Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Preparations in Ottawa

Well - we're back in Ottawa for the Christmas season. The trip up was rather hairy to say the least. Originally, we planned to leave on Monday the 8th when the sun came up, drive until dark -which would be around Edmundston, NB, then complete the trip on Tuesday during the daylight hours as well.

Mother Nature decided that a storm was in order for Nova Scotia starting Sunday late and that another bigger one was on her plan for Ontario and Quebec for Tuesday and Wednesday. So we decided to try and sneak back to Ottawa between the storms, leaving Lockeport at 11:45 PM on Sunday (hey, hockey in Barrington HAD to happen first!). As we left Lockeport it was raining and by the time we reached Port Joli the precipitation was snow that was staying on the side of the road. By Bridgewater, we were following a plow which helped for a bit anyway, but he turned off at the end of Lunenburg County. The 102 was rather tricky, much of it not plowed, and then we reached the Trans-Canada - very dark of course but 1 lane cleared. There were a few cars and 1 double tractor-trailer off the road in the Cobequid Pass but traffic was very light. It took 6 1/2 hours to get out of Nova Scotia - Wayne usually does that in under 4 hours. NB was very windy but the driving wasn't too bad once the sun came up (between Moncton and Fredericton). We were glad of our snow tires though. Wayne was sufficiently tired by the time we reached Oromocto that he actually had me drive for an hour so he could nap.

Quebec and Ontario were fine - we reached Ottawa about 7:30PM EST, stopped at Swiss Chalet for dinner and then were home. As predicted, the Tuesday/Wednesday storm was quite significant so we made the right decision.

We've got the tree up, my 70 houses spread around the house, turkey bought, cookies made, most of the presents ready. We've seen many friends from Lady Evelyn, Queenswood, CMHC, Greenview and have plans with several others. We've spent 2 days with our adorable grandchildren, attended a shower for grandchild #3 (Ava Sydney Taylor Cooper making her appearance somewhere around February 23rd, 2009 - another trip to Ottawa), had 2 Cora's breakfasts, a Wild Wing dinner. Regrettably, we missed a shower for my niece and her husband and our grand-niece (February 6th, 2009) since it was the same afternoon as the one for Dan and Christine's baby.

We're living with Bob and Tim so seeing lots of both of them. We've had dinner with Kris and Chris twice and if the weather cooperates a bit today, we'll have Dan and Christine over for dinner. Wayne has played hockey with old friends 3 times so far - he'll miss Tuesday's game as we have dental appointments.

I went to the OPL and got 10 books I wanted to read - 5 done so far.

All in all, we're having a great time - if it wasn't so cold, snowy and windy, the visit would be even better. Watching the weather networks news of Lockeport is somewhat depressing - obviously no snow accumulating there, while we're shoveling continually here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas By the Sea

This weekend is Christmas By the Sea in Lockeport - a small, local celebration to kick off the season.

Last evening there was a town tree-lighting in SeaCaps Park. It began with a light exchange - if you brought in 2 strings of old incandescent Christmas lights, you were given a new 35 light LED string by Nova Scotia Power for free. We had several old strings that came with our house so we got 2 new strings - an excellent energy saving idea.

The actual programme consisted of carolling by the pre-school children (3 and 4 years old). They had 6 or 7 songs to sing - all verses, very well done. Then the elementary school students sang for us - very lustily. A few short words from the NSP representative, then the mayor had us all yell "Git er done" a few times until we were loud enough that the elf in charge of the tree lights turned them on.

The evening was capped with hot chocolate and Timbits for all. I was drafted to serve hot chocolate - a nice warm job. It was about 9 degrees when the programme started but the wind picked up and the temp dropped quite a bit. Still a lot warmer than Ottawa.

There are sales this weekend at the local stores and post-office, food offerings, prize draws and tomorrow a craft fair at the Beach Centre with a luncheon available. Lots of fun, and the weather is glorious.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ah! Small Town Life

We are getting ready to head to Ottawa for Christmas. As part of our preparations, Wayne arranged to have the driveway plowed if it snows while we are gone. Today he asked our neighbour, Shirley, if she would pick up our mail for us (for some reason the post office is very reluctant to actually hold mail - they are quite willing to put a little sign in your box saying "no flyers" while you are away, but they would just as soon stuff all your mail in there instead of charging you to hold it). He mentioned that we were intending to go into Shelburne and get a timer for our living room lights - Shirley said "Why bother? Everyone will know you are away anyway".

I guess she saved us some money at least.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dumping Day

Monday was Dumping Day - the official start to the lobster season in this area of the province. The season now continues until the end of May but apparently there is little lobstering done in January and February; it's just too cold and stormy. Dumping is the term used for the first dropping of the fisherman's traps for the season, hopefully in the most advantageous spots possible.

The weather was great on Monday - sunny, fairly calm seas, and cool (around 0). There was one incident near Cape Forchu where a boat setting out sank - Wayne's friends who go lobstering told him that often in the rush to get the "best" spots for their traps, captains take too many out at once, weighing down their boat, Fortunately, all four men aboard the boat were rescued.

There are concerns this year with the economic climate - in Massachussets lobster is being bought for only $3/lb because the market is very limited. Lobstermen here are not going to fish on Sundays to limit the supply somewhat and attempt to help their price - I hope we might be able to get some cheaper lobster meals.

First Snowfall

Overnight from Friday November 21st to Saturday November 22nd we had our first snowfall of the year. There had been a few flakes which melted before landing previously but southwestern Nova Scotia had been spared the major storm which the northern and eastern parts had a couple of weeks ago.

This was a major snow event, coming up the Eastern Seaboard and dumping from 10-40 cm of snow on Nova Scotia, depending on where you were. It's pretty breezy at the top of our hill so we had some strange drifting (couldn't open the back door in the morning) but I would estimate our area got about 20 cm. It's now all gone - last night a strong warm east wind arrived and by this morning we only had enough on our whole acre to make about a 2 ft high snowman if we could have piled it all together and now even that is gone.

Nothing around here was canceled or delayed - of course it didn't come on a school day to affect busing but the Santa Parade in Shelburne went ahead. Farther up the coast around Bridgewater, they had 35 cm or more and it was nice to hear on the radio that many businesses (Bridgewater Mall, Gow's Home Hardware, TD Bank) closed until Saturday afternoon so that their employees were not forced to try and get to work for the few customers who might have been dumb enough to go shopping.

Town streets were plowed promptly, ours before we woke up in the morning and driving into Shelburne this week everything seemed well cleaned up. I hope that level of service is the norm for the rest of the winter. The previous storm (which didn't hit this far south) closed the Cobequid Pass overnight with accidents blocking the west-bound highway and 1500 cars were trapped, with their occupants until morning. It turned out that many of the province's snow contracts don't start until December 1st and there was no contingency plan for an emergency in the Pass. If you've driven through there, you'll know it's a singularly bleak area with nothing whatsoever (including any exits) for 30+ kilometers (not that there is anything anywhere in that part of the Trans-Canada) except the toll-booths in the middle. I wonder if the province had the nerve to charge a toll to the people who were trapped overnight.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Remembrance Day

Poppy - ''Lest we forget''

This was our first Remembrance Day in Lockeport - it was a very moving experience.

In Ottawa, with various school groups, I have attended the national ceremonies at the War Memorial (November 11 is not a school holiday in Ontario - children are expected to mark the occasion in their school) and witnessed the full-blown pomp and ceremony version of remembrance. That is moving too - a different kind of ceremony to what can happen in a small town.

One commonality of the two types of services was the weather - Lockeport managed to come up with that November bite in the air, some sun, some cloud, wind, and even a few drops of rain. Just like I have always experienced in the past.

Our Remembrance Day began with a non-denominational church service in the United Baptist church - probably the largest in town and conveniently situated across the street from the town Cenotaph. The church was literally standing-room only. The local Legion members were the church ushers, The service was conducted by local clergy, the head of the Legion branch and our mayor. All uniformed personnel in the area were out in full regalia - RCMP, fire departments, First Responders and assorted veterans in uniform and politicians wearing the regalia of their office.

Highlights of the service were "O Canada", "The Last Post", 2 minutes of silence, "Reveille", the mayor reading the entire list of the fallen from the area, a short Remembrance Day address from the head of the Legion, prayers and a closing with "God Save the Queen". The congregation then followed the veterans across to the Cenotaph for the laying of wreathes - I would guess at least 60 of them, from the traditional Canadian and Nova Scotia government ones, to most area businesses and service clubs and the bulk in memory of loved ones from local citizens. The base of the Cenotaph was completely covered on all sides. A very personal expression of feelings and memories.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

God's Middle Name

Last night we attended a play at the Osprey entitled "God's Middle Name".

