Saturday, 26th September, 1998
Recently there have been numerous hurricanes to the south. None of them have come this far north, thank goodness. We do have severe thunderstorms though, with tornadoes. I don't remember any of this when we first came to Canada in 1969. The winters were extreme. We lived in the "snow belt" - just north of Guelph. This made travel to Guelph difficult in the winter. We skidded off the road and crashed our car .. one moment of inattention and hundreds of dollars of damage and inconvenience. Our driving rapidly improved. Recently the winters do not seem so bad - but we moved to Guelph area. Yesterday there was a mild earthquake here - emanating from an epicentre in Ohio. Following this news item they informed us that others may follow. Also, the entire area is criss-crossed by fault lines! What next!
Wednesday, September 23, 1998
Spent such a pleasant day on Monday, just thought you would like to hear about it: Took an all-day "mystery" tour with the Cherry/Maxey/Robin Hood Tour Company.
Their addresses are:
|CHERREY BUS LINES INC.
P.O. Box 83 Drayton, Ontario NOG 1PO (519)638-3395
email TO email@example.com
|MAXEY TRAVEL INC.
804 Ontario Street Stratford, Ontario N5A 3K1 (519)271-7741
email TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
|CHERREY BUS LINES INC.
607 King Street West Unit 4B Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1C7 (519)579-4044 email TO: email@example.com
|ROBIN HOOD TOURS INC.
51 South Street Goderich, Ontario N7A 3L4 (519)524-4540 email TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
I had to meet the ‘bus near the 401 .. As usual, there had been an accident on the 401 and the ‘bus was half an hour late.
We stopped for coffee at a large Tim Horton’s / Wendy’s, on the Queen Elizabeth Way (I think). That was very welcome. The route we took was No. 6, to Hamilton area, No. 403 then No. 8 to Queen Elizabeth Way (Q.E.W) then 405 or 420 down to Niagara Falls.
Our first tour was at Rossi Glass:
Mr. Rossi ("Master Angelo Rossi", the finest glass-blower in North America) and his assistant did a demonstration of glasswork. Click here to view brochure and map.(93K). They also have their own site which is in the search engines under Rossi Glass, with other information about tourist places in Niagara Falls.
They made an angel. Without a word, they worked together in a graceful dance, placing the work into a furnace, drawing out the different coloured glass. It was really interesting. While they worked, a recorded narrator explained the making and content of the glass. This is Venetian Glass - so you don’t have to travel to Venice, Italy! In the showroom were many beautiful examples of their work for sale .. and I thought the prices very reasonable. There were clowns very similar to the one N. brought for you. I wondered whether it was the same Company/family he had visited years ago in their original Venetian location.
After that we went to a restaurant by the rapids and with a good view of the falls. The prices there were not too bad (considering what a tourist venue it is). I paid $5.25 Cdn. for a large ham and salad kaiser, a bowl of fruit salad and coffee. Then I wandered across to watch the Falls again.
We joined the ‘bus again at 1:00 and went past Fort George to the Niagara Steamship Company. (niagara steamship.com) This was a very pleasant trip on the "S.S. Pumper", a small paddlewheel cruiser. The captain told us all about the beautiful shoreline properties, while we enjoyed the quiet late-summer sunshine (and a cool Lager).
After that we drove over the other side of Niagara Falls, to visit the Kurtz Orchards. One of the senior Kurtz family took us for a drive around the orchards, using a tractor and linked covered trailers. All the while he gave a commentary about the fruits they grow and the conditions. They had not had any appreciable rainfall since early July. The spring was so early this year that the fruits he would normally be showing us had been picked a month early. The orchards were irrigated, about three feet underground, to prevent evaporation. They grow peaches, apricots, apples (my favourite Mutzu), nectarines. They are now planting new vineyards too, as the market dictates.
At the end of the ride they gave us each a honey-apple muffin and I bought a small basket of peaches.
We drove along the parkway again and as I was seated at the back of the ‘bus I couldn’t see exactly what route we took. Eventually we reached Chippewa for supper at Betty’s. They had a good selection (considering we were a ‘bus of 52): roast beef, roast chicken or fish & chips. This was followed by a variety of pies: apple, blackberry or lemon meringue.
We arrived back at my car park by about 7:30. I don’t know why I would feel so tired .. guess it was the sun and fresh air (also waking up at 5:30 am).
Saturday 19th September
Decided to drive to the Royal Botanical Gardens on Plains Road West, quite near Hamilton, this afternoon. This was one of the places A. took me to see, after our first winter in Canada. We really needed to see some flowers and to enjoy the spring after that. The snow was always so severe in Elora and Fergus. When I arrived at work (should have been 8:00 am) but I would often be late due to the snowdrifts and ice. (I think that was when I began to be tired all the time). I found driving to and from work an exercise in fear! Then when I arrived they’d say "What snow?" as there was never that much in Guelph.
