Tuesday, November 24, 2020

ROBBLOG #861- Traditions


Traditions are a part of Christmas and the Holiday Season. It's what I look forward to more than anything else. 
Yes, the gifts are nice. 
The music is nice. 
The decorations are nice but traditions...

Tonight The Mister and I completed a Holiday Tradition.
We watched "Love Actually"- the Movie for probably the 20th time. The movie was released in 2003 to little acclaim but every year since we have taken the time- early in the season because that movie starts about 4 weeks before Christmas, to watch and be merry.

It has some good laughs yet some very touching bits too.
The scene with Andrew Lincoln- long before Zombies ruled his life, flashing those Cue Cards at Kiera Knightly.

When Hugh Grant- as the Prime Minister, dances through his private apartment much to delight of one of his secretaries catching him unaware.
I remember Mr. Grant in an interview saying he was embarrassed by the scene because he said he was frightfully bad at dancing. Nonetheless, it was like watching an elf "get jiggy with it".

The Scene where Colin Firth goes to Provence to ask Aurelia- Lucia Moniz, to marry him and on Christmas Eve no less. Sighs and tears every year when he does.

    Selfridges Department Store on Oxford Street, London

Of course, Rowan Atkinson as the man behind the jewellery counter at Selfridges on London's Oxford Street was so memorable.
His attention to detail is what one would expect at Selfridges.
Completely over the top. The prices are too.
I love shopping at Selfridges every December and would be there again this year if it were not for Covid. I like to walk through the department where the movie scene was filmed with the Cartier Store in the background. If you want to tour Selfridges- owned by Canada's Weston Family, just search for Selfridges Oxford Street London UK. You can order online for Christmas too and they'll send it to you.

If you go in person, take the time to have Afternoon Tea in the Cafe named after the sisters who had a real life dalliance Mr. Selfridge.
Maybe one.
Maybe both of the Dolly Sisters.
Who knows.

Anyhoo, I love watching this movie with The Mister
It's fun.

After you've looked online at Selfridges Christmas website, take a moment to google "Oxford Street Christmas Walk 2020". Look for the walk that is about an hour and a half long. If you've never been to London- especially at Christmas, it'll feel like you've been there.
If you have been along, Oxford Street, New Bond Street, St. James, Regent Street and Piccadilly, it'll being back fond memories and it won't cost you a ticket or a hotel stay.

London at Christmas.
There are no words... 

           Regent Street, London, at Christmas         

Saturday, November 14, 2020

ROBBLOG #860 A Fresh Start


Well My Darlings, it has come to pass.

The Mister and I have started a new life- again.
We couldn't be happier.
I've had a lot of sadness and a feeling of being displaced over the past three years. It was not easy assimilating into a new province. It was not easy moving across the country- although we knew it was the right thing to do. There have been many happy times since coming onto this island and we've met some fabba-luss people too. We've also met a few people who showed their true stripes along the way. That's not exclusive to this Island, that happened in Ontario too and Gawd knows I am NOT a perfect representative of a "perfect human being".
I try.
We all try...

You know there's that old saying that some folks stay with you for your entire life while others drop in for a short while and leave. It's happened to me before and I am sure it has happened to most people. You just have to keep your eyes on the ball. Look to the road ahead. Some people never change and they don't want to change. It's why their lives are a drudgery but you know that's their problem. We each have to sort our lives out and live the life we were born to live.

So kids, after a trio of years of ups and downs we have finally landed on our two feet atop a mountain in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island. Living up here feels very much like our life back on Ontario.
A good distance between houses.
A proper street.
People walking by pausing briefly to say hello.
Just living life and it's wonderful.
It truly is wonderful.
I haven't felt this satisfied being at home feeling in a long while.

The move was fairly easy. We packed a bunch ourselves. Box after box- and this after downsizing from Ontario. We hired a truck. Friends helped for a couple of days. I felt like Noah on the Ark. We were rushing to take one box of every kind while there were those that stood and stared not knowing that the rains would come- eventually.

