Drove to Lisbon on Wednesday to visit with Marcia and Jamie and their friends Gord and Lynn. It was a 2.5 hour drive with about 20 minutes of that driving in circles in Lisbon before we realized that we would not be able to drive right up to the hotel.
On Friday we rented a driver to take the six of us out to Sintra for a 6 hour tour of the area. It is very beautiful and if in Lisbon one of the "must do" tourist things. Lots of shops, gardens and scenic views. The main attraction for our group was the Quinta da Regaleira a beautiful grounds full of whimsical trails and landscape features - almost a 3 dimensional maze. You will see Carol hiding from me in some of the photos.
We are now back in Carvoeiro, ready to fill the fridge with edibles and get back to walking.
There would be pictures of the group in Sintra but those are in Marcia's camera. As soon as she sends one along, I will post it.
Stayed in Vancouver with our old friends Bill and Linda Popovic. Carol, Linda and me had all go to high school together in the 60s. For many years we were out of contain but then reconnect and for the past 9 years we have got together a few time most years in Palm Desert. Since we sold the desert oasis, we will see them in Vancouver in the future.
It was a fitting end to a fabulous vacation/50 wedding anniversay. Linda and Carol stood up with each other 50 years ago, so the timing was perfect.
Finally some words to match the photos.
These photos were taken at East Beach on St Simons. It is one of the best beaches that I have ever seen - kilometers long, a couple of hundred meters wide, clean sand and people really enjoying walking, digging and exercising their pets. I really dislike walking on most beachs but this one was a great walk. The sand was firm under foot, it had a very gradual descent to the water.
I stopped to help some old folk with their group photos. They were happy to oblige and share their pleasure.
This is for Jamie
I have been thinking lately about the possibility of someone starting a new appliance company. We know that GE and MayTag make appliances; we all have them in our homes - Major appliances like crappy refrigerators, crappy stoves, crappy dish washers, crappy microwave ovens, and crappy clothes washers and dryers. There are other manufacturers too, like crappy Bosch, crappy Samsung, and crappy LG.
My thinking is that it would be a good idea to start a company that made really good, simple, constantly improving appliances. I vision a product that is steel not plastic, that constantly evolves not to meet marketing needs, but to make it more reliable, deliver more essential function, and be more energy conscious. It will reuse a very high percentage of its parts from year to year rather than being redesigned with new knobs and switches each year.
Deming would be proud of these appliances. Their design and development would fit within the Sigma Six quality programs from Xerox. They would not be about new models for the sake of new models, they would change only when a real improvement to reliability, ecology, function or cost can be delivered. The warrantee would reflect the quality. Long warrantees with No-Question customer service.
Carol and I are in established in our hotel room in Fort Wayne. I think that we just made it out of Collingwood on time for it was cold, and windy with traces of sleet and snow all the way from Duntroon to Shelborne. We are listening to an audio book as we drive, "The Girl On The Train". I was so engrossed in the story that I missed the exit to highway 69 near Port Huron and then an hour later took an exit to highway 96 near Angola. I am not certain that I should be listening/reading as I travel.
Our friends Keitha and Ross hosted a Bean-town Festival last evening for cult-like collection of neighbours. Everybody is nuts about baked beans. Some folk even brought their own tupperware. Keitha claimed that she cooked 8 pounds of beans for 10 people. 8 pounds of beans, properly rehydrated is just slightly more than what is required to fill a 5 gallon pail. 10 people, 5 gallons. Roughly 2 quarts of beans per person - then desert. there was barely room for a couple of beers and and a snort of rum. It was a very nice evening.
Getting old is miserable. You lack the stamina you used to have and muscles give up when they are needed. We did not get out to see Coco in Austin. After a full day of driving in the rain (9 hours) we were just too tired to leave the hotel room. Instead we slept. Then got up and drove in dreary grey rainy weather for a good part of today. Finally the forecast says that we will get some good weather. We did stop yesterday in Shreveport LA for lunch. Ken Whitaker had sent along the lunch suggestion:
Have a look.
