Posted by: Valerie | February 4, 2010

Winter Games and Summer Plans

February is the month that we  are forced to go out and enjoy winter. Ottawa has its famous Winterlude with skating on the canal and ice sculptures and the like. Jolly times to be had by all. Whoo-hoo! Even Bancroft has its own version which is just one weekend in length and features dog-sled races, pancake breakfasts at the Legion, speed skating and curling, chilli cook-off and pie contest. There will be sleigh rides at the fish hatchery and the opportunity to try luge-ing for $25.00. Book in advance and sign a waiver. Oh, and I forgot the Ontario Fur Trappers workshop. I will not be joining that one for sure – or the luge, for the record. But no doubt I will make sure my batteries are fully charged, grab my camera, my toque and mitts and at least investigate the proceedings.

Last year's dog sled races

In the meantime I hope I will get in a trip to Ottawa next week, snow permitting. It’s a long time since I got to see my friends as well as seeing the baby. And his parents of course.

We had another situation with the health system yesterday – it seems that the inefficiencies are endless. In this case Joe had to go for an ultra-sound at the local hospital and was given an appointment for 2.15 in the afternoon and told that he couldn’t eat for eight hours beforehand. He protested that he is a diabetic and this would very difficult for him. He was told to “just manage” and he accepted the appointment. If I had been making the appointment I would not have stood for that and insisted on an appointment at the beginning of the day. Joe is generally a pretty definite and forceful kind of guy who doesn’t get pushed around. Except by the medical professional. That old “doctor as God” thing is pretty well embedded in him. He never questions what he is told. I am the opposite and don’t accept anything at face value.

Anyway they were late with the appointment and Joe was hanging on for more than eight hours with only a single piece of toast inside him since dinner the previous evening. After the appointment he wolfed a sandwich that I brought to the clinic and then had a coffee and a doughnut to get his blood sugar up. And up it did go – way too high – and later in the evening it suddenly dropped to an alarming level and he was shaking and incoherent with blood sugar levels just above coma level. Not good. However he’s fine today – until next time.

On a brighter note, we are starting to plan our trip to Europe this summer. We are thinking that we will fly to Vienna and spend a couple of days there before taking the hydofoil down the Danube to Budapest. Last time we went to Hungary together we hired a Hertz car for the entire time we were there – 6 weeks – and it cost an absolute fortune. Now we have been told that it will be much less expensive to hire something locally, rather than the international route. Also we are not going to book hotels from here but rather we will try the bed-and-breakfast “panzio” route. We won’t be going for six weeks this time either – three will be fine.

Hungarian Parliament Buildings

Every time Joe comes back from Hungary, that’s it. The last time – never going back – and then he gets homesick and starts agitating to go again. I think that the Hungarian relatives are getting used to his visits and he has not been feted in the way he would prefer so this time he wants me to go along for company.  A little bit of me would rather go to Italy again. The Colli Albani (I used to think that was just a cheap wine!) behind Rome are utterly divine. and there is village called Nemi perched over a lake where the cafes have exquisite cappucinos and delicious little yellow strawberries with a tart flavour…


  1. All of me would want to go to Italy!!

    • And lovely (in character) Sergio, Joe’s relative in Rome, would love to show us around again. I never had a better guide. He only has a little English and my Italian is very limited (but better than my Hungarian!!!) but we communicated beautifully. When he spotted something he thought I should see he would grab my arm and exclaim “Valeria!” and off he’d rattle! His wife was a poison dwarf but she has died now. She smelled very bad and screamed a lot.

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