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Visits (to and from):

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Claudio March 2010                                                                      to enlarge photos, click on them
from Ciara, Ryan, Jamie and Jamie March 2010
from Sasha June 2010
from Ciara and Merrilee Nov 2010
from Bob Nov 2010
from Zena and Mark 2010
from Ciara and Ryan Apr 2011 
from Bob Oct 2011
from Ciara and Ryan Nov 2011
from Zena and Mark 2012
from Ron and Carol Apr 2012
from Bob & Merrilee and Aydon Apr 2012
from Ciara and Ryan May 2013
to Canada 2013
from Ron and Carol Aug 2013
from Bob, Aydon and Dave Oct 2013  
from Ciara May 2014
from Bob Feb 2015 
from Ciara, Chris, Thian, Tynan Apr-May 2015 new

from Claudio March 2010  claudio
It has been 30 years since we saw Claudio Scazzocchio - all the way back to Essex. He and Nicola, whom we had not known previously, stopped overnight on a drive between their new home near the Pyrenees and Paris. Everyone told their story of the last 3 decades while we drank a memorable bottle of wine (Les 4 du Pilou). It was great to see Claudio looking so well. For the first time with visitors, Ginger did not spend hours growling at Claudio.

from  Ciara, Ryan, Jamie and Jamie March 2010
We had a great visit from Caira and Ryan with their friends Jamie and Jamie.
They were determined to help us with things. First was helping to get the Tyvex on the wall to be raised. Next was fixing a chair with the welder in the doorway. This was a failure and we had a little fire. The chair seemed fine when Harry sat on it but when Ryan did, it broke again. But it is no worse then it was to start with. Ryan and Jamie got the BBQ in shape as it was not used since the last visit. Harry had bought a used scaffolding so Ryan and Jamie got it put together and Ryan cut the branches that were threatening the phone line. Ciara taught Harry how to thread our new sewing machine and Jamie had a look at the brakes of our car and decided they would do for another year. But the very biggest help was raising a wall on the house (see the house progress page for pictures of that). 

We had two BBQs. One of Harry's hamburgers and one of Ryan's steak with Jamie's scrimp. Yummy. There was a meal out at the truck stop and everyone but me had lunch at the Chinese in Nevers. All in all, a lot of chocolate was eaten and a lot of beer drunk; there was champagne for Jamie and Jamie's engagement. There were visits to some of the usual shops and sightseeing spots. We had some real good chats.
Ginger was weird as usual. Wanting so much to play with the guests but scared of them a lot of the time. Still she improves a little with every visit.

fire while welding in doorwaygetting the BBQ readycutting branches too near wire
at the porcelain shopchat and reassuring the dogturf & surf BBQ meal
sewing lessonchecking brakesleaving

from Sasha June 2010
Sasha arrived on the 19th by train and then he and Harry spent most of the day trying to get to the same place at the same time - it was a bit like a comedy plot.
Harry had postponed some work that was difficult alone but would be easy with Sasha: getting the upstairs window up and putting it in, getting the joists for the loft walkway up into the rafters and bringing down some dead trees. Harry had given up on his chain saw and thought in was just not going to work properly. Sasha showed him how the triggers worked and helped get it working a couple of times. Mainly he perservered when Harry was giving up.
Sasha cooked a meal and we also went for one meal out. Ginger got almost addicted to going out with Sasha. She would run as fast as she could, pulling Sasha along until she tired. Then Sasha would keep on running and pull her after him. As well as eating and working there was lots of talking, of course, and even some heated conversations from time to time.
The last three days were taken up with getting a bicycle that was not expensive, getting it kitted, and Sasha getting packed within the weight limit. He tried out his new hammock on the building site over night on the night before leaving. Late afternoon on the 24th he cycled away, heading for Sweden.
Nice visit after maybe 20ish years since we had seen him.

walking the doglifting windowlifting joists into loftSasha (not Gregory Peck)
cutting dead treesfixing the chain sawleaving on new bike

