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                        Living in America vs England



July Blog 2017

Posted by dawngriffis on July 9, 2017 at 12:55 AM

This month the blog is going to be a little different. I am sure if you are a regular reader you are familiar with the Banbury lady Beverley Coleman who is a very prolific poet. Bev and her family of about 6 or 7 took a trip in June to Canada. They flew from Heathrow Airport in London to Vancouver BC. Their itinerary was as follows Vancouver 2 nights, Vancouver Island 1 night, Whistler 2 nights, Kamloops 1 night, Banff 2 nights, Jasper 2 nights, Calgary 2 nights. All of this was their own steam in a rented a vehicle and one of them did all the driving. From Calgary they flew to Toronto, where they stayed 3 nights, and of course visited Niagara Falls. During the trip, along with the many photos Bev shared with all the ‘Banbury Friends’, she of course wrote poems as they went along. Bev kindly has allowed me to use her poems and some of her pictures for you all to enjoy. Because Bev and co are from England, and Canada is on this side of the pond most of the pictures will be from this side of the pond. I hope you enjoy the trip considering they left England with their gardens full of flowers it must have been a bit of a surprise for them all!


In my last blog different herbs were mentioned, I received some request to explain how I used them, and any other good uses. I have put a small list together for you, it will be posted at the end. I’m afraid this is going to be a long blog!


Now for Bev’s adventure in poems and photos:

Heathrow airport London

June 3rd clouds under their plane

Vancouver BC June 3rd

Sleeping like a baby

And then I hear a ping

That's my phone I tell myself

What news will my phone bring.

Its David Sydney Woodman

A message to convey

David here it's 5am

With you it's passed mid-day.

That's it I'm wide awake now

I'll catch up on your news

Hope everyone is happy

And no one has the blues.

I hope the weather with you

Has been okay today

It's usually nice while I'm away

But not I hear you say.

Is everyone behaving

No falling out you know

I might be lots of miles away

Don't mean I'm not in tow.

So all my lovely friends out there

I'll keep on looking in

Keep posting me your messages

Then I can wear a grin.

It helps the ache that's in my heart

I miss you one and all

Eight hours behind is what I am

But I'm having a ball


Scenes around BC that they all enjoyed

yes that is snow!

Ubove and below Bow Lake Baniff National Park

Car loaded at the ready

And all raring to go

Seat belts fastened click click click

The sixth day in a row.

Today we journey Eastward

From Kamloops on our way

Lots of miles to cover

Must be done today


Another Hotel waiting

Another comfy bed

A promise..a warm welcome

Once we have been fed.

I gaze out of the window

As we go on today

Fir trees in abundance

All lean a certain way.

Mountains stand magnificent

Some still edged with snow

Lupines grow on roadsides

They make a pretty show.

I close my eyes my music plays

My mind goes back to home

My absent friends all waiting

To hear how far I roam.

Eating up the petrol

The tank that was once full

Looking for the station

This journeys never dull.

Occasionally the sun goes in

The skies are looking grey

It adds to the adventure

And a very pleasant day.

snow snow in June no less


The first bear siting

Northern  Rockies in June

Take a look in front of you

What is it that you see

A mountain top covered with snow

It looks so good to me.

I've travelled far to see it

Over land and sea

A wonderful land of fir trees

All stand majestically.

Whichever way your body turns

Be it left or right

A mountain stands on either side

In sunlight that is bright.

There's rocks of every colour

A landslide here and there

Water so much water

There's water everywhere.

But then it stands to reason

With all the melting snow

That rushes down the mountains

It just goes with the flow.

In places though it's very cold

An ice field forms ...oh wow

A glacier on the mountain slope

Where and when and how.

There's people from all walks of life

With cameras just like me

Capturing the moment

For everyone to see.

You notice everywhere is clean

There's litter bins galore

A Dunny in the woodland

You couldn't ask for more.

We stop to have a coffee

Another photo shoot

From Jasper into Calgary

We take the scenic route.


tavelling to Calgary

Such a beautiful country

And even more

Not such an early rise today

What are we going to do

The rain has started falling

Let's go and have a brew.

Scrambled eggs and Bacon

Fruit and Yogurt too

Toast a Danish Pastry

Is that enough for you.

Bellies full to last the day

It's time to go explore

Wet coats at the ready

Make sure you close the door.

Let's head to the mountains

The wind chill has a bite

But we still head on forward

Always a wondrous sight.

Eyes peeled at the wayside

We see a lovely sight

A big brown bear a foraging

Two deer there on the right.

There's water water everywhere

And still a lot of snow

Our journey was magnificent

We still have far to go.



Bear above and deer below

The snow it started falling

An unexpected shock

Here in shorts and tee shirt

It's time to now take stock.

Flip flops off ...Trainers on

Sun screen in the bin

Dark clouds now surround us

But we take it on the chin.

