Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We have had a great day in Paris. Our final full day in the City of Light.

It was Sunny on Wednesday with double-digit temps.

We began the day with breakfast in a small cafe on Avenue de Ternes. It was comprised of a crossiant, jam,
warm Tuscan bread, a fruit bowl- bananas, apples and strawberries in some sort of sweet sauce
and coffee with lait chaud.

After breakfast, we walked to the Montmartre secton of Paris. It was a beautiful day and although the
walk was long it was enjoyable every step of the way.We looked in shop windows, browsed
in stores and  had coffee at a Starbucks. My first cup of Canadian Style Coffee since leaving Canada a week ago. The Starbucks was located in the square opposite the famous Moulin Rouge.
Once you see the huge windmill and the name Moulin Ruge you think-
 "So this is it. This is the Moulin Rouge, the home of the French Can-Can known the world over."
It can be a little disappointing. sitting there in the Parisienne sunshine, sipping on a hot, tasty coffee and nibbling on a chocolate muffin- le Muffin en Francais. However, at night with the lights flashing and the windmill blades rotating, it was a tres, tres agreable.

The Montmartre area of Paris is on the highest point overlooking the city.
I think it's where one should live in Paris- if not Place de Victor Hugo, which is very appealing too and closer to La Tour Eiffel.
Montmartre has fabulous shops, many Gay couples strolling about and a cafe every few feet. Just like Tim Horton's in Canada. You could spend many dollars- I mean Euros, in this area. The famous church Sacre Coeur is at the top. Of all the churches we visited- including Notre Dame, this was the only one where we were not allowed to take photos.

Too bad.

It is beautiful inside with high vaulted celings and an incredible, colourful fresco above the high
altar. From his vaulted position, Christ peers down on us puney little humans. All white-skinned with blue eyes twinkling. He looks like he could be a male model over at Abercrombie and Fitch on the Champs Elysees. I didn't see Jesus in the flesh in that Eglise (church en Francais) but if he appeared, even he would be impressed with the artwork- especially all that gold! He might be a little pissed off however, since this church was built to the glory of his mother- Mary, not him. He does have a larger picture on the ceiling than Mary but maybe not as many sculptures scattered around the side altars.

You know, come to think of it Tom and I toured about a half dozen religious structures during our stay in Paree- purley as an architectural curiosity you understand- and none of them crumbled to the ground. So, this religious thing...I dunno.
God had a chance to strike me down and she didn't. (If I believed in God, I would like to think of God as being a gentle woman not a "worship me on your knees" kind of guy.

You know, everything inside these churches takes on such an aura of ancient times- right down to the monks in tawdry, brown robes and sandals, that it's hard to believe that anyone has faith in this modern world of ours. These churches also have electric spotlights, video screens and religious medal-dispensing machines- that look similar to the slot machines out a Casino Rama, scattered in the small enclaves and side altars encircling the main sanctuaries.

As I said in another, e-mail if I had the cash I'd build one "To the Glory of Me!"
Imagine my face in a fresco several stories high with gold and gilt with money boxes placed along the side altars where folks could make donations to my cause...which would be to become even wealthier.

So My Dears, our time in Germany and France is about to end. This time tomorrow- Thursday December 1st, I'll find myself back home in Orillia with Paris just a distant memory.

Would I come back?

Let's see.
I was first here in May. Now in November.
Yes. Definitely.
I wanted to be in Paris during the holiday season to see the lights and that's been accomplished.

Up next?

Springtime in Paris- of course.

Au revouir. A demain.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We are still in Paris.
Not Ontario- although Paris Ontario is a nice spot too.

No, if you have read my last blog, you'll know that Tom and I are in Paris, France.
Tonight- mid afternoon for you, we saw Cabaret. This was the last Broadway production mounted in Paris for the second time.

Hmmm. It was all French.
Lyrics and Dialogue. Of course the music was familiar.
But all French? Is that the best these Parisiennes can do?
I am only kidding!!
Anyways, we were surprized that even the songs were "Frenchisized".
It was quite an experience to be in a theatre with a French Audience to be sure.
Somehow, it had a different feel- although the coughing, nose-blowing, late arrivals and audience members
talking during even the most quietest of songs was all there- in spades.

