Monday, December 11, 2017


The sun is shining. There's a slight bit of "Freezing Fog" covering the evergreen branches in the huge, red, cast iron planter out front on our patio.

Just another day on "The Island".
Vancouver Island. About as far west as one can get in this great country of ours.
Today, Twitter tells me our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the "cover boy" on the January edition of Europe's biggest LGBT Magazine- Attitude. Canada is great- isn't it?
Our values cannot be beat.
We are a welcoming nation.
This is a welcoming Island. I can't count the number of times folks have said- "Welcome to the Island!"

Such a Handsome Boy. Canadian Values up his "ying-yang"
I also saw on Twitter- along with 17 million other people, that heart-wrenching video of a boy in tears, telling his mother about being bullied. It tears at my heart.
I mean why in the name of Jesus H. Christ would someone pour milk over someone's head.
Why the fuck can't we be pleasant to one another. I mean, I would hope that most of us are but there are the scurvy few who are rat bastards.
Absolute "Rat Bastards"
It will get better Keaton.
I would hug you hard if you were standing here right now.


It  has been a pleasant few days. A friend- Bev, is visiting from back east. Before we picked her up at Nanaimo Airport on Saturday afternoon, Tom and I spent a nice morning at the Duncan Farmer's Market- which is open- outside, year round. Holiday greens, soup, jewellery, tea, coffee, produce and food. A German Food Truck is one of our favourite stops. It feels like we're at a Christmas Market in Germany and with a hot, steaming cup of Gluhwein- alcohol free, in our hands nothing says Fröhliche Weihnachten more.

Palm Villa on Sunday. The Hole? For the Palm
So, our friend Bev is here visiting from Owen Sound. She's our second overnight guest and sixth visitor to our Island and our new home- Palm Villa. Brother-n-Law Ted and Sister-in-Law Chris came to the Island in September from Edmonton. Then, our friends Deb and Warren from some cold, frosty, minus twenty-four degree Ontario backwater surprized us back on October with a visit. We were not in our new home yet. Then, Victoria Brenda came and stayed overnight to help us unpack. Jaki- the daughter of our much-missed friend Mrs. P from Mississauga, came for a daytime visit last week and now Bev is here. Not to be outdone, a former neighbour who lived just up the street from us in Old Orillia Town, arrives from Courtney- up island, on Friday to stay a night or two. Karen moved to the Island back in July. She paved the way across this country for us. Now, not that we won't love visiting with Karen but we are anxious to see Hailey her Yellow Lab. Hailey will go ballistic when she sees Uncle Rob and Tom.
Such fun!

On Sunday Bev and Tom and I toodled over to Cowichan Bay Village, a quaint ocean side fishing village. Shops and places to eat- of course. Here's a photo of the view from a window in a bakery where we sipped latte's and hot chocolate.

Cowichan Bay Village
In our new home the Christmas Trees are up. Only one on the lower level was decorated. The other-one of a matching pair, never appeared from Orillia and I have no idea where it got to. Maybe it was sold by mistake at one of our garage sales.
I can't remember.
The Holiday Season is going to be different here in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.
Temps are in the high single digits and even a double digit or two are forecast.

We know back in "Old Home" temps are minus 15, minus 20 and more.
Do I miss the snow and cold?

Not one little bit.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ROBBLOG #680 W E E K E N D Edition

Good Gosh I am tired!

We moved into our gorgeous Island Home a week ago and it has taken seven full, long, tiring days to get unpacked and add some homey touches. Done and Done.

Half of our garage is filled with cardboard. I suggested to "the Mister" we stash the boxes along the side of the house. He has a concern that the boxes may get wet. It hasn't rained in more than a week and our lovely new van has yet to see the garage interior! Who gives a rat's buttock if the cardboard gets wet- which it won't since there's only sunshine and mild temps for the next week.

I can't begin to tell you how much stuff we've unpacked. I thought I got rid of so much back in "old home" but there still is a mountain of stuff here, so I have started to put extra stuff in boxes and taking it to the storage room on the lower level of our house. I will have to purge again but there's no rush. I am tired of packing and unpacking and making room for stuff so out of sight out of mind for now.

My Christmas Great Room Mantle with BC Cedar Boughs
Remember we had thought we lost a bunch of stuff in the move to The Island? We have slowly discovered that our movers took it upon themselves to open a box or two and re-arrange our stuff. For instance, a box marked Master Bathroom had our Great Room mantle lamps tucked inside. Another had an antique Gone With The Wind lamp inside marked Master Bath. It was labelled correctly but it had been on  the bottom of three boxes piled in the corner of our Master Bedroom. It's been like an Easter Egg Hunt at times! More boxes were piled around the stack of three. I just couldn't remember where stuff was after four months of displacement.

