A Travellerspoint blog

Mediterranean Cruise with my daughters

sunny 22 °C

IMG_1484.jpg. Sycamore trees in Aix en Provence.

My daughter Heather mentioned that her dream was to visit the south of France. So after making a few other suggestions I asked her and her sister Melinda if they would like to accompany me on the Celebrity Silhouette from Rome to Rome with stops in Salerno, Messina, Marseilles, Ajaccio,Corsica and Florence. After they convinced me to travel business class they were delighted to say yes. So, in addition to Rome we travelled in a hydrofoil along the Amalfi Coast to Capri and were thrilled to visit Axel Munthe's Villa San Michele. After walking around in Marseilles, Melinda and I spent a very pleasant afternoon in Aix en Provence. Then our ship anchored in the beautiful natural bay of Villefranche sur Mer. This is where I have spent a month each year for the last nine trying to become proficient in French. Much to my delight my first professor there, Aude Fauche', met us on the waterfront for coffee after which we visited Betty at Chez Betty. Then we walked to L'Institut de Francais, met the director, several professors and the chef. It is in a particularly lovely setting and I wanted the girls to see it. Next we went to Nice, lunched in the Flower Market and strolled on the Promenade des Anglais. The following day we stopped in Corsica and we took a bus tour to the Prunelli Gorges. Of course we went to see the house where Napoleon Bonaparte was born too. Last stop was Livorno, Italy from where we took a bus tour to magnificent Florence. All in all it was a great trip. The ship, our suite, the entertainment and meals were all exceptional.
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Posted by douglasw 13:01 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Visiting Twyford, England for Hannah Timms' marriage.

Hannah Timms and Philip Large were married on July 25, 2015

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Hannah and I were classmates at l'Institut de Francais in Villefranche, France five years ago, became friends and thanks to the social media(Facebook)which she encouraged me to join have kept in touch. That means I have followed her adventures with Philip(the groom)as she has followed mine.

So when she said that if I was in England at the time she would like me to come to their wedding I accepted the invitation and told her I would come as a lark. I booked a flight and arrived a couple of days before the event during which I went on the London Eye, visited the British Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, and got to see The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. And I walked in the rain, visited pubs and Foyle's Bookshop. But this Blog is about a wedding like no other I had ever heard of.

Hannah had arranged for me to stay with a friend of her parents, June Kalb.....I am so glad she did since June and I had some very nice talks, drank tea and had some scones too. I had been met at Westminster train station by Chris, Hannah's brother, dropped off at June's and in half an hour was picked up and taken to an old pub for lunch with a number of H and P's friends. Of course they made me feel very welcome and then we all walked on footpaths to the Parish Church of St Mary The Virgin, Twyford. The church building is Victorian but the parish has been there 1000 years.

The service was very traditional, like Effie's and my own 64 years ago, but there were readings by friends and Chris's wife Hannah sang during the signing of the register. I was a little emotional and although Hannah had provided polka dot kleenex for Happy Tears I didn't need to use mine.

So a lovely service in a beautiful old church ended, we all threw confetti and then were bussed to a farmer's field for "bubbly" and "games". In the field there were bales of hay for seating, a table loaded with bottles of bubbly and we were given instructions and distinctive hats for each team. H and P had named team leaders, a member of each team made sure our glasses never reached empty and we were ready to participate. Well, I wasn't, but before long thanks to my teammates and the level of fun, soon was. And thankfully after lots of rain preceding the wedding day the weather was perfect. And the team I was on won. What fun!

And we then moved on to the barn for the reception and dinner. I had expected this to be a catered affair. It wasn't! H and P along with help from family and friends had worked preparing the field and setting up the barn. A whole pig was bar-be-cued, the bride's Mother made the desert and other treats came from friends. There was a band, speeches, dancing and a very good time was had by all.

The next day I went Hannah's parents' home for breakfast and stayed for lunch too. There were other out of towners, family and friends and H and P showed up too after working in the rain dismantling the set-up at the farm including hauling rain soaked bales of hay under cover. Mary and John Timms are very gracious hosts, Mary's food was delicious and I enjoyed being in such a friendly home.

Then I was taken to the train station, spent the night in London and got up before O6:00 to catch the plane home. Thus endeth a marvellous five days.


Posted by douglasw 15:03 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Visiting Ontario, June 26-July 7, 2015


I wanted to visit my son Doug, daughter-in-law Linda and their family.......and to see their new cottage in Muskoka. One of the first things we did was go to a ball game...that is Doug, grandson Chris and I went despite the pouring rain. Luckily Rogers Stadium closed the roof. Another day Doug and I visited St Catharines and Welland to visit my sisters-in-law Bev and Fran.

