Friday, April 30, 2010

Fernwood glimpses

Patty and I had lunch at the Fernwood Inn yesterday and I went a bit early and snapped some photos...always things of interest to photograph in that neighbourhood.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is Stephen Harper Reading?

I went to the Yann Martel (who read from "Beatrice and Virgil") and Matthew Hooton (who read from "Deloume Road") reading last night with some of my bookclub members. We really enjoyed the evening (if not those horrible seats in the Alix Goolden Hall) as there was lots of lively conversation and thoughts from the authors. I found Martel to be a fascinating person although I'm not sure I will like his new book but will read it out of curiosity.

And it was great to be introduced to a fresh new writer, Matthew Hooton. He was very amusing and thoughtful and I was more attracted to his novel actually. I see there are 150 holds on 4 copies in the library so I imagine they'll be buying a few more.

I was also reminded about Martel's project of sending Stephen Harper a book every two weeks and his recent published account of that. He also sent a letter explaining things about the book choice and for a while other authors have taken on the task of sending Harper the books. I think there might be some good choices for our bookclub. there.

A fun evening!

What is Stephen Harper Reading?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Power back on!

We lost our power around 5pm today just as I was about to start preparing dinner so went up to Uplands for dinner. Then watched some Doc Martin we had on a DVD from the library until Jim's laptop went dead, then listened to the iPod with our speaker set with batteries. Glad it wasn't too cold. We've been lucky not to have been affected with power outages lately even when most of Oak Bay was.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


6 x 6 acrylic on canvas

This painting turned out quite different than I was planning. I had this idea of painting poppies in front of a white picket fence. Of course, the thing about a white picket fence is that it has to be crisp and perfect...not something I could probably do and trying would be tedious. Then I also realized my poppies would have to be so small and that also didn't seem like much fun. This was a lot more fun!

The great jumper...

I was out swimming this morning when this happened so didn't get a photo of Oscar actually in the flower box but it seems he jumped up and meowed like crazy to get Jim's attention while he was at his desk which is right in front of the window. The blind was drawn so he didn't realize where he was. Of course he got admitted. This is a new behaviour for him and quite effective. Jim had been ignoring him because he wanted to get some work done and he loves to walk over the computer.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Abby makes an appearance

Abby used to be around quite a bit before Oscar claimed his territory. She wasn't friendly but quite comfortable using our front mat as a scratching post and acting like she owned the sundeck. I hadn't seen her for quite a while but she came around yesterday and had a good sniff. Oscar's been out on the sundeck and chairs lately quite a bit. Guess that's the reason.

Oscar is oblivious to this attention...

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Just playing around with this and I see I can upload directly from iPhoto, upload more than one at a time and it works quickly...been having lots of problems uploading recently.

Email me if you encounter any problems with my blog and I'll get Richard on the case.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This blog has moved

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Just a note to my readers about the blog move. Blogger is making some changes about file transfers and so I had to (or rather Richard did...thanks, Richard!) set things up differently and had to change the address. janicesexton was taken so we had to add something.

First red poppy

There have been a few yellow California poppies around but this is the first red poppy in my garden. Looks like it's going to be a good year for poppies. Now I think my next painting will be some red poppies in front of a white picket fence. I think this will be a better background than the weeds! I'm encouraged by the geraniums...maybe I can actually paint a poppy that looks like a poppy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Itty bitty book review "The Brutal Telling"

The Brutal Telling" by Louise Penny

Another mystery writer Patty mentioned and I enjoyed it a lot. And another Canadian! The stories take place in a small village in Quebec (she also lives in a small village in Quebec after having worked in the CBC for many years) and follow these characters. Certainly kept my interest and look forward to reading the first in the series "Still Life".

Monday, April 19, 2010

Latest painting

I haven't been painting for a while and had this idea to do a series of small paintings with shutters. This is my first. Not the greatest photo as I forgot my tripod is broken so a bit of a shaking hand and the colours didn't reproduce that well. I was rather pleased with how the geraniums turned out. This is the sort of thing I usually can't do.

Blue Shutter
6 x 6 acrylic on canvas

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My first blog post 8 years ago!

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Hello everyone. I'm going to use this space to post my art, photos, quicktime movies, and random scribblings. This is the first painting I did in France. I bought the fish direct from the fisherman just as he came into the port.The fish were excellent to eat and didn't quite look like what the painting turned out to be in the end. I kept wanting to add more colour than was really there. I'm sure there probably are fish this colour somewhere in the Mediterranean...
I've also included a painting I did of the port

Enjoy and send me email with your comments!

Back to the present...

Reading what I had written on Italy also made me realize how much I had forgotten about that trip. For a while I've had this idea of writing up my experiences in France and expanding on what I've already written. I realize now if I don't do this fairly soon I'm probably going to forget too much of what I haven't written down!

