Carol and Fred on Honeymoon in Bermuda 1970

Carol and I have completed day 12 of our self-isolation. There is nothing too difficult about self-isolation but you quickly run out of things to do. There are many ways that we could be productive but it just does not seem to make sense to plan too far ahead. Twelve days does not sound long but it seems forever.

We watch a bit of Netflix but cannot get engrossed too deeply; COVID-19 is always on our mind. After Netflix we work on a jigsaw puzzle for an hour. Then we think about food. We are well stocked up but not much fresh food. We have not seen a salad since Portugal. I make soup most days - 2 carrots, a slice of turnip, a slice of cabbage, a handful of dried mushrooms, some peas, NSA (no salt added) chicken soup stock and a handful of rotini. 90 minutes later we have a great bowl of soup. The stove does all of the work.

Once we are finished with self-isolation we will be able to go for a walk. I am looking for some local trails that we have not walked. We were defnitely spoiled by the scenery in Portugal. Everywhere we walked it was very beautiful. It is good to be home but around here there is nothing but farm land.

Day 13 and 14 to go.

I do not know why it took me so long to figure out that this period of Self-isolation and social distancing is an ideal time to start going through the old photographs in the basement, digitizing them and doing some distribution.

Here we are at 31 Princeton Terrace celebrating Bronwen's 10th birthday.

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We are in the 10th day of self-isolation. By my rudimentary calculations our chances of showing symptoms during this period of sel-isolation will have shrunken to about 10% by the end of this day. We are encouraged.

Yesterday was Katie's 40th birthday and the family got together for a video conference on Zoom a slightly hardened competitor to FaceTime and Skype. The system worked pretty well and we all had a nice visit. It was a surprise for katie; we know this from Jay as Katie had been heard grumbling throughout the day about her ungrateful family that had completely forgotten her birthday, and by time the call took place she had already called it a day and gone to bed. Surprise!


Last night at 9PM we hit the end of the 7th day of Quarantine, We celebrated by having PC Blue Menu Sirloin Burgers, Crispy Potatoes and a bottle of Spanish Brut. The burgers had been donated to our freezer by Dave Taylor, the potatoes supplied by Glenn, the Brut by Mary Lauro and the rye bread and cherry tomatoes by Quite an elegant feast don't you think? Did I mention the Grey Poupon.


Carol and I both feel good with no symptoms of the virus. According to some sources the mean incubation period for the virus is 5.2 days. This would imply that Carol and I are over the hump but need to go the entire 14 days to be 100% certain. None the less, we are taking some comfort being at Day 8.

I am changing my terminology to match that of Health Canada - we are now in Self-isolation (not Self-Quarantine). If you require a definition of the term see this website.

. . and finally in the words of Galen Weston, "Stay safe and be kind"

Fifth Day


Today we are finishing our 5th day of self-quarantine. We are not making much headway on the puzzle - Carol prefers to spend time on Facebook and the phone with the girls or is catching up with people that she has not visited with over the past few weeks. I prefer to spend my time thinking about purchasing a small wood burning camp stove in case the hydro goes out. The one that I like is the Solo Stove Titan and it is on sale. These are brilliant little stoves.

The people in Stonecroft are becoming a bit frazzled with the coronavirus and are starting to fight about how to quarantine, which government is right, can we walk outside and how long the virus will stay active on the soles of your shoes. It is quite a sight. As a webmaster, I am supposed to moderate their posts as they fling words and accusations back and forth. I say let them fight it out until they start getting abusive with each other - Oh oh, they have gotten abusive.

If they are like Carol and I they will have lots of champagne in the downstairs fridge that has been looking for an excuse to be consumed. It has been there for some time and we cannot get out to go to the liquor store. We are parched. We come out of quarantine on March 30 at 9 PM. You can bet that one of those bottles will be cracked at that time (and we are not even fond of champagne.) If our neighbours would just get the right attitude we will get through this.

Today our order was ready from The order had been a $220 grocery order. The bill came to $114. I had ordered chicken thighs, chicken breaks, Lethbridge pork chops, sausage and Free From ground beef. The only thing that arrived was ground beef. Zehrs have closed the meat counter, the seafood counter, and the deli. I am working on another order requesting frozen chicken. Tomorrow I will make a chilli (when you have ground beef you make chilli). I have asked Dave Taylor if he can scrounge some protein at the local NoFrills and leave it on our front porch.

We are doing well. We could spend all day in our pajamas but we don't. We shower. We have been working on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle since Monday as part of a community puzzle challenge.

  1. Open the box and turn over all of the pieces.
  2. Post a photo of the pieces to the Stonecroft website.
  3. When finished post a photograph of the finished puzzle to record the time the puzzle took to complete.

Carol and I are doing a puzzle that was last assembled by Bronwen in Japan during the SARS outbreak in 2003.

We are not doing as well as some of our neighbours who have completed their second puzzle but we did choose a difficult puzzle with few geometric shapes (yes that is me whining.)

I also have been making some software changes to the VOX to make the Archives section a little more useful. It now is collapsible and expandible by year and/or month and it provides the post title as a table of contents. There is still some work required here - although functional, it is butt ugly.

Today we are having a block party (with good social-distancing) The streets are being closed as best we can and folk are talking about taking their lawn chairs out with a glass of wine and having a quick visit. These people would have all been in the orchestra on the Titanic. We will be there.

As a sidenote I have been building an order of groceries on When the order has been picked by store personnel they will meet me in the parking lot with the cart, maintain 6 feet of distance from me, let me load my car, let me drive away and then wipe the cart down completely. The only problem so far is that the beer and wine aisle cannot be accessed.