We had been missing an oak dining room chair this past week until last night we found it in a garment box. It was wrapped in a movers quilt. Our leather jackets were rolled in bunches and tucked in on top. Why they opened our boxes and moved stuff around is beyond me.

A final tally would have me say that we had one antique lamp smashed. There was also a small Austrian vase found in several pieces near the bottom of a box. So, besides that- in the end, we faired quite well.

Morning View out our Bedroom Window.
Today I am going to finish decorating our Great Room Christmas Tree then later this afternoon our friend Bev arrives at Nanaimo Airport- about 25 minutes away. She'll be house guest number two in the past week. "Victoria" Brenda stayed last weekend to help Tom and I unpack. We are really looking forward to Auntie B's visit. She's been in California at her sister's place since December first. She'll stay with us and tour the Island until mid-week.
Such fun!

On a final note, it appears you have had some wintery weather this past week back in good ole Ontari-ari-ari-oh! Our friends Deb and Warren report a foot of the white stuff about an hour and a bit north of Orillia.
We saw pics of snow covered, slippery roads.
Double Yikes!
So glad I don't have to drive on snowy roads. As our friend Brandy sent us a photo of slippery streets we were waiting in line at the car wash here in Duncan. The photo of flowers blooming in December was taken as her snow-covered pictures came into my phone....and yes this is still Canada with December flowers in bloom.

Now My Dears, that's you up to date.
Have a good weekend. Enjoy the Holidays which are almost upon us and even though I am not supposed to encourage Easterners to come West- it's an unwritten rule apparently, there's still room here on the Island.
All you'll leave behind is...winter!

Monday, December 4, 2017


Well, we did it!!

Nine months after we signed the contract we have moved into Palm Villa- our new home in Duncan BC on Vancouver Island.

We had three moving guys- one with lovely biceps, who worked from 1030 till about 5 in the afternoon. New friends Carol and the Two Brendas- one from Victoria and one from Ladysmith put their back into unwrapping a ton of boxes and tah-dah!

It was a tiring but a very exciting day. Most of our main level is put away but the lower level is still a bit scattered. I'll work on that this week. Most of our "stuff" arrived in good condition.
Some not so good.
We had breakage.
I did my best when packing but ultimately it was the handling along the way.
There are items missing too- like an oak dining room chair.
Our bicycles are missing bolts that hold on the fenders.
Our patio table is still in pieces because the bolts can't be found.
I asked one of the nice moving men way back in August NOT to take the table or our bikes apart.
They did anyway.

Palm Villa's "Great Room"

We had the back of an antique harp-back washstand damaged. Someone had glued it back together and wrapped it in tape! Nice one.
Tape on an antique piece?
What can you do?
We will be putting in a claim.
I am also missing two mantle lamps and an antique "Gone with the Wind" lamp.
I hope I find them in a box today.

I will begin work on re-assembling Swisssh and Starlite later today and who knows, maybe they'll be back on air tomorrow.

Tom and I are so happy to be in our new Island Home. WE are grateful to be mostly settled and feeling a part of this Cowichan Community.
Cowichan means "warm land" you know.

'Front of House"
We are also grateful for our new Island friends- Victoria Brenda, Ladysmith Brenda and Carol.

Oh Christmas Tree is assembled. It's lights are glowing but naked otherwise.
It's on my "to do" list.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

ROBBLOG #678 W E E K E N D Edition

My Goodness!

I am happier than a pig in poo right now!
Here on the Island the Holidays are in full swing.
Thursday night Tom and I met our friend" Ladysmith Brenda" in Ladysmith for the Festival of Lights and the light parade down Ladysmith's main street. Ladysmith is about 20 minutes "up island" from our house in Duncan.

The evening was mild and the lights were amazing. Up to 18,000 people crowd into this Island Town of 6,000 to see the downtown awash in coloured lights. Santa flips the switch at 630 and the parade begins! Jesus, Mary & Joesph- it's a lot of lights!!