Written by Jennifer Overton and acted by Jennifer and Christian Murray, it was a one act play (90 minutes) about the raising of an autistic son. Based on Jennifer's own experience with her own son, it was poignant, witty, and devastatingly accurate about both the facts and feelings of dealing constantly with an autistic child. It certainly put me right back in the classroom with many of the special children with whom I worked over the years. The set was very simplistic and scenery consisted of slides projected on a huge rear screen. A very moving and effective performance that has won several awards.

If you happen to have a chance to attend a performance, go.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nova Scotia Flora

As a life-long city dweller, I have never paid much attention to what is growing in the country, woods, forest or whatever. You get used to a certain look where you have lived all your life and don't (at least I didn't) pay much attention to things as long as they looked like what I was expecting to be there. I guess that's one of the reasons we enjoy scenery on trips so much - we don't really know what to expect - it's all new.

That's what this first year in Nova Scotia has become - a discovery of the scenery and what is constantly changing in the flora part of it. In the last several years I have seen the impressive displays of lupins in June and July and almost expect them now but I'm seeing different times of year now and other lovely sights.

Late Spring and early Summer there are amazing rhododendrons here - every one seems to have 1 or 2 in shades of fuchsia, lavender, pink, red, white. In June, there are lots of bright orange quince blossoms before the leaves come out - we have one of those at the front of our driveway. September and October there are fiery displays of burning bush turning brilliant scarlet - another thing most everyone seems to have. In July there was some sort of yellow flowering bush along the roadways - I never did find out what that was. In October, along the highway were low bushes which had turned a deep dark red - these turned out to be huckleberry.

On our trip yesterday to Yarmouth, there were vast stands of golden conifers, particularly pretty against the deep green of the pines. I finally realized that these were tamaracks which are a deciduous conifer, shedding their needles in late Fall - we had one beside the house in Ottawa for years (salvaged from a Trees for Canada outing), but Wayne always trimmed it down to a small bush so we never had the chance to appreciate its change of colour. There were also lots of accent bushes with a canopy of little red berries - actually wild white roses (which are an invasive species here and grow everywhere) with tiny red rose hips - absolutely lovely, even if they are invasive.

I'm glad to be rediscovering how beautiful nature can be.

Yarmouth Discovery Trip

Yesterday we took our list (you need to keep various lists here of stuff you need to get sorted by how far away you will likely have to go to find those items - we have a local list, a Shelburne list, a Liverpool list and a Yarmouth or Bridgewater list, occasionally even a Halifax or Ottawa list) and decided to go shopping in Yarmouth and do some sight-seeing in the same trip.

We hadn't been in downtown Yarmouth for 5 or 6 years, only skirting the eastern outskirts on the way to the Digby ferry occasionally and I had been down twice to look for stuff at Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire (again on the outskirts) while Wayne was back in Ottawa.

We found everything we were looking for (a rare occurrence on these trips) at W-M, Canadian Tire and Staples. By this time it was starting to rain a bit so we decided to bypass all the traditional chain restaurants like TH, McD's, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Delight (we were tempted by Boston Pizza mind you), and head downtown to find a "real" restaurant. We headed south along Main Street as the rain intensified and pulled into the parking lot by the Visitors' Information Centre planning to walk back to a somewhat interesting looking deli we had just passed. As we got out of the car, Wayne noticed a sign saying "Bruno's Bistro" on the side of the building beside the parking lot. That seemed like a good choice since it was so close and we wouldn't get too wet.

The exterior of the building was very unprepossessing but we went in anyway. Immediately it was obvious that the interior of the building had undergone an extensive renovation, producing a lovely intimate bistro. There were 2 dining areas - the front one was small, seating about 16 in tables for 2 or 4, with a dark wood bar area along one side. Real plants here and there and a specials board. We continued on into the larger back room which had several large windows and a nice assortment of table sizes and furniture. The walls were painted a dark dijon mustard colour, lots of dark wood (servers, tables, chairs, a screen). A large wrought iron chandelier hung centred in the room from about a 12+ foot ceiling. Linen tablecloths (but paper napkins). Each table had an intricate metal tree sculpture (about 12" high) with glass leaves and 3 calla lilies as the candle holders - very pretty. This room would hold about 40 people and even on a rainy November Thursday it was about 3/4 full.

The menu was small with choices of salads and sandwiches plus a few full dinners liked pan-fried haddock, scallops, chicken. They seemed to specialize in simplicity and freshness. Wayne ordered a Greek salad with shrimp. It came with a home-made bread and huge slices of feta cheese. My choice was a wrap special of chicken, ham, spinach and swiss cheese - the wrap turned out to be phyllo and the whole thing was toasted in a panini press. It was served with sweet potato fries. Wayne had a merlot and I had a Stella. For dessert, Wayne had carrot cake (with caramel sauce and whipped cream) and I had an oreo ice-cream pie drizzled with Belgian chocolate sauce and whipped cream. There were 6 or 7 other choices like blueberry bread pudding, creme caramel, white chocolate cheese cake with berry sauce. Excellent coffee. The bill was $52.
I would say that the meal rated up there with Charlotte Lane at lunch time - I don't know if the bistro has a more extensiv evening menu but it certainly was a great find, totally by accident. It must be new this year since it's not in the current phone book. The diners certainly looked like some of the more affluent population of Yarmouth.

After lunch we headed out to Cape Forchu lighthouse. We had passed it on the Maine ferry but never driven around to it. As you can see, it was wrapped in plastic while some work is being done. The road out to the light is a very scenic drive along the west side of Yarmouth Harbour and Yarmouth Sound passing through areas of beautiful homes and intensely working lobster wharves - we must go back on a brighter day to enjoy the spectacular scenery again.

Our return to Lockeport was made along the old highway 3 along the shore as far as Barrington - much better vistas this time of year with the leaves off the trees. A good drive.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fancy Hat Tea Party

This afternoon, the Women's Institute in Sable River held a fancy hat tea party as a fundraiser for Breast Cancer research from 2:00-4:00PM. It was a Free Will Offering event.

I drove over to Little Harbour to my friend Louise's house - she had just come back from Barrington having picked up a choice of "fancy hats" from other friends (Rita and Pat). Louise chose a navy blue number with an upswept brim on one side. She also wore a long skirt and a $3.00 fur stole, courtesy of Frenchys. My choice was a small black velvet hat, with veil and a glitzy silver and rhinestone pin on the side which read "Get Hooked" - very Ritaish - she calls herself a "tame crow" because of her love of shiny baubles and clothes. I also sported an elegant multi-coloured shawl wrap.

We drove up to Sable River, about 15 minutes from Little Harbour and discovered a large crowd in attendance and some truly remarkable hats, feather boas, peacock feathers, fake flowers, leaves, pins and broaches. By the time the tea officially started every seat in the community hall was filled. The array of tea-time desserts was awesome - I finally quit after sampling about 15 different items and there were several I didn't get to. Tea (or coffee - but it was a TEA party) was served at your table by members of the WI in lovely tea cup and saucer pairs provided by members.

3 ladies who neglected to wear hats were coerced into judging the entries for most humourous (a large pile of flowers with assorted toys hanging down/peaking out), most elegant (Gina's straw derby with several dozen pieces of shiny jewelery attached) and most colourful (a broad brimmed hat completely covered in shocking pink feathers).

After we had tea, the guest speaker was introduced - Mary Richardson. I knew her slightly before-hand as an excellent quilter. I assumed she would speak about quilting or perhaps about Breast Cancer because of the occasion. However, to the delight of the crowd, she gave a humourous account of life as a female lobsterperson - for the last 15 years she has accompanied her husband during lobster season (late November to the end of May in District 33) and it is her responsibility to band the lobster claws. She brought along the assortment of clothes she wears to show us and the banding tool so we could try our hand at it (on blocks of wood - not live lobsters). She explained the system they used for their traps, told us about storms at sea, toileting problems, and the hauling in and sorting of the catch.

Certainly the most unique tea party that I have had the pleasure to attend.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Welcome Addition

On July 31st our local gas station in Lydgate closed due to the retirement of the owners. No one bought it, so the pumps were removed necessitating driving to either Sable River or Shelburne for gas for your vehicles or lawn mowers, snow blowers etc.

