on the more mundane


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About 8 days ago our washing machine died all of a sudden massive failure. We had to empty it by hand and then try to get it replaced. That was the easy part but because of COVID 19 deliveries are difficult and take up to a week or more. So we have been stockpiling dirty laundry ever since. I had a notion to do like in the old days and take the wash down to the river and pound it on the rocks. That would have attracted attention.


Today the machine was finally delivered. We will try to get through what will be many loads of washing in as short a time as possible.

Funny how we become slaves to the machines and how maroon we are when one gives up the ghost. Same applies for any appliance, computer, phone etc.


Completion day


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Friday 29 May 2020, so this morning the final phase of assembling the Lantern and then lifting all 18 tons of it to the top of the Palace dome. A large crowd could be seen across the Spree River in central Berlin and across the street ( South side) of the Palace in front of the former Council of State of East Germany. Some special guests also on the former podium of the Memorial monument (now gone) to Kaiser Wilhelm I. Amongst them 43 yr old  H.I.H. Prince Georg Frederich of Prussia, who represents his Family the Hohenzollern Dynasty who ruled from 1400 to 1918.

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The wind is an important factor in this operation, today it’s 22C and the wind is at 11Km so fairly low and safe. Here is a good picture of the giant crane on a flatbed truck which was brought in today around 6am. It will lift the lantern all the way to the top.

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Laterne 18

The Lantern is made of copper, bronze and gold leaf.

Despite the delays all day, finally as the sun was setting on Berlin, the lantern was lifted up into the air and the bells of the Lutheran Cathedral on the North side of the Palace started to peel to mark the event.






The crazy re-building idea of Wilhelm Von Boddien started in 1995 and it is complete today. I am sure he was pleased today to see his dream come to fruition. Today for the first time since 1944 the palace is reborn and completes the urban idea for central Berlin of Frederick II of Prussia surrounded by all the other buildings built during his reign in the Baroque style. 20200529-2130-Nord-2


No washing machine


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Our washing machine died with a clunk and a whine last Thursday, we were able to secure a new washing machine almost within one hour. The drawback delivery takes 7 days, oh my! So the clothing has been piling up as well as sheets and towels. We are really dependent on this machine, now we know. But the delivery will be made by Friday so patience and no panic.

I really miss good conversation with friends face to face and the laughs and gossip. Zoom is NOT the same thing.

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Scaffolding coming down this week at the main gate portal of the City Palace. Friday is the capping off of the building which can be followed on webcam. Starting at 6 am Berlin time, weather permitting.


For the last few postings I have been writing about the City Palace in Berlin and its final phase of re-construction. You may have wondered why so much interest in this one building. In fact I have been following several other projects in Europe.

One such projects is Buckingham Palace in London, the Official Residence of the Queen. There is little info on what is going on, but it is a major refit of the place from plumbing to electrical system to cleaning and painting and general repairs. Rooms have been dismantled and furniture and paintings removed for safe keeping. The Queen left London because of the pandemic but also because her London Residence was under repair and not fit to live in due to all the noise and workmen etc… Windsor is her real home, private and comfy. She and her husband only live in a suite of rooms in one wing of the Castle and not in the entire place as you might see it from the outside, still it is pretty grand. Many other people live at Windsor in what is term Grace and Favour apartments. The Queen also has other relatives live in London at Kensington Palace and St-James Palace again in apartments, all are at the pleasure of Her Majesty.

Another project is the Alexander Palace built in 1793 in an Italian/Palladian style in Tsarkoye Selo outside St-Petersburg, the work is now reaching completion after many years of complete reconstruction of what was essentially a ruined building. The last private home of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife and children before their arrest and deportation in 1917. This has been a massive work of research and archeology, restoration of furniture, original fabrics, flooring, tiling, etc. all this made possible because of voluminous archives kept on the building. This site has a huge following in Russia and around the world.


The Roman Forum is another place I love to explore and read about, about 95 years ago it became the pet project of Benito Mussolini who poured financial resources and had the best academic work on unearthing this area of what was ancient Rome. To this day several Universities and team of archeologist work for years and sometimes a life time on one area. Even now with the building of the new Metro Line crossing the Forum under Via Dei Fori Imperiali more treasures are discovered. I had the good fortune to visit some of those sites being under study and excavation, it is a real marvel.

rome forum

While in Beijing, I visited various sites around the former Imperial Capital, temples, palaces and the Forbidden City compound. I lived there about 3 years prior to the Olympics. The City itself was under massive construction and re-building. Entire neighbourhoods of 3 million people each would be vacated in a matter of 48 hours with the help of the Police and Army. The Temple of Heaven and the great park around it was a favourite site. The Communist Party with the increase in tourism re-discovered the roots of Chinese culture and its historical past. So recreation was the name of the game, unfortunately so much had been lost between 1967-1976 under Mao ills advised but politically convenient cultural revolution, that doing studies and repairing the damage proved difficult, so the repairs were done very quickly and often of poor quality. What really mattered to the Communist party was money from Western tourists and pushing a re-written history of China always glorifying the Party and the leadership.


