March Break 2023

Spring’s slow arrival this year made March more difficult than usual to navigate. But navigate I must, and with the help of Nadine Nembhard of Restore Physiotherapy, and Dr. Sandra Lohman of InterUrban Chiropractic Clinic, in managing the crippling pain in my legs and hips, I am currently walking 3k and more in relative comfort. The ‘Turbo-inhaler’ Doctor P. Manhas prescribed did the trick, controlling my six-week-long gagging bronchial issues in time for my cataract/lens replacement surgery this month. Things are looking up – pun intended.

Because she has so much to say, Granny’s Blog has gotten most of my writing attention lately and in fairness, escaping into her world has helped keep me sane. Stay tuned for her next post.

That said, I am wiped and have decided to take a spring break, however I will post a few photos that make me happy.

SPRING BLOSSOMS

With the pending removal of the ancient oil tank submerged in our front yard, we’ve cleared out several shrubs but spring bulbs offer sprinkles of colour:

Shy Hyacinth

Sparkling Crocus

Definitely Daffodils

HELLO HELLEBORES!

Ivory Prince

Because of their hardiness, off-season bloom-time, and handsome foliage, Hellebores rate high on my list of favourites and probably 8 or 9 of them grace my garden.

The single yellow variety I have.

SWEET MAGNOLIA

Last weekend in March 2023
Last weekend in March 2017

For year’s we’ve used our Magnolia to measure spring’s progress. 2023 is definitely slow.

GRANNY’S BLOG III

March 2023

AGNES RANKIN WATSON (Campbell, Corbett, Fraser) April 28, 1885, Perth, Scotland – February 11, 1953, Edmonton Alberta, Canada

Awright – Agnes here.  

An’ look, there’s my words again. I keep expectin’ t’ see th’ faces I’m talkin’ to on this wee screen instead o’ th’ words I’m sayin’. How am I t’ ken if there’s anyone hearin’ me? 

Anyway, I think I left off at passin’ the time an’ getting’ duin t’ move. 

Och – this auld rockin’ chair of mine does stir up memories … 

Growing up, once I understood th’ concept o’ currency, setting dosh aside was my instinct. I’d saved for my own dowry since before I left school an’ was an expert at putting by every possible penny. How else cuid I have th’ means t’ buy a bonnie dress, a pair o’ gloves or a pretty hat from time t’ time? So, getting ready t’ move countries, I kept most of my pay from doin’ wash. And in those long months of waitin’, John sent dosh when he was able. 

I suppose since they’re my folks, I kept thinking Mother ‘n’ Da ran th’ flat, #6 Main Street, but in fact ’twas Stuart’s husband, Hugh, named as head. At least when th’ census folk came by. Nine rooms sounds lairge enough, but with Mr. Millar th’ boarder, Louisa an’ her two bairns moving in after her Edward was taken by pneumonia, an’ now me ‘n’ the weans makin’ it twelve, there was nae a single square foot t’ spare.  

Colin sleeping on th’ chesterfield was braw for a week or two, but a stowed-out year was awfully much. I cuidnae picture bein’ separated from my wee man but he was th’ eldest, an’ I made up my mynd ’twas best t’ do as John asked and take him t’ his own folks, th’ Campbell side of th’ family, up t’ Lossiemouth in Drainie.

A.R.Watson
Back: Stuart Swan, Hugh Swan, Louisa Mitchell Front” James Watson, James Mitchell, Jane Watson, Matilda Mitchell

Stuart ‘n’ Hugh would nae take a cent from me, so I did my best to pay ’em in chores. With both my sisters off t’ work every day, ’twas up t’ Mother ‘n’ me t’ keep th’ house runnin’. Cooking was easy enough, wash ‘n’ mending I was doing for me an’ th’ weans anyway so just took on more, an’ I didnae care for cleanin’ but did what was needed. Gardening out back I didnae take to at all.  

On the other hand, wee as she was, Jean was eager t’ spend time working the soil ‘n’ cleaning up plants with her papa when he was home. It helped t’ have Rex out there, followin’ her every step. She’d come inside fair glowing every time.   

Sometimes, Da brought home lengths of fabrics from work when there was a flaw in the dye or the weave an’ I’d sew up clothes for m’self an’ th’ weans. Running my hands o’er lengths of brand-new wool ‘n’ crisp linen, breathing in their scent of freshness, filled my heart an’ I cuid see exactly what I’d fashion from ’em. But the stoatin’ silks Da dyed were rare an’ when a length or two o’ that came my way I knew they needed special consideration, so I’d tuck ’em away for later.  

A.R.Watson

Aye, I had lots t’ keep me busy while waiting for th’ time to pass an’ worrying about money in the long stretches between meetin’ th’ immigration agent.

