Posted in General, humor, humour

I’m behaving like an old car…but…

You know how your old car develops little maintenance problems and you have to get them fixed before it will run properly again?

First, you have a rear right turn light out, so I, being totally car illiterate, have to take it to the service garage.
You get it fixed, only to hear squeaks coming from somewhere under the hood (or bonnet). Back to the fixer of everything cars. It needs a new belt, he says. OK, what’s that? It’s the belt, he replies, that you don’t want to get your fingers anywhere near when you are filling up the windshield washer.
He fixes that, but the very next day you hear more squeaks, but not from the belt. (Oh, I am now an expert with auto terms and I can say belt, sort of knowing what it is.) So back to Mr Fixer. Oh, he says, that sounds like rotors. Hey, my car is not a helicopter: it doesn’t have any rotors. No, he says, a rotor is the thing in the wheel that the brake pads grab to slow you down.

So you get new rotors: they never come one at a time, always in pairs. At least that’s what Mr. Fixer says. After paying him a minor fortune, you drive off feeling happy.
A week later, I see water under the front of the car. I open the hood and, now I am an expert, even I can see there is a hose (yes, I know that term – I have several in the garden that spout water in various places leading to a little spurt at the end instead of a good jet) and I see water dripping from the hose that leads to the radiator (I know that term, too, for in olden days, My Beloved and I had an apartment in Winnipeg equipped with something that looked like the thing under the hood, which I broke by leaving the window open at night, only to have the minus thirty degree air come in and bust it, thereby flooding the apartment below). So, Mr. Fix-it fixed that.

All of that cost some dollars, but more to my point, they were all minor maintenance issues, which many an old car has.
And that is how I am feeling these days.

Back in November (2017), the fainting, going unconscious, episodes about which I had written and many of you knew about as long ago as five years were getting closer together. Short story: my pulse would drop to 30 beats per minute and leave those funny little billions of cells in my head with very little blood, so they shut me down and these episodes became a daily event. That’s when the cardiac specialist inserted a pacemaker in me. Great! Now I do not pass out. Well, not because of low pulse rate. So, I checked off No. 1 maintenance.

Second maintenance was a cataract operation to my left eye, which left me able to see half of you, as the other eye had not had an operation – until two weeks ago. Now I see you properly and you all look beautiful – or handsome, if you are a male.

Third maintenance issue: last fall, I arranged with a plastic surgeon, who also, fortunately, specialises in removal of basil cell cancers and the like, to have the one on the tip of my nose cut off. Some say, a smaller nose would have been better seven decades ago. So, that takes place March 21st.

Fourth maintenance issue started yesterday with a CAT scan of my abdomen. Over the past couple of months, I had been having teeny-weeny pains sometimes in my left lower abdomen and I could feel the odd lump, which, when I massaged it, would move along and disappear. At least, until it appeared later as, to put it politely, gas or poop. Now, I may not be a car expert, but I am a pretty good quack, so I figured it could be a hernia. So, also, after poking me around quite a bit, agreed my real doctor, the lovely Dr. Eve (name changed to hide the innocent), but I’d better get a CAT scan. As I have a pacemaker, I cannot have an MRI or I will disintegrate in flames.

However, before I was able to get it, another issue arose, which required a CAT scan also.  I chose to get it at an out-of-town hospital, as I knew it would take longer to get it in the main hospital in town. And yesterday, My Beloved and I had a lovely drive in the country with +8C and sunny skies to get my two-for-one CAT scan. I can’t tell you the results yet, but I’m sure my Dr. Eve will let me know next week.

On our return drive, we picked up our mail at the boxes, or as Canada Post tenderly calls them, a nest of boxes. In one of the envelopes was a demand for me to appear at a down-town hospital, where a urologist will give me a cystoscopy. Now, my quack knowledge did not encompass that technical medical word, but it didn’t sound or look like anything frightening. I mean, after all, cyto comes from Greek meaning a cell and I have zillions of them, so why would he need to copy one of my cells? But, if that’s what he wants, then he can copy as many as he wants.

