Sunday, 30 November 2014

Grey Cup Steel Town Blues: Sunday, November 30th!

There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight. -Vaclav Havel, writer, Czech Republic president (1936- ) 

The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order. -Jean Cocteau, writer, artist, and filmmaker (1889-1963)

Pretty chilly here this morning and looks like it will be so for most of the day. I might go over to the gym later but I plan to spend much of the day reading The Island of Crimea, by Vassily Aksyonov, the next NRBC, (Non-readers Book Club), selection. 

Fairly heavy going fiction as I don't have a lot of the political/historical background that work is based, to a large extent, upon. Did find, however, last night, after we'd tidied up a bit, that I was beginning to make more sense of plot and main character, Andrei Luchinov. Perhaps I need to drink Long Table Texada , (a wonderful small batch distillery at the foot of Hornby St, just across False Creek from GI Market), Vodka while reading. Or Truth Vodka from Libery Distillery, right on GI itself. Perhaps both! Cheers and Na Zdorovie from Iro-Ukrainian Patrizzio!

Molto grazie, Patrizzio. Marionita Buon Pomeriggio Marionita! Happy Christmas to you and Scullion Bill from Patrizzio!

Hi Kids! Lovely to chat, Big Al. Are you now snow-shoeing?  Cheers to you both, Patrizzio! Pics: Mr Blockhead from Brisbane "friend" Greg!

Hi Patrick, I was exhausted just reading about your busy day. You and Corinne are admirable for taking on such a big job as the Xmas tree lot.

Just had a call from my riesling partner Pete Neilans. He is home from a Caribbean sailing vacation, sporting a cracked pelvis that he suffered toward the end of their trip – slipped in the galley while pouring drinks. Anyway, tomorrow I’m going to rack the 2013 batch and we’ll have a taste at the same time. Cheers from -15C Naramata. Peter

Hi Racking Wine Man! Sorry to hear about your friend and his cracked pelvis. Nasty! If he's been drinking more rum he's had slid down instead of falling! Anyway, I trust he will have a full recovery.

Just back from watching the Calgary Stampeders win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Bit of a barn-burner in last few minutes. Bit of a barn-burner in last few minutes as you may know, if you watched the game. Enjoyed a delicious dinner of Clara's fab chili with her home-made biscuits. Joanne joined us and contributed a lovely kale/cabbage salad. Clarisse's banana cake with decadent cream-cheese icing for dessert. Chloë popped in just before we started to eat so she joined us as well. After lovely meal she and I went to our patio and I trimmed the trunk of her tree. We had brought it home with us yesterday as she was going out for dinner after Tree Lot shift was over.

Once I'd helped her put it in her car she made for home to decorate it. I came upstairs and ran off final draft of Durston's Christmas letter. Before I went next door to the Annexe, I popped downstairs to say hello to Clan Sutherland. While there I snapped a picture of the "curler" a small metal sculpture that Greg, from Brisbane, had sent them. He curled with them one night when he and Claire were visiting. He really has a delightful way of capturing such activities. He sent me a similar sculpture, one of a cyclist. Not sure if I sent you a photo or not.

Time to return to The Island of Crimea. Am quite enjoying it now and making fairly decent progress. Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: Curler; Grey Cup Madness!

P & C, Thanks for inviting us to join the birthday party Saturday. With regret we must miss the celebration. Carlos has absconded to New Mexico to play in the Kiva (with Gord Pybus -- I am too young - so they say). And he has left his dog, Luna (Bunedoggle), in my care AND we will be out at Ukiyo for the weekend. We are hoping we can do something to celebrate with you guys later in the month, knowing your social calendar will be wide open... Jane leaves for La Belle Province on the 21 December.

FYI: The Casper Invitational (Imitational) is scheduled for Saturday, 20 December. Play starts in the morning and I am not sure what all is scheduled. You may want to join us at some point that day to revel with the lads?

I may have left a red scarf on your couch when we visited. I know you may be tempted to give it away to Ray to make hankies out of... If so, perhaps that is a good use for it.

