Still waiting for Winter

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We are having weird weather, it is as predicted by the Weather service, the Maritimes will have a period of very warm and mild weather from September until Early December and that is what happened. In the last 72 hours the weather has become much colder but again we do have days like today of 14C and nights of -5C, no snow yet and but lots of intense rain, strong winds and low clouds. The winds today stopped the ferry service between Nova Scotia and the Western tip of PEI. The surf is rough under a bright blue sky.

Tomorrow I travelled to Kensington which by Island standard is very far away, don’t laugh, it’s 40 minutes away. Both Nicky and Nora are getting groomed for Santa. Probably will have lunch in town and then return to Ch’Town. Tomorrow night we are told that we might get snow, will see, the weather guy Jay Scotland is not known for his accuracy. Can’t blame the guy, Climate change has screwed up everything.

My Xmas cards are mostly done and in the mail, it is a bit of a chore each year, I also send electronic cards to people far away. This weekend we should start the decorations. On Thursday it’s Will’s Birthday, it is a big surprise, not giving away no details here. We also have the Dinner Party at the Club and then the New Year’s Eve party also at the Club. So we are busy, which is good.

The Holiday Season Music is not too bad in stores, many don’t have any. Though I like 2 songs in particular, Mariah Carey, All I want for Christmas is you, this version was recorded as a spoof on a Royal Navy War Ship, the HMS Ocean, quite funny in a very British way. The other is from a group at Oxford University called Out of the Blue, Merry Christmas Everybody. Both can be found on You Tube.

St-Nicholas day was yesterday, let’s hope we get into more of the Holiday Spirit in the next week.

It’s minus 5C.

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Well we are in Winter now at minus 5C, the wind is brisk under bright blue skies.

I have to start my Xmas card writing and sending. Did a bit of shopping this morning, bought a new electric kettle, despite the fact they had 10 models on display on 3 models in stock. I thought maybe this is early Xmas gift shopping rush on kettles. Oh look you bought me a kettle for Xmas, how romantic.

The Sun now sets at 04:20pm which is early and it will be much more cold tonight around -10C.

I am still not into a Christmas mood, it’s like I just can’t get excited about it. I also hate to hear that song, Oh It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It sounds so phoney all around. It seems that the music of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s about the Holiday just do not work anymore. The world is just too different and the pandemic etc. does not help lighten the mood. But life must go on no matter what. I just hope that 2022 will be different with better more positive news. That is my wish for the New Year.

We have a few parties to go to at friends and at the Club. We will have just 4 people over for Christmas lunch and Will has made his famous plum pudding, we are keeping the rest of the menu simple. It also looks like we will not have gifts, simply we have everything we want and neither of us want anything else. No drama in this, happy with our lot that is all.

Tonight I sample the Beaujolais Nouveau and it is good, fruity and light, a young wine, delightful.

Tires cracking

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I had my winter tires installed last week and was told that they had some weather cracking. I did not know what that meant and asked to be shown. Sure enough there are cracks, it also turns out they are 11 years old. That last bit amazed me, because I was convinced that they were 2 years old. I did by a new car 3 years ago and usually you have to buy new winter tires because the wheel size change after a few years and a car is remodelled. I can still keep them for one more Winter, I really do not drive the car much and most of it is within this small town. Next Winter I will get new tires.

We had the very first lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah (9 branches) in Charlottetown. The Jewish community is small in PEI about 200 people, but they have been here for 120 years. Something that is never mentioned. This year the Jewish community given the anniversary of the beginning of their community, erected a Menorah in the park by the Legislature and several politicians came, including the Premier and the Speaker of the House. It was a nice evening, singing traditional songs, etc. The town of Stratford across the river from us also has a Menorah this year.

What is commonplace in most other regions of Canada, is not here. PEI is very insular and change comes slowly and it is a big challenge for many. We have 1000 Buddhist Monks in Brudenell which is a small settlement with a few families. The monks have beautiful farms, they do a lot of good work with the poor, bake bread, and are very peaceful. The local at least some of them hate that, bunch of foreigners. The junior hockey league got itself in big trouble a few days ago, a young 16 year old player thought it was ok to say to non-whites that they did not belong because hockey is a white man sports. This was said in front of the coaches, parents, referees. All pretended that they heard nothing, until it hit the news and now it’s the old “zero tolerance for that sort of thing” and we are doing an investigation. Sure you are, it’s a cover your ass exercise. In the meantime teams from Nova Scotia are boycotting PEI and will not play games here. Change is happening slowly and it’s a good thing.

