Red Sky in Morning

It really is a storm isn’t it, this cursed virus that has descended on the world?  No wonder words that describe it are storm related….tsunami …..the next wave…dark clouds ahead..the surge….hunkering down.  I actually much prefer the storm analogy to the war zone descriptions though. It’s more positive believing that our collective sun will emerge from behind the clouds someday. We’ve all seen storms throughout our lives…or rather been through storms… in one form or another. Personal storms too. We came out better for it and we can weather this one.

For us here at RED by the Sea, aside from the obvious, like the physical isolation, our lives haven’t changed that much.  Retirement has given us a framework for surviving this new reality…but I do believe when this is all but a memory there will be a new global reality. Attitudes, habits, routines with be forever altered. Change is hard though for some.  My daughter pointed out that our generation has habits so engrained  that we may be the most resistant to change. That may be so, but I personally think we are adapting very well under the circumstances.  Francois’ forty years of military training had us focussing first on threat assessment and security.  What do we need to get through this physically? The tough soldier attitude perhaps doesn’t address the emotional needs but he has me to help with that one.

I chuckle to myself seeing friends’ social media posts.  You know who you are. First day of isolation and all organized with to do lists and by the end of week one, diving into a tub of ice cream still wearing the same pyjamas for the seventh day in a row.  Oh, maybe that was me. Ha-ha!  I like the race analogy from an article I read recently, that if you treat this like a sprint and don’t pace yourself you’ll be the one at the finish line vomiting on your shoes. So the message here is to go ahead and prepare for the worst and when you’ve taken care of that, simply ‘be’. Someday this will be over.

Because of our fairly minimal lifestyle we already had an edge up on managing the day to day.  We maintain what we have and keep things running in good order.  The simpler the better and I fully believe the more complex, the more bells and whistles, the more that can go wrong.  It just makes sense on so many levels to keep it simple. And the more we can handle ourselves, the more autonomous we can be when needed. We’ve even streamlined paying taxes doing everything ourselves online saving hundreds of dollars in the process.


“It is no bad thing celebrating a simple life.” ~ JRR Tolkien


Since moving here we have become entrenched in buying locally whenever possible and the current situation has given us no reason to change.  Many businesses  have adapted by offering online services with no-human-contact pick-up.

Clean hands and garden supplies

With the recent run on hand sanitizer a local distillery offered their own brand of denatured alcohol and our favourite garden centre has adapted their retail operation to car pick-up only.  No human contact necessary. With the Crow’s Nest in full swing, I can get a good start on our vegetable garden.

Plant Babies

For me the physical distancing is the hardest…not being able to give Gramma hugs.  Video chats have become common place with the occasional window drawings and through-the-glass-kisses. My three-year old grand-daughter took the initiative because she wanted to show Gramma her doll family and called me on her tablet. What, I wonder, was I doing at that age? How the world has changed!  We even had a wonderful ‘visit’ with Francois’ daughter the other day. She, her husband and three kids are doing quite well in Rome.

Window art and smooshy kisses

My son Luke lives in a small options home with staff and 3 other residents and the latest restrictions mean we can’t visit nor is he allowed to come visit us.  Also he is on a medication that compromises his immune system so everyone has to be extra careful – especially now.  So far he seems to understand and one of the staff sets up video calls  which warms my momma heart.  I worry about him longer term since there can be no trips to the country to break up his routine until this crisis has passed but we’re taking it day to day.

Sweet Child of Mine

I spend a good deal of time in the kitchen these days, more than usual, making basics like granola and breads.  My pantry is usually well stocked but there may be a time soon when staples like flour and yeast are in limited quantities.


Planning ahead I think I have worked out a system where we won’t need to go to the store at all. When supplies get low there are meal delivery services. Whole dinners, chopped and portioned so all we have to do is decide which bag to pull from the refrigerator, add a little cooking time and voilà!

This time of year there isn’t a lot of fresh green available so things like root vegetables…shelf stable carrots, sweet potatoes and celeriac are our go to choices.  I can rustle up a very fine meal with a couple of taters, some lentils and a drizzle of tahini sauce in no time. And thirty minutes in the pressure cooker gives us many meals from that happy-free-range chicken that I had stashed away in the freezer.

