The plane finally landed. There had been a lot of coughing and sneezing and general restlessness for the last couple of hours of the flight. As we stood with our carry-ons, waiting to disembark, I sneezed.
"OMG," I said. "Now I think I have the plague."
Bernie was horrified. "Don't say such a thing," she said, demonstrating what I thought was un-necessary paranoia and what she thought was sensible caution on an international flight. She also started a list of words I was no longer allowed to use.
We arrived in the morning and we delighted with ourselves when we navigated the train to Victoria Station and the "tube" to near Hyde Park and our near-by hotel. Baggage checked at the hotel, and the not withstanding the plague, we had a few hours to spend before we could check in.
Through Hyde Park and into Kensington Gardens. The sun was warm and the day so perfect, we barely noticed that we were jet-lagged. We found Princess Diana's fountain and walked along the Thames tributary admiring the water fowl.
At last we could check into our hotel and we both cratered. So much for no jet-lag. Still our trip was off to a great start.
The picture on the right is actually from our second day. Queen Victoria, longest reigning monarch, had this tribute made to Prince Albert who was her soul mate and a great help in governing England.
I guess the image is a little fuzzy but you get the idea. Yes, I have been to amazon.ca and I want to warn other Luddites who have been avoiding Cyber Monday and On-line shopping and consumerism in general. It's way too easy. Once you have an account on amazon, they remember you, they remember your shipping address and your credit card number. Unless you need to change those two things, all it takes is a couple of mouse clicks and yes! your order's on its way. Sure, they show the balance of your order and offer free shipping on a lot of things and on orders over $25. Too easy.
Nor are you limited to such mundane and boring devices as traditional books, you can buy Kitchen Aide mixers and cordless drills at big discounts. (Even if you haven't baked anything since 1972 and your skill with wood working is nil, it's tempting.) You can get DVD's for great movies and for any season of your favourite tv show. There are toys for the kids and electronic gadgets. A Kindle, maybe? A plethora of choices all at the click of a mouse. Now I have a new possible diversion to control. It could turn out to be expensive.
And it's kind of fun. It's not like the old catalogue shopping. I ordered my gift books three days or so ago. This morning my even more Luddite husband comes in holding a plain brown box. "Here," he says. "They delivered this yesterday and it was leaning on the front door." What????F!!!! Of course I tore it open immediately and there they were! The books I'd ordered for Christmas gifts. Too easy.
And just in case my family or friends actually read this. NO...the new book by Ken Follett is not something I chose for you. It's for ME. I saw it while doing a little Christmas shopping Cyber Monday. Way, way too easy.
Gary and I were married November 4, 1972. Some parts of the day were a mistake. The next time I get married it's going to be a June wedding. There are so many more honeymoon possibilites. That being said, we decided to mark our 40th anniversary with a little get away.
You might guess Hawaii but you'd be wrong. We headed out through heavy fog and the threat of freezing rain for Moose Jaw. If it was good enough for Al Capone...
It's not such an odd destination. Temple Gardens in Moose Jaw is a hotel with amenties like a mineral pool and on-site massages. The rooms are pleasant and the price, reasonable. There's the Moose Jaw Casino right across the street. It's a pretty easy place to navigate so it did suit a "mature" couple. The arch in the photo leads into a park but with the twisted trees in the background, I thought it looked "deliciously creepy" It has a forboding feel to it, a kind of 'enter at your own risk' warning. It could lead to a cemetary or be a portal into an alternate reality.
And back to reality- when you follow the walking trails through the park, the most sinister sights are more twisted trees. And really big squirrels. The squirrels are pretty tame and one giant even poked his head around a tree trunk next to me. Another photo op.
The 'deliciously creepy" gate is, in fact, all that remains of one of the first schools in Moose Jaw. The arch was saved and now graces the entrance to Crescent Place. Still, I think it might be the inspiration for some fiction later on.
And forty years? They have gone by pretty fast. Like Moose Jaw, they weren't perfect. There were rough patches and unexpected delights. So - would I do it again? Yes- to both the forty years and Moose Jaw.
I left home with overcast skies threatening snow. It was the end of January and I had a two and a half hour drive to reach my daughter’s house in Edmonton. The longer I drove, the stormier it grew. Soon the wind was sweeping snow across the highway and piling it into drifts in the ditches.
By the time I was on Whyte Avenue, the snow had covered the lines marking lanes
and it was being polished into ice by stormy gusts. The driving conditions were deteriorating by the minute. My biggest scare came as I slid around the corner onto 99th
Despite the storm, my daughter, Andrea and I decided to go out to eat. If we were careful, we’d be fine. The house my daughter rents is old and borders the Mill Creek Ravine. She can almost step from her front door and into a fir and pine forest. The down side is that to
get back onto 99th Street, you have to drive around and up a steep incline. In the winter, you have to speed up the grade to avoid coming to a spinning stop.
We turned the corner and my daughter said, “Give it some gas, Mom.”
As we approached the crest of the hill, the wheels started losing their grip. I wasn’t going to make it.
“Back down and try again,” said Andrea. “This time go faster.”
I had neglected to clean my back window properly and while we were in the house enough snow had accumulated to interfere with my vision as I backed down. With my view limited, I
didn’t turn the corner sharply enough.
I stopped as I realized that we were on our way into the ravine. My new car! It was stuck in snow past my knees and had nestled next to a stand of poplars.
I straightened the wheels. My daughter gave me advice about “rocking”the car to free us. It didn’t work and with the storm I knew that getting a tow truck tonight would be impossible. "I'll
I almost laughed. Andrea was 115 pounds but she got out anyway and we tried again. Of
course, nothing happened.
Just as we were about to abandon the car, two men appeared out of the
swirling snow. They walked down the
hill and without a word, they put their shoulders to the back of the car. I was
immediately free and I gunned the engine to the top of the hill, leaving Andrea
I stopped and was about to go to speak to the men when Andrea arrived.
"Did you thank them?” I asked.
“I tried. They just kept walking.”
Our Samaritans didn’t worry about thanks and their help was routine. It was winter and they had come out of the blizzard, rescued us and disappeared as they had come, back into the
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.