The parade of lighted floats and vehicles lasted almost an hour and a half. Then, a huge tree with 15,000 LED lights was lit, followed by a 15 minute fireworks display which was one of the best I have ever seen. What a jolly evening! Worth the trip to the Island.
Some pictures below:




From Top: Rudolph Lights, Marching Cadets, Lighthouse Lit & Fireworks over Aggy Hall


After 9 month we have taken possession of our new home in Duncan BC. With shorts, 9c degrees and a big smile on our faces, Tom and I were presented with our key. WE started to move some things we had in our apartment- and Priscilla, into the house on Friday. Saturday sees all our worldly possessions arrive from Nanaimo where they have been in storage since the last week in August.
How Nice!!

A few lights to begin the 'Festive Mood" at Palm Villa
We are excited to say the least. Our home still has some exterior finishing touches like some painting and landscaping to be done but it feels like home. Our palm tree should be planted by Christmas.
Mele Kalikimaka.
Holy shite!

Here's a photo above of our interior fireplace in the Great Room. I'll post more at a later date.

So, I am going to be busy re-positioning furniture and hanging pictures over the next few days.
Pardon my absence folks.

I might even have Swisssh and Starlite back on air by Sunday night.
Baby steps first, Rob.
Baby steps....

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, November 27, 2017


This is the Week That Was...

Or will be.
Or should have been four months ago!
July 29th was our original move in date for our new build home here on Vancouver Island.

All the details of our move and the past three months of "hurry up and wait" are on this blog. Just scroll down a bit and read some of the older bits- if you're interested.

It feels a bit surreal actually.
Tom and I have been counting the months and weeks and days for an eternity it seems. Now, our future is just about here. If all goes the way we've planned, the house keys should be in our hands on Thursday morning.
It seems strange to write that...
Thursday Morning.

Saturday we'll be laying our heads down under a new roof. It's the beginning of the rest of our lives.
Those lives being spent here in the Cowichan- the City of Duncan to be precise. It's a nice place. Not a big city like Toronto or Victoria but busy with the Island Highway or Trans-Canada Highway slicing through Duncan from South to North on the east side.

Duncan's Downtown is a lot like Orillia's back in Ontario. Small shops, restaurants and services.
This past Friday night Duncan welcomed in the Christmas Season. The entire downtown was lit with thousands of Christmas Lights on buildings and wrapped around trees. At 8 o'clock there were fireworks from atop City Hall. That's right! Fireworks from the top of the building showering the people below and all accompanied to thundering music of the Holiday Season. That would nevefr happen back in Orillia. The crowds are kept at a distance. Here, we actually stood underneath the fireworks shower.

Christmas trees in the Duncan City Square were not only decorated with multi strings of lights but actual decorations were hanging from branches. This is something one would not see back in "Old Home" in Orillia. The snow would prevent it but here in the mild temps of a 10c evening, garlands and ornaments covered tree branches along with the lights.
It was a warm, inviting, Holiday evening.

Further down island Victoria celebrated with an evening Santa Clause Parade. First time I ever saw Santa with a huge umbrella on his float. The photo below is from the Victoria Times.

To recap, first we get possession of our new home then the furniture arrives on Saturday from Nanaimo. Island friends are coming to lend a hand- all former Ontarians who now also make this Island their home. It will be a busy day of unpacking and unwrapping. Some adult beverages. Some food. Some stories and ultimately all our stuff will be in place and looking comfy-cosy.
How nice!

After the furniture and accessories are in place, the next job will be to haul out my three Christmas Trees and get a late start on the holiday decorating.
It's a big job but I am up for the task.
Happy Holidays!!

With all this unpacking and decorating going on I may not get back to blog writing for a bit.
I'm not saying never but I will require an internet connection- and some spare minutes.
Next time I should be writing from my studio- home to Swisssh and Starlite, from Stonewood Village.
How Exciting!

Friday, November 24, 2017

ROBBLOG #676 W E E K E N D Edition

Where in the feck is Jesus H Christ when you need him?
And his Mother- Mary.
MARY, can you hear me? MARY, can you see me? Mary, can you feel me?
And God. Where is she at this time of the year? Aruba? Winnipeg?
Oh Jesus Christ no!! Not Winnipeg. It's -21c and that's balmy for Winterpeg.

Listen, I would even have the ear of Joseph H Christ- Jesus' Dad if he were an important enough, religious enough historical figure but Joe just isn't. Who goes down on his knees in front of Joey every night?
On second thought, don't answer that.
I think it could be perceived as very dirty- in a fellatio/tea-bagging sort of way.

Anyhoo, I am looking for a miracle and in all the wrong places so far.
You see, our Darling little Mini-Schnauzer Missy has been diagnosed with sarcoma cancer. A week ago we discovered a lump the size of a small pear on her groin near her right back leg. We have had initial tests done and the pathologist is looking at more blood work, X-Rays and such to see if the cancer is located entirely in this fatty lump or has spread. If it has- it's bad news. No operation.

