Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Restaurant Scene

Haven't done any updating lately on what is going on in the up-and-down world of restaurants in this part of Nova Scotia. This was brought to mind yesterday when our weekly rug hooking meeting, usually held at the yacht club in Shelburne, was disrupted due to renovation work being done there. Rilla went out and found us a temporary venue - the Loyalist Inn.

The Loyalist Inn, on Water Street in Shelburne, has been closed for a couple of years it seems. It has been under extensive renovations to the lodgings and recently to the restaurant - it was there that we had our meeting yesterday. It's an ideal time to redo an old tavern as the smoky smelling interior could be ripped out and replaced with new fittings without worry or being recontaminated now that smoking is verboten. The room has been done up very nicely - in a medium oak for the walls and booths along the window side. The booths are large - comfortable 6 person size with lots of room between the benches and table - much appreciated by those of us who are chubby. The ceiling is done in copper-look raised panels (like old tin ceilings). There are tables on the inner wall and at the back where the room widens out, a smart pub section with a massive wood bar and round pub tables. Word is the restaurant will open in the new year - we were just being given a preview. A welcome addition.

Also on the positive side in Shelburne - Monique has renovated The Bean Dock and added a larger restaurant section on the south side of the building. This will be very busy over the winter due to her creative, fresh food and the usual closing of so many places for several months.

On the closing front, The Sea Dog is on "winter" hours as of 2 weeks ago - this means open only Wednesday to Saturday - 11:30-8:00. I believe The Wreck Room will likely be open later on some weekend evenings. Lothar's, as of Canadian Thanksgiving, is only open for pre-reservations for parties of at least 6, and all most have the same dinner. When there is a reservation for a Saturday or Friday evening, Lothar is sending out an email of the chosen menu so one can join the group for that evening by making one's own reservation, same menu.

Charlotte Lane was closed for a 2 week vacation but reopened November 12th until Christmas, then they will close until around Mothers' Day.

In the Lockeport area. The Chef's Table in Sable River closed at the end of September (a month early due to back problems Zaari was having). The White Gull closed several weeks ago, The Town & Country closed November 15th until May.

Thankfully, the Parrot's Pins is going strong. Keith has a revamped menu which, thanks to Mike Cotter's new lobster holding facility, has lobster dishes all over it. We are going there are Saturday for our anniversary for some Drunken Lawyer - yummy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Excellent Day!

Saturday, November 7th was a great day all together The weather was nice - bright and sunny if a bit cool (6C or so).

In the afternoon we went for one of our exploration drives. We've been doing a lot of them lately - at this time of year we can actually see things much better through the almost leafless trees and bushes so we get a better idea of what exists down the routes we explore. This one was just a mini-drive of about an hour and a half.

First trip was down Canada Hill Road - we've been driving past it for years and ignoring it since it goes inland and we are drawn down roads to the ocean. The road is a very good gravel road going several kilometres in a nice windy path - it's wide and an easy drive. I was surprised by the number of year-round homes - several at the Allendale end and then many more up at Canada Hill Lake. At the Lake it looks like cottage country anywhere in Canada - think Lac Bernard, Mississipi Lake, Muskokas, Norway Bay etc. There is a hill (surprise) with lots of homes and cottages of assorted vintages - some looked a hundred years old or more - and sizes descending to the water. Many are just camps, many looked like very nice homes. At one point we reached a sign which said "last chance to turn around rough road ahead". We dithered then continued and after about 50 yards when we saw large rocks protruding from the roadbed, we decided to back up and continue our explorations elsewhere.

We drove down roads we have traveled many times (just not recently) - Pleasant Point and Osborne Harbour. Lovely views and we discovered friends were selling one of their properties in Pleasant Point. We then continued out to West head via east Green harbour and took a stroll out through Rupert's pastures, past the oxen, at the tip of West Head. Amazingly clear views but a mite nippy so we didn't linger long.

For dinner, we went into Shelburne to Lothar's. Lothar since Thanksgiving is only open by prearranged reservations and menu. The Ragged Island Artisans (Crescent Beach craft group) were having the opening of their knitting show at the Coastline Gallery in the Osprey so a number of them had reserved for dinner and chosen a menu. Lothar sent out their choice and invited others to come for dinner as well - a good move, all tables were occupied.

Dinner was superb - mesclun-orange salad with a buttermilk-dijon dressing and toasted almonds, whole wheat rolls, baked chicken breast stuffed with cranberry and Brie, rice, carrots, broccoli and for dessert, Bavarian Cream with a raspberry coulis - $23.95/person. I hope he continues to send out emails of what's being prepared on a specific evening because it was a lovely dinner.

We then proceeded on to the Osprey to attend the opening of the knitting show and then the performance by the Caledonian Fiddle Orchestra. The knitting was beautiful, all in shades inspired by a garden painting by Gaye MacNeil - a lot of very exotic yarns, stitches, felting - a very creative effort. As usual for these exhibit openings, there was free wine, another bonus.

The Caledonian Orchestra was very enjoyable - they are an ensemble of celtic musicians (about 25 of them) from across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The programme consisted of 19 pieces and/or sets - mostly Scottish but a few Irish. Some excellent musicians in the group - they were relaxed and obviously enjoy playing together. It was their second visit to Shelburne and I'm sure they'll be invited back again. One of the flutists was wearing my Mom's family tartan, excellent taste.

A nice drive home under a very large moon (a little late for a harvest moon so I don't know what it would be called this time of year) peeking through wispy clouds - very pretty.

But the Sens lost, the Habs lost, and the Leafs won - not a good ending at all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shelly MacIntosh and Friends

Last night we made it in to Shelburne for a musical evening at the Osprey - it seems like forever since we've gone to anything there. We lucked out and got seats at a front row table (someone was ill and had turned their tickets in to the box office).

We started our evening with a Chinese meal at Luongs - very tasty as usual. The restaurant was fairly busy as there were several visiting families from a hockey tournament, and for that age group Charlotte Lane and Lothar's aren't really an option. so Luong's and Scotia Lunch were getting the business. Dinner in Lockeport would have been impossible - The White Gull is closed for the season, The Town & Country has cut way back on its hours (likely closing mid-November), and The Parrot's Pins is closed for a 2 week vacation - at least they plan to stay open again this winter.

Anyway, I digress. The concert was wonderful - Shelly had her daughter Natalie Lynn open with 3 of her own songs - one of which is on her first EP. Pretty girl with a lovely voice. Shelly sang a set with Bob Vacon - mostly blues; she sang gospel a capella with 2 of her sisters (wonderful harmony on Amazing Grace); she sang a number of songs with a small band - Chet Buchanan, Ed Benham, Anthony Gosbee - accompanied by Lisa Buchanan and Merrie Howe as the do-wap girls; she sang solo with Ian Andersen accompanying her on the piano and her niece, Jennifer Bell (and friend Mark), did a short set of more modern stuff including Megadeth - all-in-all a lot of variety and some very talented folks. As usual, it was a good chance to see lots of friends and acquaintances and we lucked out and were able to share our table with Marian and Herschel who are leaving this morning to return to White Plains for the winter.

It's amazing what you can get here for $15.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lockeport Revitalization Event Oct 8-9, 2009

Last Thursday and Friday, the Town of Lockeport held a 2 day conference on revitalization. It was a "next step" in the development and implementation of the town's sustainability plan. The draft plan was completed the end of September by our ICSP coordinator, Dale Eshelby and she is now seeking input for the final revised plan which is due by the end of March, I believe.

The conference was jointly run by a team from the Nova Scotia Community Colleges which plans to partner with Lockeport in implementing some aspects of the plan - a valuable learning and research tool for students and faculty which will be of great benefit to Lockeport. They did an awesome job. The meetings were held in the high school gymnasium/auditorium with coffee, tea and muffins provided by the Anglican Church ladies who also catered lunches. There was a plethora of speakers from various government, private and non-profit agencies willing to get involved in helping with various aspects of our "revitalization".

The key-note speaker, who attended throughout, was Storm Cunningham from Washington DC - a world-reknowned expert in the field. His addresses both days were etremely inspiring - maybe we do have a future for this town.

