Monday, 31 December 2012

Wisdom on 31 December 2012

Here is a message from my friend C.P. this morning, words of wisdom on my entering a new phase of life in retirement. Thank you C.P.

To invent the life you want to have rather than the life someone says you must have. It takes time.

And on this note here is the year in photos, not a bad year at all, lots of travelling in Europe throughout the year and then retirement, with photos of the actual site where the decision was made.

The first month of the year was the usual blah, mild winter and not much happening, work was not that interesting and by March I decided it was time to return to Rome and consulted friends to see what was going on in the Eternal City.

The two domes of the Churches in Piazza del Popolo as seen from the Belvedere of Villa Borghese.

I also had my birthday in Rome with friends at a lovely luncheon in Capena just a few minutes outside the Città.

Cake was Linda's creation and it is not on fire.

Because March is Artichoke season, she also made Stuffed Artichoke Roman Style. A favourite of mine.

Now I did walk a lot in Rome, something I truly enjoy doing, the City is built like a theatre set and anywhere you look there is always something to attract your eyes.

Looking down this street that morning in March I was just waiting around for Nancy de C. to start one of her private tours of the Convent at Trinita dei Monti, top of the Spanish stairs. So I was just looking down the street, Via Sistina, this would be around 9:55 am and if you look all the way you can see at the other end the steeple of Santa Maria Maggiore. The street changes names twice before you arrive at the other end, to Via Quattro Fontane and then to Via Agostino DePretis. It was busy that morning like all morning in Rome are and I do not know why, but a little voice told me, you know retiring would not be such a bad thing after all, you had a wonderful career. Rome and it's sunlight can inspire.
That is when I decided that I would retire by year end.

Vincent Lam in Ottawa at Fraser Café at the launch of his bestseller book, The Headmaster's Wager. During the Ottawa Writers Festival. A wonderful book to read. Vincent is a writer but also a E.R. doctor at Toronto.

In early May we had the annual Tulip Festival in commemoration of the Royal Family of the Netherlands who spent the Second World War in Ottawa. Carpets of  tulips everywhere in city parks can be seen, beautiful.

Nicholas and Nora in the morning after breakfast, a little snooze.

Of course this year was the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in June in Canada.

Then in June we went on our cruise with AZAMARA from Amsterdam to Hamburg to Copenhagen, to the Island of Ronen and on to Helsinki, St-Petersburg and Tallinn finally arriving in Stockholm.

From Kevin M. apartment and B&B beautiful view. We also met M.J. in Amsterdam.

Before coffee in the morning in a lovely café just down the street from our B& B.

Copenhagen Palace Square in the morning.

We then sailed to a small island of Ronen to see smoke houses where fish is smoked like herring. It is very fresh and delicious with a glass of wine.

 A very traditional method of preparing and preserving fish and it was very interesting to see. Such a lovely small island, very green, a beautiful picture of Scandinavia.

 We then sailed on to Helsinki, a beautiful small Capital, friendly people and wonderful pastries.
The excitement was building as we were now approaching Imperial St-Petersburg the city built by Peter the Great, what a jewel and thanks to massive renovations by Vladimir Putin, the city once again shines on the Baltic.

Here we are across from the Winter Palace by the Sphinx on University Embankment. If you touch the Sphinx you are likely to return to St-Petersburg. I wish we could have stayed at least one more day, two days was simply not enough for this magnificent city.

Our last stop was Stockholm, which for Will meant going to Drottningholm (Queen's Palace) to see the famous 17th century theatre. He waited almost all his life to see it and I had heard of it for the last 35 years, so the expectation was great. We were not disappointed, it was magical, to be able to step back in this perfectly preserved small theatre.

My favourite photo of 2012, Will at the entrance to the Royal Park, he was so excited, like a little kid.
Of course Sydd appears in the photo, he accompanied us throughout the trip.

 Talk of green environment in Stockholm Harbour.

But this was not all for my travelling, in the Fall I went for a few days to London to see friends. Wonderful visit and how nice to see the City with a lot less tourists. Staying with C. in the Marylebone area near Selfridge's on Baker street.

 The West facade of St-Paul's Convent Garden, Market area, known as the Actor's Church built by Inigo Jones in 1633. A beautiful Church well worth a visit.

How many times in my career, Will and I said this, so true and it continues to be.

December, the first snow in Ottawa. We have had so far more snow in December 2012 than in the entire winter of 2011. It promises.

On the 29 December, the retirement party with a few friends at home.

and the year ends, on with the new......

It's -22 C. on this photo, Happy New Year to All!


  1. This is an amazing post. I've come back to it a few times to view these lovely photos.
    Best wishes to you always

  2. Looks like 2012 was a great year Laurent.