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, 3 December 2019

Ventimiglia, Italy

The last full day of our Nice housesit was made all the more special when Katherine and Paul suggested we all go to Italy for lunch. So we did - by train!

L to R: Katherine, Paul, Dianne & John

Monday, 2 December 2019

Mont Boron, La Turbie & Monaco Revisited

Not far from Le Port and a short distance to the east is Mont Boron. We've visited the area numerous times and in May 2019 walked there. This time around I was determined to repeat that walk and did so with far less (dare I say no) huffing and puffing. 👍

Sunday, 1 December 2019


We've been to Villefranche-sur-Mer a number of times, but have always taken the bus from Nice. On this visit I felt comfortable walking the 5 kms (one way) and I'm ever so happy we did as the scenery along the Princess Grace de Monaco Blvd is stunning.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Back to Nice!

John and I first became smitten with Nice in January 2016 and as with all great relationships it was love at first sight. If not for Katherine and Paul who offered us a return house and parrot sit after they relocated to Nice from Jacou, we may never have experienced the wonders of this amazing city and certainly not in such depth as this marks our fifth housesit in Nice. We're ever so grateful for the opportunity both then and now and simply cannot imagine life without their friendship or the opportunity to care for Petra and "the girls" while we savour the incredible splendours of Nice.
 🤗🤗 Merci beaucoup, guys! 🤗🤗 

Tuesday, 29 October 2019


On Saturday, October 26 we returned to France for a 2.5-week repeat housesit in Nice. We were delighted to be able to take public transit and especially eager to travel on Ottawa's new LRT (Light Rail Transit) system. Combining the O-Train with the #7 bus eliminated at least 20 minutes off the journey from our condo to the Via Rail Station. We're impressed!

O-Train, Tremblay Station

Monday, 21 October 2019

Autumn Splendour

I swear there's been a shift in the universe because time seems to be moving along SO much quicker than it used to. One minute it's the beginning September and the next October is nearly at an end. Nonetheless, it's been a busy, productive and enjoyable seven weeks since my last post - here's the nitty-gritty!

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Back in the North

Six weeks ago today John had his triple hernia operation and suffice to say his recovery has been exemplary - and surprisingly, so too has his mental state - given that kayaking was totally off limits. All that changed last evening.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Quebec to Massachusetts

The warm weather has continued through to the end of this month and we've made the best of it, travelling to various locations in Quebec, spending time with friends from Elliot Lake, as well as a most enjoyable trip to Massachusetts this past weekend to spend time with our daughter and son-in-law.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Family, Friends & Fireworks

We've passed the midway point of August and it's been a super month spent with family, friends and fireworks.

John and his sisters (Bonny to his right, Janet to his left)

Monday, 5 August 2019

Aylmer, Quebec

Today we once again crossed the Ottawa River into Quebec, but this time headed westward towards the former city of Aylmer. Why former? In 2002 it amalgamated into the city of Gatineau (part of Canada'a National Capital Region). 

Aylmer City Hall

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Exploring Ottawa

Last week John had a triple hernia operation and I doubt either of us imagined his recovery would be quite so swift. Needless to say, we're grateful for small miracles and while John took it easy for four straight days (I know, impressive, huh?) by day five he began to suffer from cabin fever (or perhaps I should say condo fever). 

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

To Kayak or Not to Kayak? - Is that even a QUESTION?

July has been great weather-wise and we were fortunate to spend Canada Day as well as most of this month in Elliot Lake. While many evenings were spent as a couple chatting and socializing with friends, John did manage to kayak most days. Whether it was on Esten, Elliot, Dunlop, Depot or Cinder he made the rounds and enjoyed every single lake.

Cinder Lake

Thursday, 27 June 2019

All Around Ontario

June has been a busy, enjoyable month with us travelling here and there to visit friends. And while we've lived in Ontario all of our lives it still never ceases to amaze us how large this province really is. From start to finish we've driven in excess of 2400 km since our return from Boston (those kilometres, btw, are not included in this tally) - and we're not quite done just yet.

Ottawa River Pathway

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

The same Saturday we attended the Topsfield Strawberry Festival Sarah and Tim suggested we go for an afternoon walk at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. It's located a short distance from their home and a perfect place to get a little exercise and reconnect with nature. 

Administrative building, shop, etc.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Topsfield, MA., Strawberry Festival

Last Friday morning we left North Hatley, Quebec and drove (another) 376 km to Topsfield, Massachusetts where we spent a great weekend with our daughter and son-in-law. Not only was it wonderful to see them again, but Mother Nature pulled out all the stops and provided the warmest and sunniest weekend the Boston area has seen so far this year. YES!

Dianne & Sarah in front of Parson Capen House

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

North Hatley, Quebec

Last week we made the long trek back to Ottawa as we were on our way to Boston. Stopping along the way in North Hatley, Quebec made the 996 km drive not only easier to manage, but it allowed us to explore a small portion of Quebec's beautiful Eastern Townships.