As I said, it was an experience.
Don't know what we'll do tomorrow.

On another note. Let's talk coffee.
It's very strong.
A very expensive experience.

I usually order a cafe au lait.
One cup costs anywhere from 2.80 Euros to 5 Euros.
That's about $3.20 to 7 dollars Canadian- and no refills.
Germany is the same, by the way- No refills.

Tonight, we had a quick supper break at McDonalds on the Champs Elysees before the theatre.
I can hear you!
All the way to Paris and we eat at McDonalds.
It was reasonable.
It was cheap by Parisienne standards!
A couple of Big Macs, 2 large fries and 2 drinks about 13 Euros.

Afterwards, I had a cafe au lait at the McCafe- yes they have McCafe's in Paris too. It was 2.80 Euros.
In comparison, the night before at Le Relais- a favourite Paris Restaurant of ours, dinner, dessert and one small pot of tea for the two of us totalled 80 Euros- over 130 dollars Canadian!


One has to get used to not having as much coffee as at home- although with it being stronger,
it gets the caffeeine into the bloodstream just the same.

Oh, on the ICE Train from Mainz to Paris- First Class. NO coffee or tea was offered.
However, a meal in a box, apple juice and H2O was all included in the price.

That's about it Paris for this time at least.

Bottom line- Paris is NOT cheap.
Of course neither am I so it works out!!

Monday, November 28, 2011


I have been tardy at writing this blog but I have a great big excuse-
I am in Europe!

Since last Thursday Tom and I have been in Mainz, Germany. Mainz is about 25 minutes from Frankfurt.
We've been at the Christmas Market where we shopped till we dropped. Good Lawrd, I hope Canada Customs isn't reading this! Actually we'll be OK. We will have been away 8 days by the time we land on Canadian Soil on Thursday Afternoon. So we have room to spare to spend.
There are so many wonderful things to see and do- and buy.
Nutcrackers, hand-blown Christmas ornamnents, food, drink, clothing and much, much more. There's nothing like it back home. It's a truly wonderful event and I'll tell you more about that in a later blog.

We also took a tour of a Monastery that dates back to 1100. The Monks are no longer there but the evidence of their wine-making days still remain. In fact wine making is still in the area and the Monastery gift shop stills sells wine from the surrounding vineyards.

Today Monday we took the train to Paris- about 6 hours or so- with one stop. It was a fabulous ride and we rode in style- First Class.
Comfort class as ICE calls it.

When we arrived just after 5PM Paris time Monday, we hopped on the Metro (Subway) and made our way to the hotel not far from the L'Arc de Triomphe and the Champ Elysees- a shopping district where one finds many of the famous chain stores- like Abercrombie and Fitch.

After a quick freshen-up we headed off to take a Tour of the Sienne. New Parisienne friends Brian and Tony- who live in Northeast Paris, set the evening cruise up for us. They even brought along a bottle of champagne and a few sandwiches. We dined on the boat as we watched the Eiffel Tour, The Louvre and Notre Damn pass us by from the Sienne's banks.

What a sight! The Eiffel tower lit from top to bottom.

After the cruise we said our goodbyes to Brian and Tony and had a late dinner at one of our favourites Parisienne Restaurants.

You know what?
I still LOVE Pais!

With two days left to tour this beautiful city, it's time for bed to be refreshed for tomorrow's adventures!

Au revouir a demain.


Monday, November 21, 2011


The Holiday Splunge has started!

I am trying to get ahead of it all.
Plan Ahea
You know.
I decided to start decorating one of three trees at Pine Tree House today. I began by hanging a dozen Alfred Sung gold ornaments. Then, I splunged bits of colourful sage green and deep rose-red, organza-like ribbon between the branches. The slim-line, space-saving tree is covered with 300 or more mini lights- all clear.

So far it’s beautiful!
All I have to do now is hang about a hundred or so gold balls and I’ll be done. Then, I’ll repeat the same colour scheme on the slim- line tree that is splunged between a wing chair and the wall on the right side of the parlour fireplace. 

