Saturday, 20 January 2018



Birthday has gone ... I don't feel too much different!  Weather much the same ... grey, as in England - my birthdays in South Africa made a change - summer days ... but at least I'm this time of year (not before Christmas) ... and Spring is making its way forth.



with mirrored selfie!
Beautiful flowers from friends at home ... have been cheering me up all the time.


We've been to a few restaurants - this one three times (I think!) ... stunning waterfront, which I eventually got to see, the other times it's been dark and I've had my back to it.  Another member of the family has her birthday on the 31st ... so Capricorns we are ... 


Surf N Surf




They've a really good range of choices ... which suited us all - at times ... 3 to 89 years old!  Boar burgers, to seafood - lots of ... I had Surf N Surf: sauteed mussels and Pacific tiger prawns, roasted garlic white wine cream sauce - delicious!!









Looking up the Island



This week for lunch (more than I normally eat) I had the seared scallops on braised pork belly, with a smoked caciocavallo cream, topped with arugula.    Together with a roasted garlic Caesar salad ... I skipped the pond on my own ... so the garlic should be ok!!





Caciocavallo cheese - it is a
stretched-curd cheese


I continue on ... things are moving along - but it is challenging!  The little Smart car is available, now the snow has gone ... and I'm tootling around in that - freedom to see different places and get to museums etc.




Back entrance without the snow and Smart car



The Smart car is interesting ... it lurches you forward as you change gear, or you can whack the lever and it goes up or down, and there's some paddle things on the steering wheel - that I haven't explored yet.  So three ways of driving around ... at the moment I'm fairly lazy just letting it do its lurching thing!!




I think I'll get into the art of blogging again fairly soon ... for today - this is it ... bur more on the way ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 12 January 2018

Seventy - I might be ... but I still need to title the post!



The year end approaches ... the end of 9 years of blogging and as my father's brother would say you're into your 8th decade ... each zero type birthday - this was somewhat galling!  Sadly always true ... well not eighth, but 5th, 6th - he unfortunately didn't make my 7th decade era ... 



Note screw-top on the Prosecco:
ease of opening for me - I don't like bangs
and pops of balloons or champagne corks! 


As Teresa mentioned in her comment on my previous post ... as a child did you ever think you'd see 2000 AD (must remember the AD bit!) ... that almost seems BC to me: Before Child ... it was so long ago.



I do remember thinking forward about 37 years ... taking me to 50 + 2 to get to the year 2000 ... and that was a million years ahead - how quickly they go ... and now I'm 18 years beyond and turning a mere 70.



Main route in - goes down to
Trans Canada Highway before Christmas



Enough of that ... you'll have surmised that life here is not quite the way I hoped it would be ... I'm working on it - and won't go into the details ... for now I'm here and looking to be for up to two years - then back to Little Britain.  



Surmise is a better descriptive word ... leaves the reasons for uncertainty be - rather than describe them ... and you might want to hear, but for now you won't.





2018 after a very dead tree was felled before it
completely blocked the back driveway in ... we used the
field in the snow to go in and out ... 


I've been reading the book "Vancouver" - which is a fascinating tome ... tome it is - being all of 800 pages ... but talk about a history lesson ... it encompasses life from the last survivor of a Siberian peoples, Beringia (Bering Land Bridge: connecting Russia and the Americas) and human population as it moved and subsequently settled here.  




It's making me think ... and also giving me food for thought - I know so little about this part of the world ... so my education is being expanded ...





The cards are appropriate ... Remember Age is All in the Mind (one brother)... 70 years Young ... why my other brother decided to send me a mouse one I've no idea - as that is one of my banes here ... rather too many of them, along with rats, raccoons and squirrels - all in and around the house ... we are slowly discouraging them from being around ... !!  




Zebra stripes in
the African Savannah
colouring
The Exceat barns are in a picturesque part of the Sussex coast between Eastbourne and Seaford - near where friends and my brother lives.  Lovely Jewel Flowers - my ideal colours ... from great South African-English friends.


Savanna Cider from Africa given as a Christmas present ... and I'm happily enjoying Prosecco when the opportunity arises ... in Canada ... 



That's it ... life at 70 - not quite what I expected when I came over here - farm life yes, the rest no ... still ne-er mind ... life will improve ...




Whether it's my birthday anywhere yet - yes probably Aussie land where I've been 70 for over eight hours now! as I type, then the 13th will wend its way around this beautiful earth ... remember also it is St Hilary's Day ... 



