Archive for February, 2011

Lorne Hotel

Sad news this morning (Feb 28) to hear that the historic Lorne Hotel in downtown Comox burnt down last night.  Built in 1878 it held the oldest pub in BC.  Pat and I enjoyed a pub meeting there last year.  Quaint and popular watering hole and a prominent fixture in the downtown core.

If you recall my blog of a couple of weeks ago I did a drive around Comox and Courtenay visiting historical buildings after finishing a book on the history of the area.  While not built by Jospeh McFee,the subject of the book,  the Lorne Hotel was featured  because one of his stores was next door. 

The building was in great shape and it is a shame to lose one of the last original buildings.

Moroccan Lamb Pasta

Saturday night .  Pat and I prepared a feast for each other.
When I retired I was given a gift of a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine from a great lady that used to work with me and knew I loved cooking.  In this month’s issue I noticed one (of many) recipes that looked interesting so we decided to try it. 
I will not include the recipe on this site because, frankly, aside from James, I do not know of anyone that would go to the effort to make it.  Lots of steps.

Similar to a Moussaka but without the eggplant and with pasta.  Similar in that it had a Becamel sauce and used ground lamb but still quite different.  A major ingredient was Ras el Hanout spice which is a Moroccan spice blend (just as curry is a blend of spices) with at least 12 components.  All of the components we had in our inventory. 

Cooking required 4 pots at one time so a full team effort to put the dish together before combining in the pan that went into the oven to bake (sort of like a lasagna). 

Anyway the meal was a great success.  The flavour is quite different because of the use of the sweeter spices like cinnamon, cumin and mint.  Definitely not a diet dish as it had butter and feta cheese in the sauce.   We cooked enough so that we have 2 more meals. 

I will not share the recipe because we plan to save this for a special guest meal one day.  Goes into our inventory of great meals that guests will say “where did this come from, I love it”

 As usual I am writing this blog as my role in life as Pat cleans the kitchen and does the dishes. 

Cindy Crawford


Well apparently Cindy does not read my blogs and did not show up to tempt me while Pat was away. I gave her the opportunity with my blog stories but she is obviously too busy to read about my interesting life.

Actually I think she is dead or in a coma.  I noticed on TV, after my mentioning her in the blog,  that she has a line of wrinkle cream removers (advertised on the cheap ad channels)  Lots of ladies and stars  talk about her wonderful cream (which I understand is the same as cutting a cantaloupe in half and rubbing on your face) but Cindy never shows up live!!!!!  They show pictures but are they real or taken from her mummified remains. That may explain why she did not make it here (the fact that we had snow this week might have been a problem)

Still I am glad that Cyndy did not drive up in her limo and take me away. 

I like having Pat home. 

Well, like is probably not the right word, try love….

End of Bachelor Days

Pat came home today.  I spent a busy morning washing bedsheets, dishes, floors and some clothes but apparently she was not overwhelmed as she pointed out many things that I did not do. 

Aw well, it is great to have her home.  I made supper tonight (and of course left her to do the dishes while I write this blog, I mean I have my public to keep happy)

Our printer died today.  Not a sad event as it was 14 years old (and to be truthful originally paid for by Petro-Canada)  We had been expecting this for some time as the warning was coming up that the Drum (not just the toner)  needed replacing.  The Drum cost $300 and an entire replacement printer is cheaper. 

Still a bit of nostalgia as I look over at it beside this computer.  It still has the pre programed Fax numbers for many of my contacts back in the days (over a dozen years ago) when we sent faxes of documents to each other (boy has time advanced) 

Actually considering if we get a fax feature on the replacement.  Still use it a couple of times a year but then I guess that is what guys thought of carrier pigeons at one time.

Bruce the Bachelor Day 5

Saturday and the sun is shining.  Even with the snow on the ground this is a glorious country with the mountains crystal clear and a lovely day to get out.

Pat gave me a book for my birthday, signed by the author about Joseph McPhee the founder of Courtenay.  He left a poor farm in Nova Scotia and worked his way west arriving at the age of 20 in the Comox valley in 1870.  He had hoped to get in on the great farmland being offered but the best land had been grabbed in the previous 2 years. 

So he worked as a labourer and then bid on contractor jobs.  He built the first bridge across the Courtenay river (now the 5th street bridge) and built the original long wharf in the Comox harbour.  Those that have visited us know these landmarks.  He was by now 22  and took the money to build a store in Comox and in what is now Cumberland which was becoming a thriving coal mining town. 

He predicted that the future was the place where the bridge crossed the river to connect the farming in the valley with the industrial Cumberland.  So he bought 160 acres of bush on the west side of the Courtenay river and progressed to clear the land, lay out the streets and promote the site.  He partnered to develop the sawmill, the dairy, the waterworks and brought electricity to the site all the time financing by selling lots one by one.  Today the city of Courtenay is built on his plans.  He died in 1946 at the age of 97 as the wealthiest citizen but basically gave everything to the city in parks and land. 

Anyway the reason for this story is that I finished the book this week so spent today driving and walking around town to visit the various sites that remain from him.  His original store, his old house, the wharf, the sawmill and later building supply that is now Central builders.  Living history, maybe not as exciting as battle sites but every bit as interesting for me.

Aside from my wife, I expect the tour would have bored most people but a lovely day. 

