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.
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.
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.
Hopefully in 2022 we can visit and see each other. I also hope that my sister will come up to visit PEI.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well I have been reading the website of the Club and prior to 1997 there was another Club in existence, a military one. One of the President of that defunct Club wrote the story of the Club when the military was in charge. It made for interesting reading and it covers the years 1932 to 1997. It shows how mentalities have changed and how we see the role of gender back then and today.
It also shows that there is a bit or a lot of whitewashing of what was going on at the Club. PEI had prohibition like all other Provinces in Canada. However in PEI prohibition last far longer than anywhere else for reasons typical of a small island and its deep protestant roots. Our liquor laws are still archaic but that is changing slowly.
The author explains that the Club being a Military outfit had a special permission from the PEI Government to buy alcohol at Government dispensary. Members could also buy liquor if their doctor signed a paper saying they needed a drink. Being the military they have their own doctors, so everyone had a medical dispensation saying, Johnny needs his bottle of gin or scotch or whatever. Then members were also smuggling liquor bought in various illegal distilleries on the Island, gin at 50% proof, Moonshine, liquors of all sorts. The police knew about this and looked the other way. The reason for this lack of enforcement was that these were soldiers, family members, related in some fashion to various segments of society. Population was only 100K so it is understandable that the local Police preferred to not get involved as long as no one got hurt. However the Federal Police, the RCMP is composed of officers from all over Canada with no link to PEI. They did raid the Club once and the solution of the Club Executive was to build secret hideaway and lockers in the basement, so if there was a raid the liquor could not be found.
Liquor in PEI plays a very big role like drugs in the life of the Island. We have a population of approx 155000 today, old ways die hard.
The Club was also male only, in 1953 women were allowed to come on special days and with a male escort who would have to be a member and the events were billed as Tea parties and the ladies were entertained by members. There was also illegal gambling going on and again the police looked the other way. Many of the doctors who were members of the Club worked at the hospital, then located across the street from the Club. They would come in the afternoon for a few drinks and then go back to work. The nurses residence was also then located across the street from the Club and the male members would bring them in for a drink and some “entertainment”, wink, wink!
The old Military Club disappeared in 1997, changes in society and attitudes, changes also in the military in Canada made it more difficult to recruit new members. They went bankrupt. The hospital is gone it moved to a brand new location at the other side of town, the nurses residence is also gone. The neighbourhood was gentrified and now it is a quiet section of town. The Club building today is a civilian social club and the members are a mix of 50-50 women and men. Though I have heard stories about how bad the reputation of the old military club was, all confirmed by this history written by this long dead old gentleman who was once a president of the Officers club.
Friday morning for the first time this Fall, I had a frosted windshield on the car. It quickly melted away with the sunshine. I now have the heater on in the car. At home we heat in the evening and during the night, it is still above zero but it’s the humidity from the sea that is cold.
Nicky is slowly recuperating from his surgery on his eyes. They are open now and we have had several conversations with the Vet at the AVC and we have an appointment to see our Vet on Tuesday to evaluate progress. So far he is coming along fine and we are encouraged by it.
So far Nicky is doing ok, we follow the medication regimen the Vet gave us and his appetite is good as always. The one thing is dislikes is the cone he has to wear, that bothers him but we do not want him to scratch his eyes.
This week we have the AGM at the Club and I am on the nominating committee for the Executive. I am also writing the newsletter weekly now for the last 8 months. Last night we had an Oyster party and it was very well attended some 400 oysters were consumed. We had fun and in the Great Room they were launching a Music CD by a local classical music artist.
Friday night I am involved in preparing a 5 course dinner for 50 members for our Italian night with a play and dinner. This takes some logistics to do. I am sure all will go well.
This 4 November is an important date in the life of Italy, which started as a unified country some 160 years ago with the help of Garibaldi and his men. It is also the modern 150 anniversary of Rome re-becoming the Capital of an Unified country. Prior to this Italy was divided in numerous principality and kingdoms since the 8th century. The Italian republic also celebrates 75 years since the Monarchy was abolished by referendum after the second world war.
160 anni dell’Unità d’Italia, 150 anni di Roma Capitale, 100 anni del trasferimento al Vittoriano della salma del Soldato Ignoto, 75 anni di Repubblica.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown