I am looking at the calendar for February and next week it would appear that we will be meeting with the specialists treating Will. This should be a more definitive answer on the curative progress and also if there is a need to do more or not. We are positive, many encouraging signs on many fronts. So just a little more patience.
In other news life proceed a pace, the big event coming to our neighbourhood are the Canada Games which is a big deal for PEI, hundred of athletes, sport competitions, all the hotels are booked and for 2 weeks in late Winter it will feel like a tourist season. There are a lot of open air concerts schedule for the Port of Charlottetown, it can be very cold by the river even on a sunny day. Winter events simply do not happen here so this is quite the novelty. The Federal Government is paying 90% of the bill and PEI is profiting a great deal from this or at least some business people are.
I also received today my voting card in the mail, this is a sure sign that an election is in the air. Premier Denny King believes that he would be able to sail to victory and a big majority if the election is held after the Games in May. How depressing given that he has done so little overall.
What is interesting about our system is that politicians cannot campaign or spend money until the election writ is dropped. The Chief Electoral Officer and everyone who works for him must be strictly neutral in all aspects of their job. Gives a much more civilized outcome. He can also impose stiff penalties on any politician who does not behave or ignores the rules, some have gone to jail for fraud.
We are watching on YouTube a couple, the spouse is Emily a Japanese married to a French fellow and they live in France. They go out walk around and stop in restaurants for coffee, lunch, brunch or dinner or a late snack. Fascinating, the photography and the music a lot of Bill Evans Jazz are beautiful and relaxing. They also give tips on where to go etc. The episodes are very recent, currently we are in the last week of January. I have not been to Paris in years but looking at it now, it makes me nostalgic. His postings are aimed at a Japanese audience he has subtitles in Japanese and he also shows a lot of luxury shops, knowing that it will be of interest to Japanese tourists. It blog is called France, Table & Voyage. It’s fun just to look at and enjoy.
Today I went to see my pharmacist and he gave me my 5th shot of the Covid vaccine in the new improve formula for the current strain. Few people are following through with regular at 6 month interval of the Covid vaccine, in fact the new stat about vaccination in general in Canada is that only 2% of the 38 million Canadians have all their current vaccinations. With Covid the % is going down since the second shot was given out 2 years ago, the drop in people getting their first and then second booster is low around 21% of the population. The reason, people do not understand the need to keep ahead of this disease by improving their immunity in general. Sadly the ignorance of the population and the conspiracies on the internet have create a real problem of credibility for Health practitioners.
This is the 16 January and still no snow, the temperature hovers around 39 to 45 F. that is not Winter weather in PEI, normally it should be around -12 C at night and 0 C. in the day time. We have no snow and the Canada Winter games are in 28 days. This could be a huge financial failure if the snow does not materialize. None is forecasted before the end of January. Many will tell you that this happened in 2015 and suddenly we had several major snow storms over one month, making it a record snow year. But I think that with climate change this is not likely to happen. People still believe in miracles, unfortunately the age of miracles is long past.
2023 is the 150th Anniversary of PEI joining the Canadian Confederation, despite the fact PEI hosted the Conference in August of 1864 that would lead to a union of the British colonies to form one united Canada, the decisive conference took place in September of 1864 in Quebec City. The famous painting by Robert Harris shows the Father of Confederation in Quebec City, and when the time came to sign up in March of 1867, PEI refused, preferring to stay a colony of Britain. Only in 1873 PEI being bankrupt and Britain refusing to help did the PEI government finally decide to join Canada if we paid their debts. It’s the Island way.
I told you all about Nicky but we should not forget our Eleonora AKA Nora. Will picked her at the kennel because at one week she was already feisty. When Will picked her up from the litter box the first thing she did was to suckle his index finger and would not let go. Nora’s markings are different from Nicky, he is blonder around the face and has more the Boar colouring. Nora has large black fur in her face and just a bit of blond under her chin. This gives her an intense look when she fixes you. Nora does not look away when you stare at her, while other dogs would. She is also very stubborn, she will pretend to listen to you only to do exactly what she wants once your back is turned. If you scold her, she puts on this show of incomprehension. If you speak sharply to her, she will give you the big puppy sad eyes look or she will be even more defiant. She takes on any dog no matter what the size. Nicky would never do that. Nora is like a little tank and is very dominant. Our other female Dachshund short hair, Bundnie who was born in Egypt in 1989 was also defiant and knew how to play her cards to get what she wanted. Bundnie lived to the grand old age of 17. We do remember her very fondly.