I seem to always find excuses to avoid this and yet I love writing my blog sooo....I thought I would try to fool myself by blogging some of this writing I want to do. We'll see what happens. Seems like a good thing to begin on the 8th anniversary of my blog. My working title is "Provence and Paintbrushes".

Saturday, April 17, 2010

General Election 2010: Nice Nick Clegg can't believe his luck - Telegraph

The first televised debate between the leaders in the upcoming UK election produced some laughs for me in this Simon Heffer column in The Telegraph:

We now know exactly who Nick Clegg is: he is Mr Integrity, the nation's sweetheart, the only honest man in politics. I had thought the public were a bit brighter than that, and would see through his pious, sanctimonious, oleaginous, not-me-guv display of cynical self-righteousness: but they didn't. And for that we can only blame the two inadequates with whom he had the good fortune to go in front of the cameras: for they were shocking.
Mr Brown's impersonation of a robot, and his projection of all the charm of a caravan site in February, were pretty predictable: but the place where hair was really being torn out yesterday was around poor old Dave. The attempt by this trust-funded Old Etonian (and Old Bullingdonian) to come over as Mr Ordinary was rather tragic: if we have to hear much more about his children's state school and his family's experience of the NHS, some of us will need medical attention of our own.

General Election 2010: Nice Nick Clegg can't believe his luck - Telegraph

The changing food scene in France

It rather surprised me to read what I had written about Italy in that you had to seek out good places to dine whereas in France they "come to meet you at every step". This was written in 2002 and even then it wasn't quite true and especially in the major tourist areas and of course in Italy we were almost always in the major tourist areas so France and Italy probably aren't that much different in that respect.

So, I was quite interested to read this article on Paris chefs seeking out the cheaper areas and creating memorable food. This is perhaps the way to go these days in Paris as we certainly have had some rather dismal meals there in recent years.

The Europe Issue - Six Prix-Fixe Restaurants in Paris - Review -

Seem to be having these kinds of days lately myself...

Linda sent me some great photos of pandas.

Absolutely nothing accomplished...perfect day for a panda.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Impressions of Italy

We got talking about Italy at our bookclub last night since Heather is heading there next month. I looked back to see what I had written about Italy and was surprised that I hadn't written very much and now can't remember the other Tuscan hilltowns we visited other than San Gimignano. This was just before I started blogging and that has ended up to be such a good record of our travels and it just seems so easy to write this way.

This was also before I got my first digital camera so don't have a lot of photos either. It had been a long trip and I guess I was tired. 2002 was the first time Jim taught in France and we had been away mid-January to mid-April.


Italy met expectations but didn’t exceed them. I guess part of it is we are francophiles to the core. The Italians were wonderfully warm and welcoming and Florence, Rome, and Venice (even though it was flooding when we were there, it is a fascinating place that you can’t imagine the feel of until you actually experience it) were all spectacular in their own ways. Other than Rapallo, the Italian Riviera can’t compare to the French....too many long expanses of beaches with very uninteresting places around neat little French villages like Bandol, Sanary, Carqueiranne, etc.

Rapallo was just a lovely, stepping back in time place where we stumbled fortunately on just about the last room to be had as it was Easter. And what a room! We would have taken anything at any price, but when we opened the volets, we had this fabulous view and balcony right over the water in the port and overlooking a medieval castle to boot. After the mainly retirement community (in the winter at least) of Carqueiranne, it was wonderful to see so many children and families strolling the promenade.

We were under budget as we spent about half what we had planned for our six days in Florence. We booked a place through an agency that books places of private individuals. Anyhow, we had this 60 sq meter one bedroom apartment with a big back garden in central Florence. So, of course, when we reached the hilltowns of Tuscany we splurged on a classic old style hotel in Siena with a fabulouse view of the Tuscan countryside. It included breakfast and dinner.

The dinners were wonderful and we took advantage of their excellent wine list to sample some very good wine of the region. We really enjoyed the European style cooking and service as dining in Italy is quite different than France. Although the Trattoria experence is cheap and entertaining, the Italians(at least the ones we saw) tend to scarf down their food in no time flat and the courses are thrown at you at the same rate. You have to seek out a good restaurant, not like in France where they come to meet you at every step. There was a positive side to having a quick panini and beer for lunch when there is so much to see in the major places and we had limited time.

Even in the cheaper places we did get some wonderful food although a lot of it was too salty. Amazing the amount of salt the Italians must eat when you think of all the cured hams and meats and cheeses. I got a gnocci and a minestrone to die for and in another one (not so cheap) we got the local specialty of T-bone steak...absolutely fabulous except for one part that was overcooked. They serve a whole slab for two on one platter and the meat was unevenly cut. The handcutting aspect is part of the deal I think.