The turnout was very good - there were many in attendance from other towns and municipalities and a reasonably good turn-out from Lockeport of both citizens, politicians and business leaders. Allendale Electronics had a very strong representation. Unfortunately, some of the small businesses couldn't spare anyone during 2 weekdays to attend and the usual lethargy amongst many of the populace kept them from putting in an appearance. It will be the major challenge of the entire project to engage the rest of the town in whatever is the result of this process.

There were extremely good displays at the Firehall by students on the history of Lockeport (younger ages) and the environment and sustainability (older ones). There were also business displays and booths from most of the presenters about their work, grants, products etc.

Round table dialogues were held as part of each day's programme - many good ideas were brought forward and I hope have some future chance of being implemented. There is an opportunity, for instance, to have our schools become UNESCO partner schools which would be a very enriching move for the students and the area.

Well done Dale!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Provincial 55+ Games

This weekend the Nova Scotia 55+ Games were held in Yarmouth. This event is held biannually and this was the third time the games had taken place. In the off year, there are national games (next year to be held in Brockville, Ontario).

The games consist of lots of different competitions - cerebral like crib, scrabble, crossword puzzles, sudoku, lexicon, moderately active like darts, pool, horseshoes, and vigorous activities like bowling, golf, baseball and hockey. There are opening ceremonies as well as closing ones and a banquet. All participants get a goodie bag (reusable PharmaChoice ones - very useful) filled with info, pins, samples, coupons, a T-shirt for the games, some magnifying devices, health and safety brochures and pill containers (they knew their audience). Event winners got medals and it was strange to hear senior citizens doing rousing cheers for their area of the province. The number of active participants this year was 333, which seems like a good number for a small province - next year they expect 1500-2000 at the national games.

The hotel where the activities were centred was the Rodd Grand on Main Street - 7 floors, restaurant, lounge, meeting rooms, pool, sauna, exercise facilities and extremely friendly and helpful staff. From our room on the 5th floor, we had a lovely view of the harbour and could watch the Cat arriving from Maine and docking and then returning out to sea. We could have taken our kittens with us, but opted to leave them home with Shirley (next door neighbour) feeding them - probably a wise choice given how little we were actually in the room. The restaurant was excellent - Friday evening I had planked salmon and Wayne had scallops, Saturday breakfast Wayne had the buffet and I had Eggs Benedict. The banquet was a roast beef buffet with a variety of fresh salads and hot veggies and several dessert choices (pie, mousse, cakes, squares). On Sunday morning, the Knights of Columbus put on a free breakfast for the whole group at their hall a few blocks away.

Wayne played hockey for the Barrington team - 4 games from Friday at 6:00PM to Sunday at 10:15AM - a true test for senior hockey players. His team was 1-2-1 with the tie occurring in the last game on Sunday and knocking the Halifax team out of an undefeated tie with the Valley team for the gold medals. I saw the Friday and Sunday games (Saturday I wandered around downtown Yarmouth and did the tourist thing - Yarmouth is a pretty city with lots of amazing old buildings) and his team improved greatly just playing 4 games together. They had an amazing skater, Jack, who is well into his sixties but could skate rings around the Halifax defenders. The uniforms were cute and everyone had fun too.

This week the Shelburne County 55+ games are underway. Wayne was supposed to do a Tai Chi demo this morning (but I was the only participant), this afternoon we have a hike, this evening a Coffee House, tomorrow bowling and Friday a golf scramble. The closing banquet is in Birchtown on Saturday evening.

Wayne put down his name as interested in playing hockey next year in Brockville for the provincial team - apparently there are 2 divisions- one for over 55 and the other for over 65, so maybe we'll be going to those games next Fall. Forever young!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Going Site-seeing

Today our plan was to take our van to Bridgewater for some minor repairs at the Saunders Collision Centre on Auto Row. Originally we then planned to head back to White Point and the Liverpool Golf and Country Club for a round of golf beside the ocean (our own little Pebble Beachish course). However, early this morning it was very foggy and rainy, so we left the golf clubs at home.

After dropping off the van, we drove around Bridgewater and did some shopping. Really Wayne was very patient, even though I dragged him to Bridgewater Mall, Eastside Plaza, Canadian Tire and Wal-mart. He did buy himself a new hockey stick and some tape so he was pretty mellow.

On the way home, we decided to site-see a bit and turned off #103 at exit 17A to visit Port Medway and its 2 lighthouses. By this time it had cleared up and turned quite warm so even out on the rocky shore it was very nice. We admired Port Medway park and realized we had never made it down there before, having turned farther up the road. It is a very lovely little park, right beside the marina and fishing wharf - great views out to sea. We then followed Long Cove Road - which becomes a gravel road and saw the Long Cove Light and more fantastic scenery.
Long Cove
Light -
- Port Medway

Continuing along the coast, we visited East and West Berlin and their wharves, then stopped at Beach Meadows Beach.
Beach Meadows Beach nearby - WOW! What a beautiful spot!

The trip was capped off by a late lunch at the Quarterdeck at Summerville Beach - lobster club sandwiches and fries - Wayne had a Garrison draft and I had a Mango Pineapple Breeze (basically a mango smoothie with vodka and triple-sec- yummy!).

A great Fall day!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September Bliss

The last few days have been lovely here. Some fog this morning which rolled in and out most of the day but it was warm and sunny, little breeze, just a perfect start to Autumn.

Wayne finished his storage shelves in the upper part of the shed - now we need to go through all the junk up there (and do some massive purging) and sort it out onto these new shelves. After that he started trimming back the pair of apple trees in the back yard which don't produce good apples, are too tall and, worst of all, block the view of the fireworks on Canada Day.

For supper, we decided to go down to the White Gull as it will likely be closing soon. It was almost warm enough to eat on the deck but with the angle of the sun putting the entire deck in shade, we opted for inside. We had the 2 specials: Wayne's was a seafood platter of fish, clams and scallops, mine was a scallop casserole with caesar salad. I tried one of Liz's blueberry dumplings for dessert and discovered a gem I have been missing for the last 8 summers! A good meal altogether.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lots of mileage, lots of fun!

This morning started out with the monthly Sandy Point breakfast - tea, coffee, juice, eggs, bacon, sausage, hashed browns, beans, pancakes, toast - delicious as always and a great start to the day.

After that, about 9:30. we headed back to Sable River to the Farmers ' Market. Today's purchases included carrot pasta, baguette, sliced smoked ham, sirloin steaks, Italian sausage, and a 2-person sized cabbage. As we were about to leave, Wayne noticed a fish truck so we got 2 lbs of fresh haddock as well.

We returned home for an hour and a half, then headed out to Islands Park for the kickoff picnic for the Shelburne County 55+ games. It's a really lovely park - empty of campers this time of year, so the picnic was held at the end of the park where there is a superb view of the Shelburne waterfront. There was an assortment of games like giant chess, horseshoes, ring toss to try out and while we were there instruction in geo-caching was being held. The Longboat Society (in full Loyalist costumes) gave demonstrations of their rowing skills and there was a BBQ of hamburgers and hot dogs (but we were still too full from breakfast to eat again).

It was pretty blustery and cool, so we didn't stay long - we headed into Shelburne to see the Annual Whirligig Festival. The traditional spot which the festival uses on the waterfront was not available - it is occupied by a movie set of a church constructed in the last couple of weeks for the filming of "Moby Dick". Another building is going up as well, just across the street - also a set for the filming. So the whirligigs were down by the Cox warehouse, most of them in the outdoor theatre area of the Osprey.

The wind conditions were ideal for the whirligigs - they were spinning merrily away. Lots of new creative entries this year - Wayne's favourite was called Suspended Animation and I quite liked a new circus entry. There was even a whirligig made from LEGO! Herschel and the rest of the committee did a fine job!