So here's to me tomorrow ... being 70, tenth blogversary ... and generally celebrating life ahead ... I'm good (all being well) for another decade or two ... 



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year ...



2018 has already arrived and probably moved on to 2nd January 2018 by the time this posts ... 

Reminding me of my mother's and our family roots -
West Cornwall artists


Canada time and I are still off-wave-lengths - I guess I'll settle in soon and adjust ... 








Straits of Georgia: from Vancouver Island looking
over to Mount Baker (over 3,000 m high) - it is volcanic
and is the USA


I'll be posting somewhat differently now I'm living here for a while ... 





Lots of inlets, views, sights etc to see and explore

... more short photographic ones I guess, but when I can get out and investigate they'll be more in-depth as I work out what's what ... 






To all of you a very wonderful 2018 ... with lots of happiness, creative ideas, joyful fun and then health, some wealth and always positiveness - we are lucky to be where we are ...




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Write - Edit - Publish Bloghop: the End is the Beginning ...



Life never stops - nature never stops - our emotions never stop ... the end never comes ... the cycle restarts ... until the end does come along in its own sweet time ...




When I look back ... ten years from babe to going off to school ...


... the next ten years big school and college ...


... the next ten years young adult life in London, leaving home and then South Africa ...



... then a changing cycle - fourteen years living in Africa ... fun times, forgetting some heartache ...


... but isn't life just that: an emotional rollercoaster ...?


... back home - seeing my mother and my uncle through to their ends ... the end does come ... now 25 years on ... 



We all will get to see the light
at the end of the tunnel sometime -
interestingly the author is Canadian
(Paul Hellyer)
... another beginning of a short sojourn across the pond in Canada - something I never saw coming ... 


... during these years of the so-called 3rd age I've been blogging for ten years: when education started again ...


We never will know when the beginning is coming until we find an end ... 


Portmeirion tea set

... then we leave others to unravel our Memoir of life ... our end in this world.


Now enjoy the love that will abound during this Christmas time, over the New Year and onwards into 2018 ...

Very happy times to you all -----

To participate or to read other entries please go here:
Write - Edit - Publish Monthly Bloghop

To cap it all off ... we've just had 9 inches of snow, one big tree down over one route in, no electricity for 12 hours - thankfully some heat available ... but no preparations - such is life here ... not quite sure what tomorrow will bring - but I'll catch up ... cheers to one and all ... we may well have a white Christmas ... ?!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday, 14 December 2017

A – Z: seasonal take for Lee’s A – Z Challenge ...



... see how easy it can be ... an ABC of the Aspects of the British Countryside to an A – Z about our Christmastide ... come join the fun – April First 2018 is our starting day – but you’re not a fool to take part ...

I'm now over in Canada ... with a family adjusting to changes - so life will be slightly different this year ... but here's to the traditional family Christmas I've been used to in England ... when not in South Africa ... 


Advent – from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” – Advent Sunday is the start of the Advent season – fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.

Brandy Butter – an essential addition for Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies

Christmas – Christ’s Mass is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes maesse, a phrase first recorded in 1038.

Decorations – from pre-Christian times, people in the Roman Empire brought branches from evergreen plants indoors in the winter.  In the 15th Century in London it was the custom for every house and all the parish churches to be “decked with holm (Holm Oak), ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season the year afforded to be green".  “Deck the Halls” ... a traditional Yuletide/Christmas carol and New Year carol.

Extras: Bread sauce, chestnut stuffing, bacon rolls, turkey gravy from the juices, cranberry sauce, bowls of nuts, custard, creams and chocolates ...  

Flowers to decorate the table – Christmas roses, hollywreaths ...

Grandparents or remembering them, and all family - the essentials to Christmastide ...

Holly – was seen as a protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the Crucifixion and the blood he shed.

Ivy – the heart shaped leaves are said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus

Jingle Bells – an American secular Christmas song

Karpfen in Bier: a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Germany – “Carp in Beer” ... poached, served with a sauce made from the liquor, with brown ale and gingerbread

Leftovers ... sliced ham or turkey, chipolatas, devils on horseback (bacon wrapped around prunes), fresh bread, baked potatoes, pickles and salads ...  then bowls of rich turkey soup, turkey or ham ‘muck up’ ... fried Christmas pudding with brandy butter .... yummmeeee ....

