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Of Bonfires and Poppies

5th November 2020

I am delayed in writing, already it is the 18th!

Max came here on 4th November and the weather did warm up, M and D. spent a lot of time outdoors. Max just loves exploring our property and they walk up and down the driveway dragging the cart. This time Max enjoyed riding on the garden tractor with Pamp, they both wear ear defenders and he isn’t put off by the noise like Katya was.

When it got dark on 5th November we went into the front garden where we had a large bonfire, Max seemed to enjoy it and we had hot sausages and some sparklers before Max got restless and we went indoors. Below is a link to information about Guy Fawkes who was the inspiration for the Bonfire Night Festivities. Growing up in England as a Catholic we did have bonfires and fireworks on this night but we never had a Guy to burn.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes

Her is the poem about Bonfire Night, the only part I remember is the first verse;

Traditional British
 
Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God’s providence he was catch’d,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !

A penny loaf to feed ol’Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar,’
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we’ll say: ol’Pope is dead.

We took Max to a local park where they also have a War memorial. As it is November, I thought it a good idea to introduce him to poppies and remembering the soldiers who died or were injured in various wars. While he is not quite 2 this took the form of playing on the park equipment and then showing him the large Memorial to the dead of Hill 70. Max, of course, found the captured German machine gun displayed at the memorial quite interesting as well as exploring the memorial itself. We left a poppy.

Max and the war memorial 5th November

It was time to return Max to his parents on 9th November and as the weather was still very warm we had a picnic in the grounds of St Brendan’s church in Rockport on 1,000 island Parkway. with a lovely view over the water. If we have time we usually take the Parkway and picnic along it somewhere, we have found some good spots.

On 11th November we decided to go along to the above Memorial to remember the Fallen, thinking not many would be there as it is in a small Hamlet called Mountain. A few people had turned up, among them was a soldier and his family as well as a lady who put her car radio on so we could hear the ceremony from Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was a different kind of Remembrance Day but one I shall always remember.

Remembrance Day 2020

Below is a link to more information about the battle of Hill 70, located near Lens, and took place in 1917 under the command of General Currie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hill_70

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Of Ghosts and Moons and Months

Halloween 2020 a different kind of party

I was going to write on Halloween but then I got busy and now we are in a new month.

Instead of having a party or going along to the local village hall to help out with the Spooky event there all we did was carve a pumpkin and take it along to our local park where lots of other pumpkins awaited its company together with a lot of decorations. The Community Association had done a great job and the walk was a success. We stayed home and sat outside around a camp fire sampling my home made Elderberry Gin. Later we went outside again to see the Blue Moon. (A Blue Moon is when a full moon occurs twice in the same month, hence it is rare). It was very cold.

We went to church again on Sunday, a very wet and miserable day. I guess i am getting used to wearing a mask still hate it though.

We are wondering how the US election will go today. To say we, as Canadians, are a little concerned about the outcome of this election is an understatement. If Trump gets reelected I do not know what will happen. It feels a little scary. Some of the “rallies” Trump has presided over in the last few weeks have had worrying undertones of exclusion, racism and misogyny. Bidon needs a decisive win and who knows if that will happen? What worries me is how Canada will manage on its own, not to mention the threat China poses as it waits in the wings to preside over the world stage in the space provided by a delinquent USA.

We are to get Max for a few days starting tomorrow. Now he has had his baby curls clipped he is looking more like a boy. He will be 2 years old later this month and no longer a baby. Although it has been really cold this week it is set to warm up tomorrow so we expect to be outside quite a bit while he is here. We have a bonfire set up in the front so perhaps we might have a fire on the 5th November.