Cold by now, we stopped off at Tim Horton's, then returned to Lockeport. While I thawed out, Wayne put on his boots and headed out into the wilds to dig up a nice red maple tree for our yard - he just loves to move trees. While we were in Ottawa earlier this month he moved 2 from our son's yard to our townhouse and also a ton of hostas from our eldest son's yard, half of which ended up by our front door here in Lockeport. Yesterday, Wayne played in the dirt some more and set down a path of 10 stepping stones from the side door to the driveway to eliminate the Spring mud problems.

It's only 3:30 now but I thiink that's enough for today.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ragged Islands Historical Society Garden Party

A perfect day for a Garden Party!

Yesterday the Ragged Islands Historical Society held a Garden Party and House Tour at the Locke Homestead in our Provincially Registered Streetscape. It is Sea Derby weekend, so it was an added event for families and tourists who were not out fishing.

The weather was perfect with a lovely clear view of the harbour, a light breeze to keep the bugs away, and a fine temperature in the low 20's (or 70's depending where you are reading this blog). There were bountiful donations of fancy sandwiches and tasty squares, cookies, cakes etc. Elizabeth had made a refreshing rhubarb punch and there was tea and coffe available as well. The food was set up under a tent on one side of the front lawn (sorry, Wayne didn't take a picture) and on the other side were the new outdoor tables (picture above) which the town bought and we used at both Canada Day and Harmony Bazaar - they are really proving useful and were an extremely attractive choice.

The event was held from 1:00 to 3:00 - the turnout was very rewarding, 104 paid guests (farthest from home were from New Zealand), many of whom partook of the tour of the Locke house offered by Fred Partridge and his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

It was a perfect day for the activity and the hard work of a great number of people resulted in a wonderful fund-raiser for the Historical Society and a fun afternoon for both the guests and volunteers. Thanks to Fred and his family and Barb for opening their yard and home for us and for all their hard work.

In my costume (a century too early for the house) greeting Bob and Kathy Czerny

Betty Williams, Barbara Barnes (Happy Birthday!), Maggie Mitchell enjoying their tea

picture of Locke Homestead With Lawn Furniture Lockeport Nova Scotia (Rolf Hicker - photographer)

The Locke Homestead built in 1876, with colourful wooden outdoor furniture on the lawn, in Nova Scotia's first Provincially Registered Streetscape in the town of Lockeport, Highway 3, Lighthouse Route, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Harmony Bazaar - Wow!

This past weekend was the 4th annual Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song and was it ever fun! The whole enterprise takes a year long effort from a core board of directors plus an intensive 4-5 days of work from an army of town employees, summer students and volunteers.

This year's headliner for the Saturday evening main stage was Rita MacNeil - she had to be booked more than a year in advance. Rita was the original dream headliner of the Women's Fishnet when they originally dreamt up this festival, which started as a couple of women entertainer concerts in the Beach Centre, grew to the first Harmony Bazaar at the Osprey and now is a weekend long event held at SeaCaps park in beautiful downtown Lockeport. I'm glad that the festival finally grew to the Rita MacNeil level - she was totally awesome, putting on a marvelous show.

Friday evening the weather was atrocious - buckets of rain all day which hindered setup of the outdoor venue so the decision was made to move the opening concert into the Firehall. The weather likely deterred a few attendees but the 200 or so who came were pleasantly surprised to be indoors, warm and dry. Wayne and I lucked out as our assignment for the evening was the back gate which would have been very soggy if the event had stayed outside.

The evening began with a song-writers' circle hosted by Christine Crawford, along with Katelyn Surette, Norma MacDonald and Gina Symonds - great voices all and having the background to the songs they performed was interesting. Second up was Irish Mythen, Lockeport's adopted Irish sprite - I'm sure there are a lot of locals who would like to lure her away from Canso permanently. As usual, she blew us all away. Rounding out the evening was Melanie Doane - fantastic musician and singer (and very attractive woman). In all, this was a singularly talented group of women - great depth in this festival now.

Saturday and Sunday mornings the local Legion offered breakfast which was a nice addition to the weekend, particularly for those who came from out-of-town, We (Wayne, our guest Phil, and I) missed the Saturday one because we were working at the craft fair/fashion show being held in the high-school as part of the weekend events. From 8-2:15 we helped set up, carry crafters supplies in and out, answered questions and were just plain helpful. We also drank too much of the coffee the Baptist church was selling and ate too many of their home-made donuts.

The afternoon had a series of workshops about making CD's, balancing motherhood and performing, writing songs etc. As well there was an open mic session hosted by Julie Balish and then a series of performers up until 5:00PM. I missed several of the performances (we were in the gym still for the open mic and needed a break in the afternoon for a while), but Shelly MacIntosh was great as usual (what a lovely clear voice she has!) as was the group Woven. I didn't hear her myself but apparently Krystelle Leveque was very well received.

Saturday dinner is provided for the artists and various music industry participants in the festival - a good networking event for younger artists and the festival directors. After, at 6:45PM, the annual "Fishy" award was presented to Cathy Cook for her contributions to the local music scene, particularly her youth mentoring.

The Saturday evening stage show consisted of Christina Martin, Madison Violet and then Rita MacNeil. The evening stayed clear until about 1/2 hour after Rita was finished, when the Lockeport fog rolled in. A fabulous evening of entertainment!

Sunday was a blur - we were already pretty tired and then realized we had too many activities for the day. We started with the Legion breakfast, then a Morning Sun Ceremony (gospel music, mikma'q dances and traditions, a camp-fire) on the beach, then back to the Festival grounds for 2 hours of selling merchandise (T-shirts, hats, CD's), heard the beginnings of the Youth Concert and then we deserted Harmony Bazaar for other annual activities we enjoy - first the Shelburne County Garden Club Show and Tea and then we went on to Sandy Point for a lobster dinner.

It was a marvelous weekend - wonderful music, new friends, fun, laughter, good food. Wayne is now out (in the fog) planting the door prizes we won at the Garden Club's Show.

Cleanup will take a few days but I know that Errin has already booked headliners for next year (Quartette which features Sylvia Tyson). It was a lot of work, well done! Kudos to all who gave so much of their time to give us such a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Lately I've been only "reporting" - not "musing" - easy enough to do in a blog, particularly since I seem to get into trouble when I "muse". I noticed Dan made a comment about his "dysfunctional family" on Facebook about a week ago - if I said that I'd be crucified, even though it's (mostly) the same family. I guess having always been a straight-from-the-hip shooter stands Dan in good stead - everyone expects him to be brutally honest. I, on the other hand, spent most of my life trying to get along with everyone and keep the peace. Now, when I speak my mind, no one appreciates it - it's not who I'm known to be.

Having established that, I don't intend to offer any terribly insulting comments today (if you take what I say as an insult you are inferring - I'm not implying!). I am working hard at accepting others (warts and all) and realizing that we can't all share the same opinions, reactions, standards, goals, morals, ethics, or much of anything else. I'm trying to be happy with my life, the way it is, and with my interests and values which likely aren't the same as anyone else's.

Where am I going here? Not anywhere significant - just some musings on those common questions we (Wayne and I) get asked - "How's retirement?" and/or "How do you like living in Lockeport instead of Ottawa?". (please note I don't assume that what I write applies necessarily to Wayne's views)

Let me first make it clear that I love Lockeport. It is a beautiful spot with absolutely wonderful people, scenery, ambiance and most of the time I am very happy living here. Of course, I was mostly happy living in Ottawa as well - which is a lot to say for a glass-half-empty person.

I don't miss work as such although I do miss the camaraderie of the workplace, particularly Queenswood Public School (which sadly is completely gone now for all) and Lady Evelyn Alternative School. QPS had the edge in complete school adhesiveness but LEA was always great in small working together groups. From earlier days, Transport Canada holds some wonderful memories but I have no fond memories of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada whatsoever. I hated the regimentation of Taxation, and had a wild, over-worked, off-the-wall amount of fun with Elections Canada since I got along so well with Margaret Woodley and Barbara Reinhardus.