But, curiosity, as they say, killed the cat. I looked up cystoscopy and it didn’t mean copying any of my cells. It meant this doctor, who from his name is obviously an Irish immigrant right out of the University of Limerick, is a newly born surgeon looking to further his experience and to take a camera right up my – yes, very private part – and have a good look around at several of my organs. When I have had my colonoscopies I have rather enjoyed watching on the TV in the op room the camera creep up my other private part looking for nasties, but I’m not sure I will be able to have the satisfaction of that in this next invasion of my innards, as they probably don’t have a TV set up in the same way. Or, maybe they do.

Well, remember the car and its maintenance? That’s how I feel I am these days, just getting maintained. But, when all has been fixed, just like the car, I will be as fit as I feel now, only knowing that there is nothing further that can go wrong — trust me, I’m a pretty good quack!

Posted in General, humor, humour, Uncategorized

What a Difference a Play Makes!

Yesterday, My Beloved and I went to our excellent downtown Neptune Theatre to see
– and hear, of course –
Jonas and Barry In The Home

Jonas and Barry - IMG_20180128_1608275.jpg

It was hilarious!

The playwright, Norm Foster, a Canadian – a Maritimer, actually, coming from New Brunswick – has written 59 plays, I believe most, if not all, are comedies, and in any year has at least 150 productions in Canada. I have seen only two or three, but thoroughly enjoyed laughing through them.

Barry is a curmudgeon, as Jonas initially calls him, having come into the seniors’ retirement home on the basis that his daughter, who works there, wanted him closer so that she didn’t want to go to see him at his house, only to find that the place smelled of rotting flesh, he having died two weeks previously. Jonas gradually gets Barry to open up and meet “girls”. Jonas is quite the flirt and has a libido as wide as the horizon. (At one point, he admits to Barry that one evening, he looks at himself and sees “an old man’s penis”, small and flaccid.)

Jonas continues to build Barry’s confidence up throughout the play and Barry eventually turns into a man-about-town. And interesting to us was that Norm Foster himself played Jonas. The essence the Director wanted to leave with us at the end of the production was make yourself happy first and then others will be made happy by your attitude.

If you should ever have the opportunity of seeing this, or any other Norm Foster play, do go and see it.

And after the matinee performance? Dinner, of course. At a restaurant to which we had never been, but just 100 paces from Neptune’s door, East of Grafton, a tavern of sorts.

We, apparently, should have had a reservation, for they were full, the hostess told us, except for two seats at the bar or at one of the high tables, where the stools have no backrest. So, we were in a quandary, trying to decide if we wanted to stay in one of the two uncomfortable places or leave, when a young server came up to the hostess and told her he could find us two seats at a table for four, which, we presumed, the people had reserved and not turned up. Ah, God works in mysterious ways, even on the floor of a pub.

We ordered a bottle of Malbec, one of our favourite wines from Argentina, and perused the menu. On our way to the Neptune performance, we had glanced at the menu on the window, so it did not take long for me to decide on the Salmon Tartare and Fish and Chips. My Beloved pondered over it longer, because we could not find the Open Face Lamb Sandwich on the menu, but which we had seen on the menu on the window. “Oh,” our server told us, “that is only on the lunch menu, however,” she continued, “I will see if the chef will be able to put one together for you.”

Our lovely young woman quickly returned and informed us that the chef said he has one lamb sandwich left and My Beloved can have it. Oh, seems like God continued to work in mysterious ways in the pub!

My Salmon Tartare came with a couple of toasted slices of French bread and was more than delicious: wonderfully sushi-ish, ground up salmon mixed with some form of creamy sauce, possibly with dill involvement. My Beloved had a couple of bites and declared it to be as good as I had.

My Beloved’s Lamb Sandwich arrived.

Open face Lamb Sandwhich














According to My Beloved, the lamb was sitting in a bowl of bread and it did not really live up to its promise – not that I heard it promise anything – but the lamb was a bit dry, she said. Perhaps it had been sitting on a shelf since lunch.

As far as my fish and chips was concerned, I had been informed that the remoulade on the fish was unavailable last night. That didn’t make any difference to me, as I had no idea what a remoulade was, so I didn’t miss it. The haddock fillet was quite large, larger than those we have been able to get fresh recently, and cooked just nicely: that is, still a little moist inside, so it is not at all dry. And the fries, oh, they were excellent. Small, thin and well deep fried. Mmmm! I shouldn’t have had them. I should have ordered a side salad. I’m sure glad I didn’t, though.

