Willow Creek


Christmas Greetings 2018

It’s November.  It’s time to write the annual “year in the lives of” and to book tickets for Stratford, Summer 2019.

Can someone explain this to us please?  Is it because there are so many more of us and less space for all of us?  Is it because we are doing “trendy” activities, and if so please let us know which activities are less crowded.  (probably the Blue Jays in 2019……)

Admittedly booking Stratford tickets in November does ensure that we get tickets close to the stage in order to see and to hear.  But Clare hates planning life so far in advance.

So.…spoiler alert…..we’ve booked a River Cruise, Basel to Amsterdam for November 2019.  If you want to go on a river cruise, plan ahead.

And if you want a new hip then plan ahead as well.  Due to several lucky events Clare has only had to wait 8 months for a new hip.  But it’s not happening until November 7th so we won’t speak too early.  Others wait much longer for specialist appointments and then surgery.  Our advice?  If it hurts now get on a list to see a specialist.  That doesn’t mean you have to go ahead with any operation.  It just means you are on their radar.  But it’s all free health care so we aren’t complaining.

If you want a great holiday in the south we recommend an 8-day guided tour of Central Cuba.  Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegas, Trinidad, Santa Clara and Havana.  Great English speaking guide, comfortable bus/van and 15 people.  We stayed in “casa particulares” which are like small inns.  They are owned by local Cubans and offer two to four rooms and breakfast each day.  We went to the beach for an afternoon, learned history, met interesting people from Canada, Australia and Europe and took a classic car tour of Havana in a 1951 Chevy Convertible.  Tour operator details available on request.

Spring found J in the sugar shack.  No surprise there.  2018 is notable as being the longest (Feb 28 - April 28) and most productive season (1,200 + litres) on record.  Once again there was a co-op group collecting the sap and J boiled it into syrup.  Plans are underway for 2019.

Our co-op greenhouse group was the biggest ever as well.  We had 18 people starting vegetables and flowers and it got pretty crowded at times but we managed.  And Dahlias.  OMG.  One of our number had fabulous success starting dahlias by laying the tubers horizontally on top of soil in tin foil roasting pans.  No watering until leaves started to show.  Honest, it was amazing.  Not amazing enough for me to try them.  You have to dig the tubers up in the fall and store them for the winter.  Four of the group stayed on for the summer months and grew their vegetables alongside ours.  It’s more pleasant to weed when you have company.

J’s present to me was a weaving or rug hooking course of choice and he would come along and golf.  Win/win.  Clare had a great time with Diane Phillips learning her technique for hooking banners and J golfed 3 days in a row.  The course was in Montpelier, Vermont the only state capital without a McDonalds, Walmart or Starbucks.  A charming city of independent retailers about the size of Erin.  This was followed by a couple of days in Shelbourne, Vermont with Lauren and we discovered the Shelburne Museum which was wonderful and highly recommended.

I think you know that Clare has taken up golf.  She actually played half a dozen 9 hole rounds this year and is looking forward to being able to swing without pain in 2019.  Another friend says his game improved noticeably with his new hip.  Clare hopes for the same.  J meanwhile got away to Orlando for 5 days with Ron and they enjoyed their early start to the season.

Fly Fishing is back on the agenda.  J joined the Upper Credit Fly Fishing Club.  It’s a lovely setting with a repurposed barn that serves as the club house and several ponds.  Best news is that it’s about 15 minutes from the house.  We attended the closing Bar-BQ and met many of the members.

J also grabbed a chance to get a vintage sportscar at a good price. We are now fixing up a red 1971 Triumph TR6. That was the year J dropped out of university, so it has special meaning...if you now what I mean.


The sad news is that Honey Bee passed on this autumn.  Cancer.  Ms. Callie seems well although she no longer has anyone to fight with and has become more of a lap cat.

Although we actively follow politics we aren’t directly involved.  J moderated the municipal All Candidates’ meetings and there was an interesting race in Erin with serious environmental and financial issues facing us.  The turnout was 37%.  We are both involved with Transition Erin an open group of community members who are committed to fostering resilience, increasing sustainability, and enhancing the quality of life for the people of Erin (Isn’t that a mouthful!).  We have decided that we will explore different ways to try to increase voter turnout.  The 2019 Federal Election will give us our first opportunity.

So to our friends - enjoy, be active, be engaged and hug the one you are with.   The best for 2019.

Clare, J, Ms. Callie