Things I miss about Ottawa (in no particular order):
- my kids (and their extremely well-chosen spouses) and grandkids
- my brother
- book club (for the people, not the books)
- R.B.C. (retired book club members) luncheons and outings
- easy access to health-care
- the Ottawa Public Library
- bran bread
- good bagels
- lots of malls and shopping centres to wander around in
- Friday breakfast with Joe at ESD
- when I wanted or needed something, being able to go out and get it without planning a major expedition
- driving along the canal (particularly early in the morning) or driving under Bank Street Bridge at night (I love those lights under the bridge)
- Sunday breakfast at Cora's
- Heather, Daoud, Marlene and zany get-togethers
- The Senators and all the hype of a hockey town
- restaurants that are open all year

Things I don't miss about Ottawa:
- traffic and traffic lights
- noise
- extreme heat and cold
- feeling closed in (more to do with living in a row house than Ottawa - I didn't feel that way on Pleasant Park)

Things I like about living in Lockeport:
- everyone is friendly
- beauty, peace, quiet, moderate weather, lack of snow
- our house
- fog (good thing I do like it!)
- immediacy of government - it's easy to get to chat with MLA, mayor, town councillors - you can wander into the town hall and talk to anyone anytime and it just feels like you have more say, that someone might actually listen to your opinions
- my friends at rug-hooking, great weekly meetings and lunches
- Fat Club
- our friends from away (Fred and Barbara, Herschel and Marian, Bob and Kathy etc.) who make the summers so interesting
- affordable entertainment (Osprey - $20 vs NAC - $100+ and the shows definitely aren't 5 times better)

Things I don't like about living in Lockeport:
- winter closures of so many things
- lack of choice when shopping (food, clothes etc.) - thank God for the web
- general unavailability of many things (I have lists for Shelburne, Liverpool, Bridgewater or Yarmouth, Halifax or Ottawa - when I can't find something in Shelburne, it gets moved to the next closest list and so on until we end up buying it in Ottawa on our next trip back)
- hunting season - can't go in the woods at the most glorious time of the year - no bugs, great colours, and lots of fools with guns

Our retirement lifestyle will continue to evolve I'm sure. After last winter (we spent 3 weeks in Ottawa over Christmas, January-February in Lockeport, then back to Ottawa for Ava's birth in March), we know we need to do something different this year, since winter was just too quiet here and the icy conditions (temperatures hovering around zero causes lots of melting and freezing) I found intimidating (rather like yard-duty in winter at LEA the last few years I was working in a small school-yard coated in ice most of the time). Consequently, we plan to spend January and February in Perdido Key, Florida in a beach-front, affordable condo. We'll have to see how that works out - it's a big move for Wayne since he loves to play hockey and will miss a good 3+ months of his season what with visiting Ottawa both before and after Florida.

Anyway, we're muddling along, most of the time fairly well. Our house is keeping us busy - still a few major projects to do - the "media" room and our bedroom - and millions of little ones. Where we'll be in 5 years and what we'll be doing, I have no idea. I just hope we are happy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wayne's New Toy

Need I say more!

Ragged Islands Historical Society

Living in one of the original Lockeport homes (built by Lewis P. Churchill in 1848), we have long planned to dig more into the history of the area.

Last night we took the first step - we attended a meeting at Fred and Barbara's and joined the Ragged Islands Historical Society.

Our first major event will be a Garden Party on August 8th at Fred's - an activity during the Sea Derby weekend for those not out fishing. Admission will be $5.00 (children under 12 free). Included in the price is the tea party as well as a tour of the Locke family home (the anchor house of our provincially registered streetscape) - should be a fun day.

Bob and the Blues

Bob Vacon and friends held an amazing blues concert at the Osprey on Saturday evening. Bob is a very talented musician with an outstanding voice. The show attracted quite a large crowd, downstairs full and upstairs about 80% full.

Others on the programme were Dave Alexander (mouth harp), Robbie Smith (vocals, guitars, fiddle), Merrie Howe, Katheen Glauser, Shelly MacIntosh (vocals) and Hubert D'Eon and Duke Greene - guitars. Duke was awesome - simply amazing guitar work!

This was also an opening night in the Coastline Gallery for a new show - didn't really get a chance to look at it - maybe next time we're in. We had planned to have a Chinese meal but Luong's was closed due to some propane problem so we managed to get into Lothar's but of course that took a little longer for dinner so we arrived at the Osprey just before show time. Excellent dinner though. Wayne and Tim had a lobster/scallop ragout and I had a lovely steak with Lothar's house salad (actually 4 small salads). Yummy!

Our Rugs Ride Again

Me with my "Loyalist Mall" - the Ross-Thomson Museum
Louise ("Birchtown Museum") and Marian ("Loyalist Scrip")
Rilla and her "Toys"

The Loyalist Rug Show ("Shelburne Then and Now") is making its final appearance at the Laing Gallery in the Rossignol Cultural Centre in Liverpool. If you haven't seen the show yet, it's on until July 15th and the mounting in the gallery is lovely - there is additionally a fabric art show of quilters' and fabric artists' work from across Canada (including Laurie Swim) in the attached smaller gallery.

Our rug hooking group had an outing to see the display last Friday and I managed to drag Wayne and Tim there this week as well. Friday's trip was fun and included a nice luncheon at The Woodpile in Liverpool.

The Rossignol is a fun museum - very eclectic collection based on the whimsical interests and travels of Sherman Hines, the photographer. Here are some pictures of Wayne and Tim in the cultural village.

Canada Day

As usual, Canada Day was a blast.

Fishnet had a yard sale to help finance their scholarship fund so I spent some time working there in the morning. Missed the opening ceremnonies as a consequence but Wayne said the speeches (for the most part) weren't too long-winded. Wayne appeared with some strawberry shortcake from the IODE sale - an annual tradition - one has to love days which start with dessert.

There were games in the park for the kids and the firehall had lovely crafts, assorted fundraisers and the firemen's BBQ - great sausages. I also had one of Peter's sausages at The Town Market (purely for comparison purposes of course).
Suitably dressed for parade watching

The parades had the theme "Year of the Lobster" and were as usual very entertaining. Cindy and Sherm watched from our place as usual - we were pelted with candy by those we knew on the floats. It seems to me the floats are improving a little each year - my theory is that the creative people at the pharmacy have such great floats, others are trying to compete.

We had dinner at the White Gull, listening to the Heavy Water set at 5:00, then Wayne and Tim went over to the South Wharf to watch the greased pole contest. There was a dance in the park from 8:00PM to 11:00PM with the fireworks at about 9:50 - watched from our kitchen window - it was clear and no breeze this year so the show was lovely. I keep wondering how a small town can afford 1/2 hour of fireworks - maybe Quebec doesn't get all the Canada Day funding anymore.

Lockeport Really Rocks!

I have been remiss in posting anything for the last week or so .. too busy enjoying myself I guess.

On Tuesday, June 30th, as part of the Canada Day Week Celebrations, Lockeport put on a fabulous concert in Seacaps Park. Jonathan Crouse from CKBW hosted and 3 terrific bands performed, Faded Blue (Liverpool rockers), Dirty Deeds (an AC/DC tribute group), and the Hupman Brothers -local blues favourites who now perform out of Wolfville. All the groups put on extraordinarily good shows and the concert went until almost 1:00AM. The weather cooperated - a little fog but it was warm!

Wayne and I worked the bar which was run by the Harmony Bazaar committee as a fundraiser. Tim (who is visiting us) was planning to help as well but woke up with a pinched nerve that morning so Wayne pulled a double shift serving and I sold drink tickets and checked bracelets. The layout for this concert was a considerable improvement over past beer garden events - this time the beer garden had 1/2 of the area in front of the stage and the actual bar was under the lights of the Farmers' Market roof. We were very busy (Lockporters (thanks Bonnie!) can sure drink!) - all of the coolers were gone by 10:30 and the beer by shortly after midnight.

