Archive for November, 2020

Stepping off the Sidewalk

Just before I retired I was in Detroit in January as I was taking our team to the Detroit Auto Show.  We were staying at a downtown hotel where we could walk to the Cobo center.

I decided I was going to walk around the block before we met in the lobby as a group. (big mistake in Detroit) 

I was walking down the street and a person of, well what is the term?. a person of underachievement, a person with little or no personal hygiene, a person wearing an assortment of ill fitting clothes… was walking or staggering towards me.  I took the safe route and stepped off the pavement to walk around him.  He started screaming at me that I was.. well let me translate.  An elitist or a person with no sympathy.  He ended up following me to the lobby yelling all the way.

Today I was taking Reese for a walk around the college.  On the sidewalk when we came across someone or a group coming the other way, one or the other steps off to keep space.  Nodding thanks.  What a change in society.  

Tea Biscuits

I was working in the shop downstairs doing manly things. Adding chain plates for dead eyes to support the funnel for the French Frigate Sphinx.  But I had to stop work early to go upstairs to make Tea Biscuits.  

Some background.  Last week Pat and I made a huge batch of 8 bean soup with ham and veggies.  We had it as a main meal but in the last week or so I have used small batches to share with my sandwich for lunch.  Absolutely, a delicious soup like nothing you get out of a can.  When we have soup as the main meal, I would prepare my special bread loaf to go with it.   

After a number of days of great but hearty meals (like South Carolina back ribs yesterday), we decided for Monday to use up the last of the bean soup.  I did not think to prepare a loaf of bread.

Now I could have made a French stick but the last time I made this, the work involved (an hour of kneading and massaging) put the kibosh on that.  Also did not want to head off to the store as we are trying to minimize our external contacts.  So I decided to make tea biscuits, or as we knew them growing up, baking powder biscuits.

These were common when we were kids.  Our mother never had the time to bake bread but she could often whip off a batch of biscuits for our dinner after she got home for work.  Properly done, these biscuits are delicious but there is a narrow time in the baking between underdone and the kind of biscuits used in the Royal Navy called Hard Tack.  Even in our youth the biscuits were no good the next day as they turned hard, but with Blaine and I, never a problem.  Give a little butter and honey and they were gone.  Dale started making them when she took home ec in high school and became involved in feeding us.

Pat dug out her cook book from when she was taking home ec in high school for me.  Lots of penciling in the side margins.  

I made perfect tea biscuits tonight to go with our bean soup.  Light and fluffy with a crisp crust.  Just like they serve the Queen.  

Friday after American Thanksgiving

I did not include the term “Black Friday” in the title or I could possibly get hundreds of hits on my blog.  What a concept for sales. 

I remember when Boxing Day was the big sales day for bargains. 

At one time I thought we could hide the calendar from the kids and convince them that December 27 was Christmas so we could buy all their gifts at half price.  Unfortunately we were “rewarded” with children of intelligence so this never worked out.  Also the option of telling them we were actually Ukrainian with Christmas Day in January, also did not work.

Anyway I digress.  For some unusual reason, the first day of the Christmas season seems to start with American Thanksgiving and all the football games that go with it.  The next day you are supposed to rush out and buy, buy, buy as there is only 5 more weeks until December 25.  

We are being inundated with brochures and flyers advertising Black Friday bargains, but they no longer wait until the NFL games are played.  Such good prices.

I was telling Patty that we have to replace our 2 year old TV because just look at the deals.  She ignored me.  

We will not be participating in this frenzy and definitely will not line up at 6:30 am at Best Buy on Nov 27 for the true bargains.  


With the advent of cold weather there are not a lot of activities that we can do with our Probus group.  Too wet for hiking and too cool for golf.

So Pat and I today joined the small bowling group for 5 pin fun.  Only every other lane is open and you are limited to 3 bowlers per lane and masks and lots of sterilizing.  So felt safe.

We have not been bowling for at least 45 years.  I thought it would be like riding a bike, but it is not.

When I was a teenager we did a lot of 5 pin bowling.  On Friday night you could take a date to the Norwood lanes and at 9pm they turned down the lights except over the pins.

I even prepared for today by watching The Big Lebowsky movie.  Two reasons why this did not work.  They were playing 10 pin, and they drank beer.

I mean, how hard can it be. Just roll a ball down a flat surface and knock down some pins.  Granted it would help if you could bounce off the side like playing pool, but no.  They put troughs down each side.  Just not fair.

I scored terrible.  Even Pat beat me on the first game (sorry Pat that sounds condescending).  I did not fall on my bum and in the second game managed a couple of strikes and a spare.

Still we had fun so I suspect we will join them next month again.

A Meal for Two

Earlier today I phoned Rose, a member of our Probus group who is turning 100 this coming week.  Just a great lady, active golfer and bridge player.  The COVID issue has curtailed much of her outside activities, so she decided to move out of her house and into a senior retirement home.  One of the big reasons was the difficulty in cooking for one.  She was used to inviting people to join her as she loved to cook.  She is now in a good facility with 3 meals a day and lots of social opportunities.

I told her the story about when I phoned my mother when the last of our girls went off to University.  I was saying how difficult it was to prepare great meals for only two.

She replied, “try cooking for one!”  Good point.

Pat and I have learned a compromise.  BBQ and simple meals can be catered for just the two of us, but for the great meals we have to assume we will have leftovers.

Tonight (Sunday) is an example.  Earlier in the week I  came up with the concept that we should have a meal based on ground lamb.  Patty looked up one our favorites.

Pastitsio… a Greek casserole with lamb and penne and feta cheese and too many other ingredients to list.  Problem is that to make it properly, it will feed 8.

It was a wonderful dinner and we have 4 more meals to follow.  The secret to preparing a meal for two is a refrigerator.

Deer in Yard

We nightly have deer venture into our yard.  I put up deer fences (basically fishing line) beside the house to keep them from walking through the property, but as we back onto a golf course with only a small hedge, they jump over.  From deer scat it is evident they only stay at the back of the yard.  We occasionally have the big motion detector lights come on and but they only seem to pose in them and does not scare them away.

Still this morning a deer hopped over and gave us a visit.  Reese did not see it or she might have warned us.  The Comox Valley is a refuge with no hunting allowed so we have many dozens of deer.  Still not normally this brave although they commonly follow golfers around.

The big Black German Shepard ‘Typhoon” came over to the fence to see what was going on and the deer sped away.

Little Details

I realize that my blog family may be getting bored with my little details, but this is the part that I love and while I still have some control on my hands, the best part.

This week I made the smallest eyebolts I have ever done.  Total length 2 mm with an opening of .5 mm.  These will go on the back of the Carronade sleds on the model.  They are there so that the crew can hook on to the thwarts to pull the carronade back into position.

Carronades are smaller cannons used on smaller warships.  Less weight than a 1 ton long gun, but with short range.  Think of them as shotguns. Did not have wheels just slid back and forth on the platform that could be moved left and right to aim.

In the future I will give a long explanation of why Le Sphinx mounted these guns.  But just enjoy.

Unfortunately the only one I can thrill to show these details to, is Patty (well also my Blog family)…..;