Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Challenge completed!

Well, give or take a couple of days when I ended up blogging early next morning, I have completed my march blogging challenge - hooray!
Don't think I'll be keeping it up every day in April, but definitely a better average than the once a month I was on before....

What news? I've been earning more dollars babysitting this evening. So bathtime, milk and bed. I am very lucky in that I babysit for the best behaved baby in the world. Even though he took around two hours to get to sleep he spent that time staring at his toy aquarium in bed and talking to the fish. Not one bout of crying all evening - hooray.

The wine and fondue were very fine last night. As I said, there were 7 reds to taste, each numbered. By number three I couldn't really remember what number 1 tasted like, and numbers 6 and 7 were definitely a blur - I was only having 1/4 glasses! I plumped for number 4 overall I think, which was the second cheapest - an Australian. Paul chose the Canadian wine which great as we've only been buying Canadians since we got here - keeping those food miles in check. Frankly my best pick of the evenings offerings were the home-made truffles, maybe we'll do a chocolate tasting next time.

And so to bed. Paul is out saying adieu to a colleague so will be stumbling in later - that makes three sociable nights on the trot for him, very uncharacteristic. I am a little worried that he'll have run out all his conversation before we go away for the weekend....or maybe this is a blessing in disguise!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tipsy Tuesday

Tuesdays used to be fairly calm, you could rely on a Tuesday evening to be placid. I did an evening class for a while on Tuesday nights but that was about as rock and roll as they got.

This evening we went to a wine tasting/fondue night.
There were 7 wines to taste.
I tried each of them.

This is how I predict I will look/feel in the morning.

That is all. x

Monday, 29 March 2010

Monday monday

Firstly, apologies for the poor quality of the beaver video, is much clearer on the camera and you can see him swimming and snacking on a branch. Ho hum, will need to add video editing to my list of skills at some point.

Not much going on today so I will share my excitement about the weekend to come - we're off to a cottage with friends, for our first holiday since arriving last summer. So, a ticklist of things likely to be part of a weekend away in the world of Amy, Paul and Jasper:

Wildlife Watching
Fires (of the controlled and cosy variety)

Expect an update next week as to whether the weekend went as planned.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Ground hog day.

Oh so much to say....fetch yourself a cuppa....and a biscuit....


Back to the Mayfair theatre last night for a night of zombie-tastic entertainment. They had on The Night of the Living Dead, a 1968 black and white classic, directed by George Romero. Now, I would have been tempted to go just to see it on the big screen (for those of you not aware I have a guilty zombie film habit, and spent one rainy half term chain-watching Romero films whilst knitting cuddly santas). However, being the Mayfair there was a twist.
Replacing the standard sound-track were a variety of musicians playing a score composed for the evening (double bass; viola; violin; cello; flute; bass clarinet; electric guitar and organ), sound effect creators (foley artists apparently) and five actors voicing the dialogue.
Pair this off with a lively audience supping Beaus and you have a recipe for a most entertaining evening.
The music was great, as it has been at all of the 'silent' movies we've seen at the Mayfair. Extra special for me as my future husband was playing bass clarinet - the hugely attractive - sorry I mean talented - Linsey Wellman, who we first saw at the Folk Festival last summer.
The actors pulled off just the right level of dramatic hammyness, particularly the lady voicing all the female roles. This is a film of swooning and dithering muppets, not strong confident women.


Sunday treat today, our first visit (of many) to the Murray Street Restaurant. Good food, good company - surprisingly good prices.

Every time we go for brunch I seem to discover a new favourite venue - I'm a fickle girl. This place serves a selection of cake to the table to tide you over til your meal arrives, my fickle days may be cured!

Wildlife spotting

The bird spotting has really taken off (ho ho) in the last week or so, with the trees out front teeming with grackles and red winged blackbirds fighting over the feeders. Today's news is mammal focused however - our first groundhog of the season. We noticed a suspicious burrow earlier in the week, but today spotted a very ginger looking hog sat beside it. No photos as yet, but I do have a little video of another furry critter to share.