Ciara and Merrilee Nov 2010
Ciara and Merrilee were both attending a conference in Lyon on the Arctic and dropped in on us before (18-21) and after the conference(24 - 25). It fit with Merrilee's legal work for the Inuit and Ciara's thesis on Arctic Sovereignty. They looked so good and were in great spirits - I think they were enjoying the mother and daughter trip together.
Just so we would not feel left out of 'Roughrider Country', they brought us a few green and white items.
There was a tour of the new house, a visit to the pottery place and the Chocolate place and a trip to Nevers. OMG the Nevers bakery has stopped making yoyos. Does this mean that we will not get visits anymore? Will Ryan ever want to come again? There was a drive along the Loire and Allier - a small wild boar was spotted. Also many chats, a walk with the dog around the village. They didn't stop working with Merrilee doing work-work and Ciara doing school-work via computer. Ciara showed us pictures of the improvements they have made to the White City house and grounds. It really looks super.
Then they were off by train from Bourges to Lyon. (While they were in Lyon, the Roughriders won the western final.)

green and white shirt
the Roughrider clock
dressed for Western Final day
Back from Lyon, there was a lot of work to do again, by both Ciara and Merrilee, even some more unexpected work for Merrilee. But there was time for a trip to Bourges to see the sites and buy shoes. We all had an evening meal at the Cheval Blanc.

Bob Nov 2010
bob Overlapping with Ciara and Merrilee, Bob came (23-27) and immediately took the dog for a walk. Ginger was surprisingly good with all three visitors so I guess she remembered previous visits.
Bob helped Harry with the scaffolding and went to Bourges to shop with Harry while Ciara and Merrilee were sight-seeing. Also he came to the White Horse meal.
It pretty much rained all the time he was with us. One fairly good day Harry and Bob got some heavy supplies from Bourges with the trailer. The restaurant in Villabon reopened under different management and Bob treated us to a good mid-day meal there.

from Zena and Mark 2010zena
On Dec 10 Zena and Mark came for an overnight before returning to Canada. A quick look at Bourges, a visit to the chocolate factory in the afternoon, good conversation in the evening, a quick look at Bengy and our building site in the morning and a look at the cathedral before catching the train back to Paris at noon. It had been a long time since we actually talked much with Zena and never had a long conversation with Mark, so we enjoyed their visit a lot even if it was very short. Mark left a tiny bottle of Canadian Rye to go with the Rough Rider clock.

from Ciara and Ryan Apr 2011
From the 21st to the 27th of April we had Ciara and Ryan with us. Ciara was working on material for her presentation in Iceland in June and other Uni things. Ryan is going with her to Iceland and they are looking forward to the trip. She had news to very good marks while she was here. Ryan was helping Harry with the house. First he got the mower going - Harry says he has the 'small engine Gods' on his side. He help cut up and move some lino rolls that Harry couldn't lift alone and he tidied up a bit before they started in on the siding. (see house)
They didn't do much driving around, only a few standard places and purchases. Ryan BBQed steaks one night, Harry's hamburgers another night and kebabs made by Harry and Ciara another night - three BBQs! Ciara made a curry one night. Easter sunday dinner was the only disappointing meal because the ham was too salty (but Caira's potatoes were great). So we didn't even go to a restaurant.
Ginger was not too shy by the time they left. The weather was beautiful. Work got done. Everyone was relaxed and in a good mood so it was a great visit.
Ciara's profile
Ciara's smile
Ryan and the mower
Ryan starting BBQ

from Bob Oct 2011
Air Miles king Bob decided to fly around the world (Canada, Singapore, both sides Australia, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Canada). This was apparently because the best air miles deals to get from Europe back to Canada last year was to buy some weird ticket and only use a bit of it. So the rest of it was used to get here the long way round this year. He was here 19th to 23th. One day longer than expected because his train to Geneva was full when he tried to get a ticket. Here was some panic when he tried to buy the ticket on line because it looked like his credit card was being rejected and then like the train had disappeared but all was well in the end.
He helped Harry move a batch of drywall, went picking walnuts with us, walked the legs off the dog, chatted and so on. The dog was shy as usual but started coming up to him when Bob was not looking at him, giving his hand a quick lick and then running away to hide. Photo is of Bob trying to get the dog to come to him.

