Posts Tagged ‘Jack Russel’

Josh checking out the weather…..is it good enough for a walk?


Josh pushed his nose up against the bedroom door and drew in a deep breath. It sounded like a train and the high pitch resonated through the crack. He knew that this was a sure method to get someone to respond to him in the morning. It was time for a walk!


The air was crisp and still and I felt the cool air against my bare arms.  As it was a Saturday morning, everyone was still having their usual lie in except for a few keen bike riders and the odd early riser like me. A bleary eyed man opened his front door and stumbled down to the gate to collect his newspaper. He obviously needed his fix of news with his early morning cuppa. A young mother raced along with her push buggy trying to console her irritable bundle. She shouted her morning greeting across her shoulder as she sped around the corner. Memories of my own inconsolable little mites came flooding back. I recall many days of pounding the pavements trying to sooth a ‘troubled teether.’ It always amazed me how difficult it was for them to cut the teeth and then how difficult it was to keep them in good shape. Teeth are hard work!


I passed a golden shrub and the air filled with its fragrance. It was soft and refined. No wonder it is so hard to capture this same fragrance in a bottle. Each garden I passed had a new scent to entice me. I would try to locate the source each time. As I glanced back I noticed roses, peonies and rhododendrons to name a few.  I was treated to the full array of lingering perfumes as I made my way down Lakeshore Road into the Old Town. Stately historical homes that had seen a hundred summers appeared to show off their manicured gardens with renewed summer vigour. Their long green lawns cascaded down to the lake. It was certainly just the right spot for a picnic. There were the tell tale sighs of   children. The rope from a tree swing hung nearby and a tricycle propped up against a tree.  I hoped that this lot had interrupted their play to enjoy the odd snack on this lush green carpet.


My stomach grumbled and it was definitely time to call in at my favourite café for the usual….. homemade croissant and a cappuccino.

Josh settled under the table with his eyes fixed on a nearby dog. It was just a matter of time before he leapt up and sent my coffee flying…….

Summer beauty!




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Sandy…..the gracious old girl.

She sighed and heaved and she made her way up the stairs and into the house. Her back legs were in curved arthritic mode as she contemplated the distance between each rise. The tail wagged as her glossy coat caught the last few rays of the late afternoon sun. She confidently stepped into her temporary home as the familiar aromas greeted her at the door. Only then did she look up into our faces and give us the doggy grin. Sandy was joining us at Maison de Morkel for a sleepover!


Need I say that Josh was delighted and eagerly ran onto the deck to show her the squirrel status. This was important to Josh and he obviously thought that his cousin might need an update. Her old eyes gazed down into the garden but quickly focused her attention on discovering her new environment. There were definitely more important things on her agenda. She spied out the soft couches and rugs and tested the fabric on the cushions. She eventually settled on a Ralph Lauren in natural linen. I might add, that she does prefer a cushion filled with down and not those plebian synthetic ones that frequent so many of our shops. My goodness, this 13 year old lady has taste!


Supper was gobbled down without a moment to stop and savour and washed down with a long cool sip from Josh’s water bowl. It was time for a spot of exercise and we ventured out into the cool evening air.  Josh’s furious pace around the block was a bit too much for Sandy but once she was saddled up in her harness, she coped much better. She sniffed out the local Jocks and left ‘her messages’ on just about every pole and patch of green grass. We were determined to tire her out. As we hoped this would alleviate the pacing up and down and howling at the front door. This old lady came with a bit of ‘history’.


She settled on her exclusive choice on the couch and Josh kept looking over with a curious stare. He could not work out why he had not been allowed this freedom of choice. But as with us humans, you have to ‘walk the walk’ to qualify. When you have done your time and served others well, you are allowed certain privileges. So Sandy has the run of the house and does much as she pleases. Although she does not curl up with Josh, she is experiencing some Summer Loving amongst her Morkel family.


Josh ponders inequality……….


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It was 4am in the morning and I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. It is always a special time of the day as I can sip a cup of tea quietly and just contemplate. It feels like the whole world is asleep and I am the only one who is watching the dawn break.

It could not be further from the truth as the whole of Canada would be watching the sun come up today. It is Groundhog Day today and legend has it that the groundhog can predict if spring is on its way. A festival is held in Wiarton in Ontario to honour this day and this includes dances, pancake breakfasts and parades. News reporters from all the local channels cover these events and it was reported that the shadow of the groundhog was NOT seen this year so we will have an early spring. Hoorah! Not that we deserve one as we have not paid our dues. Even us newbies know that this winter has been mild and not what we were expecting.

