Fresh snow

Taken en route to a haircut yesterday with Barbie Girl, near the soon to be closed Starbucks, a victim of North America’s inability to summon enough discipline and responsibility towards their fellow citizens to reduce the spread of COVID.

My forgotten photography skills didn’t capture what was a beautiful scene on the part of the trail we are permitted to be on last night. It’s only slightly over 4km’s one way from start to finish, but a run or walk on that trail cures all that ails you. It should be on every local mental health practitioners or physicians prescription pad. Your first step to wellbeing should be a walk on that trail.


The private public trail

Pedestrians on Confederation Trail ‘quite a safety issue,’ this season says snowmobile association

Snowmobilers excited for season as more Islanders join their ranks

Who in their right mind would have agreed to this lease?

On Sunday when I was running on the Confederation trail, Sheryl was out for a walk and had sent me a warning of 2 snowmobiles coming down the trail towards me. One apparently sped by her with little regard to her safety. I met one of them, who was extremely curtious, but luckily didn’t see the other. We commented afterwards that it seemed odd to see snowmobiles on a public trail.

Now it seems the oddity was us, as according to the Snow Mobile Association people are for the winter months forbidden on the trails, as they have an “exclusive lease” that “covers the entire Confederation Trail except two sections reserved for pedestrians: in Charlottetown from the bypass to Joe Ghiz Park.”

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous agreements I have ever seen.

The trails are the safest places to run, walk or bike in the Charlottetown area. And the views are beautiful. If anything we should be encouraging people to borrow snowshoes from the library and get out and explore the Island in winter.

To give exclusive access to public land to those with the money or even inclination to drive a snowmobile seems extremely short sighted, to say the least (actually I think it’s heinous).


Winter Running

I’ve been out running a couple times since the snow fell – last night in the dark and on Sunday afternoon. I’m not a lover of winter and it has taken me a couple years to acclimate to the cold, so I’m very pleased that I am able to enjoy some activity during this season. There is no denying that winter scenes on the Island have a certain beauty.

Running in snow or the semi-prepared surfaces of the various trails is quite a work out. It’s particularly hard on my ankles and shins.

I’ll likely restrict my running to the trails as many streets in Charlottetown are a “slippy” mess and falling on ice is on my short list for things I fear.


Great emptiness

Just after dusk in the downtown.

I don’t think I was expecting a Hallmark moment but I think I expected some signs of life.

On Sunday I ended the day a bit early, cleaned myself up, put on pants and decided to go on a Christmas shopping sojourn to the downtown area. Outside of my hobbies of running, food and coffee, I do little in the way of window shopping, so Christmas has traditionally been the time I look through the stores in search of interesting things to buy for the kids. In years past I would spend hours looking through Eslite bookstore and the multitude of other small design/craft related shops that inhabited the central district of our old residence, going elbow to elbow with the throngs of people doing the same. This effort would often necessitate rest breaks in a café or 3.

That’s life in a big urban centre and I would like to say pre-pandemic, but they got that under control from the onset, so it only applies to our experience here.

The downtown on Sunday was like a scene from the Walking Dead with streets devoid of people and no traffic whatsoever. You could say that the new restrictions are having an unhealthy effect on business, but I’ve heard that these restrictions haven’t stopped families from shopping en masse at those big box stores that keep moving farther and farther from the town.

I’ll admit that I have a bias. I hate the experience of shopping in Walmart, Canadian Tire and the like. With an experience largely devoid of warmth, personality and efficiency, I would rather shop online where the prices are much better and the selection far more vast.

I do enjoy the downtown and would love to be able to do all our activities there, groceries included. I’d also prefer to buy local, but how many fancy soaps, coffee cups and fine mittens and hats can one buy? Luckily, my kids love books, and we have a trio of bookstores, of which the previously read stores provide a great selection. It’s a shame that downtown Charlottetown can’t thrive without tourists and expand it’s retail options beyond what appeals to the cruise ships.