from Ciara and Ryan Nov 2011
On their way to Sweden, Ciara and Ryan stopped in for a few days. Ciara is doing research for her Masters and interviewing attendees to a conference in Sweden on the arctic was a good way to gather information. It was very nice that they stopped off to see us. It was a quiet few days. Ciara was preparing for her interviews on her new Apple. She was so proud of her Apple. We turned on the Wifi on our setup for the first time so that both of them were connected on their electronic wonders. Ryan helped Harry with a few things: his phone, the kichen tap and lifting the new water heater to the upper floor in the new house. We went to the procelain place - we got a teapot but they got nothing. They did get some chocolate at the chocolate factory. The dog was as usual.
c and r
Ciara on her computer
Ryan with waterheater
Harry Ryan & Ciara

from Zena and Mark 2012
zena mark harryZena and Mark visited Paris in early Feb and took a train trip down to the Cher and spent several hours with us. It was too cold and too short a visit to go anywhere but we had an excellent conversation - comparing notes on that is good and bad about the world. There was some talk of perhaps Mark being in England for a while in the future and we were instructed to send powerful vibes Oxford way. They walked a bit in Bourges before taking the train back to Paris.
from Ron and Carol Apr 2012
Ron and Cas stopped by our house on the way south, spent an evening and had supper with us. They slept at the local B&B. There was much catching up to do after 30 years. Of course, 'they have not changed a bit', although a great deal has happened during those years. They have been in Coventry all this time but we thought they had left - some mystery as to why they are not listed in the BT website. Photo is of Ron bringing in the wine but unfortunately I did not get a good one of Cas (but she is looking good).

 from Bob & Merrilee and Aydon Apr 2012
It is one of those conplicated trips that Bob has a hand in planning with his cheap flight expertise - Bob and Aydon went to Northern Ireland together then Bob came to us and Aydon went to meet Merrilee's flight. They arrived at our place a couple of days later. Bob left first for Canada.
harry and bobMerrilee and Aydon left later to travel around France and then go Paul's in Italy before going home. Bob slept on our couch and Merrilee and Aydon at the local bed-and-breakfast. Bob's flight came into Tours and he spent a day there before taking the train to us. It was a very good day for Bob and he raves about Tours. It has become one of his favourite places. He helped Harry with some chores on his first day. He usually takes long walks with the dog but couldn't because she is not up to it with her three legs. But when Aydon came the two of them had a long local walk (carrying the umbrella that they used in Ireland to ward off any rain and never had to open). Bob spent a lot of time on my computer. When Merrilee and Aydon arrived, I turned on the WFi and they spent most their time on their ipods. Like an illuaydon bob harry merrileestrated conversation, whatever the subject, the info/photos/audio were instantly with us. Our building site was robbed one night (between the day that Bob and Harry were working there and the day when we took Merrilee etc. over to see the place. How the theives got it is a bit of the mystery, so is what they took and didn't take. Harry had to go to the police station to make a statement and got back just in time to take Bob to the train in Nevers. Merrilee and Aydon managing to see some of Bourges including the cathedral on a day with little rain and some sun. Several loads of washing was done. The dog was very good, about the best she has been yet with visiters. Aydon cloose very good wine and we had several good conversations fueled by the wine - great fun.
from Ciara and Ryan May 2013
Ciara and Ryan came to visit on Apr 21, stayed for 3 days, went to Northern Ireland, came back to us on Apr 30, stayed another 3 days, spent a day in Paris and flew out. We had only about a day and a half of nice weather while they were here. They missed the two best days this year. It was cold in our house but they seemed to take it OK. Ciara had just written her exams for 1st year of Law School and brought along her thesis that had just been accepted for Masters degree in Political Science. Ryan's business is going well. Before their trip to Ireland, Ryan and Harry discussed what could be done with the yard; while they were gone Harry and I cleared the stuff from around the house and mowed a lot of grass ( to Ciara specifications )C&R&H. When they came back, Harry and Ryan (mostly Ryan) with a digger and a bobcat, transformed the front yard. Earth was banked against the house, the sewage tank was buried, the drive was redone, some holes were filled and the footing trenches were dug for the garage. Ciara found me a good source of garden seed and we discussed my trip to Canada. Ryan cooked a fantastic meal in the new oven on their last evening. We have some great chats and all in all it was a very good visit. 

