 a.m.  well...actually we eventually left at about 4.20 a.m. on account of Lovely Man getting into a bit of a lather with the bear proof garbage dumpster!  At this time of year we keep any waste food that is likely to attract bears in the freezer till garbage day.  As we were going to be away for two whole weeks Lovely Man decided we should put all our garbage in the bear proof dumpster on the way out of town.  The dumpsters are like skips, but covered, and are located on the outskirts of the town.  They are bear proof and, as it turned out, Lovely Man proof too.  He spent a good twenty minutes in the glare of the headlights from our car fiddling about with the wretched thing before returning to said car, with garbage, cursing under his breath!

Less than half way here the car started to sound and smell a little odd.  We stopped several times but could find nothing wrong, the smell and noise would subside and so we concluded there wasn't much wrong.  We arrived at 6.30 p.m.   On Thursday we went to Mississauga to collect our things from the shipping warehouse.  When we got back the trailer was sagging badly.  The next day a new tow hitch needed to be fitted. The following Monday we went shopping.  The serpentine belt on the car engine snapped due the fact a pully had seized.  We were towed to our mechanic who diagnosed the problem, ordered parts and the next day returned the car to us.  The following day a visit to the bank.  On our return the same belt broke AGAIN.  another trip to our friendly mechanic.  It turns out the new pully was faulty which caused the belt to break again.

Just to add insult to injury we found some pretty battered boxes and indeed some broken items.  I reported these to the shipping company immediately along with photos.  I got a very apologetic email and a promise of an investigation.  No surprises when I tell you we have heard nothing since!
Anyhow we have our much missed belongings now.  We are currently trying to organise the boxes so that we can fit everything in.  The car is fixed.  All being well we will make the journey back up north on Tuesday.

Oh...and the garbage?  Well that came all the way down with us in the trunk and was duly put out for the garbage men of Maryhill!  We must have the most well traveled rubbish in the country!