Amira and I are headed to Ukiyo in the morning tomorrow. Jane is coming out Thursday evening. Jane and I return on Sunday evening. Fond regards, W & J
Hi Fionda and Giggster, Slippery Folk Extraordinaire! Too, too bad about you "Unable to Commit People" not being free to make my boithday bash but not too, too disappointed as you both drink too much booze anyhow! Furthermore, Little White and Ricardo have invited themselves to my party and will stay overnight, now that Murphy has been abandoned, for greener, more exotic/erotic pastures, so to speak! Yes, your red scarf was here but we drenched it in Tiroler Marillen Likör yesterday and set it afire, on patio, for reasons which will become abundantly clear should you read on!

Coriandre just left for Heartwood for the afternoon service at 4:00 pm. We'll join Clarisse and Coat Hanger when she's back, to watch the end of the Grey Cup and have dinner with them. From now until about the 23rd of December, I'm On Deck as Emergency Contact for Chloë for ALTLs. If she needs a volunteer I have to be ready at a moments notice to go the tree lot in question. Have Long Underwear Will Travel! (Not quite as cold as in Naramata, where it is -15C, according to friend, Sneaky Pete!) Keep in touch and we'll hope to see you sometime in 2016! Cheers, Dog Biscuits and Na Zdorovie to you both, Il Conduttore!

Hi Patrick, I am glad you enjoyed the small objet d’art. I am never sure whether these things are good or bad Claire constantly tells me they are OK but I pay her to say that. We are back from a one week getaway to Victoria to catch up with friends and relatives. Claire had the week off whilst I worked in Melbourne. Then off to Metung in the South East of Victoria to visit my Brother and his better half. Good time all round young Tony and Elly are travelling across the country at the moment. Well anyway from South Australia thru Victoria and home.

We are back home doing work and play Claire has some contract work to finish up and then I have a few days’ work before the festive season. I am slowly trying to get my head around the great cycling adventure in Europe and at this time given our travel commitments next year I am considering early May and thru June in 2016 this should provide reasonable weather and the shoulder season and so reduce costs a little bit (I am forever the scrooge). 

Tentatively 4 to 8 weeks possibly from Paris heading to the north west possibly to the Netherlands then across Belgium to France and then south to Spain. I will start to think a bit more about it next year I think about 8 to 12 people would make it fun, enough so groups could do things and the whole group collective is not too big what are your thoughts. We only did the usual 20k this morning before Breakfast. Cheers Greg and Claire

Hi Pre-Breakfast Riders! Certainly love the wonderful "objet d'art" and have to keep it locked up as all my cycling mates want to pinch it! So many thanks again. Haven't seen "curler" downstairs but Cora lee said it was fabulous! Everyone's past/current travel seem terrific. Onward to Xmas!!!
Couldn't agree more about shoulder season, Scrooge. I'm cut from the same bolt of cloth! Keep in touch about evolving plans. I'm pretty much up for any route you plan. Cora Lee might want to do a bit of ancillary travelling, away from group, from time to time, but we can cross that bridge, so to speak, when trip itinerary starts to gel and you see how many are committed, etc. Cheers and Na Zdorovie to you both, Patrizzio!

Hi Again, We are working away here doing various task to keep the cash rolling in or trickling should I say but it does keep us both happy to be engaged in productive things for the moment. I gotta say 33kph headwinds is as you might say is hard work , well done. Had we been doing that I fear we would have arrived where we started from in reverse. I am pleased the Curler turned up. Great to see you all getting into the Christmas spirit.

Good news then about the future ride I now have three and a possible tourist all good. I said to Claire it must be the wine she just whined back. Cheers Greg and Claire

Hi Trickling Cash Flow People! Sorry to hear that the €'s are not flooding in! Perhaps you should charge for your art!!! You really have a delightful way of capturing such activities. Claire has obviously been reading too, too many New Yorker cartoons! Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: Grey Cup fans, winning QB and our Mounties carrying Grey Cup!

