Friday, 28 September 2012

Perth County-Culture & Corn-Day Three of Three

6 AM
Sound of gentle rain on the window.
Are the car windows down?  Indeed they are.
Scramble for some clothes and out to the parking lot.  All is well.

Someone's at the cutlery again.  Is this the day to polish the silverware? Now is perhaps not the time.

A couple of new faces at the breakfast table.  Wisconsin and North Bay.  Guests preoccupied getting the WiFi up and running.   Wisconsin octogenarians-she has an arts degree and rents studio space where she churns out paintings; husband choosing not to know what she gets up to in the studio. Interesting conversation about the greying of the theatre crowd.  Not just how to get "bums in seats", but how to get young bums in seats. (It's the grey hairs that have the time and the money.) The Ottawa couple collect sculpture.  North Bay rather quiet-we swapped allergy remedies.  The Montrealer has her voice back.  Apparently Maggie Smith's appearance went down rather well.  Very gracious, we're told.  Ham and cheese stuffed pastry this morning.  Delicious.

Showered, packed and paid up.  Rain persists.  Over to town to pick up the latest acquisition for the kitchen.  Good browsing to be had in Stratford.  They have everything.  Someone commented that they like the "real" town here unlike that other theatre town where they feel everything is staged.

Coffee to escape the wind.  Have yet to replace my Totes umbrella since it was "liberated" from me in Huron County last June.  I have been suffering with an inferior product ever since.  


The plan was Line 4 to the bison farm and then down to Aylmer and Sparta to find Steed & Co.  As the name suggests, they raise horses but they also have a hikeable forest and they grow lavender.

I was less than enthusiastic with the weather situation.  Will we transition to the Autumn unlike last Spring? I did not wear a jacket this year.  Parka to T-shirt in 24 hrs.

Dawns on me that I've left the Bombay in the fridge.  Over we go.  Most people disagree with me on the necessity to chill the drinks.  There's little room in my fridge for essentials like juice and milk what with most of the real estate given over to the alcohol. (Before assumptions are made, I'm a one drink a weeker[vacation exception, of course] and have recently given up on the midweek wine with dinner intake.  Just want to clear that up.)

Off to Shakespeare for pies for the Pater and to find the flagship store of Harry Ten Schilling.  Conditions had turned bleak and homemade soup was just the thing.  This Harry store is larger than Stratford and also houses an antiques shop and clothier amongst other things.  I waited for the two "ladies who lunch" to show up but they did not.  Good soup-vegetable and spices to counter the arctic like conditions outside.

Had a chat with a couple up from London.  They were on route to Bayfield.  I spent the afternoon there last year and really enjoyed it.  Did the Huron County run last year-Goderich/Blyth/Wingham/Point Clark/Goderich again/Bayfield/Grand Bend/Exeter.  Recommend The Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro at Bayfield (beet salad with a nice glass of rose) and Thyme On 21 in Goderich-good creme brulee.

Tea pot was drained and spent the rest of the afternoon in brilliant sunshine.  Retraced steps to St. Mary's.  Look for Klomp's garden centre on the left.  Good selection.  On through Rannoch and cross to Line 4.
Nice stretch of fully paved road.  Corn everywhere. Quiet.  No one attached themselves to my bumper.

Blanbrook Bison Farm is #5679 so you'll be travelling a fair stretch before you come across it. Enjoyed the sausage picked up at the Garlic Fest and thought to try the filet this time.
Met the family dog but no one else home.  A later email from the family tells me that most days after 18:00 are best and that they are also down at the London Farmers' Market Saturday mornings.  They do sell heads so if you have a Man Cave that needs that little something, consider a Bison head.
Double back to take a closer look at the grave stones I'd just passed.  No signage  and I have yet to find out the who/what/where.
Apart from the stones, corn figured prominently throughout the day.  Lots of corn but is it any good given the weather?
If you're in this neck of the woods, take #7 to the Lucan area and make the trek to the Donnelly grave.  The original grave marker has been removed and there is a modern stone in the yard.  If you like your mystery/history, read the following account of the Donnelly saga and massacre.
Down into Oxford County to Thamesford and Ingersoll.  Enjoyed the run but decided to do the Southern leg of the trip another day as the sun would soon be setting.  The jam would have to wait.
Closer to home and went to fill the tank. Mistake #3.  Pulled up behind an enormous pick-up.  The kind that comes with an extension ladder so you can climb into the thing in a timely manner.  Gas station designed with three pumps, the diesel being in the middle.  You cannot access the other two pumps if someone's at the diesel as this one was.  I do not exaggerate here and it's not paranoia, but there was no doubt that the driver released pressure on that pump and filled that tank as slowly as possible.  He finally climbed up the ladder into the cab and sat there.  (I think he did his income tax return while I waited.)  Eventually he pulled away, did a tour of the perimeter and drove out of the station with his partner, who failed to conceal her smirk as she looked my way.  I repeat-not paranoia.
Welcome back to Suburbia.  Where to next?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Perth County-Culture & Corn -Day Two