This past week a new Wilson's gas stop (with gas below a dollar/litre - thank you) opened just beside where the old gas station (Irving) was in Lydgate - run by the Kwik Way Convenience store at the Lydgate corner. It's got regular, premium and diesel and the whole installation is brand new so no problems with the pumps like the old station had. A VERY welcome addition to the local scene.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

55+ games

During a week in September (which we missed - visiting our family in Ottawa) and another week in October, Shelburne County held its 55+ games. For a $5 entry fee (and $10 for the banquet if you wanted to attend), there were activities all over the county for seniors to enjoy, including hikes, poker walks, bowling, volleyball, golf, hockey, ring toss, horseshoes, cribbage, crokinole, "mind games" (Scrabble, Lexicon, crytograms, crossword puzzles etc), yoga, bocce, badminton, checkers, and my very favourite - Wii demonstrations. Some of them were very well attended - others less so - but everyone had a great deal of fun.

Last night was the closing awards and banquet at the Lions Hall in Shelburne. Awards were from 4-5PM - all participants got a certificate and mention of any particularly good finishes (I won the Scrabble tournament in Shelburne - I beat the only other participant!). There was also mention of those who were 80+ or 90+ and still participating. Then there were draws for several door prizes, followed by a roast beef dinner (mashed potatoes, turnips, carrots, gravy, buns, tea/coffee, juice (tomato, apple), pie (banana cream, lemon meringue, apple). The evening ended with entertainment by Jamie Cotter and Sheila Doane. The 2008 Loyalist Landing Society presented all with either commemorative plates or Loyalist ball caps.

An excellent idea, lots of fun, a good dinner, great entertainment and sing-a-long. I look forward to doing it all again next year - maybe we'll even try for the provincial 55+ games in Yarmouth in September 2009.

Hallowe'en in Lockeport

Well - they certainly love Hallowe'en here. Lots of serious decoration - even out in the country where not many kids would come calling - hanging ghosts and witches, pumpkin headed people in all sorts of poses, lights, jack-o-lanterns, spider webs etc.

We originally bought candy for 40 kids - then our next door neighbour told us she regularly got up to 100 (country kids get driven into town) - so back to the store for more chips and chocolate. Shirley said the kids started coming about 4:30PM (but I think she was remembering before the change in the date of day-light saving reversal - it used to be dark early on Hallowe'en). Wayne carved the pumpkin and we set it up in the north parlour window on the mini-scaffold we bought a few weeks ago (much easier to work in rooms with high ceilings now). He rigged up a sheet over a ladder with a light inside to look like a ghost behind the pumpkin. Then we waited.

The first children arrived at 6:20 and the last at 8:35. There were 22 of them - boy do we have a lot of chip bags and mini-chocolate bars to eat!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Ever since we bought our home in Lockeport (2002) and apparently a few years before that date, there have been nebulous plans to build a look-off for tourists (and locals too I guess) on our street which is high above the harbour and looks out toward our Provincially Registered Streetscape of 5 Locke historic homes on the east end of the harbour.

Our next door neighbour, Shirley, offered to put a bench across the street from her house 10 years ago for the use of visitors but the town told her that they were going to build a look-off themselves.

The tender was finally called about a month ago and this week the weeds, bushes etc. across the street were hacked down (the view is even more lovely now!). A bull dozer sits there expectantly awaiting Monday so hopefully the work will proceed quickly now. It would be nice if they thought to cut down all the Japanese knotweed ( the bamboo stuff) that conceals the view farther along the street and hides the tennis courts.

The board walk along the back harbour is also being extended 600 feet around the bend by the Beach Centre - part of the same tender. This will make the walking tour of town safer and more pleasant.

A Different Way of Life

Fall is glorious in Lockeport - great colours, lots of crisp clear days and reasonably warm - at least compared to Ottawa. The weather makes you want to go for walks in the woods and there are lots of very nice walking trails in this area of Nova Scotia to enjoy.

The problem is that this is also HUNTING season. Right now duck, moose and bow-and-arrow deer hunting, followed by regular deer hunting. And almost every male here - and many a woman - hunts. Fishing boats are tied up while owners hunt. (At least they actually are hunting for food to eat - not just pleasure).

This of course makes it incredibly stupid to go for walks in the woods or close to the shore (where there are ducks). So I'll learn to enjoy the Fall colours from the car. And walk around town and on the town beaches.


Eating our way through the Fall!

As this is our first time to stay in Lockeport more or less all year, we don't really know what to expect as the Fall and Winter progress.

So far, we are finding ourselves very busy - there have been some excellent performances at the Osprey in Shelburne and there seem to be community events, dinners and breakfasts galore at which to socialize. On Thanksgiving weekend, there were breakfasts at the Sandy Point and the Lockeport Legion on Saturday and Sunday (low cholesterol stuff like bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, beans, hash browns, toast and butter, coffee and cream). On the Tuesday, we attended a birthday party for a new friend and neighbour, Phoebe, who along with her husband Bill bought Ringers' house behind us. The party was at The Parrot's Pins and included sweet and sour haddock and a 4-layer lemon cake - a lovely meal as usual from Keith and Shelley.

On that Wednesday, we had a delicious seafood chowder dinner at Fred and Barbara's (and got a copy of her new cookbook - "Lockeport from Our Kitchen Window" - which is a fund-raiser for the Ragged Island Historical Society). The other guests were Rupert and Betty - a very nice evening filled with lots of interesting stories and discussion. As usual. we learned a lot of interesting history about the Lockeport area listening to long-time residents reminisce.

We had to feed ourselves for a couple of days, but then last Saturday we attended the Anglican parish bazaar at the Firehall to help Barbara and Fred with cookbook sales. After the auction started, we all took off together in Fred's car for a drive down the coast to Baccaro - enjoying the Fall colours that were left and the more open views along the coast. Afterwards, we returned to Fred's place to have terrific lobster rolls and LOTS of wine - a tough life but someone has to do it.

On Monday, was the event of the month - our wonderful plumber, Jerry Hemeon, moved back from Alberta and installed our kitchen sink, faucets and dishwasher - thank you Jerry!

We were also fed a bit on Monday - we went out to Herschel and Marian's to pick up the stands for our rug hooking display (which is currently showing at the McKay Library in Shelburne until November 1st) and to say good-bye for the winter as they returned to White Plains on Tuesday. Marian fed us a snack and gave us a couple of bags of green tomatoes from her huge garden. I made a green tomato pie on Friday which was delicious.

Now we are into community dinner mode - Thursday was a corned beef and cabbage dinner in Sable River, yesterday was ham, scalloped potatoes, beans and brown bread in Little Harbour. Also yesterday, at lunch time, I was in Sable River for the A.G.M. of the Women's Fishnet, which of course meant more food - sandwiches, squares, cookies etc. Wayne was in Shelburne playing 2 hockey games in the 55+ games followed by a "snack" of pizza, fried chicken and Pepsi. After the Little Harbour dinner, we drove out to Hemeon's Head enjoying the lovely weather and views and then returned to Lockeport in time to attend a wedding reception for our mayor, Darian Huskilson, and his bride Jenny who were married in Florida on Tuesday. More food - including lobster dip. A nice event for the entire town - probably 150 people showed up to wish the happy couple well.

Today, we have a creamed lobster supper in Sandy Point - tomorrow dinner guests here.

Remarkably, I haven't gained any weight yet. Of course I haven't lost any either.

27 Years

Last week we buried our old friend Tigger. He had been with us for over 17 years - he was almost 18 years old, coming to us as a stray of about 6-7 months old. He was the last of 4 remarkable cats that had been part of our family since Bob was a baby.

The first 2 were Annie (Anniversary) acquired from an ad on our wedding anniversary in November 1981 and Bonou (Minou), a gift from a woman with whom I worked at Indian and Northern Affairs in Terrasses de la Chaudiere in Hull. Chris was in grade 2 French Immersion and the cat in the primary reader series was Minou - thus our French cat had a French name - only little brothers couldn't say Minou so she became Bonou.

These 2 girls were constant companions although they really didn't like each other very much - Minou was outgoing and a friendly, in-your-face cat.
Annie was very reserved and stand-offish until the latter part of her life.

When Dan got his first paper route, one of his customers gave him a black kitten as a tip - this cat became Sammy Dumper (a traditional family cat name). He was immediately very unpopular with the older female cats who by this time were about 6 1/2 years old. Dumps had a great personality, a regal profile, and was always getting himself injured in some way or another.
Last of all came Tigger - he adopted us - perhaps noticing all the cats that lived at our house, in September 1991 he began to sit on our back steps in hopes of being fed - within a few weeks he had moved inside and joined the family.

