My Community Garden Peeps

Community Garden

This is not our box!

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This is the view we have when we are gardening.

Last year, Sarah and I were able to snatch a plot at our local community garden and start our own garden here downtown. Not easy to get a plot. Some of the community gardens around the city (on the plateau, mile end and around Olympic O have waiting lists many years long). We were able to get one because the previous gardener of our “jardinet” had to leave due to health issues and Sarah had just gone to the city of Montreal to bring the paperwork requesting a garden plot, a.k.a. “jardinet”. We got lucky.

Basically, I pay the $10 to the city for the 8 X 10 box, and then another $15 to the President of our garden of “Jardins Versailles”. This $15 goes to supplies for the year. The garden is great, just up the street from our condo. There is a huge garden shed full of tools for all to use, we get to use city water, and the people are funny.

This brings me to my community garden peeps. Last spring Sarah met the President and received her “new gardener” package. This gave us the key and the garden rules. Then we both went to opening day when everyone tries to go to the garden and help with the spring clean up. Sarah and I met some of our fellow gardeners and planted our plants. That’s when we noticed some of the ladies take this gardening thing to heart and some told us our plants were too big, we should have started from seed! Right, like I have time. What we didn’t know, it wasn’t in the rules, there is a garden contest. At the end of the year a committee selects who has the best vegetables, fruits, flowers etc…

The Rules of Montreal Community Gardens: I won’t go into details on the rules but will mention the important ones. No tutors taller than 5 feet. Plants must be 8″ from the border. At least 5 different vegetables or fruits. No more than 25% of flowers and let me tell you, if you let your weeding go, (like Sarah did at one point last summer) you will get a warning where you have 10 days to weed. If you get a second warning and ignore it or are away on Vacay, you will lose your “jardinet”. They don’t mess around.

Monday, Peter emailed me. Our President had called our Vonage number. There was a meeting on Monday night at 7 pm at the downtown Y. Sarah was busy reviewing for her organic chemistry final so off to the Y I went. This is where I met the lot of them. The funny garden people and the garden Nazis. I also met the city of Montreal horticulture expert assigned to us. He is the one who visits the gardens and send the warnings when you have too much weeds. Yeah, he sent Sarah an email last year…Nice guy but barely spoke English. We have a lot of old English people in our club. They are the same ladies who wanted Sarah and I to start from seed. This became a bilingual meeting fast. With some translation. As an outsider (I don’t quite consider myself one of them) their dynamic was very interesting. According to comments and looks I was able to get the gist of who is a trouble maker, a “do gooder”, a winer and so on. The only person I really knew was my neighbor Harold. Harold and I met last year on opening day. Retired guy who had a stroke and has a bit of a disability talking but really nice and we agreed that if either of us were there watering and noticed the other one’s garden looked dry, we would also water our neighbor. Plot 54 (us) and Plot 53 (Harold) would have each other backs! The other crazy people can go to ….

Anyhow, after discussing the height of tutors, weeding between jardinet (some people don’t do it and the seeds from the weeds go into their neighbors’ “jardinet”, lots of finger-pointing), electing a new committee, paying the $15 for supplies, getting a new key, talking about the height of the fence and the safety of the garden AND hearing who received the gardening awards they finally called an end to this meeting. It was 9:45 pm. Yep I had been there for almost 3 hours! 3 hours I will never get back. I just wanted to go home and drink. My garden peeps could quickly get me to drink. Thankfully this is more Sarah’s garden than mine.

I left the Downtown Y with a couple who had just joined the garden and they asked me, “are these people for real?” I told them not to worry about it, they are nice people when they are gardening.

Now we wait for opening day, May 9th. In the mean time I will go take a look at jardinet 54 this weekend. Have to start planning what Sarah will plant.

Les Mardis de Montreal

Le weekend a commencé jeudi lorsque Peter et moi sommes arrivés à Montréal. Moi pour voir Mackenzy nager aux championnats provinciaux scolaire et Peter pour jouer dans son tournoi de hockey annuel et pour faire une surprise à Mac. Mac ne savait pas que Peter était venu de Londres pour le voir nager….