Fish & Chips.jpg













And to you, My Friends, I bid you bon appetit with whatever you are about to eat and leave you with the following thought……

or, Shakespeare said….

A man cannot make him laugh – but that’s no marvel; he drinks no wine.

Henry IV – Part 2 – Act 4 – Scene 2









Posted in General, winter

Notes on a Nova Scotia Winter

I do dislike shovelling and haven’t had to shovel for the past twenty or so years, so this is the way I get our driveway done. Monty does a good job.IMG_20180123_1245279

However, I still have to de-snow the cars and the main back deck so I can refill my four bird feeders.

Later, same day….
……I didn’t have to de-snow both cars, since the temperature rose during the day and overnight to 9C, the rain pelted and the wind howled, leaving the parking lot – and our driveway – like this….

And the temperature is still a balmy 7.5C.

The only loss: I had to pay Monty for something nature did a few hours later!

Nova Scotia weather can range from cold and stormy to warm-ish to beautiful. The other


day, for instance, it was so lovely outdoors I got a Keurig Timmy Horton’s black decaf and sat out in the Birdcage sipping it. (Most of you know that the Birdcage is a sheltered part of a deck, straight off the dining room.) I was enthralled with the activity at my bird feeders: Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Junkos, the occasional Blue Jay, and, while I didn’t see Mr. & Mrs. Pheasant then, I saw them the next morning on our main deck (photo), scrummaging around under one of the feeders on which some of the little birds were tossing feed over the side to the patiently waiting birds below.

And it sure wasn’t long before Noisy found me. All during summer every year (because we are here at home every summer) we have a number of lovelyIMG_20180121_1517442 little red squirrels coming up to the Birdcage, along with my preferred Chipmunks. The chippies hibernate and we don’t see them until Spring. But three of the squirrels apparently stay awake and stay close by: Noisy, because he chatters and tries to drive off any other squirrels with his chattering; One-eye, because he has been around for at least three years with only one eye – how he survives jumping from branch to branch, I have no idea; and Anonym, because we haven’t named him anything else and he lives way over through the trees in our neighbour’s property. As I said, it didn’t take Noisy long to find me…..and when I wondered over to the feeder deck, there, lo and behold were One-eye and Anonym, both waiting for me to feed them by hand. It was a wonderful nature-filled afternoon and one in which definitely to thank God for all the blessings of this life.

But the day was not finished: the sunset was just splendid. Indeed another blessing!


Two weeks ago, I had to report for my 6-week Pacemaker check. Since I had had no more dizzy or fainting events, I thought it was doing well. Apparently, it was and is: I was told it was brilliant. Or did she mean I was brilliant? I don’t know. She also told me that the battery was good for another seven years. If I get a new battery then, I can make the century easily.

Have I ever published a Scribblings or a post in this Blog without mentiimg_20171217_1905307.jpgoning food? No!

So, how about My Beloved’s delicious lamb stew with cabbage and potatoes waiting to be mashed into it – yes, of course with their skins on. And a glass of Merlot to pair with it.

What did you think? That I should have cleaned off the rim of the dish? Hm! How right you are! Rotten photographer, but joyously satisfied diner.

And how does one finish off with dessert, but with a wonderful wild blueberry and apple crumble. Oh, yes, yummy! And I intentionally leave you with a large photo of it. Tip to make the crumble really crisp and chewy: add crystalised ginger.IMG_20171217_1932558

Until next time, blessings on you and all whom you love!

Posted in Dining, General, humour

It’s winter, but…….

Sure, just a couple of days ago it was above freezing.
Now it is -4C and going down tonight to -11C.

And, call me a liar, I said there was no snow.
Now there is.


The sun was shining brilliantly, so I cleared the snow off the decks – no worries, it was light fluffy stuff and I just pushed it over the sides of the decks, so no lifting – and I felt wonderful. It was exciting to be back in snowland after so many years away from it.

Even better was the fact that I could watch all my friends: Mr & Mrs Blue Jay and a few others, the Black-capped Chickadees, the Dark-eyed Junkos and even a remaining pair of Goldfinches, which I did not expect to see. And from time to time, they all came to one or other of my four feeders. Additionally, the two regular red friendly squirrels came as soon as I started to refill one of the feeders. One is Noisy, because he is noisy, and One-eye, because he has only one eye. He’s my favourite and has been around for at least three years, feeding from our hands every summer, so I imagine he is very pleased to see we are vacationing at home this winter. How he manages to survive, jumping from branch to branch, never falling, with only one eye, is a wonder of nature.