Dumps and Tiggs became great friends and allies against the old girls - although Bonou was clearly the top cat, chasing any offenders away from food dishes when she felt it was her dinner time.
We lost the old girls at 18 1/2 in May 2000 - Minou went first and then Annie missed her old friend so much that she was gone too within about 2 weeks.

The black boys were with us for trips to Nova Scotia in the summer - we lost Dumps for 4 days the first time we brought them down - he went outside and disappeared. We wandered around town calling him, posted signs, answered phone calls but no luck. Wayne put in two cat doors and 4 days later the clever cat found them, came into the house in the middle of the night and appeared on top of me in bed as if to say "get up and feed me".

Dumps became very ill in the fall of 2004 and then there was just Tiggs left. He was very lonely and became a very cuddly cat in his old age. He even tolerated all the kisses, pats and hugs with which our grandson Will showered him.

We miss them all - a great set of pets who were all with us for remarkably long times. Goodbye, Tiggs - R.I.P. - I hope you are with your friends again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Postscript to Hurricane Kyle

Crescent Beach is thoroughly covered in kelp and other seaweed brought ashore by the strong tides.

Not Just Desserts

Saturday night was the annual fundraiser for the Nautilus music series. This event started several years ago and is of the format of 2 local musicians (usually amateurs) performing classical music with an intermission dessert party with tea, coffee and donated desserts.

This year the performers were Marian Specter and Malcolm Bruce, both pianists. They performed an entire show of duets - a Mozart Sonata, an assortment of canon etudes and a couple of more modern tango pieces. As well, Marian did a running commentary about the composers and the works as well as teaching the audience about canons. Lisa Buchanan put in a brief appearance to lead the audience in a few rounds ("Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "Amazing Grace") to get us into the canon mood.

The desserts offered were wonderful - donations from the chefs at Charlotte Lane and Lothar's plus many more provided by music lovers in the area. There were about 20 desserts with 90% of them chocolate - hard to choose! But very tasty!

There was a canon based quiz for a prize of a gift certificate to the Osprey - I actually got the answer correct but so did lots of other people so I didn't win the draw from the correct answer sheets. At least the winner was someone I know - the husband of one of my fellow hookers who is also the carpenter who built the display stands for our rug show. So a deserving guy.

All in all a very good evening of entertainment.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hurricane Kyle

September 28, 2008 was the date Kyle came ashore in Nova Scotia, just north of Yarmouth. The heaviest winds seem to have been in Shelburne - 154 km/hr gusts.

In Lockeport, we had lots of wind, very little rain and not very much damage. Shelburne, on the other hand, had a building under construction (a new office for Harlow construction) demolished - it was at the stage of roof closed in but the walls were open studs and the wind just lifted the roof off. It was fairly large - probably at least 100 ft long - so a costly demise.

Since we had never experienced a hurricane before (just a few tropical storms of low intensity) we didn't really know what we were doing while preparing. All of our loose lawn furniture etc. we put in the garage - there wasn't much we could do about the woodpile and composter but they survived completely. Our only damage was a few small broken branches. We filled assorted containers with water (wine equipment, bath tubs, pitchers) in case of a power failure - the well pump wouldn't work. And we waited.

Yesterday was Wayne's first hockey game of the season - a little thing like a hurricane doesn't stop hockey players. Sherm called Barrington arena before he left East Sable to meet Wayne at Exit 24 (car-pooling when you go 70 km to play hockey). Everything was a go. So they met, drove to the Shell in Shelburne to meet some other guys, waited, heard some hurricane stories (Jeff Harlow reported on the collapse of his building) and eventually Barrington called one of them to tell them the power was out at the arena.
So they all went home. Try again next week.

We had no power outages at all but apparently there were over 40,000 without power last night and many roads had to be cleared of trees and limbs. Our neighbour, Al, was working doing that all night.

Down at Crescent Beach this morning, there were seaweed and lobster traps over the rocks at our end of the beach, huge rolling waves, and no beach at all to walk on. Hopefully some sand is left when the waves subside.

But for a hurricane, it was pretty minor stuff. Thank you, God.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Great Day!

I must admit I make Wayne work too much. Right now he is working on getting the kitchen prepared for the new cabinets which should be installed this week or next. There is a lot of plastering, sanding, replastering, priming, painting involved in our old kitchen and he has been working at it faithfully.

Yesterday, we were waiting for Star Choice to install our satellite dish (so we can get more sports and still pay less). Wayne continued to work all morning and the dish was installed by 12:30 - great reception and 2 receivers hooked up so we don't have to fight about which game/program to watch.

For lunch, we hustled over to Sable River's Firemen's FunFest and had a BBQ chicken meal - 3 pieces of chicken, roll, coleslaw for $5.00 (they had run out of potato and macaroni salad so they dropped the price from $7.00). We wandered around the booths then went back to Lockeport to work on the house, watch some golf and hockey (saw Redden give the puck away to the Devils - some things never change!).

At 5:30 we headed into Shelburne for some Chinese food at Luong's. Great dinner - we hadn't eaten there for about 5 years but are now determined to return more often since the prices and food were both good.

We went on to the Osprey for a very entertaining play - Underneath the Lintel - by Glen Berger, starring Christian Murray. It was a one-act play, 80 minutes - funny, thought-provoking, imaginative in a DaVinci Code way.

Then we returned home in time to see the 3rd period of the Senators-Canadiens game which I at least enjoyed (guess who won!).

All in all, a very full, enjoyable day.

Something Else to Love About Nova Scotia

Well - we're taking the plunge this week and switching our cars and drivers' licences to Nova Scotia. To do this, of course, we have to have insurance coverage in Nova Scotia and vehicle safety checks.

We have had ING policies in Ottawa - one to cover our Ottawa home and 3 cars and a seasonal one for the Lockeport house. In order to have a comprehensive policy for Lockeport, we had to get the Ottawa policy listed in Bob's name (ING doesn't allow you to have 2 principle residences and pay them more insurance which seems like a strange policy to me). That was no problem since his name is on the Ottawa deed. Then we had to switch the ownership of the old Saturn to Bob's name - this is now a 6 step process in Ontario, commencing with a visit to a lawyer to have him notarize a form saying you are giving your son the car and your son accepting it. Then safety check, emission test, insurance proof, licence plate declaration, signing the ownership and standing in line for an hour at the licence office. That was all accomplished during our recent visit to Ottawa.

Friday I saw our insurance agent here, Debbie. She was our agent previously when ING let you have a seasonal policy in Nova Scotia without any other coverage by them - in 2006 they wouldn't renew so we had to get all our policies from them through our Ottawa broker since our then Ontario insurance company (Gore) wouldn't insure anything in Nova Scotia. Anyway, we are now back with Debbie.

Within an hour, she had done all the paperwork to set us up with comprehensive house insurance and insurance for both cars - better coverage by far than we had in Ottawa. Then she calculated the total bill for the policies. For $13/month more than we paid for seasonal coverage at Ontario rates. we get the comprehensive house insurance plus the insurance on the 2 cars here - same company, same vehicles, same house, same country, different province.

Weird but we'll take the savings gladly!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hello Out There!

At last night's Artisan Evening, I discovered that David (sitting at our table) reads my blog - he was showing it to others at the table on his cellphone. He is the third person I've heard of in the last week that had stumbled across it when doing Google searches for Lockeport or one of the events on which I have commented.

We ran into Bevan last week outside the pharmacy and he reported that he enjoyed reading it . Then on Thursday we went to Fred's for a little golf and wine and cheese and he told me friends of his had been reading it (he has been mentioned) and he wanted to know how to access it.

So this post is to welcome all of you that I didn't (or still don't) know about - I hope it gives you a taste of life here in our lovely little town and area. I hope you don't get too bored when I digress into renovations and family junk.

Artisan Evening

Last night was the second annual Artisans' Evening at the Crescent Beach Centre. This event is a fund raiser for the CAP programme (computer access and training for those who otherwise couldn't afford it).

For the second year it was organized by Robin Atwood. A job well done again.

