Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The bear with a big stick

Phew it was a hot one today. Temperatures got to a whopping 34*. That was why we decided to come home and not venture on the beach today - we would have been burnt to a crisp.

Instead, we got up, tidied, put away and packed the car up. We had used the 'house' bedding and towels so the washing machine and dryer were on as we left. On the way we found a place serving breakfast (we were starving as it was about 3 hours since we woke up) and had some homemade breakfasts which took ages but were nice and fresh as she made them more or less in front of us.

An advert we saw in the paper in the cafe

We drove the three hours back to home with air conditioning on. The traffic wasn't too bad.

When we got home our air conditioning was on strangely enough (maybe it kicked in when it got soooooo hot). Though we had left a front door key with next door, she didn't come in. Still it needed to be cooler so we set it lower. The garden has suffered so it must have been really hot here too. Everything looks really dry and the pool has lost quite a bit of water and is very green. Everything got unpacked and put away and we scrabbled together a lunch and tried to stay cool.

Smallest and I went and collected our Jalepeno Pepper plants from next door and delivered her jam. We have many fruits growing now as she has been feeding them for us. She has watered everyday except today because apparently I told her we would be back yesterday!

Our garden is very overgrown and needs a lot of attention and we have found a wasps nest under the decking of the pool. We all played a game of Junior Monopoly in the basement to keep cool while the air conditioning worked and then we all did our own thing for an hour or so.

Huffle and I did lots of watering and then Huffle stupidly decided to knock down the wasps nest (apparently he has researched the fact that once knocked down, the wasps don't go back in). Unfortunately it is at the wrong angle for us to use the wasp spray on it. Small and I watched him wearing his trousers tucked in his socks, a long sleeved top tucked into his trousers, a fleece with a hood over the top of a cap and a pair of goggles, plus gloves. He approached the deck and crawled slightly underneath with the line prop and poked at it and then ran like crazy towards us. I got it on video but unless I post it to YouTube, I can't put it on here. Believe me though, it was funny. Anyone wanting to see the video, let me know, I'll send it you. Anyway it's down now and no-one has been stung YET and no wasps were harmed. They will just go and build a new home - hopefully away from here.

Ahhhhhhh it's nice to be home.

 

 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Where Eagles Dare

I managed to persuade my tired family to take the canoes and kayaks out one last time on recommendation from MrsBorrower. Huffle wasn't too keen but after the kids emptied the boot and we loaded the kayaks in the back (tying it up with a piece of string), Huffle drove over to the river, literally 200m and then we both carried the canoe over.

Flora and fauna and canoeing

Small and I took the kayaks again and Capt Smallest and First mate Huffle took the canoe. This time we leisurely paddled towards the Pinery Provincial Park and instantly spotted a Bald Eagle at the top of a tree, guarding her young. A boat went past and told me that there was a fish in trouble near by and if we waited long enough we might just see the Eagle fly down to catch it. We didn't but the Eagle did fly over us and land in a tree further up River.

The Eagle flying overhead
Beautiful reflections

We spotted more turtles (and one tried to climb my paddle while I was still) and lots of fish. We saw some interesting birds and heard frogs. It was fabulous but it was very very hot and we found it difficult to keep I n the shade of the overhanging trees. The water was so still and clear, unlike the part of the river we went on before.

Eventually we came to a bridge and a small waterfall. Apparently you can get out here and go on the other side and keep going until you get to Grand Bend (not today!!). We stopped for a break of water and HobNobs under the bridge and then set back off again. It only took us about 35 minutes one way and we went very slow. When we got back, we all jumped out and swapped boats. Smallest and Huffle went in the kayaks and Small and I took the canoe. The canoe was really hard and unsteady and we nearly toppled it a couple of times. I like kayaking much better. Smallest got on really well in the kayak by himself though he said he preferred the canoe (probably because his First Mate paddles hard for him).

