Saturday, December 31, 2011

Canadian Obsessions

I have noticed a number of obsessions here, on the tv at least. One is the Hockey and that is an obsession here in Ontario at least, but I think it is national. The other is an obsession with the "stars". It seems every time I turn on the tv, there is a "star watch program", news from Hollywood,  e talk, local stars etc. The third obsession is "THE WEATHER'. Throughout an hour of news programmes there are at least 4 updates on the weather, complete with the weather map etc. I know at this time of year it is pretty important, particularly when driving, but I am sure an hour of news would be reduced to just 1/2 hour  if there was just 1 weather update.
With the temperature so variable at the moment I can understand the obsession, as we are having a quite a bit of rain, which is turning to freezing rain, so there are lots of "fender benders". The next day there is snow, fog or a temperature of 4 or 5 above 0, so road conditions change minute by minute.  As you can see from next week's forecast, we are expecting the lot.  
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Jan 6
6am - 6pm
Mixed precip. Scattered flurries Cloudy periods Scattered flurries Variable cloudiness Variable cloudiness
  Mixed precip. Scattered flurries Cloudy periods Scattered flurries Variable cloudiness Variable cloudiness
P.O.P. 80% 60% 20% 40% 30% 20%
High 3°C -3°C -11°C -1°C -3°C 2°C
Feels Like -4 -11 -15 -8 -7 -4
Low -3°C -9°C -13°C -11°C -5°C -2°C
Wind S 45 km/h NW 35 km/h N 20 km/h SW 30 km/h W 20 km/h SW 35 km/h
24-Hr Rain close to 1 mm - - - - -
24-Hr Snow close to 5 cm 2-4 cm - close to 1 cm - -

Friday, December 30, 2011

Today it is not nearly so cold,hovering just at and below the 0 mark, but the village has been blanketed in a thick fog, which gives everything an ethereal character.

After my snow blowing and dog walking, it was time to get out and play with the camera again.  Every day, the scene changes, and as we are about to go into the above 0 temperatures again for the next few days, I guess all the snow will again disappear. Every day is a new experience.

 Yesterday was a beautiful day, very cold, around  -6, but once the sun came out, so did the kids and the toboggans on the hill several houses down
 It snowed most of the day, so I was in heaven watching it all. That is one of the reasons to come to Canada after all, just loved it!


This morning I mastered the art of snow blowing - thanks to Richard's lesson. It took me a while to get the machine going, I had to take all the outdoor gear off and run back upstairs for my scribbled instructions,  but the drive was finally cleared.... I felt very pleased with myself. With practice, and I am told there will be plenty of that, I am sure it will soon be as easy as lawn mowing

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

 Snow Clearing

It started snowing yesterday afternoon and has pretty well continued since and at present is a cool -10C out there, but it's beautiful. John beat me to it with the snow blower this morning, and Mark had his helpers, Sophie and Lucas out shoveling their drive, while the guy down the road went with the extra big guns to clear his drive. The snow is still drifting down out there and Stella has just been out there burrowing around in it all. I went out earlier for some photos and now it's time to take the dogs out.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Dinner
Although there was still some snow on the ground, around 5.00pm some lovely big flakes floated down for a short time and left a fresh coating for my  White Christmas..,whooeeee 

So after a long day driving to Port Elgin and back John and Lynn then turned around and produced the traditional Christmas dinner. The turkey had been cooking away with some help from the neighbour Rose and Jaclyn, Lynn & John's daughter, but everything else had to be heated etc for our dinner, and a lovely dinner it was. I wasn't into the turkey, but the mashed spuds, turnip and green beans went well with the salad and a bottle of the Black Chook , so I certainly didn't go hungry. It was a lovely evening and a great way to spend my Canadian Christmas
John & Lynn's cottage
Port Elgin
Is about 1 1/2 hours north west of Elora on the shores of Lake Huron, and was where Lynn grew up and John spent all his summers. Lynn's dad is still there and yesterday we headed down there for John and Lynn to spend some Christmas time with her dad. They have a cottage there, and while they were visiting, I spent time in the cottage and walking the beach shore with their dog Desi. It was really the first time I have felt cold, as the wind ff the lake was fierce. But it was great to visit another destination. Most of the houses down at the beach are holiday cottages, some very large and some very quaint.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It Had to Happen

