After a wonderful week in Vancouver we’d had a nightmare forty eight hours. When I woke at five fifteen this morning though, the view from my window chased the nightmare away immediately. A peachy glow lit the sky above the pines on the opposite side of Gull Lake, fading to a deep midnight blue. The trees outside our window were silhouetted against the glorious pre dawn sky and the lake gently rippled by the breeze. Commando was still sleeping but I sneaked out of bed and took a photo through the window then I lay watching the sun slowly rise. After a while I pulled on a jumper and crept out onto the balcony. Sometimes jet lag has its advantages and waking to watch the sun come up is up is one of them. Continue reading A little tour of Muskoka
The change from the relative simplicity of Infant School to the far more structured environment of Junior School was a shock to my system. For one, the building itself was far larger. The long, L shaped corridors, filled with more children that I’d ever imagined existed in the whole world, were daunting for a small girl of seven or eight. Something about the rows of doors made me feel like Alice in Wonderland and I half expected to come upon a white rabbit with a pocket watch or a glass table with a key. Unlike the little Infant School, this had two floors and three sets of stairs, one at each end and a giant staircase at the apex of the L, going up, then dividing into two directions. The classrooms were almost all upstairs, mine at the far end, nearest the back gates of the school. Continue reading Memories of the late 1960s – not fitting in
This week seems to have been mostly about family. It began on Sunday with a gathering of the clan to celebrate an anniversary. Maggie and Alan, who showed us such hospitality when we were in Toronto last year, had come to England to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. As I was driving, I couldn’t have any of the champagne but I did have a slice of the wonderful cake made by Shirley, whose Sunday lunches are legendary. Continue reading Family, secrets, mysteries and bridges to nowhere
Today’s tale began before I was born, back in World War II in fact. It was a story I would have loved to have heard from one of the main players, my beloved Pappy, but he, being humble, kept it to himself. The first I knew of this story of heroism and humility came in a newspaper article back in the mid 1970’s but it wasn’t until today that I got the full story. Continue reading Bravery, humility and a chance meeting
Our Christmas Day began with a Park Run, at least Commando’s did. Originally I’d planned to get up early with him and go along but, in the end, I chickened out and stayed in bed. There was a great deal of work to be done in the kitchen after all. He came back wearing his Santa hat, just in time for breakfast. He was freezing cold and I was glad I hadn’t gone although I’d have liked some photos of all the runners in Santa hats. In the end I had to settle for one runner in a Santa hat. Continue reading Ho, Ho, Ho
Our last evening in Gravenhurst was another wonderful family affair, sharing pizzas, memories and stories with Maggie, Alan, Jen and Marina. Although Katie wasn’t well enough to join us we did get to spend some quality time with her in her little room of happy things. She was in better spirits than she had been the day before, still frail but less tired, and she joked with Commando about doing a trathalon, as she had herself some time ago.
“It’s the swimming that puts me off,” Commando laughed. “I’ve never been a strong swimmer. Maybe one triathlete in the family is enough.” Continue reading Canadian views
We’d had a great evening with Maggie, Alan and Marina, reminiscing until long after dark. Sadly, Katie wasn’t well enough to join us but we did get a few moments to visit with her. She was frail and tired, so we didn’t stay too long but there were hugs and she seemed in remarkably good spirits, surrounded by beautiful things to make her smile. It seems she’s a girl after my own heart in that respect. The sky was filled with stars when we left and Alan explained Gravenhurst is a dark sky area. The street lights here face downwards, not out or up allowing a fantastic starry view. Continue reading The Hahne farm trail, rocks, fallen trees and hidden markers
When we got back to the chalet we found a note from Alan saying he and Maggie would be round to pick us up in about an hour so we made ourselves a coffee and waited. We had both fallen asleep by the time they arrived. Maybe it was the jet lag catching up with us or all the fresh air.
“We thought we’d take you out to see some trails,” Maggie said.
“Not far, just about an hour’s drive there and back,” Alan added.
This was when I realised that not far has a completely different meaning in Canada. In England, not far means a mile down the road, in Canada, if it’s less than an hour’s drive it’s nearby. Suddenly I began to wonder just how long these trails were. Continue reading A family outing, Port Carling, Huckleberry Rock and Bracebridge