We loaded the car again with the kayaks and Huffle took them home and came back for the me and the canoe. Then we came inside the air conditioned house and had a cooling drink before we got ready to go out for lunch.

We decided on Fish and Chips at Robs Chip'ewa Truck but it said it was closed on the website so we went to the pizza shop instead as we were very very hungry and didn't want to wait (we chose a different pizza shop which was very good and very fast and we were soon on our way again). On the way past Rob's though we noticed it was open - maaaannn!

At my request (again) we went in search of the Concretions which were supposed to be on the lake side and include some amazing rock structures which are spherical in shape. We didn't find any (except on a piece of grass) and to be fair, they were amazing but not quite like the photos on the internet. We weren't sure if we were in the right place so we followed the coastline of the lake in the car but we saw nothing so we headed for the beach.

We stopped for a last ice cream on the way (no one could have done that long uphill walk today it was far too hot). We must have been to this same shop too many times because the woman called me by my most favourite ice cream flavour! The temperatures got to 32* and it was stifling.

Our normal parking spot was full so we parked on the car park which meant we were on the other side of the beach. We found a spot not too far away and the kids jumped into the water immediately. Because we have been in swimwear for the last ten days, the boys are suffering with chaffing of various parts and so Small wore normal shorts to go out in today and forgot to take his swimming shorts. Silly bear had to go swimming in his good shorts.

Smallest felt a bit ill today, a bit sicky, tummy ache and I felt very weak - I think it must be the sun. We had lots of swimming, diving, throwing, collecting stones, reading (my book is now finished BOOOO) and finally our last tea on the beach. We came away a bit earlier than normal because everyone is tired and it was too hot to stay on the beach any longer.

Back in the house we started washing and sweeping up sand and had our showers. MrBorrower came over to say that we didn't need to move the kayaks as someone else wanted to use them and he brought me a nice cold beer. AAHHHHHHHHHH lovely. Much later MrsBorrower came over and asked if we wanted to have a drink with them. That was nice though we didn't because we had just put the kids to bed and didn't want to leave them, despite the fact it is next door.

Tomorrow we go home. It has been a lovely holiday. We have had 3 days of kayaking and canoeing, ten days on the beach, a day out in London (Ontario), a cinema trip to see Minions, a meal out every day, nine ice creams and lots of relaxing, game playing, reading and swimming. Fabulous. We all think this is the best place (in Canada) we have Summer Holidayed so far.

 

 

 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Fish for tea?

Nobody woke anyone up and everyone slept long and peacefully.

This morning we stayed in and did our normal slow holiday stuff, including a FaceTime with Grandma and Grandad. Mine and Huffle's shoulders are aching today from the canoeing and kayaking. OUCH!

At lunchtime we went back to one of the restaurants we most liked - Old Haus Cafe where we all had a lovely lunch. Smallest and I had to pack ours up for later as we were too full. We then made our way to the beach. None of the wind turbines were working today so there was obviously minimal wind.

Back to our usual beach, it was jam packed with people. Luckily we still managed to sit where we have before and while Huffle and I set up camp, the boys went for a swim. The temperature today was 31* and incredibly hot, even in the shade. There were little minnows in the lake today and the boys were trying to catch them. It was very funny to watch. Huffle waded slowly trying to entice them into his bucket. Small looked like a hungry bear waiting to pounce on them and trying to catch them with his fingers and Smallest just jumped on them. No-one caught any.

Wind turbine, catching fish, smallest ice cream EVER

Smallest and I swam to the furthest sandbank and I judged his excellent diving skills. There was a lot of reading again today. Huffle finished his book, Smallest is enjoying his new book and Small as usual can't put his book down. Mine is very sad and I too can't put it down.

Paddle boarders, Diving Judge

There was more swimming and then Small and I went off for a walk to the ice cream shop and sat in the shade there while we were eating. When we came back Smallest and Huffle were playing cricket but the heat was just too much for them. We sent them off for their walk and ice cream and Small and I went for a swim again. The water was lovely today with odd bits of warm and then cool - no waves!