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Vendredi matin, 8 am nous étions au Canadian Tire pour procéder au changement de pneus…en même temps j’ai fait des achats de peinture (je peinture la chambre des enfants pendant que je suis ici pour la semaine), suivi par une visite au Costco pour acheter des collations pour les nageurs, pendant ce temps là Peter est aller jouar une partie de ”pick up” hockey à l’arena Bonaventure (je lui ai loué sa propre voiture pour le weekend. Divide and conquer), tout cela avant midi car nous avons rencontrés Sarah pour dîner après son examen de Calculus 3. Ouf!!!!le jetlag!

Friday afternoon we met up with Peter`s parents and sister. This annual hockey tournament is with a bunch of guys with whom Peter grew up with. Guys from the old neighborhood. There`s a lot of reminiscing, old stories, back in the day etc…it`s a lot of fun. Peter`s sister knows most guys and played ringette and Peter`s dad was heavily involved in D.D.O. hockey, so everyone knows one another. Of course, as usual, these finely tuned hockey players lost their first game Friday night, 8-3. Ouch! No matter, we all got together in the bar after the game to watch the Habs win against the Sens. Awesome! Half the team now lives in Ottawa and cheers for the Sens. A Habs win was sweet! We got home late.

Saturday morning the two of us drove to Sorel-Tracy in separate cars for the swim meet. Mac was swimming the 200 free just before 10 am. He was really surprised and happy to see Daddy there! We got him! And the grand-parents and his aunt and cousin were there. He was so happy. The 200 free was going straight to finals. He PB`d by 7 seconds but did not medal. I was happy for him. Peter left to play his 12 o`clock game and I stayed and watched Mackenzy`s team mates swim. The pool was about 55 minutes from the condo and 70 minutes from the rink. Lots of driving back and forth was done over the weekend.

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Samedi après-midi je suis retourné à Montréal pour relaxer avec Sarah. Elle avait le nez dans les livres. J’ai fait un peu de ménage, un petit roupillon et je suis retournée en direction de Sorel pour voir les finales et le relay de 200 mètres quatre nages. Peter avait sa troisième partie à 5 heures. Il a joué et ils ont gagnés, il a même compté un but. Les finales se sont bien passées, les garçons juvéniles des cantons de l’est sont arrivés en 4 ième, pas assez de jus pour une médaille. Je suis arrivée à la maison vers 8:30, j’étais crevée. Peter et Sarah venais d’arriver de souper avec l’équipe. On s’est tous couchés tôt ce soir là.

Sunday morning Mackenzy was swimming 200 IM and 100 Fly. Peter`s team was playing for bronze so he decided to come and watch Mackenzy with me. We knew that Rosa`s Ice Dogs would win it and be #3, they are always #3. They don’t usually aim higher…

Again the 200 IM went straight to finals. Mackenzy PB’d by 6 seconds and came in 7th overall. The 100 Fly, he really left it in the pool. He PB’d by 9 seconds and made it to finals. Prelims finished around 11:30 and we went to chill until finals. We came back for finals with Nanny and Pappy. He finished 6th. Didn’t matter, we were very proud of him for pushing himself. We watched the 200 free relay. Again, another 4th place for the Cantons de l’est. Was a nice meet, nice to see him swim.

Back home Sarah had ordered Chinese take out. We ate that. Peter packed and off to the airport we went. We also found out that his team did indeed win the Sunday morning game and they are #3 for another year.

Hier j’ai preparé la chambre des enfants pour la peinture. J’ai courru 5 Km avec Sarah et je suis allée visité mes parents à St-Lazare. Grosse journée! Maintenant le ”primer” est sèche, je doit allée peinturer pendant que Sarah a le nez dans les livres.

Throwback Thursday

Since I am leaving this afternoon for Montreal (One more time!) in order to go see Mackenzy and his mates swim at the Quebec Provincial swim meet, I thought I would post an old photo of a previous meet.

I think the two swimmers on the left have graduated but I know for a fact, the two on the right are still there. Mack is second from the right and Nick on the right.

Saturday and Sunday I will be screaming my butt off. If you are anywhere near Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, there’s a possibility you will hear, “HURRYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!”, “HARDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!”, “LEAVE IT IN THE POOL!!!!!!!!”, and lastly, “GO BEARS!!!!!!”. I am just happy to able to watch Mackenzy swim for the first time in 3 years.

