Friday, July 26, 2013

Bits and pieces

Today I am home for lunch - Wednesday's appointment with the audiologist culminated in lunch in Penticton, and afterwards an ice cream cone of mammoth proportions, even though it was a senior-size.   I can remember my Father giving me a nickel  (five cents) to run around in the evening to the local grocer for a cone, - top price at the ice cream emporium Wednesday was $9.65!!!!

Yesterday I had a lovely prawn stir-fry with a good friend, - the restaurant was packed with residents from Orchard Haven, the local senior's care facility, so we had lots of time to chat while we waited for our order.

Today, as soon as the Apricot Pies are out of the oven I am off to shop, and who knows what the local Deli might have on special!  Whatever it is I will probably bring it home for a quick, cool lunch

Yesterday it was 105 degrees F in the shade - I am not complaining about blue skies and sunshine, but it does call for a judicious use of the air conditioner and a little conservation of energy during the hot afternoon.  The sunflowers are reaching, but not yet in bloom.  Below the yellow daisies raise great paeans to the sun, and in contrast the purity of the white phlox.

Callie and I stretch out in one of the reclining chairs.  She sleeps and I read.  Well, sometimes I sleep too, - cat naps I think they are called.  At bed time I have been reading  Joyce Carol Oates 'Memoirs of a Widow'.  Is this a good idea?  Well, I'm not sure.  I have great sympathy for her in her lack of family to offer love and support and our circumstances are somewhat different, but at the core of the matter isn't it the same loss for all widows, the depth of which can only be realized when you must embrace it bravely yourself.

In the afternoon I have been reading, amongst other books I pick up and put down,  more of Chris Arthur's essays.  I am entranced with his vocabulary, his imagination and his interpretation of the most ordinary things of life.

I read for a while.  Perhaps I nod off, - usually I rise long before 6 o'clock and am in the garden shortly after to tend to the water and the weeds.  Today I investigated with dismay the number of stops the Chinese Lantern Underground Railway is making through the raised bed . A cup of coffee, the early morning coolness and the birds greeting the new day (which I now can hear) waken my spirits, but the early hour lends itself to a sleepy afternoon.

Sometime during the afternoon I will wander down to the loom room and do a few inches of threading, - it is not a wide warp I am putting on the loom but the speed with which I used to thread the heddles is interrupted by my back whining, quietly but persistently.

Here is a picture I snapped out of the side window as we made our way home from Penticton Wednesday, - this is how a great majority of the visitors to the Okanagan spend their lovely warm holiday afternoons - under a plethora of colourful umbrellas.  And I remember it as being just lovely, with the children building sandcastles, in and out of the water, splashing and so pleased to be spending a day at the beach.  Unfortunately all the pictures from those days were taken with a movie camera, and so they aren't available to post without a lot of messing around, but they are bright in my mind!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Duke Ellington - Don't Get Around Much Anymore

Just saying.....

An old favourite of ours!

Monday, July 22, 2013

B stand for Barnstorming

ABC Wednesday

The letter is B, and B stands for Barnstorming,

as it was in the early days of aviation, and as it is now, with relevance to political  activity.

When I was a small child I remember standing with my parents and their friends on the second story balcony of a house that skirted the small airport in Edmonton, watching an airshow, -  that popular form of entertainment in the 1920's in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes. 

Sometimes it might be an individual, and sometimes it was a group of pilots who would present what was called a Flying Circus.

And sometimes they would offer rides to inhabitants of the small towns where they were performing.

Most barnstorming shows would begin with a pilot, or group of pilots, flying over a small rural town to attract attention.  After landing at a local farm and negotiating with the farmer for the use of one of his fields as a temporary runway (hence the name Barnstorming), they would then drop leaflets over the adjoining town, advertising the show.  It is said that in many cases the whole town would shut down to come and watch this new and exciting entertainment.

And it was exciting - Barnstormers would perform a variety of stunts and acrobatic maneuvers, involving spins, dives, loop-the-loops and barrel rolls, while aerialists would perform feats of wing walking, midair plane transfers, and Google says even playing tennis, target shooting or dancing while on the plane's wings.  I don't remember seeing any of that, but I do remember some family association with bush pilots, (and their off spring) as Edmonton was a great aviation centre during the twenties and thirties, and became known as the Gateway to the North when the entertainment aspect of the industry evolved into mapping of the north, mercy flights into northern communities, and eventually mail service and transportation.

