Category Archives: Holidays

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

It’s Robbie Burns Day. Will you celebrate the bard today with haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps? Or did you celebrate last weekend or will you this coming weekend?

At The House of King, we’ll be having our Robbie Burns Night celebrations this coming Saturday. A wee haggis awaits its fate in my freezer and after being cooked it will be cut open with ready sleight and a wee dram of whisky poured in the opening.

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
“Bethankit!” ‘hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

Happy New Year!

And to all my Scottish friends and family…

Happy Hogmanay!

I spent the second last night of 2011 in the best way possible. My girlfriend from South Wales arrived in Canada just before Christmas and is staying with her cousin. We’d talked all along that we must find time to meet up somewhere between where we live and her cousin’s home. Last night was the night! We decided to meet at a restaurant in Cornwall, ON. What fun! I can’t believe we’d not been together since 2005! First us at her cozy bungalow in late June and then she came to us (her first trip to Canada no less) that October.

But back to last night… it was wonderful to see her again. Our rendez vous was at Kelsey’s on Brookdale Avenue at 6-ish. I was afraid when we arrived we’d have a long wait because no one had made reservations and the car park was packed. They had arrived before us and when I told the girls at the hostess station we were meeting friends and didn’t know if they were there yet. She asked us if our last name was King and immediately took us to the table. Once I got around the corner, I immediately saw Anne at the table and rushed to see her. Her cousin took many pictures of her and I together, some with my husband, too, and her daughter took one of my husband and I together. I must get them to e-mail the photos to me.

The food and service were excellent but what impressed me the most was they had their menu available in Braille! You see my friend, Anne, is blind.

Long after we’d paid the bill, we were still sat around the table laughing and talking. Our waitress came back once and asked if she could get us coffee or soft drinks and there was no problem with us staying there and being silly longer. Finally between 9:30 and 10:00 we bid our farewells and made our way back home.

What will my plans be for tonight? After last night, it’s going to be hard to top so I don’t think I’m going to try. Still, I have nibbles in the freezer that can be warmed up and champagne chilling to wash them down. So that will be this afternoon then a glass or two of bubbly tonight. And if I can get a streaming webcam facing the right direction, I’ll watch the New Year arrive in Edinburgh or Glasgow or some other city in Scotland.

I hope Anne enjoys her first New Years in Canada as she has her Christmas. Cheers my friend and Happy Hogmanay!

SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.—For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a
weary fit,
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld, &c.

Robert Burns

2011 is almost over

Another Christmas has come and gone. The next big thing on the calendar is New Years. So do you make resolutions? Better yet, if you do, do you keep them? Do you go out and celebrate New Years Eve?

Here, where I live, they have concerts in the churches beginning early in the evening and continuing to “the hour”. I’ve watched the celebrations online in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London and on those nights I’ve managed to stay awake, the big “do” in Time Square in New York City, and in Toronto. This year’s celebrations in Niagara Falls look like they’ll be quite interesting. There’s only been one year in my memory that my town did anything huge for New Years and that was 1999 when we were flipping into 2000. For the entire year, a countdown clock had been affixed to one of the downtown stores, then on the big night, a ball was raised down at the waterfront followed by fireworks. It was a fun night.

If this year is like any other, we’ll stay in, maybe watch a movie and be in bed long before midnight.


Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours

To all my friends and family who are scattered throughout the globe, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

The angel on top of the Christmas tree is new this year as is the tree itself. I didn’t buy the treetop ornament because it was an angel so much but because her red “velvet” long coat trimmed in white fur reminded me of the gorgeous clothing the women wore in the movie White Christmas.

Things will get going here in earnest tomorrow. Deliver Christmas gifts to a few folks in the morning, last minute cleaning since I have a dog who sheds enough hair to grow another dog on any given day, so making one last pass with the Hoover is in order. Roast beef, potatoes, carrots, Yorkshire puddings are on the menu for tomorrow night followed by a Yule log and perhaps some pumpkin pie (if I remember to get it out of the freezer in time) with whipped cream.

The father-in-law will be joining us for supper so the two grandsons will get to open their gifts from him while he’s here. Our daughter and her youngest son, her partner and his daughter will be with us, too. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a three-year-old in the house – let alone a three-year-old girl. Sure they come over and visit but not at meal time and this will be the first time she’s been with us at Christmas! Once everyone is gone home, Santa snacks laid out, and the dishwasher running, then it’s time for our Christmas Eve movie – A Christmas Carol. And it has to be the black & white version with Alastair Sim as Scrooge (good thing I have it on DVD).

Christmas morning, the chaos begins. Our daughter and her entourage will be heading over after they’ve done their thing at her place. Her oldest son lives here and at fifteen it’s not quite so frenzied in the morning. I’ve been led to believe that he’s spending the night at her place Christmas Eve, so we’ll have even more downtime in the morning to prepare for the onslaught.