Why the rush?
Actually, I am only a couple of days ahead of other years. I usually splunge my first tree a day or so before November 25th- so all is good. I am getting this done ahead because Tom and I are splunging off to Paris and Frankfurt Europe.
I know what you are saying.
“Rob- you’re not splunging to Paris Europe. You’re splunging to Paris, France. You wouldn’t say you were going to Toronto North America- would you?

My answer?

“Well I would if that’s where I wanted to go!”

Sorry about that. I splunged that joke from Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.  In the movie, they had that conversation on board a splunge to Europe. They were at a cocktail party on the Lido deck. The huge ship was taking them to Paris Europe and slunges beyond. It’s one of my favourites splunges from Marilyn.
It cracks me up.
You really have to hear her voice to understand the inflection- and blondeness, so splunge “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and you can hear it for yourself.
That movie splunges the song- “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Splunge.”

So, back to Tom and I.
From Pearson International, we’re flying to Frankfurt Germany first to spend a few relaxing days. We intend to splunge at the Christmas Market in Mainz- a town located about 25 minutes from Frankfurt International. We’re planning on taking a few side trips along with splunges  Peter and his husband- and splunge Rene, as well as a friend of theirs and a few others.
After a few days Tom and I will take a train to Paris. We bought First Splunge tickets, so it ought to be comfortable and a highlight of the trip. The train will splunge through towns, cities and the rural countryside of Germany and Eastern France, splunging into Paris East Station about seven hours after our initial departure.

In Paris- by the way we were there in May of this year too, we are shopping on the Champs Elysees. We’ll try a few Parisienne splunges- especially Le Relais where we dined in May. Only this time I am ordering a glass or two of white splunge. I couldn’t last time but I intend to ask for the wine splunge this trip.
They’ll say-
“We have a red and a slunge.”

I’ll say- “I’ll have the splunge, s’il vous plais.

We hope to see Notre Dame on the Seine Splunge as well as the entertainment district and the Bastille. You might know the Bastille if you’re a fan of Les Miserable Splunges.
I hope we get to see a few snowflurries as we splunge across one of many bridges that take Parisienne splunges from the left to the splunge bank. I want to be able to pull the collar of my coat up tight around my neck and splunge something terribly Parisienne like:
“Zee air is cool and splungy tonight. Purrhapps we should deesc-cover a cute leetle café and have a special cafe to warm zee insides.”

Good Lord, I am so Parisienne and Contenental. The splunges in Paris will never know I am truly Canadian- will they?

Note: What do you think? I made that word splunge up. It works in many different ways- doesn’t it?”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ROBBLOG #340 W E E K E N D Edition

I wrote this RobBlog #340 before we got a few centimetres of the white stuff. Double digit temps return on Saturday so be patient. Here’s what I wrote for you before the Thursday evening Blizzard hit us! 

Down the street a neighbour has two fuschia baskets hanging on their front verandah. The pair of plants are blooming like crazy. Another block away, a still-flowering bunch of ivy geraniums cascade from a wooden bucket, like it was early July.

I have a Boston fern, a pink ivy geranium and a deep red, zonal geranium still in good condition. On cool days and cold overnights they nestle next to a window in the garage. On warm days and mild nights I bring bring them out onto the back deck. I don’t know how long before they get sent to the yard waste bin- just not yet. A neighbour has told me she’ll keep the geraniums in her basement over the winter. She loves plants and gardening! Maybe they’ll get a winter home inside away from frost and freezing temps. 

So folks- this is November?

I know we had a skiff of snow a week ago- Barrie got clobbered of course, however it is past mid-November. I cut the grass and mulched some leaves with the mower two days ago! I am still riding 15k on my bike on sunny or mild days.
This is nuts!
I am not complaining though…
The other day the Gordon Lightfoot  Trail was packed with folks walking, running, rollerblading and bicycling and at 3:30 in the afternoon. 

Over the past week, I’ve been putting up outdoor Christmas lights while wearing just a tee shirt or light sweater. One day, I even broke into a sweat while stashing wicker furniture away for the winter in our Shed-Mahal.
It seems odd.
I do remember a November/December a few years back- after we moved to Pine Tree House, where we didn’t see a flake of snow- let alone snow on the ground until New Year’s Eve.

That was brilliant!