"This week a group of international scientists has confirmed that neonicotinoid pesticides are harming bees, birds and butterflies. Their assessment of 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies confirms that neonic pesticides should be banned.
Thanks Patrick! This info is also very helpful for the boys as they have been asked to research why bees are dying this year.  This will give them more clues and questions to ask. We are launching into the busy weeks leading up to Christmas.  Put the tree up this weekend and will turn the outdoor lights on for Dec.1. Hi to Corinne😊. Hope you enjoy the holiday season! Take Care, Ariane🐠 

Hi Ariane! Lovely to hear from you! Like you, we are entering busy weeks up to Christmas as well. Happy Christmas to our Favourite Kamloopians! Fondestos from Cora Lee to you both and the boys. Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: Chloë's tree.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Champagne Charlie's Bridge Prize Blues: Saturday, November 29th!

During World War II a U.S. Air Force plane was forced to ditch in the ocean, and four survivors managed to reach a small deserted island. “Let’s send up a signal flare,” said the first aviator. “Won’t work!” said the second. “Let’s build a fire so they’ll see the smoke.” “No!” said the third. “We’ll need all the wood to build a shelter.” “Whoa!” said the last, an avid bridge player. “Let’s just shoot down another plane so we can have a team game.”

Hi y'all I plan on borrowing your message about the pledging and vacuuming for certain friends!   If I write or say, "See you at 5".  They respond that they will see us at 6:00 or 4:00, whatever time was in their heads that they think the time should be.  I respond with the time I set but they still arrive on their schedule.  Once we were out. Once the dinner was dried out. Once I was in the bath.  Either I chalk it up to old age or I ?? I have known them over 40 years so I guess I have to shrug my shoulders!

Didn't make it out last night to the hockey game either. The wind chill made it -21! I gather the new/refurbished Trek is working out for you.

Wally will be back from  doing a shift for "In From the Cold" so I must get out the sanitizer and make a fresh pot of coffee.  The homeless will have really filled the church last night. (And I complain about missing hockey games and errant friends) Cheers
Hi Pledge Person! Cora Lee and I both chortled heartily at your description of stubborn guests! Sounds like you are living on the Prairies with the sub-zero temperatures and wind chill! Cora Lee is reading on the couch with the electric fireplace blazing away, as I scribe. 

I feel like I'm in a sauna! Like you, I shouldn't complain as for the homeless these frigid temperatures are nothing but serious. We both applaud Wally for volunteering at the shelter. On a less serious note, I know what you mean about the sanitizer as Cora Lee's nose always wrinkles when I come back after a long ride. On Friday she said I needed to shower immediately as I was "seriously high!"

Yesterday we did a four hour stint at Aunt Leah's Tree Lot on 54th and Granville. Beautifully sunny day so it was a perfect day for Christmas tree shoppers, of which, I'm more than please to say, there were many, given how early it is in the season. 

Started off the shift helping to unload a semi full of wrapped trees, (Cora Lee handled sales counter.), almost 500. Took two people to drag the huge Noble and Nordman Firs, (Many other types, Interior Douglas, Grand Fir, etc., were not as heavy, fortunately for the 8 worker bees assembled for the task!), to the spots on the lot where they would be displayed. Certainly glad I didn't go to the gym beforehand as it was quite a workout, let me tell you. Literally didn't stop moving for almost two hours. Everyone was nice and toasty however.