Running into winter

We have been blessed with a somewhat mild fall/winter to date and as a result my running season continues unabated. The photo above was taken just before the finish line during the 2018 PEI marathon. I couldn’t deal with the cold that year and stopped running shortly after. The winter also brings the real possibility of falling on the ice and breaking something, a fear that ranks up there with drowning for me. Hopefully sticking to the trails over the winter and my new Altra shoes that I purchased explicitly for running in snow and slush will lessen that risk.

Tuesday past I had an unexpected guest, my son, on my nighttime run on the trail between the entrance at Sherwood Rd. and end point at Covehead or Union road. It made for a nice slow 10k run in pitch black darkness, with no others on the trail but a few hares running about hiding from some plush foxes that I’ve seen other evenings. It’s nice running with Camren, a first, and like many his age his goal was not only to keep up with me but find some way to win in the end. Which he did. The fact that he was sore and wondered how I did this everyday gave some satisfaction.

The new public health rules have had an effect on his life as well. No more swimming or CrossFit. His swimming team, the Bluefins, have had a rough time – first the pandemic killed last season, then both the pool in Charlottetown and in Summerside were unavailable all summer and fall. It would be nice if sports other than hockey got some attention from the local government.

Camren declined an invite to run last night but may be convinced to go again tonight. I’ll see if I can’t sneak a couple more kilometres into our route to push him a bit farther.


A new colleague

Though when it was announced that we were switching to home based learning, I started spewing obscenities, I am happy to have Catriona studying at home. I can’t say the feeling is shared as she doesn’t like my reminders to stop reading Chinese soap operas and study biology.

Hopefully, teachers this semester will have higher engagement rates than 25%, the often touted figure from the last time they tried home based learning. When teachers look at her report from last semester they regularly discount the achievement as many I talked to feel little was learned. I don’t disagree. Many kids need school to flourish and Google Classroom is a poor imitation.

It’s interesting to me how you think you have adapted to the loneliness of working at home, until you have a temporary colleague and realise what you have been missing. This ongoing social isolation, was in part the reason for my anger at hearing the new temporary restrictions from Dr. Morrison.

If I hear one more time the phrase, “we can do it,” or “we are in this together” I am going to puke. The fact is after all this time we still don’t have the pandemic under control. How can we, when you have a huge percentage of people who don’t believe that the virus is real or doesn’t affect them, or have incredibly poor risk assessment capabilities, and/or lack the sense of civic responsibility to care about others? People complain about having mask fatigue! Like washing your hands and wearing a mask is some Herculean task.

What is a Herculean task is to “continue to be patient and kind”, as espoused by Dr. Morrison. I think it’s time to start taking a harder stance against those who refuse to follow common sense public health measures. Perhaps handing out fines like they hand out in Taiwan might be a good start.

This push and pull from a government who wants zero cases and a portion of the public who doesn’t seem to care has real consequences. People get sick and people die. There are seniors I know who are alone, I have a mother-in-law with cancer who we can’t visit, kids are out of school and we, and many others, face risk of severe financial hardship, as there are no government programs available for our family.

It’s time to set aside the politeness so prevalent in Canada and take a more aggressive stance.


Tracks

This photo, taken in 2011, came up via the “On This Day” feature of Apple’s photo app. It shows Catriona at a local elementary school participating in a track and field meet.

When Camren was out at UPEI recently participating in what the swim team calls dry land training, I decided to take the opportunity to go for a long run on the trail that conveniently passes through the back of the school. When I returned 50 minutes later, knowing he was still training, I wanted to run a few 1k loops around the UPEI track for time. But when I sauntered over to the track I discovered that it was surrounded by a high chain link fence and only accessible by express permission of the university. I find this extremely odd for a public institution and rather disappointing, particularly since it’s the only such track in Charlottetown. Stonepark has a prepared surface on their soccer field but it doesn’t compare.

Incidentally, UPEI has one of the only two available pools, suitable for swimmers on Prince Edward Island, and it has been inaccessible for months. Charlottetown is definitely a hockey town.