The last time I was able to watch my feeders during winter, some twenty years ago, there were never any Goldfinches around at Christmas. However, I now see that they are quite common at Christmas and I am very happy. No global warming? Ha! Their colouring, however, is very dull with no yellow on the male at all, just the olive-greeny shade. There are actually two in the next picture, one on each side of the feeder.

IMG_20171217_1426125 - cropped

Now I have to admit that, aside from having to get rid of a little bit of snow, winter can be quite pleasant. My Beloved and I live in our house with five acres, basically unable to see our neighbours through the forest of trees, able to view the Atlantic Ocean in St. Margaret’s Bay from 100 metres up above, occasionally watching the lobster boats when lobster is in season as now, or the sailboats in the spring through autumn, being able to feed and talk to our avian and mammalian friends, with a feeling, even in winter, that all’s right with God’s world and we are blessed to be able to live and share in it.

Now, what’s for dinner, just to underline that all’s right with God’s world, particularly in this house at our feeding time at our feeder? First, a wonderful, flavourful beef stew, filled with carrots, cabbage, onion, herbs, garlic (how can you eat without that), with potatoes to mash into it and a glass of wine to accompany it.


But, delicious as that was, I did not finish it – it’s now leftovers for Tuesday’s dinner, for we have to be out early on Tuesday for carols at a Seniors’ home followed by choir practice at our church. And I had to leave room for dessert. Simply had to.


Oh, a so scrumptious apple and wild blueberry crumble. The apples were from our own tree; the blueberries had been handpicked by someone and frozen by My Beloved. And she has a secret for the crumble, which I shall share with you: mix in some crystallized ginger – what a difference it makes.

As I wrote above, It’s winter, but…. how could such a wonderful day; singing joyful songs in church for the 3rd Sunday in Advent; a gorgeous afternoon out on the deck with my little friends; and a superb home-cooked meal be surpassed?

On Facebook, my nom-de-plume is Nuntius Muse.

Until the muse catches hold of me again, it will be from time to time.


Posted in Uncategorized

Minus Temperatures Not Welcome

I know when I see -3C (yes, below freezing) on the dashboard of Lava for the first time in around twenty years that I am no longer away from Nova Scotia and in Palm Springs, California for the winter. Lava dashboard -3C - IMG_20171215_1232295

Yes, although forty or fifty years ago I might have enjoyed the prairie minus thirties or forties, that was when we were raising five kids and it was fun taking them tobogganing or watching them play hockey outdoors while our feet froze. Today is different. There are no kids around to raise. But one is coming with a grandkid and a dog from Atlanta to spend Christmas and New Year with us. It will be fun – but mostly indoors or simple walks.

I am too old to enjoy shovelling snow and scraping car windows – not that I have had to as yet – but my friends here say that I will have to ere winter is out. And, from past Nova Scotia experience, I remember that snow does eventually arrive here, even though one memory is of mowing the grass on the day of Christmas Eve. However, maybe I will not have to do much, as the fellow who ploughs our driveway has agreed to come after he has finished ploughing all of his clients and shovel the front deck and around the cars.

Having said I do not look forward to shovelling snow, I went for a walk yesterday at Peggy’s Cove. Some of you have been there in summer, a few may have been there in winter, but few have been there as I was yesterday with a a howling wind, -3C with a wind chill of -10C, crashing waves on the rocks, BUT blue sky. It was magnificent!

The following is a slide show and 6 pics will rotate:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, many of you who have received my Scribblings over nearly 20 years, will expect to see something about food, so let’s see what we can do. Which would you prefer of the following two meals:

Stand-up-spoon pea soup with fresh out-of-the-oven bread (mmmmm!) and butter!IMG_20171111_1819294


Hospital dinner the night before having a pacemaker inserted –
(cold beef sandwich with egg salad sandwich, apple sauce, a cookie, a banana and tea – OK, they did provide this as a special as the real dinner time was long past).IMG_20171115_1224460

All right, you don’t have to answer that question and it’s time for another home-made dinner of hake and spinach salad, which sounds and smells good to me.