Once truck was empty we spent the rest of the shift helping people choose trees, measuring height, (each species varies in price per foot), cutting off lower branches, trimming trunks, bailing trees in plastic mesh and then helping to carry trees to cars and/or tying them to car roofs/car racks. Very rewarding to see and meet so many repeat customers, people who really want to support Aunt Leah's work and are pleased with the wonderful trees, from Noble Firs to Charlie Browns! Unfortunately, Cora Lee wasn't as warm as the rest of us as she was the cashier and as such wasn't moving around as much. Even though she was dressed warmly she was Icicle Woman by the time we were heading back home.
Nothing that a couple of glugs of red wine and a hot shower couldn't overcome and she was soon rosy-cheeked and happy, ready to welcome our guests for two tables of bridge. Had a grand time playing. Started out with appetizers by both O Susannah, (tasty wrapped cocktail sausages), and Ragin' Bull. Must say that Branko really outdid himself with a stupendous platter of olives, dips with mini pitas, stuffed grape leaves and the hit, small red peppers stuffed with soft feta. Plenty of hootch, of course. After we'd played eight hands, (Changed partners after each four. Cora Lee and I shared a card, the better able to do things in kitchen.), we enjoyed  the Chicken n' Cherries stew Coriandre had prepared in the slow cooker before we left that morning. 

Served with jasmine rice and a tasty salad, medallion slices of bocconcini with cherry tomatoes garnished with fresh basil. For dessert Elaine brought a delicious meringue smothered in fresh blackberries/raspberries and topped with whipped cream! Hardly needed the Breaking and Entering Bourbon Ragin' Bull requested to make everything blend together.

Played another four rounds after dessert and then ended the evening awarding fabulous bridge prizes to everyone except the players from the Islay Inn and The Annexe. A wonderful way to de-clutter and re-gift at the same time. Had the assembled company in stitches when Elaine received the prize, (six small beeswax decorative candles), Clara had won at their place a week ago! Clara had given them to me, earlier that morning, when I asked her if she had anything I could use for silly prizes. Anyway, great good fun and Elaine insisted on taking them back as she already had ideas for next re-gifting!

Pretty chilly here this morning and looks like it will be so for most of the day. I might go over to the gym later but I plan to spend much of the day reading The Island of Crimea, by Vassily Aksyonov, the next NRBC, (Non-readers Book Club), selection. Fairly heavy going fiction as I don't have a lot of the political/historical background that work is based, to a large extent, upon. Did find, however, last night, after we'd tidied up a bit, that I was beginning to make more sense of plot and main character, Andrei Luchinov. Perhaps I need to drink Long Table Texada , (a wonderful small batch distillery at the foot of Hornby St, just across False Creek from GI Market), Vodka while reading. Or Truth Vodka from Libery Distillery, right on GI itself. Perhaps both! Cheers and Na Zdorovie from Iro-Ukrainian Patrizzio!

Pics: Tote that tree; Chloë, (black toque), is the Volunteer Coordinator for the four tree lots so she was our "boss" yesterday! Elaine's wonderful dessert; Elaine and Clarisse; New Yorker dessert plates!

Hi White Christmas People! From Fall to Winter in one night! Have just finished putting snow tires on my road bike! Cheers, All Weather Patrizzio!

Hi Patrick, We had our snow dump on Wednesday, all gone now but it left behind a lot of damaged trees and a 10 hour power outage. Today is a beautiful cold sunny day. We'll be enjoying the fireplace. Cheers, Peter 

Hi Shivering Naramatians! From snap, with green grass, looks just like Summer, had it not been for leafless tree!  Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Patrick, It was lovely to meet you at Camp Fancy last week. I'm writing so you can send me some of those pictures you took! Thanks for being a friend of Fircom, and hope to party with you again. Best, Anita

Hi Anita! Lovely to hear from you. Delighted to meet you and your charming husband, Ned. Terrific gathering. This evening we hosted two tables of bridge. Do you two play? We are always looking for people. Usually/often make it an evening combined with a pot-luck dinner. If you don't play and would like to learn, we'd be more than happy to teach you, for a small donation to Aunt Leah's! Again, wonderful to meet you Canoe Woman. Happy Christmas, Cheers and Na Zdorovie to you and Ned from Patrizzio! Pics: Of the Woods Blondie at Camp Fancy!

Hi Big Al! Thanks for passing along telesur website. Unfortunately, haven't been able to watch much news of late. Cheers, Patrizzio!
Hi Kids! Trust everyone made it home safely, clutching their fabulous bridge prizes! Thank you to everyone for coming along and especially for all the simply wonderful food contributions! Much appreciated and certainly much enjoyed!!!