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Dad’s Birthday

Me and Dad sometime in 19554/5

On 25th October 1923, Jane Ormerod (Nee McNeiry) gave birth to her first and only child, a son. He was probably born at home in Knott- End -On -Sea above the Fish and Chip shop that his parents ran. I am not certain of these details as I do not think the shop was built until later in the 1920’s. I do know that he was Baptised in the local catholic church named after St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The story goes that Dad was to be named something else, (it doesn’t mention what), but as he was the first person to be Christened in the church his parents were persuaded to call him Bernard. Bernard Ormerod. Born 25th October 1923 Died 9th June 2014 in his 91st. year. Most of his life was lived in Knott End. He spent his National Service in Ireland and India returning to the village where he spent the rest of his long life. As a person who has wandered far and wide, I find it hard to comprehend how someone can spend their whole life in a very small community. Myself and my brother have lived in many different places, but my sister is following in the family tradition and has stayed close to her roots all her life. I am grateful my parents stayed in the village for 60+ and even the same house for 50 years. It meant a lot of memories were kept there, as well for my brother and I, it was always a place to go home to and see old friends and make new ones. Since 2014 even my sister has left the village and it is odd now to think we have no base there.

My roots are forever being moved but we have been resident in this area now for almost 11 years. This is the longest I have lived in one house since my childhood first home in Knott End “The Hackney”. It is a milestone indeed. This year I have greatly appreciated living here, enjoying both the house and grounds, it has afforded us room to breath in this strange year. My roots are happy here.

Dave and I decided we would go back to church today. It wasn’t’ a very comfortable experience as we had to sit in our masks for an hour but I guess we have to put up with that. It felt good to go back.

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The World Is Too Much With Us *

Us outside Bucking Palace sometime in the late 1970’s

Everyday I think about this Blog and every day I end up not writing in it. Well today I will write something.

What a different Fall it has been this year. All the Fall fairs have been cancelled as well as the Christmas Bazaars, no places to spend money!

It has been a lovely Autumn, still coloured leaves around which we are enjoying.

On Monday afternoon the book club, I belong to, met in our garage; we had hoped to meet outside around a camp fire but it rained steadily all day. It was great to see the other eight members in person but, oh dear, it was cold! The book we discussed was Calypso by David Sedaris, I loved it but do not really like the author. The next meeting, we are hoping, will be held at a member’s son’s house. They have a screened in large sun room and a fire pit so we hope to keep warm. Meeting in person is very important and a boost for the single members.

We are all waiting with bated breath for the final USA Presidential debate to be held this evening at 7pm. What wonderous wisdom will the wily Trump come out with, this time, I wonder? It will be interesting as they plan on turning the mic.s off for 4 minutes while the other person speaks. I have never been this interested in a US Presidential election, but I feel this one is very important. As to what will happen after the election is over, I have no idea. Has too much damage been done already to the international reputation of the USA? How will the US fair financially in the future, What about China? Not to mention our own country? Perhaps “The World Is Too Much With Us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;” William Wordsworth 1807.

Tomorrows temperature is forecasted to be in the low 20’sC. by Saturday it will only reach a high of 6C! I must try and finish planting my daffodil bulbs tomorrow. I managed to get some in on Tuesday as well as some weeding and mulching done. I would still like to do some more tidying, before the ground finally freezes.

I do seem to waste a lot of time, I have lots to do but just end up reading my book. I did clean part of the fridge this week and moved our bed, but I haven’t done any cleaning all week. I have invited friends over Sat. so I must clean tomorrow. I also have thought a lot about my Christmas cake but I haven’t actually got around to making it yet. Soon I hope. I love Christmas cake mine is boozy so will keep. We made some Elderberry cordial last week (We froze a lot of the berries from our tree) and have been using it in smoothies as well as I added it to some gin and will save that for Christmas. We made Sloe gin in UK and I am hoping this will be similar.

  • William Wordsworth poem 1807

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Sars-Cov-2

I can see the wood even with the trees. Oct. 2020

Here we are again. seems we are in the midst of the second wave of Covid 19. Certain areas of Ontario have been put back to Phase 2; Toronto, Peel, Ottawa are amongst them. Very happy we do not live in any of these areas.

Here is my take on this whole thing. The virus, Sars-Cov-2 (Covid 19), is here to stay. We may or may not get a vaccine, we will certainly get drugs that will help with the symptoms. A lot of us will catch it and some of us will die, but it is here to stay and we will have to learn to live with it. By that I mean if we want to have an anywhere “normal” life again we will have to get used to wearing masks, washing our hands often, using hand sanitisers and social distancing in public. As we are exposed to the virus, little by little, we will get some immunity which will make it easier to socialise.