By popular demand, breakfast has been pushed back to 9AM.  A much more civilized time.
Juice, yogurt & berries, scratch quiche, carrot, chocolate & spice cakes, melon, tea and coffee.  There is no need for lunch with this kind of breakfast.

Mixed crowd this morning-Windsor, Ottawa, Montreal and Barrie.  Great anticipation-Maggie Smith was in town to see "Hirsch".  One of the guests knows someone who knows someone who's in the know.  Will there be a rush at the box office?

Those that saw The Matchmaker didn't care for it.  Too farcical, too much slapstick.  To each his own.  I thought it was good fun.  Go see the Greeks or Macbeth if you want high drama. (Although, I'm still reeling from the last production of Macbeth-set in Africa of all places.  It's hard to suspend disbelief when a character cries out "Scotland! Oh, Scotland!" and he's in the middle of the Savannah.  I was accused of being a purist.  I'm all for modernization but let's start with modern day Scotland and go from there.  My favourite play from last season is Twelfth Night. It didn't have a set period.  One character wore a codpiece and tights, John Lennon delivered a pizza and so on.) We swapped notes on what to see, where to eat, where we've been and where we're going.

Mobilized and walked down to Stage Books for a browse.  Spied a Russell Smith and Elizabeth David-more about her kitchen in a future post.   Looking for Tom Stoppard and Harold Pinter collections.  Like Rushdie, Stoppard has a voice you could listen to for hours(and not too shabby an author).  To do the shop properly, you will need to give yourself plenty of time. Bring a list with you.

Booked High Tea at Harry Ten Schilling.  Highly recommend this spot.  Fresh scones with double cream; cheese & homemade chutney, egg, tomato & cucumber sandwiches.  Six pastries and a pot of custard topped with a nasturtium flower and berries.  Good selection of teas.

Down to the Shakespeare Gardens which seems to be maintained by one highly motivated person.  I secured a spot and tackled the crossword.  This is the year to master the New York Times (in pen).  Meandered along the river to the War Memorial.  Ducks, white geese and swans quietly going about their business when Jackson, a lunatic child of about six, broke free from his family and ran along the riverbank, roaring and screeching at them; once, twice, three times.  The peace was shattered.  The birds flew away.


Called in at Distinctly Tea.  Three hundred varieties of loose tea; sommeliers on staff. Recommend Rose Conguu, Buckingham Palace, Earl Grey Royale and Keemun Imperial amongst about twenty or so other favourites.

Questioning whether the town hall is the "old" town hall?  Way too many teenagers hanging out for Council space.  Truancy rates must have gone through the roof.

Afternoon Tea was amusing.  Arrived after the pre-show rush.  Two couples came in after me but the husbands fancied the pub next door after they found out the room wasn't licensed.  Restaurant was empty but the women chose the table next to me.  I'm not antisocial but given that they had the choice of any table in the place and picked one that was a foot away from me, I was a touch put out.  They were loud.  They wanted to know what brand of tea they were drinking.  "You know, like Tetley?"  This is fine, loose tea; it does not come in a brand. One didn't get her milk immediately and got pouty. "But, my tea is getting cold."  I hate to break it to you but milk chills tea.   They wanted more cream for the scone, they wanted more water for the pot.  "Oh, it's weak."  Yes, because you've already taken the strength out of it in the first pot.  The proprietor handled it well.  Obviously I didn't.  The husbands showed up and off they went (interestingly, the women wouldn't pay; they waited for the men even though they had cash and plastic on them).  I was curious to know where they were going for dinner because I'd like to see how the two of them coped with a full dinner menu.