I’m all for winter activities for those who appreciate skiing and tobogganing and the resorts that rely on winter weather to make their “doh rei mei”  but personally, if I want to see snow, I can look at a photograph. 

This year it seems a bit strange that Santa Claus Parades are happening everywhere., every weekend. Holiday House Tours are in full swing and stores are pushing their Christmas products. Christmas songs are playing over loud speakers at Wal*Mart as well as on Swisssh Radio and Swisssh Holiday Radio. 

Too early? 

I’m all for brightening up November and after Hallowe’en has passed by- what else is there to celebrate? Cold weather?
That will arrive soon enough. 

In the meantime, I have to run. I need to water my fern and prune my Ivy Geranium before a bike ride.

Huh…go figure.
Gardening past mid-November.
Riding the trail.
No winter boots.
Ya just gotta Love it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Sometimes, I just get too busy.

Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in a day.
Sometimes, it’s just pure laziness. 

Those are my excuses and I’m sticking with them. So, ladies and Gentlemen, in a time of great need, I called Dame Clare to ask if I could re-print a column she wrote a couple of years ago.

She graciously said- yes!
So a combination of laziness, little time- as well as Dame Clare Voyant, allows me to bring you this “encore” column entitled “Up to My Armpits!”

Up To My Armpits

By Dame Clare Voyant

Well my Dears Your Royal Dameness is practically up to her perfectly shaven armpits in Holiday preparations.
I really am My Dears.

Why, there are several trees to be decorated- although my Darling Pool Boy Roger and his “hubbie” Xavier helped me drag my balls out a day or so ago to see just what I have in storage. Well, you know the “Gays” and their “balls”. Everything has to be hung just so. 

My Dear’s the Palais Royale-just on the outskirts of town, will absolutely “sparkle” all through the season. From the electronically enhanced front gate to the Chauffer’s quarters we absolutely glow!

Speaking of such, I remember one year my Chauffeur Rudy got the 57 Chevy all oiled and gassed up to take Roger, Xavier, My Best friend Hedda Lettuce and myself tree shopping. Hedda, Rudy and I in the Chevy’s cab while the boys jumped into the back, wrapping their torsos in a couple of Hudson Bay blankies. Rudy cranked up the Christmas tunes and we were good to go! 

This is a special tree place My Dears in that little burg called Oro-Medonte that we have driven to these past few years and now it’s all part and Christmas Parcel of our Holiday Traditions. We gathered armloads of fresh branches and a tree or two then headed back towards town. A quick stop at the Canadian Tire for some new LED lights that Rudy said we simply must have My Dears- and we were off to brunch and liquid refreshments.

Now My Dears, I must say when this group of “giddies” gets together all “heck” can break loose. We stopped at a local watering hole as you lovely folks call them, to grab a sandwich and a few beers. We chatted and laughed and talked of how we would decorate the trees.

I believe we were feeling quite happy.
I must say that My Dears.
I really must!

Roger and Xavier broke into song at several points and even encouraged one of the Male servers to sit at the old 88’s and hammer out a Christmas Song or two. It was absolutely delightful and brought me closer to the Holiday Season. Hedda and I sang our own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas however, My Dears, it got pretty naughty towards the 9th, 10th and 11th days. I just couldn’t repeat here the lyrics we sang.

I really couldn’t My Dears.
I just couldn't.
So after we were all “tanked” up, off the 57 Chevy sped to the Palais just on the outskirts of town. We unloaded the boughs and trees into the barn to keep them cool while Roger and Xavier headed to the indoor pool to shimmy into their speedos for a little “heated” dip.

What memories!

Anyway, later today- present tense, Hedda and I will spread out ever issue of House and Home from the past 20 years on the Drawing Room rug and begin to look for Holiday Decorating ideas.

We’ll have a terrific time.                                                                                                          I I really mean that My Dears.

I must toodle now because your Dameness has a date with a loofah sponge and a pedicure artiste. The things we “gals” must do to look presentable and garner that “ Holiday Glow”. 

Tah for now!

Friday, November 11, 2011

ROBBLOG #338 W E E K E N D Edition

That most ugly of all four letter words has surfaced here for the first time this year. 

