DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorable Time in Belgium

I have returned home after almost a month away. I have spent the last couple of days calming down and settling into my home life. I came home to lovely warm weather (actually too hot) and the quiet of being alone where I can hear the birds chattering outside. To sit on the porch swing with Heidi in the early morning enjoying a quiet coffee, with no where to go and nothing to see, is a real treat. My life's tempo has returned.

Yes, Heidi was here for me . She had a nice stay at a dog sitters who spoke of her as "a really big
dog and so needy!" Just like her master! The sitter felt she was always seeking affection. Well I had to explain that is the way we are together: she always wants to be close by me and I am always willing to take the time to pat her and stoke her face and neck. I do think she had changed and was a little hesitent to demand much of me, when I showed up. Could it be that she is punishing me? Two days on, all seems well between us.

While I am enjoying being home, it, in no way, indicates that I had anything less than a wonderful time away. Up to six months ago, I would never have expected to have, visited an interesting part of Europe and get to be present at some important war memorials of both World War I and World War II. I got to share this experience with a lovely friend, Lynne, whose company I enjoy the more time we spend together. We have already spoken of a couple of more trip adventures together.

I have been wondering how to blog about this trip to Belgium. There is so much to share although I suspect to write a blog posting on each thing we did, or place we visited ,would take the rest of the summer. I have decided to make three blog postings. This is the first one in which I will describe the rough outline of our final itinerary ( almost all the things I outlined in the previous post) and my general observations of Belgium. The second posting I will write about our visit to war memorial sites and the third posting will be about particular cultural sites we visited; towns and museums. Hopefully this way I can share my adventure with those interested and not bore everyone by going on and on.

I began our trip by travelling to Mississauga, Ontario where I spend a couple of days with Lynne, doing some final preparations. On May 11, we took a flight out of Toronto to Frankfurt, where we changed planes and flew on to Brussels.

Lynne is an experienced traveller and ,through her company, is a member of The Maple Leaf Club. This is the VIP Lounge in Toronto where a privileged class of patrons can wait and relax for a flight where the food and drink is free and the chairs are comfortable. Businessmen can use their computers and not suffer unproductive time. It was very nice but somewhat against my radical equalitarian views. If this can be done for the few why not the many? I suffered it!!!!
Actually it was very nice.

Going through security was new since I last flew. It was not as much of a problem as I thought it would be. I managed to not set off any alarms although it was strange not to have my multi use pen knife handy in my pocket. No man or boy should considered themselves fully dressed without one!

The airplane was much as a remembered air travel when I last flew, cramped and not enough leg room. I think Lynne was hoping for a upgrade to first class. I think she would have liked me to experience that. I was OK with steerage. The individual movie screen was new since I last flew. I ended up watching three movies instead of reading the book I brought to make the time pass. And of course, the food is not memorable in quantity or quality.

Frankfurt proved to hold a little excitement for us. When Lynne presented her passport the police official looked at me as if to say, "Well where is yours.?" I said, " She has both passports."

Lynne had taken it upon herself to hold on to both passport being the experienced traveller and giving in to her mothering instincts. Suddenly, I had no passport and started to have visions be ending up in a German jail. We began to retrace out steps back through the airport thinking it must have fallen out of her purse on the airplane. Finally, Lynne searched my book bag and it was in there. She had let me hold it going through security and I had dropped it in the bag ( my man purse,) with my book and journal and the blanket I "stole" from the plane. What a relief to be able to present the passport and have it stamped so we could proceed.

Frankfurt problems were not over. When we got to Brussels I stood at the carousel to the bitter end. I had no luggage. We reported it. Apparently my suitcase was not put on the flight from Frankfurt. Later the airline had it delivered to Lynne' brother's place so I could once again use my own toothbrush.

Lynne's brother, Leigh, who lives in Antwerp with his lady friend ,Greet. met us in Brussels. They were to be out hosts, giving very generously of their time, driving us around and sharing with us many of the places we visited. Greet is Flemish. It turns out she is a Flemish nationalist so all things Flemish are good all else is somewhat less worthy. She was very knowledgeable of Belgium and it history. Leigh has had a career where he has worked and lived many places in the World. Recently, he did some work in China and the day we left he flew to Poland to consult on a project there. He is also very interested in the history of Belgium and the wartime history in the area where the Canadian military played a big role. He is also very interested in art, in particular, the Flemish Masters. We were in good hands to get the most out of our experience.