Cricket
What a catch!

More reading, more swimming and then tea watching the sun glisten on the water. We were entertained today by a man and woman in a large blow up canoe. It capsized and the man got back in and rowed off without the woman. She then tried to run and swim after him and sink him - she eventually succeeded. After tea we all played French Cricket. One woman came past and started to talking to us about how her Father had tried and tried to teach her the rules but she could never fathom it (we think she may have thought we were playing Cricket).

Sandcastles, French a cricket and the sun starting to set

Smallest was very tired so we packed up before the sunset and headed back to the house. It is quite an ordeal carrying all of our stuff backwards and forwards. We have one Sunbrella (which is like a big umbrella you put on the ground and acts a bit like a tent), three canvas chairs, a bag full of towels and books, cricket bag, boules, football, coolbox, buckets, spades and body boards. Crazy!

At home showers were had, towels were hung out, cool box emptied and I went to talk to next door (borrowers). They told us about a lovely place where you can canoe in the Provincial Park, not far from here where there is a dam and a huge Eagle with its babies. I'm not sure our arms can cope with anymore canoeing though - shame.

I walked off to the river to catch the sunset. It was just disappearing behind the trees but it was beautiful anyway.

Sunset over the River Ausable

 

 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Abandon Ship

A lovely lie-in, a slow breakfast and a long game of Catan started today. Temperatures were at 31* so we didn't want to venture out too quickly, plus with it being a Sunday, we knew the beaches would be busy.

At lunchtime we went for a local bite to eat which was okay but nothing special.

The afternoon's activities started with a canoe and kayak trip again. This time we packed an umbrella, a spade and a small picnic tea. We set Small off first so he was well ahead of us and then we all followed. Today he did much better, never complained and said he found it easier. There were plenty of boats about and when we neared the secluded beach we found yesterday, it was rammed with boats and boat people. (To be fair, you can't get on it unless you have a boat).

Today we saw a white heron and a blue heron

We were a little disappointed but we parked the boats up and the boys went in for a swim while Huffle and I decided where to go. Huffle had a walk along the beach to see if there was anywhere we could go away from boats but there wasn't really so we just pulled the boats in the water and set up camp. Camp today was a log, an umbrella and the canoe/kayaks. We all went out and swam and played and cooled off.

There was a bit of sand sculpting, stone sculpting, stone finding and general silliness. We ate our picnic and the boat people had started to flee. It seems there is a rule for cottage and boat people that says you must leave the lake around 6pm (maybe they have to travel back home to go to work tomorrow).

We enjoyed the peace for a while and then set back off for our house. Once again we set Small off first and then I went and got stuck in the waves which ended up in my kayak and wet me through (I was dry before too). I then got stuck on a sandbank and had to get out and wade through it. I found it really hard on the way back, my shoulders were burning (not from the sun but from the effort). Every boat that passed us made waves that were harder to paddle in.

Finally we made it back and then had the huge task of bring the three vessels back to the house. They are really heavy, especially when you are already wet and tired!

The boys watched a bit of TV before a reasonable bed time.

Another licence plate

 

 

 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Fire the canons Cap'n

Another wake up, this morning c/o Small who decided to sit in Smallest's bedroom and make lots of noise (though it wasn't him it was the chair!!!!). He was also a little grumpy and sensitive today too (lack of sleep again maybe?).

This morning, after breakfast, we donned our pirate gear and went Kayaking and Canoeing down the river. We borrowed them from MrBorrower which is ironic. I went over first thing to talk to the Borrowers and found out they lived in their 'cottage' next door but had just bought a house across the road backing on to the river - very nice. He helped us get our stuff together and off we went.