Speaking for myself, had a grand time playing, whenever I was allowed! However, the Award
Ceremony was one of the best, to date. Cheers, Patrizzio!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Beat The Wind and the Rain Black Friday Blues: Friday, November 28th!

To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour. -William Blake, poet, engraver, and painter (1757-1827)

Thanks for article & previous film notes. I wanted to tell you how much our Thanksgiving crew loved the two bottles you gave me. The  Petite Sirah won raves topped only by the Escuro. What a bottle! I look forward to my next encounter with Coffaro. Thanks again for the fine gift.--Rod

Hi Sir Rodney! Terrific that the Petite Sirah went so well at your Thanksgiving gathering. Delighted to hear so and will certainly pass along compliments to Pat and David. Unfortunately, for us, our Coffaro "stashes" languish in both Bellingham and Portland, (Gone is the bottled sunshine of Berkeley crawl spaces!), seven cases, (not all Coffaro), in toto!  My fevered brain is desperately scheming, planning how to liberate some bottles for Christmas, dodging The Cruel Excise and Customs Taxman at the border!

On the social, as opposed to guerrilla, front we seem to have a permanent seats on the merry-go-round of pre-Christmas happenings.
Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio! 

Here's what I heard from my friend David Harrison:

This article is even better than the Times in describing what we are up to---

On your friend's question, the pledge/calculate/donate website works just for the US.  As we develop point of sale technology our schemes will work just as well in Canada.  Plus at this point he could be a one person Boomerang project and do it on his own!

We survived Thanksgiving here although I had to be carted off on a plank.

The Escuro was a hit! Cactus That bunny looks hot (and looped)!

Hello Walk the Plank Man and his long-suffering First Mate! Thanks for follow-up on Boomerang. I have forwarded both articles to Chloë so thanks again for the alert. Terrific that the Escuro went so well at your Thanksgiving gathering. (Petite Sirah topped the card with Sir Rodney of Salem's dinner, apparently!)   Bestestos from Coramandel to you both. Fondestos and Cheers, Poorer in Pocket but Richer in Spirit, Patrizzio! 

Hi Plonked if not Planked Man! Bestestos from Corinne to you both. Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio!                                     I did in fact, cook two turkeys!  But I was making some for extra meals for a neighbor battling breast cancer.

Funny that Tris is the same sort of little boy I always imagined Chloe might have some day. He looks like your funny baby shot in the last pic...same impish look of mischief. Love to all

The boys are very pleased to be attending their grandparents open house this Christmas xo Will there be snowballs and shortbread with rainbow sprinkles? Who needs sugar plums. 

Dear Tinsel Town: Due to the poor sales over Black Friday there will be no snowballs or shortbread cookies, let alone ones with rainbow sprinkles. Dad's Delight is all that will be offered on the Mean Streets of Granville Island. All the Best, Dreamin' of Sugar Plums!

Thanks for the heads up on Camel Valley but I think I will stick to the bargains at Sainsbury right now. I'm in my frugal cheap mode at the moment after estimating the coast of putting in a new kitchen and bathroom! and thanks for the invite but no we won't be coming to your open house in December unless your kindness extends to sending us a couple of British Airways tickets!

Goodness the two boys are huge. It must cost a fortune to feed them! I'm sure you have budgeted for an extra turkey at Christmas! Good to see your in laws looking so hail and hearty. Must be the good old prairie air. Hopefully one of these days we may get to meet them.
 Am feeling much improved thank you although I did eventually have to go back to the doctors to get antibiotics since the chest infection just wasn't shifting. Beautiful day yesterday (at least in the morning) so Gayle and I went for a long walk. Started in Truro and walked up St Clements hill past the house I grew up in as a child. Then to Pencallenick along the river to St Clements and through the woods keeping the river to our left as we headed towards Malpas.