As if this isn't enough, Doctor Kyle also heard a heart murmur. Then, he took an X-Ray and saw an enlarged heart too. That's a lot for a little girl who turned 13 yrs old just a week ago.

Our Missy
For us, it's sad.
We've been waiting for months to get into our new home here in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.
Now, we are down to literally days before possession and we have Missy's health hanging over our heads and weighing heavy on our hearts. The support from friends has been terrific. In situations like this your friends circle around you. They send us positive vibes, chants and prayers to the universe.

Hey listen, if the God-Thing works- any port in a storm but I'm not signing my soul over to Jesus. Remember as kids we'd clasp our hands together, look skyward and say things like-
"Jesus if you give me a thick mat of hair on my chest..."
"Jesus if you let the Westcott Brothers brush up against me while sweaty and naked in the shower after Gym class- I'd be yours forever."
I mean we all prayed for those kind of things- right?
I mean...right?
The Westcott's who were built like a pair of brick shithouses because of all that hay they flung down on the farm.

I mean, I still believe the tale of the Christmas Story with the Three Kings and the Shepherds is sweet but not reality based.

Hennaway, my views on religiosity is not the purpose of this blog.

Our furry friends give us unconditional love and we return that love to them. It's just that in this situation we feel helpless and hopeless. We've been down this road countless times before and it's always too soon to say goodbye or even think about saying goodbye.

Another year, another week, another day is all we ask.
We hope to get positive news and the surgery can go ahead.
We hope- if that's the case, Missy's heart will be strong during the surgery.
We hope- at this most festive time of year, we can give our sweet little Missy the gift of time.

Time will tell....

Monday, November 20, 2017


So how's it going out there on the Island?

We are hearing that a bunch these days.
Fine, fine, we say.
Partial truth. Partial fib.

Imagine having your life disrupted for three months. It's been three months since we left Ontario.
Living in Priscilla our RV for 33 days and now in this granny suite apartment has been "different" to say the least. Blame it on the builder or the municipality- you choose. With the delays- 4 and a half months of them, it's been rough to have a normal day-to-day home life.

Tom and I haven't seen our furniture, the majority of our clothing, Swisssh and Starlite Radio or other general stuff like outdoor furniture since August 15th.
I shouldn't complain
There is an end in sight in just over a week.

Now, with the snow and snowsqualls back in what I call "old home", we know we'd rather be here on the Island.
We aren't shovelling.
It's not cold.
Let me be truthful here. It's not the tropics but I'll take 8, 9 or 10 degrees and green grass anytime.
Now that deciduous trees have lost their leaves, the green is really standing out across the landscape. Lawns, cedar trees, arbutus trees, rhododendrons, yuccas, holly trees, palms, privets and English laurel are all still a vibrant green and will remain so.

Garden Centres are still open. Here's some Canadian Tire plants for sale
in their Outdoor Garden Centre.
We still wear shorts when it's 9 or 10 degrees and sunny.
Hah- Easterners!
I understand the Island rule is 6 degrees outside and it's okay to wear shorts. Nobody looks at you funny and says- "you're wearing shorts?" like back in Ontario during the month of October.

We were at a Christmas show called Christmas Chaos on the weekend and many folks were in shorts- like us, some, in sandals. Scarves are simply a decorative bit of fashion flair like in London or Paris. I want you to know, I have put the flip flops away for the winter!

There are island folks about who hope for snow.
Can you imagine?
"Oh, it's so pretty!"- they say.
"The kids love it!"- others tell us.
"It's brighter than rain and clouds!"- we hear from others.
&*&^%!!- I reply.

I usually pull out my phone, show them Ontario Winters with snow and ice and tell them this is what we left behind.
Their eyes get all big and round looking at the photos.
They crack a small smile.
They have no idea what it's like plowing one's way through January and February. Consistent cold, shovelling, ice and rough roads.
No folks, Island life is better- even if there is the possibility of February snow and that could just as well stay up on Mount Prevost or Tsouhalem and I'd be happy with that.

Snowy Orillia, Ontario
I know all things will get better once we unpack our treasures- including one small shovel, less than a couple of weeks from now.
I am excited at the prospect.
Placing furniture.
Hanging pictures.
Putting up my three Christmas Trees- wearing shorts.
Fah Lah Lah Lah Lah.

How nice.