It’s one of a multitude of differences between our current and former home. Every school had a rack comparable to what is found at UPEI, and they were used by all, from serious runners, to those looking for a place to walk and talk. Basketball courts were popular and also something you don’t see much of here.

Thankfully we have a great trail system, and with the exception of some crosswalks a safe environment for walking and running.


Weekends

My weekend activities are generally a continuation of what I do during the week, though lately at less frenetic, more God why am I sitting at my desk, pace. The exception being that Saturday and Sunday morning are for exercise.

Saturday I run to Court 6 CrossFit out by the airport, in what often feels like an attempt to explode my heart. A quick consult with a physiotherapist reveals that I am too weak and am forcing my heart to work too hard.

Sunday morning is for long runs, which I often refer to as going to Church, as being in nature is a far more spiritual experience than the interior of an old building.

It’s taken me many months to get over the mental hurdle required to constantly enjoy the long run. Running for an hour is fine, but being inside my head for two, tends to get very boring and the focus shifts to how sore my feet are. Lately, I’ve abandoned the meditative aspects of running in favour of listening to more podcasts while I run.

My original goal was to run to Cavendish beach every Sunday, equal to a marathon, but I have only been able to make it to the halfway point. It’s again more of a mental hurdle than a physical one. That said, I’ve finally reached my weekly milage goal of 80kms a week without any injuries other than sore hips.

When fall started, I stopped to take some pictures of the route. Below are some of those photos.


A day off

This is for me the defining feature of PEI. Deep blue skies, fluffy white clouds and no pollution.

Sheryl and I took a short respite yesterday from work and the kids to spend a day outside in the sun. We haven’t spent ay significant amount of time together not working in many months, so this was long overdue, and has proven to be an antidote to my general feeling of downtroddenness.

The day started with a short walk through one of the many short trails that dot Stratford, then followed by a gentle 5k run and back home.

Sheryl and I then drove out to Greenwich a place we both have never been and spent the afternoon walking through the well maintained trails that take you through the property. The trip to and from of which required a stop in Saint Peters Bay for refreshments. Saint Peters Bay Black & White Cafe and Bakery sells receivers coffee and seems in desperate need of customers.

We ended the day with dinner in Georgetown at the Wheelhouse. Sheryl had chicken and I had fish chowder and their version of a lobster roll. The chowder was excellent, though ideally twice the size. The lobster roll was interesting; I love lobster and I love melted cheese but I think the two should never meet. Service was great.

All told I was on my feet for well over 21k yesterday which is a good way to relax I think. I guess there is some truth that fresh sea air and sun cures what ails you.

Not sure where else you could be practically alone on a beach of this quality.


Grass cutting

One of the many things we missed in the 20 odd years living in Taiwan and elsewhere was the summer tradition of the smell and sounds of fresh cut grass. There is something inherently satisfying about the distant hum of the lawnmower and the sweet smell of grass. It goes hand in hand with fresh strawberries and ice cream, BBQ meat, trips to sandy beaches and wearing shorts to signify the start of the Island summer.

Where we live now, a former farmers field turned soulless neighbourhood, in otherwise beautiful Stratford, people don’t seem to enjoy this summer tradition. This is likely in part due to the number of apartment buildings, multiple family housing, and the general transience of the people who choose to move here. Instead of the weekend morning or afterwork yard work that you see elsewhere, what you see here is leagues of workers descending on the neighbourhood with large noisy machines zipping around trying their best to work as quickly and as noisily as possible. If there is a pattern in terms of when they might arrive I have yet to see it. It could be early Saturday morning or during dinner through the week. Or like today, as we were about to record some voice over, they descended like monsterous sounding bees reverberating sound through our building.

It’s not nearly as romantic as the memory we had held while we lived elsewhere.


Why isn’t everyone wearing a mask?

Peter writes:

Picking up groceries at Sobeys this afternoon, an environment that clearly qualifies as one where “physical distancing cannot always be maintained,” only about a quarter of shoppers were wearing masks (and, additionally, any pretence of social distancing was abandoned by many).

I think one answer to that question could be risk perception, whereby others don’t see the same risk as I.