A lot of fun, well-run, just about the best concert I've attended here. Good job Frances and Dawn.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Family Portraits from Fathers' Day

Taken after our Fathers' Day dinner in Ottawa, June 21st, 2009:

All the boys - Chris, Bob holding Will, Tim, Wayne, Dan

Dan, Christine and Ava

Chris, Kris, Will and Isla

Monday, June 29, 2009

Canada Day Week Continues

We have attended a fair number of the events offered to date. Tonight we went to the Senior Social at the Firehall - Dave Burbine and Traditional Country were playing to a packed house. I'm not great at estimating crowds but we arrived at 8:10 (it started at 8:00) and had to have extra seats put out for us along the back wall. Wayne was actually sitting in the kitchen doorway. Since there were tables as well as chairs out, I guess there were around 85-90 people there, mostly seniors but a fair number of younger folks. Country music is big in this area as one could tell from the crowd's reactions to various songs (not my type of music - I only recognized Folsom Prison Blues). The band members are excellent musicians however. The leader, Dave Burbine was in Lockeport last Wednesday with his daughter Mary Ann playing at the Variety Show, where they were one of the big hits (along with the ever popular Mike Balish).

Yesterday, Wayne attended the Seaman's Memorial Service down by the beach. It was cool, windy and rainy so I stayed home but he felt it was a very moving service.

Saturday was the annual Soapbox Derby which runs down Crest Street, starting just a few houses from our place. The town provides 2 cars for the races and this year one of the boys also had his own car. The turnout was excellent and there were a lot of racers. Bales of hay guard the telephone poles and a pickup truck helps return the cars to the top of the hill between heats. Frances was looking for help with starting - loading the cars on the ramps, helping the kids get into them and then releasing them at the "GO" signal. Wayne offered to help so he was very busy. The races start with the youngest kids (who looked about 5 or 6 - they started at the bottom of the ramp) and progress up in age. There was a coin toss for each heat and the winner could pick his/her car and the loser would then pick which starting ramp he/she wanted. The event was hit with heavy rain after about 1/2 hour but continued for another hour or so until the lightning and thunder started. But it was lots of fun for all.

Saturday morning we went over to the Sable River Farmers' Market as well as the new Shelburne one. Both excellent initiatives for the local economy and suppliers. After, we stopped at Seacaps to drop off a cake for the Cake Walk and I was roped into helping judge the Sidewalk Chalk contest. The children had done some very artistic work and it was tough deciding which were "best".

We returned to Seacaps later for the Cake Walk - if you have never participated in one, think of it as musical chairs with food as the prize. You pay $0.25/hand/round. The music starts, you walk around a table covered with numbers, the music stops and you place your hand (or hands if you're a big spender!) on a number, then numbers are drawn until someone's number is picked - that person picks something from the donated baking (theoretically "cakes" but also bread, buns, scones, loaves, cookies etc). Then it all starts again. I ran out of money after 22 rounds but there was still lots of baking left. This is a fun way to get donations for the Historical Society since everyone laughs and jokes around while playing.

Friday evening was the first of two "Lockeport Rocks" concerts - this one was the youth concert. Some very popular young musicians from the area played along with a few newcomers. Steve Elliot hosted. Alex Buchanan started things off with a few songs from his new CD (release party at the Osprey later this summer). Ashley Stuart was great, as were Jade Bennett and Carson Swim and Natalie ? (lovely voice). We particularly enjoyed an unaccompanied vocal by a young lady (8 or 9 years old I would guess) named Ryan who sang a good 3 minutes on key in front of the crowd, small though it was. We left before the end due to the cold wind so we didn't hear Beggars by Choice, but it was a good show of upcoming talent.

At the same time, there was a pie eating contest in the park and 9 kids partcipated - they had to eat a McCain cream pie (choice of chocolate, banana or lemon) without using their hands. Messy, fun, some pretty sick looking kids when it was over.

Last Wednesday was the Community variety Show at the high school. Lots of local talent and a wide variety of music genres. There were both very young and seasoned performers tied together by the words and music of Jamie Cotter. The king and queen of the Canada Day parade were also chosen. A good 2 1/2 hour show.

That's it so far - we missed a few things - a dance which STARTED at 10:00PM on Saturday and a poker walk which took place while we were at dinner at the Chef's Table Sunday evening. Also the crib tournament and a pet show. The really big stuff starts tomorrow (June 30th) with the Lockeport Rocks concert headlining The Hupman Brothers - we are working the beer tent so we'll be busy. And Wednesday will be constant fun and games.

Happy Birthday Canada!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Reader

Today I met another Lockeportite (?) who reads my blog (and enjoys it!). It was nice to get to know you Dawn. It's great to know technology can actually form some human links, instead of just electronic ones. This entry is a test of my feed to Facebook - if it works it's thanks to a Kevin/Kris exchange which was very helpful.

Tonight is the first Lockeport Rocks concert - the youth version. There is also a pie-eating contest at the same time in the Seacaps Park so it should be an interesting evening. It looks like the weather may cooperate.

Back to baking a cake for tomorrow's Cake Walk - a great fund-raiser for the Ragged Island Historical Society.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back to Lockeport

We've been off on a 2 week visit to Ottawa and our kids and grandkids. All well and beautiful and/or handsome as expected.

We came back to Lockeport in our usual 16 hour-straight drive with 2 kittens and our son Tim in the car. It was a singularly uneventful trip but we arrived to a hay field that used (2 weeks ago) to be our yard - it has apparently rained the entire time we were away. At least the well won't run dry and there won't likely be any forest fires in the near future.

Tonight is the start of the Canada Day Week celebrations - a variety show at the high school - always a lot of fun. Other events coming up are a cake walk, a couple of Lockeport Rocks concerts (including the Hupman Brothers on June 30th), the greased pole, the strawberry shortcake, the parades, dances, fireworks, craft fair, yard sales, poker walk, and lots of food (this is after all rural Nova Scotia where a day without pie is a travesty).

While we were gone, the Look-Off neared completion. Lester has installed the light, the benches are in, the bottom is closed off, and Spencer's has begun the landscaping.

Monday, June 1, 2009


On Sunday, we had a call from a friend, Dayle, inviting us over for drinks and conversation at her place. After a pleasant hour and a half with Dayle, her mother, Deny, and Nancy Cotter, Dayle received a call asking her to hustle down to the Osprey in Shelburne since only a very few people had shown up for the jazz concert being held. So Wayne and I went too.
See full size image
The group playing was Mike Cowie and the Waterbabies, a jazz group out of Halifax. They were truly awesome musicians with some outstanding solos on bass and piano. They played their own arrangements of an assortment of standards and some unusual pieces. I particularly enjoyed their version of Cindi Lauper's "Time After Time" - a great way to spend Sunday evening. You can hear some of the songs they played here - Disk 2 of "In the Moment".

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Here's the look-off. It still needs a light and benches, the landscaping and the area beneath the "roof" of the widow's walk closed in. It looks very impressive though and has a lovely view out to Carter Island lighthouse through the breakwater. In the other direction, it highlights the Streetscape - a small half-dead tree is going to be removed to improve that view.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Look-Off Progress

As of this afternoon, the look-off looked like this. The strange sloped area is intended to simulate a rooftop and the whole structure is therefore a widow's walk. The sloped area on the opposite side has been shingled already.

Shirley and I thought that the area beneath the structure would invite teenage parties etc. but apparently it is either going to be back filled with dirt/gravel and then closed in entirely, or at least closed in. There will be a ramp at the front and a railing around the whole surface. A couple of benches are planned as well as a light.

When the structure is finished, Spencer's is going to be landscaping around it, and eventually when the wood has aged sufficiently it will be coated with Thomson's water seal.

The view from the left front corner is spectacular - looking out to Carter Island and will likely become a favourite spot for graduation and wedding photos.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Good Beginning

The Farmer's Market in Sable River opened this morning, it appears successfully.

At Decker's Esso, there was a selection of wood products (lighthouses, trellises, chairs etc.), plants, crafts, vegetables and meat from the Valley, baking, beauty products (natural), and homemade pasta. We purchased some lamb chops, sliced ham (delicious - had some for lunch), beet fettuccine (very nice red colour) and a forsythia bush to keep the one we have company (we were told they grow better in pairs - cross-pollination or something).

