Maritime Mary: Summer Plans

As I sit quietly with my morning coffee, sunlight is streaming through the kitchen window. It’s summer sunshine and the first full day of the season in which we place so many hopes. 

We make plans for places we’ll go, day trips we’ll take, visits we’ll make to friends and their cottages, books we’ll read, deck barbeques we’ll plan, beaches we’ll walk, hikes we’ll take….  And the list could go on. 

How much can one squeeze into one short season?  How much time will we give ourselves to be at home or at the cottage and just BE in that space, in that place, and allow ourselves to enjoy the greenery of the yard, the flowers on the deck?

So while my mental to-do list is long, it is made of similar plans that I made last year and the year previous. My season will be a success if I accomplish time, time to be, to relax at home and enjoy the greens and the breezes provided by the beautiful Bay of Fundy. 

No matter where you live, may your summer be good for you. 

Maritime Mary: Neighbourhood

Summer days means that most of our  living happens outdoors. We are much less inclined to hunker down for a marathon of TV viewing. Instead we cook outdoors, tinker around the yard, work at our vegetable and flower gardens, wash the car and relax for a reprieve under a shady tree. We are outside enjoying our property, the beach, our neighbourhood. 

Good neighbours are a blessing and we are truly among the blessed. Positive relationships are everywhere. People are friendly and help one another, keeping an eye out for the elderly and the young. On our quiet street, we sometimes casually gather and chat while children play. We laugh and call these our street meetings as we catch up on our news and enjoy the talents of the young ones playing around us. 

It’s much the same for our beach neighbourhood. We are not alone but among people we can count on when a need arises. 

And yes, as in days of old, we do go between houses occasionally to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar. 

  

Catherine Bussiere: Textures

it’s been an interesting week
moving deeper into Morocco
new sights and smells
more interaction
with locals
with other travelers
with a new host

we’re by the ocean near Casablanca
Dar Bouazza it’s called
there is a little port where fishermen bring their catch
there’s a few fruit and vegetable vendors
the beach in front of us is sand with the regular pounding of waves
nothing too big
gentle and steady
further along there are very interesting rock formations
their design make me come back for a photo shoot

it is busy this week end
the weather is nice and several cars are parked in rudimentary parking lots along the ocean front
you wouldn’t think much of it
unpaved dirt lot overlooking the ocean
but in the shade with a glass of tea
an attendant keeps watch
over the nice looking cars

I was looking to buy chicken the other day
on the main drag there are several small shops where you can find all the basics
but meat
for that there are meat stalls
I see a big side of beef hanging and a nice array of cuts in one of them
I’m looking for chicken though
I ask the man if he has any
I ask in French
turns out French is the unofficial third language in this country and is definitively not spoken by all
in the north more people speak Spanish as a third language
the two first ones you ask: Arabic and Berber
in Tangier for example, the first boy we met spoke Spanish, French and English aside from Arabic and maybe Berber
I’m thinking of my kids back home
the ones I used to help with french at school
who struggle with one extra tongue
back to my chicken; I am stubborn and ask again, in french, if he has any other type of meat
maybe mentioning lamb (but not pork) will help
the man graciously points to a nice piece of beef
he obviously thinks I want a particular cut
I understand that we will not understand each other if I keep on like this
so, I resort to a universal language and mime a chicken while clucking
that works, the man has a good laugh and points up the alley to another stall

I have been using this method daily with Mina the maid who works here
she too only speaks Arabic
on the first day after many “merci” for this or that
I muster the courage to try it out in Arabic
“shukran”
I can tell she is pleased
later she uses a few words in french
here we go, between gestures, a little of this and that we may understand each other

the photos were taken yesterday
fascinated I was by the various textures on my path

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Maritime Mary: Hello Fall

Things are changing. The fall equinox is already upon us but the calendar is not our only reminder. Most of the garden has been harvested, we’ve already had frost! On our way out the door, there is a tendency to grab a sweater or jacket and I don’t mind the heat generated in the kitchen when using the oven. Despite intentions to be resolute about not turning on the furnace yet, we’ve caved a few times. Last week I even went shopping for cinnamon scented candles. These are the household signs of dropping temperatures, preparing us for autumn.

We also bid a summer farewell to the beach this week. We’ll stay again in autumn but another season changes the beach experience, fewer people, more seagulls, Canada Geese come by. The enjoyment of the vista requires bundling against the salty breezes.

And so we go forward, images of summer once again tucked into the memory file, towards hopefully a beautiful fall season.

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