20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where Did the Week GO?

We've been in Wooburn Green an entire week now and can't believe it's zipped by so quickly. Where exactly the time went we have no idea, but it's always wonderful to report all of us are settling in quite nicely, thank you very much.

Jasper, John, Mew

Friday, December 26, 2014

Jasper, Mew & Purr

We arrived in Wooburn Green, Buckinghamshire the evening of December 23 from London and after a delicious dinner followed by a quick orientation from homeowners, C&D, (Thank You!) we began our latest house and petsitting assignment less than 24 hours later. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Greenwich to Westminster and Back

We began the week by returning to the Museum of London to view the special Sherlock exhibit that runs until April 12, 2015. One highlight is this interview with Scottish born Sir Author Conan Doyle who explains where he got the concept for Sherlock. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Buskers, Brews and a Gherkin

We awoke yesterday to clear blue skies and immediately altered our plans. Why spend time indoors when there are so many places to explore outside on such a beautiful day? First stop was Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Banned and Boxed

Each morning (over tea no less!) we decide upon our destination for the day. Yesterday it was the Museum of London, and because John and I do museums differently we go our separate ways almost as soon as we enter and meet later at a pre-arranged time. To give you some idea of how diverse we are, John got as far in the exhibits covering the period 850AD in London while I made it all the way to the Black Death.  ;-) We're already planning a return visit to continue learning about London's history, as well as see the special exhibit devoted to "the man who never lived and will never die" - Sherlock Holmes

http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

North and South of the Thames

We returned to London Monday afternoon and since then have walked here, there, and everywhere as we get accustomed to this area of the city. Our Marlyn Lodge studio apartment is a short five minute walk north of the Tower Bridge so naturally we've been across to the south side of the Thames - and back. (For the websites of each location mentioned, just click on the highlighted name.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Whitby by the Seaside

I realize I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but a single week will never be long enough to do a UK town justice. However, given we had one final day in Whitby we were determined to hit the beach.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey dominates the landscape. It's visible from almost every vantage point, including the bay window of our flat. Walking through the town, whether old or new or atop the west cliff, it's always there making it's presence known. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Whitby

"This is a lovely place. The little River Esk runs through a deep valley which broadens out as it comes near the harbour…The houses of the old town are all red-roofed and seem piled up one after the other anyhow…Right over the town is the ruin of the Abbey, a noble ruin of immense size.  Between it and the town is another church, the Parish one, round which is a big graveyard, all full of tombstones. It descends so steeply over the harbour that part of the bank has fallen away, and some of the graves have been destroyed."


Monday, December 1, 2014

Glorious York

A sunny Sunday November day in York can only be described with one word - glorious. Determined to make the most of our final day in the city we left our flat and paused to admire the view of the River Ouse and the Low Ousegate bridge. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Eburacon, Eboracum, Evorwic, Jorvik...YORK!

Everything worth seeing and doing in York is a 25-30 minute walk from anywhere, but after spending a full week here we've barely scratched the surface. Even trying to capture the exterior of York Minster in a photo is next to impossible because it literally doesn't fit in the viewfinder. It's that massive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

York City Walls

When arriving in a new place we usually take a stroll to get a feel for our surroundings. In York that meant walking around town via the city walls. At 3.4 kilometres York's are the longest medieval walls in all of England and while we met only a few dozen people we learned 2.5 million folks climb the steps each year to walk all or part of it and enjoy the spectacular views.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dun Cow Lane

While wandering about Durham a few days ago I spotted the street below.



Named Dun Cow Lane I had zero idea what it referred to, but it caught my eye (and fancy) and I felt compelled to capture it in a photo.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Up, Down & Around Durham

Upon our arrival by train we walked from the station to our Durham rental flat, Fern Cottage. The owner had warned us it was mainly an up-hill climb (1 mile from start to finish), but she did not mention the incredible scenery as we crossed the bridge that spans the River Wear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Burrell Collection

While we were in Edinburgh I had a chat with a man who works at the Scottish National Museum. Upon hearing our next destination was Glasgow, Nick suggested a visit to the Burrell Collection. He went on to say it's not in the city, so travel by train would be required. As it turned out the 16 miles was an easy journey beginning at Glasgow Central Station and ending at Pollokshaws West. I loved how they transformed oil barrels into old trains and added flowers for a decorative touch.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Art, Walls, Chairs & Bikes

Glasgow may just be as famous for its shipbuilding past as its love and appreciation for the arts. Walk down any city street and odds are you'll see an art gallery or commissioned street mural tucked in between a pub or bar. They're everywhere and on our first day in Glasgow we headed to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Saturday, November 15, 2014