In other news, today I bought a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau 2021, a young wine that must be drunk before the end of the year, it does not keep. Strangely enough they kept the display with the whiskey section. I had to ask in order to find it. Beaujolais nouveau has to be served at 15C which is considered room temperature. That is cool but this is the way to enjoy it.

This year it is said to be very fruity and the French also make a new Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé. Will have to see how it taste.

St-Andrew’s Day

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Today the 30th November is my late father’s Birthday, he would have been 91 years old.

He had 2 middle names Cyril and Andre but for some unknown reason only used the middle initial C. and never A.

Dad on his 80th Birthday in Greece.

It is also the Scottish National Day, St-Andrew being the Patron of Scotland for more than 1000 years, despite the fact that he never set foot in Scotland.

I have to start thinking of Christmas Cards and posting them. I will do some electronically but sending a paper card is also very nice and a bit old fashion.

With the end of the Year upon us soon I was looking for a wall calendar for the New Year but could not find anything I wanted, too many cute pussycat calendar or homey folksy calendar. Whatever happened to artful calendars?

It has sort of started to snow, but not really. We had a few flurries but it all melts before it hits the ground and lots of rain and wind. Generally speaking it is still mild, though tonight it will go down to -2C.

Images from foreign festivities

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On American thanksgiving both my sister and my brother who are American Citz sent pictures of what they were doing. My sister and her husband got dinner at a Jewish Deli they have been frequenting for decades. My brother and his wife who live in Florida had roast beef. My brother loves to BBQ and he is very good at it, he also like to use his smoker and that is how he cooked the prime rib. I wish I had been there because I know how good it must have been.

Cooked just the way I like it. What a nice piece of beef. He served it with asparagus.

I do not know where he got his Continental Airline Apron. Years ago he use to be an airline mechanic.

Hopefully in 2022 we can visit and see each other. I also hope that my sister will come up to visit PEI.

Two sweets for Xmas

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Today in the mail we received a wonderful gift, a tradition that started 40 years ago, when our friend J.H. started making his own high quality fruit cake soaking in brandy. Every year since we get a special fruit cake. I do not know of any other better fruit cake than the one he makes, it is a marvel and so delicious and moist. Every year without fail, we get one, even when I was posted half way around the world, it would arrive in H.M. diplomatic pouch.

So we always have one fruit cake that is one year old, kept deliciously moist by the brandy. The other one we just received we will keep till next year.

Also because last Sunday was Stir-up Sunday, it is time to make Christmas Plum Pudding and the recipe you follow is either your family’s or in our case the one favoured by King George V and used today by his grand-daughter Queen Elizabeth II. On Christmas day at lunch we will pour brandy over it and set it alight before serving with hard sauce. I especially like cold plum pudding the next morning for breakfast.

We boiled the plum pudding today and it filled the house with the most rich and delicious smell. To me this is what Christmas smells like.

It is still drizzling rain for the last 3 days and everything is a brilliant green, it is not cold, apparently Sunday will be sunny. That would be nice, we have had rain now for 6 days, with low clouds and fog.

We are also starting to plan for Christmas day lunch at home.

Our home made Xmas Plum Pudding. Delicious. Now it goes into the fridge all wrapped up until Christmas day.

Well it is almost time

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Tomorrow Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, we are going to dinner with American friends who have lived in PEI for 29 years now. They are very interesting people and live in a house that was once part of the big mansion across the street that belonged to a Father of Confederation. At some point one wing was detached and moved across the street. It is a beautiful house which has been very well taken care of. They also have a large treed garden.

P. is a very good cook and she spent some years living in Asia and is preparing Lacquered Peking Duck which is one of my favourite dishes. So I am looking forward to this dinner, American Thanksgiving with a twist.

Our friends also have a new 10 week old puppy, a very smart dog and he is adorable and with the personality to boot. He will probably grow to be a 20 lbs dog. Beautiful coat of gray, white with black spots, he is a type of shepherd herding dog.

The City is decorated for Christmas, people have put up their own decorations. Though in the last 2 days it has been rain, rain, and wind. A cold blustery wind is blowing which feels like -3C when in fact it is +6C. We may get some wet snow, what we need is some sun. Everything looks so gloomy.

Tomorrow Thursday is a busy day for me. Who knew that retirement could be so busy.