The degree of risk associated with a given behavior is generally considered to represent the likelihood and consequences of harmful effects that result from that behavior. To perceive risk includes evaluations of the probability as well as the consequences of an uncertain outcome. There are three dimensions of perceived risk – perceived likelihood (the probability that one will be harmed by the hazard), perceived susceptibility (an individual’s constitutional vulnerability to a hazard), and perceived severity (the extent of harm a hazard would cause). Risk perceptions are central to many health behavior theories.
Source

Add to that perhaps a little bit of group think, we are more willing to do something when those in our tribe are also doing the same. When beliefs become shared by social groups they are very difficult to change, even in the face of scientific evidence. There are a great deal of people who think the pandemic is largely fiction, even here on this beautiful Isle.

Wearing a mask is only one of the many things you should do to mitigate the risk of virus transmission, but it’s possibly the easiest. How many people are religiously washing and disinfecting their hands?

See also: What Happened When Americans Had to Wear Masks During the 1918 Flu Pandemic


An hour or two in the big city


The streets downtown were only moderately more busy today at early afternoon than the last time I walked through this street. I wish there were more streets like this, pedestrian and bike friendly, and devoid of cars. Unfortunately, city gov. moves in slow motion and at times seems resistance to change that might bring life to the downtown.


The market was anemic. This should be viewed as an opportunity, as the best markets I have been to have all been for the pleasure of locals, not tourists, which has the unintended consequence of giving visitors the kind of authentic experience many are looking for.


This is a welcome sign. I hope we will see more businesses putting up these hand sanitizing stations to not only fight covid, but the myriad of other viruses that make our lives less full of joy.


Diarrhea of words

I guess this is what it means to be in government.

The Green Party of Prince Edward Island has released their so labeled Return to School Framework yesterday which if you remove all the excess verbiage is nothing but a simple list of questions that most of us might have been asking around the dinner table. No deep insights, plans, or ideas from what are a highly educated and well paid group of people.

And I would argue that their priorities are wrong. The mental health and social well-being of all students, teachers, and parents is not the priority. Returning kids to school, whereby they can enjoy rigorous academic learning and physical activity, with minimized risk, is the priority. The main source of stress in families is the simple fact that kids are not in school. The Green Party should be aware of this.

These people are paid to come up with solutions, but between them and the nebulous plans of the department of education, I fear we will be left waiting.


An anniversary of sorts

The still waters of the Charlottetown harbor

The beautiful beaches at the North Shore

The quiet of Clyde River

DayOne has reminded me via their “On this Day” function that it has now been just over 2 years since I moved back to PEI, a place that I have always referred to as home, despite spending much of my life elsewhere.

With a pandemic, being a single parent for a year, trying to find my way, and adjusting to what at times seems like a foreign culture, it’s been a dramatic couple years, to say the least.

It was a risk for us to move here, particularly due to the lack of employment for us both, but a life with risk is a life worth living and I think there have been many positive experiences since I/we have arrived. It doesn’t feel like I come home yet, but that may come if we put down more permanent roots. Also, despite being born here I feel a little like an outsider, it’s like you can only belong on the Island if you were born here and never leave. There is no place where who you know, and being a part of the system is more important than PEI.

A friend recently asked if I planned on staying. In retrospect it was a bit of an odd question, but perhaps he knows my nomadic nature. My answer was and is, I don’t know. Last year, I would have unequivocally said we are staying, but that we would be returning to my children’s home for extended stays. A somewhat reversal of my long held plan of spending time on PEI, while living elsewhere.

These days its teetering towards leaving, due primarily to the afore mentioned lack of employment. I’m fine with my almost lifelong quest of avoiding stifling work environments, unless they are of my own making, and some days I like the personal challenges that working independently bring. This has meant our lives have been primarily about rich experiences vs. equity and ever more stuff. But Sheryl wants to teach children until the day they lock her out of the building, and our way of life has often depended upon the stability that her life’s work brings. Risk is easier to accept when you know there will still be a roof over your head and something to eat. We knew it would be challenging to find our way here; patronage and arcane union rules are frustrating to navigate (imagine running a business whereby you are not allowed to interview a talented recent graduate, or highly experienced professional, or someone from abroad because they haven’t worked as a temp and paid union dues the requisite number of days) and PEI is not near as diverse and inclusive as it might wish to be.