Lately Nora has been giving signs of doggy dementia, she temporarily appears lost or will stark to shake. She will bark at people she knows as if she has forgotten who they are. We always reassure her as best we can and it seems to pass. But it is a new development, she too is 14 but is a week older than Nicky.
She is very fond of food and the kitchen is her favourite room. Nora comes from a family of tracking dogs and she could have been easily trained to do tracking for the hunt. Her mother was an Italian National Champion at tracking. This gives her a completely different personality compared to Nicky.
She is very lovable and loves cuddles but she can also be very jealous if she thinks we pay too much attention to Nicky.
I travelled to Bedford a suburb of Halifax to retrieve my 7 oriental prayer rugs at the cleaners. They need special cleaning and this is the only location in the Maritimes, East of Montreal. When I left Charlottetown on Tuesday morning, we were having our first wet snow storm of the Winter, a non event except that there was fog and slush all over and getting sprayed by long haul trucks on the highway happened every couple of minutes. The road to the bridge to cross to the mainland was not busy, never is and then once on the mainland I was in an area called Mouse Alley, on either side of the road is swampy ground and woodland, where Mouse roam, so you have to have your eyes open until you reach the roundabout on the highway about 26km from the bridge exit.
Yes I stopped for a donut and a coffee at Tim’s, that is the only outlet on the highway. I know my friend in Phoenix will be happy, I believe he is a share holder.
Then you make a left and on your way East towards Amherst, Truro and Halifax. The wet snow persisted until Truro when it became sunny, as if I had crossed a curtain. Truro is about 45 minutes from Halifax. I did not drive fast not knowing how slippery the road would be. After 3 hours of driving and stopping twice for coffee and stretch I arrived at the shop and picked up my rugs and continued to the hotel in downtown Halifax just below the old Citadel. The city of Halifax is a sea port and an important strategic naval base for the Royal Canadian Navy. The citadel well above the city dominates and the city has a lot of history attached to it, going back to 1749 by Edward Cornwallis, who previously in his military career played an important role in suppressing the Jacobite rising of 1745. After fighting with the victorious British soldiers at the Battle of Culloden, he led a regiment of 320 men north for the pacification (wholesale massacre) and clearing of the Scottish Highlands. He chose the location of Halifax (Chebucto) because it is an ice free natural sea port all year round. He will be for many years governor of Nova Scotia and will finish his career as Governor of Gibraltar. First named Chebucto, it was renamed Halifax in honour of George Dunk, Earl of Halifax and Chief Lord of Trade and Plantations, who masterminded its settlement.
The capital has many good restaurants, lots of historical places to visit, beautiful scenic area and has an international airport. The weather for my visit was cold but sunny. It is a pleasant change from PEI, more cosmopolitan and has a more big city feel.
Each time I am in Halifax I love to have dinner with friends in one of the many restaurants, this time it was at a new Italian restaurant called aMano in Bishop’s Landing. The food was very good, great atmosphere, good wine list.
The clock tower of the Citadel built in 1800 on the orders of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and father of Victoria, the fortress itself is hidden behind the hill. This is Winter in Halifax, breezy cold but no snow.
The drive back was under sunny sky and pleasant and it always appear shorter though it is not. I did stop in Masstown and at the Buttery near Amherst, it is a big grocery store on the highway serving the area and their produce is outstanding quality, everyone raves about it. They also have a shop of wines produce in Nova Scotia, and great deli and meat counter, offering freshly made quiche and meat pies. The Buttery across the street is all about fresh bread and an enormous selection of cheeses, impressive selection. So it is a good place to stop if you want to relax from the drive.
Got home to learn that King Constantine II of Greece had died, he was a nephew of Prince Philip and cousin to the late Queen Elizabeth. He was forced from office by the coup in 1967 of the Colonels who instituted a dictatorship. His son Prince Paul is now the new pretender to the Kingdom of Greece and the Greek Government will not give him a State Funeral but will offer all the usual niceties associated with the death of a former head of State. His wife the Queen Anne-Marie is the sister of Queen Margaret of Denmark. Constantine’s sister is Queen Dowager Sophia of Spain. He was also godfather to Prince William. He will be buried in the Royal Cemetery of Tatoi near Athens.
