Le Griff

Our new condo is in the part of Montreal known as Griffintown or “Le Griff”.

Located between Old Montreal and Little Burgundy, Griffintown is part of the “Sud-Ouest” arrondissement of Montreal. It mainly existed from the 1820s until the 1960s and was mostly populated by Irish immigrants laborers and their descendants.

Until the 1960s, “Le Griff” was very industrial. Lots of chariot makers, lumber yards, ship yards and mill yards. In the 60s the population of the borough was 810 people and most buildings stood empty or were homes for squatters.

In 2012 the city of Montreal decided to gentrify the place. Now it’s home to condos, shops and trendy restaurants. Our condo is on the main artery, Peel Street. At the back of our building where I walk Monty, there are plates in the brick with the names of the many yards, companies and factories. I think they are pretty cool. I found some “Cooper” plates.

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These are just a few of the plates. There must be 100.

Thing 1

21 years ago today in Ottawa, Thing 1 was born. In 21 years she became this little force of nature that loves learning science, math and pretty much anything you throw at her, well except for cleaning. She’s the messiest 21 year old I know of but she’s the cutest and she is mine!

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Last weekend when she partied with her posse.

Sarah, you were born a week ahead of schedule. I had just taken my maternity leave. Thought I would have a week to rest but no, you wanted out. Your father missed an opportunity to play at the Royal Ottawa Golf course, but no, you wanted out. It’s been that way ever since August 18th, 1995. When you make up your mind about something you dig in your heels, put your hands on your hips, argue, debate and then go for it. You have always been like that. School, sports, jobs, volunteer work, you name it, when you get an idea in your head it’s hard to change your mind. People say all the time, “Sarah is lucky!” I reply to them, “Yes Sarah is smart but she also works her butt off!” Everything you do, you do with gusto (except for cleaning…) and I love it. Don’t ever change. Daddy and I love you for it. I will see you tomorrow night at the airport. Better not be late! Je t’aime ma belle. À demain soir. XOXO

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A little explanation for this video you are about to watch. When Thing 2 started boarding school in Canada and we had just moved to London, I missed the kids a lot. First time Peter and I were real empty nesters. I went through all our photos and made this video montage that I sent to the kids. I never showed it to anyone but that is about to change. You’re 21, why not? Bonne Fête Sarah Marie!

 

 

The Lake District

As many of you know, we spent last weekend hiking Scafell Pike in the Lake District of England. Scafell is the tallest mountain in England and one of three peaks in the United Kingdom included in the 3-peak challenge.

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The 3-peak challenge takes place over a weekend and hikers have 24 hours to hike up and down, Ben Nevis in Scotland, then drive to Scafell Pike in England, hike it, then finally drive to Snowdon in Wales and hike that one. All this hiking and driving takes place within 24 hours. If you are interested and want to sign up, the next challenge takes place during the weekend of September 16th. Here is the link; www.threepeakschallenge.uk/national-three-peaks-challenge/route

We did our own “challenge” over 3 years. Hey, we like to hike but we also like to take in the scenery, talk to the sheep and of course, go to the pub at the end of the hike.

Three years ago we hiked Snowdon in Wales. Last year we went to Scotland and paid Ben Nevis a visit. This year it was time to finish “our challenge” and go see what is at the top of Scafell Pike. As usual, we can never really see anything on top. The thing about hiking in the UK is you have to be ready for rain, drizzle and cloud cover at the top. Last year it was snowing on top of Nevis! in August!

It was raining at the beginning and cloudy and windy on top but when we started to hike down the mountain we got a little bit of sun. And when we returned to our B&B at the foot of the hill, the caretaker took our muddy and wet boots and parked them beside the roaring fire for us while we took showers and afterwards headed to the pub. The day ended on a very fine note.

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The goal, the mountain on the right.

 

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No bridge here and it just rained,so the water is coming down fast. Hop from rock to rock. 

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Making our way up.

 

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Yep, slowly getting there, we are at the point where visibility is almost nil.

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Near the top. Looking for the memorial. Nope, that’s not it, just a big rock. 

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We found the WWI memorial! 

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And the wall where everybody crouches down on a rock to get cover from the wind and eat lunch. 

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Sun was coming out on our way down.

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Coming down we walked over to the lake to check it out.

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I have a thing for trees. Just thought this was a beautiful tree.

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One of the many rivers we had to cross on our way back to the B&B. We got wet, wet got muddy but we had our eye on the prize in the distance…

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The Prize: The Wasdale Head Inn at the foot of Scafell Pike and Great Gable, the birthplace of British rock climbing, argh, argh, argh. The pints were excellent!

Sunday morning after a very filling full English breakfast it was time to go back to the city. We took a different road than the one taken on Friday. It was dicey in places but we witnessed gorgeous scenery. When I think of England, this is what I envision.

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Driving through Wrynose pass.

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The narrow road going through the pass.

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The rugged terrain.

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We came back to London yesterday around dinner time. Challenge complete! Another hike we can check off the list. Another item off the bucket list.

Next item item on the bucket list, “Le Marathon du Médoc”. It’s  in less than a month. We have been training hard. We are ready. I can assure you, we will not be the fastest but WE WILL get our medal and our bottle of wine at the end of the race.