When I get aggravated by situations like this invariably something will happen to stem the tide of negativity. Like running into an old classmate, or yesterday when a young child said hello and wished me a happy day. Or the fantastic blue skies, clean air, and serene countryside. Or the idealistic talk of a 4 day work week.

The coming months will be key, but with the pandemic and all, staying put might be the only choice.


Signs of life

Though it’s still early in the season, Charlottetown seems so devoid of life without tourists. No families walking the streets, no kids, no one outside eating, none of the usual cacophony that comes with people on holiday. Sadly we have far too many restaurants and small business that such a small place can support, and many may fail or find their fortunes greatly diminished.

Perhaps, the government could take this as an opportunity to get Islanders to come downtown again. To be able to ride their bikes safely and walk the streets without worry of collision. I love dense cities, I lived in them for over 20 years, and it would be great to see the downtown become a place for people to congregate other than avoid due to lack of parking or whatever grievance people have.

It will be hard, as Islanders love of soulless big box stores seems to have no bounds (and pining for whatever Moncton has), but I would love the opportunity to make the downtown my one stop and to leave the car at home.


Dave’s Service Center to the rescue

With yesterday possibly being the best beach day of the year, I decided to try to finish up my days work and speed out to the North shore for sand and sun.

Unfortunately our car had other plans, and once we reached the QEH we pulled over to see what was banging on the inside of the car engine. I was thinking perhaps fox, cat or some large metal object left on the road. Luckily we saw nothing on the inside but the sound remained.

My understanding of the inner workings of a car is limited to the knowledge that when you press on the gas pedal it goes forward and you have to put fuel in it far too often. Something I’ll likely never get around to rectifying.

After a quick call to Daves Service Centre we slowly limped to their shop where they agreed to identify the problem so that I could go elsewhere to get a fix. They were already booked for the day but I trust them more than some other shop.

It was a “belt” that apparently seldom needs replacing, except in my case. They managed to fit it in and though it cost a bit, we were able to continue on our way a couple hours later with just enough time for my first visit to Richards for fish n chips.

Incidentally, I posted the above photo on Twitter and a friend DM’d aghast at all the people so close together without masks. My experience of late has been wherever I go most businesses have been following CPHO guidelines, but people have not changed. Most people do not use hand disinfecting stations, wear masks when in enclosed spaces, nor practice social distancing. There is little risk at preset but despite having all this time, I worry that we are still unprepared for when COVID-19 arrives on our shores in earnest.


The weekend

This was the first weekend since we were in lockdown/stay at home* that I wasn’t working. It was a long cycle of work, I usually prefer short bursts of activity or 6 week cycles ala Basecamp but work I find is a great way to get through periods of uncertainty, and if I have the rare pleasure of working on something I like, it’s fun.

Other than running, I didn’t do anything, it felt odd, and I had these periods of mild anxiety from the belief that I should be doing something. With the warm temperatures we could have gone somewhere, though I have no idea where that somewhere would be. My kids seem to be at an age that suggesting we drive to Georgetown for fun would illicit strange looks. Actually if suggested, I might give strange looks too.

*there are so many terms I get confused.


Emptiness

Receivers Operator Blend is still the best deal in coffee around these parts. Only slightly more expensive by weight than store bought, but it’s fresh (roasted within a week prior to purchase), and importantly local. And while the taste won’t appeal to all, I think it’s great.


The PSB’s Reality Distortion Field

We have been very impressed with the work of our teachers, who have migrated to home learning platforms with tremendous efficiency and creativity during this global pandemic. Teachers have been very busy preparing lessons, providing feedback on learning, connecting with students, working through year-end transition processes and supporting the social and emotional well-being of students. Teachers have and continue to be available to students and families through various means of communication.
Parker Grimmer – PEI Public Schools

The public school boards messaging across all the platforms its engaged in usually espouses the outmost in positivity. It’s all rainbows and sun, and “everything is beautiful, in it’s own way.” I get it, this is part of their job to highlight the good work that the teachers do throughout the province.