So again no exciting bachelor stories but I still have a few days until I back in the married routine.

Bruce the Bachelor Day 3

Up early this morning so that I could use the snow blower to clear the neighbour’s driveway before the sun melted everything. 

We had a surprise snowfall yesterday (supposed to be rain) which left about 4 cm of snow on the ground.  The problem with snow around here is the ground is so warm that there is an immediate layer of ice under the snow.

Our neighbour Kim was up before me and had done his driveway  grrrrr,  but I did get the other friends in the neighbourhood done.  Phone calls of appreciation and a gift of candies from Lynn next door was nice, but I believe the under thought was “the sun was going to melt it  anyway so why did he do this”  But then the sky clouded over and the temp dropped so we still have snow everywhere.  Wonder what happened to the flowers.

Forecast is for 10 cm of snow tonight and I will set my alarm early so I can beat Kim.

Back to the bachelor lifesyle.  I went to the supermarket today dressed for impression.  You remember the movie Wall Street where Michael Douglas wore suspenders?  Well apparently suspenders on blue jeans over a plaid shirt is not the sexy look it once had.  No flattering looks from the ladies.

Again no night of debauchery on the town.  I have no idea how bachelors can dine alone properly.  I had a 4 course meal tonight, seafood soup (granted left for me by my wife).  Grilled chicken on fusilli pasta with Alfredo sauce and grilled Asparagus on the side.  Followed by a fresh salad and stawberries  for dessert.  Far too complicated to do for one person.  I think tomorrow I will order pizza which I suspect is the main food group for bachelors.

I miss my wife.

Samuel Pepys

For the last couple of years I have been reading the daily blog from the ORIGINAL BLOGGER Samuel Pepys.  It is published daily in the National Post beside the Sudoku. 

Actually it is a 400 year old diary, but it has convinced me that no matter how trivial my day is, if I write about it, some day I will be famous. 

Granted Pepys was the Secretary of the Royal Navy in the 17th century and met with Dukes and the King on a regular basis, but I think my stories about my daily life  will be more interesting even if I have to ’embellish’  occasionally.    What he taught me is that everything short of the daily bowel movements is good for the blog.

Bruce the Bachelor Day 2

Up early this morning.  I had the whole king sized bed to myself last night.  Could sleep anywhere, even kiddy corner but woke up this morning on my own side per normal.  How boring

Off to the fitness club where I decided to risk attention by wearing shorts instead of sweat pants.  Lots of ladies working out but I noticed that I was the youngest in the crowd.  I guess that is part of joining a club in Comox.  I swapped stories with the lady on the cross trainer next to me about grandchildren.  Aw well there are always the clubs in Courtenay. 

Busy morning with breakfast, newspapers, Sudoku and eventually lunch.  Looking out behind  it was a cool day (5 deg C) with a light rain but golfers going by.  Had my nap and woke up to a major shock.   Snowing heavily and everything was white. 

I checked my watch and then checked the calendar.  Had I experienced a Rip Van Winkle event?  But no this had all occured in less than an hour. 

This put the kibosh on my plans for the day so I decided to hunker down and work on the model.  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes tonight with glazed carrots and a salad. Typical bachelor fare but no night out. 

Aw well there is still a week of bacherhood to come.  I may get to use my snowblower in the morning, kaching!!!!

Home Alone

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Modern Music

Well this one is going to be a long one so feel free to skip it.

A few weeks ago, I was watching the movie Buddy Holly where the older generation were deploring the Jungle Music that the kids in the fifties were starting to enjoy.  Of course we all laugh at those old stereotypes and the view these days that my parents lived in an era where James Last music was the norm and Polkas were the wild and crazy things they did if they went out.  Granted this ignores the evidence of the some of the great swing music,  but you get my drift that we perceive that they were shocked by what we were enjoying.

I have no recollection of my parents saying anything negative about the music I loved as a teenager, the Beatles, Beach Boys etc, but in the later sixties the lyrics began to bother them.  I remember a Sunday night as we sat as a family with Uncle Ken and Aunt Grace watching the Doors perform “Light My Fire”  and the older people were not amused. 

As Pat and I grew older and had our own family, the music brought into our life did not really cause us a problem until James started to introduce some of the Heavy Metal.  I really stopped listening to the lyrics, lets just say a long way from Perry Como.

Now we are listening to the music of our Grandchildren.  To be truthful, I like most of it, but am still getting to reminisce about some our music when we were their age.  I watch videos on TV in the workshop while working on the Model.  An easy thing to do as you can mostly listen and only look up to see the action occasionally. 

They had a special on new romantic songs.  Featured was the song by Bruno Mars

“Id catch a grenade for Ya,  Id Take a bullet through the head for Ya, but you won’t do the same” 

I mean compare this to “Last kiss”  from my era.  

Then there was Avril Lavigne “What the Hell”  where all she wants to do is fool around.  I have granddaughters that I hope do not listen to this.  Damn it should be banned  What is modern music doing to my grandchildren!!!!!! 

OK I am from a different generation.

Then I listen to a song by Pink that would have shocked my parents “Fxxking Perfect” and I think, well maybe modern music still has a message to tell, and I like it. 

If I live another twenty years I look forward to see what new kinds of music comes along and what our grandchildren’s parents will fear and deplore