Mince Pies with brandy butter or cream – may be eaten before a snatched kiss under the mistletoe

N for Nativity – Commemoration of Jesus’ birth – popularised by Saint Francis of Assissi from 1223

O Little Town of Bethlehem – one of many traditional Christmas Carols sung in Church or at Carol Services

Plum Pudding .... on which a sprig of holly is set, brandy poured over and set alight, before being served with brandy butter, cream or custard ...

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to Britain: they were enamoured seeing a tree hung with lights, ornaments and presents placed around.

Remember our loved ones – with a Christmas card, personal telephone call or special handwritten letter --- especially those thank you letters and cards.

Santa Claus – leave out gifts for Santa to thank him for his visit  ... Stilton, Mince Pies with a glass of sherry

Tradition – Christmas is a strong Christian tradition, from which over time a variety of Christmas celebrations have developed, that incorporate regional and local cultures.

Units of weight – you’ll be dieting in January 2018 – sorreeeeee!

Vegetables – roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, roast onions, roast parsnips, Brussels sprouts, carrots, red cabbage ...

Wassail cup – historically mulled cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger spices, roasted cider apples to decorate and topped with slices of toast, acting as sops.

X - the great unknown .... xxx or perhaps that KISS under the Mistletoe

Yule Log: Buche de Noel – a traditional dessert served at Christmas time particularly in francophone countries and former French colonies.  A sponge cake in the form of a log – filled with chocolate buttercream, covered in a chocolate ganache or frosting, decorated with powdered sugar to resemble snow.

Z       Zizz it all off – just don’t hibernate ‘til April ....

The first year I participated
in the A - Z ... 2nd year I
participated
Lee’s great suggestion of the A – Z posts can be filled with so many ideas ...  good for our creativity, while greeting old friends and meeting new bloggers – come join the fun.

I so enjoyed the Challenge last year - thanks so much Lee for the Christmas opportunity – Happy Christmastide to one and all .. with a very successful 2018 ahead ...

The sign-up will come early in the New Year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 8 December 2017

Cookies - Doughnuts, Koeksisters, Shortbread and some other oddities from the English import ...



I joined a cookie blog hop site - now have no idea who set it up - hopeless me.  I'm in a state of flux ... for various reasons to be told at some distance time ... but one step forward and some just staying still ...

Jammy ones ... sooooo good!
Linda from her Roses to Rainbows blog has a wonderful post on doughnuts and how important 'looking at the right part of the doughnut' - ie being the optimist and not the pessimist - please check out the poems - good for us to read, to your kids/grandkids over the Christmas season ... 



Koeksisters

There are regional variations on the origin of doughnuts - most were developed from the Dutch explorers and immigrants ... 

I remember the English jam doughnuts ... as being very decadent and a very big treat ... then came across them a decade or two later down in South Africa - as Koeksisters ... 
American Holiday
Cookie tray


...the Dutch word "koek" for a wheat flour confectionery mix, combined with the American word "cookie", and "sister" to a tale of two sisters plaiting their doughnuts and then dunking them in syrup - I might say I read this first and second in fact as dunkin' their plaited hair ... ?? - so creating this iconic pastry.




Someone recommended I
read this book, which would
give me an insight into the
Vancouver of today
Enough of this natter ... I've driven to Victoria to hear a talk on the plight of the First Nations - informative information on a subject I know very little about.


We've been out to lunches, suppers etc ... Royal Legion ones ... where it's interesting to find some in 'takkies' and jeans ... others dressed up - yet with socks and shoes on ... so a mix of dress is allowable.


Immaculate course - the scrub
around somewhat contradicts it ... 
Just been to a Christmas lunch for the British Canadian social club at a local golf club - and I think earlier there was a social club lunch - I'm losing track ... I've been called - oh yes I know you - you're the English nipper ... and seem to be recognised by the English accent!




Santa visits here too - not
me - this was his elf!
I can't quite get used to getting up at much the same time 7 - 7.30 ... lunching at 12 and then supper at 5 or 6 pm ... BBC World News, Canadian News and Public Broadcast News ... not quite like the British Beeb, or Channel 4 tv (- that I preferred) ... is on at 5 and at 6 .... 


... we have snow on the mountain and thick frosts - so the cold weather is a-coming ... I know in England storm Caroline is doing its 'thing'!



A brochure for 'Visit Eastbourne'
popped up in my Reader ... this is a
gingerbread bandstand cake ... not
something I'd try! - but it looks pretty
and reminds me of home ... I forgot
to take photos of my shortbread
efforts ... 
We've been to the family for supper ... the in-laws are at the farm at the moment for a few days ... and we were down yesterday, when I made some shortbread - I know one of the easier things to make - but I didn't think I'd be making 'cookies' - even if it was shortbread - to my surprise it was quite good.  I won't cook much up here - facilities aren't the easiest or the best ... let me leave it at that.