There’s usually an endless pot of coffee going starting sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 (the alarm dog won’t let us sleep past that) so there’s Kahlua and Baileys for it for those who are feeling so inclined. Once the presents are opened, I start our Christmas morning fry-up – bacon, eggs, tattie scones or fried bread, mushrooms, and the piece de resistence – sliced haggis!

About the time I start cooking breakfast/brunch, the champagne comes out along with the orange juice and we have mimosas. Clean-up from this over with, the kids go home for a while, I crash because Ifinally get a chance to sit down and my two Christmas Day movies get played – Holiday Affair with Robert Mitchum and Christmas in Connecticutt with Barbara Stanwyck. Love them both! And again, I have them on DVD so can watch them as and when.

The kids come back later in the afternoon and we have more champagne along with munchies. Sometime during their absence, I’ll get the feast on for our supper. Ham and turkey, sweet potatoes and squash along with potatoes and stuffing are the meal this year for Christmas Day – probably about 6:00 – followed by pumpkin pie with whipped cream or my favourite – plum pudding with caramel sauce.

I think my shopping is done. At least I hope it is. If not, I’ll walk downtown to the supermarket at the far end of our High St and pick it up there and there are plenty of other shops along the way if I need any last minute loot.

Sometime between now and gift delivery tomorrow, I need to make a start at wrapping presents! The bedroom is stacked with them but not a one wrapped. Well, two were and both delivered – one for our gift exchange at work (took place last week) and one for the venue where we hold our local writers’ group meetings.

And that folks is the insanity that is Christmas at The House of King!

Happy Christmas to everyone! And as Tiny Tim says in A Christmas Carol – God bless us, everyone.



T’is the Season…

I can finally say that I got my Christmas tree up and decorated, although things didn’t go quite as planned. I ended up moving all the furniture out of its’ normal position so I could have the tree out far enough I could walk around it as I decorated. This distressed the dog to no end because his bed wasn’t in its usual location and worse still, it was rolled up! I managed to move a few things around a bit more and spread out his bed onto which he promptly settled on. A couple of bruises later, as a result of bumping into things, I had the lights strung and the angel on the top. Phew.

As the tree took shape, after each string of lights, I paused and took a photo. It was on one of these passes across the room that I rubbed against the dog the wrong way and he let out a huge hound yelp. It didn’t take long to discover the reason for his discomfort. The entire flap of his right ear was engorged… with what, we didn’t know. I called the vet and luckily they had an opening. So we made a flying visit there. The poor beast has had chronic ear problems for as long as I can remember. It was explained to us at the vet’s that he’d broken the blood vessels in his ear shaking his head. But with his history, and the size of it, it was going to require surgery. They were very good with him and drained what they could out of his ear, and sent us home with the same pain medication he’ll be on post-op. So tomorrow, I’ll take my poor wee conehead and drop him at the vet’s on my way to work and then pick him up after.

You can really see in the bottom photo how swollen his ear flap is and they’d drained it. Basically, it will continue to swell until they can get in there and repair the damage. Poor boy. The cone they put on him yesterday is clear and he hasn’t tried to pull it off – not once, unlike the opaque one he had after a previous ear surgery.

Thankfully, the pain medication is keeping him comfortable. We gave it to him yesterday afternoon at 5:00 and he won’t get any more until the same time today.

His biggest problem right now is he can’t drink out of his dish with the water bottle. He tried yesterday and knocked the bottle off and we had water all over the place! All is not lost, we keep the bottle filled and on the counter so we just have to make sure his dish has water in it.

What is going to bother him the most is not being allowed to eat in the morning. Nothing after 8:00 tonight. He’s not going to be best pleased so say the least.

After our flying visit to the vet’s, I finally was able to finish decorating the tree. You can view the video I created here.

Launch day for Holiday Magic The Gift Of Love by loveahappyending author Lavada Dee

LAHE logo

Holiday Magic The Gift Of Love by Lavada Dee

Priceless Love by Lavada Dee & Laurie Ryan

(a two story anthology)

“For Richer, For Poorer”

Taylor Hamilton, dissatisfied with a life designed by her parents, attends a friend’s fall wedding and finds small town life agrees with her. The problem is, her wealth doesn’t agree with the man she falls for. Is their love strong enough to find a bridge of trust where money isn’t an issue?

Healing Love by Laurie Ryan

In Sickness and in Health”

Nicole Milbourne’s single-minded focus on a medical research career is thrown for a loop when charismatic Dr. Damien Reed shows her there’s more to life than studying diseases. Will an unexpected Christmas fill Nicole’s lonely heart and show her the healing power of love?

Length:  123 pages
Language: English
eBook: ISBN 978-1-4658-4203-9
Amazon (US) Kindle and Print (buy) :

Barnes & Noble (buy):


Santa Claus Came to Town

This afternoon was the annual Santa Claus parade here in Brockville. Today was mild enough we could enjoy watching it go past our front door outdoors, although the air was damp with rain. Thankfully, the precipitation held off until the parade was over and has still held off.