There were refreshments (tea, lemonade, cake, sandwiches), entertainment (Judi Cleveland) and all those who purchased tickets won a donated piece of original art by Nova Scotia craftsmen - many of them local. I received one of Judi's pen and ink sketches and Wayne won a mounted sunset photo of Crescent Beach by Peter Farrell. I would have loved to have won Donna Crosby's place mats which matched our new dining room paint accent colour but she assured me she had more of them so I intend to go and purchase some next week. They will also mix well with the placemats which Kris bought from Donna for me several years ago. (I guess that's part of the purpose of an Artisan Evening - good publicity for the artists)


When we first purchased our place in Lockeport our backyard was a very private place - across the back is Mac's garage, there are trees along the south side and the north side had the back of the pharmacy and bank, the Seacaps building (where the seniors met) and houses with fenced yards.

Unfortunately, the Seacaps building was not in good shape and after a couple of years was condemned and torn down. This left a spot which soon became a parking lot for those going to the post office and put our backyard on display to all - everyone knew when Wayne was cutting grass or chopping things down.

This week the town erected a spanking new wooden shed beside the pharmacy. I think it is to be used for storage of many items currently dumped out at Roods Head Park, but whatever its intended use I think it's lovely. It doesn't fill up all the space that the Seacaps building did but it does restore much of our backyard privacy.


Shelburne Writers' Festival

Last weekend was the first annual Shelburne Writers' Festival, organized by the Osprey Arts Centre and held in a variety of venues around Shelburne.

I had never attended a writers' festival before, although I had heard about some excellent ones in England from my friend Susie who is always open to new and interesting experiences and never reluctant to travel somewhere to try something new. So I decided I would participate at least a little and volunteered to do whatever might be needed done.

The programme covered 4 days and included book signings, an original play, readings by authors, a dramatic reading of a 100 year old book about canoeing and fishing in Shelburne County and an Open Mic session with criticism available from writers involved in the Festival.

My involvement was on Sunday - the last day of the Festival. I was to shepherd one of the writers, Stephanie Domet, who was acting as host of the various sessions all weekend. The Sunday sessions were to be held at 5 different venues - alas extremely windy conditions resulted in the outdoor sessions being moved to the Muir-Cox Warehouse Museum so I had little to do in seeing Stephanie got from place to place. I did a small amount of prep work for the snacks offered in the afternoon but that was really all that needed doing. However I could concentrate on enjoying myself which I did - thoroughly.

The first author was E. Alex Pierce (Cindy's sister) who read from her poem which is a work commissioned by the Shelburne County Arts Coucil. It is a work, almost a memoir, depicting growing up on the South Shore. The language and description were very evocative of childhood memories. It was a moving reading - Alex having both a theatre background and a current university teaching position really knows how to project her emotions with her voice.

Following Alex, Don Hannah read from 2 of his works - first a scene from a play depicting a conversation in the trenches of France during WWI and then a passage from his book "Ragged Islands". The writings were vastly different but both excellent entertainment. The book tells the story of a woman at the end of her life taking an imagined journey (walking with her dog) back to Ragged Islands (Lockeport) where she had lived most of her life.

For a change of pace, the readings switched to non-fiction. The author was Marq de Villiers who has produced 13 books to-date. He had read a passage from his book which is a history of the Blue-Nose schooner on Saturday and reprised a small section of that reading about navigational skills of sailors. This was as a contrast and comparison to a reading he then did from his book "Timbuktu" about the Tuareg navigating across the Sahara Desert. He also read from a book - A Dangerous World - about the many natural disasters our world experiences continually.

We proceeded to the Osprey to hear Peter Healey's dramatization of sections of the Tent Dwellers - educational and hilarious. Lee Keating then spoke about more modern experiences in canoeing in the Tobeatic Wilderness and read a few passages from his own book about canoeing.

Last on the agenda was an Open Mic session at the Yacht Club (with free pizza) for aspiring (and some published) authors.

A wonderful, enriching event - thank you to Darcy Rhyno and Susan Hoover for organizing it all! The impact of hearing an author read his own work is stunning - all the correct nuances and emphases and background explanations made even non-fiction entertaining. I hope this event is repeated annually.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Progress (sort of)

So far, this has been like all the other summers since 2002 for me, except that Wayne hasn't had to go back to Ottawa for work several times. Consequently, "we" (royal "we") are getting more work done on our renovations than "we" usually do. Whether it's progress is debatable when I look in the kitchen and see bare walls, pipes sticking through the floor, and a lone range. Most of the cupboards went to the dump already, the old drawers are stacked around the dining room holding cutlery etc and the rest of the excellent wood from them is waiting its turn to try and help bring up the level of the north end of the kitchen floor (which is about 2" below the south end). This of course is necessary so that when we do, hopefully, get new cupboards, they will be somewhat level - no hope of that right now!

Our lovely new wood stove arrived today and is sitting majestically on its new hearth - now we need the mason to come down from Bridgewater and cap our chimney and install the stove. The load of wood hasn't arrived yet so it's sort of a moot point right now anyway.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Harmony Bazaar

This weekend was Harmony Bazaar , a festival of Women and Song, in Lockeport. As usual, there were many terrific performances - ranging from youngsters in the Open Mic session to rock bands, folk, jazz, gospel and then there was Irish - Irish Mythen to be exact.

Irish appeared last year on the Day Stage show and was an instant hit with the crowd. She is an amazingly enchanting performer, touching her audience with her energy, her humour, her stories and her honest emotions. This year, Harmony Bazaar brought her back as the host of the afternoon Songwriters' Circle and as headliner of the Evening Stage Show. She did not disappoint - in fact, I would not be surprised to see her back here every year for the foreseeable future.

Thanks Irish for a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Small World

We just had 4 over-night visitors from Ottawa. We were expecting them, although we only knew Derek Tam was coming along with 3 friends. They came across yesterday from Bar Harbor on The Cat and arrived in Lockeport at about 5:00PM. Wayne's friend, Phil Sanchez, was already here.

The 3 friends turned out to be Marc-Andre, Susannah and Jodi. As we gave the pre-dinner house tour so they could select rooms, Susannah stopped in the dining-room, looking at pictures of our boys and said she went to school with Tim. Then she said "you lived on Pleasant Park". She turned out to be Susie Kelly who grew up kitty-corner from my parent's house on Portal, in a house I knew well from my own child-hood. She knew lots of our family's friends like the Thomases and assorted classmates of our sons.

Then we discovered that Marc-Andre Poitras works at CMHC with friends of Wayne and Phil who both worked there for many years. Jodi Connolly's uncle worked with Wayne and Phil too.

Ottawa is nearly as small as Lockeport (Haha)!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dining Room Complete (well almost)!

The dining room renovations are just about done - the closet has been rebuilt and access reversed from the "library" to the dining room, a doorway has been closed off, painting is done, all boxes unpacked.

We are still awaiting our art work for installation above the fireplace mantel and some shelves for the "bar" area to hold glasses, bottles etc. And some time way in the future when all the other renos are done, we'll tackle refinishing the floor.

The colour scheme of shades of mauve, grey, sterling silver and white came together very well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


The mackerel keep coming... Help!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We're Getting Wild!

Last evening we attended 2 events at the Osprey Arts Centre in Shelburne. At 6:30PM, there was an opening of a new show in their Coastline Gallery, an exhibit of framed tile art by local artist, Rebecca Tudor. Afterwards, at 8:00PM, was a musical evening by Chet and Lisa Buchanan and friends. The entire evening was great fun.

The "wild" part is that we actually bought a of piece of art - the first and only original piece we have ever bought. Sure we bought a few limited series prints in Maine many years ago and prints of Howard Behren's work, but we've never shelled out big bucks for an original. We both fell in love with the work Rebecca is doing right now - unfortunately since it was opening night, we don't get our art work until August 21st when the show closes.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Holy Mackerel!
Yesterday afternoon, I answered the side door to a very sweet man, Ivan, who lives down the street from us at Atlantic Heights - a rest home for disabled adults. Ivan and Wayne have been pals since we first came here in 2002 and he often stops to chat with Wayne in the yard and always waves hello as he passes, usually on his way to fish in the harbour.

Ivan was stopping by to give us some fresh caught mackerel - the second time he has done this. The first time, fortunately, we had a guest, Ron MacIsaac, an old friend of Wayne's and a native Maritimer who took the fish, filleted them and had them on the barbecue in no time. Absolutely delicious!

This time, as I walked into the kitchen, the bag began to thrash around (it's only about 150 yards to the wharf where Ivan was fishing). In a very typical girl reaction, I screamed and dropped the bag on the counter. After I went to inform Wayne of what had quickly become "his" present, I raced back to the kitchen and tossed the bag in the sink so I wouldn't have mackerel flopping around on the kitchen floor.

Wayne did his best to clean them - assorted hacking and swearing involved - I stayed far away. He barbecued them after the steaks we were having for dinner - he and Tigger seemed to think the fish were just fine.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Great New Restaurant

In a sparsely populated part of the country like this, restaurants have a very precarious lifespan. In the 7 years we've been in Lockeport, the "main" town restaurant has changed hands 3 times and is again for sale, one restaurant (slightly more upscale) and the B&B in which it was situated have closed, the restaurant/bowling alley combo has had 3 owners and was for sale again but now seems to be stabilized, and the restaurant with the "view" (which is seasonal) has a shorter season each year.

Out on Highway 103 in a much smaller town (Sable River) about 16km from us, a nice unpretentious restaurant existed until last year, barely hanging on because of the highway traffic and being 1 of 2 restaurants directly on the highway from Yarmouth to Hebb's Cross near Bridgewater. This place was the Grub'n'Grog - actually not at all what the name conveys but an average place serving typical hamburgers, club sandwiches, fish and chips sort of menu. It had been for sale all that time and finally sold to a couple from Alberta seeking a simpler life, the Zaaris.

Other than the hassles with assorted provincial inspectors and regulations as they rebuilt the restaurant, they have found that life in spades. Their place is called The Chef's Table and the owner is actually a very experienced chef; Moroccan in origin, he has worked throughout Europe and Canada. His menu is not extensive, but is certainly appealing.

We met our friends Sherm and Cindy there last night for dinner and had a truly lovely meal. Appetizers were shrimp cocktail (me with my lack of imagination and easily upset tummy), smoked salmon and pickled ginger salad (Wayne and Cindy), and smoked halibut (Sherm). There was a loaf of fresh hot bread for dipping in a red garlic and oil sauce. Our mains were pork tenderloin with caramelized apple slices and pearl onions with stuffed potato, carrots, broccoli, and pureed squash (me), 2 lamb curries with okra, served over rice (hot - Wayne, mild - Sherm) and Cindy had a scallop linguine with a turmeric sauce. For dessert, I had a mixed berry cheesecake and Cindy had creme brule - there were also 2 different trifles, zabaglione, peach melba and others I can't remember.

All of the food was very fresh, well prepared, delicious. One bill was $49 for 2, the other was $54. They still don't have a liquor licence but it wasn't missed.

Welcome to Nova Scotia, Mr. and Mrs. Zaari - we hope you stay a long time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canada Days!!

Canada Day in Lockeport takes a very long time - in fact it covers about a week and a half.

Lockeport is the Canada Day centre for this part of Nova Scotia and boy do we have events. Officially, the celebration started last Friday (the 20th) although so far the events have been pretty low key. However the decorations are up and tickets for assorted things are selling like hot cakes.

Tonight is a community variety show at the high school from which a king and queen (of what I'm not sure - maybe the parade) will be chosen. We're going to go for the first time.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the 1st of 7 musical performances - the nickname for Canada Day celebrations is LOCKEPORT ROCKS. The first show will be country but the rest are rock, blues and jazz, of course Sunday's will be Christian Rock since we are firmly in the middle of God's country here. Friday evening there are 2 - an early youth concert and at 10:00PM the Hupman Brothers, our favourite local (now out of Wolfville) blues and jazz band. I hope I can stay up that late.

One of My Better Ideas!

It's almost here! The unveiling of the rug exhibit that I proposed to my hooking group last summer - many people have been working very hard at making it a reality and we have about 31/32 mats to display during the Grand Re-enactment Weekend celebrations in July. We hope to have it travel around to other sites afterwards but here are the details of our initial display, along with the pictures of the first rugs submitted. Thank you Linda for your great pictures and thanks to Timothy for getting them on-line. And most of all thanks to Marian for loving my idea and doing so much of the organizational work!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

For Chris!

Download Day

Just in case you didn't notice, I joined the Firefox World Record group on Facebook the day before you and Kev did ( let's not be picky about the fact you guys are working on the real thing itself). I may be getting a small bit older (lol), but I can still recognize some of the good features offered by Firefox 3 - I'm just glad I'm out of the computer business (for 22 years now) and don't need many of them at this stage in my life.

I just hope we're not still "in transit to NS" on Tuesday so I can update as pledged.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Paranoia Pays Off!!

Wayne claims that my dislike of driving through Montreal is paranoia. I just don't like the overwhelming concrete feel, the traffic jams and the crazy drivers.

On Tuesday, coming back to Ottawa from Nova Scotia, Wayne agreed to skip Montreal and go through the USA, crossing at Cornwall back into Canada. The trip was long - probably about 3-4 hours longer than on the divided highway Canadian route A total of almost 19 hours. However, it started at 5:00AM (ADT) as we drove to Digby to catch the ferry to Saint John at 8:00AM. A 3 hour ferry trip broke things up nicely, then we continued on to St. Stephen to cross into Calais, Me. The border wait was about 20 minutes, then clear sailing across Maine and New Hampshire.

Suddenly we encountered cloud bursts, lightning, thunder, downpours, sunshine, high winds, all in varying amounts and lasting varying lengths of time across the rest of NH, Vermont and New York. There were big trees down - in one spot a Vermont highway crew was pushing trees off the road with a bulldozer. In Alburg, Vt along Lake Champlain, the power was out and several big trees were being removed by power company employees from the road and wires. We needed gas by then but of course the pumps weren't working. We finally stopped in Champlain, NY at an Exxon beside Highway 87 - very expensive gas but we did learn that Montreal was a mess - bridges closed due to trucks blowing over in the high winds and thus enormous traffic snarls.

Feeling highly vindicated for my route choice, we continued on to Ottawa, arriving around 10:45PM (EDT) - a very long day. However, this route was 422km shorter than the all-Canadian one through Quebec and New Brunswick, even though the drive takes longer due to being on 2 lane roads most of the way. That's a good tank of gas saved.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lobster Festival Day 4 - June 8th, 2008

Well, it's over. And based on the calorie count of the meals in the last four days, that's good.

Supper last night was a seafood chowder dinner at the Lockeport Fire Hall in support of the Sea Derby which is held in August each year. The chowder was extremely good - haddock and lobster, potatoes, butter, cream - you get the idea. There were brown and white rolls, crackers, tea, coffee, juice and a selection of about 8 kinds of pie - pie is the staple dessert at community events here, and in most casual restaurants. Cost $8.00.

The best part of these meals is that you get to see tons of people you know and can chat with one and all. Initially we sat with Elayne and Al (our across-the-street neighbours) and got an update on our local town councillor who was hit in a motorcycle (his)/ car accident last Monday by the Beach Centre, and is in intensive care in Halifax. Then Ed appeared - a friend from Connecticut who has just arrived and was sans wife Karin (he claimed she was still in Connecticut shopping) so he appreciated the meal being offered. Then Fred, our friend we visited in California in March, then Betty and Rupert, Vera and Clinton, Vicki and so on. A very pleasant way to spend dinner time.

On the subject of food, The White Gull opens for the season on Thursday - sadly, we'll be in Ottawa then, but we'll be down to visit Liz et al. when we return sometime next week.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lobster Festival Day 3 - June 7th, 2008

The day started early - it was the Town-wide Yard Sale in Shelburne and we wanted to get some windows for the shed so we left at 7:20 to get to Home Hardware when it opened at 8:00. Driving towards West Green Harbour we missed a deer by about 2 inches when it ran in front of the car - quite a surprise!

We got our windows and spent a couple of hours touring the yard sales - it was great to see the streets of Shelburne clogged with traffic and the sidewalks clogged with pedestrians. We made a few minor purchases - mainly books for grandchildren to read while visiting us. One of the longboats built for the Loyalist Landing celebrations was practising in the harbour - working on their military precision moves I guess.

Heading back to Lockeport, Wayne installed my dryer (with much muttering, cursing, changes to wall, etc), so lunch was plain old turkey and cheddar sandwiches between mumblings.

Supper - back to sublime. The Town & Country had no lobster so we went back to the Parrot's Pins. What a treat! Lobster and mango bisque, cheddar and chive biscuits, artichoke heart salad with baby spinach, baby romaine, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, parmesan and a fruity dressing, AND lobster quesadillas with blackberry salsa. Dessert was something called Irish Cream bars - sinfully good. Then an on-the-house glass of ice wine-brandy. A lovely meal!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lobster Festival Day 2 - June 6, 2008

Today we were more moderate.

Lunch was eaten at home - very boring beef and barley soup.