Then, one day the moving boys came and packed up the big stuff and placed it gently in our new home all within four and a half hours. We had closed the door to recent memories and sailed away. Of course, the putting away and sorting through stuff took a while longer but basically a week later we were heaving a huge sigh of relief that we had put down new roots.

Let me tell you the views atop this mountain are beyond spectacular. Some mornings the cloud cover hangs over the valley and you wouldn't even know that there are green spaces and people living beneath. A couple of mountains have snow on them now.
It is quite pretty and really as close to snow as I need or want to be.
We have walking trails galore in every direction and we are making good use of them. Again, the views are never ending and sometimes you just have to stop and look and take it all in.
It's life-changing.

So now that we're settled- what's next?
Well, even with all the turmoil of the move I managed to get Starlite and The Island's Golden Classics on Swisssh back on the air. As a matter of fact, both online stations started playing all Christmas Music just yesterday and as usual the listenership is solid.
I am glad of that.

Today, I am mulling putting up the outdoor lights and maybe next week I'll start to decorate the big inside tree. 

More than ever, I think we all need a little Christmas and there's no hard and fast rules of when it can start. You are your own liquor control board as a friend used to say.

So, put a little joy in your life, get out the twinkle and bling and be happy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

ROBBLOG #859- Old Time Radio


When I was but a child- an older child of 20 or so, I started my career in Radio.

It was a long time ago but recently I was thinking about the early years. I was wet behind the ears but excited at the opportunity to work my magic behind a "live" microphone. I had been second in my class at Broadcasting School only to be beaten by Chris Wilson.
He was good, had a real smooth voice and one of the best moustaches I had seen-ever.
I think I actually heard him on radio years ago down around St. Catharines or maybe it was Toronto.

I never thought I had the best voice ever for radio but I thought I was sincere on air and always remembered to image I was speaking to just one person when that mic switched on. 
Usually in the first few years of my broadcasting career, I worked the six to midnight shift and a couple of times midnight to 530.
That's how a new radio person learned the ropes.

Back in the early 1970's it was usually all guys on air.
Maybe Betty Kennedy in Toronto on CFRB but in the stations where I worked there was never a female voice on air until early 1980 when Sharon Edwards started working at CHAY FM in Central Ontario.
A few times over the years a gal would do a commercial voice but other than that- nothing.
As a kid I do remember Auntie Marg on CFOR in Orillia. She also did a "Woman's Programme"- as it was known in those days. 
You know- recipes and such.
Woman's stuff!

Basically though, it was just the men.
Working nights at a couple of stations I saw a lot.
I mean- A LOT!
A lot of men doing things that they shouldn't be doing and expecting me to me a "man-pal" and say nothing about what I saw.

Most radio stations seemed to have a couch in the Manager's Office.
"How cozy and comfortable"- I thought.
In those days I seem to remember that ladies were supposed to have a "couch" somewhere at work where they could lay down if their Aunt from Red Bay came visiting.
I soon found out that the couch in the "Manager's" Orifice...
Sorry, I mean office, performed other duties.
Smut for instance.
Oh my Gawd, Shirley Feeney would be shocked.

One night I remember walking from the studio- where I was on air, down a short hall towards the newsroom. As I reached the stairs that went down to the front door and the street, I saw our news director coming up the stairs with a lady who had a pair of the biggest bazooms I had ever seen.
Keep in mind I was not interested in big bazooms at the time and in fact I am still not interested today.
You can imagine just how large this twosome was to grab my attention!
The lady of which I speak was not the news director's wife.

I didn't care.
I much preferred the news director as far as eye-candy goes. Once I had seen him in a tiny-ish bathing suite at a local beach.
Oh my, oh my but he was pretty.
Some summer evenings he would walk into the studio shirtless with little drops of perspiration hanging from a few thick, wiry, blonde chest hairs.
Oh. My. Dear.

He'd ask how were things.
Shoot the breeze.
Did I want a cold drink or coffee from Tim Hortons or something.
All the while wearing nothing but very tight shorts and flip flops with one muscular arm reaching up to grab the top of the studio door practically handing off of it while he conversed with me.
That was the 70's.
My! Is it hot in here or is it just me.

