Friday, March 16, 2018

ROBBLOG #707 Springtime on The Island

Springtime on the Island!
We're about 3 weeks behind weather-wise, all because of that arctic cold front that hit us back in February.
The birds are singing.
The grass is green- it has been all winter.
The frogs started croaking a couple of nights ago
and leaves and flowers are busting out all over.

The sky was such a brilliant blue this morning and there was not a cloud to be seen as I sat in my yellow Muskoka Chair sipping on a Pride of Arabia coffee.
This is retirement at its best!
The sun is much warmer and the daylight is much longer this time of the year. Not only are the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Snowbirds are planning their return trip back to Canada!
Some have a couple of weeks yet while others are making their way back home sooner.

Looking East on the south side of Palm Villa
Here on the island life goes on.
The palms are swaying in the springtime breezes and everyone is talking about their gardens. Bikes are everywhere and people are walking along trails and through neighbourhoods.
Everybody is a "Chatty Kathy".
If you ever move to the Island be prepared to talk- a lot.
Everyone from supermarket checkout lines to gas bars, shops, restaurants and downtown sidewalks are talkative.
You meet new friends.
Hear the Island gossip.
You find your way.
It's how we do it on the Island.

It feels right.

As I said a few Blogs back, I have let "old home" go.
I am focusing my days on my new "Home" here in the Cowichan. I haven't read a local paper online from back in Ontario for several weeks. I still look at the Toronto Star every day but I let my eyes skip over the stuff about that asshole running for the opposition or that orange ball of fluff south of the border- both cut from the same Conservative, right-wing cloth.
People! People! People!
How could you let this happen in Ontario and what is the opposition leader's platform?
Get rid of Kathleen Wynne?
Some platform.
Maybe if they all started working together instead of craving power, government could actually accomplish something.
I digress.
I live in British Columbia now where we don't even have a provincial Tory party!

These days on our Island, the Mister and I are shopping for a hard top Gazebo for our back yard. A red chair to match our outdoor red bench that once sat on our front Verandah back in Orillia. The bench sits on the south side of Palm Villa just above our rock garden.
I have been getting favourable reviews from neighbours concerning its placement.
I'm also looking for a sun face to hang in the peak of our roof overlooking the back yard.
I sure wish I hadn't left the sun face I had on our outdoor garden shed back home. The first buyers of Pine Tree House didn't deserve that kindness but that's another story that I am NOT discussing here on this Blog.

Oh and plants...
We have to stop by Dinter's Nursery once again to pick up a couple of plants for our garden along the north side of the drive. By the way, none of these tasks is considered a chore.
We are both loving it the Mister and I.

That's just Island Life!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ROBBLOG #706- Coming 'Round the Mountain

I've been singing- "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes".
The Mister and I took a bike ride from our house- Palm Villa, to the base of
Mount Prevost (Pree-voh) last weekend. It was a brilliant sunny day and good for a ride along the Trans Canada Trail to Johnston Street, then along Somenos Road to Mount Prevost Road. A bald eagle harkened our arrival at Mount Prevost road, sitting on a sturdy branch at the top of a Sequoia Tree. It was a brilliant sight. The bird's ultra-white head glowing in the bright, spring sunshine searching for prey I would bet.
At the end of the road, there was Prevost up close and personal. There is a further road to the summit but it would be hell pumping up on a bike. So, we stood surveying the mountain base and the area around us. Birds were chirping away. There were tulips and spring plants in a front garden at a two- storey, white house- facing us, next to the road. On the other side- at our backs, a small unkept house- maybe originally a trailer, with at least seven rusting vehicles- both cars and trucks, sitting in the yard.
The home and property both messy.
Uncared for.
A junkyard.
Unfortunately, we see this a lot in the Cowichan. A beautiful backdrop of nature marred by an unsightly property with garbage strung about, a selection of old vehicles and usually a string of Christmas lights hanging sloppily across the front of the house that have obviously been there for years.
What happened to caring for the environment?
Our Mother Earth.
A beautiful Island landscape turned into a dump and I will say it- usually a First Nations family.
I do not know and I do not understand.
When I ask fellow islanders they say-
"It is what it is...".
It is sad. That's what it is.
This can happen in a well-kept neighbourhood too. House upon house of nice yards and green gardens and then on a corner a broken down hovel with old coke cartons shoved in broken windows and a bathtub or old chesterfield flung in the yard.
There we were standing looking up at this tree-lined mountain. I wanted to see more so I suggested we return home on our bikes and come back with the van to make the climb.
So, we did.
The road was paved at first and then turned into a logging road- quite passable but still a logging road. It was a tight squeeze when a vehicle came down the mountain and going up we had limited space to pull over on our right. It would be several kms to the top.
As we rounded a corner, the landscape changed from green to white.
Snow on the road.
Icy patches made it slippery but we continued- slowly. The cairn was at the top and the signs directed us as we drove closer and closer to the summit.
The Pacific through the Trees
We were marvelling at the views and the woods. Then, A final turn to our right.
More snow.
A steep slope.
An end to our journey.
The van's wheels started to spin and we were stuck half way up a steep grade.
I had to back down, turn around and head down the mountain.
We couldn't imagine getting stuck and having a tow truck answer our call at 630 in the evening.
We did have a good cell phone signal however, even that far up.
The Island Highway in the foreground and the Islands
So we drove the five kms or so back down Mount Prevost and took a couple of photos along the way.
We'll try it again in a few months when the temperatures are warmer still and the snow is gone.
We Love this Island paradise.