This is a best case scenario; some people who are older, will have more trouble with the virus, yet others will be fearful to go out and expose themselves. But in the end we will all have to get out and start to live our lives as best we can. Businesses will go back to work, learning new ways of providing services to the public, while staying as safe as possible. Cinema’s will open again after making changes to the ventilation systems. Theaters will find ways to stage live shows, with ballet and mime taking center stage. Spoken theater and Opera will eventually make a comeback, perhaps outdoors, in the beginning. Travel will happen again, it will be different to what we are used to and probably less people will indulging in it. But the thirst for different experiences will overtake caution.

This time next year we will still be living with Covid 19 but I hope we will be a little better able to handle it, our Doctors will understand it more and we will be less fearful of catching it.

here is a link to an article that has lead to my thinking. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51048366

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New Month-New Season

Our ‘Ouse Sept.2020

Here we are , well into Fall and October. This month can be very beautiful with astonishing tree colours. Even in bad years the colours of the leaves are amazing, especially when the sun shines. A far cry from my childhood Octobers in England which usually involved rain. Walking around our property I have been struck by both the tree colours and the amount of fungi sprouting up all around. As we do not know much about edible mushrooms we have not been tempted to try any and thus are still alive and have not had any hallucinatory experiences!

After Max returned home, we tried to catch up with house work and garden work. Most of the plants that need to come indoors are safely ensconced in the sun room (which we keep above freezing) in the winter months. I have planted some spring bulbs, but have more to do. I am also finishing off weeding the front bed. It does make me feel better when i get out in the yard.

Christina and family arrived on 1st October for the w/e. Our Thanksgiving is on 12th (always second Monday of October) and C and M are hoping to go to a cottage with M.s brother and family, thus they came here to celebrate Christina’s 39th birthday instead. We had a lovely few days, M. had to work on Friday, but we enjoyed the children, lots to explore and do. C and M went out for dinner which meant we had even more fun with Katya and Max. Such a wonderful gift to have them here. Sat. Misha took them all in the boat on the river, which is a bit low but it was ok. They battled a HUGE spider while on board (neither adult is comfortable in their presence), they managed to evict it without alerting the children to the fear! We then celebrated C.’s birthday (2 days early, it is on the 5th) with a nice meal ordered in from Catered Affairs https://www.facebook.com/cateredaffairs/ as well as gifts, cake and crustless pumpkin pie. We even lit the fire, for the first time this season, in the living room. Yes, it was a bit hot! On Sunday after a late breakfast and garden time for the children, they left. A very hectic but lovely time for us all.

In other news; The president of the USA, Donald Trump, after behaving like a bullying schoolboy in the first Presidential debate on 29th Sept. 2020, then tested positive for Covid 19 on 1st October. He was taken to a military hospital on Friday after various interventions with oxygen. By all accounts he seems to have got itchy feet and managed to organise a “drive around the hospital” to wave at his supporters all the while needlessly exposing his body guards and driver to the virus. I guess the team of doctors treating him got fed up with his actions and told him he could go home on Monday evening. He was shown marching out of the hospital and being driven to a helicopter which took him back to the
White House. After climbing the steps to the balcony, he promptly removed his mask and waved to the people. Later he declared that the Coronavirus could be beaten and he felt fine and we shouldn’t be scared of it! Apparently, the people who have had the virus and recovered as well as relatives of those who have died, are not impressed. Is their no depths to which this president will dive? The election is 2nd November and I pray that Joe Biden gets a massive number of votes for I fear if he does not Mr. T. will not be moved.

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As Time Ages..

Max and the wagon Sept 2020

Thought I would give an update of my life at present. We had a visit from grandson, Max for 8 days. It was his first visit on his own and gave us a chance to get to know a little better. He is a very busy boy and at 22 months loves to be on the move. He is fascinated by anything on wheels. We got a wagon so we can tow him around the garden or, more realistically he can haul it around himself. He also loves to climb on and off the old tractor which Dave has installed on a platform in the garden so we can keep an eye on him. He especially enjoys it when Dave takes him for a ride on the working tractor, something Katya did not like because of the noise, Max wears ear defenders. We took him to the apple farm that we have taken Katya to for the last 2 years. We were very happy to see it was open and following Covid safety measures. All in all a good week was had by all.