This area hasn't changed since I played and swam there as a child. All the land is owned by either Tregothan Estate (Lord Falmouth) or the Duchy of Cornwall and is protected from any sort of development. Sometimes the aristocracy have there place although I feel guilty saying so since if I lived in Cromwellian times I would have definitely been a Roundhead and not a Royalist! We sat on a bench halfway between St Clements and Malpas for a few minutes rest. It was so peaceful you could hear a pin drop. Just the faint cry of a curlew further up river and two white Herons wading at the rivers edge catching fish. We were then treated to a flock of Canada geese landing on the mirror like river and shattering the peace! Boy they are big birds. They obviously decided this was a good place to rest before continuing on their journey. We watched as they started splashing around in the water cleaning their wings for about 10 minutes then they settled down to rest. At this point Gayle and I continued on our walk to Malpas then on to Truro.

It's the Parade of Lanterns in Truro this evening. This is where all the schools in Cornwall make very large elaborate lanterns off animals and fictional characters which are lit from within and carried through the streets to the Cathedral to start the Christmas season. Usually quite fun.
 Had to break off the email since Marnie arrived! Had a great weekend with them Tris is always great fun and keeps granny going! Weather was hit and miss. A couple of sunny days and the rest rather rainy. Still managed lots of walks on the beach with Whizzy who just loves the sea. Marnie caught up on a lot of University work while we occupied the little one. 

She is now Manager of a Masters programme for graduate teachers at Winchester University so, although she rarely lectures anymore, her workload has increased significantly. On top of which she is still finishing off her Doctorate. I don't know where the energy comes from! We did manage to get out to a very nice Sicilian restaurant for pizza while they were down and Marnie had a weekend of not having to cook.
News on the house selling front; the purchaser of Sydney House has pulled out of the sale! Very annoying since we had already spent 1,000 pounds on a survey and solicitor fees. However, we are not too disappointed since I wasn't exactly 100% on board with selling in the first place. We are going to leave it until the new year and decide whether to put the house back on the market or leave it. England is one on the worst places to buy and sell housing since no deposit is placed until contracts are exchanged. In the meantime surveys have to be done and solicitors have to make searches but the buyer or seller can pull out at any time without penalty. A crazy system! 

Poor Krissy and Mark have been through a rough time lately with poor old Kokanee and Molson. Very hard loosing a loved pet particularly in those circumstances. Thankfully Molson is now making a good recovery. I think they could use a bit of good luck in their lives at the moment.
Well must be off. Dropping in to see Audrey and Brian for coffee on the way into town. Have a few things to see to before heading off to Southampton next week. Staying there until our cruise to Belgium then heading back to Cornwall for Christmas. Best wishes to everyone Derek

Hi Still Sydney House People! Fab snaps with Tris and Whizzy! Is Whistler a Nova Scotia Duck Toller? Looks like he might well be. Terrific that you are feeling better, Derek. Sometimes antibiotics are needed and obviously, in your case, they were. I trust you washed pills down with some Sainsbury's plonk since you are too, too frugal to buy Camel Valley!

Actually, it does cost a fortune to feed The Lost Burritos so I was wondering if you had any spare change! I understand, from Chloë, that you were the banker again, this time for vet's bills for poor Krissy and Mark! What a terrible, terrible  occurrence.  Cannot even imagine having to undergo such a traumatic experience.  Anyway, perhaps lady Luck willl start to shine on them after everything they've, (and you and Gayle, by extension), have been through!

Sydney House mini-series has been extended for another season, I gather! As you say, perhaps it wil give you a bit more time to re-think what you truly wish to do and where the best place to relocate will be. We are facing a different set of problems ourselves, with respect to housing. Our building is about 32 years old so there are many, many issues the owners are now facing, in terms of upgrades to bring "things", (building envelope, windows, doors, elevator, electrical infrasturcture, and on and on and on), up to code or replace, etc. Probably looking at a number of reasonably hefty assessments, ($2,000), over next couple of years, and that is at a conservative estimate. Still, we are very happy here so I suppose that is the cost of living where we do. Perhaps we'll kick Chloë out of the Loft and let her worry and pay for Harbour Terrace! If only it was that easy! 