to Canada June 2013
I went to Canada from June 4 to 19th for Melvin's burial on the 8th. I arrived late at night and Bob came to the airport and got me settled at Merrilee & Aydons where a bed was ready for me. He also instructed me about living with the cat. (Madeline used to mention the cat that was born without eyeballs on the Leeson farm. It is now Aydon's cat. It is called Justice - for 'blind justice'. Justice is far from an ordinary cat.) Merrilee and Aydon were away in Banff until the next night and Ciara was off on a course in Ontario.
First morning I went out and bought some food, changed some money, got some silk flowers for Mel's grave and then walked downtown, purchased a bus pass and took the bus to Sears Bargain Center, bought about as much cheap clothes as I could carry and took the bus back to the house. I thought that was pretty good for day one. Merrilee and Aydon came back in the night.
Early the next morning I managed to get a hair cut without an appointment. Aydon drove me to the SuperStore. There I did the most unusual bit of business: I got Harry a pair of transition glasses ordered from a 8 year old prescription and a pair of glasses in a broken frame to measure where the bifocals went, plus the old lens put in a new frame. I was pretty proud of managing that - best to get the hard things done first. I bought some more clothes and went to the bank to make sure all was right. Another bus ride. I phoned for an appointment with the chiropractor for the next day.
The third morning I went to a foot clinic. There I went to see Johnson and did the second most unusual bit of business: I explained Harry's symptoms to him and he thought about Harry's problems for a while and gave me instructions on how he might have some relief. He looked at my hips and said they were not the problem (great relief). My pelvis was the problem - he fixed and gave me some exercises. Down Albert St, I found that the lab had moved. In the TC Douglas building no one whose name I remembered is there that day. In the gallery shop, I got a graduation gift for Ciara (an Inuit carving of an Inukshuk) and other gifts.
On the 8th it rained. Ciara and Ryan drove me down to Lang. A small group of us put Mel's ashes in the grave. I said a few words, similar to the peice I wrote on this site last month. Heather B. talked about her memories of Mel next; I invited another else who wished to said something to speak and Marcia did, followed by Mel's cousins, Laura and Edna. I put the ashes in the ground next to Mom.  Heather had coffee, sandwiches and cake for us at the hall. There were several boxes of papers, photos and the like that were taken out the the house when the sale took place and we took a bunch back with us. Laura had saved for me the most precious papers, did not put them with the others but gave them to me so that they went directly into the car. They were the letters that Mon and Dad wrote to each other in the winter of '41-42 when Dad was down east with the Campbells. Ciara and Ryan dropped me off downtown to meet the lady who is my closest living relative. The meeting was great - we got along, told some serious stories and also some funny ones. There seemed no ice to break. So at the end of the fourth day, I had done all the things that I was nervous about and they all went amazingly well. From then on I was more relaxed.
On Sunday there was no place to go and rain. I went though the papers and photos I had from Lang, read the letters and then have a worderful evening with Merrilee and Aydon. Now I had a more leisurely pace. Merrilee's business was moving to a new office and there was a lot of work involved. On Monday morning I paid a visit to the old office. I talked to Ciara, Zena and Kai. In the afternoon cousin Lorna picked me up and we spend the afternoon with cousin Jean. Spent the evening with old friend Jade. Tuesday I did some more looking through photos, met Heather B. as she left Regina in the early afternoon to give her some photos that should stay in Lang and picked up the Milestone book she have found for me. Wedsenday afternoon was spent with cousin Glen & Loretta looking through the photos from Lang. Thursday I rested.
Friday I took the early morning bus to Saskatoon and spent the middle of the day with very old friend, Heather S. She drove me to the banks to do my business and then we sat in some easy chairs at a StarBucks and chatted for a couple of hours. I was at Marcia's for an overnight stay. Lots of talk and sorting of stuff that Marcia brought from Lang. Harold came for a visit. I took the bus back Sat afternoon.
On Sunday I went with Merrilee and Aydon to see the new office - very nice place, visited the Sebastians, had a long talk with Bob and did the bulk of my packing. On Monday I did some more shopping, I saw Lena and went out to White City with Ciara for supper. The house and grounds look great and they are still making improvements. The dogs rule. I visited with Pam and Bob when I came back from White City. Tuesday I got ready to leave and got on the plane early on Wedensday. Ciara and Bob saw me off. It was a great trip!

bob and cat
mel ashes
Bob and the cat, Justice
Melvin's ashes-thanks Ken
inukshuk grad gift
Marcia and Ken
new office
Ciara and dogs
Ken and Marcia
new office
boardroom chandelier
Ciara with Max & Sedna
old elm by Merrilee's
Parkersfrom Ron and Carol Aug 2013
Ron and Carol Parker stopped in for an afternoon and evening on their way to the south.  What a great relaxed time we had. Harry made a lovely meal and there was lots to chat and laugh about. (Maybe I'll get a good picture of them next time - believe me they were looking real good and happy.)