We were invited out to dinner last night, at a friends house, where we enjoyed talking over things and eating good food. I have been a bit down lately as I am now really missing going places, like museums, theater and trips out. Most of the time i am ok but so much has had to stop over the last half year. I am lucky really as the WI and my book club have held outdoor meetings where we are able to talk to people in real life. Doing meetings on line is ok but it really isn’t the same, especially when there is a time limit and each person is only allowed to talk for a short time. Mask wearing is getting me down, even at the outdoor market today I noticed everyone (excpet me) had masks on. It wasn’t very busy and I social distanced. If we have to wear them everywhere I will just stay home more and get more down!

Katya had to have a Covid test this week. She had been sent home on Thursday 17th with a note explaining that if a child had a runny nose (some in her class did) they had to stay home until they were clear for 48 hrs. Katya of course had picked up the cold so she stayed home. Then the school let Christina know that they wanted a negative Covid test before K could return. They got the result on Friday (negative of course) so hopefully K. will go back to school on Monday. We took Max back on Thursday thus were able to see Katya, she is loving the school and has made friends, we hope that the runny nose is not a weekly event. Apparently all schools in Ontario are following this protocol, I guess the Covid test centers will be busy!

The weather is strange, last w/e,19-20th, was quite cool, then it slowly warmed up and by today it was in the high 20’sC! We haven’t had any rain for a good 10days either and everything is really crisp and dry. The leaves are falling as we have had a strong wind today but the flower beds are totally dried out. I am trying to finish off weeding my second flower bed, it is slow going but I am about half way there. I do enjoy getting my hands dirty and i have not been able to get to it since we had Max. I did do some today. It is going dark about 7:30 but it is still so warm, I shouldn’t’ be surprised that is what happens in the tropics, it goes dark about 7pm each day all year round

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Celebrations?

Christmas 1958/9

Returning to my post of Monday 14th September and the thoughts therein. Should we be publicly celebrating traditions that come from certain Ideologies to the exclusion of others? Talking here about Halloween- which is the eve of All Saints Day. An explanation is given below. It was originally called Samhain and celebrated at the part of the year, in the northern hemisphere, when the light is getting shorter and the dark is taking over. It is also the end of harvest, it was a time of bonfires and tales of ghosts. Eventually it was taken over by Christianity as a way to stop the celebration of Pagan ideas. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/samhain#section_6

The question is if we are to discontinue celebrations of all events that have any religious connections, then Halloween is surely one of them?

The other major event is of course Christmas. I celebrate the holiday as i am a Christian but I get more and more jaded each year. Christmas doesn’t really start until 24th December, up to then we are preparing for the birth of Christ with Advent. Then traditionally the party time begins and lasts for the next 12 days. The count actually begins on the 26th, boxing day and ends on 6th January with Little Christmas or the day the three wise men reached the babe.

As i said in my last blog. We do not actually know the precise date of Christ’s birth thus a lot of the celebrations around this season are taken from the celebration of the winter Solstice. Wikipedia has a lot more to share on the subject of why Christian’s use this date as the bithdate of Christ.

i have thought about why i was ranting about giving up celebrations this year and have decided the reason wasn’t that good. But a more scaled back celebration and less spending could lead to more fun family time? with a focus on the people in our society who have nothing being our main priority rather than overspending on things we do not need and have no use for.

Governments around the world are all freaking out about the spike in Covid 19 cases! They spent most of August telling us this was going to happen, so why are they getting mad now? Some countries are closing down again, perhaps they should have been more cautious in opening up? Or perhaps there supporters wanted to start earning money again; what cost impatience!

The dearly loved (?) President of the USA is showing signs he may not give up graciously if he is defeated in the election to be held in November. Perhaps he would rather he lived in Russia!

