Today Tuesday 31st March 1998.

Still weather is more like summer. Our morning walk was really warm, with a very strong wind trying to blow my jacket away. I wouldn't have been wearing a jacket, but in Guelph we are expected to pick up after our dogs - and I need the pockets for plastic bags.

NOTE: The following business card was created in "Powerpoint" - which is a program for presentation overheads. It has some attractive designs - but they are apparently too large for placing on a URL. If such overheads are to be put on a URL they must be saved as a Windows Metafile. This has the suffix "wmf". Placing the file within a "table" does not appear to constrain the size. Attempting to constrain it, by placing this notice within the same row, merely constricted this notice! I re-setup the original Powerpoint file with size 4" wide x 2" high and re-saved onto the metafile. This has constricted the file, but the byte size is still 103K.

There have already been many tornado strikes down in the States. We have them occasionally here. The air masses from north and south tend to do continual battle over this area April through June. Part of a school was blown away last year, about a mile from my home. We really enjoy thunder storms here - they are spectacular I always think of them as nature's free display of fireworks and raw power. However, in the most threatening storms I tend to take shelter in my basement - keeping away from windows - finding a place where the house is most strongly constructed. It reminds me of the war, when people hid under the stairs!

Homes in Ontario almost always have basements (this is required mainly to dig the foundation well below the frost line and prevent the tremendous heaving in spring). The broad open area is used as a "rec-room". Smaller parts are partitioned off to use as separate laundry room, furnace room and tool-room or office. We usually keep two de-humidifiers running in the basement - as the weather quickly becomes very humid in the heat of spring and summer. The basement areas remain pleasantly cool - (especially if dug well below the frost line, as they should be for integrity of the foundation) - the resulting condensation can cause molds and horrible smells. Air conditioning and the de-humidifiers eliminate this. Our de-humidifiers remove about ten gallons of water per day in summer. They need to be checked and emptied frequently.

In winter we have the opposite problem. With temperatures down to -50 - all humidity is flash frozen. On a sparkling Canadian winter morning the air is filled with minute ice-crystals. Very pretty! However, on the upper floors we need at least one humidifier per floor - or sometimes we have a constant humidifier fitted to the furnace. When we first came to Canada we did not know about these things. In winter we suffered nose bleeds and sore throats. Our hair dried out and became full of static. Our furniture dried and fell apart. I annoyed my employer by zapping him with electricity every time he came into my office! My piano, which I brought from U.K. has become virtually useless! I was subsequently told one should never bring a piano from U.K. The atmosphere here causes the wood to expand and contract until it explodes.

The clothes we brought from U.K. were unserviceable here in Canada. In Ontario indoors the temperature is usually kept uniformly at approx. 75 to 80. Outdoors is can be 90 in summer or -50 in winter. We were continually much too hot indoors and frozen to the marrow outdoors! I say "Ontario" - because British Columbia is quite different. B.C. is also almost as far from Ontario (to the West) as England is (to the East).

So, it's spring and here's some sentimental poetry. Warning! Don't read this stuff if you're alone and feeling blue.

Music I Heard With You

by Conrad Aiken

Music I heard with you was more than music,

and bread I broke with you was more than bread;

Now that I am without you, all is desolate;

All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,

And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.

These things do not remember you, beloved, -

And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart you moved among them,

And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;

And in my heart they will remember always, -

They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

These words are so lovely and sad - it seems a pity to use them to practice writing html!

Oh well, here's another:-

When you are Old

by W. S. Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


by Rupert Brooke

Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,

Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.

You said, 'Although through glory and ecstasy we pass;

Wind, sun and earth remain. The birds sing still

when we are old, are old.' . . 'And when we die,

all's over then that is ours; and life burns on

through other lovers, other lips,' said I,

'Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!'

'We are Earth's best, that learnt her lesson here and well.

Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!' we said;

'We shall go down with unreluctant tread Rose-crowned into the darkness!' . . . Proud we were

And laughed, that had such brave true things to say.

- And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.

Today Friday 27th March 1998. Strange to think - only seven days ago we were 10 Degrees below windchill. Today it has been up to 75. Spring/summer always arrives overnight in Ontario. Even then, the snow can always return in April to have one last blast.