Back on the elliptical at FCCC yesterday. Had a great workout for two hours an twenty minutes, (latter, 10 minute cool down period), and find that it is really helping my climbing when cycling. Put this to the test today. Gave my Trek a thorough cleaning, late this morning, and set of for SP around 12:30 pm.
First 100+km since I popped a spoke a few weeks ago! Same route as when I couldn't continue so pleased about besting the failed technology! Fierce, fierce wind, (33.8 kph), so strong waves were crashing over Seawall and in places flostsam and jetsam was washed onto the bike path, specifically on the section between the Aquatic Centre and the Inukshuk. Not strong enough to move Canada Geese or their leavings, unfortunately!

Don't think I've ever had to battle such a strong headwind and, I must admit, at times I considered heading for home. For much of the ride I could barely maintain an AVG of 18.5 km/hr, having to stand up to make any forward progress at all. Was actually wondering, from time to time, if some huge branch or entire uprooted tree might come crashing down on top of me so howling were the unrelenting blasts. Fortunately, nothing so dramatic or catastrophic occurred but I did wonder. In fact, I thought back to your wonderfully descriptive, evocative passage, sitting on the bench, listening to the "cry of a curlew" as Stanley Park was anything but quiet! If it wasn't the horrible diesel motors of the two hop-on-hop-off buses making the rounds of the park, it was the roar of both helicopters and float planes overhead. 

I think the incredible west wind meant that the latter were taking off into it and flew directly over SP as opposed to the usual flight plan of making for Victoria over the LG. At any rate, the ride was one of the noisiest I've ever experienced. That being said, I didn't mind, in the least, the incredible soughing of the wind in the trees. At times it was so loud that I actually thought there were cars behind me but otherwise it was most acoustically satisfying!

Stats for ride:

Home by about 5:00 pm to have a mug of java. Cora lee arrived shortly thereafter. She's been doing her shift at The Bookmark downtown. She had arranged to have home-made pizza for dinner. Clarisse made two "regulares" and Coriandre did two smaller, gluten-free ones. Had a lovely meal with a bottle of Penfolds 2006 St Henri Shiraz, 14.5%, a present from Claire and Greg, friends form Brisbane. A pretty pricey drop. Haven't bought any for aeons but it was around $45 last time I looked and that had to be over ten years ago! (Google tells me that prices range from $70-$106 or so.)

Leader, Saskatchewan
Sarge came up about halfway through our meal and we visited with him as we ate. Had nor really visited with him since they returned. Michele was having a nap so Coriandre went downstairs when he said she would be awake. Clara and Dusty and I continued to visit and they had me in stitches about their lives, growing up in Dauphin. Even more poignant as we'd visited the town with them this past August. Listening to a wonderful jazz program on CBC, (Tonic with Tim Tamashiro), as I scribe, sipping some Ricard Pastis. Coramandel is reading and slurping a Layer Cake 2011 Primativo, 13.5%, one of the bottles that Los Horridos muled up when they visited a week ago this past Monday. Must away soon as we have scads to do, on the morrow, to ready both the meal we are serving for dinner, (chicken cherry stew on jasmine rice), and the bridge table arrangement, before our volunteer stint. Bestestos from Corinne to you both. Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio! 

Good to hear from you and to get filled in about your comings and goings. I will have to be on the look out for those films. Imagine Wedgwood picking up on the Main Library!! You are honored indeed to have been allowed to use them!

Our grandson is picking up our social life since his arrival. What with Dana not having any space to entertain at her rental place, friends of ours and hers come here to bring gifts and see him and his Mom. We have company between Xmas and New Year's Day, a luncheon tomorrow and a dinner next week so social events to celebrate are still in the offing.
He doesn't want for much!

