A Travellerspoint blog

Spending a few days in Cincinnati

sunny 7 °C

Susan Beckman, who was instrumental in getting me into an advanced class at L'Institut de Francais last March by Skyping with me in French and encouraging me to persist, invited me to visit her and I did. She lives on a lovely small farm in Milford, Ohio near Cincinnati. We walked on a few trails, worked out with her personal trainer and enjoyed some nice meals out. One day we went to a lecture by Alexandra Fuller who talked about growing up in Africa and her best selling books as well as her life since. This was a charity event and about three hundred people attended. Another day we went to an event for "C'est La Chandeleur" (Candlemas Day) put on by the local Alliance Francaise. Crêpes and cider were served and since Susan, as a member of the Alliance had work to do I played Monopoly with her seven year old grandson Laughlin and kept an eye on little sister Maeve. Then we went to Susan's daughter's place to feast on Chili, finger food and desserts along with beer. Laughlin is so knowledgable about football and we enjoyed each other's company watching the Super Bowl. His sisters Olivia, Alexandra and Maeve along with their Mom and Dad were all great company. After four days of beautiful weather the day I came home was grey with rain and snow, so having ignored taking many pictures the ones I took that day aren't the best.

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Posted by douglasw 16:17 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Saying goodbye to 2015 and welcoming 2016 in the Cariboo

It's been quite a holiday season for me. First a week in Ontario with my son Doug and his family, then Christmas with my daughter Heather and her family in North Vancouver and finally seeing in the New Year in Quesnel with my daughter Melinda, son-in-law Wayne, granddaughter Andrea and her daughters Kenzie and Erika.

Flying from Vancouver is always a thrill going over and through the Coast Range to the rolling countryside of the Cariboo. The route pretty well follows the mighty Fraser River and leaves the mild wet west coast arriving an hour later in the frozen north.

So, to sum up the highlights I would say the laughing and teasing are very welcome; we are all very compatible and enjoy being with each other. Is it tiring being around seven and nine year old girls? You bet, but wonderful. Where do all their questions come from? We went skating....well I watched after a few mild attempts. Ice skating is not like riding a bike. You really have to learn all over again if you haven't skated regularly. Melinda and I ate our share of red meat at places like the Cariboo Hotel and Billy Barkers Casino since this is cattle country and we wanted to help the local ranchers. And we had home-made tourtière and other good stuff at home. Holding tightly to Wayne I rode on his snowmobile and another time Melinda and I walked out on the lake on a path her neighbour ploughed after she told him that was something I wanted to do. There are ice fishermen in their huts, skating rinks made by people living beside the lake, walkers and snowmobilers galore.

We celebrated the New Year at midnight Rio de Janeiro time(07:00pm In Quesnel) with champagne for the adults and cream soda for the girls, then we all went out on the deck with pots and pans, screamed, kissed and then returned to a raging fireplace. All was well and we all slept soundly.

So ends another lovely adventure.

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The last few pictures were taken at the Quesnel Airport on my way home.

Posted by douglasw 14:50 Comments (0)

A Week in Toronto.......but what a week!

A little Father/Son bonding

overcast 8 °C

When my son Doug invited me for Christmas I had already accepted invitations from my oldest daughter Heather for Christmas and from her sister Melinda to see in the New Year in Quesnel. So, he suggested I come toToronto December 2nd for a week. His wife,Linda,was going to be away with her Mother. So being far more spontaneous than in the past and not wanting to miss some father/son time I went.

Chris is the only one of his kids living at home so the three of us ate what we wanted(steaks,chops,salmon etcetera, drank lots of beer and wine and watched sports on TV. But that's not all......Geoff,Doug's second son, joined us for a great meal at a place next to Air Canada Centre where, after dinner, we watched a basketball game which the Raptors lost by one point. The restaurant was fully booked but after Doug bribed the hostess with a twenty dollar bill we got a great table.

So what else did we do? We drove to Coburg twice to see my Great-Grandson Ethan play in a hockey tournament. That gave me time to visit with my Granddaughter Tanya and her husband Powin. Oh yes and I drove to Coburg in Doug's new Mercedes once even though I now restrict driving my Smartcar at home to the city. Hey I had a co-pilot and enjoyed the thrill of Ontario's busy autoroutes. Miriam, Chris's significant other came for dinner one night and Doug out-did himself in the kitchen. The picture of Chris and Miriam shows the melding of faiths.

One evening we went out to dinner with Granddaughter Shannon, her friend Ryan and daughter Riley. By this time Linda was back from Florida so that gave us an opportunity to get together.

And last but not least I had a lovely lunch with Tanya and Shannon's Mom Wendy. It had been too long. On my last day Doug and I had lunch with Heather Donaldson in downtown Toronto. We all enjoyed it.

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Posted by douglasw 16:11 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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.

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

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