During this evenings dusk dog walk by the river we spotted a dark shape on the opposite bank. Our previous claims of 'beaver' have been met with some suspicion by locals as they are not known primarily as river dwellers. We got brilliant views tonight though, and also enjoyed listening to him chomping on sticks for quite a while - Jasper was fixated.

A fabulous weekend indeed. Although I did manage to snap my favourite yellow crochet hook - can't win them all.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Saturday - playing with felt

For my birthday this year, Paul bought me a book I had been fawning over at Beechwood bookshop the previous week. He knows well that not only am I a sucker for all things crafty, but that I also love Japanese styled creatures and awkward sounding translations - this was the perfect book for me. Accompanying the 'how to make a monkey' page the text reads:
"He's a serious monkey.
He's from Japan.
That's why his tail is short.
He's not a chimp.
He's a monkey.
Please craft him seriously." Beautiful.

I have limited stocks of felt, so browsed the book with my restricted colour palette in mind. Having decided on my pattern of choice, I carefully traced and cut out the template pieces required. (As I am now in my thirties I have put away my safety scissors and progressed to sharp crafting scissors - you will be pleased to hear that my fingers survived today's efforts.)
Can you guess what it is yet?

Although I have been knitting with friends regularly of late, this mornings making was definitely a solitary pursuit - poor Jasper is not a fan of playing with felt and retired to the sofa to unceremoniously fart and snore in the background.

Now the book calls for some rudimentary sewing which I'm fine with, but also the use of superglue to stick on the fiddlier parts of the mascot. Sadly I have been banned from using superglue since a freak accident in which I squirted myself in the face and then spent the next hour pulling out eyelashes to enable me to open my eye again - no there are no photos of this event. Sorry.
Anyway, I got around this by sewing the eyes and buttons on too, which although it was a little fiddly wasn't too bad.
And so - the completed mascot, introducing the Frog in a blue dress - Maud.

Friday, 26 March 2010

He may not say much but he takes very nice photos!

Too late to blog after a lot of knitting this evening....feeling sleepy but happy. Night everyone. xxx

saturday mornings in march


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Jasper's Obessions

For anyone who has not met the head of our humble household, Jasper appears to be a normal, well behaved dog. He frequently turns heads, especially since moving to Canada, and several times we have heard people muttering 'cute puppy' etc as they pass him.

We obviously adore him. He sleeps on the bed (when it suits him), he dictates when we go out, he invariably gets treats from our meals.
He is spoilt.
He is also obsessive, verging on neurotic.

In England, this was usually most apparent when at Mum and Dad's house. Jasper has a fondness for squeaky toys. Well, that is if you translate fondness as an inbuilt passion for ripping apart anything that squeaks as quickly and viciously as possible. In previous years my family have purchased toys of various varieties for him at Christmas. One year they bought him a penguin, which Jasper duly demolished in record time, but then rather than ignoring it as soon as he had killed the squeak, he kept gnawing. Eventually we took it off him and 'hid' it on the mantelpiece. For the last 5+ years whenever we have visited, Jasper has spent some of the time sat staring at the spot where it was placed, sometimes whimpering quietly to himself. (For several years he also tried to find the hamster that ran round the room in an exercise ball, which he still believes is hiding behind the sofa).

Since emigrating, Jasper has had a couple of encounters with squeaky toys. One blue bone (now sans squeak) is still here, and he pounces on it for a few minutes a couple of times a week. However, he has now transferred his attentions to household items, and there seems to be very little connection between his obsessions.

First it was Paul's hockey kneepads. Whether it is the aroma of sweaty sportsman, or some fetish for white cotton I don't know, but given the opportunity Jasper trots off with a kneepad in his jaws to snuggle up with (and chew, affectionately).

Last week he fixated on a bunch of helium balloons I was sent for my birthday. He sat staring at them from across the room, with his back legs quivering with nervous tension. Eventually I had to hide them in a cupboard so he could get some rest.

Today the bizarreness level reached new heights. My present from Mum and Dad arrived and Jasper quickly became alert to a parcel (he loves wrapping paper). We thought he had smelt the chocolate within, which would have been understandable. When I tidied later though, he chased me round the house - completely fixated on my brand new oven gloves. Beautiful though they are (thankyou mum and dad), this is very strange behaviour in a canine. The boy needs help. Any pet psychiatrists out there?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wednesday wednesday

Another late night, with the sci-fi double bill at the cinema this evening - little worried about my dreams tonight...