Weather is such an integral part of our daily lives here as it defines how we dress, get to work and spend our spare time. It comes as no surprise that the weather channel is the most watched one in Canada! We have new words that have become part of our vocabulary like wet snow, dry snow, freezing rain and cookie dough snow. Each of these snow types requires different apparel anything from track shoes to water resistant snow boots. I even packed in my green Wellington boots from South Africa. No chasing over green fields with a Labrador at my side or trout fishing, these are my big guns! They take in the squelchy roads with ease. One then understands why the Eskimos have over a 100 words for snow. The word ‘kripya’ means snow that has melted and then frozen and ‘pactla’ is snow that has been packed down. I am adding these words to my repertoire of experiences as I land on my rear in one of the 100 snow conditions. This takes place when my over zealous Jack Russell gives a sudden burst and chases a squirrel up a tree. It is a humbling experience!

A family of groundhog

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Josh gets into Christmas mode.


Canadians know how to celebrate and have a wonderful sense of occasion! If it is not Thanksgiving, or Halloween then it is Christmas and my, do we have a lead up to all these occasions! We have attended the magical lighting of the village Christmas tree and watched the excitement on children’s faces with the Christmas parade with all its pomp and brass bands. The preparations go on for months on end but we are slowly realizing why this is so.


The Yuletide fever has hit our circle and our neighbours have braved the howling wind and icy weather to string twinkling lights from roof tops and trees. This is quite some feat as these snow-built roofs are steep and require much balance to attach lights and to hold on for dear life. It has even created a job opportunity for some brave and enterprising entrepreneurs who do this for a living. Some people just love adventure!


 We have a wonderful vista of twinkling cedar trees, adorned pots with crimson red velvet bows and even have the proverbial garden gnome except here it is a sparkling reindeer. I have never been partial to the gnome adornment but the reindeer I could definitely go for in a big way. My family was mortified when I announced over supper that I was going to place a whole family of reindeer on the front lawn. They prefer the understated look but I feel that if you are going doing this, it must be done BIG.


But it does not stop here; once you open the front door then the real spectacle begins. Each nook and cranny is lovingly decorated with bows and tinsel. There are fresh pine wreathes over the doorways, staircases dripping with long garlands and accent walls with scenes that have been imaginatively thought out. But the best is yet to come….. the fireplace. This is always the centre of every home and it requires lots of deliberation from the lady of the house. There has to be some presents strategically placed around just to add to the expectation, so Christmas stockings are a must along with the beautiful pine garlands.


But the real reason we celebrate Christmas is brought home to us when we stand in awe and marvel at the Christmas tree. The fragile lights, twinkling tinsel and hand picked adornments make us stop and stare. So on our first cold Christmas and along with the reindeer on the front lawn, we will celebrate our family, our friends and our new life here in Canada. But know there will also be biltong, droë wors and Roodeberg close at hand and thoughts of our loved ones celebrating in South Africa.


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The lawyer piled up the papers in front of us with the instructions to sign all of the sheets in the correct place. He studied the documents through his perched spectacles which he somehow managed to unclip at various intervals for emphasis. This modern day Scrooge look alike appeared as if he had just pulled himself away from a pile of law books. He meticulously flipped through all our paper work and patiently explained the legal jargon as we glanced through some of the daunting clauses. We drew the conclusion that it was definitely not advisable to default on this mortgage agreement!

We had hunted on line for the place that was going to be called home in Canada; this must have amounted to about 300 cyber visits. Our estate agent, Andrea, kept us fed with a daily update. There were short lists of the possibles depending on proximity to the school for David, Go -Train for Philip and Bryan and a bit of nature for me.

Many late nights were spent pouring over the specs of these properties and their placement on Google Maps. We eventually knew every school and ravine in the Oakville area! Philip saw our house on one of his trips over to Canada, It was perfect!

It even had a river flowing through the bottom of the property with a resident raccoon. Josh is going to have many hours of amusement as he watches his prey from the safety of the deck. No doubt he will strategize and hope that the techniques that were applied to dassies in South Africa will be just as successful in Canada with this local fauna.  

The hour of signing was up and as we put our pens down on the gleaming walnut boardroom table, I glanced down into the bustling street below. The reality set in! We had just bought our own little piece of Canadian soil and thus Maison de Morkel was born.

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