July 29, 2007

Jemma is 16!

Just a quick post today, now that I am back to updating weekly rather than daily.
Jemma turned 16 yesterday!
She had a little lie in after spending the previous evening next door with her friend Laura until late. Amber set the breakfast table with all her favourite cereals and lots of freshly picked fruit.
Lunchtime was in the gazebo in the garden, decorated with bunting, English rose lanterns and handmade party blowers (by Amber). A perfect hot sunny day at 30C, with Jem's favourite cake, a strawberry topped cheesecake - Yum! We had a quiet lunch, just the four of us.
Jemma loved the little gifts we had bought, but her main present is still in production and will only arrive on Friday. Her very own laptop!! by Dell and in Spring green too. It was a total surprise, which we had purposefully kept a secret. She is very pleased and a little shocked.
Hazel x

July 26, 2007

Back to Normality

My goodness what a busy week we had! So many things we wanted to do, in just a few short days. A memorable week that hopefully my parents will look back on and smile, I know that we will.
We ended their visit to us with a family meal out, no dishes for me :D. We went to Boston Pizza, a local restaurant with friendly service and excellent food. It lightened the obvious sadness that hung in the air and helped a little as we said goodbye. Craig took them on to the airport (I hate saying goodbye at airports) The girls and I returned home to a somewhat empty house. They will already be at their destination in England, staying with my Godmother Marion and then finish off their holiday with a week at my Uncle Tony's home in Spain, before flying all the way back to Africa.
I will miss them being around and wish that they were nearby, but I suppose we are just one of many families spread around the world for one reason or another. Thank goodness for the telephone and of course the Internet, not the same by any means, but at least it is communication at the touch of a button.

This week I will be concentrating on stocking up my shop, which has been neglected recently, as well as enjoying the summertime with my girls. Craig is back at work after taking some time off and Archie is acting 'normal' once again.

Hazel x

July 24, 2007

Final Hours

Today is the day that my wonderful parents move on to the second part of their 3 week holiday. Their flight for Heathrow is early this evening, so today will be a packing and relaxing day.
We are all pretty exhausted after a full day at Upper Clements Park yesterday. The small theme park is in a beautiful setting about an hours drive away. The most scary ride being an old wooden roller coaster, but my (not so little) girls 'still' enjoy visiting once a year. We had a picnic lunch in the surrounding apple orchard and did quite a bit of walking around the park. Included is an animal area, where some indiginious animals were featured, black bear, kayote, racoon etc. The black bear feeding time was at 3pm, we managed to catch it at the right time and found it quite entertaining. They actually sit at a picnic table and munch on oat biscuits fruit and honey!
Amber watching the Teddy Bears Picnic!

My Mum and I braved the rickety wooden roller coaster (just once) and a couple of other rides which were fun, but a little jolting!
Jemma and Amber on the carousel
At the end of the day our next door neighbours' Wayne and Rhonda popped over for drinks with their two children and were able to meet my folks before they left.

Hazel x

July 23, 2007

Leaving Tomorrow :(

The time is flying by, as I suspected it would, but we are trying to make the very most of the last few days and yesterday was a wonderful one.
It started off a little overcast with a promise of sunny spells later on as we headed off to visit the pretty town of Lunenberg. A quick stop off for a coffee and donut (my Mum's favourite) at a Tim Hortons, or as the locals call it 'Timmies' and we arrived in Lunenberg by 11.30. It is such a pretty coastal town with brightly painted wooden buildings lining the shore, quite reminicent of Stavanger or Bergen in Norway, where we lived with my parents when I was about 11 years old.
Just one of the brightly painted buildings.
Sitting on the pier in Lunenberg

We then drove on to a place we had never been to before called Chester (also the name of my Mums cat, funnily enough).
My Mummy :)
Chester was a wonderful surprise, a very pretty seaside village with sloping grass down to the harbour, which was filled with sail boats and there was even a man made swimming area made in the inlet from the sea for the children to swim in. We had our picnic lunch and spent quite a while there, sitting in the shade of a tree, relaxing, chatting and then walking around the village. Heading home the quick way only took us just over an hour and we felt quite exhausted as the temperature had reached about 26 degrees, but it felt more like 30.
Our neighbours came across for drinks at 7pm and we ate snacks and drank wine in the gazebo until late evening.
Today we are off to Upper Clements Park, a special request outing by Jemma, who will turn 16 on Saturday! The small and quaint theme park is her favourite place to visit and I am sure it will be lots of fun.
Hazel x