Overheard a conversation on the bus on the way home, the man next to me seemed to be trying to tempt the lady sat behind him home to taste his amazing coffee flavoured burgers. Apparently its a recipe handed down the generations in his family - that his mum found on the internet.....rub coffee, brown sugar and vinegar into the burger and cook as usual. Not sure it'll work with veggie burgers in the same way.

Whilst knitting at the cinema this evening I dropped my ball of wool during both films. The first time it rolled three rows forward, I retrieved it during the interval. The second it went a little further but this time I managed to knit to the end of the ball so rescued the situation. Paul finds it very funny when my wool rolls down the aisle of a bus or under the seats in the cinema. Little things please little minds.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A few things I have learnt so far this week....

Numero Uno - Sometimes being polite isn't the best option.
At the blues gig on Friday I turned the flash off on my camera as it was a small venue and I felt it was rude to flash at the band (oo-er). This meant that to get any shots worth looking at I had to hold my little camera very steady, which led the guitarist to think i was videoing the gig and tell me off - oops!
It got even weirder when a couple of tracks later, she beckoned me to the stage, and (whilst still playing her three-necked guitar) told me I could take one more shot.....very very odd.
Next time, either no photos will be taken, or I'll just have to keep the flash on and snap are the blurry piccies I did manage.

Number Two - a good muffin is never wasted
I am not the best housewife in the world (this is not something I've learnt his week, its been apparent for quite some time). This is usually apparent from the dust bunnies and dirty windows, however yesterday it reached a new low. Whilst tidying I found one of my home-made muffins in a paper bag, forgotten and stale. A truly sad moment.
Thankfully Bertie the red squirrel made short work of the muffin and seemed particularly fond of the choc-chips.

Number C - How to crochet.
Introducing Mr. Melancholy Heffalump.

monday oops

...oops! Playing computer games and eating posh peaches and cream last night - completely forgot to blog! We were very productive though (Karen - spoiler alert!)...

We escaped from the doctor's chair with cunning used of foot pedals and electrocuting monkeys. Then managed to blow up the glass unicorns with the ships cannon, so that we could use the unbreakable-glass-breaker and retrieve the treasure map, which we used along with the wind vane and manatee's eye to find the entrance to a secret cavern. Went to bed after we got stuck trying to steal the doctor's magic staff.....

Ah, Monkey Island, how we adore thee.

Too make posh peaches and cream...
* Quarter a peach per person and lay skin down in a shallow baking dish.
* Stir a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and the same amount of icing sugar into some double cream. Pour over the peaches.
* Sprinkle over with flaked almonds and brown sugar.
* Grill till the sugar is bubbling and golden.


Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday 21st March

I have a poorly belly,
A jippy stomach you may say,
My poorly tum is aching,
And has bothered me all day.

I don't think its something I've eaten,
I must have caught a bug,
But its bubbling like a cauldron,
So I'm hiding under the duvet - snug.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be better,
It would be nice if this were true,
For now I just need to stay near the bathroom,
In case I need another... visit.


Saturday, 20 March 2010

Snoozeful Saturday

I got in at five to midnight on Friday night, which for little old me is well past my bed-time. Mr H. got in two and a half hours later having stayed on after the intermission at the Blues gig. He is made of hardier stuff.

Or at least he is until he gets up the next morning. On our dog walk this morning, whilst supping on our travel mug tea, Paul had the swiftest hangover on record. (I will spare you the details, suffice to say that the tea did not stay down. Bless).

Back home and we both had a very very lazy day. Eventually resurfacing to wallow in hot baths, then head to Michael and Betsy's for a birthday dinner. B excelled and did her new/old dinner set justice. I am going to bed full of good good food and after an evening with friends and a happy dog who now has a fondness for salmon.

Smug? Me?


Friday, 19 March 2010


....are so far very very good....but its past midnight and I'm risking turning into a pumpkin. So to bed....we oldies need even more beauty sleep you know! xxx

Thursday, 18 March 2010

end of an era

How did you spend the last day of your twenties? Did you make sure to fill it up with all those things twenty somethings do? Did it go something like this...