In Bulgaria, King Simeon II another cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II, won a second court victory to have his properties restored to him after a 14 year trial, the Supreme Court in Sofia declared in 2018 that the hunting lodge at Tsarska Bistritsa was his property and had been illegally confiscated by the Communist in 1946. Today the Royal Palace at Vrana just outside the capital Sofia was also returned to him and his family. Simeon was forced as a child into exile with this family in the communist takeover of 1946. They lived in Egypt and then Spain. Returning to Bulgaria in 2001 and then he was elected Prime Minister and governed until 2005.
Today in Charlottetown we had what I call Moose Weather, it snowed, it rained, it was cold and now it is warm at 10C. Slush all over, very unpleasant and high winds which now are drying the streets and sidewalk. It is suppose to rain tomorrow, again no snow, it all melted. Many now are waking up to the fact that this is what Climate change looks like, humans are funny it takes death and disaster to make people wake up to reality.
We are schedule to have the Canada Winter Games in February however the way things are going with no snow, will they cancel? The activities are outdoors, only the artificial ice surface will be ready as for the rest, who knows.
Another very strange thing happened this morning, we got a message from Amazon about an impending delivery of a package at 09:30am. So we waited and by 11:20am no package but a new notice that they could not deliver given no one was at home. We were at home and we were waiting. Suddenly a friend of ours who lives on Prince street about 2 blocks away from us, sends us a message to say he has a package for us from Amazon? He did not understand how he got our package. We do not understand either, how can a package clearly marked for us end up on someone else doorstep at random? Lucky us this is a friend of ours who got our package. I would say Amazon goofed on this one. Tried to call Amazon all day, they take no calls, you cannot complain.
Tonight I got a notice from Post Canada formerly known as the Royal Mail, that a package has arrived and can I go and pick it up at the Post Office. I know this package is from my sister in NYC.
The storm announced yesterday turned out to be largely a non-event. High winds, no ferry crossings, bridge to the mainland closed, but that was it. We are without snow, all green everywhere so this is Christmas in PEI.
The city is quiet tonight, because of the storm of yesterday, no one could leave the Island, no flights and bridge closed. Moral of this story, just stay home for the holidays.
So tonight we are quiet at home, the wind is still strong and it is cool. In the city there are not many displays of lights on private homes, this is more a suburb and rural area thing. We are not having company or dinner parties, but this week people will come to have coffee and cake every day starting with Boxing Day.
As for New Year’s Eve and Day, well will see, no plans yet.
I only hope that 2023 will be a better year than the past 3 years. I would love to travel a little bit even if it is not far.
Winter scene in a Quebec village by Clarence A. Gagnon.
Living on an island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence means that the weather can change in a blink of an eye, as they say here, if you do not like the current weather just wait 10 minutes it will change.
Today around 2pm the wind picked up and sleet and snow started falling, then the wind picked up some more and became nasty North Eastern. So it is not so much snowing now as very high winds. The streets are deserted and many businesses closed at 3pm. Schools were closed all day and tomorrow will be the same. The majority of kids live on farms on frozen mud roads and it is too dangerous to drive school buses on such roads in very high windy conditions. That is Winter in PEI, not as charming as Summer.
Had a tea and cake with friends this afternoon at the home of another friend on Sydney street just a block from where I live, the house is known as the Music Teachers House circa 1860 at one point the Presbyterian Church next door use to house its music director in that house. The church was pulled down a long time ago and moved one block to a far larger stone building. The land was bought by the Catholic Church for a community centre in that ugly 1950 architecture. The house remained on a street full of similar houses now all attached to a luxury hotel, The Great George. A beautiful house with a very nice garden. Was pushed home by the wind at my back.
Walk the dogs tonight just around the house, the wind is strong, the streets are totally deserted and the city plows have started to clean streets which they will do all night due to the drifting snow. I do like the quiet of Winter in the city, no traffic and little noise.
The rest of the week will be quiet, Friday is the Xmas party called Winter’s Light with dinner and show. Should be loads of fun. A slow end to the year. A strange year again, since March 2020 nothing has been like it has ever been before and there is no end in sight it seems. I am focusing now on Will’s health and hoping for a full recovery by end March, fingers crossed.
The weather is not very nice at the moment as we approach Xmas. This morning I was listening to a very nice rendition of Black Bird by Paul McCartney on saxophone it was beautiful, modern interpretation. It is one of my favourite piece of music. The other one which makes me stop to listen is by Cesar Franck, Prélude, Fugue, et Variation. Absolutely wonderful and this is the music I love to listen before going to sleep or before I die this would be the music I would want to hear. It evoque in me many recollections. Have a listen it is well worth it.