July 20, 2007

Out and about with my parents

There is so much we want to do over the days that my Mum and Dad are with us, but so little time! Yesterday was a quick change of plan, as Craig's crown came off one of his back teeth :( This meant a quick emergency appointment was required at the dentist during the afternoon. So instead of Halls Harbour I took them to a local 'pick your own' farm while Craig went off to get his tooth fixed up! We meandered around the cherry tree orchard and then through the field of strawberries, picking and munching along the way. Afterwards a slow drive over the North mountain to a gift shop/cafe called Wheatons for a browse.
There was a bit of a storm in the early evening bringing our much needed rainfall for the garden. The girls wanted to watch a dvd in the evening, so we hired a comedy called 'Because I said so' with Diane Keaton which was fairly lighthearted, a bit if a 'chick flick'.
This morning just us four grown ups drove through a few of the local towns including the University town of Wolfville and Kentville before coming home for lunch. As I write this Mum and Dad are taking a slow stroll up the mountain where they may well find a groundhog or a few chipmunks, hopefully not a bear though!
Hazel x

July 18, 2007

My Mum and Dad arrived safely in Nova Scotia!

Yes they finally made it after a long 28 hour journey from Johannesburg! I am still feeling a little shell shocked myself that they are actually really here. After a good nights sleep they were raring to go this morning on my Mum's 60th birthday. Us four ladies went for an after breakfast walk up the road behind the house before heading down the Annapolis valley to visit the Historical Gardens in the town of Annapolis Royal. It was pleasantly warm but not too hot and we enjoyed a lunch outdoors in the garden cafe owned by a German couple.
Four ladies in the rose garden.
Tomorrow will be a little less driving when we head out to Halls Harbour to see the highest tides in the world at 50ft.

Hazel xx

July 15, 2007

Nova Scotia Summer

Dwarf cherry tree planted this Spring in front of the hydrangeas.
Two gloriously hot days over this weekend and we are loving it!
The chipmunks have had babies and are running around the garden, when Archie is safely indoors, the hummingbirds have also produced some tiny offspring and the racoon in our barn has taken her babies down during the night as it was too hot for them, I don't know where her new location is but Craig is glad as she was making a mess, digging up the insulation and pooping on the top floor!

The grass growing has slowed down, so it is more manageable and all the pretty purple and blue flowers are out, lavender, lobelia, pansies and rock cress. The huge white Hydrangea bush is about to flower too and looks so grand this summer.
My last post ended with our invitation up to our friends at the lake. We hadn't realised that they had a family from Toronto staying with them, their children were the same ages as ours so got on really well. Facebook addresses and blog sites were swapped and they may well stay in touch. The 3 girls went out on the lake a little way in the peddle boat, but got chased back in by the pesky mosquitoes and bats! A wonderful Indian meal was prepared by the other guests and it was a very enjoyable evening.

This weekend has been busy with last minute preparations for the arrival of my parents, who I hope will enjoy a relaxing week with us experiencing the very different culture to the one they are used to in South Africa, where they emigrated to 24 years ago from England.

Jemma and Amber saw the latest Harry Potter movie this afternoon and were quite happy to be in an airconditioned cinema while it was 30 degrees outside in the sun. They both said the movie was great.

I didn't do any yard sale hunting this weekend, in fact the opposite by dropping off some old clothes and shoes in the Red Cross bins in the village. I get such a thrill from sorting and throwing out un-needed stuff, especially in my husband's cupboard as he has a tendency to hoard clothes, particularly paint stained ones and even a few with holes in them! Recently he has been able to dress up a little for the office, back to the nice shirts (no tie) and tailored pants, so my timing for a clear out was perfect.
My shop will be quiet this week with just a few listings. The sewing room will be a bedroom for a few days and bits of felt and pins on the floor probably wouldn't be a good idea :(
Well, my washing on the line needs to be brought in and ironed before bed so I will say goodbye for now and thank you for reading.