At the Irving, the items were more of the flea market type. Dana from Video Focus had a rack of used DVD's for sale - that was the most interesting display as far as I was concerned. The Sable River Baptist Church had a fund-raising table where I bought 4 chocolate cupcakes. Sherm was on hand handing out brochures about the Sable River trail system.

The Chef's Table had donated a large urn of soup which Cindy and Alice were ladling out to all as a treat.

Overall, there was a good turnout, both of vendors and customers. Hopefully, it wasn't just the novelty which brought people out and the Market will have continued success for the rest of the summer.

Lockeport Look-off Finally Started

Yesterday the footings for the look-off were poured. It looks like it will be done before tourist season.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Farmers' Market

This Saturday a Farmers' Market is opening in Sable River. If it proves successful, it is scheduled to be held each Saturday from 9-12 at both Decker's Esso and the Irving Station until October 17th. A great addition to sustainability efforts for our area.

The market is a brainchild of Shelburne County Women's Fishnet - more particularly of Cindy Embree. Cindy, Alice Lloyd and Shirley Guthro have been the driving forces behind it's creation.

The Esso is to be the site for fresh produce, a butcher from Hunt's Point (with sausage and FRESH LAMB!), plants, baking etc. The Irving will have the collectibles, crafts, flea market items (or so I've heard). There is lots of parking at these sites, they are on the main highway, so hopefully it will all fly.

Apparently there is an effort in Shelburne to set up such a market as well - finding a suitable place seems to be a current problem since the community centre lot is used many weekends for car shows, Ex parking etc. The old Save Easy lot will soon have a new anchor store (Goodick's Furniture is expanding and moving there) so that's out. Perhaps the old high-school site would be the best choice, although there is only on-street parking. Or how about Hillcrest Academy?

Two things to look forward to for fresh local food.

The Restaurant Situation

The Parrot's Pins is, of course, still open 5 days per week selling utterly fabulous creative cuisine. The winter would have been very bleak without Keith and Shelley.

On May 14th, The Town and Country reopened for the season - still under Vonda's management. The sale price is now down to $109,000 - any takers?
We went there for supper on Wednesday since our stove is currently out-of-commission due to laying of floor tiles. Wayne had fried clams and I had fish cakes - both good ordinary meals. The restaurant is still very bright, clean and welcoming - I sure hope someone comes along who wants to run it (hopefully year-round). Tim, are you listening?

It appears The White Gull will be opening in late May - Liz was advertising for staff to start on May 25th. Hopefully this will occur on schedule since it's such a lovely spot to dine out on the deck on a summer evening. The entire complex including the marina is for sale still too - don't know the price but it is substantial, so a very limited market.

Further afield, Charlotte Lane reopened on Mother's Day (Tues - Sat) so Lothar has reverted to his Thurs - Mon schedule to ensure there's a good restaurant open in Shelburne every day during tourist season. I had lunch at Charlotte Lane yesterday with my rug hooking group - we were having a farewell lunch for one of our members who is moving up to St. Margaret's Bay to live with her son. There were a few new items on the menu, including a pasta dish using Peter's fresh sausage from The Town Market and a new apple pie that looked delicious. Cora and Sue are still there; there were some interesting new crafts in the front of the shop and some not-so-interesting modern art on the walls (apparently it's very popular and sells like hotcakes but I guess I'm just a Philistine).

When we were golfing at White Point last week, we hoped to have a late lunch at The Quarterdeck but it hadn't opened yet. It did appear that opening was imminent - likely it occurred the next day for the Victoria Day weekend traffic.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Golf Visitor

Liverpool GCC at White Point Resort

This past week we had a visit for 5 days from one of Wayne's former colleagues (and a golfing buddy) at CMHC. Ron was down in Halifax over the weekend doing an install and then came down here on Monday after everything was working in the Halifax office.

The weather was wonderful for his visit - a bit of fog now and then, but in general very sunny and pleasant. He and Wayne played at River Hills both Tuesday and Wednesday and then the 3 of us went to White Point for a round on Thursday. We had never played White Point this early in the season and at this time of year, it is even more Pebble Beachish - very little vegetation blocking the spectacular views of the rocks, beach, waves, resort, lobster boats and ocean.

It was my first round of the year so my score (if I'd kept track) was abysmal - probably over 100 for 9 holes. Wayne and Ron played a full 18 and Ron shot an 88 - his best round ever. Wayne played well, but didn't bother to keep score either.

Wayne picked up the info on the packages available at River Hills (5, 10 or 20 rounds, and 5,10,20,30 cart rentals). It appears we can share a package so we will likely buy a 20 game pack since Wayne will play more often than I will and we can also use the package with guests who golf.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Actually Mother's weekend.

Friday, I received a card from Dan, Christine and Ava, as well as a gift - Tiger Woods '09 for the Wii. The game is a challenge but has tons of variations to play, "real" courses from all over the world, mini-golf, tutorials, medal play, stroke play, Stableford system and (when I get any good at it all) internet games against other golf nuts.

Saturday, we were taken out to a Mother's Day breakfast by Al and Elayne Bradley (our neighbours across the street in the turquoise house). The breakfast was at their church - Harbour Light Pentecostal - in East Green Harbour. Unlike other community meals we have attended, this one was served when all had arrived so we were all eating together. Good food and fellowship.

Later in the day we had 2 Skype conversations with Dan, Christine and Ava - the joys of technology - we can actually see her growing from week-to-week. She was as usual adorable (as were Dan and Christine).

Sunday, after a Mother's Day service at St. Andrew's United Church, we went to the Parrot's Pins for Mother's Day Brunch with Cindy and Sherm. A truly outstanding brunch, delicious and gorgeously presented. Wayne had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and I had a 3 cheese quiche with a back-bacon crust. There was fruit artistically arranged, home-made bread (toasted), and deep-fried potato nests. Dessert was apple-crumble coffee cake. And mimosas! Very yummy!

After lunch, to work off some of the calories, we all went for a hike along the newly opened trail from Canada Hill Road to Sable River. The trail has been built along the old CN right-of-way, brush cleared, graded, culverts installed, and some gravel added to the road bed. it's a really nice resource for hikers, walkers, ATV's, snow-mobiles, dog-walkers, and bicycles - Wayne plans to use it with his bike since he can ride several kilometres without worrying about highway traffic.

We got back home just as the rain was starting and had phone calls from Chris, Will and Isla (who was pushing phone buttons like on her toy phone so there were assorted beeps and squeals accompanying the conversation) and then shortly after that call ended Bob called as well.

At 4:30PM, we went down the hill to the Legion hall for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for a whopping $8.00 each.

If only Canada had won the gold medal, it would have been a near-perfect Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Harmony Bazaar Sampler

Last night there was a concert entitled "A Harmony Bazaar Sampler", held at the Beach Centre. Performers were Irish Mythen, Christine Crawford and Katelyn Surette, all of whom will be appearing at this year's festival July 24-26.

The music was almost all their own compositions - haunting, moving, lively. Irish is a local favourite (although she's from Ireland and currently lives in Canso), having performed at the last 3 Harmony Bazaars, and did her usual superb job of getting the crowd involved. Christine performed a few years ago at the first Harmony Bazaar - she has a lovely voice, good lyrics, and plays both guitar and keyboard. The surprise was Katelyn, a young girl from Yarmouth, who is shaping up as an awesome singer/songwriter/musician.
See full size image

Irish Mythen

There were between 30 and 40 people there, with a wine/beer bar, and light refreshments. The venue is ideal for small concerts - great acoustics and, as Irish said, so awesome with the sea crashing outside the windows.

A great evening.

Craft Fair - May 1 - May 2

The Crescent Beach Centre held a Spring Craft Fair on May 1st and 2nd. It was well organized and run and displayed a wide range of items - more so than the last one held in late fall for Christmas shopping.

My purchases included an autographed copy of a local author's latest book ('Fisher and Farmer" by Eugene R. Roache), a catnip cat toy, a lovely Nova Scotia doll for one of the little ladies (now 3 of them - 2 granddaughters and a great-niece) in my life, and a lot of delicious home-made baking including brown buns, apple pie, triple chocolate cookies and cinnamon rolls. Likely the next craft fair will be July 1st at the Canada Day celebrations.