And we drove to Mukoka for five days. The pictures show how beautiful it is. Having passed my boaters' test, I was able to get behind the wheel and get the sense of having control of a very powerful boat. Doug and I swam from the boat too, which was a treat. And Doug, Linda and I cycled to Windermere Lodge a couple of times (24 kilometres round trip). Lunch on the patio was special. Oh, we also shopped for, what else, Muskoka Chairs. My American friends know them as Cape Cod chairs and they are heavier than lead so no wind can bother them. Grandson Geoff and granddaughter Carolyn who work at a nearby summer camp visited the cottage and granddaughter Tanya, her husband Powin and son Ethan arrived on our last day along with their very good friends the Costantinis. I am including a photo of Ethan with Kayla.

On returning to Toronto I had a chance to walk down memory lane visiting the church I attended during my Christian Era. And then I headed back to British Columbia where granddaughter Shannon and her kids were visiting. We cycled, along with Shannon's friend Ryan and had a very nice lunch so I included some pictures with this Blog.

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Posted by douglasw 11:43 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Visiting Quesnel, British Columbia

A few days in the Cariboo

semi-overcast 10 °C

I thought it would be nice to visit Quesnel for my daughter Melinda's birthday so arranged to fly up to the Cariboo. She and her husband Wayne live in this northern community as do my granddaughter Andrea and her daughters Kenzie and Erika. So I knew it would be both fun and tiring.

The Cariboo is not on the coast like Vancouver so the flight is amazing crossing the Coast Mountains and then the rolling ranch country. And Quesnel is at the confluence of the mighty Fraser River and its tributary the Quesnel River. Both go right through the town. So the birthday celebrations went well and relatively quietly except for visiting Erika's class Poetry Café. Her teacher had the classroom set up with a stage and parents and visitors(grandparents and me)sat at tables of six with their kids. Then each child got up on the stage and recited a poem. This was repeated three times with some children reciting one poem they had written themselves. Of course they were terrific and at intermission we all had hot chocolate and cupcakes the mothers had brought.

The next day Melinda, Andrea and the kids and I drove to Williams Lake for the annual indoor rodeo. Oh my gosh it is wild.....Cowboys and cowgirls, music, hijinx and lots of what you go to a rodeo for....horses and cattle. There is the usual roping, bull riding, wild horse roping and steer riding for young cowboys and girls. And sloppy food galore! Before we went to the rodeo I swam with the little girls in the hotel swimming pool so that was exciting too.

Early the next morning we tried to find a really nice restaurant for a big breakfast before heading back to Quesnel and for me to catch my plane for Vancouver. We ended up in the closest place I have ever seen to a fifties drive-in. I think it's called the Dog 'n' Suds, but kids were welcome and we joined a bunch of cowboys and had a great breakfast before hitting the road. When I got home, tired but very happy, I went for a walk in my neighbourhood, snapped a few pictures and ate at one of my favourite and regular restaurants Stepho's on Davie Street. IMG_1134.jpg IMG_1132.jpg IMG_1131.jpg IMG_1135.jpg IMG_1136.jpg 180_IMG_1140.jpg IMG_1141.jpg IMG_1142.jpg IMG_1152.jpg IMG_1153.jpg IMG_1144.jpg IMG_1146.jpg IMG_1147.jpg IMG_1148.jpg IMG_1149.jpg IMG_1154.jpg IMG_1155.jpg IMG_1157.jpg IMG_1158.jpg

Posted by douglasw 10:58 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Institut de Francais, Villefranche, France

I decided to return to this school for the ninth time and was prepared to continue at the intermediate level. But with the encouragement of former classmate Susan Beckman and her help over the month before coming I am now in an Advanced class. After having completed the first three weeks I am very satisfied with my progress, like and feel very comfortable with my classmates and all is well. From previous posts, those who read my blog will already know how highly I think about the Institut, its methods and routine so I won't repeat myself except to say it attracts so many interesting people and spending a month on La Côte d'Azur is always more than a pleasure. And I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 85th birthday in Nice with good friends Roy and Carmelita Tucker and Samara McCarthy.
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I am adding a few pictures including some taken at the Maeght Gallery in St Paul de Vence. Here in France the signs showing how fast you are driving change into either a smile or frown depending on your speed. I included a photo since I have been enjoying them.

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Posted by douglasw 11:00 Comments (0)

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