- Ken: Happy Thanksgiving! I am recovering from overeating yesterday. We're going to the new James Bond movie this evening and will leave Boise tomorrow to head South. It looks like we will be arriving in PD in the evening on Monday 11/30. Are you guys going to be there by then? If not let me know when you will be arriving and we'll try to get tennis set up.
and then later when Ken heard that we did go for lunch -
- Ken: I hope you had a Shrimp Buster and went inside where there is a profile of an Indian shot into a piece of metal by the original Herby K. It's now run by the ex daughter-in-law of the founder. The son (her ex-husband) had a drug problem and the daughter-in-law used to run it with the mother-in-law (wife of Herby K) until she died.
That area of town died around the bar but they never moved. They tried expanding to a second location but that didn't work for some reason. We went there after my mother's and my father's funeral. As a kid my mother and father would sit in one side of the old wooden booths and the 3 boys on the other and Dad would drink draft beers from big frosted glasses.
We did have Shrimp Busters - very nice.
Ken referred to the "area of town dying". There were two or three blocks of buildings that have been abandoned and are falling down. the restaurant is right in the middle. If it had not been raining we would have explored and taken photos. Very interesting.
We are well on our way home. We stopped in Quebec City for our first night out of Moncton. Had a nice walk around the walled city including lower Quebec (walked down, but rode the lift up), found the old Anglican church founded by the Scottish troops after the battle on the Plains of Abraham (probably members of the 78th Fraser Highlanders), and took in a nice dinner.
Our hotel that evening was a bit of a surprise. When we first opened the door to our room we were hit with a blast of heat - the room was over 40 degree centigrade. The staff claim to have never seen this happen before. Fortunately they were able to find us another room.
This morning we woke up in Cornwall, ON. We stayed here so that we could visit Upper Canada Village for the first time in 40 years. I wanted to get some photographs of Louck's farm. The main farmhouse was moved from nearby and once was owned by a direct ancestor of Mary (Loucks) Lauro a good friend of ours. She has never seen the house.
Many of he 78th Frasers were Scottish survivors of the Jacobite rebellion and may have been present at the battle Culloden Moor in 1745. I believe that the 78th was recruited from the survivors of this battle and they were shipped to North America with General Wolf to ensure that they did not participate in any further rebellion against the crown, and that the regiment was disbanded in Quebec City after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham to ensure that they did not return to Scotland and take up their old ways. Further, Williams family history believes that an early member of the 78th was a Cameron ancestor of my mother. Wolf is not well thought of in Scotland for the butchering that took place at Culloden. We think pretty highly of him and he is enshrined in Westminster Abbey by the English - just different POVs
Home now . . .
Last time that we arrived at home it just did not feel right. This time when we arrived it felt very good. We were rested (actually unpacked already) and the home and community looked good - not grey and cold, but green and promising. We were hungry and thirsty so started dinner and cocktails (one should not withdraw from the travelling lifestyle too quickly; we would not want to get the tremors).
Canada Day, but nothing broadcast by CBC from Parliament Hill. I was counting on a live music broadcast from the Hill. When did this all change? CBC was showing the Dragon's Den - very patriotic - lots of flag waving and Kevin sang O'Canada, but still not the hill. I had to watch a Maple Leaf press conference explaining why Phil Kessel was traded. I did not know that he had been traded but I already knew why he was traded. Maybe the Food Channel will have a good show about how to preserve poutine (canned poutine - a great idea, not mine originally but a good idea).
We are home and that is good.
Apple announced recently that they were going to replace their photo enthusiast Aperture software with a more consumer oriented product targeted towards iPad and iPhone users. Yikes. This started me looking for new software to manage my 20,000 photographs. Although I am upset at Apple's decision, it has not turned out too bad. I have decided to move to Adobe Lightroom and it is better software. Apple has not been keeping pace with Adobe it turns out.
Another benefit is that I have been forced to look at the thousands of photograhs as I move them from Aperture to Lightroom. Now that has been fun. For example, here is a digital photograph taken in 1996 on a visit to North Caicos island to drink rum punch and play tennis. In the picture you will see our host Ron (left), a young Adonis (me), Dave and Bob. The unfortunate part of this picture is that it looks like there are four hands reaching for three rum punches. Perhaps that explains the anguish on Bob's face.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Billie is visiting.
Went for a little bicycle ride to La Quinta with some nice people from British Columbia. Our longest ride of the year - could not walk or sit the next day.