I worked on my knitting ( A hat for me this time, hopefully long enough to keep my ears warm as I keep casting off too soon and ending up with chilly lobes).
Then I headed out to meet a friend, we ate Mac and Cheese at the cheese shop, then went to a matinee at the cinema - The princess and the Frog, the first Disney animation I've seen in a long long time. I quite enjoyed it, but then I'm a sucker for Randy Newman songs and trumpet playing alligators.

After a quick nap we went to the Civilisation Museum to marvel at totem poles and masks. I've only visited to go to the IMAX cinema before, and will be back as I love the images and carvings.

All topped off by a lovely meal, a pint and an Irish coffee....I only hope that my thirties are as happy as my twenties. xxx

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Picnics are fast becoming my favourite thing, and todays was particularly fabulous. I made vegetenarian toad in the hole, with mushrooms for me and veggie sausages for Paul. The batter had rosemary and horse-radish sauce mixed in, delicious. Topped off with boozy onion gravy and a flask of coffee - the perfect way to get yourself well and truly cosy-of-belly and ready for a nap. Of course this is not the ideal state to send Paul back to work in, but works fine for me!

On the waddle home, we spotted this beautiful birdie, a Cooper's Hawk (well I've decided its a Cooper's, after much debate on the bird forums). Another to add to the wildlife list, along with the skunk that raided the raccoons leftovers last night.

An evening of spinning yarn and a surprisingly relaxing pint in the pub finished of a lovely day - the last few days of my twenties are proving to be very enjoyable.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sparrow, Sunset, Sweater

This morning a sparrow was waiting for me to put out the sunflower seeds for breakfast. It was -1 outside, there was frost on the ground and the raccoon had been in the bin again because one of our neighbours still cannot master the childproof lock (I can now manage this and have moved in the advanced class, trying to open paracetamol bottles without assistance. Next week gherkin jars). The raccoon does not care for grapefruit.

I spent the day knitting, but took a break to see the sunset over the river. It got up to 15 degrees today. Paul's colleagues are apparently wearing shorts to work so it is only a matter of time before the Hockett legs resurface too.

Before those lovely limbs are revealed, I am happy to say that today I finished Paul's jumper. This is the first adult sized garment I have finished (except sleeveless cardigans), and was made not because of the deep love I have for Paul, but because since arriving in Canada the man has launched a nagging campaign and he wore me down. In the face of this onslaught I had only a few options:

1) Ignore him - not easy. He had begun telling all our friends repeatedly that even after our many years together I had never knitted him a jumper. I think he's been taking lessons in puppy dog eyes from Jasper.

2) Knit him a truly embarrassing garment, maybe in pink, maybe with little bunnies on it. Sadly knowing Paul as I do, I realised he would wear such a jumper, and hold my hand whilst wearing it. This plan would backfire quickly.

3) Knit him a jumper, and make it one he likes so he can wear it frequently and I can go back to making fish hats and cuddly toys. This evening I completed my task and the man is happy. Job Done:

Monday, 15 March 2010

Same Bat time, same Bat channel

Once upon a time Jasper and Amy went for a walk. As usual Amy set out in one direction, he tried to go the other. For a change Amy won, then spotted a very friendly looking spaniel playing fetch on the Maple Island so quickly diverted. At this point Jasper decided he did want to go in that direction after all as there was a dog to play/fight/bark/bite with. Instead they compromised and sat on a bench in the sun watching other dogs have fun, while Jasper quivered with excitement and Amy stroked his head lovingly.

When the coast was clear they headed back over the bridge for home, following a well dressed lady in a suit. Amy noticed she skipped to the left just before the end of the bridge, looked at the floor, turned back to look at her, and scowled. Amy assumed she'd had a near brush with some doggy-doo and was intent on giving evil looks at the nearest pooch owner. (I would like to point out despite my dogs anti-social tendencies, I am a responsible owner and ALWAYS pick up, I have even got quite inventive when I have realised I am bagless, I'll leave those stories to another time).

On reaching the end of the bridge, Amy found much to surprise not a small brown poop but a small brown bat.