We settled into our bed and breakfast accomadations in Antwerp. It was quite nice although it was up about five flights of stairs which was a challenge for me with gimpy knees. By the end our stay it was not as much of a challenge. This was to be our base where we sleep, rested before dinner and eat breakfast each day. We had a small kitchen which we should have used more. Instead, we ate in more restaurants than I can remember. We had drinks in even more restaurants and cafes, indoors and outside .

Here is the group of us , on our first day, having the first of many glasses of wine. On the left is Lynne and myself, looking a little tense and out of my element, and on the right, Lynne's brother, Leigh and his lady fair, Greet. We had just finished a walk though the old city of Antwerp to get a general lay of the land and take in the sights and sounds to make us believe we are actually here.

This is the view out our bed and breakfast flat. The handsome building across the street fills a whole block and is undergoing extensive repairs. on the outside. It is a justice department building.

Lynne liked to watch the people moving along this street. She was particularly struck by the number of bicycles and the many ways they were used. In Antwerp, and I imagine in all of Belgium, bicycles have the right of way ahead of cars and people. Only once did I see a bicycle give way to another vehicle. It was a horse drawn carriage in Bruges. Main roads have bicycle paths along the edge of the pavement. Where this is not possible bicycles go up on the sidewalk or out onto the road with other vehicles.

I was suprised to see very few helmets. Some small children had them and bicycle racers used them. I guess when you have the right of way their is less risk to cyclists.

You would see family groups cycling together. We saw couple on a date dressed up travelling together. One evening we saw a modified bicycle with a cart in front with four small children in it accompanied by a single bike with the woman with a baby in a seat on the handle bars. In the evening scooters delivering food went up and down our street. You knew bicycles were inportant when yoyu saw bicycle and scooter shops taking up prime rental space on main streets.

The cars are much smaller than most North American cars. I never saw a full sized pick up truck, that is so popular here, all the the time I was in Belgium. Tradesmen often use very small panel trucks. The largest vehicle you would see would be a large farm tractor pulling a large wagon or piece of farm equipment through a small town. In the cities they seemed to use tractors and wagons instead of our dump trucks. I can't remember seeing a dump truck.

There is a lot of underground parking. The cities do not have parking garages above ground. There are no parking meters along the street. One can park after paying for a ticket at a metered ticket tower along the street. Everywhere there are places to ties bicycles. ( When I got back to Canada I noticed in Port Credit, the village I grew up near, they have installed the same system for metered parking, including more places to tie up bicycles.

Here is another street scene in the old part of Antwerp. The building is the city hall on the main square. I was interested in the double decker horse drawn carriage. We were sitting at a sidewalk cafe having another drink. By this time, I had given up the wine and beer offerings. I could not keep up with the others. This was near the end of our stay and I was happy to just have a coke. During my stay I did have some white wine, mostly with a meal and I drank a couple of Belgium beers, of which they brew some 800 varieties. Belgiums do a lot of eating and drinking out of doors. Sometimes a small restaurant may have only a couple of tables on the sidewalk and other places would have many on the broad sidewalks or in a courtyard at the back of the restaurant. At the first sign of a little sunshine or warmer weather the outdoor tables fill up with people enjoying a drink and snack, or even a meal. Often no one is in the restaurant, only waiter moving back and forth.

We spent a few days in Antwerp and made a side trip by train, to Brussels for a day. We passed thought the elegant Antwerp train station in which the flash dance to "Do Ray Me" was performed in the video I included in my previous posting. In Brussels ,we visited the new Magritte Museum and took a bus tour while Leigh and the driver pointed out points of interest, such as the Royal Family sites, the European Union Parliament Buildings and the Atomium. At this point I had hoped for a second visit to Brussels but unfortunately we ran out of time.

We signed out of our bed and breakfast for a few days and went on a car trip to see the war memorials. We stayed in Arras France, after visiting Vimy Ridge and went on the Ipers (Ypers) to see the Flander's Field Museum and the Menin Gate. The next night we went to Poperinge where we stayed in a luxury hotel and had a wonderful meal sampling almost everything on the menu. The next day we went to see Talbot House, the hostel that was created during the WWI as a place for R & R for soldiers, from the fighting at the front not far away. More about all this in my next posting.