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On the homefront. Scaffolding boys are delayed…Big Surprise. If they show up before I leave I will be able to take some pictures but I think this is very unlikely. I will have to wait until my return from YUL.

GO HABS GO!

GO BEARS!

Par Toutatis, le ciel va nous tomber sur la tête !

Once again we have been experiencing leaking ceilings in our new/old mews. Whenever it rains I am reminded of a popular Astérix and Obélix saying, “Par Toutatis, le ciel va nous tomber sur la tête !”

This morning our favorite Polish contractor, Bart, is here to prep for the work our land lady has agreed to go ahead with. Scaffolding is going up tomorrow morning. With the help of Bart and his crew we are getting a new roof, the workers will deal with the leaky hollow chimney, (apparently that’s where the water is coming in) and the entire exterior of the mews is getting painted.

I will be sure to post some scaffolding pictures tomorrow. Scaffolding in UK is old school. I am also hoping to get on the roof  ceiling leak

These water stains are getting bigger.

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in order to see what’s up there. In the end, when all is set and done, I am hoping I will no longer have to say “Par Toutatis, le ciel va nous tomber sur la tête !”

We’ll see…

Les Lundis de Londres

Notre weekend a commençé vendredi avec un bon 5 à 7 suivit d’un excellent souper dans “Southwark” avec des amis.

Samedi une petite journée de congé de l’entraînement pour le demi marathon. Donc, en matinée j’ai fait du lavage, repassage etc….

En après-midi Peter et moi sommes allés voir le course d’avirons entre Oxford et Cambridge. Pour la première fois dans l’histoire de cette course les femmes s’affrontaient avant les hommes. Les femmes d’Oxford ont facilement gagnés contre Cambridge.

En ce qui me concerne, j’étais plus préoccupée avec les hommes. Je voulait que l’équipe de Cambridge l’emporte mais encore une fois cette anné Oxford a gagné. Même si Cambridge était plus grand et plus fort, l’équipe était plus jeune et avec moins d’expérience internationale. Oxford avait seulement un de ses membres qui n’était pas sur une équipe olympique internationale…Cette course est maintenant si importante pour ces deux universités que les universités recrutent constamment à l’international. Peut-être Cambridge aura une meilleure chance l’année prochaine. Pour le moment dans toute l’histoire du “Boat Race” Cambridge a gagné 81 fois et Oxford 80 fois.

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People watching from everywhere along the Thames.

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Oxford comes out.

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Then the Cambridge Lads came out.

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The start!

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The boats that follow them once they have been by.

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Once they have been by, everyone turns around and watches the rest of the 4 mile race on a large screen. It was pretty quiet until Oxford passed Cambridge and then took over going around one of the corners of the Thames. Soon those of us cheering Cambridge realized “notre chien était mort!”.

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After the race, Peter and I walked back to where we used to live and went to drown our sorrows in our old pub that now is a fancy gastro pub. Food was good but the ambiance was not the same.

Dimanche = 10 milles. Après 4.85 milles j’ai commençé à avoir mal au mollet gauche. J’ai dû ralentir et courrir en utilisant la méthode “Galloway”, courrir 9 minutes et marcher 1 minute. Les plus longue 9 minutes de ma vie et la plus courte minute. En arrivant à la maison j’étais déprimée. Jusqu’ici mon entraînement avait été super. A deux semaines de la course un bobo! ARGHHH! Je vais prendre ça relax cette semaine et continuer mon entraînement mais avec un petit recul.

Le restant de la journée Peter et moi sommes allés faire un petit picnic dans Hyde park et en revenant à la maison nous avons regardés “Les Masters” en direct sur BBC 2. Un autre bon weekend, ouen, à part le 10 milles, un autre bon weekend.

Big Day in Sports in UK

At 4:15 pm today we have the Grand National Steeplechase. The race that dates back to 1839 takes place on a 4 miles and 4 furlongs long course. The horses encounter 16 different fences with varying degrees of height and width. Riders must navigate two circuits of the course (missing out fences 15 & 16 on the second circuit) before turning for the home straight which is the longest run-in of any UK racecourse..