I wasn’t that inspired by things to paint in Italy. Shutters are all in dull colours of brown, green, or gray, and the stuccos are drab as well compared to the bright pinks, yellows, etc of the south of France. I was inspired by the old bicycles so many people seem to use and took lots of pictures so will render something out of that. An amazing difference from France is that in Italy many people are riding very old bicycles and small motos. Only seemed to be racing type bikes in France and high powered motos that are going like bats of hell and scare the life out of you on the road. That was nice to be away from in Italy. Also, Italy seems to be making some progress in restricting smoking and it’s actually working. The French seem to be content to smoke themselves to death.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Now that's class...losing the Masters.

Certainly a great golf course in Augusta, Georgia.

We have never really watched the Masters but ended up watching some of the final round yesterday and it was quite exciting to watch and so glad Michelson won since he's had a rough year with his wife and mother having being diagnosed and treated with breast cancer.

Westwood almost made it but came second and even though his disappointment was obvious he had the character to say that Michelson had had a rough time personally this past year and deserved to catch a break.

Quite a contrast with Tiger Woods, whose petulant comments about how he enters a tournament to win and explaining why there wasn't "pep in this step" when he was playing not up to his usual standard. A total focus on himself...perhaps explains a lot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Patty and I had a great lunch at Lucy's in Fernwood the other day...spinach and potato soup and bacon and brie sandwich served with a super salad that had a bit of curry in it. Not very busy for lunch. I hope they're doing ok as they deserve to.

Caught a few photos:

I loved this chair in the tree.

Patty's car has a boyfriend!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tulips and the south of France...who knew?

Some wonderful tulips around at the moment and they remind me of the south of France since the tulip is the official flower of kidding! Big tulip fields in the area and the stems are like trees.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie"

"Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley

A really fun mystery that has lots of British atmosphere even though Bradley was born in Toronto and lives in Kelowna. The protagonist is eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. Sounds like it might be for kids but enjoyable for everyone and doesn't have gratuitous sex and violence that so many mystery writers think is de rigueur.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gallery: The Cannery Restaurant 39 years of Memories 1971-2010

It's sad to see The Cannery Restaurant close...great food and a wonderful view on the working waterfront of Vancouver. It was a rare view and of course that's why it had to close given the security measures for Vancouver's harbour these days.

Gallery: The Cannery Restaurant 39 years of Memories 1971-2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

April 2003

Well...didn't quite know what to post so went back to April 2003...

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

It is great to be home, even if it is 10 degrees and raining. Great to sleep in our own bed and wake up to the birds singing.

We had a wonderful time with Maureen and Roland the last few days we were in Carqueiranne and showed them our favourite places of Cassis and Sanary. We also introduced them to eating raw sea urchins...a big specialty in that area during the season of Jan - Mar. They didn't quite share our enthusiasm for these creatures ( the "hedgehogs" as Maureen called them!) but they did both agree the white wine of the Cassis area is very special.
Thanks again to Maureen and Roland for coming down to visit with us and bringing your "magic box"....a seemingly bottomless box that continued to produce goodies of food and drink all through the visit!

We spent our final two days in Nice basking in the sun, drinking pastis on the Promenade des Anglais and getting our last fill of fish soup and other Mediterranean specialties. Our flights home were long and tiring but good connections and everything on time. The fire alarm went off when we were in the international area of the Vancouver airport...was rather disconcerting (or perhaps not) as there seemed to be no question of letting people pass through customs and immigration without being checked properly. Caused quite a bit of havoc as the luggage shut down and we wondered if we would make our connecting flight to Victoria. Everything worked out in the end.

Back to reality seeing almost all airport employees wearing rubber gloves and to hear about all the anti Canadian sentiment from the US. One seems to be very away from all that in the south of France. I wasn't even sure what year it was when I went to fill out the customs forms....

We came back to an immaculate house, lawns cut, and with home made spaghetti sauce and bread waiting for us.
We are so lucky to have such fabulous renters...thank you, Lynne and Lloyd!

Market Day in Carqueiranne in 2005 with Don and Elaine:

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Stormy weather...

I took a little video of the wind yesterday but can't seem to upload it. While I was on YouTube I took another look at a little video I made of Carqueiranne which I had set to a Charles Trenet song. This time I noticed that they identified the singer and gave the option to buy the song on iTunes. I thought this was a great idea rather than forcing me to eliminate the song as I had to do on another video I had made...forget which one now. Hope I can upload this.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Stormy weather....

Quite the windstorm today but I do some some blue sky.

3D Photography

Don sent me this link and I found it quite fascinating and liked the great photos of Utah.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Poisson d'avril!

The French have an April's Fool's Day tradition of putting a paper fish on your back then shouting "Poisson d'avril!"