We travelled to the coast at Blankenberge where we stayed over. Greet who is a sun worshiper got to spend a little time in the sun while Leigh, Lynne and myself took the street railroad along the coast to Knokke where we walked about a bit, had a drink at a sidewalk cafe; and, returned.This rail line runs from the French boarder to the Netherlands border.

The next day, we travelled to Bruges, a Medieval town, which once was the prosperous capital of the region . It is a lovely place with canals and lovely architecture. It has been called the Venice of the West. From here we returned to Antwerp. There were some specific museums we wanted to see before we left.

Travelling the countryside in West Flanders I was very interested in the farms. They were very small by North American standards but very well tended with all available land used. You could see plots of land to small to be worth working here that had been planted in a crop. Numbers of livestock on a farm were small. You could see cattle pastures on medians in roadways or around interchanged. Obviously, their agriculture is heavily subsidzed. I found the growing of hops interesting. Poperinge seems to be a center for growing this crop. In fact, there is a hops museum there.

On another day we took a trip to Berchem, an interesting suburb of Antwerp, where the architecture is very interesting. This is the Zurenborg Quarter of Art Nouveau architecture. Many of these homes have very interesting and fascinating details on them.

We, also went to the lovely Middleheim outdoor sculpure park .

On a day trip outside Antwerp along the Scheldt Estuary we visited a private museum to honour the Canadian and Polish soldiers who liberated that part of Belgium. The owner promised his father, on his death bed, he would build such a museum. It is quite remarkable. And like all the memorial sites quite moving when you thought of the circumstances of the wars and how Canada is still appreciated for its military effort in this region as the major liberating force.

Somewhere in the midst of all this we took a day to attend the babtism on Greet's grandson. It was held in a school's chapel. It was very nice and quite informal. The priest was very relaxed and seemed to enjoy the occasion along with the extended family. Later we went to a fort that was one of several that were part the protection of this area. A room was rented and a family meal was served. It was all a lovely occasion and it was a privilege to be included.

The final place we visited was the small town on Lier. We went there to see the rmarkable clock in a tower which was once part of the ancient fortification. It is the Zimmer clock. It is absolutely remarkable.

We had a couple of memorable meals at Leigh and Greet's apartment. For one, in particular she made us a traditional Flemish stew, which among other things included chocolate. One evening while there we walked down the street to a midway show which comes every year for six weeks. I think the idea was to persuade me to ride of one of the rides. Not on your life!!! We strolled around taking in the sights and sound. It was not unlike the midway of the Canadian National Exhibition. Before leaving we had a Belgium waffle with chocolate, whipped cream and strawberries on it. One of the many local delicacies are the waffles. Besides waffles I managed to enjoy other Belgium favourite foods, beer, frites ( very good French Fries)among others. I passed on the moules (clams) after repeatedly being told this is not the best season.

Finally, and too soon, our adventure was coming to an end. We flew to Frankfurt from Brussels and then home to Toronto; no passport problems and my luggage arrived when we did.

I took a few days in Mississauga to relax, and overcome jet lag. I fixed a couple of things around Lynne's house, (I try to help with something whenever I visit.) I stayed long enought to celebrate with her family her daugher's 37th birhday.

Last Sunday, I took a train from Toronto to North Bay where Parker met me and took me home after a short stay at his place to tell about my trip, give my grandchildren the gifts I brought back for them and reunite with Heidi.

Home to River Valley at last.

For me this was a trip of a lifetime. I never expected to travel like this. I am an armchair traveller interested in history and geography. My older sister is the world traveller. She has just left for Peru to climb to Machu Picchu.

Speaking of travelling. My brother and his wife Carol are trekking onward and northward still along the Appalachian Trail. They have passed the 700 mile mark and are in Virginia. They updated their journal three times while I was away. If you are following their trek here is the last item posted. From here you can back up to where you last read their journal and then read the postings to the end.

Here in Lynne's yard we rested and enjoyed the warm weather. It was cooler in Belgium although we had unusually good weather while we were there. The pool and hot tub were to be useable by now except there were problems. (The joy of home ownership.!) I cleared the debris off the pool the day before only to have the maple tree shed it's keys on this breezy day. The yard is a pleasant place to sit. I would have liked to have done a little work in the garden. I resisted ! Relaxed ! And I enjoyed Lynne's company a little long before coming home.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Incomplete Notes on Our Belgium Trip

The reality about me is that I am a home body. I like feeling well rooted in a place. I often find myself wanting to rush home even when I am just away for a day, in town. While I am very interested in history and geography I am content to read and research about far off places while feeling no need to experience them first hand. I guess that make me an armchair traveller.