I'd become wedged in my seat from the all the pastries. Another walk was in order. Took the shortbread home for the apres theatre.  Dropped off the day's collection at the B & B and set off for the opposite end of the lake.  Broke a sweat and by the time I got there the ink had leached off the pages of my magazine.  From the look of my arms I'd either been on the receiving end of a bad tattoo job or just coming off years of heroin addiction. 

Terraced gardens and ponds at the Theatre.  Everyone thrilled with the Autumn Croci-just like the Spring ones only pink and much bigger.

Some fine houses in the area.  Beautiful detailing which you don't see in a modern home.  Watched the swans for a bit-won't be long before they'll be taken off the water to their Winter home.  Jackson did not make a second appearance.  Small mercies.

On to  Balzac's for a Parisian Mist.  Juan Chioran and Nigel Bennett taking coffee.  It's good that actors can sip a latte and hang out.

Rinsed off the ink and spruced myself up.  Off to the Studio Theatre for Best Brothers. Two men dealing with the sudden death of their Mother.  Excellent comedy but also very poignant.  This was the world premiere so do look for it in your neighbourhood.  I'd only seen MacIvor in "The Five Senses" and had no idea he had so much writing behind him.  Loved the staging.

Planned the route for Day 3, ate the shortbread and mixed myself a small G & T.  Did you think I'd forgotten to bring the Bombay?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Perth County-Culture & Corn-Day One


What in the name of arse?

Vacation week and after two early starts Monday and Tuesday thought a lie in was in order. Little did I know that my neighbour had other ideas. He is normally an early riser but chose Wednesday to get up at the crack of dawn to begin the masonry work for his front walk. Seniors in my neighbourhood don't turn over and go back to sleep. I think if I ever see retirement, I'd go the lie-in route.

Stirred from a blissful slumber by the cutter I resigned myself to another early start.  Breakfast in bed sounded good and besides the dry wall dust still coated the dining room table. I was scheduled to meet my London counterpart for luncheon but I consumed the Full Monty and one of those mega muffins that loom large in the bakery. (The price went up thirty cents after they started wrapping them in the little brown cooking papers! The price of aesthetics.)

Stratford bound again- this time for the theatre.  After several years of theatre going you finally get to a point where you know what routine works best.  You can cram your schedule with half a dozen plays, sightseeing, shopping and eating (desperately trying to stay awake during the first fifteen minutes of the last show because the exhaustion is finally setting in) or choose some evening shows and allow yourself the whole day for R & R.  This is a vacation after all not boot camp.

This year stayed away from Shakespeare, but Wyn Davies was in Cymbelline and that's enough of a draw to keep it in the back of my mind for three days.  Also wanted to see Elektra because I'd recently listened to an interview with Anne Carson who did the translation.  Greek tragedy? Perhaps not.  Keeping it light, chose The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder and Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor.

Half a dozen trips to the car-scheduling myself around Q this morning.  Salman Rushdie and Deepa Mehta talking about their new movie-Midnight's Children. Rushdie has one of those voices you could listen to all day.  Sadly, the price on his head has recently increased.  Previously on Q this week-Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken (The Late Quartet)-two of my favourites.  I think it behooves a host to make an effort with interviews.  Guests must get sick of answering the same questions over and over.

I'm actually enjoying this 401 thing.  Farmland north and south.  And, yes, the sun was out.  (Of course the sun is always out, it's the cloud cover that's the critical factor.)

I had a vision for lunch.  The vision included an ice cold martini (perhaps a few stray ice chips in the glass; four olives) followed by something really tasty-there's a good Thai close to the office or samosa and butter chicken from The Raja.  This did not happen.  We went to the local diner which is presently under renovation.  Dust everywhere and half way through the meal someones sander blew out and the room clouded over.  My lungs haven't been the same since.

After a less than stellar lunch, made my way North via #4.  Mistake number one.  What would be the ideal route?  #4 runs N, NE, E then N and changes names five times.  It takes you right through town and unless you're looking to tour the back lots of both the Salvation Army and Goodwill, I suggest alternate arrangements.  #4 passes right through the core, which is bottle neck, and UWO.  If it's food you're after, this would be the spot.  Traffic is appalling, though.