The 11th day of the 11th month in 2011 saw snow on my back deck. It was a surprize. It wasn’t in the forecast yesterday- at least the forecast I saw- but those crazy weather guys and gals slipped it in when we weren’t looking last evening at 7PM. 

Damn them! 

I still hadn’t taken the canvas cover off the gazebo on the back deck. A boston fern, a red zonal geranium and a hanging ivy geranium were still all clustered on a table beneath the canvas roof for protection from cool nights. 

I moved the plants into the garage about 10ish because it was cool outside. How long do I intend to keep those plants you say?
I’m expecting it to get real warm again- I guess.
Imagine a boston fern still outside in November.  

Then *&*&^% flurries began about midnight. South of us here in Orillia, they really got some snow. Up in Muskoka too but ours was just a light dusting. However, by 2 in the morning- yes I was up at Oh-two hundred, it was snowing a bit heavier, so I went outside and took the canvas roof off and threw it in the garage. 

Why was I up at Oh Dark Hundred?

Well the computer in the Swisssh Studio that allows me to do production work- commercials and such, stopped running. It’s the computer that also hosts Swisssh Holiday Radio. So I had to quickly transfer Swisssh Holiday Radio to my laptop to keep it on air. The actual production computer is toast for now. Our friend and computer Guru Richard from Nerd on Wheels is going to try to bring it back to life. I have another un-used computer that may have to substitute. What a mess!
The computer business- not the snow! 

You know technology is just great when everything works. Then, when things stop working and they break down- it’s a bloody nightmare! 

Of course, snow can be a nightmare before Christmas too. I read about several accidents overnight. People still drive on snow-covered roads like it was the middle of July! 

Have I snow tires on the Swissshmobile yet?
I do have a brush or two, an ice scraper and a container of windshield antifreeze tucked away in the back seat. 

Snow plus computer downtime.
What a lovely start to a day…

It could make a person cuss out loud!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Good Lord! 

After eight centuries some artsy guy sees the face of a devil in a fresco painted on a basilica wall in Umbria- in Italy. I looked at the picture and couldn’t see it at first. Now, that’s all I see every time I look at the fresco. 

It’s kind of a nasty devil too. Horns and everything. Right there beneath an angel gowned in a flowing white robe. The fresco was painted by Giotto. Officials are studying the fresco for clues as to why the devil’s face is there. 

Oh for pete’s sake!
Giotto had a sense of humour. He was probably forced into painting the fresco all in the name of Jesus. Maybe he’d have rather be fishing but some priest insisted he paint it for the Glory of God. So- and I am just guessing here, to escape the wrath of the church and the ultimate fate of being whipped, burned at the stake or otherwise tortured by the loving, accepting, non-judgemental Christian Church, he just grabbed his brushes and a few buckets of paint and created the fresco. 

It’s quite a pretty little thing. There are a group of angels encircling St. Francis of Assisi at the top of the fresco and a gaggle of priests beneath- one of them holding a black object that resembles a top hat. Maybe he’s going to pull a rabbit out of it! That’s why everyone is gathered around. Just for the entertainment value of a moment in time. 
St. Francis of Assisi is actually the name of the basilica too- Basilica St. Francis. Imagine it’s been there all this time. Oh. Probably a curious child or two centuries ago has said- 

“Look Mummy! It’s the Devil in the clouds, right there by that angel!” 

“Nonsense, Dear. It’s just a cloud- or something…” His mother would say. 

“The child cried out- “No Mum. It’s more than that. Look at the horns and the big chin. It’s the devil for sure!” 

“Young man!” Mother was angry now. “You’ll go to bed without supper and no fresh straw on the floor of your bedroom tonight. You’ll sleep on the same old urine-soaked straw that’s been there all week….and No Television either!” 

“Awww Mother. That’s not fair!” 

“What’s not faire...” She grabbed him tightly by his right arm- “What’s not faire is you blurting out some devil talk in front of everyone in the village and in this basilica too. Why what will people think of our family We have a son who sees the devil in paintings?” 

“But, but…” He tried to make another point. 

“Hush child or I’ll shove a red hot poker up your ass! Then we’ll see how many devils you see up there in that picture. Imagine a son of mine seeing devils and such. Why I should just march you right up to Father Bumwhistle and let him have ago at you!” 

