The World climate is truly out of whack, heavy snow all over Europe with very cold weather, London, Berlin, Paris, and Athens.
Greece where I was posted never had warm Winters, as of October the wind and rain comes and sailing is not recommended. You can ski in Greece, Mount Parnassus is a ski resort about one hour North of Athens. I also saw snow in Athens in 2009. It is rare but it does happen, what is worse though all over Europe is the lack of central heating in homes, schools and offices, that is truly unpleasant. We have no idea in Canada with our automatic central heating how lucky we are. I can just imagine how wonderful it must be to walk in the great park surrounding this sacred hill, symbol of Western civilization.
As the song says, What difference a day make. This morning woke up to see my windows, we have 18 of them all around blanketed with snow. The streets are deserted and everything is shut down for this Snow Day. The car is buried under a metre of snow, this is going to be fun to clean up. The worst part is the high powerful wind which tosses the snow here and there.
I suppose that my campaign to promote PEI as an Island Winter Paradise is blown off course. I blame the CBC Weather guy, Jay Scotland.
In just 7 hours from NO snow to this, sidewalks are unpassable, very slippery. It is also very quiet and peaceful. It’s only -3C. Tomorrow sunshine which should be nice on the fresh snow.
This first part was written on 3 February it was completed on 7 February.
The weather person was not wrong for once, we had the first major snow storm of the Winter, what we usually get in early November happened on 2 February, it was heavy snow, followed by ice pellets, lots of rain and high winds between 80 to 120 km per hour. The sea bridge is closed because of the wind, I am not brave enough to drive on a bridge for 10 minutes when the wind is blowing at such speed.
My poor Nicky was not feeling well this morning, stomach problems, he probably ate something outside which made him sick, his stomach was growling something fierce and he was off food. He only wanted to sleep next to me on the sofa, all snuggled up, so that is what we did.
On a day like today, everything is closed, no schools, no shops, no government, it’s too miserable to go anywhere. Tonight it all looks wet and icy only hoping it does not freeze over because it will be miserable. Mind you I have no where to go.
In other news the groundhog did not see its shadow so it is going to be an early Spring. I am inclined to believe it given how abnormally mild the Winter has been so far. Gives the lie to the Farmer’s Almanac who had predicted a long harsh Winter with record snow fall, well the old farmer missed the mark.
Monday 8 February another snow storm but what came from the previous storm on 2 February all melted away. This means that Monday is going to be a snow day, all will be closed again. Will see if the mild weather will once again melt it all away but at this point Winter is well advanced and Spring is close.
We learned this week that there will be NO cruise ships in Canadian waters in 2021. The Government of Canada is keeping all ports closed until March 2022. I really don’t mind it just means a quiet Summer.
Today the Government of PEI authorized pharmacists to give the vaccines in house. So with the doctors at their Office and Hospital and walk-in clinics it will be very easy to get the vaccine. But when I look at the other Provinces outside of the Maritimes, I am shocked by the gross incompetence of politicians and their lack of clear thinking and constant flip-flopping on what to do and on the other hand the selfishness of people, the me first attitude seems to be the rule. We still have a year to go at least with this pandemic. I know we will not go back to normal or like in the good old days before March 2020, but hopefully the worst will be over soon.
In PEI the good news is vaccination is going well. In Canada over 1 million people have now received their vaccines. It is all looking good.
Well we had a green and mild Christmas and New Year’s Day 2021 and today 2 January BANG snow storm! with 10 inches of snow in 5 hours. So now the snow ploughs are out in force and it’s back to the National Sport of Canada, brushing off the car and de-icing the windows, what fun.
For this snow storm I blame Michigan, the theory is that they manufacture bad weather there and send it our way. In the Summer we blame Florida for hurricane weather which is then sent our way. Well at least we know that by End March it will be over, so I suppose that we cannot complain too much, it will be 12 weeks instead of 26 weeks of snowy Winter as is standard in most of Canada.
The one good thing about a storm here, is that suddenly there is no traffic and no one about, it is very quiet and peaceful as if we lived in the countryside.
Today was a quiet day, this afternoon we visited an artist friend and his spouse just a couple of streets away from us. They live in a area called Big Spring in reference to the Spring that crosses the area and then comes down to the Hillsborough river. It is more than a Spring really, almost a small river given the constant rapid flow of water. Most of it now is underground, but you can hear it and in the area some land is empty because it sits on top of the spring and is marshy. At one time the Spring emptied into what was known as Government Pond, a rather large marshy pond on the edge of the Fanningbank Estate, the Official Residence of the Governor of PEI. Some 40 years ago the Provincial Government decided that it would be better to cover it up in an effort at urban renewal. The Area surrounding the Pond was a poor neighbourhood populated by a small black community and known as the Bog. Today brutalist style Government buildings cover the area with a large 1960 style parking lot, car culture still dominates mentalities on the Island.