But did it have to be Christmas eve. As we were leaving Lynn and John's house, loaded with food to take to the street party, I did the elegant slide down the drive on my bum...... and managed to shatter a platter filled with cheese and wreck my camera. The only damage I did to me was a lovely bruise on the elbow and of course lots of damage to my pride, but the camera didn't like the slide at all. We will take it to a camera shop, but I don't hold much hope, the lens took a pretty good whack. Luckily I do have another camera with me, but the after Christmas sales are looking pretty good, by about $100 on Aussie prices.
The Christmas eve party was delightful and a great way to meet all the neighbours I hadn't met yet. They have all been friends for quite some time and the Christmas eve party has been a long standing tradition. A great evening
Christmas Eve
It snowed yesterday morning and although the sun shone all day, and is again today, there is still snow on the ground and everything is beautiful. It's pretty cold out there, with the temperature sitting at -6 and not expected to get much higher for the day, and the good news is we are expecting more snow flurries overnight and tomorrow. So Santa will have some snow to land on? 

The dogs and I have been for a good long walk and it was so lovely I went out again with the camera to catch the ice flowers on the river, they look just beautiful

So , fingers crossed, it's a White Christmas.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Festival of Carols: The Elora Festival Singers

The Elora Festival Singers have established a reputation as on of the finest chamber choirs in Canada and beyond, so it was an absolute delight for me to hear them perform at St John's Church here in Elora. No snow outside, but a wonderful Christmassy feeling inside and every seat in the house taken. They are only giving three performances, so Nicole, Richard and Liam had bought my ticket early. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, a mixture of traditional carols and other musical pieces.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Niagara Falls

 "If you come to this region of Ontario, you have to get to the Falls" everyone kept telling me, and it was pretty high on my list. On my first visit to the Tourist Info Centre, where I spoke to Robyn, an Aussie and Sue an English woman, figure that one, I inquired about buses, or in fact, any transport to Niagara, they just looked at me and told me there wasn't even transport to Fergus or Guelph, although there sort of possibly is. (I have tried the web site but don't get very far on that one.) Anyway, the long and short of it is... forget public transport  to Niagara.
 Again thank goodness for wonderful friendly neighbours. Yesterday on a bright sunny day, Lynn and I set of bright and early for our 1 1/2 hour trip to Niagara, and it lived up to all my expectations, although one of those expectations wasn't to get absolutely soaking wet. It just so happened that yesterday the breeze was blowing back towards the viewing area, and once outside the doors, it was like standing fully clothed in a shower, or just standing in the rain.

 Within seconds everything was just soaked, including the camera. Lynn. as you would when you have seen it all before, instantly turned tail and ran back inside, I made a number of forays in and out, all the while trying to keep the camera and lens dry and to see through my glasses. But it was worth all the saoking, the falls are so very magestic and beautiful and all the ice trees along the edges looked beautiful.
   After a lovely lunch in the restaurant overlooking the Falls we braved it once more in "the rain" before heading off for a drive through town and a stop off at a Discount Mall for some bargains. I will have to show you my new Red Leather Jacket, it's GORGEOUS.

Monday, December 19, 2011

St Jacobs Farmer's Market

A Mennonite girl selling vegetables
On Saturday morning, after our gym workout (more about that later) Lynne and I headed off to the St Jacobs Farmer's Market, both swearing that we needed no more food and were just going to look. I don't think I believed it either! Surprisingly, with it being so close to Christmas, it wasn't that crowded, but still pretty busy. The outside and downstairs sections are filled with food, and fresh produce and the upstairs section mainly crafts and things. Naturally we bought heaps ore food, just in case!!!