In previous years, the night before a parade, the city goes along the route leaving temporary NO Parking signs then on parade morning come back and turn them to face the streets. They didn’t do that this year so there were a number of cars parked along the route making it difficult for the entrants to navigate… especially the huge tractor trailers (or lorries as my UK friends refer to them).

The Brockville re-enactors start every parade and are sent well out ahead of the rest of the parade because they’re marching and take time to fire their guns at regular intervals throughout the route.

The Brockville Re-enactors

This year’s event had almost seventy entries! So it was a long time before it ended. In typical Brockville parade fashion, it was well strung out and this year that problem was compounded when floats couldn’t get around corners and had to back up and go ahead many times to succeed without hitting vehicles.

The Grinch

No Brockville parade, no matter the season, wouldn’t be complete without at least one pipe band. Usually, the local band and/or Spencerville are in attendance among the others but this year neither one were in attendance. We did, however, have the Rob Roy Pipe Band from Kingston.

The Rob Roy Pipe Band
The smallest member of the band struggling to keep up

Among the cartoon characters putting in an appearance today, were those modern stone-age families… The Flinstones and The Rubbles.

Bedrock meets Brockville

The following picture is mostly for the benefit of my UK friends. Much different from the snub-nosed (or as we call them here cab-over) they’re used to seeing on the roads. The company both my husband and I work for pull 53′ trailers and during certain times of year pull two of them that length in a train! Good thing the latter are only allowed on the motorways between Toronto and Montreal. And if there’s an accident which causes a road closure, they can’t be detoured. They’re parked until the road is re-opened.

One of our huge North American lorries

And what’s a parade without horses and other animals. A horsebreeder from Mallorytown entered with three of their steeds and the Ontario SPCA (our local branch) brought a few dogs out for a walk. Any that were wearing Blue coats are up for adoption.

The Gypsy Vanner Horses from Mallorytown
The OSPCA and their dogs

Somehow, I don’t think my dog (aka alarm dog) would be best pleased if we were to bring another one into the house. And I can’t say as I blame him. He’s ruled the roost for quite some time now… beginning when he lived with my daughter next door and came here to play in the backyard. My friend, Chris, and her family will remember him from the day they visited us when she came to Canada.

Sadly not up for adoption but still beautiful

Santa’s float was one of the ones that had a difficult time navigating around the corner enroute to our location – all because of a parked car. When the float passed us, my husband noticed that the lights on the right side of the trailer had been pulled off all because someone needed to get the “perfect” place to watch the parade from.

The jolly old elf, himself, and Mrs Claus
The jolly old elf, himself, and Mrs Claus

We’ve been back in the house for about an hour now and the dampness is finally leaving my bones. Now that Santa has come and gone, has it put me in the Christmas spirit? Not yet, but closer. Colder temperatures and snow would help. And now that I have the winter tires on my car, I say “bring it on!”

Guy Fawkes Night

Will you be going to any Guy Fawkes celebrations tonight? Huge bonfires, fireworks or the like? Or will you spend it tucked up inside your cozy houses? No matter your choosing, this commemmoration dates back to 1605 when Guy Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives planted under the House of Lords. It was originally a celebration because the King had survived the attempt on his life.

Whatever your night will bring, have a good one!

Happy Halloween!!!

Another Halloween is upon us. Do you do anything special for the kids who come trick or treating? Create a haunted house maybe for them to tour through? Put up lots of decorations?

I’ve not gone so far as to create the haunted house, but I do have some headstones and skeletons that I like to display on my front yard. I also have a flying bat that I’ve put up in previous years. Sadly, poor old “Drac” has seen better days and has been retired. All is not lost, because I now have “Drac 2”! I picked him up at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago.

The Happy Couple - Boner & Bride

My dilemma now is how to display everyone… or should that be everything. Two years ago, when I bought a second large skeleton, I had a skeleton wedding. My first one, who I had named “Boner” some years before got hitched to the new one. So I had him decked out in a top hat and bow tie (sorry no tails) hanging from the porch roof. Even “Drac” got into the action and was a witness for the happy couple. You can see him flapping in the foreground. The dead flowers for the bride’s bouquet was the final accessory for the “wedding of the century”!

The Happy Family - Boner, Bride & Betsy

Last year, a small skeleton joined the family… So now I have “Boner, Bride & Betsy”. Sometime between Halloweens when the adults were in storage, they ‘made a baby’.

Who knows what mischief they got up to this past year whilst being locked away in the garden shed. I’m almost afraid to go out and look lest I find them in a clinch, or compromising position, if you will!

I know, I know I’m being way TOO silly here. But it’s Halloween. Let’s be silly, have some fun and be ready to scare the be-jiggers out of a bunch of little and not-so-little kids!

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn and cauldron bubble – Wm Shakespeare