Friends and family who have inspired us

And special people we have met while travelling

As jubilados (Spanish for retirees) we value relationships, old and new


One of the joys of travelling, for me, is discovering the literature of foreign authors. Like Norway’s Cora Sandel. “She has a place to herself among the finest contemporary writing,” deemed The Guardian. “A masterpiece,” The Observer called her first novel Alberta and Jacob. Her novels, says The Paris Review, “aesthetically and politically, count as feminist classics.” The thing is Cora wasn’t her real name. And she really wanted to be a painter. So, it was with great delight when I discovered the Perspektivet Museum in Tromsø, located in the building where Cora’s family rented an apartment, had an exhibition celebrating her life and work.

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On the edge of our province a hundred kilometres from the mainland is Haida Gwaii, the former Queen Charlotte Islands, the ancestral home of the Haida, the West Coast First Nations. In the remote south of Haida Gwaii is a national park reserve, one of the most spectacular, untamed wilderness areas in the world. Gwaii Haanas—place of wonder. An isolated archipelago of 138 islands featuring some of the largest trees on earth, 1,600 kilometres of coastal shoreline, 42 freshwater lakes, thundering surf, fog-hung mornings, rain-deluged days and sometimes, mirror-flat seas. With no roads and limited facilities, the only access is by chartered aircraft or boat, as was our experience three years ago. In deepest summer with drink and book, a particular memory of that trip surfaces, still.

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Last night my mother, Maxine MacLeod, passed away peacefully. Today I’m sharing a memory of mom from 1947. (Not a lived memory—I wasn’t born yet!)

A memory made from imagination, a photograph or two and a story she often repeated in the last months of our daily Alexa/Echo calls.

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Yesterday, July 10, Alice Munro, deemed Canada’s Chekhov, revered worldwide as the master of short stories on par with those of Tolstoy and Flaubert and the first Canadian woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, turned 90. Expecting to read tributes to Alice in the weekend’s newspapers, I was saddened to find nothing in either The Globe and Mail or National Post. Neither did the CBC nor The New Yorker, which had first dibs on her stories for years, bother to acknowledge Alice. Although we had another story ready to post, enroute to the farmers’ market I had an idea. ”Do you have any nettles?” I asked Paul, one of our favourite vendors, thinking if I could quickly write a new post, I’d include a recipe in honour of Alice’s story of the same name.  When Paul said, “Last bag,” I knew what you’d be reading today. Read more