As  St Jacobs is in the middle if a large Mennonite population, many of the stallholders are Mennonite and sell much of their home grown produce, but the market and the town of St Jacobs are now very touristy, so the produce is quite varied.

Selling Maple Syrup

Mennonite Children

All the owners are at work
After the market we traveled a round trip through the Mennonite townships, beginning with St Jacobs where we visited the Mennonite museum. Here they show a very informative film which includes the roots of the faith, the journey taken to various parts of the world, the beliefs  and the way of life. As an Aussie, I must admit I knew very little about the group, but I guess it's not surprising, as Australia has only a very small group, but they have spread to many other countries and are growing in numbers, particularly in  Africa. Lynn taught for many years at the Floradale Public School and many of her students were from Mennonite families, so she proved a great guide.
 There are a number of different Mennonite groups within the area. Some live more as we do and even drive cars, others travel by buggy and many still have no electricity within the home, although they have it in the barns. The houses are often a higgedly piggedly conglomeration as new bits are added all the time for extended family. The traditions were originally Germanic, so the accent and speech of the people still reflects this.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Elora Acoustic Cafe

Last night I went along to the annual all open-stage Christmas show at the Elora Acoustic Cafe, held at the Elora Arts Centre. A bracing walk in temperatures about-7C and I had the times wrong, so naturally was very early, but that gave me a chance to meet and talk to more friendly locals. There were some very Christmassy songs and others not so festive.
The evening is held monthly on the 2nd Friday and gives artists the opportunity to share their joy of music,song and song writing. I gather that different artists are featured  at each evening. There wasn't a large crowd, mostly made up of musicians, but it was a great way to spend the evening.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spirit of Celebration

I can't drink many wines these days, and really miss my reds, but even here I found one I could enjoy. Alcohol is sold here in the LCBO, the liquor control board or some such thing - in other words the grog shop. In some you can only buy the hard stuff, wines and spirits and the beer is bought at ... you guessed it - the Beer Shop. I think the names are very original. But here in Elora the two are combined, so you can buy the hard stuff and beer all in the one. So last week I wandered into this one, it's at the end of the street and the dogs and I walk past most days, and I found an Australian Sparkling Shiraz...whooeeee. I do like a sparkling red.
I must admit I haven't heard of the brand, The Black Chook,( I think we are the only ones that call them chooks), but I asked about it and the staff told me there was not much left, so I bought a box, and then had to bring them home in a taxi. it was an icy cold day. I thought with Christmas, New Year and my birthday all coming up I would have plenty of people to share them with. So the box is cooling it's heels in the garage, pretty cold down there, and the first one shared last night with Lynn(neighbours, who are really looking after me) over our Eggplant Parmigiana we cooked for the family last night, I can happily say it lives up to the Aussie standard very well. We are sure to enjoy some more in the hot tub on a very snowy night. I am looking forward to that!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


 First there's Mr "butter wouldn't melt in his mouth" Diesel, just looks at you with those big brown eyes and asks "who me". Last night I wandered out of bed at some early hour for the usual nocturnal wander and when I returned to bed found a little warm bundle happily curled up in the bed! That didn't last long. Then this morning after the usual mad dash around "killing" each other Diesel quietly set about destroying his bed. I had been warned this was not an unusual event and that he has destroyed quite a few....looks like I have a little sewing to do.

Next we have lay back and casual Miyo   mmmmm. When the dogs and I go walking,  I have discovered she gets into things. Came home a few days ago and a packet of the dog treats was on the floor with lots of holes in the packet, made obviously by claws sharper than the dogs. But I had left them on the top of the treats cupboard. so blamed myself and made sure all were put away. This morning after our walk the dogs and I discovered a packet of treats scattered all over the floor. Diesel and Stella thought Christmas had come early, until I spoiled the party. It seems our clever Miyo has been fishing over the side of the baskets and hooking out packages.... clever cat!