43 Anniversary

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So the atmospheric river did not happen as predicted. You may wonder what does that mean, it is a new term the weather people have crafted to indicate a storm which covers a very long and wide area and brings lots of rains, provoking floods and very high winds. British Columbia suffered such a phenomenon last week, with highways washed away, cities stranded cut off from the world, mudslides, etc. This is what climate change brings folks. It is not the last of the storms, another one is on the way. After the disastrous forest fires all Summer long and the heat dome which killed 600 people with record heat at 50C. you are cooking in such weather, people should get used to it, it’s our future. Covid 19 is still very present and now we are told that it is not going away and may in fact be with us for years to come. Health experts are saying that the vaccine against covid will probably be required annually in order to avoid the worst. Facial mask will become a fixture. Oh Joy!

Here in PEI, again the weather is much warmer than normal around 12 C which is the same as Rome this week. We have few Covid Cases and though the weather brought us lots of rain in the last few days it is manageable and the winds are high but that is typical for this time of the year.

Though I do find that many people still think this is just a phase and that covid will go away. Or that Climate change is not that bad, just wait folks, PEI is nothing more than a sandbar of red sandstone and dirt. Ask anyone who lives close to the coast how much property frontage they lost in the last 10 years, it’s an eye opener.

PEI produces 20% of all potatoes grown in Canada, our potatoes are banned since yesterday from entering the USA because of a fungus which kills crops. It is not dangerous to humans but can ruin crops in no time at all. This means financial disaster for many farmers on PEI. It will also disrupt trucking and with no tourism our other industry, it all spells economic doom.

On a happier note, Will and I are celebrating 43 years together. Many tell us it is an achievement. We think where has the time gone. So happy to be together and still in good health.

Will and Me in the early years.
Will and I in 2021

Update

So last week we had a fantastic Italian Evening at the Club, with a show and great dinner. Many compliments from the members on how memorable it was.

Now comes the Xmas Party and we start planning this week. Also the New Year’s Eve party which falls on a Friday.

Nicky is doing a lot better, the Vet is happy with the results. Though we know that is macular degeneration of his eyes is not going away it is manageable. He is such a good boy about it. Maybe he is getting one too many cookies but hey, he is a good boy and he knows it. I will be going with him for one more check-up next week. The only thing that matters is that he is not in pain.

The weather well so far it is unfolding exactly has the weather people have predicted. Still not as cold as it should be and no snow. Though I do see in coming days temperature around 4C. However 8000 km from us on the other side of Canada, Vancouver is cut off all roads are blocked with mudslides and torrential rains, high winds and really freakish weather. This Winter Western Canada is said to be getting harsh weather while we will get much more warmish weather. So this is Climate Change. We have taken out our winter ski jackets, here on the Island the Wind is a big factor, often cold and humid off the sea.

This weekend the Christmas Festival is starting, so decorations and lights have gone up. It is much nicer than a few years ago when the City was doing cheap decorations. For those we forget we are as of today 37 days from Santa coming to reward the nice people with gifts. Are you ready yet?

I want to cater our Xmas dinner this year, I really don’t want either of us to cook. We will invite possibly 4 guests maximum for lunch on the 25th. We did cater our Thanksgiving lunch in October and it was fine.

This book is available on Amazon, if you want to read about PEI.

Nicky is better

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. It is also the 100 Anniversary of the poppy which was inspired by the Poem entitled On Flanders Field by a Canadian, Captain John McRae. He wrote the poem in 1915 as a memorial to those who died in a World War I battle fought in a region of Belgium known as the Ypres Salient. So everything is closed today in PEI all day, it’s a very quiet day. This day honours all Veterans from all wars Canada fought in, from the First World War (1914-1918), to the Second World War, Korea and Afghanistan, to name a few. Also honoured are those who served in Peace Missions around the World, and those who were lucky to make it home.

I know that in other parts of Canada shops and businesses open at Noon Time.

On the Nicky front, we have been back at the Vet twice now for eye exams, it would appear that the ulcers causing the cataract in his eyes are diminishing due to the therapy of eye drops he gets 4 times a day. Nicky sleeps a lot and I don’t know if it is due to the medication, probably, he loves to wrap himself in his soft wool blanket and sleeps on my lap or on the big sofa. The Vet was clear that this cataract condition is not going to go away and will probably result in him becoming blind eventually. Nicky is 13 yrs old and this is considered old for any dog, but if past experience says anything, our previous Dachshunds lived to be 16. So we will see. It did remind me that time is passing and that he like Nora will not always be with us.

On Friday I will be helping other members of the Club in preparing and serving an Italian Dinner to 50 Club Members. That is a lot of work and Will is helping also by finding and preparing the dressing for the Cesar Salad. He is following a recipe he found in Gourmet magazine, we tried it and it is very good. Then Will is going to be part of a show where he will sing several parts of this Italian play. He has a very good voice and the members love his singing.

Poppy field in Giverny by Claude Monet, 1891.