Well our Nicky is feeling better and he is a little tired of the rice and veal diet. But being born in Italy veal is sort of the thing for him. Nicky was happy for your good wishes and says in his native Italian, mille grazie a tutti.
Other items, well we are back to having to wear face masks everywhere indoors now. The big problem is Alberta out West where the hospital system is about to crash due to too many new Covid cases and the very low vaccination rate. Alberta is our West Virginia, very backwards. The Premier Jason Kenney use to be my Minister at the Federal level years ago, a complete incompetent fool, who caused by his inaction the death in his provinces of thousands of people because he deferred to private business over the public good, dollars before lives.
What is worse the Chief Medical Officer in Alberta Dr Heather Hinshaw went along with Kenney’s policy until yesterday after months of lying to the public, admitted that she was wrong, sorry folks she says. That is why we call them murder clowns.
Ontario is not much better, of the $2.5 billion dollars they received from the Federal Gov. for Covid to help the health sector, they instead sat on the money, did nothing with it. Another fool Premier Doug Ford, who created the fourth wave to help out businesses instead of the people of the province. This is the problem with those conservative premiers, they admire Trump and make no bones about it. I do hope people will vote them out of Office when the Provincial election cycle comes around.
Only 3 days to go before the Federal Election. Let’s hope Canadians will not elect a Trump wanna be.
So yesterday I got my second shot and now I applied and received by proof of vaccination and I am also getting my PEI PASS which allows me to travel to the other Atlantic provinces and back without quarantine. After 18 July we will be able to travel to other Canadian Provinces. All of this took only minutes, no waiting whatsoever, the system is very efficient. Now the question is, can we travel internationally? To Europe? The USA border is still closed but it is pretty certain that by August it will re-open to those Americans who have proof of full vaccination. All the people who bitched and said no to the vaccination are now out of luck, every government wants proof of vaccination, no proof = no travel for you. Some have seen the light finally.
Other than that we are waiting for Post-Tropical Storm Elsa, but now it looks like she may miss us or at least we will get some rain or wind but not much else. The path of the storm appears to be moving to the middle of the Bay of Fundy. By the time we leave for the Cottage on Saturday it looks like Elsa will be near Newfoundland having passed PEI.
I bought new blankets for the two little dachshunds, they love them, it is like a lambswool fleece and they love to sleep in them. It appears to calm them down. So I put them in their kennels where they sleep at night since their puppyhood. They are quite attached to their sky kennels from KLM. It is their home and they have travelled with those kennels around the world.
Now Nora is a bold girl and she is not shy about setting the tone and Nicky just better behave or else. She simply stole his new blanket and put it into her kennel, thus monopolizing for herself all the blankets. This is too funny. Female Dachshunds are usually very assertive compared to the male dog.
Well here we are in July and today is Canada Day version 154 according to Official history, I prefer to think like most French Canadian that is it in fact 421 years when the first French Europeans settled in New France.
This entire week weather wise has been very strange, more sure signs that Climate is for real and cannot be ignored anymore, though politicians are still debating what to do.
In British Columbia they have the pandemic, forest fires and heat in the 50C range. The extreme heat alone has killed in 4 days 680 people. People do not know what to do and panic. On the Atlantic we have moderate weather with rain and fog. The overcast weather has made so far for a quiet Canada day. Covid 19 means no fireworks tonight to avoid large gatherings. We are going out for dinner just across the street.
Tomorrow is bar-b-q day and I am at the grill, luckily I have help, we are looking at about 25 to 30 people. There will be cake and live music by two very good musicians who will play Canadian music.
First thing tomorrow morning I have to go to the Vet with Nicky who has been sick all week, stomach ache of some kind, he has a very fragile stomach. Currently he is having real chicken broth and soft white rice. He loves the broth but he is hungry however he does not appear to be able to keep anything down. I also have to drive Will to the clinic for his second shot of Moderna. Pick up the cake and buy burgers and sausage, buns etc. A busy day.
The strangest thing happened also this week, for the last 40 years out of convenience, I have been shopping at Land’s End for clothes and sheets. When you live in exotic locale you need to have access to standard fashion with good quality. Land’s End fits the bill and I have always been satisfied with what I bought from them. Only when living in Europe did we buy at local shops because they had the quality and what we were looking for. I got an email from them this week to tell me that my latest order was lost in shipping. I was very surprised this has never happened, the order will be replaced at no cost with much apologies.
So all arrangements have been made with the babysitter for our vacation, we had dinner with her the other night on the marina. It only takes us 35 minutes to get there, I was told by Miss Daisy that it is more like 80 minutes, hey I’m the driver I should know this. It is all nice countryside and little to no traffic. Keeping my fingers crossed for good weather for our 2 weeks.
Both our Nicholas and Eleonora (Nick and Nora) will turn 13 this month, Nora is one week older than Nicky. Strange they have been with us since they were 6 weeks old in Rome. We knew them or first saw them at 2 weeks with their respective Moms and other siblings in Capena.
Both have loads of personalities and each very different. Nick loves his routine and wants you to stick to it and not change anything. Nora is the fighter, constant guard dog 24/7 and track hunting dog. She too loves her routine but has a very different one from Nick.
Nick loves the sunshine, the hotter the better. He is not as friendly as Nora, more distant with people. However if he likes you then you are his buddy and you cannot leave ever. Nora is the I love everybody, kiss,kiss and plays coquette with people for cuddles.
They both love their treats and expects lots of them, fact is they get more treats from Will than from me and they know that, so I do not get pestered about treats, they simply go to Mister pushover. Treats are multiple, bits of celery, bits of carrots, bits of cheese usually gouda, pieces of kibble, small piece of ice, anything I chop in terms of vegetables, they want a taste and the best is the liver treats home made by Will, they go nuts for that one. But they have developed a system, knowing that they get a treat when they return from a walk, they will pretend they want to go out, open the door and no I am not going but you give me a treat now. It seems that the simple thought of going out is good enough to warrant a treat, in their book.
The other funny thing is Nicky who insist on sleeping next to me on my chair in our living room. He will even fetch me to come and will be very insistent about it and look put out if I ignore him. So while he will sleep for an hour on the chair with me in the evening, he will wake up at 10pm and look at me, this look means I have to go out for my evening walk. Upon returning he wants his treat and then will make a fuss to go to bed. This is where we have a conversation in French, in fact all the words we use with them are in French, manger, maison, dodo, biscuit. Sometimes we don’t even have to make a full sentence, the simple Veux-tu … (Do you want) Nicky knows this mean manger (to eat), no need to say it. They know where to sit while they wait for their meal, do it does not stop Nicky to wimper, Nora is usually quiet.
So at 10 pm he goes to his bed and I bring the biscuit, of course Nora wants a biscuit also but she is not going to bed at all, too early for her. He then proceeds to fall asleep for the night.
Nora on the other hand always wants to nestle into the sofa all wrapped up in her blanket, but she knows that she like Nicky must to go her bed. She is not happy about that and always tries to negotiate. Once in bed, lately she started to whimper like a little baby, so we go in to see what his wrong, nothing of course but she wants another treat. Nicky of course wakes up and he too wants a treat. So lately it is up to 4 treats before she goes to bed and stops her whining. With Nora it is always about pushing the envelope and getting her way. It is very difficult to get angry at her, she knows which buttons to push to get what she wants. Nicky is not so clever about that, much more, hey its my routine follow it, approach.
Funny enough they cannot be walked together, though in Rome we did with no problems, once in Canada that changed. Nicky can be super aggressive with other dogs either with Nora present or not. Nora on her own barks at other dogs and is not sociable. However with horses, we have them on the street in the old town or with cats she is indifferent, pays little attention to them. Crows which are plentiful here, she will chase but Crows are not easily intimidated and they have sharp nasty beaks, so we keep her away from them.
Recently a good friend and blogger asked me about food for the Holidays, what type of food did you have as a child for Christmas etc… So I told him, he was a little taken aback, suffice to say that I and my siblings did not have your conventional upbringing especially when it comes to food and drinks. So no it was not turkey and mash potato with gravy and green peas or ham or whatever is usually served in most households. Wine was also served on a regular basis to adults until I was old enough to have a glass. Cocktails and bubbly made their appearance as a matter of fact at the table. My father always chose the wines, he liked Montrachet.
During my professional life in the many countries we lived in, the menu varied a great deal, various cultures have various fare. In many countries, lamb is a regular staple with chicken a close second, pork is not available and beef is usually served stewed not as a steak. Same with vegetables, in some places root vegetables or squash of all kinds or potatoes are abundant, rice is a side dish with all dishes. So you have to get use to different culinary traditions. Per example in Greece, they will served grilled tomatoes, rice and french fries all together with lamb or fish. In many countries butter is replaced by Ghee butter which is highly saturated in fat but gives the most wonderful taste to food. Also the concept of dieting, allergies or vegetarianism or not eating meat or certain foods is totally unknown and people will enquire about your health, because such condition is associated with the sick and the dying.
So through the years we have modified our Holiday menu to a point where the conventional is not the first thing that comes to mind. This also includes desserts and any sweet. In one country candied whole fruits was a delight to behold, in others it was honey and nut pastries in phylo dough, in others it was rich cakes and specialty chocolates of the finest ingredients made in small batches.
The country I enjoyed the most for wines was Italy, every Italian region has vineyards and all produce regional wines, the volcanic soil of Italy and Sicily produces great wines, red of course but for the last 150 years white wines. Going to the wine merchant was a delight, you could always pair wines with your meal and given the reasonable prices buying several cases for Xmas was a given. One year I found a champagne I truly loved, Jacquesson from France, an exceptional Champagne. If you come across that name, you should get a bottle.
This year will be a quiet Xmas at home, Charlottetown is very quiet and it is pleasant. Christmas Eve I think 3 people are coming over for drinks. Christmas Day we are 7 for Lunch at home. Everything for the meal has been bought including the wines so I do not have to do any more grocery shopping.
While shopping for Chestnuts, I discovered that you cannot find it here anywhere because it is simply something Islanders do not know. A strange thing, but its like veal, you cannot find it, no one carries it. Why? It does not appear that there is any reason. I finally did find chestnuts and beautiful ones at GLOBAL MARKET on St-Peter’s road at Mount Edward. It is an Asian/African grocery store and they carry the most incredible array of goods, most Islanders have never heard of most of it. I was very happy, it’s the second time Global Market has saved my bacon, Mr Will has a knack for asking for the most obscure ingredients at the last minute. In the case of the chestnuts, he is making Chestnut Ice Cream.
Best Wishes to all of you for a Happy Christmas!
A picture of Nora and Nick, the Official Xmas Dachshunds.
Monday today some good news, first at the dentist, got x-rays and a good cleaning, I do this twice a year. My dentist told me I had perfect teeth and nothing to report. It has been like this for years and it always makes me happy to hear it. The second piece of good news was the start of the vaccination program in Canada. Everyone I spoke too wants the vaccine as soon as possible. Can’t wait attitude, it is almost as being liberated. It is very encouraging. By Friday on PEI there will be more people vaccinated than any people who got sick, again good news. The Prime Minister also announced that Canada will receive doses of the vaccine Moderna. So as it stands now all Canadians can be inoculated in a matter of a few months.
I also followed distractedly what was going on in the USA with the Great Electors voting to confirm Joe Biden as the winner of the national election in the USA and the next president. I also listened to the speech this evening by Joe Biden and found in it, the words and thoughts of past presidents, dignified, honourable, with empathy for people and a call to unity to all citizens. This is what a president does. In his speech the old America I knew came back. So happy to hear such words after four years of buffoonery.
After the dentist I came home and started to decorate the tree, which we will finish decorating tomorrow. It’s a big job, though the tree is only 7 feet tall. Like every year we said again, we need a second tree and given our very high ceiling it could be an 11 foot one.
The weather this week in the Maritimes is like living in Northern Europe, grey, foggy, low ceiling, clouds and wet and mild. Last night I walked Nicky around 10:30pm, the streets are dead quiet, no cars, no one anywhere. There was no wind and it was 45F, this is NOT normal we are in mid-December. There is snow in central Canada, Ottawa, Montreal, etc. not here. We have been promised a big storm, really, it is so mild it is impossible that we will get any snow at all.
Which reminds me of this little ditty, which is so very true of PEI.
Will it rain? Will it snow? I live in Prince Edward Island. I do not know!