Supper - back to Sandy Point Lighthouse for a boiled lobster dinner. It consisted of tea, coffee, ice water, lobster, rolls and butter, potato salad (a very unique recipe with diced red peppers, peas and corn mixed in with the potato and mayo - and lots of paprika - excellent!) and a large serving of strawberry shortcake (homemade biscuits) with real whipped cream. All for $18.00.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shelburne County Lobster Festival - Day 1, June 5th, 2008

The Lobster Festival starts today - the season for our district closed on May 31st so now everyone celebrates. Wayne has never been here for this event before so I think we may be going to consume too much lobster in the next 4 days.

Lunch - sublime! We went to the Parrot's Pins (yes, it still exists and will be staying for the foreseeable future - it's off the real estate market). The specials were Lobster bisque served with cheddar and chive biscuits, or Lobster and Fruit Salad or sandwich. We both had bisque, Wayne had salad and I had the sandwich version. The salad was lobster, baby spinach, oranges, grapefruit, cherry tomatoes with a limey mayo dressing. As a sandwich, it was sort of a tropical lobster roll using a delicious home made roll. Dessert was chocolate truffle cake.

Supper - ridiculous! We went to the Sandy Point Lighthouse/Community Centre for their creamed lobster dinner - creamed lobster on toast, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, coleslaw, fresh buns, butter, ice water, tea, coffee and a choice of lemon meringue, coconut cream, chocolate cream or pumpkin pie - $15 each. By the way, the lighthouse restoration is well underway - the concrete base is fully repaired and fund- raising for repainting and railing improvements is underway. Here's the lighthouse before the repairs started - note the crumbling base.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Current Projects

We made a list.

The list is 2 pages, double columned, single spaced. A lot to do (and these are only inside projects).

Wayne appointed me project manager - I get to pick the order and he is simply the labour force.

So, what are we doing?

Wayne is back working on our new laundry area (formerly known as John's room) beside the kitchen. He has finished drywalling the ceiling and is now mudding the room. We've bought trim for the actual laundry area and once that is installed and that area primed and painted, he can install the dryer and then, we can attempt to locate a plumber to install the washer and laundry tub.

In the meantime, I am working on the on-going sealing of leaks from our "Energy Audit". One of the large ones was around the front window in our main guest room. Wayne removed the trim and we put in the expanding foam insulation. Now the trim is back, I have stripped off wallpaper on 2 walls (not the whole room since I love the light and ambiance of that room) and I am painting the walls the background colour of the wallpaper that is left (the colour is called "Untouched"). Then I must touch up the trim with white paint.

While paint and drywall mud dry (takes a day in Lockeport), we are starting to work on getting the library and dining room done. Wayne is demolishing the interior of the library closet, moving the light switch for it to the dining room as well as the doorway. Then we can fill in the library walls where the 2 doorways are being removed, put the window trim back, paint the room. Shelving and flooring will be later. In the dining room, we will paint and set up our office area with custom shelves for the monitor, scanner, printer etc.

The above should keep us busy for a month or more. Then if a plumber has been found, we can tackle removing the wall between the kitchen and old laundry room (since the pipes will be gone from the wall) and then move the fridge (wiring done already) so we can start working on installing a wood stove in the kitchen (which requires wall and floor modifications to meet fire code).

Excuse Me While I Rant!

One of the things I left out of my description of our "Epic Journey" down to the East Coast was our teensy weensy little problem with VISA.

On Sunday morning, we brought breakfast and gas in Ottawa (about $55 total). We then drove, bought gas in Levis around 6:00 PM - total about $110. We continued on to Edmunston where our hotel was charged sometime overnight ($125). Then we bought gas in the morning ($80) and went on our way. After the car problems, we went to a Shoppers Drug Mart in Grand Falls to buy some paperbacks ($23) for entertainment while waiting to get our van fixed - my VISA didn't work but the clerk said nothing so I just used another card.

That evening when we went to pay for dinner - another whopping $30 - the waitress told us she got a message that there was a hold on our card and to call VISA. Back at our hotel, I called and was told that since our expenditures were outside our "Normal Pattern", they were afraid our card had been stolen - once I proved who I was, the card was cleared.

This is the 3rd time this has happened to us - always when we are driving back and forth to Nova Scotia from Ottawa. Twice it has been VISA and once it was American Express. I would like to say that I appreciate the diligence of the credit card security staff BUT I DON'T!!!!

If sudden large charges were being posted, then perhaps they would have a point but SMALL charges for gas, a meal, a hotel consistent with driving some place should NOT trigger any action on their part. In each case, they have diligently phoned our home and left a message - fat lot of good that does you when you are driving across the country.

Credit cards were meant for convenience of use when introduced. I do not find it convenient to have to call a credit card company to tell them my travel plans so they won't put a hold on my card.

By the way, when we went to California in March and spent a LOT of money, far away, every day, they didn't put any holds on any of our cards. HUH!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Loyalist Rug

Interior of the Ross Thomson store (1783) in Shelburne - now a museum.
Sharon was wondering how my rug turned out so here it is (before the backing was done). We have a good selection finished for our rug display in July and many more are under way. I guess we should have between 30 and 40 in total. Here's a picture of the store on which it is based.
I'm still working on our Loyalist costumes - mine is done, Wayne has a hat, shirt and pants and I've got his coat cut out - he'll need it since it's been chilly lately.

An Epic Journey

Our move down to Nova Scotia took a great deal longer than was planned. We went to Cora's for a farewell breakfast on Sunday the 18th of May, then packed up the 2 cars and left around noon.

It was a lovely day for driving - a few clouds, sunny and cool so the cars weren't too warm and I didn't have to run the air-conditioning for our cat (note: I ALWAYS get the cat in my car - I think Wayne thinks I only hear him half as much as he would (due to my deaf ear) when he howls (which he usually does for the first couple of hundred kilometres)). Anyway, the cat was relatively quiet, Montreal was a dream for once, at least for east-bound traffic - 40 west-bound was tied up at a couple of places, and we progressed nicely. A minor shock at Levis where the gas was $1.384/l. Then disappointment as Canada lost to Russia in over-time.

As we drove down #185 from Riviere-du-loup to Edmunston, I noticed a trail of liquid from the van (I was in the Caliber in the rear). I called Wayne on the walkie-talkie and he tested out assorted things - it wasn't brake fluid, it wasn't the steering mechanism and the car did not appear to be overheating. We made it to Edmunston and stopped for the night.

The next morning, Wayne added antifreeze as the level seemed to be down. After only a few kilometres of the hills of New Brunswick, the van began to overheat. We stopped 3 km south of exit 58 on the TransCanada. Now our walkie-talkies may have been useful to talk back and forth but they didn't help us call the CAA. I stayed with the van and Wayne and Tiggs headed off to find a phone - this required driving south until he found a U-turn spot (for official vehicles only mind you) and headed back to exit 58 (St. Leonard) where there are lots of phones and gas pumps but NO mechanics. The CAA said they'd be there in 1/2 hour. Wayne and Tiggs returned to where I was sitting at the side of the road watching red foxes cross the highway. Over an hour later, Wayne and cat drove back to St. Leonard and called again - it turned out the CAA 1-800 number had sent the tow truck to exit 58 on the old TransCanada - now #144 which is close to Woodstock, over 100 km south of where we were. Finally, a truck arrived about 10:00AM and the driver took us to Grand Falls to a Chrysler dealer which of course was closed for the long weekend - the sign said Tuesday's hours commenced at 8:00AM. So we checked into the Best Western at 10:30AM.

Grand Falls themselves are very nice and with the very high level of the Saint John River, the Falls were spectacular. We drove around the rest of town, bought some books in a Shoppers Drug Mart and relaxed. At dinner time, we chose a small pizza/chicken place which turned out to have a fantastic view of the flood waters rushing through a deep gorge - the food was good, so dinner was very pleasant.

Tuesday morning we were at the dealership at 7:40 - it turned out to be a very busy garage with a lot of staff. Fortuitously, one of the 8:00 appointments was canceled so we were taken right away. The problem turned out to be the coolant line to the rear heater was corroded so although we lost a fair amount of coolant, not all of it went so the engine wasn't ruined. The line was replaced as well as the back shocks which were upgraded to deal with the heavy load Wayne had crammed into the car. By 10:30AM, we were back on the road, reaching Lockeport about 7:30 that evening (Tuesday).