In Jordan, I would visit just outside Amman about 35 km away the antic city of Jerash or Gerasa in the Bible. Built by the Romans and prospering as an important commercial link and military city, the Jordanian Government had archeologists work at restoring the extensive ruined city, its temples and theatres. There was a lot of archeological material artefacts just lying on the ground forgotten by time.


Istanbul and the Topkapi Palace grounds is also well worth exploring and how well preserve it is, including the treasury with its incredible amounts of precious stones. If you take a look in the once private areas you will discover a Polo Pavilion and grounds enjoyed by the Sultan, the entire place as a very Oriental feel. The Turkish people migrated from Central Asia one thousand years ago, keeping their Oriental culture.


I am endlessly fascinated by architecture, archeology and factual history. It has always been a hobby of mine.

23:45 Berlin time


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Because of the size of the lantern to be hoisted on top of the dome of the City Palace as of 6am on Friday 29 May, if the winds are calm, it was transported late this evening in 2 sections, bottom and top on large flatbed trucks through the streets of Berlin. It will stay in the front yard of the City Palace until Friday.

Here is a webcam shot take as it arrives at the Palace. This is the top part which is shame like Palm leaves.


this is the bottom part with balustrade, missing here are the 8 winged angels as caryatid holding up the top part with palm leaves and the gold plated cross. Probably will be brought tomorrow for the final assembly of all parts.

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Will look for it in day light tomorrow to have a better view of the area.

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I also found this photo of the artists/workers applying the gold leaf to the lettering around the blue ring at the base of the dome which is visible from afar. Friedrich August Stüler (28 January 1800 – 18 March 1865) was an influential Prussian architect and builder. The dome of the palace is his creation.

King Frederich Wilhelm IV was an evangelical Lutheran and a staunch conservative, unlike his uncle Frederich II the Great, who did not bother much with religion, his political decision in 1845 had repercussions on the history of Prussia and Germany for 100 years. This is an amalgamation of passages in Acts 4:12 and Philippians 2.9-11 the inscription says:

There is no other salvation, there is no other name given to men so that at the name of Jesus, in honor of the Father, every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth.  



What’s new, this and that


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For the last few days we have entered into the Phase 2 of re-opening and in a few days 1 June Phase 3 will take place. Meaning that life will return to a NEW normal but we have to keep social distancing and avoid gatherings. Restaurants will re-open for in dining room service but we are not going.

So a few days ago our barber re-opened and lucky us we got an early appointment and after 10 weeks got a haircut. I feel so much better now, more civilized.



We have also been having some warm sunny weather with normals around 18C feeling much warmer in the direct sun light. This week it is going up to 23C which is perfect weather.

Our two little monsters Nicky and Nora are scheduled for the groomer on 15 June, they need a good grooming. They also need their annual shots and the Vet has been called for an appointment. I also hope to have our winter tires removed this week, I usually do that around 15 April but it was not possible given the situation.


Will is making amongst other bake goods, Peanut Butter Bread, he is also looking at a recipe for Orange grind bread from 1932 when people used up everything eatable so not to waste food. He made yesterday some wonderful sausage rolls, and puff pastry dessert with apples, brown sugar, butter, almonds raisins and pears, a nice combination.


We are also thinking of preparing our flower boxes for our terrace and this is a project for June when the weather will be warm and nights in the 15C range.

So lots going on.

I leave you here with a photo of the 16 ton Lantern which will be installed on top the dome of the City Palace Berlin (AKA Humboldt Forum) this coming Friday 29 June according to a story in the Berliner MorgenPost.

This photo is around 1920 in Berlin, showing a man in the Lantern looking across to the Lutheran Cathedral of Berlin and the Museums. The winged angels are life size. The dome of the Cathedral appears as it was then before its destruction in 1944. The dome today is more modern in design.


Miss Peggy Lee


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The month of May marks the 100th Birthday of the wonderful singer Peggy Lee. Someone with such a beautiful voice, singing these great songs so love by the public was born in 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota. Her maiden name was Norma Deloris Egstrom, the seventh of the eight children of Selma Amelia (née Anderson) Egstrom and Marvin Olof Egstrom, a station agent for the railroad. Her father was Swedish-American and her mother was Norwegian-American.

Lee was married four times: to guitarist and composer Dave Barbour (1943–1951), actor Brad Dexter (1953), actor Dewey Martin (1956–1958), and percussionist Jack Del Rio (1964–1965). All the marriages ended in divorce. She gave birth to her only child at age 23, a daughter Nicki Lee Foster on November 11, 1943. Her daughter died of a stroke in 2014, there are also grandchildren Holly, Micheal and David and many great grand children.

Peggy Lee was a great Jazz singer and so many of her songs stay with me, I love listening to her voice. They represent an era in my life between 1967-1980, and I associate them most with Montreal, my native town. Like so many artists of the 20th century, she embodied something that can only be remembered if you lived through that time.