Good job Katharine!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spring Enjoyment!

Aaahhh! Lobster!

Current Projects

Needless to say, no work on the house was accomplished while we had our family visiting. Since they left on Tuesday, Wayne has been starting his landscaping and returning to inside renovations.

The first project was tidying up the little flower bed which Nancy made by our back door a few years ago - hopefully this year we will have more time for gardening in general. The garden had had a little picket fence which got somewhat mashed this winter due to storm damage to the garage soffits above it, plus the subsequent repairs required. So we went to Spencer's and chose some large tumbled blocks for a new border and added some good soil - as you can see the perennials are popping up through the new soil already. We also bought a few annuals (pansies, impatiens) on Thursday to fill it in a bit - those will have to wait a few weeks before planting: they are waiting in a sunny window in the shed for now. Wayne plans to move his wood pile and we are thinking about some gardens for the back yard, perhaps along the old stone wall from the carriage house. He hopes to get the last of the brush tamed so as to be able to fairly easily cut all the grass - some smoothening out of the yard is required, and then we can get a ride-on lawn mower (read as male toy).

Inside we started working on the finishing touches for the back entry. When we went to Halifax to pick up Chris and the grandkids, we stopped at Home Depot and found the carpet tiles that we wanted for the back entry. Yesterday we put them down: Wayne found them very easy to work with - easily cut, they are kept down by double-sided tape (which I had to peel - my contribution other than lots of opinions about what he should do). They can be taken up and washed individually if necessary and also replaced easily. We bought an extra box of 10 tiles (since knowing our luck they won't be made any more). Today we will cut the baseboards and the rest of the hat rack trim for the top of the walls, prime them, and the threshold for the back door will be installed.

We have ordered the tiles and grout for the kitchen/laundry room. They will be the same as the wood stove hearth area with a listel trim of small coordinating tiles along the hearth to emphasize the slightly raised area. Likely we'll have to have some other trim as well to cover the edge - yet to be figured out. Installing the tiles will take quite a while, particularly now that we have the kittens to "help" and no doors on the kitchen to keep them out. The floors must be primed and furniture, appliances etc moved out of each area as we do it, including the island, the fridge and the electric stove.

The other major project to be undertaken some time is the renovation of the "north parlour" which we used as a play room while the grandchildren were here and which houses the piano, the second satellite TV and the Wii - so it likely will continue as a play/rec room in function. We think about it whenever we are playing Wii games but have made no actual decisions about how to tackle the reno.




After the passing of the last of our cats in October, we decided to wait a while before we got any more.

On our return to Lockeport in March, we contacted Pet Projects to get on their pre-approved list for acquiring pets and we also spread the word around town that we were looking for kittens. Well, Terry (Home Hardware) told Kevin Snow who told Scott Cotter, who called us because he had 7 kittens to give away. We went to visit them on March 29, chose our 2 and picked them up April 29.

We had a ton of excellent suggestions for names from friends - thanks for all the input. I plan to save some of them for future pets (I especially liked Oreo - first black and white cat I get will have the name). They ended up being Saco for the Saco River in Maine and New Hampshire (and the rocks Wayne would bring home as well as his famous one word Saco song - memories of many happy vacations with our kids and others) and Monty - short for Monterey, a reminder of a couple of lovely vacations which wayne and I took together in central California (our favourite state).

The kittens had their first vet visit yesterday and turn out to be only about 6 1/2 weeks, both are male (yeah! cheaper to neuter than spay) and healthy. They had a flea/worming treatment and will go back May 11th for their first shots. Their total weight is 2 lb 5 1/2 oz and the black one is heavier by 1 1/2 oz. Dr. Caulder has assigned them March 14th as their birthday - since it's also Will's that will be easy to remember.

After 3 days they can get on any furniture they want without help (those little claws make great grappling hooks) and are completely litter trained (you have to love how fastidious cats are). They eat well, purr well, play well, and are a lot of entertainment.

Family Visit

Holding back the water at Sandy Point

After dinner at Sandy Point

Isla at dinner

From April 7th to April 28th, our eldest son, Chris, and his two children, Will and Isla, came for a visit. Kristina had gone to England to visit her sister, Karen, with their mother, Sharon, and consequently, Chris needed to come see us so he could continue to work and have someone to help with the children during the day. Fortunately we have high speed internet so he could continue his job with Mozilla from our home.

We had lots of fun - and I think the family did too. We visited Crescent Beach and Col Locke's Beach when the weather permitted, went out to eat a few times (all of us at Sandy Point for a breakfast and a seafood chowder dinner, and a seafood lunch at Seaside Seafoods in Hunt's Point) (Chris and I at the Osprey, Wayne and Chris at Chef's Table). Wayne and Chris took in a music concert at the osprey as well. Will's favourite activity was the Lockeport play structure and climbing and sliding with Daddy.

The kids enjoyed the Sobey's car shopping carts which made buying food a breeze. Will also loved our steep back stairs (sorry Kris!) and the extra door into the bathroom which became his secret door (whatever works during potty training). Isla was simply a joy (except at bedtimes but Chris handled almost all of those).

The greatest benefit of this visit was that we got to spend a lot of time with Isla and got to know her like we do Will. It was wonderful to see Chris relax at the beach and turn back into Mr. Marine Biologist enjoying the seashore - I know he must miss all the family vacations we took to Maine over the years, as do I.

We played video games (Wii) with Chris and Will - Will's very favourite game was the Wii Fit Balance Game where you sit completely still and concentrate on a flame - a useful tool in the future perhaps??? Chris enjoyed himself with the games in the late evenings while waiting to give Isla her last bottle of the day.

On the way to the airport on Tuesday, we detoured via the shore road to Bridgewater so we could cross the cable ferry in LaHave. The temperature on Tuesday was ridiculous for April at 32 degrees C even at 6:00PM so the ferry ride was a nice cooling off in mid-afternoon.

I miss them now - the house is SO quiet! But we have our new kittens to entertain us and we have a friend coming May 11th for a few days and a few rounds of golf (real not Wii). The best news is that my big brother Bill is planning to come down for the Lobster Festival at the beginning of June.

What's Happening?

Well, we've been back almost 2 months now and I haven't written anything - I guess some updating is in order.

Openings and Closings

On the restaurant scene, Lothar's is up and running again for lunch Tues-Sat and dinner on Thurs-Sat. The Sea Dog is back. The Chef's Table in Sable River is back too - Wed-Sun for dinner. In Lockeport speak, I believe lunch is dinner and dinner is supper, whatever you call it the Chef's Table is only open in the evening.

The menu at the Chef's Table has changed slightly - I would say for the better - a bit more ethnic cuisine amongst the entrée choices, Chris had the curry when he went with Wayne (a holdover from last year's menu) and Wayne had the haddock which has a falafel crust. When Wayne and I went this week he had a lemon/saffron chicken breast and I had a very nice beef stroganoff. There are lots of interesting things to try yet. The desserts are still plentiful and wonderful. Of course there are now alcoholic beverages available.

Atlantic Waves, in its new digs on Beech St., has started selling pizza slices at noon (happy high school students!).

Charlotte Lane reopens on May 8th, after catering a fund-raiser for the Osprey on April 18th. That dinner was lovely and was combined with a wine-tasting of Nova Scotia wines from Jost and Gaspereau vineyards, introduced by the Gastereau vintner.

Bargain Giant is long gone but The Bargain Shop is set to open in that space on May 8th. A new service garage has opened on King Street in Shelburne - Dexter's. The Rose Bouquet is moving across the street this weekend, consolidating Adiva's and The Rose Bouquet into Mike Elliott's old music store.

Although for sale, the driving range has reopened as has the Farmers' Dairy Bar. The Yacht Club returns to almost summer hours this weekend as the docks go in, which means our rug hooking group can again meet on Wednesdays.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Petty Annoyances on a Near-perfect Trip

Well - we're back in Lockeport after our 25 day trip to Ottawa to meet our new granddaughter, Ava, and our new great-niece, Alexis.