Smallest and Huffle took the Canoe and paddled together. Small and I had the individual kayaks. We paddled down the river - it was very picturesque with the lovely houses on one side of the river and the Provincial park on the other side. In the Canoe, the two occupants were firing canons at the passing ships and animals and generally being pirates. Silly billies. I was trying to motivate Small and helping him to get going. I think he found it very hard work.

We paddled long and hard and eventually reached a beach where we abandoned ships and went for a cooling swim. The beach was practically deserted and was just lovely. I could have stayed all day except we only had two bottles of water with us and it was nearing midday. After a swim and splash about, we got back in our vessels and paddled back. On the way we spotted a Heron, two turtles on a log and a couple of turtle snouts in the water, plus a fish that jumped in the water.

It was less work getting back what with the wind direction and the tide and I convinced everyone to keep going thinking we were nowhere near, in reality we passed where we started and had to turn around. We were out for two and a half hours in all and it was a lot of fun.

We had lunch in the house and an ice cream (that was the boys incentive to get moving on the water) and then we got ready to go out for an afternoon in London (Ontario, not UK). It was just over an hours drive and the boys had DS' to keep them amused. Huffle and I just watched the landscape go by on never ending straight roads.

Lots of wind turbines, a bridge over the River Thames, and Oxford Street!

We weren't sure what to expect of London, certainly nothing like our London that we know and we tried not to get our expectations high. Once we parked the car, we walked towards St Peters Basilica which was a lovely building, architecturally speaking. Unfortunately there was a wedding going on so we couldn't look inside.

St Peters Basilica and St Paul's Cathedral

We carried on walking and passed St Paul's Cathedral and on to Covent Garden Market. It was quite a hot muggy afternoon so it was a treat to step into the Air Conditioned covered market. It felt a bit like St Lawrence Market in Toronto but much less busy. Nicely arranged and lots to see.

Covent Garden Market, Tree Sculptures,

We sat outside by the fountain and the kids played in the mister to get cool. We decided to carry on walking and unfortunately came to a rather unsavoury part of London.

Enjoying the fountains and flowers

It had the weirdest lot of people I have ever seen in one place. It looked like it was closing time at the drug rehabilitation centre, soup kitchen, tattoo parlour (tattoopullar) and hospital all in one. None of us liked it there, apart from the amazing graffiti covered walls. We headed for the safety of a mall, except that it wasn't a mall, it was a plaza and it was empty and strangely weird. We stumbled upon a cinema and considered just for a moment whether to go in and then decided not to as we weren't sure who would be our accompanying audience.

Graffiti and Hells Angels - we didn't realize it but that was the start of the unsavoury part of town

We did however have dinner in a splendid place that Huffle found on trip advisor called Waldo's (which means Wally's in UK - I know this because of the Where's Waldo/Wally books). It looked very posh and the wine glasses were the biggest I have ever seen (I'm sure they could have fit a whole bottle in one) and despite the fact we hadn't booked a table, they let us stay as long as we vacated by 7pm. Seeing as it was only 5pm, that was certainly enough time.

Giant Glass, a tired boy and a chicken face in the also in vinegar and olive oil (Huffle found this one!)

The Manager, with pointy facial hair, came and schmoozed us and we all had an amazing dinner. Very nice to have after last night's debacle (at which I thought my rice was going to resurface last night when I woke in the night feeling rather yucky). Smallest had Pasta in a Tomato Sauce, Small had freshly made Gnocci in a Tomato and Cream Sauce. Huffle had a Wild Mushroom Crepe and Salad and I had a lovely freshly made Butternut Squash Ravioli in a Tomato and Cream sauce. Just beautiful. Smallest got a dessert because he ordered off the children's menu (two ice creams) so of course we thought it was rude for us to not have dessert too. Huffle had a Goats Cheese Panacotta with Lime and Raspberry (lime in and raspberry on top), Small had a Dark Chocolate Mousse (he said it was the best he's EVER had - what about mine?) and I had a Mocha Cheesecake (just made). GORGEOUS.