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Twilight Zone

Christmas 1975 RAF Thorney Island

Dave returned to the hospital today to have his arm checked. Turns out the chip detected on his wrist bone was an old injury (I remember him doing it when he was in the RAF) and the young emergency Dr. mistook it for a new injury! (That is why his wrist didn’t hurt). His upper arm is still waking him up at night but gets better each day. He never needed the half cast, just as well as it broke in half after 4 days! A friend lent him a wrist guard but he doesn’t need that either! Such is life, now if our Dr. office had been open….. who knows?

Thus we continue in this half life. I have been trying to find out if our community is thinking of doing something to celebrate Halloween but it appears they have adopted a wait and see attitude. For weeks now the powers that be have been telling us we must expect a resurgence of the Coronavirus in the Fall and it would appear that this was a self fulfilling prophecy. Here is an explanation of the term:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=self+fullfilling+prophecy&form=ANNNB1&refig=363ccd6c705e4d1a941673f5e1230dc5&sp=1&ghc=1&qs=BT&pq=self+fullfilling+&sk=PRES1&sc=8-17&cvid=363ccd6c705e4d1a941673f5e1230dc5

Yes, cases in Canada are going up but why get freaked out about it? This is what we must come to expect and live with, incorporating the Virus into our daily lives. It is not going away, if we want to continue to live a productive interesting life we must adjust to new ways of doing things. Halloween is one of those things. We can decided to scrap the whole thing, do away with the concept, perhaps it is time it is an outdated consumer driven event anyway and ruins children’s teeth. OK get rid of it.

What is next? Oh yes, Christmas! The Great Elephant in the room of a holiday Western Countries have developed. A lot of workers are given time off for this holiday, schools are closed and shops just adore it. Perhaps this year will be the year we can finally scrap the whole thing. After all it started out with the supposed birth of Jesus Christ, God the Son whom Christians the world over follow as their Messiah. The early Leaders of the Christian church decided to appropriate the Midwinter Solstice Festival and rename it as the birthday of Christ ( Christs birthdate is not indicated in the documents about his life). Thoughts to pursue in my next blog.

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To Labour Or Not To Labour

no it doesn’t hurt that much!

Dave’s arm has been keeping him awake at night and is still sore so we have postponed Max’s visit until next week. We want to be sure we can look after him properly.

Monday was A holiday here, Labour Day (this spell check doesn’t like my spelling). Not that it makes much difference to us and especially not at present with most things still shut or at least greatly reduced. I was looking in an old diary and realised how much we have missed, from Shakespeare in the Park which is usually in August to the Christmas light switching on in the local village. None of these things will happen this year. Although I do not see why we cannot have the tree lighting as it is outside. I guess no one wants to organise it. A lot of organisations are shutting down and probably will not open up again after this is all over. Perhaps it is just as well as I have decided I was doing too much anyway. Time for a slower pace and to concentrate more on the grandkids and friends instead of rushing about trying to do too many things.

We did have a WI meeting in our garden on Sat. We really just talked about how we would like to go forward and meet again, it is a small close knit group and I think a few members were missing meeting. We hope to have the next meeting outside as well and then we will see what happens after that.

It would seem Canada is worrying about a spike in Covid 19 outbreaks now that schools are going back. Ontario has decided not to open the province any more than it already is. University is also looking different than other years, even though some people are living on campus a lot of courses are on line. We are all urged to remain vigilant.

Britain is to introduce a ban on gatherings of more than 6 people from 14th Sept. because of a spike in the Coronavirus, however it will not apply to schools or workplaces, Covid secure weddings and funerals and team sports, sounds a bit daft to me! I guess we shall see what happens.

Wildfires are burning madly in California and Washington States while record high temperatures remain the norm.

For something not about covid 19 below is an article about 2 soldiers from the Myanmar army who are attesting to what they saw and experienced in 2017 when the Myanmar army displaced the so called Rohingya Muslims.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/myanmar-soldiers-custody-hague-1.5715272

In another news item talk is of outdoor schools being the future. It seems to make sense and could be a lot more fun. I always remember going for nature walks in the grounds of a large house opposite our school. We would charge along the trails and look for items depending on the season, fungi, fallen leaves, or snowdrops and crocuses. Always lots of fun.