At another station, one time I saw the morning man come into the station absolutely polluted with a young lady on his arm. That's back in a time when drinking and driving was encouraged!

"I jusht came in fer slumshing in the offish upshtairs"- he would say from a partially open studio door spraying rum-spit across the counter where my records sat piled up in order of their upcoming play.

"Yah. Okay."-I'd say. "Kinda busy here."

"Oh. Slorry. I'll jusht nip upshtairs then...Oh you never sleen me- right?"- At least it sounded something like that.

"Oh right."- I'd say holding my breath from the smell of booze and loose women.
The little lady stood outside the glass wall to my right smiling with lipstick smeared across her cheek and hair tussled and askew.

I believe those couches got quite the workout over the years.
I never personally sat on them- if I could help it, when in the Manager's office.
I also never had a workout on a manager's couch but I do remember one young, well-built radio fellah and one hot, sultry summer afternoon but I'll leave that for another time.

You know, to this very day, I blame what never happened on a manager's couch on a hot, sultry summer afternoon on a Michael Bolton song.
Michael was strictly a girl-thing and came on the radio that afternoon at a most inopportune time.
Now Tom Jones. 
There was a man's man who got one's juices flowing!

There were various other bits of traffic that passed me by in the evenings or overnight hours. The stories I have just told you were a compilation of events that happened.

If I told all the stories or told them as they really happened, I'd have to place a "Smut" warning at the top of this RobBlog.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

ROBBLOG #858- Cutie and Cooties


Look. Here's the absolute truth!

Covid 19. It's for Sissies!! 
The real disease that was much, much bigger and deadlier than Covid 19 could infect Boys- and Girls, at the touch of a finger back in the good old 1960's.
What's that you say? 
Yes, I say.
It was the most infectious disease in Canada- ever.
It was "Cooties".

Wikipedia defines "Cooties" as-
"A fictitious childhood disease in Canada used as a rejection term and infectious "tag" game."
What does Wikipedia know about anything!
Take it from me, Cooties was real and the worst and was spread by the slightest of touches.

Cooties unlike Covid 19 took sides.

More girls had Cooties than boys- naturally.
That according to a recent study and rightly so.
This "recent" study comes from a major university. Never mind what university and where it's located.
Cooties can be caught and thrive in many places on Boys. 
It can be on hands or feet.
On a cheek, a shoulder or thigh.
Cooties can be caught on almost any part of the human body- yes even there.

I am sorry, I cannot go into detail on how a "you know what" could get Cooties, however,
I will tell you that back in those days, I hoped that Mr. Luker would give me Cooties. That's a private boyhood infatuation and I will not under any circumstances describe my want for Cooties on my
"hoo haw" and why I wanted Arthur- I mean Mr. Luker, to give them to me. 

Mr. Luker taught me several subjects- including PE.
That's "Physical Education."
He was my home room teacher and quite the stud- in the eyes of a young man like me.
You know, I think he liked me.
He didn't give me Cooties but he did give me an "A" in PE on my Christmas report card. That "A" slipped to a B at Easter and finally a C- in June but I still respected him and would have gladly received Cooties from him.
Is that dirty?
If I had a photo of him in gym shorts back in 1962, you'd understand.

Now, pay attention!
With Boys, Cooties was selective infecting various body parts.
Boy friends would run up behind me and slap me on the shoulder and say-
"Hah! You got Cooties. You got Cooties!"
Mostly it was Boys giving me Cooties although one Girl- Frances Johnston, delighted in slapping me on the buttocks and saying in a weird, witchy tone-
"Robbie's got Cooties. Robbie's got Cooties!"
Then, she'd laugh and run off down the street to attach her Cooties to some other poor unfortunate.
I hated Frances when she gave me Cooties. Why couldn't Peter Ferguson or Randy Switzer give me a good dose of Boy Cooties but oh no, it was Frances "googly-eyes" Johnston.
Yes. Really.
Frances was the devil's child.
Once I traded records with her. It was a 45 record of Cliff Richards singing "Summer Holiday". In exchange for her getting Cliff, I got  Dion De Mucci's "Donna the Prima Donna". To this day I regret that exchange and wished I had of opted for Cooties- in this one circumstance at least.
When she wasn't giving me "Cooties", Frances would turn to me in History class and say-
"Wanna laugh?"
"No!"- I'd say back, "Not in Miss Leith's class. She'll cast a spell on us or at the very least send us out into the hall.
We'd laugh anyway and we were never sent down- not that I recall.
Cooties might even have been much more pleasant- even from Frances Johnston, than having a spell cast by Miss Elizabeth Leith.