We are doing what we can ... when the snow comes we'll see ... 

The Cowichan Valley Citizen newspaper puts
out this 'Holiday Party Time' bulletin every
year with recipes and various Christmas songs

So not desperately exciting ... but we did drive round one of the local bays today ... and that looked beautiful - might do one or two more of those trips and next time stop to take photos ... 


The 'dos' have entertainment attached ... so lots of singing (especially the 12 days of Christmas), prizes, skits - all good hearted fun ... 



We've had a bit of this too ...
Enjoy all your build ups to Christmas ... I have two more posts coming up before I switch off til the New Year - one I wrote earlier in the year a very Christmas A-Z and then the Write Edit Publish one ... as Denise Covey said ... should be easy for you:  The End is the Beginning ... see my side bar for the image invite ... 


Enjoy all the build ups with family and friends, remember all who have less than us ... and just be happy and enjoy - til next week ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 1 December 2017

This is a 'When We' post, or a 'Why Can't they do things like I'm used to doing them' ...



Such is life - 11 days living here ... I'm in one of those why on earth do things happen this way and not like I'm used to ...?!  Poor grammar allowed ! - Why 'cos I'm in a different country ... even though it has some Britishness attached to it ...

Looking out from my bedroom area - over pool ...
storm brewing



So some general news ... driving for 9 days now - somewhat troubling to find the mirror is above my right in the car - looking to my old normal (left) lets me see not much! 



Lights in the car that come on automatically ... and the switches that switch on by moving down ... thankfully in England I already had been driving an automatic ... that helps.


It's the city of totem poles
 - more anon on them - and the sign
here is as you approach from the north
not from the south where I'm coming from!
Lights in the house turn on - going up ... and I expect there are other oddities - oh yes the electrical sockets = only plug the item in and it's on or off  - these I have yet to get used to ... being 8 hours behind certainly doesn't help.  My mind says well I'll do it for tea time ... but tea time was 8 hours ago ... I'm sure I'll adjust anon ... 


... now I'm writing this in November - yet Wiki tells me it's the first of December ... stress making!  By the time I post ... it'll probably be Saturday the 2nd (or nearly so!) ... but such is life ... 

Hemlocks


Trees, trees, trees, everywhere ... and not a jot of difference in the rain, fog and mist, shall separate them - how am I to find my way round?!?!   Firs, Hemlocks, Balsams et al ... 


It's interesting too - one gets to a junction, but there's no sign post saying where one is ... even to the local city - Duncan - which really doesn't classify as a city in my book with a population of only 4,944 - is so it tells me: the smallest city in the nation: that I can believe.

One day of sun!  similar view as above

I daren't drive out on my own just yet ... those trees mesmerise me ... but next week - I'll brave my new world and give it a try.  All the side roads, dirt tracks also confuse me - we live on one side of the highway - the farm is on the other ... 

Vancouver Island has an area of 32,000sq k/19884sq mi and is the largest island off the west coast of North America - in fact the largest island in the Pacific east of New Zealand.

I'm near Duncan, which is marked ... just visible! -
to the east of Lake Cowichan


Its size is approximately 460km/ 286mi in length and 100km/ 62mi in breadth ... 286 miles from London lets us reach Plymouth, Lowestoft, Carlisle ... 62 miles takes me from London to Eastbourne on the south coast, where I used to live.


... and is comparable in size to the Netherlands and Taiwan.


Taiwan (55th most populous country) has a population of 23,500 million ... 

Hemlock (130 feet); Cedar (200 feet);
Spruce (230 feet); Douglas Fir (280 feet).
... while the Netherlands (the 66th) has a population of 17 million

... we here on Vancouver Island are only 750,000 odd (and one of course) ... 


Travelling across eastern edge of Rockies
on my way from Calgary to Vancouver Island
I think I'd say this is a pleasure to find out!  Half live down south in the Victoria greater metropolis area (where we are) ... granted Vancouver Island is only an island and not a country ... still comparisons can give some idea ... 


Weather wise - looks I'm better off over here ... it's not snowing (yet) - while they have wintry weather in the UK and on the continent ... 

That's my take on life so far ... things are happening - but there've also been things to sort out that take time ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories