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


For thousands of years the serrated peaks of Montserrat have been a sacred destination for pilgrims exploring their interior mountains and climbers scaling jagged peaks. Being neither pilgrims nor climbers, we simply wanted to see the Benedictine Abbey and hike in the national park. We didn’t know that Montserrat is the home of Sister Teresa Forcades, Spain’s most famous nun, her name usually preceded by the word “radical.”

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“We went in the early 90s,” my sister Joyce said. “Twice. I remember the ocean views and the gorgeous beach, the ruins and the single road. It wasn’t that busy, maybe forty people walking around. I don’t remember seeing any restaurants or hotels.”

Tulum blinked on our radar in the 80s. But our bare feet didn’t touch its white sands until January of 2017 when Magellan said, “Let’s get out of this dismal rain and go somewhere warm for a week.” It took us almost that long to decide where to stay.

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Suppose your father was Ray Stanton Avery who, with $100 borrowed from his future wife and machinery he developed, created the world’s first self-adhesive label, made multimillions and you, his son Dennis, inherited a bundle: What would you do with your wealth?

Magellan and I were in Borrego Springs, California, for the Super Bloom—a profusion of wild flowers: desert sunflowers, purple sand verbena, white evening primrose, magenta cactus blooms. Stunning, their glory days brightening the desert—two weeks before we arrived. What else was there to see? Galleta Meadows, the fortuitous collaboration of Dennis Avery and Ricardo Breceda.

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Is there somebody you know who has been characterized in a love story?

For us, ‘tis Liz (Chute) O’Carroll, proprietress of The Pebble, a renowned B&B in Halifax. Liz and her husband David’s love story is immortalized in the short story “The Pebble” by Ireland’s Bryan MacMahon, writer, teacher, novelist and playwright from the literary town of Listowel where Liz and David grew up. “Our story is one of the great romances of our town,” Liz told us.

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It was almost a decade ago our book club started so I don’t recall whether gratitude goes to Teresa, Anna, Susan or Ed (or me?) for suggesting our first read: The Leopard, by Sicily’s Giuseppe di Lampedusa, a classic gathering no dust on my bookshelf so often is it in my hands. Little did I dream that one day I would see Lampedusa’s original manuscript—in the ballroom of the palazzo in Palermo where he lived the last thirteen years of his life.

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One of the unfortunate disappointments of COVID–19 has been the cancellation of a party of a dear friend. For two years George Taylor has been planning to invite 90 of his friends and family to his 90th birthday celebration. Because his wife Marsha and I are the same age, born two days apart, I’ve piggy-backed on some of the parties he’s planned for her, like her 50th when he filled their West Vancouver backyard with food stations and live music, including the “Spice Girls” (Marsha’s playful ‘sistas’ Marie and Elaine and her friends Gina and Corrine). George knows how to throw a party and would have loved to see each you at his on October 23! Consider this blog his virtual birthday party!

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