Every year I just love the ads for it.

We’ll watch that and then head over to the boat race. Oxford vs. Cambridge. That starts at 5:50 pm.

In the last 3 weeks I have been running by Putney bridge and Bishops park and I have been watching them train. Pretty impressive. Cambridge has won it 81 times and Oxford 78. I am rooting for Cambridge. Don’t know why, I always pick them. Cambridge always seem nicer and less arrogant than Oxford. Of course, all week the weather was sunny and warm. Today, cold and rainy. Doesn’t matter, I still want to go.

Their promo is not as fun as the Steeplechase but still interesting.

With so much sports to watch today I better hit the showers!

Throwback Thursday: I Have a Quickie Lickie Card!

I sometimes think of Lois from the Quickie Lickie.

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What is a Quickie Lickie exactly? I asked myself the same thing and I say to all of you, “Get your mind out of the gutter!” Although I admit that was my first thought but that could just be me. Anyhow, the Quickie Lickie is the name of the major laundromat on the island. They have 5 or 6 Quickie Lickies on the island. I went to one yesterday because I wanted to wash all our ski clothes for our upcoming Banff trip. Since we are short on water, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the local laundromat. Also, it would save me on my Belco Bill. So there I was yesterday, entering the Quickie Lickie ( I just like saying it, sounds funny don’t you think?), with my 2 bags of hockey equipment on wheels full to the max. There were two black Bermudian women, a black Bermudian man  and an Indian man doing their laundry. They just stared at me. Probably thinking, here comes the Ex-pat who ran out of water. I didn’t care, I turned around and there were 6 washing machines left unoccupied, all in a row. I had a Omer Simpson moment. OUAHH!!!! I took all six of them and quickly filled them with hats, scarves, mitts, ski pants, ski jackets, ski sweaters, and socks. The look I got on that nice sunny, humid day was priceless. I then added the soap and the fabric softener and closed all six machines. I had brought with me lots of change but was not ready for the next step. It would seem that the owner of the Quickie Lickie made his establishment coin less last year. You need to buy a card for $3, then put the card in the machine with more money to add to the card, hence getting a Quickie Lickie debit card that you then put in the machine and it takes $5.50 for a wash and $0.50 for 8 minutes of drying. Most load use 35 minutes of drying time so roughly $3.50 for drying a load.  Coming back to me closing the lid on the machine and trying to figure out how to pay for the maytag to start. I had a blond moment and tried to put my ATM card in the maytag. It read, WRONG CARD – ERROR. One of the Bermudian ladies, Lois, noticed my frown. She told me I needed to get a card and pointed at the ATM like machine in the wall. I could only use $5.00 bills. Of course. So I begged other people to get $5.00 bills, everyone was out. I went to buy a paper and a water at the Marketplace and asked the cashier to give me $5.00 bills in change. She looked at me funny but complied. I returned, popped in twelve $5 bills in the Quickie Lickie ATM and got a card with a credit of $57.00. I started all my washing machines and proceeded to wait for 26 minutes while watching GMA on the TV. I was standing there, minding my own business, when Lois who helped me with the card started to chat me up. Turns out Lois recently retired from working for the government. She got bored at home always cleaning the house. She lives close by and decided to start this little business of washing other people’s clothes while they’re at work. $25 for the first load, $10 for the second and $5 for all subsequent loads. That includes the detergent, the softener and the $5.50 and $3.50 drying charge. Not bad I thought. She says she has fun all day. She watches GMA, listens to her portable radio and talks to people like me who are dumb when it comes to laundromats.  Part time lover from Stevie Wonder came on the radio and she started to sing and dance. If you can’t beat them, join them, so I started to dance with Lois. I would like to point out that at this moment only Lois and I remained in the Quickie Lickie. Anyways, in about 1 hour and 15 minutes I had six loads of laundry washed, dried and folded. I got a business flier from Lois for Peter this summer. I figure he can bring her his laundry on the way to work and pick it up on the way home while I’m gone this summer. She’s really nice, she deserves our business. I still have about $15 on my quickie lickie card. I did not need 35 minutes of drying time on all the loads. Now that I am a card holder, I might go back next week, pay Lois a visit and do a load…