Monday Morning Musings

Posted on July 29, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Paradise. Just up the road from Meat Cove

By the time most of you haul your butts out of bed this morning, I’ll be on my way to the Cabot Trail… by car. No, I’m not starting my walk today but merely going on a scouting expedition. I want to map out mileages from Point A to Point B and drop in on some people. This will be a totally different walk than the Camino as I will be walking alone and on the main highways rather than on trails.

Once I have a clear picture of what my days will look like, I will be asking for some help finding lodgings along the way. I realize that some people think we Scots are a frugal lot and reluctant to open our purses and wallets. Yes, I could stay in motels or B&B’s along the way and may end up doing so on the odd occasion but the whole point of this adventure is to stay in people’s homes and hear their stories. These will provide fodder for a book that I’m threatening to write.

My walk has taken on a sharper focus as I plan to dedicate it to my friend Simone MacDonald, a long- time employee of Sobey’s who suffered a devastating stroke a few weeks ago. I’m up with the birds and like to get my groceries before things get too busy. Simone has been working the early morning shift for more than 35 years. She is an active walker and a frequent visitor to the rink to skate in winter. She has a warm personality and we always seem to share a laugh.

The hills that I will climb on the Cabot Trail are nothing compared with those facing Simone. She has a long rehabilitation ahead of her which will require resources. I have started raising money for her to help with expenses that are due to accumulate very soon. If you would like to help out, you can send money anyway that suits you. The Cabot Trail is 300K so maybe you can pledge so much per kilometre or simply a flat amount.

I’m accepting e-transfers at lenpdmacdonald@gmail.com. You can also drop off a donation at Sobey’s or if you’re old fashioned like me, you can mail me a cheque or better still, meet me for coffee and hand deliver it. If all else fails, a carrier pigeon will do. So far, generous folks have sent along $1,100. I’m hoping by the time my walk ends, that we can raise $5,000. I’ll keep you updated.

I was in Halifax on the weekend. Our two 11 year old guests for the month of July headed back home to Montreal yesterday so we decided to spend the weekend in the city. The weather was glorious. Yes, we completed our mission of having ice cream on 30 consecutive days. The very last one was at the Booza Emessa ice cream store in Bedford. This establishment is the pride and joy of one of the province’s Syrian refugee families. If you’re heading down the Bedford Highway towards Bedford, they’re on the right hand side just past the Esquire Motel. There are several businesses with red roofs. You can’t miss it. Booza is the last one. The ice cream is slightly different than what we’re used to but they received rave reviews from the four of us.

I did my Sunday walk yesterday.  We were staying in Dartmouth so I had to walk across the MacDonald Bridge in the early hours of the morning. I watched the fog lift over Halifax Harbour. I sat and gazed at the beauty of the flowers in the Public Gardens. I walked through Point Pleasant Park listening to the coos of the mourning doves, the chatter of squirrels and the scuffle of joggers’ feet out for their morning run. I strolled up Spring Garden Road, still one of my favourite streets anywhere. So many good memories are associated with this street going back to the days of the first Atlantic Bowl football games at Wanderers Grounds. No visit to Halifax was complete until dining at the Garden View Chinese restaurant. I walked from the downtown out to the Armview restaurant at the rotary for lunch with my son. Speaking of legendary restaurants, we’ve been going to the Armview for decades.

The walk certainly wasn’t my longest by any means clocking in at 25K. On this day, I chose quality over quantity.

Happy trails.

Have a great week.

 

  

If you haven’t made a donation to Simone yet, it’s time to pony up!

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Walking the Cabot Trail for Simone

Posted on July 26, 2019 under News & Updates with 2 comments

 

I am asking you to take a few minutes to read this post and please share it with your friends.

I met Simone MacDonald at Sobey’s many years ago. We’re both early birds and we both like to walk. She has a wonderful spirit about her and a pretty decent sense of humour. We always seemed to find something to chuckle about at the checkout. She is also an avid skater.

A few weeks ago, Simone suffered a devastating stroke. She survived but has many hills to climb in the weeks, months and years ahead.

