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Showing posts from November, 2016

Afternoon Tea

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A few weeks ago, my daughter invited me to an afternoon tea at the White Heather Tea Room, along with her mother-in-law, and Little Miss S. 

How civilized to sit and drink tea, eat ginger-apricot scones, elegant sandwiches, and sweet treats while the rain dripped outside on a very dreary day. 


We three adult ladies ordered the Not-so-Wee-Tea, while Little Miss S had the Wee Tea. It wasn't so wee, and Miss S isn't so little anymore. 

Her tea was served all at once on a single plate. I watched her nibble one sandwich, and take a bite from another. She ate her apple slice, and then, it seemed like an epiphany occurred. There was chocolate cake. And shortbread. And butter tart square. ALL ON THE SAME PLATE! Surely, her mind seemed to reason, that meant she could eat it in any order she wanted.

So she did what any little person would do, she started with the chocolate cake, moved to the other sweets, and then the scone and chicken salad filling. She packed away most of that Wee Tea, al…

These Days

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These days, the citrus scent of Japanese mandarin oranges takes me back to my childhood. They came in wooden crates and my parents purchased one or two boxes throughout December. They stayed down in the cold room or basement. It was the only time of year we enjoyed them. How sweet they tasted.

My grandparents (on both sides) gave all of their grandchildren a paper bag filled with candy, nuts and one mandarin orange wrapped in green tissue paper. I didn't appreciate the orange so much, then, as I would now. 

After the oranges were gone, the box remained, with infinite creative possibilities. It made a great doll bed, a little shelf for books on the desk my father built into our closet, or a repository for childhood treasures. What did you do with your wooden orange crates?

On this day, as I peel an orange, I breathe in the scent of childhood Christmases, slowly section each piece, pull off the white membrane and savour the sweet pop of juice in my mouth.


These days, lists are being mad…

Frith Wood and Painswick: Mosaic Monday

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On these grey days (although the sun is currently shining here), it's hard to remember how hot it was in the summer. During our trip to France and England just a few months ago, we enjoyed marvelous weather. Sunshine with very, very little rain. 
One thing we had been looking forward to while visiting the Cotswolds was walking some of the ancient trails. You may remember that we were down for a few days and not up to walking very far. 
However, on our last day there, we determined to go for some sort of a walk, if not a long one. We had planned to do a canal walk in Stroud, but there was no shade at all, and the heat so intense that we turned back. The kind ladies in the tourist office suggested Frith Wood, and gave us a map. So off we went, first driving along a nail-biting narrow road through the prettiest valley, through the village of Slad and beyond, until we came to a public footpath with a small parking area.


The trail took us along a ridge between the Slad and Painswick Valle…

November Celebrations

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Two November birthdays. Two beautiful young women. A daughter and a daughter-in-love. We gathered on Sunday for a late brunch/lunch.


I was in the mood to try a few new recipes. I made a baked, filled omelette, loosely based on this recipe. Sauteed vegetables and cheese filled the omelette and we had breakfast sausages on the side, along with a fruit plate and...


a braided apple bread that was quite good. I would serve a cheese sauce to accompany the omelette next time.


Cake decorating is NOT my forte, unlike DIL Katie. I browsed Pinterest and came up with the idea of a cupcake bouquet. There were even a few late, late raspberries to pop onto the centers. I'm sure these will be the last. 


Purchased macarons were a special treat. Tim took this photo from the other end of the table. Miss A is reading the macaron flavour key to Miss S. Notice the teacups? The girls asked if they could have tea, in their special cups, with sugar cubes. This Nana agreed with alacrity.


Grandpa suggested that …

Restorative Hiking: Mosaic Monday

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A spur-of-the-moment decision.  I boil water for tea, wrap up cheese and sausage, cut an apple into wedges, grab the dark chocolate and put my hiking boots by the door.


And we're off to East Sooke Park, the best place for hiking, in our opinion. Water, forest, sky, mountains. As we begin, skies look dark and ominous, but Tim's pack contains rain gear and hot tea.  

We usually take the coast trail to Beechy Head, and then a shorter inland trail back to the parking lot. This time, we do it in reverse. What a difference! It hardly looks like the same trail. Do you ever do things the opposite way and find a fresh perspective?


Beechy Head is one of the points from where the boundary of between the USA and Canada is marked. We perch on a rock ledge high above the water, hoping the rain will hold off. It does. A bit of sunshine peeks through and the wind dies down as we drink our tea. Below us, nearer the water, gulls sail by; singles, doubles and groups. Where are they going? Is there …

Friday Thoughts

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November 11. Remembrance Day. A day to honour those who served and died for our freedoms. 

One of the highlights of our July trip to France and England was a day spent on the Normandy coast, visiting the landing sites of Canadian and British soldiers, and two of the Commonwealth graveyards. 


Here in Canada, we wear poppies on our lapels in remembrance of those who died. The wreath above, on a grave in France, is similar to ones that will be laid on cenotaphs throughout Canada. 

We will remember them.




Here in my garden at home, the dahlias continue to bloom. We've not had frost yet and I've not lifted the tubers. Some years I leave them in the ground. This might just be one of those years.
Raindrops hang like tears trembling on an eyelash.


Last weekend we changed to Pacific Standard Time once again. Darkness closes in earlier. Rain falls. It's time to embrace coziness, or create that Danish word that is so popular these days - hygge. Here are five things I do to enjoy this season…

Mosaic Monday: Beach Colours

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The dark days of November are upon us. Those leaves that remain on the trees become dull and soon join their compatriots to decay on the forest floor.


But just look at all the autumn colour strewn on the beach! Light shines through fragments of Bull Kelp, shards of Turkish Towel, and tangles of Succulent Seaweed, detritus tossed onto the sand in casual disarray. Colour and texture galore.



On my way to the airport this afternoon to collect Tim, I stopped at Island View Beach for a short walk. The weak sun tried hard to break through the clouds, but the results were patchy, at best.


Half a dozen sailboats plied the waters between the beach and James Island. It would have been a good day on the water, with enough of a breeze to catch the sails.


The bits of colour remaining stand out against the monochromatic greys and browns of the season.



On Saturday morning I ventured out in the drizzle and picked the very last handful of raspberries - just enough for my breakfast. It's been a long seas…

A First Foray into the Indigo Vat: Five on Friday

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October was a very wet month. Not record-breaking as far as rainfall, but only 4 days without rain during the month. Soggy, soggy. Photography suffers on gray days. I did want to tell you about our adventures with indigo, so here goes. I've condensed it into 5 main steps to fit with Amy's Five on Friday. 
In the above photo, there are two thrift store vintage cotton damask napkins that I dyed. Here's how we did it - with many thanks to Ashley for her expertise. Oh, and the lemons were the last ripe ones on our tree before it was covered up for the winter. I hope to make some lemon curd this weekend.



1. First step was manipulating the fabric. We folded, tied, scrunched, and stitched. The idea is that by folding the fabric tightly, in a variety of ways, different patterns will emerge. Some pieces were folded on the bias and wrapped around plastic tubes, then tied. Others were folded and sandwiched between pieces of wood. The possibilities are endless. The dye penetrates less i…