Now I realise this will not be a surprise to anyone reading (are you out there?), both due to the title of this post, and that you probably scroll straight to the photos anyway. I however was quite shocked. Jasper wanted to play. Now, despite my dedication to scooping up small brown piles on a daily basis, the fact I had a dog lead in one hand, and also that said dog had to get rabies jab to protect him in this wonderful country, meant I was a little unsure what to do. Boris (the bat) was extremely dopey and trying to hide in the bridge crevices, sadly this meant he was likely to end up either as a dog snack or run over by a cyclist very soon. At this stage another couple arrived, and after we all ooh-ed and ah-ed, praised the RSPCA (he was a fellow Brit) and I grabbed a couple of piccies, he transferred the bat via a stick to a safer, shadier and more secluded spot.

Boris was rescued, Mr.Brit walked away with a very impressed girlfriend, and Jasper and I went home for a turkey shaped sponge cake with a story for today's blog post.

And we all lived happily ever after. x

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sunday baking....

I've got into the habit of baking on Sundays, which is not to say that I don't dabble during the week too. I made muffins on Friday to take to the Wildlife Garden as fuel for out plant potting. They went down very well - so much so that there were none left for me - thankfully I slyly left some at home.

Today is the first soggy day in a long while, which together with a big trip to the supermarket this morning meant I was in a lazy lazy mood by baking time. I flicked through the old faithful bero book and settled on sponge drops as an easy option. Sadly I underestimated the spread of the mixture while baking and ended up with a trayful of sponge rather than circular sections - never fear, head for the cookie cutters......moments later the mixture transformed from this:

to these:

spongedrop-farmyard-cakes. Yummy!

Saturday, 13 March 2010


fish and chips.
irish coffee.

Friday, 12 March 2010

friday feeling....

Today I finished the fish hat. Sadly, as it is part of a swap I can't post pictures as it is supposed to be a surprise for the recipient. But I love it, and I did send piccies to friends and family of me being eaten by the fish hat which prompted the following responses:

"You are a geek."

"Ha Ha Ha."

"I want one."

"You'd be surprised by how many times I have been attacked by a knitted fish."

Interesting cross-section of responses.

Back to the wildlife garden today, putting soil in pots ready for the seeds to be planted in preparation for the plant sale in June. Apparently I am very efficient at putting soil in pots, which I will add to my list of skills.

I leave you with todays video, of a scrawny Downy Woodpecker on the feeder at FWG. Much like me he was very focussed on his lunch and not fussed by distractions.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


My beloved other half who also occasionally blogs here (very occasionally) is a scientist. He has repeatedly explained what he does to me, usually drawing diagrams on the back of a napkin to help me understand. I have tried to repeat these explanations to friends and family when asked, only to see him looking at me quizzically like I have invented a whole new scientific field.

I am an educated woman. I don't have Science A-levels, but I do have a degree in Maths and feel I should be able to at least follow the gist of what he does.

In recent months he informs me he has been working on a Coincidence Machine, and this week he has finished the drawings of the Baffle Array.

I am beginning to feel that I may have had the wool pulled over my eyes, and he is not a scientist at all. In which case what does he do all day? Who is paying his wages? What does NRC actually stands for?

Norman's Radio Company?
Narrowboat Restoration Club?
Naughty Recording Complex?

Any ideas?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

March 10th Top Ten....

Things to do in Ottawa....

1. Have a picnic We've really adopted picnics as our new favourite thing to do, clocking up four in the past fortnight (interestingly fortnight is an underused word here and I've been asked t explain it a couple of times). Winter/Spring picnics generally involve home-made soup and cheese sandwiches. Today we sat in a tree with the leftover carrot soup from last night and watched the ice float down the river . Lovely Jubbly.

2. Visit the Gallery. On the third Thursday of the month we head to the National Art Gallery and tour round the permanent collection. One of my favourite pieces is the whale skeleton made of garden chairs and I adored the Daphne Odjig exhibition over the Christmas holidays.

3. Go for a Bike ride. We've hired bikes a couple of times now, and either headed along the river path to Remic Rapids, or up into Gatineau Park. As ever I struggle to get in the right gear, but nonetheless we're hoping to make the most of Sunday mornings in the summer when the council closes some of the roads just for cyclists.