The boy stopped squirming. Looking up into his mother’s face he said softly- “He already has…”

The mother paused for a second, then said- “Oh look. There’s Mrs.Busybodie. I must have a chat with here about the church supper. Now you go straight home and straight to your room young man.” 

She left the child standing alone in front of the fresco. He looked up at the devils’ visage in the cloud in the fresco one more time- and smiled.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


A bright sunny day in early November. We find Blanche and her sister Jane in the front room of their Bleeker Street house. Jane is fiddling with a huge ball of tangled Christmas lights. She is beginning Holiday preparations early. Meanwhile, Blanche is watching the Blue Jays munch on sunflower seeds from the feeder just outside the window. It’s 12 degrees celcius and just a bit past 2PM. Winds are light from the southeast.

Jane: Frick frakin’ finger snappin’ butt…

Blanche: Why Jane Dear- whatever is the matter?

Jane: It’s these G**$#* Christmas lights Sister Dear ~puff, drag, cough~

Blanche: Burned out bulb?

Jane: ~puff, puff~ No, If only. Look Blanche. Look! I took them out of the box like this!

Blanche: I am looking Jane Darling but all I see is a bunch of lights all tied up in a big ball.

Jane: That’s what I see too Blanche, a bunch of lights in a big freekin’ ball. Who in thename of holy old Hell would have shoved strings of lights back in a box like this ~puff, puff~?

Blanche: Jane Dear, it’s nothing to get that upset about. I distinctly remember that sleezeball friend of yours- Johnnie Strongman, helped you dismantle the Christmas Tree last year. He also took down the outdoor Christmas light strings too- if I am remembering correctly.
Jane: What is it with you Blanche that you always remember things correctly? What the **#* are you a freeking elephant?

Blanche: No…I…ummm…Now Jane Dear. Really! I was just trying to make polite conversation! That’s all Jane Dear.

Jane: What the F*** are you saying Blanche? ~puff, drag, puff, puff~

Blanche: Jane, I am simply suggesting that Johnnie may have shoved those lights you’re holding in your fat little hands, into your box.

Jane: Look Blanche Dear, Johnnie Strongman may have shoved something into my box- but it wasn’t these here Christmas lights!!

Blanche: Oh Jane Dear! I dislike it so when you speak like the cheap harlot you are. If I could only get up out of this darn chair, I’d run across the room and stuff those lights in your blasphemous, dirty mouth Sister Dear!

Jane: But Blanche Dear ~puff, puff~ You can’t. We’ve been over this time and time again. Now shut up and wheel yourself out to the kitchen and bring me a pair of scissors, oh and a mug of hot cider with a few fingers of Captain Morgan!

Blanche: You’re such a “cut up” Sister ! Hah! Hah! A big slut and an equally big cut up!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ROBBLOG #335 W E E K E N D Edition

Here's an extremely quirkly little story for your Weekend entertainment, all about a man by the name of George. Similarities between someone either living or dead is purly coincidental and strange.

Once upon a time there was an old man who lived on a quiet, little street, in a far off neighbourhood, within a tiny town that sat right next to a set of rusty old train tracks, that hadn’t felt the tremendous weight of passing trains for many years.
This man’s name was George. 

George pretty much stuck to himself. He didn’t have many friends in the little town and had been estranged from his family for decades. George loved to sit on his little front porch and listen to the trains blow their whistle as they passed the crossing a few hundred yards from his front gate. Some days it was the only pleasure he took in life- watching the trains chug on by. 

One sunny November day he walked out his front door, along the flagstone path to the front gate. He flipped the wrought iron latch and stepped onto the old sidewalk that had definitely seen better days.
“For cracky sakes!”- he muttered, “This sidewalk is disgusting!”
George looked down at the crumbling pavement and pushed a pebble- laying on the sidewalk, with the toe of his boot, into a huge hole in the cement that had formed right outside his gate.
“How long do I have to live with this hole right in front of my gate in this neighbourhood with crumbling sidewalks and big box stores?” 

