Thursday, October 22, 2020

How Not to Pack!


In order to save on the cost of going to festivals and events and to eat healthier meals, Judi has been making and packing picnic lunches for us to take to the festivals and events we visit! We’ve been doing this since the beginning of August and it’s been going very well, until now! Each time Judi carefully thinks through what we are going to eat and what she needs to pack. She includes such things as forks, knives, spoons, salt, napkins, etc., all of this along with our food and beverages. To preserve the food in the hot weather and to keep our drinks cool, we have a thermal lined picnic bag. 

As I said, all was well until last week! Judi prepared and packed the food as usual. Our recyclable water bottles were freshly filled and also packed. We loaded everything into our car and then headed for our destination! We were going to visit the event in the morning and then head to Wellington to visit my brother Chuck and his wife, Flo. After the festival visit we went back to the car, ready to have our picnic lunch. We wanted to eat before we headed out to Chuck and Flo’s. Judi opened the thermal bag and let out a loud scream and then a low moan! This was followed by a few well chosen words! I can’t repeat them here! The bottom of the bag was completely filled with WATER! We had just purchased new water bottles and had not tested them out! The contents of the water bottles had leaked! Everything was soaked and the water bottles were empty! Even though the sandwiches had been carefully wrapped, the water had managed to seep in! They were just nicely soggy! I was hungry and needed eat, so I suck in a big breath and bit into the soggy sandwich! Needless to say, the lunch was not quite what we had in mind when we started out that morning! 

So, here is my NOMAD advice for the day… “Check out your new water bottles for leaks BEFORE you pack them with your lunch!”  Also, take your mother’s advice, “Never eat a soggy sandwich!”

Friday, October 16, 2020

Participation… (Part 2)


We arrived at the Village on time for the pre-show information meeting. There we others, like us, who had never “dressed up” before, so we didn’t feel alone. Once the meeting was over and the instructions given, we walked to the dressing area, Judi to the women’s and me to the men’s area. Everything had been laid out perfectly. Each outfit was labeled with the participants name and a volunteer “helper” (the outfitters husband!) was there to lend a hand! A good thing for me as the boots I was given were VERY snug! After I was completely dressed, I decided that my look was “interesting”! With the transformation complete I walked downstairs or should I say, I nearly slipped downstairs. The shoes had hardly been used and were VERY slippery! Many of the other participants were dressed and waiting outside for further instructions. It was great to see so many wonderful period fashions! I found Judi amongst the crowd and went to her. She looked fantastic! I little too fashionable for me and my outfit! Eventually we were all lined up and ready to play our part in the Festival of Textiles period fashion show. One by one we were summoned to the stage and posed while the commentator described our ensemble. From there we left the stage and walked on the “catwalk” to the applause of the audience. It was all great fun and most enjoyable. As a matter of fact, I am not sure who had more fun, the audience or the participants. My monies on the participants! 

Judi and I both enjoyed our experience and we thank Laurie and the Village staff for making us feel part of their big family!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Participation… (Part 1)

 Every once in a while, Judi and I get to participate in one of the events we visit. Sometimes it’s by chance and other times it’s by choice. Whatever the circumstances, we always have fun and feel privileged that we were asked. 

The Festival of Textiles at Lang Pioneer Village is a good example. It all started with a simple e-mail from Lang’s Special Events co-coordinato.  Her e-mail simply said “Are you still coming to our Festival of Textiles and if you are, would you and Judi like to be one of our period fashion models?” The answer to the first part of the question was “yes”. The answer to the second part of the question wasn’t quite as simple! If I was going to participate, I wanted Judi to do it too. Judi doesn’t like too much limelight! She likes to stay in the background! This was going to be a big “leap” for her! Finally, after much hesitation, Judi agreed to participate with me. 

The next hurdle was finding out if they had clothes to fit us. It would be no problem fitting Judi, but for me, that’s another story! We sent our measurements to Laurie and eventually received a message that we were both in. Fortunately, the women who had made and was supplying the outfits had a relative with a similar size and shape to mine! We were now committed! Soon the Festival date arrived and we made our way to the Village. We had never participated in anything like this before, so we didn’t know what to expect. As I have said before, at most festivals and events Judi and I like to fade into the background and not be up front and central! Actually, there were going to be some 44 models, including us, participating, so our “spotlight” was going to be fairly short and sweet! Still, we did have to dress up and become something we weren’t use to. 

(Continued in Part 2)

Thursday, October 1, 2020

What To Do? What To Do?


With COVID-19 still with us, and caution still important, communities and facilities are trying to figure out how to celebrate two significant events ~ Halloween. I’ve got a few ideas to consider.


First, I’ll give you a little background to the idea.

·         Each year the community of Waterford Ontario hosts the Waterford Pumpkinfest. When Judi and I have visited this event, we were impressed by how involved community residents were. Many homes had fun carved pumpkins and Halloween decorations. (NOTE: This event has been modified because of COVID-19)

·         Each year the community of Meaford Ontario hosts the Meaford Scarecrow Invasion. The main street and some of the side streets are “alive” with scarecrows! Scarecrows can be seen on the street, store fronts, hillside park and even from the town’s lamp posts. (NOTE: This year’s event has been cancelled due to COVID-19)

·         The community of Buckhorn, held, a few years ago, an event called Colours and Crows. Members of the community would create different scarecrows and scarecrow scenes. A list of scarecrow locations was prepared, and visitors and residents were invited to try to find each location. This was like a fun, scarecrow “scavenger” hunt! While searching for the scarecrows, participants were treated to the areas spectacular fall colours.