I consider myself among the fortunate ones. My health is good today and I don’t take that for granted. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

In a few weeks time, I plan to walk around the Cabot Trail and my plan is to dedicate the walk to Simone. I also hope to be able to raise some money for the family as Simone faces a long rehabilitation.

So if you want to help, here’s the deal: The Cabot Trail is 300 kilometres long. Maybe you can contribute an amount of money per kilometre or a set amount. For example, a commitment of .10 cents a kilometre amounts to a donation of $30.

You can send me an e-transfer at lenpdmacdonald@gmail.com or stop by Sobey’s and make your donation there.

Thanks for your consideration.

Len

 

 

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on July 25, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

Athena and Ivory

 

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”

Ice Cream. Howard Johnson.

I’m absolutely incorrigible.

I arrived home in early June after walking the Camino. With the exception of my marathon years, I was probably in the best shape of my life. My weight dropped below 170 lbs for the first time in a decade and I was lean and mean.

Now I’m just mean.

Walking 713K required a great deal of fuel. When you’re walking 31K a day, you can eat just about anything (which I did!) and your body will burn it up. But when you’re not walking all day, every day and you keep eating like you were on the Camino, bad things happen. Look no further than your belt buckle.

I have had the pleasure of spending the month of July with two lovely 11 year old ladies from Montreal. They’re leaving for home on Sunday which is bittersweet. We’ve had a lot of adventures. They’ve kept me on my toes. We’ve gone to the beach frequently; played board games, visited the library and did a big trip around the Cabot Trail. But the primary occupation every day was the quest for ice cream.

Someone (not me) promised the girls that they could have ice cream every day of their stay in Antigonish. That’s 30 days. I am not one to shirk my duties lightly. I took this as an order and not a suggestion.

I’m sure we didn’t get to every single ice cream stand but we got to most of them. Michelle’s Grill in the mall parking lot was on our list. Besides ice cream, Michelle also serves a delicious pineapple curry chicken stir fry, my personal favourite on her menu. The Koala Cone is dangerously situated about a 4 minute crawl from our apartment. We got to know the staff very well. Just off of the far end on Main Street on Adams Street is Granny’s Antiques and Gifts. Granny’s greatest gift is ice cream!

On our way to Bayfield to go swimming, we often stopped in at Brosha’s Short Stoppe to get our daily fix, especially if it happened to be a Monday. You see, when you’re an” ice cream hunter” you get to know the hours of operation of ice cream stands and on Mondays, the ice cream stand at the Bayfield Community Centre down at the wharf is closed. We had many pleasant walks along Bayfield beach to go over to the wharf.

No drive to Arisaig would be complete without visiting an authentic lighthouse which happens to be the location of the local ice cream stand. Grab an ice cream just as the sun is setting over the Northumberland Strait. If you have a hankering for maybe the best seafood chowder in these parts, drop into the Dockside Café just a few steps away from the lighthouse. While you’re eating chowder or a slice of their homemade pies, you can learn about the life cycle of lobsters with the interpretive display in the café.

On one of our many day trips, we stopped in at Fish and Ships (not a typo!) at Ballantynes Cove. Besides excellent ice cream, they have really good fish and chips and the setting is beautiful. You can stroll over to the Bluefin Interpretive Centre while you’re waiting for your food.

Speaking of the Cabot Trail. I am going to walk around the Trail in a few weeks and I know for certain that I will stop in at the ice cream place in Pleasant Bay. It’s in a convenience store/souvenir shop just after leaving the village and heading south towards Cheticamp.

When we wanted to mix it up a bit (we’re not a one trick pony), we would go for soft ice cream. We paid our annual visit to Snow Queen Leisure World to do the rides and have hot fudge sundaes. We also made treks to DQ and McDonald’s.

And that, folks is how you are forced to let your belt buckle out a notch or two and don’t even get me started on strawberry shortcake. Because the strawberry season was delayed because of crappy spring weather (is there such a thing as spring anymore in Nova Scotia?), strawberry lovers were forced to make up for lost time once the berries ripened. We had shortcake every day for the first week of strawberry season. Honestly.

It’s not that I want to walk the Cabot Trail. I NEED to walk the Cabot Trail.

I swear to God that they’ll put a sweet tooth on my tombstone.

Have a great weekend and if you get the chance, grab an ice cream cone!

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