George didn’t appreciate the big box retailers that had built in the huge field opposite his little house near the tracks either.
“Dagnabbit!”- he said, slapping his leg with his left hand, “Why should I have to look at those big box stores as well as this huge hole right in the sidewalk outside my gate?” 
He flung open his gate and marched back up the pathway to his front door. Drawing a huge skeleton key from his pocket he unlocked the door and went inside. He crossed the hall and stood before a little walnut table where an old bakelite telephone sat, happily perched on a white doily- right in the middle of the tabletop. It was the only, single, solitary telephone he owned. At one time it had belonged to his Aunt Sicily- until she died and passed it on to him. 

George picked up the receiver and phoned the small town’s public works department. The number was etched upon his mind for he had called to complain several times before. Not about the pothole in the sidewalk outside his gate but about the clouds of dust that had drifted across the road from the construction of the big box stores. The dust landed on his roses and his wicker furniture on his little front porch. It had made an awful mess.

After lodging a complaint, George- once again, locked his front door and headed down the flagstone path to the gate. He unlatched the gate and stepped out onto the sidewalk, being careful not to step into the huge hole. 

Suddenly, he was aware of a loud whirring sound which drew closer to him as every second ticked by. The sound seemed to be right over his head. As he looked skyward, George was struck by something big and brown and very heavy. It was a frozen piece of something from the belly of a passing 777 aircraft. It hit George right between his eyes.
A few minutes later the public works department called George’s phone to tell him a crew would be around in the morning to build him a new sidewalk. They apologized for their tardiness in recent years and for not repairing the sidewalk sooner seeing as George was a Senior Citizen of the little burg. 

George would have been happy to see his sidewalk repaired. As happy as a guy could be living near the train tracks and a field full of big box stores!

The funeral was the following Thursday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Holy cripes!

Time to pack away autumn and Hallowe’en décor and open up the big boxes labelled Christmas and Holiday Decorations.

I asked a neighbour Marjorie- who was in the process of taking down ghost and goblins, is it too early to start decorating for Christmas?
Marjorie smiled and leaned into my shoulder-
“No, the sparkling lights are so nice and they really lift people’s spirit- don’t they?”
“Yes. They really do.”- I said.
So, in the next few days the pre-lit potted tree will find itself positioned to the right of the front door and two reindeer- including one that moves its head from side to side, will sit alongside.

I just love the holidays and if putting up a few lights makes this month of November seem brighter- like Marjorie says, then I’m all for it. I don’t know where September and October scooted of too but if the next 60 days follows suit, we’ll be looking at a new year in the blink of an eye.

This month can be quite busy.
There’s decorating.
Attending arts and crafts shows.
Santa Claus Parades-
and more.

This year Tom and I are taking the week off before November turns in December. We’re heading to Europe- both Germany and France. Everything is planned and confirmed including a first class train ticket from Mainz, Germany to East Station in Paris. I am so excited at the prospect of riding a train through the countryside to Paris.
Romantic- don’t you think?
The train- at least the first class cars, has a Bistro Restaurant. It’s a 6 hour trip, so I am sure we’ll be dining in style as the train clickety-clacks along the rails.
Do trains still do that? Clickety-Clack?
Maybe this is an electric model and runs quietly along the rails. In my mind I see an old stream engine or a luxury Streamliner whisking us through the French Countryside. Who knows?
Maybe a famous face or two like maybe Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders- the Absolutely Fabulous duo, will be on board and share a table in the Bistro.
It could happen.
Let’s say they’ve been filming in Germany and are heading to Paris for a few days of rest and relaxation before heading home to London. They ask to share our table and we chat and laugh and drink cheap French wine.
They’re on a budget you see and sinking tons of money into their new Television Series.

Upon our arrival in Paris, we discover we're staying at the same hotel and they invite us to a meal in a chic little restaurant along the Champs Elysees.
I’ll let you know if anything close to that scenario even happens.

I hope I’ll be able to blog from Germany and France although sometimes “free Wi-Fi” isn’t as easy to find in parts of Europe. I know we have internet in our Paris Hotel, so I can blog from there for sure.

In the meantime I have to deal with normal November things.

Hey remember, if you want to hear some great Holiday Music right now, Swisssh Holiday Radio is on the air at the website or you can listen through  iTunes or (search Swisssh)