In my past, I have did manage to dislodge myself in order to move to Boston to go to Graduate School which was fairly easy since it was a shared adventure with my wife. I became in three years quite comfortable and rooted living in New England and could have happily spent my life in that part of the US if I did not dream of eventually returning to Canada and serve a Unitarian Church there. Eventually, after service a couple of churches in New England I returned home to Canada and my home town of Mississauga because I decided I wanted my son to be raised a Canadian. The time was right he was about to start school.
Once again, I was rooted in my home town working in a family business while seeking a religious charge in Canada. Impulsively, I gave into a long standing dream of mine which was to own a farm with a river running across it. ( if you can believe my high school yearbook, "He will own a farm and bird sanctuary some day!) I found it. The first one I looked at which is my home now in River Valley, with the mythic Temagami River crossing it. It only took the encouragement of my 11 year old son, Parker, when he said, "Let's do it!" for me to leave my home town and a family business behind to move to this small community.

I have not travelled much. I did visit several cities in the US and Canada to attend church conferences. When my brother in law was studying in Switzerland I took Parker and went to visit him and my sister there. And I took the opportunity to go to London on the way home and visit some distant relatives; and, to Cardiff Wales to visit my pen friend of many years who I had previously seen a decade earlier when she came to Canada for the summer I was getting married.

I had a couple of opportunities to travel while living in the United States. I came within two weeks of going to Oxford, England to study for the last year of my seminary training. In the end I stayed in Boston fixing up an old house in Roxbury, an inner city community of Boston, while becoming a peripatetic student taking courses at Andover-Newton Theological School, Boston University School of Theology, Havard Divinity School and the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University. I managed a rich academic year while being rooted at "home". But it was not the adventure of going to Oxford, England. I have come to regret not taking the opportunity when offered.

There was another opportunity I had to travel. It was during the Vietnam War. I was asked to go to Paris with a group of clergymen to meet with representatives of the North Vietmanese government. I think I used the excuse of not being able to afford the $500 to go to avoid travelling away from home. I have come to regret missing this opportunity also.

So you see my going to Belgium and Northern France is a big deal for me. I am determined not to pass this opportunity up. My friend, Lynne, has invited and encouraged me to go with her.
I am going! I shall long be grateful to her for this. It has broadened my horizons at a time I was feeling my world was shrinking and becoming rather solitary and stale.

For those who are interested, here is some, but not all, of our Itinerary.

We will fly to Brussels from Toronto on May 11 and return on May 26. Lynne's brother will meet us there and we will travel to Antwerp and his home. He and his partner Greet will be our hosts and tour guides. We will be staying in a lovely bed and breakfast place. Later after a trip to Flanders we will enjoy a stay in the elegant Hotel 'T Sandt .

This first day after settling in we will go to lunch in the center of town, the Grote Markt . (I will not be mentioning all the times we eat.) We will be having some lovely meals,I am sure ,with a view of eating the best of local food. Belgium is famous for its chocolate, Belgium waffles and beer. There are over 2000 varieties of beer brewed in Belgium. While I am a non drinker, I will allow myself to be tempted. See how adventuresome I can become!
From the town square, we can easily visit the Cathedral of our Lady, the Stadhuis and the historic river Scheldt. No doubt we will be fighting off jet lag at this point. Dinner will be at one of the restaurants on or near the Museumstaat.

The next day will be a day for Lynne's brother to show us some of the art of Belgium, of which he is very knowledgeable. In particular, we will visit Peter Paul Reuben's historic home, Reubenshuis . We will reach this museum by walking down the Meir, the major shopping district. We will also visit Museum Mayer van den Bergh. After lunch, off to visit
Sint-Carolus Borromeuskerk to see the great alterpiece by Rubens. Time permitting we will visit the Central Station, one of the grandest railway stations ( as you can see in this
You Tube Flash Dance ) and the historic and famous Antwerp Zoo.

By now I am exhausted and starting to think it is all more than I can take in. And it is only the second day. After a rest at the hotel, there will be another lovely evening meal.

The next day we will take the train to Brussels and walk from the Central Station to the
Grand'Place where we can see several things. First the delightful iconic cherubic statue, Mannakenpis. which they seem to delight in dressing up. Depending on the time we can also visit the Galleries Royales Saint-Hubert. Musees royaux des Beaux-Arts and Margritte Museum.
After a dinner in Brussels, we will return to Antwerp by train.