Such a sophisticated and stylish Jazz Singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman’s big band, Lee created a sophisticated persona, writing music for films, acting, and recording conceptual record albums combining poetry and music.

Happy memories on this Anniversary. Happy Birthday Miss Peggy Lee. 


More Spring Cleaning


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This week has been busy, the 18 large windows of your home were washed by a company, we cannot do it ourselves because of the height and you need equipment for that. We did however remove all the screens and washed them one by one. Here on the Island the word WASH is pronounced WARSH. You do WARSHING, etc.

Today I decided to do my clothes closet and get rid of all the clothing I no longer wear. Some items of clothing I have not worn in 4 years, lovely as they are I thought someone else could enjoy them.

Living in Canada this is a bi-annual ritual Spring/Fall.  The weather has suddenly shot up to 20C as is typical of Canada at this time of the year, this is a clear signal that the sweaters must be put away, too hot, Summer clothing must come out. Same in the Fall but it is not as thorough of a clean-up. This means a lot of stuff to wash before it is put away, of course the washing machine died all of a sudden today. I heard a clunk and crack and suddenly nothing works. Look all over nope, it is dead. The washing machine is about 11 years old. So far in the 4 years we have been here we have replaced the microwave, the oven, the dryer. It seems that modern appliances are not made to last.

So I sorted out all the clothing and gave away pants, T-shirts, shirts, Sweaters, all in good clean conditions and all natural fibres, no synthetics. Many items are Italian fashions.

I still have a lot of clothing for the Summer. Next will be to clear all the Fall/Winter coats, pairs of boots and other accoutrement.




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I have been thinking of doing this list for a while. What is important to me. In no specific order, all equally important. It does not include everything.

The Rule of Law in general and in our Society to ensure social Peace.

International cooperation and multilateralism amongst nations

Respect for human life


An Open mind



Common sense




Good conversation

Quality in all things worth doing





Honouring one’s word


Art, Culture, Music and Books, because this makes us civilized

Reading widely to expand one’s horizon

Languages spoken, minimum two fluently, the more the better

Attention to details in all things

Quiet time, reflection

Awareness of the world around us

Appreciation for the natural world







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This painting was done for Prince Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans who is known to us as Philippe Egalité (1747-1793) he supported the Revolution in 1789, voted for the death of his cousin Louis XVI and was himself executed during the Terreur in 1793. A very modern presentation for the time.


The Duke of Orléans’s Gentlemen dressed in the frock coats of Saint-Cloud , original gouache painting by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle, 1770. The 6 gentilshommes are:

Monsieur le Chevalier de Gasq / Mr le Marquis de Perigny / Mr le Chevalier de St Mars / Mr le Chevalier d’Estrées / Mr le Baron de Tourrempré / Mr le Chevalier Desparts / Ils étaient tous Gentilshommes de Monseigneur le Duc d’Orléans grand -père, excepté Mr le Marquis de Perigny / ancien Président de la cour souveraine  à Rouen, et qui par son esprit et son amabilité était de la société intime du Prince. Ils sont représentés sous l’habit que le Prince avait adopté pour la campagne.

This painting was with the family of the Comte de Paris, (Orléans Family) until 2015 when it was sold at Sotheby’s for 531,000 EUROS, a nice sum of money.




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During this pandemic which is unlike anything any one living today have ever experienced, there are many discussions on life and the world and our medical authorities have tried their best with what they have on hand to inform us on how to avoid infection. Some have listened others not so much, then as we in Canada are starting to emerge slowly from the worst of this crisis, some have advocated a quick return to a normal life and a re-opening of businesses others have advocated patience and careful approach to avoid a second wave of this virus. We have to accept that there are many viewpoints on this matter and it is shaped by individual beliefs and life experience.

Re-opening to quickly to satisfy those who wish to return to what is dubbed normalcy out of frustration will create another problem. Are we not all frustrated with this unusual and abnormal situation.

Someone will have to pay the price for re-opening too quickly. Would you be willing to sacrifice your family, your children, parents, friends? It is likely many will pay with their lives having no choice but to work in unsafe conditions to satisfy this requirement and others will be infected without knowing it.

I am fascinated and horrified with the many commenters who justify the death of others by saying that it is justified by the economic benefits it brings because those who die are elderly (over 60) so a natural process. Such false equivalence arguments are often used in journalism and in politics today. A logical fallacy in which an equivalence is drawn between human life and re-starting the economy in order to save businesses and jobs based on flawed or false reasoning. We have all read or heard the arguments.

There are many such voices in Canada in the media, in politics and in the public in general. A very sad comment on our society and the mentality of the callous present amongst us.

We should never have to choose between a human life and/or the economy, there is no equivalence. Those who would have us make a choice are clearly in the wrong. We all need a strong economy so that our society prospers but not at the expense of the people in that society.