Generally most of the email communication from the PSB is long winded and difficult to read through, particularly when it comes after an evening meal and I feel like having a nap, but last nights email caught my attention immediately, particularly because of the first paragraph which seemed to come from a different reality all together.

In fact, when I first read it, I yelled out, “what nonsense is this!”

While there has been “learning” occurring during this time at home, there has been no “schooling”. It was my understanding that teachers were under strict guidelines to not attempt to teach, how else could we explain what has been occurring. Nothing new has been attempted at the intermediate level, with review worksheets sent out with the answers attached, and little to no communication from teachers at all levels. Having kids watch a video is not teaching. Some teachers of course, despite instructions to the contrary, have been communicative, giving new material and immediate replies to questions. They have been wonderful.

The PEI Home and School sent out a question to parents recently, asking for our experiences during the pandemic, in my reply:

  • I commented on how teachers were not allowed to experiment with various online teaching methods and how that seemed like a terrible mistake. What better time to try, and fail, when it’s all review and no marks are being counted.
  • I shared how my kids couldn’t even reach their teachers with questions and how many teachers would simply send out some simple worksheets with the answers attached. Kids see this for what it is and realize it’s largely a waste of time.
  • What has happened as that parents have had to fill in the role of teacher, which most of us are unprepared for, and while trying to work from home.
  • There was an overwhelming theme of not wanting to “stress” the kids with work, or a trend of taking time together as a family. I countered that sometimes keeping kids minds occupied with schooling reduces the stress from what is happening around them. Working hard, or working in general, is not a bad thing, even during an outbreak.
  • I noted that the most stressful part of this whole pandemic, after the initial shock, was trying to play the role of teacher, while knowing that our children were being let down academically.
  • Lastly, I also stated, based on our unfortunate experience with viral outbreaks, that I had little confidence that any plans were being formulated to return kids to school and deal with the inevitable return of COVID-19. Have they started training teachers? Any negotiations started to change the length of the school year? Virus mitigation procedures?

I’m writing this in a hurry as I do with all my blog posts. Issues like this require more articulate responses than I have time for, or talent to give. But the PSB’s eagerness to bend any fact to fit the communication purpose at hand required some kind of response into the abyss.


“Unfortunately not everyone is on board”

We went out to run some errands today at noon, which included a stop at NoFrills, the Post Office, and Receivers.

The Island being the Island one stranger shared that they were now on a diet and not eating meat. Another, showed me their feet (they had shoes on) in order to detail their injury and I shared that I have forgotten how to wear pants.

With the exception of Receivers, no one was social distancing, wearing any kind of PPE, nor utilizing what little sanitizing your hands apparatus was available. It’s like nothing had happened; nor was still happening.

We can’t stay inside forever. We need to eat, and not everyone has the opportunity to work remotely as a programmer or other desk bound occupation.

Islanders have from my vantage point been great, at least until it was decided that people from away could come to their summer residences (I don’t think they should). Real leaders make unpopular decisions based on the available data and experience, it’s hard.

Living through viral outbreaks, or in this case, hopefully a once in a lifetime pandemic, requires a massive cultural shift for Islanders. Washing your hands, carrying antiseptic wipes and hand wash, wearing a mask, using store provided antiseptic hand wash, installing antiseptic matts, and on and on, must become an ingrained habit. It is elsewhere; they’ve been screening travellers in Taiwan and elsewhere for over 15 years. Arriving from a region known to have an outbreak? Step aside sir while we ask you a few more questions. Have a fever? Off to quarantine you go. Not wearing a mask? Please leave the building. Kid sick? Isolation and then a call to come collect the child.

These are the things you do. Take matters into your own hands, complaining about people coming in from outside the province is not enough.

Via Ruk.