While we were eating it started to rain and thunder and lightning and just as we stepped out it started bucketing down. I have never before worn my sun hat in the rain but it did a good job of keeping part of me dry. We were running through the streets ducking undercover when we could. There was thunder and Huffle ran with his fingers in his ears. I had on my platform sandals so struggled to run too fast (plus my cheesecake was swirling in my tummy). We were on our way to the cinema but we told Smallest if we got too wet, we would have to cancel and go back to the house as it wouldn't be fun sitting in wet clothes. Bless him, he held my hand and pushed me undercover when he could and pulled me along as fast as he could and kept asking "are we too wet?". He desperately wanted to go to the cinema.

When we got back to the car we were wet all down our fronts and our feet but we soon dried off in the car on the way. We were far to early for our film so we stopped at the book shop to pick up a couple of new books for the kids as they have both finished theirs already. Small picked up a couple and finally decided on a Percy Jackson one. Smallest struggled to find one and one of the assistants came up and tried to help. She gave him lots of books to check out, told him which ones she liked and recommended quite a few. I think he felt a bit overwhelmed but eventually when she left him with a handful, he chose one.

We got to the cinema and watched Minions 3D. It was very good and funny (though not quite as funny as the lady near me thought it was. Huffle said he could have trumped and she would have laughed!). When we first got in the cinema we found our seats (which were very plush and comfy). In came family behind with a boy who kicked my seat and a carrier bag that was very rustly. We moved and instantly another family sat behind with their rustly bag! At least we didn't hear it during the film.

It was 9:45pm by the time we got out and Smallest fell asleep on the way home. Both boys went straight to bed and were warned not to get up too early, I think tomorrow will be a lazy day with temperature of around 28*. The next couple of days will be around 31*.

Today seems to have been very busy but very enjoyable.

 

Another one to add to my license plate collection

 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Hey Guys!

A nice sleep for all, a bit of a lie-in for most and a nice slow morning of breakfast croissants, homemade jam and Nutella for all boy people. We played a new version of Catan which Smallest won and took a long time.

Picnic was made, car was packed and we briefly checked out the beach closest to us, on my request, though Huffle didn't want to go and instead of just telling me, he went through the pretence of getting lost and not finding anywhere to park. Off towards the usual beach but this time we parked in the car park and so went onto the other side of the beach.

Frank VII being made. Mrs Brittas our beach neighbour (do you think she knew I was taking that?). Our camp. master Turtle Builder.

Today was very very hot and the lake was strangely cold. We still went in and had a swim and some silliness. The boys were practicing their diving today, from my knees and hands and Huffle was scoring. We also picked up some big pieces of slate from the lake which may become plant markers when we get home.

Some Gaudi'esque Sand Sculptong, Burying Small (we wanted to make him into a merman but he wouldn't let us)

There was much reading again and some great sand structures. Smallest made a turtle who he called MrFrankVII. We decorated him with shells and stones and then built him a village. We decorated the village with obscure finds and our sand Concretions. There is a big Concretions site near us which I am hoping to see before we leave. Concretions, for those not in the know are spherical rocks (though there is much more to them than that but I will save that for when I get to see them).

Burying Smallest who giggled a lot and my favourite sign form the beach. PLEASE FILL IN YOUR HOLES