July 08, 2007

New Wheels!

We now have another set of wheels!
Craig has started his new job, which is about 40 minutes drive away on the highway we realised that managing with one car was not going to work, it has been fine so far in the (almost) two years that we have lived here in Canada. The girls are lucky enough to be picked up and dropped off by the yellow school bus, whereas everywhere else we have lived we had to drive them to and from school. Last week I felt a little 'stranded' without the car, especially as it was the school holidays.

After many hours/days searching and procrastingating Craig decided to lease a Toyota Matrix. It is good on petrol, comfortable for the drive to and from work everyday and it is a lovely French navy colour. I had a go at driving it yesterday and enjoyed going back to a manual/standard after a 2 year break driving an automatic. Afterwards I spent a good hour and a half cleaning the Rav4 which is now the car I will use during the week.

We were invited to our neighbours' house for drinks last night, along with another family and we had a great time chatting and laughing until late. My friend Rhonda is a dedicated gardener, she gardens with a passion and is gradually creating the 'perfect' English garden full of roses, foxgloves, lupins and lots of flowers I don't know the names of yet.

Tonight promises to be another fun evening at a BBQ up at the lake. I just love the long summer days and we appreciate them so much more in a country where winter is cold and very long! I can totally understand why some animals hibernate, how sensible of them.

I haven't mentioned my little shop for a while, it is ticking along slowly during the summer, but I expect my sales will pick up again in the Autumn, it suits me as I don't want to spend all day locked away in my sewing room, that's where I want to be when it turns cold again, it is my way of hibernating I suppose. I have attempted to hand sew my little felt animals in the garden but end up losing little ears and tails when they blow away in the wind! We almost lost our gazebo mid week when we had a hurricane wind suddenly come up, it sounded like a freight train outside and we lost our peonies (luckily the hydrangeas are not in bloom yet) the trees lost a few branches and Archie went outside for all of 30 seconds shooting back inside with a wide eyed expression of "what the ....!" I swear I saw the hummingbirds flying backwards. The wind raged for the whole day and then turned to an earie calm, leaving a bedragled looking garden in its wake.

That's my blog news for this week it is now less than two weeks until my special visitors arrive and I am all jumpy with excitement!

Hazel xx

July 02, 2007

Easing into the summer holidays

Hello friends and family, thank you very much for the lovely comments left on my last post :)
It is so nice to have my two special girls at home with me after a busy year at school. I couldn't have asked for better end of year reports from them. Both coming top in their respective year groups with averages of 98%! They got awards in 4 subjects each and Jemma is to collect a special engraved plaque for coming top in grade 10. I am so happy that they have both settled well into the Canadian school curriculum after such a disruptive few years of education in NZ, UK plus some home schooling inbetween. It hasn't been easy for them and I am very proud that they have handled it all and adapted so well.
Craig has finished his project down on the coast and starts a new job tomorrow which is closer to home. We are on the hunt for a second hand car as we have been managing by sharing one so far. It's always a bit of a gamble taking on a used car, so he needs to choose wisely and carefully.
Jemma and I visited a local yard sale at the community centre on Saturday where I spotted a lovely old sewing table (quite similar to Cherry's - tales from pixie wood -->) This one however was not being thrown away :D. I expressed an interest, but although I have always quite fancied one, I didn't actually 'need' it. Anyway the sellers, who live down the street, called in on their way home and said that because it hadn't sold I could have it for half price! It is a lovely piece of furniture and in full working order too and I even found all the attachments and instructions in the drawer along with some vintage bobbins and needles. I am still undecided as to whether to paint the top as we already have too much dark wood in the house with the doors skirtings and floors.
The peonies are all in full bloom in the garden and look wonderfully huge and frilly in white and pale pink, also some pretty bright pink flowers which the hummingbirds are very fond of, so much so that they have been neglecting the nectar I make up for them. Archie has cottoned on and sits in the soil (thinking he is disguised :) observing them for hours inbetween naps.
(Archie doesn't exactly look threatening on this photo!)
Not long now until my Mum and Dad arrive and we are all excited, I just hope they aren't too tired after the long journey to get here.
Summer is well and truly here now with long balmy days and the occasional wild thunder storm at night which clears the air.

Hazel xx