Our friend is a well known artist and their house is full of art work, quite a beautiful place with a large work studio in the back garden. His spouse who is also an artist, prepared all manner of finger food, it was all very good and tasty. So much so that we had no appetite for dinner tonight. They also served Swedish Mulled Wine, Glogg, which is very nice in such weather and goes well with the Holiday Season.
So on with go with the Winter Season now officially opened.
The 30 November was my father’s birthday and he would have been 90 this year. He died 5 years ago suddenly in July. His middle name was André though he did not like that name and never used it.
For the Scots it is their Patron Saint Day, and their Official National Day. They have been celebrating for 1000 years with various events like in Glasgow a spectacular torchlight procession through the city’s West End. Towards the north, the Oban Winter Festival is another annual community affair that celebrates Scottish culture on Saint Andrew’s feast day, with a whisky festival, haggis tastings, and performers singing traditional Gaelic and Scots tunes.
This weekend we had mild weather again and Friday was the Vendredi Fou or Black Friday, a phenomenon I still don’t understand but lots of Xmas lights and trees have gone up. Fellow blogger Dr Spo mentioned that one neighbour goes overboard with the lighting decoration each year.
I wonder if it looks like the Imperial Palace in Berlin all up in lights for the Christmas Holiday. This photo of 1905 gives an idea of what it looked like then. This year it is subdued to say the least, the opening of the new museum scheduled for 7 December has been pushed back to the Spring because of the Pandemic and lockdown in Berlin.
For our house I got a simple wreath until after the Birthday of Mr Will when we are authorized to decorate, then we surpass Macy’s. We will have photos on Instagram and on this blog. A lot of people have done early Holiday Season shopping, today I was looking for some lights to put on the wreath (see below) I found them but there was nothing else on the shelves, it sort of looked like panic buying.
Here in Charlottetown at Government House the Official Residence of the Lieutenant Governor of PEI at Fanningbank Estate (1834) the Christmas lights have been turned on. It is all very green given the very mild weather. Usually at this time of the year there would be quite a few official receptions and dinners but this year due to the pandemic everything was cancelled. The Lieutenant Governor follows carefully all the directives issued by the Provincial Chief Medical Officer.
As we enter December, our social calendar is rather quiet compared to previous years, it is to be expected. But we have to make an effort and be positive, the news of new vaccines in the New Year bodes well.
Again I am suppose to be retired and have nothing to do. Well not so.
This week was Nora’s appointment for her teeth cleaning at the Vet. We have a very good Vet Dr Condon who is also with the Veterinary school of University of PEI. He is considered the best when it comes to dentistry. Nora who is 12 years old and weighs 13.5 lbs needed her teeth cleaned, in the process 5 small teeth had to be extracted. Poor dear, it had to be done and she will feel much better says the Vet.
Today was Winter tire change, so off I went to the garage for the switch and while there had a general check, I was told that the brake system had to be cleaned and was shown how dirty they were, some kind of gunk had built up and I had noticed they were not responding as well. This is the time to get this done before Winter storms strike. I was one of two clients at the dealership. It all went pretty quickly and was out of there in 2 hours. I also discovered that the dealership now belongs to a big corporation which owns all car dealerships in Atlantic Canada, that is used cars and new cars. Not crazy about that idea, we had a similar system in Ottawa where one family owned most dealerships and the service was terrible including a constant rotation of staff.
We are approaching mid-November and the weather is still mild and well above the seasonal normal temperature by about 9 degrees. This is climate change in action, though I do not mind not having the frigid weather.
We are trying out a new cleaning lady and hoping it works out. She came last week and she is coming again tomorrow. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
Well we are now as of this writing some 50 days from Xmas and 55 days from the end of 2020. We are already planning small parties and thinking of what to ask for presents. Time to think of cards to be sent and what to serve for Christmas day lunch, perhaps Roast Beef this year. The Plum pudding is soaking in brandy and we have also our home made fruit cake which is always so good. I am also getting a German Stollen, a Dresden recipe made by a friend from Dresden using his mother’s recipe.
I cannot say that I stay home and eat Bonbons like another blogger friend of mine in AZ. My days are filled with incidents. Today I had the car detailed inside and out. The shop who did it are on Mount Edward near Sherwood Drive, South end of the city. I first saw their ad on Instagram, they are called SUDS. I wanted to have the car thoroughly cleaned for some time though as it was pointed out to me at the shop, your car is fairly clean, nonetheless they did a beautiful job, it looks brand new.
It was a heavy rain day today but it was all over by 4pm when I returned to pick up the car. Happy I did it.
I am still looking for someone to clean my oriental rugs, found a shop in Halifax who can do it, though this means I would have to travel to Halifax 3 hours away by car. It would take about 8 weeks to clean them and they send them to Toronto some 1500km away for the job. The pandemic is still on and the province next door, New Brunswick has seen many new cases in the last week. It is strongly advised NOT to go to Moncton and avoid anywhere near the Quebec border area. However if I drive to Nova Scotia once I am off the bridge I turn left and avoid all of it. I could technically drive back from Halifax same day though it is a lot of driving for one day.
Winter is coming and already we are starting to have wild storms with high winds, meaning that the bridge is closed during the storm, you really do not want to drive over to the mainland with winds howling at 80 + Km per hour, its white knuckle driving. The ferries stop their crossings in a storm and in Winter. So I will have to think about the logistics of it all.
Tomorrow I have a vernissage of a good friend of ours Don Andrus who has a new show on Grafton Street. Then I have to return to the printer to look at proofs for a printing job and then a meeting in the afternoon with the new Club President.
Every day seems to be loaded with stuff, some of it is mundane, like shopping or taking care of our puppies which demands a lot of time and commitment.
Well our first snow storm of the Season is in full swing now. It started last evening with rain and winds and changed to snow squalls overnight. Poor visibility and dangerous driving or walking conditions. High winds with pounding surf and higher tides than normal, no time to go walk on the beach now, it can be dangerous. This weekend was the Christmas market weekend but the weather forced a change in schedule and most things are closed or re-scheduled until Sunday like the Santa parade.
We had a lovely dinner at the Club last night and enjoyed the Parlour fireplace. Many members who live within walking distance came. This is a good beginning to the Xmas Season.
Photo taken from our den, showing the famous Water Prince Corner Shop at the corner of Prince and Water street in old Charlottetown. This restaurant specialty is lobsters and seafood. They are famous because many celebrities have been for lunch or dinner and left testimonials. The Regis and Kathie Lee show was also taped at the location a few years back and many tourists coming here to visit will make reservations. Being neighbours we can just cross the street and get a table. Not a big place just about 20 tables, but the food and service is excellent. The Winter Lobster Season started about 4 days ago and 250 boats went out to Sea, it is very dangerous work on the Ocean with waves and winds which toss boats about. Many here on the Island will have lobster for Xmas dinner at home, remembering to use sea water to boil their lobster, tap water won’t do.
One of the many fireplaces in the Club, this one is made of Pink Sicilian Marble which cannot be found anymore. Imported by the original owner of #2 Haviland Street, the young widow Esther Full-Lowden in 1869. This was her parlour to receive friends, after her death in 1896 the Mansion was rented out to the USA Government and this room was the American Consul’s Office, with 18 foot ceilings and fancy moulding. It was wonderful last night to sit by the fire and enjoy drinks with other members.
Today is very quiet with the storm raging outside. Sunday should be quiet also, I may go out to the Farmer’s Market to get my Dresden Stollen from Sabine and Michael S. who are natives of Dresden.
Today is also my late father’s Birthday, he would have been 89 years old. Here the two of us having lunch at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal around 2014.
Age is just a number, I think so. I cannot imagine feeling different at 32, sure you look older in the mirror but otherwise all is good. Yesterday was my birthday and we went to dinner with friends at my favourite restaurant in town, Claddagh Oyster House on Sydney street about 3 blocks from where we live. The owner is Liam Dolan, Irish from Galway. Claddagh is the oldest owned restaurant in Charlottetown, it was opened 36 years ago by Dolan and his family. The food is very good, they have a great selection of oysters from various bays around the island. The chef is great and it is very good value for money. He also owns the oldest Pub in town, the Olde Dublin. Charlottetown in 1983 was not the town you see today, it was pretty dreary and on the verge of huge transformation which have only accelerated in the last 10 years.
We started with oysters, they are very good at this time of year and champagne and then a rack of lamb it was wonderful. Lots of good conversation and laughs.
We made a mistake this Winter, everyone we know goes away in Winter for a minimum of 2 weeks to up to 2 months. The worst months are February and March, we should have gone away, anywhere for at least 2 weeks. So now I have an excuse to go away on 23 April to Montreal to see friends and to also visit the Fine Arts Museum and see a show by Don Andrus at the Gallerie Vu.
I have been on the campaign trail for 2 months now and I am going to take a break, its school March break now and Easter Week so the town will be pretty quiet. Just stay home re-organize the library, we have no plans for Easter at all. Don’t know what to do really. I am also planning to go to Europe in November after the Municipal election, even if just for a week, just for a break. I know I will need it, win or loose.
Today Sunday is a bright sunny day and the temperature is mild for Winter at -5C, in the sunshine you feel warm. Though there is now snow on the ground since 17 January, it is a mild Winter with the exception of the wind.
The entrance to Fanningbank the Official Residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of PEI.
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