Friday, March 9, 2018

ROBBLOG #705 A Trip to Dinters

A blog in the continuing series of what makes "The Island" better than Ontario.

Maybe better is too harsh a word.
I mean I love Ontario summers and all.
The green grass, sparkling lakes, the smell of a summer morning. It's all going to be missed.
Patrick Brown aside though, there are many reasons why The Island is a nice change from Ontario.
The Mister and I are coming up on 7 months here Island later this month.
I know...
Hard to believe for us too and we're living the dream!

We survived 4 1/2 months of delays in the building of our new home here in the Cowichan. We've been moved into our new Island home we call- Palm Villa, since December and have even started to move out into the community both by volunteering and going out to theatre. It takes some time to start to "live" here.

The weather- for Canada, is incredible as I have said many times before. Yes, we have damp days.
Today for instance as I write this blog is damp but I can't remember the last rainy day. The showers today are prompting me to get out and dig in the plants we bought two days ago at Dinter's Nursery just south of Duncan on the Island Highway.

Bees are busy on Plants.
We bought a Magnolia Tree.
No, you won't see them in Ontario.
Two skimmia's. Not in Ontario either. These plants- a male and a female, produce fragrant flowers and red berries come December.
There's a salmon-pink Camelia which is flowering now and a trio of Heather's- two reddish purple and a vanilla white, also in flower. Heather is everywhere on the island.
We spoke to Mr. Dinter and he says the season is behind this year because of that arctic cold spell we had a few weeks ago.
Daffodils should have been out by now.
Some are blooming here and there but not masses of colour yet.
We have some double digit temperatures starting on the weekend and things will change quickly.
Dinter's was packed with folks when we shopped the greenhouses. The parking lot was full when we packed up our plants and left and it was only Tuesday- not a weekend!

Palms for Sale at Dinters. $1600 for this beauty
I can't wait to get out there and get these plants into our gardens. We still have 30 lillies Tom potted up before we left "old home" and they should go into the ground now. The landscapers- Cam and his Dad Mike, put some dirt into our back yard gardens, so we can plant there now as well.

It does seems unbelievable that while Ontario's ground is hard as a rock, the land here on the Island is ready for planting. I saw a photo yesterday of trees blooming in Victoria just 50 minutes down island.

In the next couple of weeks the outdoor painters will be back to touch up our house and start on homes that are now occupied next to us since we moved in almost four months ago. Today we are discussing plans for fencing in our back yard. It's not the yard we had back in Orillia though.
There, we had huge gardens and a lot that was becoming increasingly time-consuming to look after.
Here on Vancouver Island we have a postage-sized lot as compared to Orillia but a larger house.
Go figure.
We have exchanged constant garden upkeep in summer and snow removal in winter for dusting and vacuuming the extra floor space we have here in the Cowichan.

Oh, the deer have found us! A neighbour three doors away showed us deer tracks in her front garden as well as a partially eaten plant. Tom and I haven't seen a deer on our street yet but we are trying to be careful when we choose plants for our gardens by selecting species that deer don't especially like to munch on. Dinter's have a "deer list" one can peruse to educate oneself.

So, March on our Island and we are learning and doing new things.
Oh! Before I forget...
We attended a live theatre presentation at Brentwood College School- a private school about 20 minutes from the house. Amazing place and an amazing theatre. The students performed "Crazy for You". There were ample funds for this production judging by the sets, props and 25 piece orchestra down in the pit that included just two Brentwood students.
It was a huge undertaking on stage and they did a spectacular job.
I would hate to think what a parent would pay to send their kid to this school but what an education they would receive!