Yesterday evening I went to the Kitchener Memorial Arena to see the Royal Lippizaner Stallions. Beautiful creatures. Their dressage demonstrations began with the basic steps, continued throught "airs" - flying leaps and kicks to discourage opposing footsoldiers in battle (karate for horses ?). Finally they danced the Grande Quadrille. I enjoyed the show immensely. When it ended everyone milled around and many appeared to have lost their cars in the huge parking lots. I was glad to have taken the precaution of counting rows, observing the approximate angle from the main entrance - However, I came out the wrong entrance and was as lost as anyone else! The delightful warm evening was such a pleasure after our bitterly cold winter, I really didn't mind.

Today Saturday 21st March 1998 (the second day of Spring) there is another storm warning for Western New York State and Southern Ontario. I went for my usual two mile walk with my friend - and everywhere is like Siberia, with a wind-chill of -10 !

Another neighbour was clearing his driveway and my sidewalks with his hand snow-pusher. He says it is good exercise. While I was out walking he got my snow-blower out and cleared my driveway too. There certainly are nice neighbours here. I still had to get my own hand snow-pusher and clear away the house foundations and the rear deck, when I got back. It's not good to leave all that weight of snow on the wooden deck. The snow also runs into my old (108 year old) house foundations, when it melts. So, there's plenty of "exercise" involved with this weather.

In my mind I like to think about going to the Caribbean .. but there it's too hot - most people can find something to grumble about, don't you think? (Sour Grapes! I can't afford to go anyway). Speaking of the Caribbean: I have been searching the Internet for pix of the beautiful blue butterflies - the only place I have ever seen them is in pictures or stuck on pins in a mall in St. Thomas .. Anyway, I finally saw this picture in a magazine In Canada we enjoy the skating and skiing but complain about the shovelling. In the summer we complain about the heat. In England we enjoyed the flowers, but complained about the rain and fog. (We have lived in Canada since 1969)

Even Robert Browning:-

Home-Thoughts From Abroad

by Robert Browning

Oh, to be in England

Now that April's there,

And whoever wakes in England

Sees, some morning, unaware,

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

In England - now !

And after April, when May follows,

And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows !

Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge

Leans to the field and scatters on the clover

Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -

That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice


Lest you should think he never could recapture

The first fine careless rapture !

And though the fields look rough with hoary


All will be gay when noontide wakes anew

The buttercups, the little children's dower -

Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower !

.. He should count himself lucky to be looking at a beautiful melon-flower, obviously in some warm climate, in April !

Last Saturday I took a bus trip with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). It was to "Canada In Bloom" early flower and garden show. This took place at the Convention Centre just below the CN Tower. It was magnificent. Amazing how they get all those perfect flowers to stay in bloom for a week.

The gardens and fountains looked as though they had been in place for years.

I sat next to a widow lady, on the bus. I always seem to be placed next to an interesting person. I suppose if we are involved enough to be going to the same place we are almost certain to have something in common.

Many of our Canadian customers had booths at the Show, of course. I picked up one or two brochures and cards - for Richter's Herbs of Goodwood and Anything Grows, Stratford. I think I will drive over to Stratford when the weather improves. It is very pleasant there to walk along by the river, where there are many daffodils in the meadows. Anything Grows still stocks our special Garden Soap (which really cleans up one's hands very well after gardening). They have all our aluminum die-cast garden tools and the gift sets (guaranteed against bending and breaking - for life). Also, in Stratford is the factory outlet for Samsonite - manufacturer of suitcases and bags, which I always like to visit.

Last week I finally got around to taking a course on my serger machine. The technique is quite different from an ordinary sewing machine. The garments are cut out in a very basic way, put together without pins and then sewn around the outside edge. It takes about three minutes to go around the sides of a blouse. The seams are usually corded and worn on the outside. We were there all day and came away with many samples. I made a double-knit overblouse in a deep rose colour, with seams and decorative top-stitching in a similar tone (Martha Stewart ? =) "It's a Good Thing"). DETAILS OF SPECIAL SEWING COURSES :- CLICK HERE! or email: stitches4u@trianglesewing.on.ca

Return to other months of Diary from Canada at http://www.sentex.net~oficserv/Canlet.html

Return to home-page of OFICSERV Computer Office Services & Drafting at http://www.sentex.net/~oficserv