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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.

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September and the growing is good

First day of school. Sept. 2020

Another new month, September this time, still warm and sunny outside. I am preparing the enclosed, insulated, heated porch/sunroom for when we have to bring our collection of exotic plants inside because of the cold. Cleaning and sorting out the things that get deployed out there during the summer months, while the plants are gone, these include the children’s craft items as well as mine!

Katya started school on Tuesday, Big Day for sure. Because of the Coronavirus and the fact no one really knows how the back to school situation is going to work out (will we get a spike in covid 19?), K.’s parents have decided not to put her in the public school system at this time. Thus she is going to a local Montessori school/day care that takes children from 6 months to 6 years. Katya is in Cassa (which is their Kindergarten) and goes from 9 to 5. So far she seems to be enjoying it and we think it is exactly what she needs. Max is still going to his usual day care and all being well, we hope to see him next week when he will stay with us, on his own this time.

after first day of school (K loves it)

September has been eventful, Dave fell off the step ladder on Tuesday and we ended up in the local hospital emergency on Wed. Dave was pruning one of our crab apple trees with the chain saw, he switched to manual clippers, leant over too far and fell off! After a sleepless night, i decided a trip to the hospital was in order, he was complaining of a sore shoulder and his right hand was a little swollen. 3.5hrs later when i picked him up he had been told his shoulder was fine but he had a half cast on the lower part of his right arm because he has a chipped bone in his wrist. The cast will be on for 7 days. Yes, we both know it could have been much worse and are thankful for small mercies.

Had a WI Zoom exec. meeting last night and have decided to have a live mini meeting in our backyard on Sat.1-3pm. We shall see how it goes. This is our first meeting since early March. Their was a social get together in August but I couldn’t’ go as i was picking the kids up.

Still living this strange uneasy existence with the Novel Coronavirus among us. We social distance and wear face masks when we go indoors, even visiting friends can be problematic. Some of us are very cautious about going places and doing things while others are more adventurous. Will we get a second wave? Who knows?

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“… I’ll Tell you no Lies”.

Hackensall hall sometime in 1960’s/70/s

Secrets, we all have them. Some are hidden so deep within us that we almost forget we know them, others we are desperate to share, nearly blurting them out to all and sundry, only stopping at the last minute.

Below is a poem I was introduced to as a child in a one room school house in an English village.

A Smugglers Song by Rudyard Kipling

if you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street;
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling,
While the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brushwood back again — and they’ll be gone next day!

If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm — don’t you ask no more!

If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!

Knocks and footsteps round the house — whistles after dark —
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie —
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!

If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood —
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie —
Watch the wall, my darling,
While the Gentlemen go by!

Is it a good poem? I do not know, I remember the pictures, created by the words and thus i enjoy it.

But back to secrets. I guess we like to share, which is how some secrets get told, whispered in an ear, when no one is near, the listener sworn to secrecy, Sometimes they stay true but other times they forget. Other secrets are gleaned by spying which enables the eavesdropper to have a hold over the secretor. Yet others are found out by agents employed by governments or companies to spy on their counterparts.

In the present situation, the world wide Novel Coronavirus outbreak, I am sure spying is rife between countries trying to find an answer to this so far unstoppable disease. Countries are all working on a vaccine but i wonder if they are all sharing what they learn?

I strive to keep the secrets i know, some will become known of their own accord in the fullness of time (as the saying goes), others will go to the grave with me.

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Here We Go Again

Hau Hin February 2005

It has been awhile since i wrote here. Reasons are; we had the children from 6th to 12th, lots of fun as usual. We managed to do a lot of stuff, including taking them to a local small animal zoo, which they loved. It was all outside so it was quite safe and we took our own food. First time they had been anywhere like that in a while. We of course did our usual outdoor painting, this time, plant pots and canvases. We managed to have a fire as the fire ban had been lifted after a Sunday rain, this of course included cooked marshmallows, our family has never really embraced Smores.

Because we had seen a white tailed deer at the zoo, we introduced Katya to the movie Bambi. First time i had seen it also, not that impressed, but Katya loved it. We also watched Bed Knobs and Broom Sticks, K. loved it. Another movie I had never seen, but this one i enjoyed. I have always admired David Tomlinson, mostly he is remembered from Mary Poppins but he was also in B&B.

I also hosted my book club here yesterday. We are trying, while the weather is warm, to have meetings in peoples gardens. We usually come together in my garden, in the summer, for a pot luck meal. This time it was different, one or two brought there own everything while i provided quiches (3 different ones) and salad which I plated up ahead of time and everyone got a tray with the meal etc. on it. Worked out quite well and we sat around tables and were able to chat. The book we discussed was The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I and a lot of the others really enjoyed it. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32051912-the-alice-network

Thus life has been busy and house cleaning is greatly overdue. Also i have phone calls to return, our phone has not been working very well but it is fixed now so hope to catch up with people tomorrow.

I also have a dental appointment but more on that later!