St. Mungo and Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral was built in 1136 and has been a place of worship for more than 800 years. It is the burial ground of St. Kentigern, more commonly known as St. Mungo (Dear Friend), who is the patron saint of Glasgow. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Out & About In Edinburgh

The Scottish love of the written word is evident everywhere in Edinburgh. The train station, Waverley, (flat roof, middle right of the photo below) is named in honour of Sir Walter Scott's first novel of the same name. He also wrote Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. The Scott Monument (dark ornate structure on the left) on Princes Street is the tallest monument to a writer in the world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

We recently spent an entire day at Edinburgh's beautiful Royal Botanic Garden. While the morning was overcast the sun was shining by noon and we didn't waste the opportunity and enjoyed an outdoor picnic lunch. :) The RBGE was filled with people of all ages and as we discovered a lovely place for a leisurely stroll.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rosslyn Chapel

Prior to the worldwide success of Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code fewer than 20,000 people a year visited Rosslyn Chapel. Since then, the average has skyrocketed to more than 120,000 per year which is a good thing for both Scotland tourism and the Earl of Rosslyn. The additional revenue earned from entrance fees allows the St. Clair family (who have owned the chapel since 1446) to preserve it for future generations. The newer entrance includes a gift shop and tea room and is a nice juxtaposition with the much older chapel to the right.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Edinburgh Castle

This was our second visit to Edinburgh Castle, but the first was decades ago and while the exterior obviously hasn't changed the interior and even the exhibits certainly have. Walking to the castle from our flat on Lothian Road we took Bread Street to Spittal and then onto Johnston Terrace. It's an uphill climb as you can well imagine given the castle built on a rock is the highest point in the city.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Sense (Or Five) of Edinburgh

Our first full day in Edinburgh began with a brisk morning walk north along Lothian Road to a home on Glenfinlass Street as the couple who own our one-bedroom holiday flat invited us over for coffee. Besides welcoming us into their lovely home, providing cappuccino, lemon cake, chocolate ladyfingers and great conversation, they also shared insider travel tips on what to see and do in the city they're proud to call home. 

Glenfinlass Street

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

UK - South to North

Travel by train in the UK is easy, affordable and best of all stress free. We literally walked across Euston Street from our Airbnb flat to the Kings Cross station and bordered the East Coast passenger train that would take us to Edinburgh's Waverley Station. It seemed mere minutes before we'd left the hustling and bustling city of London behind for peaceful, serene farmland.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

London Weekend

This visit to London IS different for so many reasons. Our age, temperament, interests, and even our stamina dictates what we'll see and do - as well as how we'll accomplish those items on our to-do list. The lovely thing about this visit is there is no need to rush, and while I tend to be a planner I've only decided on where we're staying and how we get there and left the rest to serendipity.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The REAL Salem

Salem, MA has long been associated with witches due to the infamous 1692 witch trials. In October 2013 we did the unthinkable and asked our daughter to take us to Salem on the final Sunday before Hallowe'en. (Click HERE for that post.) We've since learned locals avoid Salem during October because of the throngs of people who descend upon the area (often donning witches hats and carrying brooms) determined to tour the Witch House, Wax Museum and other scary establishments.

Nonetheless touristy Salem is a fun place to visit as it has everything 'witchy'...including Samantha Stephens of television fame!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Alexandria

It's never about the destination, but the journey itself and because we'd heard good things about Alexandria, a small community of approximately 3000 people in North Glengarry township just south of Ottawa, we decided to stop by for a quick looksee when we found ourselves in the vicinity.

Settled by Scottish emigrants in 1792, the town is situated near the Garry River and the Mill Pond (pictured above) is in the centre of town. The tall grey building in the middle is called the Priest's Mill. Here's a close-up view.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cobra Lake

Yesterday we'd arranged to meet with some friends to visit Puddingstone Falls north of town. To do this involves driving in 26km off the highway via a logging road. With all of the recent rainfall, however, a wash out across the road ended our plans.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September Splendour

Ever notice how the anticipation of waiting for something special to arrive is accompanied by a great sense of excitement? Take September for example. It's my favourite month of the year in northern Ontario and while we've had more than our fair share of rain and cold temperatures this time around, the past week has been spectacular.

Little White River

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Superior Summer

Nothing beats the summertime like warm temperatures, good friends, and time to explore this incredible province we call home. This past Sunday and Monday John ticked off two more items on his bucket list while I was totally content to stand by and watch. ;-)

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Monday, August 4, 2014

Touring Manitoulin Island

On Saturday we toured Manitoulin Island. We've visited many times, but it had been a few years since our last visit and so we John I decided it was time to return. ;-)

Little Current, Manitoulin Island

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ontario July


We've just returned from a whirlwind visit to southern Ontario. First stop was St. Marys, aka The Stonetown. We lived here for fifteen years (1980-1995), yet never get tired of the incredible architecture and gorgeous homes.