We do live in troubled times, it seems the world is gone mad, pandemics, inflations, climate change, extinctions of species, war in Europe, failed politics and violence, threats to democracy. It has been getting worse since March 2020 when Covid became a thing. Let us hope that 2023 will bring a return to more balance and stability. Though I know that it is unlikely, possibly more horrors will come our way. But in the past there has been periods like 1929 to 1945 deep economic depression and then world war and all the horrors of it, with millions of dead. Before that 1914-1919 another great period of turmoil with a flu epidemic. I just feel strange that we will not return to a life as it was prior to 1990, it will never be the same.
I hear friends who are my age or older saying they are happy to be at the end of their lives because they lived through good times, though there was trouble but never as we see it now. From 1946 to 1990 there was stability despite some events, people remained optimistic for the future. This optimism seems to have gone out.
We have talked of travelling in 2023 but we would do close to home travel, nothing in Europe despite wanting to go. Then again at home much will depend on the recovery and good health of Will. More months to go before the final word.
Given that we are 2 weeks away from Xmas, today I decided to go and get my Xmas bird, well not a turkey but a Cornish Hen which I will cook and serve with the appropriate side dish and for dessert will have the Plum Pudding sent to us by Will’s old school friend who lives in Vancouver.
Tomorrow Tuesday the first Winter storm is coming our way with hurricane force winds which is the real concern since the clean up from Fiona continues and many trees are still to be cut down and taken away. We may get more power outages. Though I am not worried here being on the strategic power supply axis of the capital. Winds from the NW at 90Km per hour and snow accumulation of 15cm.
We have done our Christmas decorations and this year it is a small 3 foot tree, no sterling silver balls, no Wedgwood ornaments, only smaller simpler ornaments still collected over 40 years from all around the world. Maybe it is better to go for simpler, nothing says you have to over decorate or go over board with gifts or meals. I prefer to listen to music from J.S.Bach or other classical composers Praetorius, Charpentier, or old French 18th century music or some Chet Baker.
Whatever you do this year, I hope it will make you happy. By the way in and around 1100 AD you would have said Merrie Christes Maesse. The photo below by Mauro Pagliai is the centre of Rome, Piazza Venezia and the lighting of the City of Rome Christmas tree. The long straight lighted street is Via del Corso which takes you to Piazza del Popolo. This street was known in antiquity as Via Flaminia built in 220 BC. imagine walking on a street that is 2220 years old and still very much in use. If you follow it outside of Rome it would take you over the Apennine Mountains to Ariminum (Rimini) on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. How we miss Rome and living there after all these years.
Another view this time from the top of the Vittoriano dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuelle II who unified Italy in 1870 with Garibaldi.
Today was another beautiful day and mild weather, it helps Maritime Electric do all the repair work needed to finalize re-powering the last 9,000 people who have now been without electricity for 11 days and very little to no support from the Government of PEI.
We are told that by Sunday everyone should be back on which will be a relief.
Today I decided after the morning at the Hospital with Will to go look for new Winter Tires at a reasonable price. I have been told by a friend who knows a lot about cars and mechanical things, that all tires have a year of fabrication on the wall of the tire. It is important because you do not want to buy old (new) tires, a tire that was made 2 years ago or a tire that was stored outdoors in all weather, etc… I went to my dealership and looked at what they had, amazing the price of tires from $100 to $1200.
My consideration is first I do not drive the car that much and in Winter we tend to stay within Charlottetown, I do not go running around on Island roads some of which are not paved or poorly cleaned of snow. I want a good reliable tire. I settled on one brand that should do the trick with very good performance reviews. My car tune-up is on 18 October. I always do a tune-up twice a year, Spring and Fall that way I avoid problems. I hate to have a car that is dirty and poorly maintained.
For the last 2 years PEI had avoided Covid19 and the worst of the pandemic, we had some cases but overall it was as if the pandemic had forgotten about the Island. With the New Year 2022, suddenly cases are surging, from a handful to suddenly hundreds of cases, the 2 first death and some 8 hospitalizations. You might say only 8 people in hospital that is nothing, however we only have a total of 20 ICU beds.
What has caused this upsurge? During the Christmas Holiday everybody was travelling around the world or elsewhere in Canada. They had to travel, to see family they don’t really like or because of mental health, which has become a new separate pandemic. It use to be peanut allergy now it’s mental health.