I have been creating monthly albums to record his development. I am blazing forward as a boring grandmother. It's bloody cold today! I have my long johns ready for the game tonight. It is that long walk to parking that gets me. I doubt we will go to our hockey game tomorrow with the temp plunging even more . Yesterday afternoon I sat outside our front door wearing just a t shirt. The sun was warm! Glad to hear Sarge is on a healthy track again.

Hi Patrick, Got your phone message also. We will be happy to show up at 6:30pm tomorrow. To me this means there may be less of an opportunity to have you as my partner, which is always a good thing for the sake of my sanity! Charlie  Hello CC! Just for the record, your name isn't Champagne Charlie, it's Crazy Carlos! Cheers, Desperately Seeking a Loco Bidder! 

Hi all Getting caught up. Responding to e-mails. Adding our official thanks for the absolutely delicious meal we enjoyed while playing bridge. Great menu planning Elaine and Ted and amazing sous-chefs.

From the picture of Bill and me perusing a bridge hand I think Bill may become nearly as excited as me about the game. Not!! We shall see...Colin, do you think you and I could get Bill and Viola to play with us. We'd be their teachers and encouragers!

Thanks again for planning such a great evening Elaine and Ted. So good to get together with friends to enjoy good food, wine, conversation and bridge...and thanks for the great photos Patrick. They will help us remember the great time we had! Marion

Hi Marion et al! I think you are on the right track. The more players the better! Don't think I sent the attached along earlier. If so, I apologize. Cheers, Patrizzio! 

Rent has been transferred ❤️❤️

Hi Chloë! See you domani at Tree Lot! Love, Dad!

Hi Blazing Forward Boring Nana! Fab snaps of Kian. He must have inherited his Grandmother's good looks! For our part, we have more "adult" pastimes! Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Sunshiners! Thanks for the call, Big Al. We need to win the Lottery. Life is too, too busy not to be independently wealthy! Neverthelss, trust life goes well near The Hope Slide! Bestestos from Corinne to you both. Fondestos and Cheers, Patrizzio!

From The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin. In the immediate aftermath of World War I, Britain carved the new country of Iraq out of the defeated Ottoman (Turkish) Empire to protect its access to newly discovered oil fields and its imperial possessions in Asia. The new country is an illogical aggregation of factions -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds among them -- that are so hostile to each other it almost immediately led Britain to bomb some of its villages. The British recruited an out-of-work king to preside over the ill-fated land:

"During the war, London had encouraged Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, to take the lead in raising an Arab revolt against Turkey. This he did, beginning in 1916, aided by a few Englishmen, of whom the most famous was T.E. Lawrence -- Lawrence of Arabia. In exchange, Hussein and his sons were to be installed as the rulers of the various, predominantly Arab, constituents of the Turkish empire. Faisal, third son of Hussein, was generally considered the most able..."But his career as a king was not yet over. The British needed a monarch for Iraq, another new state, this one to be formed out of three former provinces of the Turkish empire. Political stability in the area was required not only by the prospect for oil, but also for defense of the Persian Gulf and for the new imperial air route from Britain to India, Singapore and Australia. 
Coronation of Prince Faisal as King of Iraq
The British did not want to rule the region directly; that would cost too much. Rather what [Winston] Churchill, then head of the Colonial Office, wanted was an Arab government, with a constitutional monarch, that would be 'supported' by Britain under the League of Nations mandate. It would be cheaper. So Churchill chose the out-of-work Faisal as his candidate. Summoned from exile he was crowned King of Iraq in Baghdad in August 1921. ...
"Faisal's task was enormous; he had not inherited a well-defined nation, but rather a collection of diverse groups -- Shia Arabs and Sunni Arabs, Jews and Kurds and Yazidis -- a territory with a few important cities, most of the countryside under the control of local sheikhs, and with little common political or cultural history, but with a rising Arab nationalism. The minority Sunni Arabs held political power, while the Shia Arabs were by far the most numerous. To complicate things further, the Jews were the largest single group among inhabitants of Baghdad, followed by Arabs and Turks."
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, Daniel Yergin, Free Press, 2008