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The wind whistles through my open coat and I pull the buttons closed and toss the hood over my head. I now know why they have fur trim around the edge! I thought it was for a touch of glamour! But I was soon to find out that this thin strip of fur, keeps the wind off my face. I nestle down into my warm coat and contemplate the risk of a ‘Greenie’ tossing paint at me. Be that as it may, there is a feeling of goodwill all around us here in Oakville. It is the lead up to Christmas.

 

Josh tolerates the bow....just.

Josh tolerates the bow…..just!

Everyone has come out to play! Dogs are dressed up in their Christmas coats. They appear to know the drill for the season and enjoy the added attention that their regalia gives them. Shop windows glitter with displays. Their doors are decorated with bastions of fresh pine and cedar. There are overhead baskets that hang from lamp posts. They are filled with winter greenery and tinged with a sprinkle of snow. The town Christmas tree towers above us in the Town Square. It is dripping with huge shiny trinkets and metres of glistening ribbon. The aroma of festive spices wafts through the bakery door. Everything says Christmas!

Bokkie in all his splendour!

Bokkie in all his splendour.

 

Christmas feeling has hit the Morkel household too. The tree is up and the banisters are bound with lights and garlands. The Morkel men clambered up onto our roof and fitted the Christmas lights. It was a daring affair in almost freezing temperatures. They donned their safety harnesses and tossed the rope down from the cleats that have been fitted on top of the high roof. This is for any future escapades or further requests from ‘the lady of the house.’ There were also repairs that had to be carried out. ‘Bokkie’ had his lights punched out in a storm. On that fateful night he got tossed over by a strong north wind. Unfortunately he had to endure his headless state until he was packed away. But I am pleased to say that he has made a comeback and is the proud owner of a flashing head! He stands proudly near the front door and heralds us in with his pulsing horns. I just wish I could some how put the rhythm to music! Maybe next year……..

So I raise my glass of red and salute you, my dear family and friends. Thank you for always reading my ramblings and for keeping in touch. I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Cheers!

The roof mountaineers....

The roof mountaineers….

 

Christmas shopping

Christmas shopping

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Urno088IAo

 

I dreamt of Alaska so far away……..

 

I dreamt so much as a child. These wild and wooly dreams were often escapades into a fantasy land. I think Enid Blyton played a huge part in the content material. The Faraway Tree was by far the firm favourite. As I recall…… you clambered to the top of the tree and with each visit, a different land appeared. Imagination took me to some of these exotic destinations which later became part of my Buckett List. The list was largely in my head, as I had no idea what a Buckett list was.  I was surely too young to have one anyway! Although at that age, it was probably just the sense of adventure that conjured up these vivid thoughts of visiting far away places. On one such nocturnal journey, I visited the beautiful Alaska.

 We flew into Anchorage and all that I had dreamt about became a reality. The melting snow cascaded down the sharply chiseled mountains that surrounded the city. The ice -blue tinges shone through   glaciers as they groaned down the mountain face. They were forever on the move, melting and freezing as they were subjected to the elements. I stood at the bottom of this ancient mass of ice and felt very small in the grand scheme of things……. Then a ski lift took me up to the top of a mountain and I surveyed the world from above. The thread of trees wove their green path through the expanse of white snow. The silence was broken by the call of a bald eagle. It swooped overhead on the lookout for the ‘catch of the day’. This mighty bird had impeccable taste and found the local salmon to be most agreeable to the palette.

The fresh seafood crumbled open under the drizzle of warm lemon butter. We sampled the most delectable morsels from the sea and my favourite …. the white Halibut cheeks. Can you believe that these fish weigh up to 160 kilograms? No wonder that the ‘piece de resistance’ is the plump rosy cheeks! We were also treated to crab legs…..bright orange muscular ones. They appeared to have trained for a half marathon! Then there was the king salmon, served on a cedar strip with brightly coloured garden vegetables. The fresh pine aroma permeated through this delectable flesh. Both unusual and delicious!

It was time to visit these Piscean beauties on their home turf and we flew up north over rough terrain to a small fishing village. One out of 5 Alaskans can fly a plane and it is a necessary mode of transport in a country that has many rivers and over 3 million lakes!  So the salmon was duly caught, weighed and released. It was a beauty and it glistened silver in the afternoon sun. It swam off to drop its eggs and to surrender to the circle of life.

It was time for us to get back to our lives in Toronto.

 

Live every day like the first or the last one, with nothing to lose and heaven to gain.

 

Here’s to Alaska…..

Here’s to the people.

Here’s to the wild.

Here’s to the free

 

Up close to a glacier.

The closest I got to a moose!

 

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