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Gandalf watches the treat in my lefty hand. Photo by Louise Peacock

The Treat

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Design for the front of a CD. Artwork by Louise Peacock

A Village of Storytellers …

While cleaning up my emails (Lord, did I ever need to get THAT done — I had stuff going back to 2010!) I came across an email dated 2017 from our friend Erika Sauter, notifying those of us involved, of the publication of a collection of works by a bunch of us. and providing a link.

Curious, I clicked on the link and began to re-read this excellent collection of stories and poems, masterminded by Erika Sauter, and edited by her and by Jim Reeves.

Finding this project again was fun and a great way to spend a morning. …

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Photograph from a really old book I have. Photo collage by Louise Peacock

By Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, born in Portsmouth, England February 8, 1812 — died in his home, Gads Hill in Rochester, Kent, England June 9, 1870,

Denied a formal education thanks to his Father being incarcerated in debtors prison, and his having to take factory work to survive, Dickens still managed to become one of Englands’ greatest writers of all time. Charles Dickens was an avowed supporter of children’s rights, education and a wide range of social reforms.

A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads:

“To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England’s most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.” …

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Taffy. Emulating her ancestors from Egypt. Photo by Louise Peacock

Taffy in Sphynx Pose

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Acrylic painting by Marie Beamish.

By William Shakespeare

Polonius’ advice to his son, Laertes, on the eve of his departure to France:

… There; my blessing with thee!And these few precepts in thy memory

See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware

Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Laila Biali, Jazz Pianist

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Laila Biali — photo credit Edith Maybin

We first met Laila Biali sometime in 2000. She was teaching piano at our neighbourhood music school and we ended up going to hear her play at a local bar. Her playing was great but very under-appreciated by the after-work crowd that was the audience.

Laila let us know that she would be performing with her jazz trio at a Toronto music venue, where she would be playing real jazz. We went, of course.

We really enjoyed Lailas’ performance and over the next couple of years, when she was playing in Toronto, we tried to go to see her shows as often as possible. …

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Quinta da Saudade, the house where I grew up. The name is very faded but still visible. When I lived there, the place was painted light pink and the property had not been subdivided as it seems to be now. Photo credit Google Maps

My life in Portugal in the 1950s

In Part 1, I described our journey through Portugal until we arrived in Lisbon.

I cannot recall how long we remained in Lisbon, at the Flamingo Hotel, but to me, at the time, it seemed like forever. As I previously mentioned, my parents, especially my Mother, liked to sight-see and walk. Did I mention the walking? (Sigh.)

I also cannot recall how we dealt with our new puppy, the 6-week old, very fat and lazy Guarda. Possibly left him at the hotel while we wandered…those details are hazy — it’s been 69 years you know.

All I know is that we investigated and checked out pretty much every landmark, park, museum and art gallery within tram or walking distance. …

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Sticky Toffee Pudding with hardsauce. Photo by Louise Peacock

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Here I go with the Crockpot again!

For New Years’ Eve dinner, I wanted to make a dessert that was appropriate for the time of the year.

This Christmas I never got around to making a Christmas plum pudding, nor a fruitcake, so this recipe I have for Sticky Toffee Pudding seemed like an excellent substitute. (Who could resist anything with the word Toffee in the name?)

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Snow on Cedar hedge. Photo by Louise Peacock

Here in Southern Ontario

After a relaxing New Years’ Day, this morning we were greeted by a fresh snowfall.

At -1 degree C, that snowfall, while relatively small, was really heavy. We decided to get it done before breakfast to work up an appetite.

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Fresh cut batter bread made in the Crockpot. Photo by Louise Peacock

French Toast for Christmas Brunch

So every year on Christmas morning we usually light a fire in the living room, set up a small glass table, and serve breakfast.

This year was different because, with the overnight snowfall, we decided to clear that up first, have a light breakfast after and save the fireplace meal for brunch.

Meantime, I thought French toast would be a great plan. One small fallacy in that plan was that I had forgotten to buy a loaf of egg bread when I went for groceries that week. …


Louise Peacock

Louise Peacock is a writer, garden designer, Reiki practitioner, singer-songwriter & animal activist. Favorite insult “Eat cake & choke”

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