Sunday, 30 August 2015

At the beginning of 2015 I decided to move my blog to and I am quite happy I did.
I recently added quite a few entries on our trip to Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada.
You can find all the details at

So the blog lives on and on in on another website. See you there and happy reading.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Have you seen the NEW BLOG?

Please visit my new blog at

A new blog, a new format. 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

migrating, please note

To all my readers and followers on this blogger please note that I have move to Wordpress

My new and improved blog is now called

Please click on it and you will be re-directed to it. Hope to see you there in the New Year.

Happy New Year 2015 to all and thank you for reading me.

Monday, 29 December 2014

troubles and solutions

Well this was an anxious few days, after receiving a new iPhone I was installing apps and thought I knew my password for my gmail account. I had forgotten I had changed it a few months back. Suddenly I was out of gmail and out of Blogger, could not get back in and could not remember a thing. The more I tried to get back in the more things got complicated.  So I created a new gmail account which I will now use and keep the original account since it is well known by many people.

I also started a new blog on WordPress and I like the new format. So I will persevere and learn WordPress, you can find me there now at

Luckily I have smart friends like David in AZ who very helpfully suggested a google site with solutions to such problems as loosing one's password.

Well we are in the final week of 2014, a very good and interesting year, with travels and much fun all around.

Best wishes to all my readers for a very Happy New Year 2015, health, happiness, success!

Satyr, garden architectural detail, Zwinger Palace, Dresden, Saxony

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas and Santa and gypsies and dachshunds and Rome

On this Christmas Eve the little Santa's Dachshunds Nicky and Nora spoke to Santa and I got an iPhone 5, so finally after 25 years of Nokia simple cel phone graduating to the big league and I can now like everyone else constantly look at my phone and just ignore the world as it hurls itself into whatever.

Clever little puppies they are, so many times we have said we would give them away to the Gypsies of the Via Nomentana in Rome. So they surprised me, I did not have the heart to put them on the Alitalia flight Ottawa Rome. A little bribe goes a long way as they say, I suppose I will keep them for a while longer. They will be 6 years old in February 2015. I am just KIDDING. I would never send them out on the street.

Wonderful dinner on this Xmas Eve with some nice wines, the weather is very mild almost Spring like, very strange for a 24 December, this is the sort of weather we are use to in Rome in Winter at night.

Another gift which was a nice surprise was my Italian Police cap which can only be had if you are in the Carabinieri which is the equivalent of the RCMP in Canada. The yellow colour of the insignia is for Officers, I got it through our friends in Rome, Gail and Mariano. The insignia of the Corps is a flaming grenade. it is a para-military corps of Police.

Carabinieri on patrol in Rome

for the bicentennial of the Carabinieri in 2014 their new Highway car a Lotus Evora S. Very stylish!

We also had a wonderful dinner at home nice smoke Salmon from the Pacific and roast Lamb with roast potatoes. Our dessert was a Bûche de Noël.

The weather being dreadful, rain, +3C and wind prefer to stay at home and enjoy our home comforts.

Some photos of our Christmas Eve table 2014.

The Hunting Scene Dishes, hand painted by Crown Staffordshire that we have used for such occasions for the last 38 years. Must be all washed by hand.
We also used the Holme Gaard Copenhagen glasses bought decades ago in Denmark.

Chateau PuyFromage, a bordeaux and Tantinel a Prosecco bought are new to the LCBO and very good. We also had a bottle of dessert wine Chateau La Croix Poulvère.

Now I have to play with my new iPhone and program it. Learn out to use it. A quiet Christmas day and tonight dinner with friends at Le Café on the Canal.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Photos from my favourite places.

Some places I always enjoyed at Christmas, of course Rome, Belleza Aeterna, Palermo, Sicily such charm and faded elegance, Berlin a re-born Capital. What did I enjoy, well the food, the atmosphere, often quiet in the city and neighbourhoods, the parks and the wintery flowers, the brisk air, the weather and the pleasure of walking in a city with beautiful sights. The people and the little courtesies of the Season and all the traditions which makes Europe special.

 Fireworks seen from the Tiber River, Rome. The Fireworks are on top of the Janiculum Hill. 

Pariser Platz, Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate

Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Sicily, one of the largest Opera house in the world

Warsaw old Town at the Royal Palace.

 Ottawa Christmas lights by the Rideau Canal
The Old Teacher's College on Elgin Street

Our Mayor Jim Watson, serving lunch at the Ottawa Mission, a great guy!