Och, he was a pleasure to my eye, that man, Mr. Ian Brown. With his copper curls ‘n’ hazel eyes, I had t’ keep reminding m’self I wasn’t his only customer. Even his name was music t’ my ear. And he knew exactly what he was about, filling me in on what t’ expect an’ making arrangements t’ secure our passage. I could have sat across his desk for days watching him run his pen in an’ out of his long fingers as he helped me get my heid around the cost in Canadian dosh.

“Since your husband is already settled in Edmonton, $15.00 for steamship passage in steerage is a half-price reuniting rate you and the children are entitled to by the Canadian Government. The ship, being on the older side, has been downgraded to carry only second and third, or steerage-class passengers which helps with the cost as well. It works out to £12.30 for all four of you. The same program, allows you to gain entry with only $10.00 Canadian cash instead of the standard $25.00.”

A.R.Watson

Image Courtesy of

Norway-Heritage.

Hands Across The Sea

http://www.norwayheritage.com/

I’d heard enough tales t’ make th’ idea of steerage class nae appealing an’ I had doubts what ‘bedding and all necessary utensils provided free’ meant. Half price or not, the trip was still dear but th’ man’s smile sent a warm flutter through my heart. An’ when I asked him if eliminating first class meant that th’ down passengers got t’ come up he chuckled an’ tossed me a wink.

“The rules changed last year to improve conditions, so you’ll have more space and more comfort than before. And your train fare from Perth to Glasgow is 48d for each of you so you’ll need £1.92 for that. The train to Edmonton you’ll get right there in Halifax at the dock. That cost is $7.00 total. Your voucher will come with your Allan Line contract once your passage is paid in full.”

There ’t was. As real as anything in front of me. I swallowed th’ lump pulling my throat closed, an’ tried t’ calm my heart.

“Thank ye, Mr. Brown. I cuidnae have done this without yer help.”

“You’re a brave woman Mrs. Campbell, travelling to a new country with your wee ones. Brings to mind my Emma, storming off to London last year with her sister to support women wanting the vote. Came home with a black eye and a splint on her hand after all that Black Friday nonsense, but that doesn’t stop her from pounding the streets, carrying signs every chance she gets.”

Running off t’ cause a scene an’ have police beat you up ‘n’ break your bones didnae sound brave t’ me at th’ time, but I took his words an’ cooried ’em in a neuk of my brain. I had awfully much else t’ worry over.

A.R.Watson

Aye, moving was a costly business so I cooried away every cent possible. How else cuid I be prepared – for anythin’.  

Och – I see my cheeky girl’s left me a braw bottle o’ gin in the cabinet ‘n’ I cannae ignore the craving now it’s wakened my tastebuds. Forby, I’ve prattled too lang already an’ a wee dram will help me collect my thoughts for next time.  

I wonder were she’s put th’ lime.  Now – I’ll just press this button …

CELEBRATING FLINT

Last month I commented on not knowing how long Flint would be with us. His time was shorter than I could guess and we lost him on February 3rd to kidney disease and old age. Seventeen is a long life, even for a little dog and I want to celebrate him and the joy he brought into our lives. This month’s post is Flint forward.

THOSE EARS – THAT FACE –

Flint at approximately 1.5 years old. Right after he leapt into our lives. Who could resist?

BEST TOY-BUSTER AROUND

FLINT DIDN’T NEED SANTA TO CONVINCE HIM

Every year, he delved right into the spirit and was awesome at gift opening. Not so much at cleaning up though.

HITTING THE HIGH NOTES

It took me a little while to understand that Flint used yawning as a tension release – he yawned less and less every year.

CHASING SNOWFLAKES

A snow-diver all the way – the deeper the better and the snow brushed right off his luxurious coat.

SKUNKED!

Thankfully it only happened one more time before he learned to be a bit leery of movement in the night.

A great traveller, near or far, Flint’s favourite escapes were to Long Beach in Tofino where he loved to run like the wind, free as a bird. We’d hoped to make one more trip with him, but it was not to be.

TWO OF MY FAVOURITE PHOTOS WITH FLINT – WHAT YOU CAN’T TELL, IS HE’S REALLY BEGGING TO RIDE SHOTGUN.

A LITTLE DOG CAN SEE SO MUCH MORE FROM UP OFF THE FLOOR

I MISS OUR FIERY LITTLE BUNDLE OF FUR. AND NOTICE HIS ABSENCE IN THE PLACES HE ISN’T: curled on his mat in the kitchen, sleeping beside the bed at night, demanding his supper and his nightly treat, or bouncing with happiness at the door when we arrive home, but am forever grateful to have had him in my life.

RIP FLINT

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