The return drive was a 2 day enjoyment of late Canadian winter scenery under almost perfect driving conditions. The sky was bright blue, absolutely no clouds, no wind, dry roads and almost no traffic. We left Ottawa about 5:50AM(EDT) on Monday and drove until 6:45PM(ADT) when we stopped in Amherst. Today we left Amherst at 7:00AM and even with a grocery stop in Liverpool were home by 11:30AM - same driving conditions as yesterday. In all, it was probably just about the nicest 1646km drive we have had.

As usual, I have a list. This one is petty annoyances during an otherwise lovely trip.

- the smell and sound of bubble gum
- about 1400km of very dirty snowbanks
- motels that don't have Vacancy/No Vacancy signs (most of the chains I now have observed) necessitating standing in line to find out there is No Vacancy
- non-smoking rooms with corridors that reek of smoke
- key cards that don't work
- no Wi-Fi
- only sport on TV - basketball
- forgetting things in Ottawa, including things we specifically bought there because we couldn't find them here
- insanely long lines at Tim Horton's (long enough we didn't wait)

Anyway, we're safely home, already went to the library and the bank, finally received our energy grant money from the government, Wayne is barbequing dinner, all is well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ava Sydney Taylor Cooper

On March 4th, 2009 (9 days late) at about 11:00AM, another little angel joined our family. Ava checked in at a healthy 7lb 4 oz and after the expected initial weight loss has rebounded to 7 lb as of yesterday.

Gramma and Grandpa have been to visit her (and her parents, Dan and Christine) every day - she is making great progress and today was very lively (apparently she is her liveliest between 2:00AM and 4:00AM, information which makes one glad to be a grandparent instead of a parent).

We will be heading back to Lockeport in a few days - it will be difficult to leave her behind and miss so much of her early development, as we did with Isla last year. However it's wonderful to have such a lovely healthy child in the family - we are already very proud of her and her loving parents.

Welcome to the Cooper clan Ava.

Friday, February 6, 2009

On the Plus Side

Lothar's Cafe is reopening on Valentine's Day and will be open for lunch and dinner Wednesday to Friday for the rest of the winter. In addition, Lothar will be emailing his menus to those interested so we can make informed reservations.

We already had made a Valentine's tentative reservation at the Parrot's Pins (a fondue evening) when Lothar's menu for the 14th came out. It looks good too -
Set Menu.
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
Lobster and Egg Salad on Mesclun
with Rhode Island Dressing
Chicken breast stuffed with Vegetable Brunoise, Herbs and Cream Cheese
on home made Spinach Pasta, Champagne Sauce, honey glaced carottes
Bavarian Cream with fresh Chocolate coated Strawberries
$32.50 pp. Reservations required two days in advance

So we're back to some good meals!

Another closing

Our local (Shelburne) department store is closing on Monday. Bargain Giant isn't doing enough business so they are closing that location - right now they are having a huge clearance sale so as not to have to move too much inventory to another store. The store is very busy now although the "bargains" don't really look like such to me - the prices being marked down on a lot of merchandise were somewhat inflated to start with.

A Bargain Shop will be moving into the location in a few months - I'm not familiar with that chain but I hope it offers some adequate merchandise or there will be a lot of trips to Bridgewater and/or Yarmouth in the future. I'm afraid it may just be a glorified dollar store. :(

Lockeport Shines

MondayTuesday we had another storm and this time it still looks like winter - a very beautiful winter at that.

There was supposed to be snow, ice pellets, freezing rain etc to the tune of 5- 15 cm. Our actual total was in the 5-10 cm range I would say with a healthy crust of ice/ snow pellet mix on the ground - so it's not actually slippery except on some of the pavement where cars have spun wheels or melting/refreezing has happened. The crust is thick (1-2cm) - enough to hold my weight in most places but quite pebbly. You can still see the tops of our grass/weeds so it's really not too deep.

The beautiful part is in the ice-storm effect on all the trees and bushes. Even after 4 days, they are still coated with a dazzling ice layer since it has been cold and not very windy so the ice has stayed, despite brilliant sunshine. The bushes with lots of tiny branches and the tops of trees are particularly breathtaking.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be above zero so I guess the melt will start, but it has been lovely here this week. Dinner at the kitchen table with the sun setting through our shiny rosebushes has been awesome.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January in Lockeport

Some thoughts on the winter here in Lockeport and area.


We got back to Lockeport on January 2nd on the heels of a blizzard. The driving wasn't too bad and when we got home, we found a snow plow pile across the end of our driveway but the actual driveway was blown bare. There were very strange drifts around the yard, along the edge of the concrete step at the back door (but nothing at the door itself) and some interesting drifts behind the house. About half of the yard was bare due to our lovely winds at the top of the hill. Within a few days, almost all of what was here had melted. Then it snowed again, melted.

This week it has been very cold - as low as -25C with the wind chill some nights but only a very few flurries here and there. The locals say it is unusually cold. I hope they are right :). Today it is headed back up above zero and we should get rain overnight. The wind makes the dampness feel colder than it is, but only a few times have I felt as cold as I am used to getting in Ottawa - and I rarely have had to wear boots here.

Our wood stove (Pacific Energy Spectrum Classic) has worked completely as advertised - it can be loaded in the evening and burns overnight keeping the rear of the house nice and toasty.

The roads (paved) are cleared quite quickly it seems, salt or sand comes a little later - I guess so they don't have to salt twice for the same storm. There is a lot of ice around, particularly on the gravel roads - enough so that there are many days when the school buses just don't go down them. That is another interesting phenomenon for someone from a big city - parts of bus routes can be cancelled, and, if all buses are cancelled they actually CLOSE THE SCHOOLS TOO - realizing that if students can't get there safely, neither can staff. Ontario take note.

Closures and cancellations are done well in advance via the radio when a storm is scheduled, since most people have to travel quite a distance to bingo, suppers, or whatever.

The ice is also prevalent on sidewalks, driveways etc. with the temperature oscillating around zero so much. Lots of falls and broken bones among seniors. Accidents on roads necessitate very long detours - you can't just go around the block to avoid a road closure. The 2 I've encountered so far have each necessitated detours of 40+ km, and it is easy to see that an accident on the section of the #103 between Sable River and Liverpool could result in no possible detour short of several hundred kilometres.


Almost none. Well, some of the standard things go on - hooking on Tuesday in Shelburne, the Wednesday craft group at the Beach Centre, Wayne's Sunday evening hockey game in Barrington. I joined an exercise class in Sable River which meets Monday and Friday mornings, but I've only made it once so far due to weather or being ill. Not much else.

Most restaurants are closed - this week the Town & Country closed for the rest of the winter so now only the Parrot's Pins remains open (Tues - Sun). At least it has always had the best food in town. In Shelburne, Charlotte Lane and The Sea Dog are closed. Lothar's is open briefly then closing again for February for a vacation. The Chef's Table in Sable River is closed. The Quarterdeck in Hunt's Point is closed.

Yesterday, we went to the Sandy Point monthly breakfast - an escape from cabin fever. Wayne went to an AGM of the United Church in the afternoon and listened to the congregation (9 people were there) planning for next winter, making sure all activities were in the morning/afternoon so no one had to go out in the evening. Our little diet/exercise group at the Lockeport rec centre seems to have died - no one except the 2 of us has showed up the last 2 weeks. So Wayne has promised to continue teaching me the basics of Tai Chi at home on Tuesdays.

There will be one performance at the Osprey in each of January and February - January's is a classical guitar trio on a Sunday evening when Wayne is playing hockey so, unless I go by myself, that will not happen.

Next Saturday, there is a 5 hour meeting at the Rec Centre as part of the NS government's sustainability initiative - all communities are being required to establish plans for sustaining their economies, social structure and environment in the future. Coordinators have been hired by each municipality to guide the process and prepare the necessary reports. It will be interesting to see what matters to the local population, I'm glad we have been asked to participate and provide some input.

We are seriously thinking of taking a few months in Florida next winter.