It got hotter and hotter as the day went on and eventually we gave in and came back to the house, showered and went out for dinner at Aunt Gussies. Bearing in mind Gussie could be short for gusset, therefore PANTS, it would be fair to say that this place was indeed pants. Huffle ordered the All You Can Eat Fish and Chips and when it came out it was a tiny portion. The waitress told him she had ordered him some more which he was very pleased about except that we had all eaten ours and waited some considerable time before his next plate arrived with cold fish. He could have eaten more as the second plate was tiny but we couldn't waste anymore of our lives waiting. The kids meals were good enough, a burger and tortellini but I ordered the Salmon with rice (nice change to fries) and veg. The salmon was 'meh' and the rice was overlooked and in some parts (the parts I didn't eat) congealed together but the veg was nice. Our waitress knocked another tables drinks all over them and so we had to have an interim waitress until she was ready. Interim waitress asked if everything was okay and I told her the rice was overlooked and showed the bits that were congealed. She said she was very sorry. When the bill came they hadn't taken anything off and as Huffle by now had waited too long for his dinner and was completely unsatisfied by the place, he looked at me as if to ask, WHAT SHOULD I TIP? I said to yet another different waitress that I was disappointed they didn't reduce the bill as the rice was so bad. She asked if I had eaten it. WHAT HAS THAT GOT TO DO WITH IT. It reminded Huffle of a Fawlty Towers episode where they asked if they would refund later when it came back up! Honestly. Guess what - No tip whatsoever. Instead we spent the tip money (and a bit more) on four ice cream milkshakes down the road.

Another late night for the boys. They better not get up too early.

 

 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Does he really take selfie photos of him and his dog?*

Someone got up too early this morning and that same someone woke me up with loud whispers of 'MUMMY, MUMMY CAN I GO ON MY TABLET?'. When I said a sleepy YES, he poddled down the hallway and woke up Small. The only one that wasn't awoken was Huffle who slept dreamily on in snoreland. Consequently we had a grumpy tetchy family today.

As is fairly normal now, we spent the morning having breakfast, playing on tablets and then playing a game of Catan (I won). We got all of our stuff together and were out of the house by 12:30 ish. Another trip into Forest where we tried a Godfathers Pizza. Just a run of the mill chain pizza place but nice enough. While we were out we spotted a huge lorry carrying part of a wind turbine. It was humongous. When we came past again there was a blade on the lorry, WOW. Can't believe how big those things are. There are lots of wind turbines around here. They fascinate me. We also stopped by a farmers field which had stripes of different things in it. It was very colourful. It looked like corn, wheat and maybe a green manure. I wonder why they did that?

Wind turbines and stripey fields

We made our way to the supermarket to get essentials with the intention of keeping them in the cool box but we bought too much and had to go back to the house in order to put it away. Still, we were on the beach (usual spot) by 2:30 ish.

Camp, walking, football

It seems most people are leaving not long after we arrive (possibly because they went on in the morning) so it wasn't long before we had most of the beach to ourselves.

Cricket

A bit of swimming - no waves today, lots of reading, lots of cricket and sandcastle building and a bit of football. Both boys were very grumpy towards each other and had to be parted quite often. Which is why we made the decision today to eat our picnic a little bit earlier, have a last game of cricket and a walk and then we drove to the ice cream place after packing all our stuff away. We all had Heath Bar Ice Cream except Huffle who had a Raspberry Bugaboo (he said it was a very forgettable flavour).

Sand castles. We spent a long time finding obscure things to decorate our castles with.
Trying to get a profile photo for FaceBook but I look like a pirate. Small and me. My shadow - the pack horse carrying stuff off the beach.

We were back in the house by 8pm and sent the boys to clean their teeth. Both got a bit of TV watching before bed but hopefully the earlier night might do them some good. I have warned Smallest that he isn't to whisper loudly to me until he hears my voice or knows I am awake. He says because he hears me turning over in bed, he assumes I'm awake.

I spoke to MrBorrower next door who asked when we were going to use his kayaks. Maybe tomorrow? maybe Saturday? The river is just across the road and he said morning is best. We are going to see how we feel tomorrow.

 

*a man walked by with his dog and one of those selfie sticks attached to this camera while the boys were playing cricket. I saw Huffle look at him and shake his head. I later asked him what he was thinking as he walked by and he said "has he really been taking selfies of himself and his dog?, and that the only thing that could have been worse was if the dog had been wearing some jaunty beach outfit!". I don't know who's weirder, Huffle for thinking it or the selfie man!