"More than 2,700 acres, the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is a living museum. There are the following exhibits: a rare Carolinian forest, the world's largest lilac collection, a garden of curative secrets, a wilderness, a wetland and a vast rose collection. Established in 1929 and granted a Royal Charter by George V a year later, RBG has blossomed into one of North America's largest and one of the world's most admired botanical gardens'.
"RBG offers not only spectacular displays of beautiful cultivars, but it also protects a wilderness of high cliffs, deep ravines and shimmering wetlands where deer forage and Great Blue Heron fish'. Read more at their own page .. link at the bottom of this page.
Here's a page for flower delivery in the area: www.flower-delivery-flowers.com .. by special request.
Wednesday 16th September 1998
Very glad to hear from the U.K. again. Thank you for your long and interesting letter. I have spent much of the afternoon going through the receipts and comparing. As you may see from the back of this page, it doesn’t look good. (If you want to see my table of prices - it is in last month's "diary"). The exchange since I wrote to you has been as high as $2.64 per UK£. At the moment it is around $2.53. I received our Friend's information a couple of days ago and have considered that also. I replied to her letter yesterday and she will probably have received that already.
You had obviously spent some time trying to find comparable purchases. As you say, it is difficult as I do appear to buy quite different things. Your information has been very helpful. There is nothing like it on the Internet, so far as I know. It has been so long since I was in England, (30 years) I had no idea what costs are like now. As A. has said, things do seem to cost twice as much in the U.K. than in Canada - from actual houses to groceries (and sometimes even more - as with petrol or milk). Not only that, but if I changed my Dollars to Pounds, I’d have the proceeds divided again. I can’t think how A has managed. Of course, if he decided to come back he’d really do very well on the exchange now! I think the Pound cost him about $2.14 when he went back. Recently it has been worth up to $2.64 .. Oh well, I suppose "profit" is not that important when one has gone to all that trouble to move and doesn’t feel well either. It wouldn't be so bad if one did not have to change all electrical things, as the cycles, amps, wattages lines(on TVs) are all quite different. Even garden hose sizes and bedsheet sizes are different. Personal changes have to be made - such as looking the opposite direction first when crossing the road - because they drive on the other side in the U.K. (I usually narrowly avoid being run over at least once when I return to the U.K. on a visit! In Canada our light switches are pushed up for on. In U.K. they push them down for on.
I don’t know what to think about returning .. as my whole life has changed so. I have lived longer in this country - in my actual working and aware years, than I did in England. I have become accustomed to Canadians not understanding certain words - like "fortnight" (means two weeks), "bangers" (a savoury English breakfast sausage). Many words are spelled differently - depending on whether one is working with a Canadian, a British or U.S.A. business.
I have been very disappointed that I cannot find work here, as I have training in numerous skills: Accounting, Drafting, web-page writing, business administration, sales .. Guess it’s my age!
Sunday, September 13, 1998
For the last couple of weeks the weather has continued to be very warm (about 90 some days) and I eventually missed going to the Canadian National Exhibition. It's just too hot to be walking around there all day.
However, last Tuesday I did go to the Art Gallery of Ontario (there is a link to their page at the end of this page. in downtown Toronto. There was a display of the Courtauld Collection of Impressionist Art. Usually this is housed at Somerset House in London, which is being renovated at the moment. I had not ever expected to have the opportunity to see these famous paintings in Canada. Mr. Courtauld had a huge collection: Monet, Manet, Pizzaro, Lautrec, etc. Toronto is the only Canadian venue for the exhibit. Fortunately, before I set out, I was watching the news at 12. They advised that a truck had crashed on the 401, blocked all lanes and set off a grass fire. I monitored CHUM 1050 and 1010 radio stations, but the site was not cleared and I had to drive the No. 7 highway both ways. This took 2 hours each direction. Very boring. It was worth the drive tho'. I enjoyed the exhibition very much. It cost me $20.00. ($25.00. after 4:00 pm) The "Fairies" - Victorian paintings, which I did not enjoy so much, were $5.00 extra. I also bought a Van Gogh print/poster : $14.00.
Yesterday I drove to the McMichael Gallery. There is a link to their page at the end of this page. This is at Kleinburg, on the No. 27 north of 7. .. so I had to drive the 7 again. Fortunately they have made many additions and by-passes on the 7, so I didn't actually have to drive through Brampton, which was nice. The McMichael Gallery is home to 14 galleries of paintings by the famous "Group of Seven". They were seven artists who lived and worked in the wilderness. There is also a large collection of beautiful native north American art. The Gallery is set in many acres of natural forest, totally peaceful and such a beautiful area. There was also a craftsman building a birch-bark canoe. He said it would be for sale when finished. They were asking approx. $5,000 Cdn. for it. It would take him 500 hours to complete. The restaurant was not open (I arrived too late). It is on the side of the huge lodge type building, with a patio overlooking a magnificent view of the forest. It cost $7.00. to view the galleries. A dinner entree at the restaurant would be about $12-14. Sandwiches are about $7.00.