Shop window flower box and reflection of our Airbnb flat

Monday, 3 June 2019

Springtime in the North

We returned to Elliot Lake two weeks ago and the hottest topic of conversation on everyone's lips was this past winter. Long time residents said they'd never seen such a cold, long and brutal winter. It began in November and did not end until April. The total accumulation of 12' of snowfall (compared to the normal 9') would have been bad enough, but three or four ice storms added to the mix made the 2018/2019 winter a challenge for even the hardiest Canuck. 
As you might imagine I'm glad all that snow has melted, but daytime temperatures are low and most evenings we've had the heat on. Even tonight there is a frost warning. Brr! Enough already! Just the same, John's managed to go kayaking five times. 

Depot Lake

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Canadian Tulip Festival

The Canadian Tulip Festival ran May 10 - 20 this year, but Mother Nature arrived a little late to the party! Still, there were sufficient blooms to appease the 700,000 visitors who came to Ottawa from far and wide.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Nice to Montreal to Ottawa

Our last full day in Nice was May 9 and it began with a glorious sunny morning at the port.

Phare du Cap Ferrat

On May 7th we took bus 81 to the port of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and from there, walked along the coastline trail to the lighthouse (phare). 

La Turbie

On May 6 we took the same bus that travels up the mountainside to Peille, but (thankfully!) got off twenty minutes before Peille in the picturesque village of La Turbie

Thursday, 23 May 2019


I checked and double-checked the weather report and was assured it would not rain in Peille on May 4, so we took the 10:45 bus up into the mountains to explore the village. And as luck would have it...it rained!

Villefranche-sur-Mer & Vence Revisited

This year we did a little more walking than on previous occasions and on April 25 we walked from the port to Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Parc Phoenix

Not far from the Nice Cote d'Azur airport, yet very much within the city proper, is a lush green space known as Parc Phoenix. For whatever reason we'd not bothered to check it out during our last three visits, but decided this year it was time. Guess what? It's now one of my top favourite places in Nice!

Four for Four in Nice

We checked out of our Paris Airbnb flat at noon on April 9 to take a city bus to Gare de Lyon. Our train departed at 3:07 PM and six hours later we arrived in Nice. This is our fourth visit to this Cote d'Azur destination and we could not be happier - especially as we had four glorious and memorable weeks there. 

Atelier des Lumières - Van Gogh

The Atelier des Lumieres or Workshop of Light is a magical Paris experience that combines artists, their paintings and fuses both with the wonders of 21st century computers and technology.

Photo courtesy of Google

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Louvre Museum

On April 8 we returned for a second visit to the Louvre Museum. (To read about our first visit in April 2018 click HERE.) At 782,910 square feet it is the largest museum in the world and while it is next to impossible to ever do it justice in a few hours or even days we felt we had to at least give it a try!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Montmartre & Sacre Coeur

On April 7 we took a city bus to Montmartre.

Saint Germain District

A few blocks from our flat is the Saint Germain district. A mecca for tourists with its shops, galleries and sidewalk cafes and restaurants, it was highly recommended by our Airbnb host so how could we not take a look on day three of our Paris adventure?!

Rodin & La Bonne Excuse

We returned to Paris April 3rd and stayed in the same Airbnb flat as last year. Its location in the 7th Arrondissement off Rue de Bac is the perfect base from which to explore the city on foot and an additional bonus is how quiet it is. Our first stop on April 4 was the Rodin Museum, one of John's favourite sculptors.

Rodin lived in this serene Paris location the final few years of his life. The progressional exhibits cover his entire career and fill two entire floors of this glorious building. His sculptures also grace the gardens. An audio guide greatly ehanced our visit and we highly recommend it. His most recognized sculptures  include The Thinker, The Gates of Hell doorway and the Six Calais martyrs.

The Thinker

Gates of Hell doorway

Six Calais martyrs


Springtime blossoms

To celebrate John's birthday I booked a table at La Bonne Excuse (before we left Canada). This restaurant is owned and run by a husband and wife team. He's the chef (far left) while she (standing in doorway) takes great care to ensure their customers have a memorable and delicious experience. 

Birthday Boy

Shrimp starter

Fish and white asparagus

Roast pork on potato puree

Apple tart with salty caramel sauce
 Two lovely days that were a great start to our weeklong adventure in Paris!

* * *

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Rideau Canal Skateway to Boston

The past six weeks have zipped by and so it seems has winter morphed (or should I say begrudgingly plodded) into spring. Winterlude, held each February, is a major celebration in Ottawa and one of the highlights is the opening of the Rideau Canal Skateway. 

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Museum of Science and Technology

One of our goals for 2019 was to take advantage of all that is available in Ottawa and that naturally includes its many museums. The Museum of Science and Technology is down the street and it literally turned John's life upside down!

Thursday, 31 January 2019