4. Knitting Be it knitting at home, at the folk festival, on the bus or at knit-nights.

5. Heading to the Mayfair for a film. I love this place, particularly the silent films with live music accompaniment - and the matinee of Home Alone at Christmas.

6. Enjoying the Cafe Culture. Paul loves his coffee. And I am very fond of a Mocha myself, especially with a ginger cookie. So many coffee shops, so little time. introduce to 'Raw Sugar' at the weekend, fifties tables and tasty cake - we'll be returning.

7. Watching the boats go through the Locks on the Canal Many a summer afternoon was spent lying in the shade, spotting groundhogs and watching the boats go up and down the locks. Add an ice-cream from Piccolo Grande and an English Newspaper - bliss.

8. Helping at the Wildlife Garden. Back to the grindstone on Friday, potting seeds in preparation for the plant sale in June. Gradually developing my green fingers, but still safest when someone makes it very clear which are the weeds and which we want.

9. Brunch brunch brunch My personal quest to find the best Eggs Florentine in Ottawa goes on. Current top three: Fraser Cafe, Hamie's Diner and The Mayflower Pub.

10. Eek - there are not enough numbers from 1 to 10! Cross-country skiing, watching Paul play ice-hockey; wandering round New Edinburgh during Halloween and Christmas looking at the decorations; browsing the stalls in the many things!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

March 9th

Mental note number two:

It is customary when making carrot soup to replace the lid on the pan once you have finished blending. This will stop the soup from spraying onto the walls of the kitchen like a bad paint effect when the soup splutters later.

That is all.x

Monday, 8 March 2010

Dentist, bread rolls and knitting

Another day, another few inches closer to finishing Paul's jumper. Completed the body today and cast on sleeve numero uno. As he continues to suffer from his man flu (which is actually quite a bad cold, but sympathy is not a common emotion when ill in our household!), I insist on getting him to contort himself into awkward positions so he can try on the garment without getting impaled by a knitting needle. (If I'm honest, my prime motivation is to make sure I don't drop any stitches, rather than to keep him safe from injury!).

On the way home from the dentist today, I was stopped by a slightly madcap lady whist crossing the road. She took hold of my arm and earnestly reported: "Two ducks, on the river, go and look". As the amateur ornithologist that I am, I heeded her advice, wondering what rare treat I would be able to add to my list. I found 7 mallards feasting on breadcrumbs under the bridge. It seems the lack of birds to spot in Ottawa throughout the winter months has sent some wildlife watchers over the edge... although I can hardly talk as I admit that I squealed like a small over-excitable child when I saw my first chipmunk of the year this afternoon.

I regularly forget that the bakeries in the area are closed on Mondays. As a result I dabbled with making my own burger baps this afternoon.
Mental note: Plan weekly menu so that I don't serve burgers on Mondays. At least til I've improved my bread-making skills somewhat.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

7th March.....mixed emotions

Uncertain and upsetting news from back in England yesterday led to a restless night and a sleepy day today. This is not the place, but things are looking more positive now, so hopefully we can start to look forward again.

The weather in Ottawa this week has been fabulous and today was no exception. Another blue sky day, another picnic. This time by the Gatineau River, sat on the same fallen tree we spent many a summer afternoon on with the water lapping at our feet. Today although the river has begun to thaw, the edge is still frozen solid, and instead of performing acrobatic feats to reach the dry branches, we could walk straight up to them and throw snowballs too. The photos almost look like a Caribbean beach - that's ice honestly!

Home and a drowsy afternoon. Paul is being visited by the man flu so is sparko on the sofa after self medicating with a hot toddy. I've ended another week by baking, and leave you with a piccie of my granny loaf, recipe from the trusted and much beloved bero cookbook. My desert island discs luxury item!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

6th March and the second picnic of the week

It is still winter, the temperature was -6 when we headed out with Jasper this morning. But by midday it was +8 with beautiful blue skies, and the people of Ottawa returned to the streets. There was a clown on the bus (well he had a clowns nose anyway); juggling on street corners; bustling in the market place - and five friends sharing a delicious picnic in the park.

We bought lunch at Whalesbone,sampling their sock-eye burgers, smoked salmon sandwiches and delicious chowder. Washed down with cream soda - smiles all round.

Picnics at this time of the year may not involve sunbathing and lazy games of Frisbee. All the better - the temperature today was perfect, there were no bugs and there is something fabulous about watching the steam rise from your hot fish chowder whilst sat in a park of melting snow. Bliss.

March the 5th - oops

Eek, a fail on day five....some evenings are for blogging and others are for falling asleep by the fire listening to songs with biscuit in the title....

Thursday, 4 March 2010

March forth....

Lunch day - 6 of us for lunch today and broke away from soup for a change. I made tomato and herb crusted cod with creamy parmesan mash - lovely, well I thought so and it vanished pretty quickly.

This regular lunch date is a favourite day for so many reasons - good company, good deserts from Betsy and good knitting afterwards - but also a good reminder of the fact that I now cook for groups of people regularly. Cooking for two was a stretch of my talents back in England! So silly the mental barriers we put up - I could have been a contestant on 'Can't Cook, Won't Cook' back then, and just six months later I love cooking and even break away from the recipe books every now and again....

Although saying that we did have oven chips and fried eggs for dinner last steps!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

day three

Has spring arrived? I think its safe to say that it probably hasn't, but things have brightened and although its still -2ish first thing in the morning, we're hitting the heights of +4 or more by lunchtime. This new found warmth has led to a big rise in the wildlife spotting, although as things have been very sparse recently a big rise isn't all that dramatic.

I do now have regular bird visitors on the back porch, albeit cock-e-ney sparrows just like the ones back home. They've been joined by a dark-eyed junco today, and I also spotted male northern cardinals singing seductive tunes to their prospective lady friends. Apparently car-alarm impressions are very attractive in the world of bright red birdies.

Last night saw the second visit to our compost from Mr.Raccon, who seems very adept at toppling the wheelie bin over before climbing inside to forrage for tasty treats. Worryingly I sometimes struggle to open the child-proof fastenings to deposit our peelings and this opposable-thumbless creature seems to manage with very little bother. Based on the detritus left around the bin this morning it is safe to report that this furry friend is not a fan of cauliflower.

And as for us, the warmth has put a spring in our step, and we enjoyed homemade soup and a sandwich by the river at lunchtime. Best to make the most of the blue skies before the snow returns....

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

the second

A monumental day in my canadian story as today I earnt my first dollars - all 4 of them. I handed in photos to the canteen picturama, they collate 4x6 prints and then sell them at a gallery evening at $2 a pop. We went for sushi then headed to the overcrowded venue, to find I had sold one - and then another to my friend who purchased a prize picture of the taj mahal snow globe I bought back from India for Paul.....who knows maybe I clocked up a few more spondoolies after we headed to the pub.

Also today I added another string to my bow with my first spinning class. I have realised this week just how few of my friends actually know me, as without fail one after the other responded to this news with "spinnings one of the hardest exercise classes you can do you know" or words to that effect - even the knitters! No, I have not been working up a sweat on an exercise bike, but I have attempted spinning roving into yarn under the expert tuition of Caroline at Knit-knackers. She was very (very) patient, and I managed not to swear out loud when my thread snapped for the umpteenth time - success all round!

A hunky-dory day indeed.

Monday, 1 March 2010

merry march....

a challenge set to myself to blog every day in march - a simple target you may think, but this depends very much whether I decide just to ramble away inanely, or whether I decide to try and do something worth blogging about each day! time will tell....

Today I returned to the dentist of doom, and it wasn't quite so bad. More advice on how to turn my grotty Austin Powers English teeth into sparkling North American pearly whites, but less humiliation so a small success.

Sandwiching either side of my dentist trip was a double helping of DIY and organisation - at a friends apartment. Why I feel motivated to put together flat packed furniture in other people's homes I have no idea, but todays big achievement was single-handedly putting together an IKEA wardrobe - hooray!

Back home to get Paul's dinner on the table (Amy's special fusion cookery - tomato and feta soup followed by fake-beef, aubergine and pepper spring rolls) and greet him with a milkshake. Job done. x