This afternoon I decided to go to the cinema and saw "Something About Mary". This is a riot! I'm not sure about common use of the vernacular - especially in the case of Mary, who was supposed to be a doctor. However, it was supposed to be a slapstick comedy and I enjoyed the twists of the plot. Very crude and rude though.
I found a site for "as marketing" - garden hand tools (they don't use the full company name any more): Link to the page at the bottom of this page. It's good to see they are still going well.
Sunday 30th August.
It has been such a glorious summer I feel really sorry to see it go. Day after day of perfect weather. The only problem has been somewhat dry .. but even that has not been as bad as in the past. Hurricane "Bonny" did not bother us, thank goodness, but delivered quite a beating to the North Carolinas and then went on to Newfoundland. It seems to be heading the U.K. way now. You usually seem to get a storm in early September don't you. I'll never forget when my friend came to inform me that our poor little Burnham Day Boat was at the bottom of the Portland Harbour. I forget now how he got it salvaged for us. It was such a trial to walk it all the way up to the farm for storage. We had to do everything the hard way in those days. Mother really was annoyed that we left it on her lawn all the summer and made such a mess stripping and varnishing it. I still have the scars on my legs where the paint remover splashed onto my skin. Ho hum .. wouldn't it be nice to be young and stupid again?
I've had a pleasant weekend. Yesterday friends called me and we went for a long walk from the Watson Road along a beautiful wooded trail where there used to be an old railway line. It came out at a rocky dam where there were people fishing and swimming. Fortunately, at this time of year there were no flies about. In May or June we would have been chased by the blackfly. I thought that the dogs would enjoy the walk and having a bit of freedom to run about. The pup enjoyed this immensely. She had not been off the lead much at all since I have had her. She also learned how well she can swim and even swims under water to fetch things. I have been using a travel cage to teach the pup to stay put in the car. Unfortunately a previous dog had enlarged the bars. As soon as the pup saw my friends, she stuck her head through the bars and became trapped. It took us several minutes to push her and her puppy fat back. G. eventually made more cross-straps, using bits of an old coat hanger, so she can't do that again. Sorry to say the poor old dog didn't quite make it. After flopping down in the water and having a drink he couldn't walk any further. G. had go home for an old curtain and together we made a sling and had to carry the dog back to my wagon. Last night I was so stiff I gave the dog a regular size aspirin with his dinner and took two Tylenol myself.
This morning I didn't take the dogs out, but just sat in the sun and enjoyed the papers and coffee. They were raring to go tho'. After that I needed a couple of groceries - ended up with fresh salmon and shrimp for sauce .. I can never get past the fish counter at Zehrs. They had a couple of lobsters in the tank, but wanted $11 for them. I thought that was a bit much. Are your Portland lobsters as much as that ? The assistant said that they only bring the price down for special days - like Mothers' Day. I always thought they put the price UP for such days.
If you like to go around viewing historic sites, I wondered if you would be interested in travelling with Elderhostel? I am joining the Canadian branch. They are a non-profit organization.
This afternoon I went over to the Home Depot with my neighbour. They had some really good specials on plants and book-cases. I also bought a light-fitting for the downstairs bathroom. Afterwards we went to Tim Horton's for coffee. They have made all the Tim Horton's shops cigarette-free now. They seem to get a lot more customers that way and I certainly prefer them without the smoke. The only problem is that the fresh baked goods smell so delicious that one rarely gets away with just coffee!
Tuesday, September 01, 1998
Had to arrange for all my eves-troughs and downspouts to be reinstalled correctly today. Who would think that anyone would install eves-troughs sloping the wrong way - and why would they do that? It really matters here because, if they are incorrectly installed, the ice collects and backs-up, destroying the roofing tiles.
Monday 7th September
Today is "Labor Day", a general holiday in Canada. It was a bit cooler today, thank goodness. Yesterday it was 92ºF. I spent most of the day pottering around the house, enjoying the air conditioning! Seems a bit ridiculous to have to spend the day indoors, when very shortly we shall have snow. I'll have to have to snow-plough serviced next week. It comes so suddenly, then they get too busy to do it.
My pear tree produced the usual masses of fruit again this year. Not only was it abundant, but the size and quality of the pears would be prize-winning. I gave numerous bags of them to the Guelph Food Bank for the needy. They always welcome excess produce. My friends and neighbours also took several bags. It's nice to have enough to give them away. They also go well in a sherry trifle, for myself, not as fattening as bananas. I also have masses of tomatoes. This little garden is sheltered and I have found they self-seed and over-winter. I have encouraged grass snakes and little toads. These creatures have totally eliminated slugs and snails .. good!
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