We will have another day of visiting museums in Antwerp or possibly a side trip by train or car to Rotterdam. The museums we might visit are Royal Museum of Fine Art,
Modern Art Museum, Fashion Museum, Plantin-Morestus Museum. As I write this I think I might vote for the train ride to Rotterdam.

The next day we hope to visit Zurenborg Quarter of Art Nouveau Architecture in the suburb of Bercham. We will also visit the Middlehiem Outdoor sculpture Museum. It be a short drive to Leir where we can see the Zimmer Tower and it's remarkable clock. We will end the day with a casual meal at our host's home.

If you have lost track, it is now May 17. We are checking out of our bed and beakfast and driving to Arras in France to visit the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge. Lynne and I expect this will be a very emotional experience for us. We will spend the night at a hotlel in the city of Lille.

We will be driving on to Iepers (Ypres) where there are wonderful WWI and WWII museums.
Flanders Field Museum In particular, I look forward to seeing the Menin Gate which every day since 1927, at 8:00 PM they stop the traffic and a memorial last post ceremony is performed. On the Arch are over 50,000 names of soldiers who died liberating Belgium in WWI and whose remains were never found to bury. We will drive on to Poperinge for the night and check into "The Best Hotel in the World" where the owner/chef will prepare a "fabulous meal". So we are warned.

The next day we will visit, in Poperinge , the Talbot House, a very interesting museum. From here we will drive toward the coast and stay overnight in Blankenberge or Knokke.

This next day is our day set aside to drive to the medieval town of Bruges. It is a very historic town with much to see. We will take a boat ride of the canal in this city know as the 'Venice of the West". It was once the capital of the House of Burgundy, "the center of the Universe in the 14th and 15th Centuries". From here we will return to Antwerp and the the wonderful
Hotel 'T Sandt . Awe! such luxury. . . . . .a long way from River Valley.

It is now Friday May 17. Today Lynne and I are on our own as our hostess is preparing for the babtism of a young family member the next day. We have several options of things to do. We could return to Brussels. We might also visit the town of Leuven which has the
oldest Catholic University in the Worlds . I think we might visit the Canadian-Polish War Museum.

The next day is the babtism. It is an important family occasion which involves not only the church ceremony but a day long family party. We feel privileged to attend.

The next day or two we will have free spontaneous time to see anything we think we missed and just had to see or see again. It will also be time to do a little shopping before we head home and fly out of Brussels on May 26.

I am exhausted just writing this blog entry. If you view all the linked sites you may be inspired to visit Belgium or you may feel you already have by reading about the plans for our adventure.
I am expecting a wonderful time and hopefull I will have lots of pictures and note in my journal to share with others and use as a basis of some blog entries.

{If you managed to read this long post, you get a gold star of appreciation.}

Monday, May 03, 2010

Miscellaneous Photos

Just some photos I wanted to post. Sometimes you don't need a reason.

(click on photo to enlarge)

My noble sidekick Heidi. I will miss her while I am away.

Heidi and I have started to share some time on the porch swing while I enjoy my morning coffee. She now seems to like enjoy it all by herself.

If you can see the black spot on this picture, it is the bear I mentioned in my previous post.
We watched it for a while while enjoying our evening coffee. I wish it had come closer. Oh, to have a better camera!

I have been trying to eat up what I can before I fly off to Belgium. I ran out to bread yesterday to I baked some. It has been a while since I did this. Baking is no fun unless you can share it with someone. Warm fresh baked bread is one of the great pleasures in eating.
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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Life Feels Good These Days

For those who have been following my brother, Richard and his wife, Carol, on their hiking of the Appalachian Trail you can catch up to their adventure by reading the latest entries in their trail journal. Here is their last entry. From here you can back up to the point where your last read in the journal and then read the new entries. If you have not read any of the journal you could go back to the first entry. There are also some photos to access on the left. I do not know if they have been updated. They are now at Damascus, Va.,_Virginia I hope they are enjoying some lovely weather and some less physcially demanding sections of the trail ahead of them.

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I have been neglecting posting in my blog lately. I feel badly about that. My excuse is that I am very busy and when I think I would like to compose something for the blog I am too tired.