I flipped the circuit breakers which we had turned off in the fall, plugged stuff in, put the flannel sheets on the bed etc as Wayne unloaded the cars - rain was predicted overnight and Wednesday. By bedtime, we still had no hot water and in fact, we went 3 days without hot water before we got the hot water tank replaced. Our plumber had moved to Alberta, so we had to find another - we actually found a local "handyman" and he tried assorted things but finally had to replace the tank for us. At least our plumber had set it up to only require a few simple tools to change it. We hoped to talk this "handyman" into finishing the installation of our washer and laundry tub in our new laundry room - but he doesn't work with plastic piping so we'll have to find someone else for that. Sigh!

This year's outside renovation project (new garage doors, new garage window, soffit, fascia, shingles and a cement step outside the back door of the garage) was almost complete when we arrived and it now is done -yeah!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


This is the month of many changes - some good, some unknown as yet.

Bob moved in so we could move out - that will be happening imminently - maybe Sunday or Monday. Packing is proceeding sporadically as the spirit moves me. Whether this move to Nova Scotia is a good change remains to be seen.

Isla was born. Kate and Kevin are getting married on Saturday. Those both qualify undoubtedly as good changes.

Wayne is retiring - hopefully a good change! His last official day is May 23rd but with vacation days he's actually finishing up tomorrow - May 16th. In a few days he'll be happily moving dirt, cutting brush and grass, pounding nails etc. in Lockeport.

Right now the future looks very uncertain to me - I know I'll miss my family and Ottawa friends greatly. I hope life in small town Nova Scotia turns out to really be what we envisioned when we bought our house 6 years ago.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Isla May Rudnitski Cooper makes her debut!

Our new granddaughter, Isla, was born yesterday morning at the Ottawa Hospital's General Campus. She weighed in at 8 lb 6 oz and appears very healthy - parents both seem to have survived the ordeal well.

We took Will to meet his little sister and he seemed fascinated and gentle - let's hope that continues.

Congratulations to Chris and Kris!

Welcome to the family, Isla!

Love, Gramma

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I have a bone to pick....

Today I learned a new skill - boning a dress! The explanations and pictures on the Butterick pattern actually made sense and were easy to follow. That being said, the whole procedure took at least twice as long as I planned for it.

The first bone went in very easily, as did the second and I began to think "this is a piece of cake". Ha! When I started to put in the third, I realized I was fighting the innate tendency to curl of the boning which had been coiled in a package at Fabricland for months, years, whatever. By the time I got to the eleventh (and thankfully last) bone, it was like trying to sew on some sort of live twisting animal.

But it's done. Still many steps to go in my costume and then I have to start Wayne's which consists of a shirt, pants, vest, jacket and hat. And my rug is still not done but it's getting very close - the front may be done during the Montreal/Philly game tonight.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Boxes and Bags

Well, the basement is full of boxes, the garage is full of boxes, and bags of clothes are starting to be stuffed too. The reality of our move to Nova Scotia is starting to sink in.

Bob was laid off from Dell this week so he has accelerated his timetable for moving into our Ottawa townhouse which means I'm having to pack stuff to get it out of his way. I just seem to clear a shelf or area and Wayne comes along behind me and spreads out new stuff to fill my empty spots - it's getting rather frustrating. Wayne's way of "packing" is to make piles - usually not labelled and then NOT put the pile into a box or bag. I suppose it helps a bit but I never know when he's finished and I can pack up whatever it is.

We're not taking much in the way of furniture - one dresser, 2 filing cabinets, CD towers, an end table, and a small bookcase. We're also taking several small appliances, silverware. favourite mugs and wineglasses, some paintings and family pictures, all our CD's, movies and other tapes/DVD's, financial records etc. The things we normally take each year won't be packed until the last moment - clothes (almost all of them this time), computer, tools, cat and his belongings, golf clubs. A new addition this time will be Wayne's hockey equipment which takes up a ton of room. Anyway, at least 2 trips will be required since even a 10' U-Haul would cost almost $1700. and we'd still need to get the 2nd car to Nova Scotia.

I'm trying to decide what I should do with all the baby/little boy paraphernalia I've accumulated in the last 2 years. Some of it would be more useful in Nova Scotia but I want to have enough here to entertain Will and Isla when we are visiting. Leaving Will is the really hard part of this move - his Monday visit often is the highlight of my week. I'll miss the rest of my family too, and although they plan to visit occasionally, it won't be quite the same as having them to dinner every couple of weeks.

Enough feeling sorry for myself - I have to pay the bills so I can pack some more files. And I have to start thinking about address changes. Sigh!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shower Fun

Heather had a surprise Baby Shower for Kris today - and it actually came off as a surprise! She thought it was a brunch for Joanna home from Chicago - unfortunately, Joanna was still in Chicago but the rest of us had a great time. Isla now has lots of little girly stuff. Including this ad for a boy friend!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fun at the Japanese Embassy

This afternoon we went to the official opening of an art exhibit of the illustrations from this book. The illustrator, Karen Brownlee, is a cousin of our friend Jim Brownlee so we accompanied him and his wife Clara to Karen's show at the Embassy. The original illustrations are large - many of them 50" long, down in Japanese brush stroke painting and are an awesome blend of Japanese and Canadian cultures and themes.

Sakura is a cherry blossom tree. The book is the story of 3 sisters who came to Canada as "picture" brides about 100 years ago. It was written for 4-8 year olds.

There were speeches, presentations, refreshments (both Japanese and Canadian), a play based on the book, and several traditional Japanese dances - and, of course, the amazingly beautiful illustrations. A lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Before the exhibit, we all met for lunch at the Earl of Sussex Pub - lovely renovation and decor, great food, Kilkenny. We were quite impressed UNTIL we went downstairs to the washrooms before walking to the Embassy - these washrooms would have been right at home in the seedy night spots of Hull 40 years ago or any men's tavern of the last 100 years. Yuck!!!

Success in Shelburne!!!

Something positive has actually happened in our economically depressed area of Nova Scotia:
the former army base, then film production facility (The Scarlet Letter and some other epics) has finally been sold and will come out of mothballs as a fish hatchery, film studio and who knows what else - at least someone's trying to do something which might increase employment opportunities and stem the exodus to Alberta of all the young people. This tongue-in-cheek picture appeared with the news release.

Spring is Sprung

Well sort of. It's hard to accept that Spring arrived 2 weeks ago when everything still has a couple of feet of snow on it. But, I saw geese, I saw a robin so it must be Spring.

This looks like a very busy next couple of months - baby shower for Kris and Chris, baby arriving (Isla - May 1st or so), wedding for Kate and Kevin on May 17th, maybe someone will have a shower for them too, Wayne retires May 23rd, then off to Nova Scotia more or less permanently. We're fixing up stuff in our townhouse here - Bob is moving in to look after it for us so we've painted the master bedroom for him and hung new curtains. Wayne is patching all those little dents and popped screws and nails which appear over the course of a few years. We are looking for new lights to replace our 3 hideous hall ones - those shiny brass octagonal things with little round chandelier bulbs. We want something that will take compact fluorescents or halogens.

There is stuff to pack again -we're leaving most of our furniture and dishes here for when we are visiting Ottawa (and for Bob to use) but there's still a lot of small kitchen appliances (seriously - can anyone imagine Bob baking bread or making waffles from scratch?), books, files, clothes, cat stuff, computer stuff, tools etc that we'll want to have in Nova Scotia.

I finished a latch hook rug of 2 bunnies for a wall-hanging for Isla's room last week. Now I'm madly working on a hooked rug for a traveling display my rug hooking group is organizing for this summer. It's the 225th anniversary of the United Empire Loyalists coming to Canada and Shelburne is having a huge celebration all year . Last summer, I got the brilliant idea for this rug show, featuring 14" by 18" rugs with a common theme - Shelburne county then and now. The bandwagon started to roll very quickly and the actual organization was taken over by several of my friends in the Shelburne Sirens (thanks Marion, Linda, Phyllis, Shirley et al!). Marion has sent pictures of some of the rugs in progress (or even worse finished) but, of course, the brilliant person who thought up the whole thing has only done about1/3 of her rug, which is a view of the interior of the Ross-Thomson store which is now a museum. Here's hoping the Senators last a while in the playoffs - I get the most work done on it during hockey games.

We've also spent the last couple of days shredding old financial records of Grandpa Ray Cooper (Wayne's Dad) who died in September 2006 - Revenue Canada has finally declared they are finished collecting taxes from him and his Estate so we can get rid of a bunch of stuff instead of having to move it to NS with us, just in case I screwed up something in the Estate process. Now that I know how to do it all (at least for simple estates!), I hope I don't need the knowledge again for a long time, if ever.