I wouldn't want Cooties from Miss Leith either.
I'll bet she'd try to pass them on to Frances though. I mean Frances was the kind of girl who deserved Cooties. Well, her and Cathy Rutherford.
Cathy Rutherford.
Cathy wore bright red, whore lipstick in Grade 6. Mrs. Cox almost had a heart attack the first day she sauntered into class adorned in Satan's favourite colour of red!
She could give Cooties through the air without any physical touch whatsoever that Cathy Rutherford.

Anyhoo, the study concluded that girls- even to this day, have way more Cooties on their hands than men.
Good to know.
I wonder how many Cooties they have on their whole bodies and what would happen to the world- as we know it, if they passed along all their Cooties to the rest of us?
It would be apocalyptic!

I hope I have taught you something today. Even though you think Covid is tough and nasty- and it is, Cooties was nasty in it's own right too.
Nobody died from Cooties according to the study but it still makes my flesh get all bumpy and hot when I think of getting Lukercooties.

Even now and then I daydream about Mr. Luker in his tight, high-cut gym shorts and all the chances I had to ask him to give me- a good dose. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

ROBBLOG #857- Cardboard


First of all Darlings if you start reading this RobBlog and have no idea what I am talking about, you'd better read ROBBLOG #853 and then come back to #857.
I'll wait....

Ok, now we're on the same page.

The motions of moving are in full swing. Boxes are everywhere. Our house smells like a cardboard factory. If I ever happen to be homeless, I'll feel right at home in a cardboard box in the middle of a busy road.

"You had a box?"- my brother would chortle, "I remember as a kid we sat in the middle of the road without a box- only a newspaper."

I'd reply- "You had a newspaper? We'd have someone shout the headlines from passing cars!"
and so it would continue.

After five weeks of knowing we are moving, I have come to accept a couple of facts.

Fact One, I think I will enjoy living in our new neighbourhood. We worked hard and travelled a long way from Ontar-ee-ary-oh and now we are movin' on up. 

Fact number two, I realize that this house we are leaving is not the final resting place for the Mister and I. Of course the "final" resting place will be when I go to be with "The Lord"- me and a billion others. No, I jest.
I mean the final resting place as in where I'll live and breathe after this move. They'll be rolling me down the cliff out of this new place when I'm called up yonder. Although, it could be a much quicker journey to Hell for me where I'm sure Dear Satan would welcome me with fireworks and pits of molten lava.
I digress.

" So, they're really movin' on up?"

Also under fact number two I need to add a "catch phrase"- as in Fact number one. This phrase is "Trailer Park". Now I must apologize to any friends or neighbours who read this. In the past three weeks since our property has been sold, I have heard this neighbourhood referred to as a "trailer park" three times by three different people. None of them live here. Once from a person at another location in the valley building more new homes for people. I'll call him Cleave.
Cleave said- "Well it's good you got your money out of that place because it's just a trailer park now."
We went- 'What??"

These days I find myself singing while packing boxes and I smile so broadly my cheeks ache.
Last time I packed up the house in Ontario- it was a chore.

Maybe it's my heart singing on the outside.
Maybe the smell of cardboard is making me high.

I can hear my Brother.
"Gee, when I was young we didn't have cardboard- only stiff brown paper!"

Friday, September 25, 2020

ROBBLOG #856- Rrrrrrrrrip


I know many of you have not been sleeping well.

You are all worried sick about my packing plans. 
I can feel it- in my tape dispenser hand.
Well, Dears, I am here to tell you to relax.
I have started the packing following the plan I talked about in the last blog.