I hope you enjoyed reading and looking at this. See you in another post soon.

By the way, if you want to see me on Facebook, I am going by the nom-de-plume of Nuntius Muse.

Posted in Dining, General, humor, humour

You know it’s summer when….

You know it’s summer when….

  • you have experienced a daughter and grandson staying with you for six weeks,
  • a couple of friends from Atlanta arrive during that period of time
  • and your son, his wife and two teens arrive arrive towards the end of that time and overlap completely.
  • Then there is a gap of about four days before another couple arrive.
  • Towards the end of August another grandson and his girlfriend arrive for eleven days.

The firt listed event is still on-going.
The last three mentioned have not yet happened – but will. Very soon.

Wow! It’s go, go, go! Being entertained and entertaining. Which, in normal times is just routine, but My Beloved has been debilitated by some freak twist of her back, which jerked the hip around, which jerked the knee around. The daughter who brought the grandson also has back, hip and IT band problems.

Darned good job I’m healthy!Someone has to keep the flag flying.

Oh, but despite the physical infirmaties, we all seem to have been having a great time. Daughter and grandson have been helping out with many of the gardening chores, such as planting bedding plants and trimming hedges. Our guests from Atlanta felled trees, trimmed them and cut some up for firewood, thereby allowing us a better view of the bay and the islands. And also fixed a troublesome pond pump and electrical connection with the house. We thought. But now it seems we may have a leak in the liner, for the sum of the water circulating and evaporating is greater than the sum of the water entering through a float valve. Hmm!

But, of course, there is always dining with family and friends. Just a week or so ago, we dined with two other couples at the house of one of them and enjoyed a fine meal, but, more importantly, we enjoyed each other’s company and socialising.

And a couple of days ago, the friends from Atlanta, our daughter and grandson, My Beloved and I took two cars to the Rope Loft restaurant in Chester – three boys in one and three girls in the other –  and spent a lovely evening on the deck. And since I am frequently told by some of my readers that you all enjoy reading about our dining adventures, here’s what happened at the Rope Loft.

Six of us descended on the restaurant just after 5pm on a Friday afternoon when the harbour was filled with boats and the streets laden with cars. However, one of our number jumped out and enquired whether there was a waiting time for a table and quickly returned with the thumbs up. They could accommodate us immediately.

We were seated on the top deck with a perfect view of the harbour and able to watch the Tancook Ferry come in and out. Our server, Heather, was fun all evening and I’m sure one of our number (one of the four from Atlanta and we will call him our host, for he insisted on paying the bill at the end of the evening) gave her a good tip at the end of a lovely 2-hour meal. It was two hours because we enjoyed eating and drinking slowly and Heather never made us feel at all rushed. BTW there were a few tables available, anyway!!

We started with drinks, one spicy Virgin Mary for a grandson and one similar one for his grandfather, since he was one of the drivers of the two cars. As it turned out, our host had recently experienced our famous Keith’s IPA and he had fallen in love with it, so he started with one of those. His lovely wife and our daughter and mother of our grandson both had double vodkas with juice of a lime and lots of ice; a concoction daughter has been using of late.  My Beloved had a Bulwark Cider, which is on tap. We also ordered a litre of the Nova Scotia Jost’s red wine for four of us to share.
Oh…………and subsequently, another half-litre.
And I started on the litre. You can’t let red wine sit too long or the fruit flies will drink it all. That’s my story and I’ll stick with it.

We also ordered three orders of garlic cheese toast, which, when they came, were very quickly devoured as they were so scrumptious. (The pic is of one order.)



As main courses, our host ordered a dozen raw oysters, but three of those somehow fell into my daughter’s plate and another three into mine. To make up for his losses, he he also ordered the Friday special 6-oz tenderloin. While he and we all said the oysters were small, but very tasty, I did not here any particular comment about his tenderloin, so I suppose it passed the test.

Our grandson had an appetiser of smoked salmon pate comprising smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and shallots all freshly blended on slices of fresh baguette. As a main, he had a burger stuffed with onion, tomato, bacon and Cheddar cheese with fries (he asked for no lettuce – he’s no vegan), which he avariciously inhaled, although grandmother said he had to eat it all or there would be no dessert. Which he did.