Yesterday the Chief Medical Officer for PEI announced that all restaurants, bars and gyms would close for 2 weeks at midnight. Guess what, the announcement came in the afternoon and last night restaurants and bars were packed to the gills. It would appear that we are dealing with a society full of indulged, selfish, spoiled brats who are unable to think like adults. On the radio, Matt Rainnie who has the popular late afternoon show Mainstreet on CBC, was going on about how times were tough and could people call in to suggest happy songs to get us through these tough times. I sent a message to Matt asking if he was serious, I can think of much worse times in the last 100 years, World Wars, Great depression, Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam war, economic crisis. Now we may get a war in Europe between NATO, Ukraine against Russia, with the possible threat of nuclear war, which would be curtains for all of us.
The weather here is definitely cold -29C today, bone chilling at least it is sunny and the city has started to clean the streets from last Friday’s storm. I also got my booster shot yesterday at the pharmacy, took all of 4 minutes. No reaction so far and things are fine.
I did do a bit of grocery shopping also on Monday, I had a bit of a shock as I entered the store, the display on the right which is all fruits, salads, vegetables, the shelves were completely bare, nothing at all. On the left side the shelves were full of breads, biscuits, cakes, package cheese, deli counter offerings etc. In Winter if the bridge to the mainland is closed for a day or two, suddenly we have shortages in the grocery stores. The bridge was close on Friday/Saturday/Sunday the winds over the Strait were so high at 130Km per hour at one point, no one can cross the 12 Km over the sea far too dangerous. At some point the bridge is 300 feet above the water to allow for large ship to sail under it. Before 1997 when the bridge did not exist, shortages of food on the Island were frequent, but people had farms and gardens so amply supply for meat, eggs, cheese and potatoes not to mention other dry goods. But it was a more simple time.
On Monday night we also had a power outage for about 90 minutes, which is rare for us. Luckily this happened after 08:30pm. This is why we always have candles around the house just in case all Winter long. It was dark but only in the old downtown area by the river where we live. There was an aura in the distance in newer parts of the City, across the river in South Port lights were on. We simply went to bed early, the dogs did right away, it’s dark, we sleep. However this darkness was peaceful and relaxing the neighbourhood looked different, quiet.
I heard a good joke the other day, For 5000 years man ate bread, suddenly in just the last 10 years we are all Gluten intolerant. Yep that explains a lot about today’s world.
In 2015 the Winter in PEI did not start before mid-January, there was no snow, nothing, very quiet weather wise and then all of a sudden every 4 to 7 days a major snowstorm and it lasted for 2 who months. There was so much snow that no one knew what to do with it and life became difficult for many. The City had no where to put it, people could not get out of their homes, some people lost their homes to house fires simply because the Fire Dept could not get to them, blocked by giant snow banks. Here is an archival picture of what it was like. People were in shock, yes we are Canadians but there is a limit to everything, the cold also was intense. We missed it all by arriving in May 2016.
Hopefully this year 2022 will not be a repeat but we have had 2 major snow storms in 7 days. The City has had little time to clean up after the first storm. We also have now Omicron and 2 people died last night in hospital, the first of this pandemic. People are scared and concerned.
Needless to say, tonight the storm is over but the streets remain unplowed and the sidewalks well they disappeared under 4 feet of snow. It is very heavy snow, very compact and it is about -28C right now. So walking the dogs is short and sweet, they do not want to be outside.
While this was happening Will was making meat pies aka Tourtière, small ones for 2 so we can have them for dinner. Tomorrow he is making his lasagna with béchamel sauce. He already made his meat sauce. For the pie crust he uses a little vodka, it makes it more flakey.
I always jokingly say that we are the Key West of Canada, balmy weather, great beaches and good seafood. Until 7 January 2022 that we true, not a speck of snow and Spring like weather. Then Mother Nature struck, the photos below illustrate what happened, I park outside my car was buried in snow, luckily the snow cleaning service came with 2 tractors and cleared it all for me. Our house door was frozen shut and we could not open it, we had to use the emergency back staircase to get out. That too has been cleaned, though the streets are a mess and the sidewalks disappeared, so you have to walk in the street for now. It will probably take 3 days to dig out of this Winter Wonderland.
Luckily for us we have no were to go and no reason to leave the house. Nora loves the snow because she eats it, Nicky does not care for it much and the wind scares him. Walking them is a problem, when you legs are 3 inches and there is 2 feet of snow.
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