I am sure that many other communities hold Halloween events, but do they allow for COVID-19 and “social distancing”?

So, here’s my concept ~ hold a combination of each of the above events, keeping the current challenges in mind.

·         Develop a Halloween theme for the whole community

·         Encourage all downtown businesses to decorate their premises

·         Encourage all residents to participate by decoration their home or balconies

·         Hold a contest for the best decorated businesses (perhaps the best 2 or 3)

·         Hold a contest for the best decorated homes (perhaps the best in different categories – kids, adults, etc.)

·         Create a fun “Halloween Scavenger Hunt”, one that both residents and visitors can participate in, as they “drive” through the community

·         Based on the community’s Halloween theme, have selected individuals or families create “secret displays” and then make up a “Halloween Scavenger Hunt” list

·         Have fun prizes that people can win if they find all the “secret displays

·         Tie all 3 programs together in one event

·         It would be great if the town would decorate some of their facilities

·         The event could run two or three weeks

If you’d like further information about these concepts, please e-mail me at

Thursday, September 24, 2020

When New Meets Old…


Anyone who thinks that new can’t compliment old and still maintain the integrity of old, has never been to Fanshawe Pioneer Village! Fanshawe is a wonderful heritage village that honors the “old” while conforming to modern realities! You will be able to read about our visit to the Fanshawe Harvest Fest in a few weeks, but until then I thought I would tell you about some of the ways they have handled difficult challenges.
Challenge #1 – Disability Access: It’s not likely that our pioneer ancestors were too concerned with wheelchairs and disability access. So how does a “heritage settlement” handle this modern challenge? Since wheel chair ramps are a must in today’s society, especially for a public facility, not having ramps was not an option! But what about the “modern” look? Fanshawe’s solution was simply to use old distressed wood. As a result the ramps look like they not only belong there, but that they have been there forever!

Challenge #2 – Recycling and Litter: Blue Boxes and metal garbage cans don’t blend in with heritage buildings and gardens! Fanshawe handled this beautifully. They build old rustic “miniature sheds” and then placed them in strategic locations throughout the village. They have been made so well that they just blend into the “heritage atmosphere”. Judi and I had explored most of the village by the time we realized how Fanshawe had disguised their litter and recycling receptacles!

It is amazing that simple solutions like these aren’t used by all heritage facilities. A little imagination goes a long way. If you are in the London area, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is certainly worth the visit! The village, now 50 years old, is located in the Fanshawe Conservation Area. Their next big special event is their “1812 Invasion of Upper Canada” re-enactment on October 3-4, 2009. To find out more about this event and Fanshawe Pioneer Village, visit their website at If you do visit the village, tell them the “Festival Nomad” sent you!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Living History…


Our 15-year-old nephew became a soldier! No, he did not join the Canadian Armed Forces! He did, however, join his fellow students and their history teacher in a re-enactment demonstration at the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. Seeing him and the other young people becoming involved in re-enacting Canada’s past made me think of the thousands of men and women and their families who dawn period costumes each summer and fall weekend to become “living history”! As David Brunelle, one of the organizers of Wasaga under Siege, said to me, “It’s like taking your family on an ‘old fashioned’ camping trip!”, old canvas tents, open fires, boiled coffee, toasted marshmallows and spending quality time with people who have similar interests. Besides, who doesn’t want to play make believe, shoot muskets and wear neat clothing! All that being said, re-enactments and re-enactors play an important part in Canadian society. With the great number of newcomers immigrating to our marvelous country, it gives them the opportunity to learn about Canada’s history and why it is such a great country to live in. Re-enactments also help show how Canada and the United States became separate countries and how we eventually learned to live in peace together. Even if you are not a history buff, re-enactments are exciting and entertaining! The pageantry, colour and action all add up to a wonderful experience! Whether or not our nephew and his friends become further involved in re-enacting, at least they will have had a chance to experience “first-hand” a part of Canada’s history! My hat is off to his history teacher and all of those other adults who encourage our young people to take an active interest in living Canada’s past!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Sunset Cruises – Captain Randy Potts (Part Two)


So here I was, standing on the bare deck of the Peerless II, as Randy described what he had already done, what was left to do and what it was going to be like when he was finished. Back on the Idyllwood, Randy showed me photographs of the restoration so far. As I said before, I couldn’t believe my own eyes! The work that had been done was incredible, and to think Randy was working alone during most of the restoration!

At that point last year, Randy had hoped that the restorations would be far enough along in the fall of 2009 that he would be able to take the restored Peerless II on its maiden voyage. However, time and circumstances have delayed the launch date. The fall of 2010 was the planned launch target. Judi and I have already taken a number of cruises on this wonderful cruise ship!

So, if you want to see and learn more about Muskoka and the Muskoka Lakes, don’t miss a cruise on the Peerless II! Randy knows more stories about the lakes then anyone I know and he is glad to share them with his passengers! Rain or shine, cool or warm, the Idyllwood is equipped to handle all climates! Well, perhaps not ice or snow! Find out more about Captain Randy, his boats and the 2009 cruising schedule by visiting the Sunset Cruises website at