We received an update from Bruce Cutler this morning. We had spent a couple of days with Bruce and his sister just before we left Carvoeiro. They had arrived a week ago and were looking for a nice winter vacation. Bruce can say it best:

Portugal is completely locked down. We went to Lagos yesterday. Everything is shut down. We saw maybe 10 people walking outside. The Promenade was completely vacant. I stood in the middle of the road and took a picture - no cars. Parking was a breeze. Went onto Praia da Rocha. Same issue. The beach was totally empty. It is like living in a ghost country. The Kenny’s are leaving April 1st now as are Jan an Martha. As we can not get any earlier flights with Air Transat I bit the sour apple and cancelled our flight. Was able to book a flight with TAP from Lisbon to London and Air Canada from London to Toronto. We leave at 3:00 am Monday morning.

Our friends Jamie and Marsha from Collingwood, who we visited with in Lisbon 3 weeks ago arrive home from Tenerife tomorrow. They are flying from Tenerife to Dublin and then on to Toronto.

Everybody is scrambling to get home.

The plane from Lisbon arrived at the Terminal 3 gate yesterday at 5:15PM. The plane stopped, the engines wound down, passengers started getting things from the overhead bins, and then the pilot announced that there were large lineups in Canadian Customs and that they had been asked to hold all passengers until the lines had cleared.

At 6:30 the pilot announced that there were now nine planes waiting to debark and that our plane was number 3 in the queue. At 7:00 he received the OK to release his passengers. So . . . just about a 2 hour wait on the tarmac.

It took an hour to wind through all of the Canadian Customs lines and pick up our baggage. I was in contact with our limo driver through this and there was not even a suggestion that he would abandon us without a ride to New Hamburg. Cudos to BlackCarWaterloo and our driver.

We arrived home last night about 9:00PM - so this is officially the start of our self-quarantine. It will end March 30th at 9:00PM.

Today we have been unpacking and putting everything back where it belongs. The pile of laundry in the living room is enormous so the washer and dryer will be humming most of the day. I have inspected all of the food stuff placed in the house by Glenn and Bronwen, started soaking some beans, and am trying to figure out what we will eat today. We need a good dietary shake and today is the day it starts. We have been eating too much good Portuguese bread, chorizo and cheese and have been drinking far too much wine - well maybe just drinking too much.

We have been spending a lot of time reading the world news about coronavirus and its enormous humanitarian and economic impact. We will not spend the next 14 days reading everything we can find on the subject and instead try to make ourselves more useful.

We are going to join the Stonecroft jigsaw challenge.

Stonecroft Jigsaw Challenge - the days will get longer and longer for all of us. What to do! Here is an idea - all of you jigsaw puzzlers - take out a 1000 piece puzzle. Turn over the pieces. Take a picture and post it. Start your puzzle and when you finish take another picture and post it. No prizes, no pressure. Just some friendly competition. Any takers?


Many of the meals that we have eaten in Portugal came with a simple yet welcome starter of marinated carrots. Sometimes they feature garlic, sometimes cumin (least favourite), but usually they are simply flavoured with a bit of chopped parsley. Here is the recipe that I intend to try when we return home.

  • parboil 2 sliced carrots until slightly soft, immerse in ice water, drain, dry, and cool.
  • combine with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp finely chopped parsley, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, a pinch of paprika, and a touch of salt.
  • cover, refrigerate overnight.
  • bring to room temperature and serve.

The photo above would have been used to serve 4 to 6 people with some wonderful Portuguese bread.

This was (and still is) to be our last night in Portugal. We arrived by bus from Portimao yesterday afternoon and were dropped off by Uber at Casa do Bairro a great little hotel that we stayed at when visiting Marcia and Jamie. It has the same charm but there is an air of uncertainty about the whole place as a result of the coronavirus.

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Lisbon is officially mandating social-distancing. Restaurants, bars, cafes, and other meeting places are being shut down to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We had been traveling since before breakfast, through lunch and we were hungry. The plan had been to check-in and walk to the Time Out Market for late lunch/dinner but the market is closed as part of the social-distancing plan. The hotel knew of only one open restaurant and it was part of their sister hotel up the street - Madame Petisca. They called to see if they could get us a reservation (by reservation only because they were only allowing 12 guests at a time from their hotels.)

It was a tapas menu - but a good tapas menu.


We ordered all of the starters and a couple of glasses of house wine. The sheep's milk butter was amazing. We also ordered the cod on a bed of spinach and the organic mixed mushrooms. These two dishes were meal-sized and wonderful. I am certain that the cod was rehydrated dried, salted cod. The mixed mushrooms were in a very tasty thick sauce with some dunking bread. The second glass of wine was in order.

It is now 3:46AM. We slept right after dinner and now we are wide awake. We will have a light breakfast at 8AM and get in the limo to the airport at 8:30 for an 11:30AM flight.




For our last planned excursion away from Carvoeiro I decided that we should visit the Roman Ruins at Estoi (gave up trying to find it after 45 minutes and several sweeps of the countryside) and then drive into Faro to see the 11th century gate into the walled part of the city, Faro Cathederal, the Fado Museum and the convent where the Fado Museum is located.

Carol wanted her salad photographed as one of the nicest presentations of a Caprese salad. I had goats milk cheese with honey and slivered almonds, roast chorizo, and olives. The highlight of the meal for me were the carrot pickles (1/8th inch slices, slightly cooked and served in olive oil with oregano). Then off to the Fado presentation.

Cathedral of Faro From the bell tower of Cathedral of Faro Inside the Cathedral of Faro Caprese Salad, Tertulia Algarvia Inside the Fado Museum Cloisters, Archaeological and Lapidary Museum