This, That, And the Other Thing

It’s been a strange week. My brain was teaming with ideas of things to write about and the Drafts folder is overflowing with well-intentioned entries, however the fingers just wouldn’t do their thing on the keyboard. It seemed that every time I sat down to write something there was very little will (pun intended). Hopefully that has begun to change as here I am typing at record speed. I recall an impressed passenger once remarking that I was a “fast typist” – what they didn’t know was half of it was backspacing to make corrections.


On Monday we decided to go up to Brackley Beach on the North Shore for a short ride. It is in the centre section of Prince Edward Island National Park – a 60 kilometre ribbon along the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. After several days of bright sunshine it had turned cloudy (though the sun was to break out about five minutes after we left the beach.) The Gulf was the stillest I’ve seen it which was a bit of a disappointment. There is nothing quite like the waves coming to shore on a windy day. Even during the summer it is not crowded but as witness here there were no more than 10-12 people in the entire stretch. Notice that our famous red sand is everywhere including on our boots when we left.

Yes We have Some Bananas

Hmm… that doesn’t sound right does it? But facts are facts, and despite what Pierre Polievre says you can’t have opinions about facts: we do have bananas. Or rather did earlier in the week when I decided to make a batch of banana muffins using a recipe from Preppy Kitchen. John Kanell has a love of baking with a website and YouTube channel devoted to deserts and savouries. I’m not a big follower but I – and Laurent – do enjoy his banana muffins. To be fair I haven’t tried any of his other recipes but found this one quite by accident.

Ten minutes in at 350ºF oven and these bananas are ready for the Muffin Man

The problem with the bananas I had on hand last week was that they were still not ripe enough for bread or muffins. You need them to be almost ready for the garbage bin and these were several days away from that sorrowful state. But fear not! John has a solution. You want overripe, ready to return to earth, bananas for your bread or muffins – not a problem. Simply preheat your oven to 350ºf, put the bananas on a baking tray, pop them in for about 10 minutes and la-viola: blackened ripe bananas just right for moist, tender, tasty muffins. The first time I made them I forgot the yogourt and can’t say that I noticed a difference when I included it the second time but hey it can’t hurt.

And since we’re started off incorrectly quoting Frank Silver and Irving Cohen’s 1923 hit – it was #1 on the hit parade for 5 weeks folks – Yes We Have No Bananas! how about we gather round Pete Wendling at the virtual player piano and give it a go?

Name that Beast!

While going through my drawers – yeah, yeah I know: snicker, snicker – this week I came across a t-shirt that I bought on our trip to Vietnam the year I began this blog. I had forgotten that I had it. It’s very good cotton and the design – machine embroidered – is rather cute. The problem is I’m having trouble identifying the animal the little flautist is astride. Any guesses?

A left click will take you to closer look at this rather startling little creature? Any ideas?

And how about you? I’m sure at least one of my two readers have been cleaning out that closet, dresser, under the bed box or Fibber McGee* cupboard. Have you come across anything forgotten hidden “treasure”?

We Make Do! Pretty Well I’d Say

As many of you know it was Laurent’s birthday on Tuesday and as many of us are doing at this time it was a bit of a “make-do” day. But nonetheless it was a day of celebration.

A close look reveals that the candles indicate 94 – I didn’t have a 6 so as with many things these days we had to “make-do”.

He received greetings from so many of you that it made the day a special one. The morning began with a pot of yellow tulips left at our door by our friends Patricia and Bruce; Magdalene and Glen, both exceptional and noted music teachers and pianists, sent him a video of a four-hands version of Happy Birthday; we shared virtual before-dinner drinks and chat with our friends Pico and Don; phone calls from our beloved Rick and John and so many others. And the iPhone equivalent of “You Got Mail” rang constantly throughout the day. Though the day wasn’t the usual birthday celebration – no mariachi band or fireworks – through our good fortune with modern communication it was a special one. Thanks to everyone.

The word for March 29 is:
Communicate /kəˈmyo͞onəˌkāt/: [verb]
To share or exchange information, news, or ideas.
To pass on (an infectious disease) to another person or animal.
To share a common door between two rooms.
To receive Holy Communion.
Early 16th century from Latin communicat– ‘shared’, from the verb communicare, from communis.
Those first two definitions hold a sense of irony in this day and age.

Mercoledi Musciale

Yesterday Dame Vera Margaret Lynn celebrated her 102nd birthday. Born in the middle of the First Great War she became the “Forces Sweetheart” in Second World War and continued her performing career until 1995. She has had ships, trains, and streets named after her; she spearheaded a memorial to The Animals of War in Hyde Park; and she has worked for charities dedicated to veterans, disable children and breast cancer. And at 100 she became the oldest artist to release an album that topped the UK charts.

Dame Vera Lynn in 1977 at the Canadian National Exhibition Grandstand. She drew a crowd of 17,00 on the first of her three performances. She was still the “Forces’ Sweetheart”.
Photo: The Toronto Star Archives

To celebrate both her birthday and her remarkable career I’ve picked a song that like her began life during the First World War and became a favourite during the Second conflict of that name. Lili Marlene was a poem written by Hans Leip when he was conscripted into Imperial German Army and sent to the Eastern Front. In 1938 Norbert Schultze set it to music and it was recorded by Lale Anderson the following year. In one of those queer strokes of history it became one of the most popular songs of the period with both Allied and Axis forces.

In Stanley Krammer’s powerful Judgment at Nuremberg Marlene Dietrich and Spencer Tracy are walking through the rubble of the war-torn streets of Nuremberg. As they approach a bar they hear men inside singing Lili Marleen in German. Dietrich begins to sing along with the song, translating a few lyrics for Tracy, referring to the German lyrics as “much darker” than the English.

In one of those queer strokes of irony Lili Marlene/Lili Marleen became one of the most popular songs of the War with both Allied and Axis forces.

Very appropriately for our Island August 7th is Lighthouse Day. We have 63 of them on the Island – 35 are still active and 7 are designated as National Historic Sites.