There is also farm delivery service where we can order pretty much anything from baked goods, veggies and fruits, meats, honey, even cut flowers, fully prepared meals and artisan creations, all delivered weekly to a location near us.  We have fresh caught fish and seafood delivered when needed.  I buy ten pounds at a time and stash it away in the freezer.  During lobster season I can walk down the road to buy a freshly caught crustacean or two straight off the boat for an occasional treat.  Actually these are all the things we have been doing since moving to the country, supporting local businesses as much as possible. So you see, not a lot has changed for us.  Hell, even the liquor store delivers.

Now that our movements into the community have been further restricted, I’ve sought out entertainment options…because after a while TV binging becomes dull.  Our regional library offers online services like downloadable movies, ebooks and audio books. I’ve read more books in the past two weeks that I have in the last two years.

We miss our weekly gathering of friends, lovingly known as the Hubbards Hooligans, at the village coffee shop so now some of us gather virtually instead, to check in and catch up. One of the Hooligans even dropped off home-made masks, kindly left on our door knob.  Humour can be strong medicine.

Some Hubbards Hooligans

So there you are, all up to date. Thanks for dropping by.  It warms our hearts to know you are there.  From our little RED by the SEA, we wish you strength and safe passage through to the end of the storm.

Post Script: For you bird fans, this year’s couple, Dr. and Mrs. Mallard, presented themselves at Duck Pond last week. And unlike some humans, they didn’t need to be told about physical distancing.  The dozens of ducks that once inhabited the pond – nowhere in site.

Doctor and the Misses



Today, the 6th January, is the Twelfth Night or Little Christmas or Epiphany.  Whatever you call it, it’s time for us to get serious about cleaning up and cleaning out.  Our land home isn’t grand but it’s surpising how much ‘stuff’ accumulates over the years.  All our closets have been renovated since moving to this condo.  But what was once beautifully organized storage has become ‘quick close the door before things fall out’ storage.

We extracted ourselves from the bed (not lovin’ this flu season) and spent the day tackling two things: one large closet and putting away our Christmas decorations.  At the end we’re pretty pleased with the first ‘rough sort’ results.

Christmas Things

Christmas decorations have been reduced to half. Confession, still hanging onto a few little treasures, but only a few.  I said ‘rough’ sort didn’t I?

We now have a pile of ‘to trash’, ‘to donate’ and ‘to sell’. But inspite of having no particular emotional connection to clothing, I’m finding it hard to get rid of at least a dozen gowns.  I look at them and in my mind can relive each wonderful event, the clattering of fine china and clinking crystal, the lilting sounds of music, the conversations where I smiled and nodded (it’s Frenchland and most of the time smiling and nodding was all I could do). I’m not sure if some of those dresses even fit the way they used to (cargo has shifted over the years)..but really!  Do women (except those of a certain age) even wear full-length gowns anymore? Release the clutter hounds I say! Out with them all!  Tomorrow, my lovelies, you go on eBay to the highest size 2/4 bidder

eBay Bound

 This is partly why I love blogging.  I can talk to you about what I should be or am thinking about doing and voilà.  It’s out there for the world to know, so I’m almost obligated to follow through.

Donate, Sell, Trash

Now onto celebrating Little Christmas…

We’ve been invited to share in the Twelfth Day of Christmas at the home of a friend.  His place is a spectacular display of all things Christmas. Every inch decorated for the season including real candles on his floor to ceiling tree.

Every Inch


Traditional 3′ German Spinning Pyramid

…we dined…

Please be Seated

Oh did we dine!. I think I counted seven courses in all, the final course being the Cake of the Kings (a brief description of its origin here) or in French ‘galette des rois’ which has a tiny procelain figurine hidden somewhere in the filling.  The person whose piece contains the little treasure becomes king or in this case, queen of the feast who then chooses her king to sit by her side for the rest of the evening

The Queen Chose Her King

It was an evening filled with beautiful music, delicious food, laughter, friendship and tradition…and in the wee hours of the morning we returned home, with bellies and hearts full, with heads full of great memories to carry us through winter’s chilly days, and with a bag full of treats for tomorrow’s first coffee.

A Sack Full of Treats


Breakfast is Served