Finally hit countryside.  Good time of year-fields a little ahead of the trees with the colour change.
Corn everywhere.

Headed along #7 toward St. Mary's.  Construction and one lane of traffic at times.  It's 80 kmh here but the mini van behind me was determined to reach 100 kmh.  Despite the open road ahead of me and no double yellow lines, the van would not overtake.  What are you waiting for?  We drove like this for miles .  There was no rationalizing the situation.  Perhaps they didn't have a map and were straining to read mine.  Forced right for a detour, I pulled over-defeated.  Blood pressure rising, I stepped out of the car and with a wide sweep of my arm, like a host inviting guests to make themselves comfortable, gave the road over to the van. 
St. Mary's for a stress break.  Mistake # 2.  School had just got out and there were swarms of yellow buses everywhere.  Cold drink and a walk.  Found the Arthur Meighen statue.  The gardens at the Festival Theatre are named after him.
Work crew on the bridge so missed the waterfront.  St. Mary's is very picturesque.  Nice riverbanks, shops and a swimming hole in the old quarry. Big cemetery.

Checked in later than usual.  Always go with A Cottage on Brunswick  which is very unassuming from the outside  but has been gutted and refurbished inside.  Aurelia is a wonderful host and she prepares a great breakfast.  The cottage is central to all  theatres and it's a short walk to town.

Most of the gardeners in Stratford have given up on grass and fill their front with flowers and shrubs.


Quick change and had a walk 'round town.  Let Them Eat Cake is in a new location.  They do breakfast, lunch and dinner and of course enormous cakes and pastry.  Burned off the scone walking to the Festival Theatre for The Matchmaker-which is still playing until October 27.  Good fun.  Great cast.

News & TVO-"Why does the sky get dark at night?"  Deep thoughts after a long day.  Now where did I put those ear plugs?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Perth County-Garlic & Graveyards

Vampire hunting?  Not quite.

Spent the last couple of weeks in and out of Perth County.  A third trip may be on the horizon.  Started going to the Stratford Festival (sorry, have to call it The Stratford Shakespeare Festival now) five years ago and every year spied the posters for The Garlic Festival.  Garlic?  How do you create a festival around garlic?  Time to find out.

Stratford's Fest takes place second week in September.  As seems to be the norm for me and travel, started the day with heavy rain.  Not just any rain-monsoon like conditions that necessitate driving with the hazards on in what would be the equivalent of a white out if it were any later in the year.  I have to say there's not much 403/401 traffic at 7 AM on a Saturday.

Always have grief at Woodstock.  One has the choice to take 59, 6 or 119 going North. 
59 changes names five times and runs N, NW, N, W and then N again. Southbound is not an issue.  The thing is I'm always right but I second guess myself and wind up driving all over creation.

Festival admission is $5  and there is free parking. The rain stopped for a few hours which was a welcome relief.  It is advisable to arrive early in order to get the best selection.  It helps to have someone with you who knows what they're doing-which I had.  We made a beeline for an organic vendor- Golden Acres Farms from Gadshill (Northeast of Stratford). Very nice presentation.  Clean, fully cured bulbs; 120 varieties.  The bulbs come labelled so you know what you're getting.

I think we're all guilty of buying the little white Made In China bulbs from the grocery store.  Try your local farmers' market and Fall festival/fairs for Ontario grown bulbs.  I have it on very good authority that the garlic will keep upwards of one year.  Keep them in a basket on your countertop to let them breath.  A little research may be in order to make full use of the bulbs.  Some are better in salads; some are better cooked.

The festival has numerous vendors-garlic only, garlic based product (sausage, salsa, fudge-don't knock it 'til you tried it) and seasonal goods/other (jams, crafts, cookbooks etc.).  Lots of free samples.  Enjoyed the apple topped with cheddar and a slice of garlic and lavender jam. Picked up bison sausage from Blanbrook Farms.  Very lean, very dense meat.  Hands were full so no chance for pics. 

Expect garlic breath.  Do bring mints with you if you're at all self conscious.
Also, bring a cooler and ice packs with you.

Took in one of the cooking demos.  Chef D, who is apparently somewhere on CTV, cooked up garlic veggie soup and Caesar salad.  I have to say though that instead of the garlic soup he was going for, we felt we had nutmeg soup on our hands.  Over seasoned.  The salad was good though.  Try Grapeseed oil instead of olive oil.