Friday, July 4, 2014

June in New England


We've just returned from New England and between its history, architecture, covered bridges, ocean breezes, delicious bowls of chowda, and gracious, warm American welcome we had a blast.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sketches of Life

In 1968 I met Doug Andrews at the Art College of Ontario in Toronto. We hit it off immediately, and one day while we were sitting in the cafeteria laughing like a bunch of two-year olds on a sugar high he said, "I hope we're still friends when you're 64."

Doug Andrews

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Home is Where the Heart Is

We're home after a month long housesit in North Bay. One of the questions friends ask is does it feels 'weird' to live in someone else's home with their stuff rather than our own. The answer is a simple and emphatic no.

No way. No how. Not ever.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spas to Screaming Heads

Keegan had a spa treatment on Saturday afternoon, but once we returned home he wanted to play fetch on the deck. I tried three different times to capture our antics on video, but the results were dismal (my fault, not Keegan's) so this snapshot will have to suffice. Doesn't he look spiffy?

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Pickers' Dream...North Bay Style


Two weeks ago our son-in-law spotted this place as we drove to Goulet Park for a stroll along the shores of Lake Nipissing. We assumed the building was a second hand store. Or perhaps a specialty shop of some kind. Today, John, Keegan and I decided to take a closer look.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Powassan Maple Syrup Festival

In spite of the rain (and a few snowflakes added to the mix) on Saturday we headed to Powassan to attend the 17th annual Maple Syrup Festival. Imagine our surprise when we discovered we weren't the only crazies venturing outdoors in such dismal weather.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Deer Spring

The ice on Trout Lake is melting. Three days ago when we walked to the Green Store we watched in awe as three brave (or crazy, depending on your point of view) snowmobilers raced across the ice. They made a wide circle on their machines, screeching past the dock and cluster of ducks swimming in the open water. The following morning John spotted three deer on the lake just in front of the house.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Green Ice Cream

Saturday afternoon John, Keegan and I walked to The Green Store. This unique gift shop is directly on Trout Lake, and a favorite with North Bay residents. The parking lot is always full, and no wonder.

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's a GOOD Friday

It's Good Friday, but here in North Bay it's a very good Friday indeed. Our daughter and son-in-law are visiting from Boston, and while they leave tomorrow morning we're enjoying every minute of their all-too-brief stay. Keegan is quite eager to play host, but he explained his favorite sock toy is off limits to guests...unless, of course, they want to play tug of war. Then, it's a go!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A White Dog in a Snowstorm!

Rumblings of an approaching storm began yesterday afternoon around 5:00 PM. John and Keegan had just gone outside for a short walk when the sky clouded over and the temperature plummeted.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Sunday Showers

April showers are always better than April snow IMHO (in my humble opinion), so while today is dull and dreary I'll take it. Not only is the temperature above freezing (what a concept), but as each raindrop falls more of that white stuff disappears. Yeehaw!

Friday, April 11, 2014

What A Glorious Springtime Day!

We're back in North Bay, house and pet sitting, and today was our first full day alone with Keegan. What's wonderful about returning for a second housesitting engagement is we already know the routine, the homeowners are good friends (thanks again D&C for the great dinner and conversation prior to your departure), AND Keegan greeted us upon our arrival with such exuberance that we're pretty certain he remembered us. 

How cool is that?!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Saying "NO" Hurts

When we began our house and pet sitting journey for our friends way back when, we never imagined it would evolve into something so incredible.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Deep Freeze & Crimper

This winter's temperatures continue, as do the frequent and impressive snowstorms. I doubt I'm the only one ready for spring, but as to when it will finally make an appearance is another question. Thank goodness for yet another mini house and pet sitting opportunity to take my mind off the -20 Celsius temps. You may recall Crimper. He's such a sweety and really has mastered how to chill out. John took this photo today, making us wonder if Crimper's actually moved since our last visit.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Saturday and Sunday...Crimper Style

We've just completed our shortest house and pet sitting assignment ever (overnight, about 30 hours total), and while I don't like to tell tales, we barely survived. It was that STRESSFUL.

How stressful?

Well, this is what Crimper was up to on Saturday....ALL Saturday...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Puppy Love

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I thought I'd talk about puppy love. Not the infatuation and angst that exists between teens, but the very real affection felt between pets and humans. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wanderlust

We're back home now, and while I'd like to say that's a good thing I have to admit I suffer from a severe case of wanderlust. Technically it's defined as "a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering", and over the years we've done our fair share.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Havelock Memories

We really enjoyed our time in Havelock, and it passed by faster than we would have liked. Both John and I commented on how we weren't quite ready to leave. The setting is gorgeous, the home cozy, and the pups a joy.