Garibaldi Memorial on the Janiculum Hill in Rome in the snow
For those of you who think it never snows in the Eternal City.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas wherever you may be.

The final hymn '' Puer Nobis Nascitur'' of the Lutheran Christmas Morning Mass of 1620 in Germany, by Michael Praetorius 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Pet Peeve and dinner menu

The one thing I hate about any holiday in Canada is how the politicians and the media always turn it into a way to infantilize the population. Politicians make a point to wish everyone a safe and secure holiday. Enjoy yourself but do it responsibly. Why do we need them to say that? As for the media same approach with a message along the lines of what to do and not to do, as if the population was 9 years old. In fact you would not say that to a teenager knowing they would just ignore you or think you are an old fart. So according to our elected officials or the media we are irresponsible and behave like idiots so we need to be told. The other one is the news bulletin telling us that their will be police road blocks and the police is out in force to make sure everyone is behaving themselves, make sure you have a designated driver or take the bus and return safely home before midnight. All these messages may well be done with good intentions but in the end are very disrespectful and coming from politicians who are nothing more than our servants is a big no no.

Another hipster website in Ottaw, is name is Dwayne is promoting a non-alcohol Holiday Season with 12 fruit juice cocktails, again maybe intended to be useful but so offensive, I think he is confusing a Caribbean Cruise with the Christmas Season. Ottawa is known as the town that Fun forgot or the cemetery with lights, such campaigns are sure to make things just as boring as boring can be. I think it can be safely assume that most adults know how to behave and act in a responsible manner, we certainly do not need the sanctimonious messages from the media nor the politicians.

This is truly the hallmark of Canada, giving lessons to others and lecturing others how to live their lives, treating adults as if they were mere children. It's petit bourgeois mentality gone bezerk. I say get with the program, it's the Festive Season, a good ole Saturnalia is in order with lots of Merriment.
Do what I do, if the weather is bad and you want to enjoy your evening with friends, just take a taxi, so easy, let someone else do the driving, I do it and have no worries.
My resolution is to just tune out the PC crowd and wish everyone a Happy Christmas!

ADDENDUM: after writing this ditty, got an email from LoveOttawa, Dwayne's site, instead of answering my question on his philosophy of lecturing people, he showed his colour, his reply was smarmy and he obviously thinks highly of himself, thus the lecture of the evils of alcohol. He belongs in the Age of Temperance and all those rallies of 90 years ago.

Now the dinner menu for this Christmas Eve. I was reading about a typical meal in Rome which is very different from what one might imagine. In North America in the Immigrant Italian community there is a tradition of having 7 different fish dishes but not so in Italy. Here are some idea for either Christmas Eve or Day for a menu. The most traditional dish for a family in Rome is for Mamma or Nonna to prepare a Roast of Lamb, other dishes would be Spaghetti with shrimp tartare, bottarga and clams, Bacala e ceci which is steamed cod with a purée of chick peas, Steamed cod as an appetizer, Rigatoni alla carbonara, Bacala Manteca which is a small torte of buttered cod topped with chicory salad or Jewish Style (Fried) Artichokes, the Jewish community in Rome as been there for 3000 years, so they have a historical influence on the dishes of the City. For dessert being Christmas you have a choice of Panettone or Pan D'Oro. Panettone is a bread like cake filled with raisins or chocolate or orange. Pan D'Oro is a spongecake topped with powered sugar.

We are having roasted lamb and roast potatoes with rosemary and to start Smoked Salmon with sour cream and caviar. In Italy you would have a Tartare of Salmon in lemon juice which is quite good.

Roast Lamb and potatoes

So far our Christmas Season has been quiet, I have not been inside one shop and stayed clear of the crowds.
The weather promises to be really awful in the next few days, freezing rain, hot and cold weather, so we will stay at home.  Tonight the wind is raw and there is a cold humidity in the air. So I say time to open a nice bottle of wine, we do have that special bottle of Marsala which cannot be bought in North America nor for love nor money, small production and high vintage, BUFFA Marsala Vergine 5, not to be used for cooking but for enjoyable sip.  It is the last of a case we brought back from Marsala in Sicily from that little Enoteca The drunken Mermaid and its charming owner Salvatore. Please see the web site for the wines I would love to buy from them,

But if all else fails like in Rome most families go out to the restaurant for lunch or dinner. Who wants to cook and clean on Christmas day!