His mother had the peel and eat shrimp  – declared by her to be ‘fantastic’; the flavour and blend of the garlicky and spicy sweet roasted red pepper sauce were outstanding.

Our host’s wife had the fish cakes, which she found bland, but after adding Tabasco, she quite enjoyed them. Homemade baked beans came with them but she donated them to her spouse.

My Beloved had the 1-lb bowl of mussels – an eternal and world-wide favourite of hers, having eaten them in New Zealand, Chile, and various countries in Europe –  and, although on the small side, she said they were very good, but the excellent broth, which had a touch of lemon and garlic in white wine, was delicious.
Of course, white wine falls into the eternal and world-wide favourite category, too.
Along with red wine.

My choice for main course was the fried clams and chips. These were not on the menu but Heather told us they were available. I had been seeking a menu with these for a month or more. However, I found the batter was heavy on the clams; but the accompanying creamy garlic dipping sauce made they  very palatable. The chips were crisp and some of the best I have tasted. I am sure they double-fried them.

Our grandson had earned his dessert, so he chose the coconut cream pie. Apparently, after we all had tasted and agreed with his estimation that it was supremely tasty, he was was not left with much of it; so another had to be ordered, so we could all have another taste and leave two-thirds of it for him.


All-in-all, a thoroughly fine summer evening under the evening sun with a delightful setting and atmosphere on the wharf where casual or sailing garb is de rigueur. How enjoyable it is to have food and drink with one’s family and friends. What pleasures we can have in simple meals with those we love!

Posted in humor, humour


Are you in the process of downsizing?

Have you already downsized?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those questions, then you know what My Beloved and I face. Even though we have no definite plans nor date nor where we will be going, we still should be preparing – if only to save our progeny from having to clear out the house were we both to depart this earth suddenly.

On second thoughts, they would do a much superior cleaning out than I anticipate I will be allowed to achieve. (Do we have a hoarder in the house?)

As of yesterday, I now know what perils and surprises await me. We were looking for some Double AA batteries, which have always been stored in the kitchen in the drawer with a zebra as a handle. However, when we looked in it, we had to rummage through all sorts of  things: wrapping paper, paper bags, scissors, church envelopes, old warranties on kitchen appliances, some of which we haven’t had in this house and dating from when we lived in Winnipeg prior to 1974, sales rebate certificates, dog vaccination certificates and licenses, along with many other items, some of which had deteriorated so badly they collapsed as we took hold of them, and, yes, batteries of all sorts, but no Double AAs. There were Triple AAAs, a D, a C and a couple of those funny circular ones, 2025s.

Well, I did need one of those 2025s for the key to one of our cars, but it didn’t work. Why not? Was it dead? No. On comparing it with that in My Beloved’s key for the same car, it should have been a 2035, not 2025. Who’d-a-known-it?

The drawer was so full that we could not open it fully until we had removed some of the pieces of whatevers. And then, after removing what we thought was everything, we were still unable to remove the drawer to clean it until we had successfully removed a plastic bag, which had been forced over the back of the drawer.

One of the faded and distraught warranties was for a toaster oven, an item which, we seem to remember, we donated to our son, a poor law student – and he’s been a lawyer for something over twenty years now. I think he thought it was a microwave!

Another of the warranties was for a vacuum cleaner purchased from Simpsons-Sears. You Canadian oldies may recall that the Hudson’s Bay Company bought the Simpsons part of the company from Sears and that was in 1978. No, we do not still have the vacuum cleaner.

In the photo above, can be seen a dog vaccination certificate from 1988 for Bear. We haven’t had a dog in years – unfortunately, because we love them – because we have been travelling too much and it would be irresponsible to have a dog. Until we move into the downsized apartment, at least. Also in the photo is an “No Expiry Date” for Purina dog food and a pile of some of the contents of the drawer; I wonder if we gave it to a friend who has a dog, whether it could be redeemed.

When I think of all the drawers in the house and then all the boxes and trunks in the basement and the boxes up in our bedroom loft, which came with us in a move from Montreal in 1986, I have to ask myself, how will we ever rid ourselves of these wonderful and prized, but useless, possessions?

There is one bright side to this post: we have one very neat drawer  with a zebra handle in the kitchen.