Politically Barnstorming is defined as a campaign or speaking tour, making brief stops in many small towns, - a practice which seems to reach a particular frenzy towards the end of a political campaign and as the day for the vote draws near....

For more interesting takes on the letter B hop on over to ABC Wednesday here, with thanks to Denise Nesbitt, Roger and all other blogging helpers who make this meme so popular.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The fresh morning air and other comments

Up early, flinging open all the doors and windows to refresh the house.  Outside, breathing deeply, watering all the pots, looking lovingly on the nicotinia that now has about a dozen blooms, - enough to scent the evening air with its sweet and spicy fragrance. 

 Looking askance at the lawn mower, - is it too early to cut the front lawn?  Even a reel mower will waken sleeping neighbours - but it's so hot later on. 
Remembering the neighbor who starting spraying at 5 a.m. and how Charles would clutch his brow in dismay that the machine still whined and roared because of some mechanical failure that the neighbor never fixed. - I determine to cut the lawn a little later, after breakfast.....
We are in the midst of a mini heat wave, - the weatherman's icons show only hot orange suns for the next five days, with temperatures in the mid thirties, centigrade.  Probably one should add three or four degrees to get an accurate reading in the Similkameen.... 

Everything outdoors gets done in the morning 
In the house I wait until the very last minute to close the doors and turn on the air conditioning, and use it minimally.  I am very ambivalent about air conditioning, - grateful for a cool house to return to if I have been out in the blazing sun but prepared to put up with above normal house temperatures to avoid the drying effects of artificial cooling.  Yet always mindful of our good fortune that at the click of a button we can turn on cooling air in this semi desert country..
It is high summer!  The beaches are packed with brown bodies and umbrellas, and the highways are a terror at any time of the day.  In the Okanagan the campgrounds are packed with holiday trailers, side by each, and there is a friendly feeling of all-being-in-this-together-and-isn't it-fun! 

Well, it is mainly fun, but a sad day here on the river yesterday, when a young man became pinned under some rocks in the water and drowned.  It seems that each day drownings are part of the news, and motor vehicle accidents, and sometimes I think of the days before we all became so affluent and mobile,  flitting here and there up and down the highways on every long weekend, and were content to stay at home on the long, cool verandah, sipping lemonade and mint juleps.  And the children slept in tents out on the back lawn because life was safe and civilized.......and Charles used to tell of days when he was young when they would leave home after breakfast and not return until supper time, having spent the days in the hills or at the beach,
 and nobody had to worry about their whereabouts and safety.
Oh my, I am beginning to sound like a cranky old lady, hot and harried.
If I can find my electric frying pan (which I haven't seen since we moved) I am off to make Welsh cakes for tea this afternoon for my son who was 67 yesterday and my DIL who has a day off from her restaurant.  He was reluctant to make the journey to this world, - ten days late, most of which I spent under a big cherry tree, trying to stay cool in a July that was every bit as hot as this one, - but I was so much younger!!!!!
When I finally hit the labour room I spent a delusional day in the company of
an old Indian who sat in a corner on a chair, and I have often wondered about
this since, - the site of the old hospital
 was a camping ground for First Nations people
before the White Man came, - did he know I needed comforting?
Margaret Ritchie's Welsh Cakes
2 cups sifted flour
3 tsps. baking powder
1/2 to 2/3 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups currants softened in water and patted dry
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
Mix dry ingredients and sift.  Cut in butter to a coarse meal.  Stir in beaten eggs and flavouring with a fork, making a soft dough. 
Knead 10 to 12 times. 
Roll out 1/3" thick.
Cut with cookie cutter and fry in electric fry pan (ungreased) at 340 to 360 degrees F,
5 to 6 minutes each side.
Serve buttered, with jelly or jam, or cream cheese.

They bring back lovely memories of afternoon tea with Margaret,
who was the dearest of friends, but
who has been gone these many years.
Keep cool!!!!