The rain came heavy and we decided to head out for lunch.  After some Marx Brothers moments finding cars and each other, tucked into some local fare at Bentley's on Ontario Street.  Good quiche.  After, we made our way down the road to Shakespeare Pies.  Good quality savoury and dessert pies. They also sell cheese from Gordon's Goat Dairy who are out between Wingham and Brussels.

Double backed to town to pick up bulbs for the garden(the squirrel shall rue the day it digs up my lawn)and for the coffee fix. Managed to squeeze in a slice of Reece's Pieces cake (to fortify myself for the afternoon drive).  I may or may not have indulged myself at Wuerth's Shoes.  The annual end of season sale purchase.  I won't tell if you won't.

Definitely recommend the Stratford Garlic Fest.  Too bad about the weather.  Please try a Fall Festival in your neighbourhood and support your local farmers. 
The Toronto Garlic Festival runs the weekend of October 12.  Admission is $10

Headed East and turned right at the first barn I saw. Road 109. Nothing but farms for miles.


The cows were grazing  but this one stopped for a moment to size me up and, deeming me not to be a threat, obliged me with a photo.

At 109 and Perth Rd 33 is an old cemetery opposite the now disused Evangelical United from 1874.

Grounds are still maintained but some of the gravestones are quietly disappearing into the earth.  Drove on 33 to 107 and found a second cemetery at Sebastopol.  Spoke to the farmer across the street who invited me to use his property to take in the clock tower of the church. 


Having explained  what I was up to in the church yard, he suggested I double back Northeast.  He had just been down to maintain one of the earliest Catholic churches in the area and he thought I might like to see it.

Made the left, made the right and thought I'd gone completely wrong because I drove for miles surrounded by nothing but fields and farmyards.  Times like this I feel like the characters in "Mrs Todd's Shortcut" by Stephen King. 

And there it was.  The church has no name, no plaque, nothing to indicate denomination.  Grounds are maintained and the church is in wonderful shape.  Looks to be Irish surnames.

Picked out Punkeydoodles Corners on the map.  I blinked and missed it.  County Roads 5 to 8 and down Hubbard to escape the traffic.  Saw a sign for The Walters Family dinner theatre of all things. Hubbard is a quiet, secluded road and the last thing I was expecting was dinner theatre.  Apparently, it has quite a following with professional acts performing throughout the year (concerts and plays).

Hubbard turns East then South and continues onto Oxford 29.  Beware road numbers.  You have to keep in mind what county you're in.  Line roads and county roads are all duplicates of each other. 
The pies and sausage were quietly thawing and after twelve hours on the go, it was time to find the highway.
Next time:  Culture and Corn.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mexspagnol Night

After perusing The Sauce Book by Paul Gayler (that's not my hand in the upper right of the picture) I was inspired to tackle salsa and chicken mole.

Aiming for a Mexican night, I wound up with a hybrid EuroMex menu with the following:

~Thyme infused tequila cocktail
~Olive tapenade on goats cheese
~Cod and salsa
~Chicken mole w/ rice
~Baked peaches with fresh cream

What to pair with this?  A Grigio? Riesling? Gewurztraminer? Zinfandel?  Like Indian cooking, pairing is tricky.  Went with a VQA~Strewn ~Two Vines (Riesling/Gewurztraminer.)  Just enough sweetness to balance the salsa and mole.  Enough Riesling to accommodate the tapenade and fish.  In fact, if there was any left, the wine could probably have carried through to dessert in a pinch.  Prefer at least a Late Harvest at this stage, though.

Thyme for Tequila

Boil 1 CUP water and sugar with zest of 1/2 lemon and 6 sprigs of thyme.  Simmer 10 mins.
Strain and cool.

For each serving:  2 oz tequila, 1 oz lemon juice, 1 1/2 oz syrup.  Pour over ice, add soda water.

1 CUP black olives (after pitting)
1 clove garlic
juice of one lemon
5 anchovy filets
olive oil to blend

Pit olives; mince garlic; chop in blender; drizzle with olive oil; add anchovies; mince; add lemon juice; sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Tres simple.

A word about crackers.  Always go with an unseasoned water cracker.  Don't insult the toppings.
My choice is Carr's. 
Top your cracker with a little goat's cheese and tapenade.