from Bob, Aydon and Dave Oct 2013
Bob, Aydon and Dave came on a complicated trip. They spent some time in Spain and then on the way through France, arriving on the 14th Oct. Bob and Aydon left for Irland on the 18th and Dave for Spain on the 20th. It seems that Bob has started another round the world trip starting in Europe with a 6 month stay over in Canada. It was a great visit. We had good wine and some even better wine, a selection of cheeses supplied by Paul Henri, all the meals were good. The weather was not so great but we had a couple of good days. Aydon and Dave stayed in the B&B and Bob slept in the drafty loft, then when there was only Dave, he slept in the loft. Everyone had things to do when there was no conversation or activity. Dave was reading a book, Aydon was on the internet via my Wifi, Bob was sorting out tickets etc. on my computer. They helped Harry quite a bit: moving his steel beams, getting the scaffolding from Paul Henri's and putting it up, and getting Harry's mowers working. They drove with Harry down to St.Amand where he had a medical appointment, saw some of the country and shopped at the Camel in Dun on the way back. Ginger was not too sly - improved from the last visit. Mainly that was lots of good conversation.

scaffolding mower
Bob with schedules
Aydon with Facebook
Big Dave making friends with Ginger
the hard bit of putting up the scaffold
getting the mowers going and adjusting

from Ciara May 2014
ciaraCiara stop in France on her round the world trip - she went Pacific way to a holiday in Thialand with another girl and Atlantic way going back home. She was with us May 9-15. She had a lot of work to do and was working or sleeping most of the time. We were happy that she stopped and did her catching up here rather than rushing home to do it. In between times we had some good talks for there was a lot of news. She has a new house (condo really), her separation from Ryan is complete, she still has her old friends and some important new ones too. Notice her sun tan from the Thai trip in the photo. We got her a new flute which Harry wanted to do because she was going to buy one in Canada but Harry knew that better flutes and cheaper could be bought direct from China. Ginger was just so pleased with her and loved to get a pat - very little Ginger type barking at a visiter.

from Bob Feb 2015   
We had a visit from Bob McIlwaine Feb 18-24. It was a very pleasant visit with a lot of talking. Bob helped Harry with a number a tough jobs: cutting some steel and hauling the steel and some scaffolding from a friend's barn to our place, helping to attach the digger hydraulics, taking the bent blade out of the riding mower, the showing Harry how to get rid of stumps with a chain saw by the Bob unauthorized method. He also spent hours on my computer and while he was at it found some useful sites for me to bookmark. He was juggling his ticket and having problems getting people bobto cancel his previous flight.
He was determined to do a couple of things. He wanted to trace the Craon. He did locate where it en
ded – in the lake Craon in the shooting range. He found where it started on the map but he could not get to it because Harry was too stubborn to drive down a muddy track. His other determination was to be the first from his circle to take the train out of Bengy and he did. The train stopped and he got on. I had my doubts and Harry was standing by to drive him to Bourges.
Ginger seemed to remember him - as a good guy.

from Ciara, Chris, Thian, Tynan Apr-May 2015
Caira, Chris Clarke and his boys Thian and Tynan arrived on Apr 28 and left May 7. They had supper and sometimes lunch with us on the days that they were here and staying at M. Fournier's. On the 29th they visited Laverdine and the sites along the Allier (round lock, village etc.). On the 30th they visited Bourges (old town, Cathedral). On the 1st May they drove to Tours in the rain. In the evening the rain stopped and they watched a soccer game (Thian plays soccer in Canada) and they all enjoyed the game. They stayed overnight there. On the 2nd they drove back with a shopping trip to Carrefour and then a trip to Magny-Cours for a classic car show/race with Harry along. It was not a great day with trouble finding the place and rain. But they went again the next day and had a good time. Harry showed them the sort of car he drove in club races years ago and there were lots of other interesting cars. Ciara stayed behind to catch up on things so I had a whole day in her company. On the 4th they set off southward. A couple of castles (overnight in one) and a cave with early paintings were the highlights of that couple of days, overnighting in Marmanhac and Brive-la-Gaillarde. Back with us for a day before a few days in Paris. We had steak from a prize winning steer that the local butcher arranged for Harry on their last evening with us, the 6th. They took the train to Paris on the afternoon of the 7th. The boys spent some time whenever they were at our place sitting in the Twizy and asking to drive it. They also kicked a ball about quite a bit. The kids tried out a bit of their French. Lots of stories were told. A great visit!!

ciara ciara chris
Ciara and Chris
Thian and Tynan