I am busy with doing things around my house and getting ready to go away to Belgium and Northern France for a couple of weeks with my friend, Lynne. I leave this week for Toronto and after a few days there we fly off on May 11.

I have had to oversee my tenant, June, move out. I have finally made arrangement, which I am comfortable with, for the care of Heidi while I am away. I will give my few remaining chickens to my neighbour and the cats will be OK on their own outside with a neighbour coming by to feed them. I have even made arrangements to be transported to the train to Toronto. Now if I can only decided what items I should take with me.

I did purchase a Journal, I hope to write in daily while away. I doubt I will have access to a computer to record my adventure. I hope to take lots of pictures and write about about my adventure. I have even been reading up about Belgium and Northern France, particularly the war memorials I hope to visit and the art of the Flemish Masters. It is going to be a good experience for me. I think I may even try a beer in in Belgium and of course lots of chocolate.

I have been enjoying a renewed interest in my hous, which has kept me busy. Besides the usual inspiration of the Spring which lifts my spirits and finds me with more energy I am able to enjoy my house since my tenant, June, has moved out. Her continuing to live here had become untenable for reasons I would not discuss here. She and her husband, Dave, who died not long ago, were here for four years, For the most part, it was good and I willingly gave up a large part of my house to them in order to help fullfill Dave's desire to live on a farm in a house once more before he died. I feel good about being able to do this for him (them).

I am enjoying being able to use my whole house. Dave and June occupied four room in my house. June had two of the bedrooms on the second floor and for Dave I gave up my library and office room on the ground floor. Unfortunately, they never fullfilled their agreement to rationalize their two households; only bring what they needed to live here. As a result, I ended up giving up my wonderful attic room, which I was trying to construct into a living space. It became the storage space for much of their stuff. I also had stuff in the basement and my front porch often looked like I was having a yard sale. Over they years, June came to store some of her arts and crafts materials in my last remaining guest bedroom. I did manage to keep her from invading my room with her stuff although I had retreated there with my things to give my bedroom the feel of a college student's digs, with TV, books, computer. etc.

Unfortunately, June did not leave gracefully. I had asked her to leave having come to the conclusion the arrangement was not meeting the needs of either of us. What was to take a day to move out took three days and in the end she just abandoned some of her stuff and left every space she occupied in a mess. It took me three days clean out the remnants of her life including her three pet rabbits, most of her arts and crafts stuff and lots of her gaming toys as well as some piece of furniture and some personal items I figure she will miss some day. I found homes for her pet rabbits and gave away some items and the rest I trucked to the dump.

Now the house is all mine, (which I share with Heidi and my 8 cats). It once again has a spacious feel with my Spartan decor. One of the bedrooms and my library I have reoccupied with my things. I have yet to decided how to use the office room off the library and the other bedroom. I may actually go back to finishing the attic room which I really like. With large gable windows and two skylights it is bright and airy. It would make a wonderful artist's studio.

Heidi has taken to going into the new spaces she was not able to enter before and looking around with a sense of wonder. She has enjoyed lying on the rug in the libary and I saw her trying out the new bed I set up as if she was considering abandoning the bed we share in my room. Fickle females!

(click on photos to enlarge)

My recovered bedroom, no longer a cluttered sitting room and rabbitry. You can still see the wall stained from one of the rabbits. I have yet to wash all the walls although I suspect I may have to repaint.

Heidi checking out the uncluttered verandah just after I repainted the deck.

This is the south end of my library. The TV June left behind was one of four she had. My Salem rocker I got out of storage. My mother bought it for me years ago. I suffered from back pain not unlike President Kennedy. She said she thought I should have one like he apparently had.

This is the north end of my library. June left the reclining chair, which I guess I will use for now.
My record player I was able to move from the kitchen.

Having my house back has inspired me to do some things with it. I have repainted, not only the verandah deck but also the library floor and I am about to paint the kitchen floor. I have also cleaned out some closets and even put down some linoleum in two of them. I have cleaned my kitchen cabinets putting shelving paper in them and washing all the dishes before putting them back. I even washed the windows. I have plans to do a lot more; but, first my trip to Belgium and Northern France.

This morning it was warm enough for me to sit out on the porch swing and have my coffee, stress free, Heidi lying on the swing next to me. It is going to be a lovely day . Could life get any better?

Oh, yes! Last evening, I was sitting out on the porch swing having a coffee and watching a bear which had come out of the bush in front of my house. I guess life can always get a bit better.

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