First and last purchase of Bream.  Although I shouldn't give up quite so easily.  I naively thought the fishmonger had cleaned (ie deboned, beheaded, gutted) the fish.  Not so.  Gills are tough.  After making a rough attempt at filleting the beast, all I was left with was stock base.

Went with cod.  Love cod.  Don't overcook the fish-any fish.  Cod filet is fairly thick and I would give it about 7 minutes a side.  Poach or pan fry in a little butter.


Turning to the Gayler, went with a hybrid salsa/salsa verde.

2 serrano chiles
1 jalapeno
6 tomatillos/or any tomato
1 small onion (red/white/yellow)
2 garlic cloves
2 handfuls cilantro/coriander
pinch salt
pinch ground cumin

Roast peppers and tomatoes in a dry fry pan 'til blistered.
Mince garlic, tomatillos, onion, peppers, ground cumin, olive oil, black pepper

Grind your own cumin.  Why would you treat the coffee shop to the aroma of freshly ground beans when you can grind at home?  Likewise with any herb or spice. Cumin gives off a wonderful aroma.  If desired, dry roast the seeds in a frying pan then grind.

Obtain a mortar and pestle. 



At this stage I threw in a cheat.  While out in the middle of nowhere recently, I came across a kitchen supply store that always seems to thrive in the middle of nowhere.  Spied a mole sauce and picked up a bottle.   Fry up chicken, onions and garlic and simmer in sauce.  Allow 30 minutes.

I will be following up with my scratch version of mole and here is the recipe for the diehards.  Cut yourselves some slack every once in a while-you've shopped, you've prepared the beverage, the tapenade, the salsa, the dessert so it's OK to open a bottle of something occasionally.

2 dried ancho chiles
2 dried pasilla chiles or dried pepper flakes
3 cups chicken stock
2 corn tortillas
1 TBSP lard
1 onion
1/2 TSP dried oregano
2 garlic cloves-crushed
14 oz can tomatoes
1/2 CUP raisins-soak in warm water to plump
2 1/2 oz dark chocolate-aim for 75-90%
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1TSP sugar
1/2 TSP ground cloves
1 TSP coriander seeds
1 TBSP sesame seeds-toast these
pinch of ground anise
pinch of salt

(so the mortar will come in handy, no?)

Fry chiles, soak for 30 mins.  Boil 1 CUP of stock, add tortillas. Let stand.
Heat half lard/oil, cook onion, oregano and garlic.
Chop chiles and add to onions.
Add tortilla stock.  Boil
Add everything else EXCEPT stock.
Put everything back in  the pan and add rest of stock.
Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Depending on where you are, peaches may be in scarce supply at this point.
I was fortunate to get local. Following up with my poached pears for the Fall but do keep the peach recipe in mind for next season.  Tinned fruit will do in a pinch.  Reduce cooking time.
50 g ameretti-crushed
1 TBSP caster sugar
1 yolk
1 oz butter
Blend above 'til paste like consistency.
Pit peaches, fill with paste.
Bake 350C for 20 mins.
Serve with mascarpone or 35% cream.
(Visuals don't do the dish justice.)
A word about cream.
Cream does not come from the freezer section.
It does not come out of a red can.
For a South of the border touch,  drizzle with Cajeta Sauce.
3 CUP goat or sheep's milk
1/3 CUP sugar
1 CUP whipping cream
1 stick cinnamon
3 TBSP unsalted butter, chopped
Put everything but butter to boil.
Take out cinnamon and simmer for 2 hours.
Take off heat and whisk butter.
Serve warm or cold.


Shaw Festival-September/October

Further to my recommendation on Come Back, Little Sheba by William Inge.

Talking to someone recently about the Shaw Fest and they said they always been meaning to go and that "one day"  the "right" play will entice them to go.
What they are looking/waiting for, I'm not sure. They did not elaborate at the time.  If you cannot find something on this season's playbill to suit then you either haven't been looking or clearly you have some issues.

Allow me to recommend the following:

The Millionairess by the great man himself, Shaw.
Directed by Blair Williams who is a fine actor when he's on stage.  Hope we'll see him next season.
A good comedy with (as with all Shaw plays) hidden depths.
Great fun.