It makes we want to go back.
Not to school!!
Gawd no!
I mean back. On stage. Singing and dancing and doing dialogue.

All in good time Rob but for now the gardens await.
I must look for my garden gloves...
Planting on the Island

Friday, March 2, 2018

ROBBLOG #704 Just When I thought It Was Safe

Oh for Fuck Sakes!

Just when I've devoted myself to spending sleepless nights worrying about Dung Ung Jock Strap in North Korea and his sparring partner Mr. Cheeseface, along comes news that Iran and Saudi Arabia are preparing for war.
Not against North Korea but each other.
Can't these men find something else to do?
Like play with their collective dicks or something?
At least nobody would get hurt.
Well, feelings maybe as that happens when straight men start comparing their "john henry" sizes.

Just as many of us are planning our spring wardrobes for 2018, these boys are pulling out the big guns- no not their penises, and strutting down the warm-mongering walkways of Saudi and Iran.
I couldn't even read the entire story but you can bet it's religion or a "my cock is bigger than yours" thing.

I hear you saying- "My goodness Rob, so many "dong" references today."
Did you know that you can't- as a tourist, even visit Saudi Arabia? You have to be invited.
Well look, you just don't want a happy tourist venturing into an open square where someone is getting fingers, a hand or an entire head lopped off for being unlawful.
My goodness. Nobody wants to see shots of that on social media.

Hennaway, I'll let you know if it's time to kiss our asses goodbye- if I hear anything.


The Mister and I have been watching some Academy Award nominated films.
So far we've seen about six movies.

"The Darkest Hour" is all about Churchill and WWII. If you include the Churchill story in TV's The Crown and the recent film Churchill, The Darkest Hour is the third retelling. I still like John Lithgow's Churchill from The Crown best.

Staying in the same area of "death and destruction" or as it might be called "Men with Guns"...
see Saudi Story above...we watched "Dunkirk". 300,000 Brits being saved by a flotilla of small boats that set sail from England to Dunkirk to rescue men on the beaches surrounded on three sides by the enemy.
It was a lot of water and I had to pee- a lot.

Speaking of H2O and increased urination there's- "The Shape of Water".
Filmed in Toronto with many Toronto Cast & Crew- according to the credits that is, this movie had a
lovely visually appealing golden tone and was set in the 1960's. An Amphibian creature who actually turns out to be a 6 foot 3 inch actor in "real life" is caught by some government baddies and is saved by a young gal who eventually fucks the creature underwater in her bathroom which fills with water when she turns on all the taps.
I mean- who knew??
I wouldn't try this at home Girlfriends!!

Amphibian Creatures always make me pee!
Next is "Lady Bird"
I can't see why this is an Oscar contender. You see, Roseanne's TV Sister and a young gal playing the lead- I do not know who she is and I do not intend to look up her name,  finds her boyfriend in a men's room stall with another boy sucking his face off.
Yes, he was cute.
The other boy I mean!
Gee, a homosexual man having a homosexual kiss in a straight man's toilet.
You are wondering- what is this world coming too and why was this gal in the boy's john to begin with?

Boys! Boys! Take it outside!
Well, the "ladies" was busy and she really had to pee and of course men's bathrooms are never busy- unless "I" really have to go pee.
Now, that's not the entire story.
There's a movie life here reflecting real life and actually the entire movie is way more boring that real life, so, I will leave this one for you to judge.
This movie is all about 70's angst.
I hated the 70's.
I would say a bottle of Vodka on your TV table might help you get through this film.

We still intend to "get through" a couple more movies like "Get Out" a horror film where a white gal takes her black boyfriend home to see the folks.
Get out!
No I mean "Get. Out!"
A horror story for some and a remake of "Guess Who's Coming for Dinner" for others.

I also want to have a look at "The Post" with Hanks and Streep and also "Call Me By Your Name" which is a Gay Summertime Romp with more homosexual kissing- and heartache.

Say, maybe if men of war engaged in a little more man on man kissing.
I mean, as if they don't those Middle Eastern types.
Come. On.
Dark, swarthy men and there's never any women about when the men are revolting- if you catch my drift.
Who am I to judge.

Maybe if they laid down their guns, put aside their religious differences and swam naked in a pool on a hot summer night with a martini or two, they'd have something different to focus on- instead of warfare.

Just sayin'...