Living here 5 years now I have come accustomed to the weather changing rapidly within 15 minutes on some days. Being an Island on the sea makes us susceptible to the prevailing winds much more so than people living inland. You would not want to be the Weather guy in PEI, it is a thankless job and more often than not you will be wrong.
Well we got our FLU shot, it can be administered by pharmicists, nurses at the clinics, doctors. It’s FREE and anyone over 65 yrs of age gets a super boost shot. The Government is really encouraging everyone to get their shot and it is so easy, it takes all of 15 minutes, no waiting. What I call civilized!
I also went to Mackenzie Farm across the river from Charlottetown, it is one of many farms selling fresh vegetables and pumpkins usually you can buy a small one for $2 and the big ones are $4. I also bought other produce, its fun and we have had a lot of really nice cool days with sunshine.
We still only have 3 cases of Covid 19 in PEI, all from travellers who came back from other parts of Canada and who isolated upon return, the Health Dept and our Health Chief Dr Morrison is in daily contact with them.
Pretty lucky when you think of Quebec with 1400 new cases today alone, Ontario with 600. Alberta is not doing much better. Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tam says that some parts of Canada are in un-chartered waters and things could get really bad meaning that hospital system could be overwhelmed, Quebec is almost at that point in the Montreal region. Most cases are under 40 yrs of age and young people who a few months ago were laughing at the pandemic are now coughing. What is most disturbing in Quebec with a population of 8 million people, is the popularity of QAnon amongst certain segment of the population and the conspiracy theories. Anti-mask demonstrations in Montreal attracting 10,000 people when in the rest of Canada such demonstrations would attract at most 200. There is also in Quebec City the phenomenon of Radio poubelles (garbage) stations with their shock Jock hosts, one such station is CHOI-X who has for a long time promoted every nut job and conspiracy theory on the air. It got so bad 2 weeks ago that Mayor Regis LaBeaume pulled all City publicity from the station after CHOI-X refused again to air public health messages on Covid19, the owners stating it was propaganda. Now many other private sponsors have pulled their publicity. So the owners of CHOI -X are suing City of Quebec for diffamation instead of simply airing the public health messages. It shows a sad side of society and this anything goes attitude, selfish and self-centered, pampered society.
New Brunswick which has the border with Quebec unto the Maritime region has closed its border to prevent Quebecers coming in. As for the border with the USA it remains closed until 1 November but it is not likely to re-open before 2021 or until the USA has a firm control on the pandemic.
In other news: Thanksgiving weekend is coming, Monday 12 October being Thanksgiving. We had thought of doing a different menu this year for our Annual T-giving luncheon, but turkeys are on sale and I got a nice one, 12 lbs for $20. I think we will start with smoked Salmon and shrimp, for dessert, Monsieur Will is going to make is roasted bread and Irish whiskey ice cream and a bread pudding. It will be a small affair this year, we celebrate on Sunday.
Taking a lot of walks around the neighbourhood, in the last 3 years owners and developers have slowly but surely gentrified old Charlottetown. Many of the old homes built around 1820-1880 period are being renovated usually for $1 to 2 Million dollar budget. The area which is 9 city blocks by 6 city blocks is saturated with 825 Air B&B mostly illegal or under the radar., though this year many have been converted to long term rental. Several Bed and Breakfasts have also changed hands and bought by Chinese investors who cater mostly to Mainland Chinese tourists. This year was bad, no tourists and many businesses restaurants, bars, hotels are really struggling if not dying out right. Some hotels downtown and in the suburbs have closed until May 2021. It is going to be tough for the service/hospitality industry. If the cruise ships do not return in May 2021, and borders are still closed, PEI will have to think of a Plan B for tourism. The so called Atlantic bubble did not produce the economic results businesses were counting on. The Atlantic region in Canada has a total population of 2.5 million people spread over 4 provinces. It is not a wealthy area, the average income is about $40,000 per family or less, many are Seasonally employed. So the whole service industry sector needs out of province visitors, PEI alone gets one million visitors between May and October in a normal year. It does not affect us living here in retirement but I can see how anyone who is working now is worried. It seems however that dentists/doctors, our 2 plastic surgeons, our 2 psychiatrists, pharmacists are busier than ever.