Hedda Gabler by Ibsen.
Directed by Martha Henry so you cannot go wrong here.  (If you are looking for elocution lessons, Ms. Henry is your go-to.)
Some nasty characters you can sink your teeth into.
Anything with Mary Haney is a good pick.

(Editor's note-Don't be afraid of Ibsen!)

A Man and Some Women by Sowerby.
A very good playwright.
Directed by Jackie Maxwell.
Another nasty character whose neck you want to wring (his wife, not Ms. Maxwell).
Little surprise at the end.

Now the picking is done for you, get out and support live theatre.

Monday, 17 September 2012

People Watching-Small Town Ontario-Apple Country

Cobourg-Rice Lake-Port Hope

Up early and down to the common room for breakfast.  Cold juice!!  No newspaper, no eggs, no tea biscuits; world's smallest muffins.  Snoozed and fired up the coffee.  Chef Michael Smith this AM-love his kitchen.

Found that the bill had been shoved under the door in the middle of the night.  Please don't process the bill until it's time to do so.  Same assistant manager on duty as last night which puts her at an 18hr day-is she 24/7 or is she have a doppelganger?

Underestimated the length of time to load the car.  The doppelganger called down to the room-I hadn't returned the key by 11:00. She called housekeeping on the cell-where was I?  Where they going to send a search party out for me?  Made my way to the front desk.  I ask if it's customary to shove the bill under the door.  No pleasantries were exchanged.  Drive from Trenton to Coburg and the hotel service changes like night and day.

Downtown Cobourg.  I was on a mission.  I had driven from Hamilton with 26 empty wine bottles in the trunk.  Don't go to the beer store as a rule so it's either hoard bottles or forego the deposit and let the little man on the bicycle collect the returns.


Downtown Cobourg must have the largest number of coffee shops per capita.  It's your fault if you cannot find a decent beverage.  I like Human Bean.  Wandered through the antique stores. Enjoyed Antique Market Place.  Man looking for typewriters and a couple of women unloading a pick-up entertaining notions of Antique Roadshow finds.  Went home rather disappointed with a price of $60 on the mirror.  "But it's antique!"  The proprietor reminded them that antique does not necessarily translate into dollars.  Demand and rarity.  I spied a rather nice teapot and Depression era dessert dishes.

Usual suspects in the core including Nessie's which specializes in British imports.  Picked up a bottle of avocado oil from A Matter of Taste to add to the collection.

Cobourg has a good beach area (clean, groomed sand), marina, boardwalk, lighthouse, farmers' market and a gallery located at the Victoria Hall.

The sun decided to make an appearance for a change.  So much easier without the burden of the umbrella and galoshes.
Headed Northwest to Roseneath sans coffee.  If you make the pilgrimage make sure to visit the historic Carousel and make sure it's a Sunday afternoon. 
Dropped down #18 to Harwood.  #18 skirts Rice Lake as far as Gores Landing. Most of the land is occupied by camp sites and cottages but every once in a while, the lake appears.
Approaching tea time and called at The Victorian Inn.  Naturally, it was closed for a private function.  The inn offers B & B, lunch and dinner in a very pleasant setting.  My advice?  Call ahead.
Took a side road North to the lakefront to take in the view.  Not a parking zone but someone decided to park anyway thus rendering my three point turn damn nigh impossible.  I chose to speak up this time.  Perplexed, the driver was unable to rationalize his decision making.
#18 goes South and you will pick up #9 to Bewdley-tip of the lake. #9 is busy so take a lesser travelled line road if you can't handle the traffic. Bewdley clearly gets the crowds because the parking seemed a little excessive for such a small spot. Lots of boating.  Spied a pizza shack and a roadhouse-The Hippo? No, The Rhino Roadhouse. Decide to hold out until dinner. 
Storm clouds brewing at this point.
#28 to Port Hope.  Second visit which was more to remind me of what was there.  Bigger than I remembered.  Try to schedule yourselves around The Jazz Festival in September or live theatre at The Capitol.  Decide on a driving tour of Orchard Country which took in the gates of the former Massey House, the Farrely House and the Farini House-famous tightrope walker.
Favourite spot?  Heading South after the Farrely House crossing the Ganaraska River.
Then came the rains and it was time to find the 401 and prepare for the approach to Oshawa and reality.