Friday, September 30, 2011

And that's the kind of day it has been...

Well here we are on the final day of September and I am happy to say Timmins had one of the best summers and one of the nicest fall seasons I can remember. It was cool this morning. Cool enough that I had to wear my Cowichan sweater which was nice. But really it was a nice day overall. That got me thinking about the west coast and Neil. It seems that Neil, according to my sources, is having some second thoughts about moving back east this fall. That’s okay, but I sure do miss him. Maybe he will be able to get away for a bit this coming winter.
Some friends of mine from Timmins are on the VIA rail train to Vancouver this week and I insisted they drop in to see Neil. So just before they left on Wednesday, they called to get his info so they could drop by. Then on Thursday, cousin Valerie was the guest of honour at a lunch at Casey’s. Marie and Moe called to make sure I dropped by. Val (actually she is my neice) is on her way to Arizona for a job with a mining company. So she will be away for awhile. Her man Dennis, a mining engineer, is on his way up to Vancouver next week, so we are insisting that Dennis drop in for a beer with Neil. Lunch at Casey’s was nice as I got caught up with a lot of the family. Speaking of family, I have been chatting with Jennifer and we will all be together for Thanksgiving. But we are not sure whether it will be at camp, or in Val Caron. Either way it will be nice to spend time with the boys again. The boys are all excited because they’re gearing up for hockey season. They may be doing some bird hunting and Jennifer said it’s okay to have a pop shoot! That’s what we did last year and it was a hoot. So I will have to grab some ammo and a few cases of really stale and warm cream soda. You’re gonna love the pictures.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Is it really news?

Poor Mr. Einstein is probably spinning in his grave... maybe spinning faster than we can imagine. There was news this week that scientists clocked a burst of sub-atomic particles travelling at a speed FASTER than the speed of light. Mr. Einstein's Theory of Relativity calculations many years ago said nothing could travel faster than the speed of light... roughly 186,000 miles per second. It seems that swiss physicists determined that the sub-atomic particles were travelling faster ... by roughly ten one-billionths of a second. Did you get that? Ten one-billionths of a second. I don't know about you, but I'm gonna buy some new light switches to see for myself!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Tipping is usually a matter of personal choice. But I noticed on my recent travels that several restaurants in the UK list a “service charge” of 10 per cent. When I asked about it, I was told it was the “gratuity tax” imposed on the credit card bill by the restaurant. When I asked if there was a choice in the matter, the waiter was a bit red-faced and explained that if I insisted, they could remove the tax. I said no, I was pleased to give a tip… but added that I usually tip more than 10 per cent. Terry, Jennifer and Neil have all convinced me that tipping is good. If one decides to go out for drinks or food, one must be prepared to offer a tip for the good service that usually follows. As my conversation with the waiter went further, he explained that the 10 per cent service charge is collected by the restaurant which takes a tiny share of the money collected and then splits it among all the staff, servers, host and kitchen staff. He admitted he didn’t really like the system. I asked what if a customer wants to make sure the tip goes to the server who provided good service. He said the customer then has to make a point of giving the cash tip to the server and deleting the tip from the credit card bill. So that’s what I did. I also noticed that virtually every restaurant I visited used the hand-held credit card device so that you deal with your bill right at the table… the waiter doesn’t walk away with your credit card for several minutes, something I am always suspicious of.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I like visiting museums. On my recent holiday there was one thing I noticed about all the big museums in the U.K. They're free. Once you're inside, there is a good effort to get you to buy programs, souvenirs and such, but there is no admission charge. It's not like that here in Canada. I was pleased to be able to visit museums and once I discovered there was no charge, I was pleased to make a donation ... usually five or ten pounds, which it what I might have paid anyway. The nice thing about the no admission system is that I pleased to see lots of children and families visiting the museums. I am glad I took lots of photos. I was able to see the one of the captured Nazi Enigma code machines that British Intelligence used in World War Two. It was a huge secret, but some historians estimate that by having this little code machine, Britain was able to shorten the war by two years.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My newest addiction!

I can't believe I am addicted to old news stories. I was reading a novel Friday and I wanted to check some historical facts ... so I went online and found myself looking at a website that had old newspaper stories. Here's the thing. The website gave the first two paragraphs of the story and then stopped. If you want to read more, you have to pay. So I clicked on the pay website and learned that the first month is only 99-cents and then it is $15 a month after that. You can quit anytime after you sign up. So I signed up.It was about 9:00 p.m. when i started. I got my access code and password to news stories going all the way back to 1850. The NY Times has more than a million stories! Before I knew it, I was deep into reading stories from the last 100 years by some of the world's best news writers. I was thrilled to read original stories by Ernest Hemingway. Two glasses of whiskey later I looked at the clock in the dining room and it was 2:25 a.m. I had been reading for about five hours and barely noticed it. Well it's Saturday morning. I have fresh pot of tea on and I will read as long as I can before I get feeling guilty about staying inside on such a nice day.