I have been posting a lot on Instagram and enjoy this new medium much more than Facebook.
Here is our Nora enjoying the deck this morning.
Here they are Nora in the background and Nick, waiting for their dinner, it’s the look dachshunds are known for, where is my dinner!!!!!
Love this view of the Hillsborough river from the boarwalk looking towards the opening to the Strait of Northumberland and Nova Scotia coast beyond. On the right is Rocky Point and Port LaJoye the original French fort. On the left is Keppoch (pronounced Keppick) both are affluent out of town areas.
Will has revived his old giant screen computer and found an incredible amount of photos from before 2011 even some videos of our first two dogs Bundnie and Reese. Seeing such photos bring back so many memories of events and where we were then.
This photo of my mom and dad in their home in Montreal in 2007. This was the Summer I was back in Canada for a few weeks before Will and I would depart for Rome for our next posting. My parents invited us to dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Sherbrooke street, at the Jardins du Ritz, this was before the rather disturbing modernization of this great hotel. It was a hot summer day and Les Jardins du Ritz was the garden restaurant with the famous duck pond. It was all very elegant and European. I did have a jacket with me, dinner with Dad never meant without a tie and jacket. Though that night we did not wear a tie. Mom was already affected by Alzheimer at this point and within a few months would be going to a care centre where she would live another 6 years with greatly diminished faculties. This was really the last time we would be together for dinner on the town.
Here is Nicky and Nora lounging on a pillow bed we got them, one of many as they love to destroy them. In our den in Rome on Via Dei Villini.
Love Nicky looking at the camera and Nora half asleep, they are I guess about 1 years old on this photo. We had an excellent groomer in Rome who specialized in wire hair dog coats. Wish I could say the same for PEI.
Well Monday 15 June is grooming day for our little Dachshunds, it has been many months since the last grooming and we are happy they can get it done. Next week we are going to the Vet Clinic for their annual shots and physical exam. Both are 11 and half years old and in good health. Though we have noticed that Nick is becoming anxious if I leave the house and he does not like to be left on his own.
Nora now barks at the smallest noise, which is annoying but she looks around and seems nervous. She also had another episode of what could be described as some kind of stroke, though it was short and quickly resolved itself. But we took her to the Vet Clinic immediately and within one hour the Vet told us that she was stable and could come home. We don’t know exactly what happened. But we do realize that we have two old dogs who are used to their daily routine and as long as it is not disturbed all is well. It has to be said that they are spoiled and like good Dachshunds always try to control what is going on, just too clever I think.
After Nick’s grooming and a snooze, so stressful, even a cookie does not compensate enough. He has the most beautiful colouring, old gold and dark chocolate.
Nora, back at home and resting in Nick’s kennel, which annoys him but he puts up with it. Though she is one week older than Nick, same colouring but tuffs of grey hair here and there.
Today Tuesday 16 June, the Art Gallery of the Confederation Centre re-opened after 3 months of closure due to the pandemic. We were the first to arrive and the new sanitary procedures are in place, the exhibits are those of March since the gallery closed a few days after they were unveiled. They will now be on show until September 27. The 2020 Summer show has been postponed until next Summer 2021.
Lemieux, Fathers of Confederation
Many stores in town have closed permanently due to the pandemic and no tourists. Many restaurants will not open while other did open with a new menu and new Chef. One such place is Terra Rossa on Queen Street, new (well known) Chef, and a newish concept returning to the original idea for this Italian regional cuisine restaurant, sorry no pizza, no spaghetti. A grocerant/eatery with lots of specialty products like fresh anchovies in oil or burrata or N’Duya sausage, charcuterie from various regions of Italy and cheeses, most if not all unavailable in PEI up to now, so you see a refinement of gourmet offering. Fresh Anchovy as a fish is very delicate in flavour and can be eaten as is or on toast or in pasta or salad. This was a real find. A wine bar is also part of the establishment. We were at Terra Rossa this morning and am very impressed with the place. Happy to see they have returned to the concept of four years ago which had been abandoned by a previous owner with little success and now re-instated with this new owner.
Sunday and Saturday we met with friends we had not seen in the last 3 months and it was so nice to actually see people in person, to talk and enjoy sweets. This is one thing that this pandemic has made us realize, the importance of friends.
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