Blue

I went for a walk Monday evening and while this section of Stratford has that lack of life feeling that comes from quickly building houses on a farmers field, the blue skies and clean air can’t be beat. I could stare at the skies on PEI for hours on end.


Back to the classroom in Shanghai

This was shared with me by Sheryl from a friend who posted it on Facebook. It’s for a school in Shanghai and though I wouldn’t characterize it as new (whenever there is an outbreak these procedures are put in place), it represents in part how schools elsewhere are returning to the classroom.

It’s the new “normal”, returning to school after 15weeks of home schooling. Every day at school Mr F will:
– have to wear a face mask all day
– take his temperature before he leaves home
– have his temperature taken at school before entering
– sit with 1.5 meters between each school desk.
– take his lunch to school
– not wear a tie (considered germ catchers)

With the addition of 1.5m rule, all other steps are the same ones taken during SARS. We can do this! And he is very happy to see his friends again.

I would be very surprised if we had similar procedures here. Not because of science, but because my impression thus far is, that unlike the leadership exhibited by the Chief Medical Office and the Provincial Government, the Public School Board hasn’t been exhibiting the kind of leadership required to institute these procedures.


A visit to Deckers in Cornwall

It was a beautiful crisp day yesterday and after a finishing the days work and a quick run we finally had the chance to head out as a family for a sojourn to the wilds of Cornwall.

The main attraction in Cornwall, and a summer tradition, is Decker’s which is now open for take out, with some common sense initiatives in place for social distancing. The main attractor for me is the ice cream, but the temperature though much improved, still feels far to akin to winter to start that summer habit. So we opted for some burgers and fries, which we shared with my uncle who lives just around the corner. It’s been a long time since he has had so many visitors, or any visitors at all, due to all the restrictions in place at seniors residences. He also shared that he has now lived in Cornwall for 12 years, which is “longer than he expected to be alive”.

The taste of the food is fueled by nostalgia, which is to say that when I got the bill for $80 I laughed, and ate the burger, which came devoid of any of the salad inside, a little more slowly that I might normally eat.

It was money well spent as finally getting outside as a family led to laughs, and a much needed break from the confines of our too small abode.


What do you like about the place where you live?

Oliver Rukavina is organizing an unconference, in Zoom, today. Unfortunately I can’t attend but I have been pondering the two questions he posed for the unconference all week

What have you learned from the pandemic that you want to keep for the future?
What do you like about the place where you live?

The first question I have seen posed in a number of places and it requires a lengthy response. The second question is much easier. The response comes to me from simply looking out our patio doors this AM.

The lovely clear blue skies.


Just buy Receivers

I have since returning to PEI ventured to try every coffee bean brand that I could find in the local stores and on Amazon. With the exception of Kicking Horse coffee’s Hola Light Roast, all have proven to be a disappointment. The Hola Light Roast proves to be a value only when on sale, it’s regularly $9.99 for a 1LB bag on Amazon. I can’t imagine paying the prices in local grocery stores. Even Lavazza, which I’m drinking now is nothing deserving of their heritage and the small batch roasters located in Nova Scotia and Toronto are nothing to get excited about.

One of the main factors for this other than the industrial sized roasting that many brands do, is simply that by the time that bag of whole beans arrives at your door it’s already stale. You taste a huge difference when you roast your own, or buy from a local roaster.

Considering the cost of coffee here in the stores you would be far better served buying Receivers Operator Blend, which tastes great, and importantly is roasted less than a month from your date of purchase.


Dinner at Phinley’s

We ate out for the first time in 6 weeks last night and opted for a restaurant nearby, which gave Phinley’s the win by default. Camren wanted Vietnamese food but we overruled as Sheryl wanted a burger and I never go against a chance to eat red meat. Though it’s a short walk away this was our first time experiencing their food, though we have visited their dairy bar a couple times during summer.

The service was amazingly quick and the food was … fine. We may go back sometime when sit down service is allowed again.

While the food was not “lets get on Yelp and leave a 5 star review worthy” it was a good way to mark the restart of normal life on the Island.