Yesterday I packed 23 boxes.
23 boxes!
As I picked up my trusty tape dispenser I deftly stuck the tape to the side of the first packed box-
Ah that lovely sound.
I ran the dispenser along the top of the box and down the side.
I hadn't lost my knack!
I was excited!
I quickly folded and taped box 2 then, stuffed it full of bric-a-brac.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip! Rrrrrrrrrrip!
I was a master at the craft of packing boxes and thank goodness, I had not lost my
way. I believe I was a perfect 10 in my performance.

The Universe in all it's craziness was smiling down upon me- watching me.
Look at me rrrrrrrrrrrip!

Then, this morning after a couple of cups of coffee, I made my way downstairs.
I picked up Mr. Tape Dispenser and began folding boxes.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip and Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip again.
I was masterful.
I stuffed boxes with DVD's, photos, Christmas ornaments and  VCR tapes.
Yes! I still own a few VCR tapes and a turntable and a receiver too.
I don't give up on the past that easily Girlfriends.
I respect the past and think of what could have been if DVD's- not to mention colour televisions
had not been invented.
What would we do with our free time?

I guess a conservative estimate would be 54.
Fifty-four boxes in total.
I would hope Mr. O'Toole would agree with my numbers even though he- as most Conservatives, find it hard to agree with anybody or get along with anybody.
Enough now.
Back to the task at hand.

The number of boxes I now have packed.
I hear your gasps...
I amaze myself at times too.
Right now I am ahead of schedule and ready to relax for the weekend. I do keep a couple of boxes at the ready, in case the mood to pack just one more strikes me.
As an experienced packer, I know- like a smoker and a young man who craves relief, that the need to pack could strike at any time of the day. It's the reason I stand ready with my tape dispenser full and my felt marker handy to record package contents.

I am sure, in time, someone else will benefit from all my "box-making" and packing experience.
Nevertheless and furthermore, The Mister and I  have found our reason to hitch up the oxen and strike out for a new land full of hope, glory and promise. 

Que the heart-wrenching musical finale....

FOOTNOTE: I hope all you ladies have put away your white purses this being three weeks post Labour Day.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

ROBBLOG #855- Elephant Toes and Cardboard Boxes


Damn. Elephant Toes!

I'm sitting in the sunshine in my white flip flops and I look down and see Elephant Toes.
You know...that's when you see those little wrinkle lines that elephants have on their legs only now they're on my toes.
Well, that's just wonderful.
Now, I need Botox on my toes.

Could be worse I suppose.

Anyway, other things to worry about. To think about.
Number one on my mind is packing an entire house.

I'm thinking it seems like I just did this a short while ago and then I slap myself and realize that I have packed recently- a short three years ago.
The difference this time is the packing and shifting will be much easier.
This time the Mister and I are not moving half way across the country- three time zones.
This time it's about 15 minutes from the west side to the east side.
The upper east side.
To the mountain and almost the top of the mountain.

We've "borrowed boxes" from an Ontario friend from Owen Sound who just moved here in July. Another friend- from Mississauga Ontario who moved west in June is also supplying us with boxes. We, in turn, will pass the boxes on to a neighbour who is also on the move in our valley.
It's a cardboard chain.

I have the packing process all figured out- in my head.
I am leaving our main level untouched- for now.
I will begin by packing lower level items. Three cabinets in particular which hold family photographs in frames, a Santa Claus collection and more. Last time all these items had to be packed and wrapped in paper and bubble wrap and carefully place in heavy-duty cardboard boxes or plastic tubs.
This time a bit of paper and careful placement in a box.
It's a short trip remember.

This time too I'll not have to wrap painting after picture after print because of the short trip. I'll take these off the wall at the last minute and load them into the van. They'll travel with a towel or two tucked between and will be fine.

Once the pictures are removed, I am going to cover the nail holes. I bought this stuff that fills the holes. It goes on pink and dries white. Then a quick run over with some sandpaper.
A dab of paint and voila a perfect, untouched wall.
Some friends say- why are you going to all that trouble?
It's because I want to leave the house in pristine condition.

At least all the packing and the lifting of these boxes will be light.
We are leaving the heavy stuff for the movers because at my age,
I don't want to drop a dresser on my "Elephant Toes"!