We're British and we're very proud

They say it takes all sorts

But really should have thought it through

And threw away the shorts.

We soldier on regardless

We shiver from the cold

But still we take the photographs

Not stupid but just bold.

The fir trees in the distance

They're boughs hanging with snow

We're running out of patience

We see no deer or doe.

The daylight now is fading

The clouds are very low

But what time will we get there

We still have far to go.

The sun returns like magic

As we go on our way

The roads dry up just perfect

Another awesome day


Niagara Falls

At the bottom of the Falls

Bev's family at the Falls

Niagara Falls by Bev 

I looked on in amazement

My eyes popped out my head

I thought I was in heaven

I could well have been dead.

I heard this rush of water

I saw a sight ...not real

The atmosphere was magic

I now see the appeal.

Water water everywhere

Excitement and a thrill

A boat ride to be talked about

Just one will fit the bill.

The noise at times was deafening

Could hardly hear ones speak

It's not for the faint hearted

It isn't for the weak.

We did it though and glad we did

We laughed had so much fun

Getting soaked and drying out

Thank goodness for the sun.

Niagara is a must you know

Put it on your list

An awesome time my families had

I think you've got the gist.


Leaving Canada Toronto under tornado warnings!

Driving to the airport !!

Sadly now today's the day

I have say Goodbye

To such a beautiful country

Nobody can deny.

We've travelled over mountains

We've travelled many miles

The scenery is awesome

But I haven't climbed no stiles


The people are real friendly

The food has been just great

The cleanliness is second to none

There's nothing you could hate.

We've seen the snow

We've had some rain

Thunder and Lightening

Then sun again.

We've travelled on a cable car

Up to the mountain peak

The air was fresh and riveting

Just had to take a peek.

We took a boat and got real wet

The highlight of this week

We've laughed so much it's all been great

Adventure we did seek.

A Baseball game to round it off

Now we're packed ready to leave

Canada you've been fantastic

Our mission we did achieve.



See the sunrise coming into England

Over London

We travelled through the darkness

We were chasing the Sun

A brand new day adorning

Good Morning everyone.

I hear you've had a scorcher

While I have been away

I hope I see a bit of it

Is all I've got to say.

I have a fortnights washing

To go with what l had

I wished I hadn't left it

Now I'm feeling bad.

But I'll have to grin and bare it

And pull my finger out

Not keep plugged in to Facebook

Or be a lazy lout.

For those that missed the action

I've drunk Canada Dry

I wrote a poem for Fathers Day

Which even made me cry.

Well now I'm back what have I missed

What gossip do you know

I need to hear about it

Are there any tales of wow.

A coffee catch ups what we need

But that will have to wait

Until the end of June I think

Have we got a date.

I'll leave you now just for a bit

I hope I've no jet lag

I won't be long...speak to you soon

I'll go unpack my bag.

Thank you Beverley Coleman and Family for sharing your trip and allowing me to share it , Dawn

Flags from all the countries represented photo from Oldies but Goodies Ex Pat's page


Summer Soltice on the Thames at Farmoor by Anthony Morris

Sun goes down on  Soltice by Anthony Morris

Herbs I frequently use and how I use them.


In summer I use all herbs fresh, more is needed when fresh than when they are dried. Note during the summer I am constantly drying herbs for winter. I dry them in the narrow draw in my refrigerator. I put them either chopped or just leaves in plastic open trays to dry. This way most keep a good green colour, and maintain flavour when dried. Once dry, I put them in air tight plastic jars that formally held dried herbs I had bought.


Basil I use fresh and dried in all my meat sauces for Italian dishes. I’ll put it on salads fresh in the summer. I do not make pesto.


Chives I cut then up to about ¼ long, and use lots in all meat, poultry, and fish dishes, plus on top of sour cream when eating baked of jacket potatoes. When chive flowers are available I break the flowers up & sprinkle them on top of salads. If I haven’t got enough onion I substitute chives. When drying I cut them up the same length to dry.


Italian or flat leaf parsley I use in just about everything. Parsley is good for freshening, your palate. Fresh I just chop up leaves from 5-6 stems to put in dishes when cooking, dried I put dried leaves in my palm and crumble them into the dish during cooking.


Lovage. Is often used by diabetics as a sweetener. The stems are hollow and can be used as a straw! It is also good in dishes for calming stomachs down, if someone is known to have digestive problems. I put it in all my meat dishes and fish pies, chowders etc. Fresh I just chop up 6 or 8 leaves to put in dishes dried I put dried leaves in my palm and crumble them into the dish during cooking.


Mint I use fresh or dried. I grow lots because I use a lot. I keep cut mint in vases in my kitchen, and bathroom, to keep ants away. I make sure it doesn’t run out of water so it will root, then I plant it, cut more to replenish it. I gather all the mint I can at the end of the summer to put in jars as concentrated, to have to make mint sauce through the winter. With those we strip leaves, chop them fine in a food processor, put a little sugar in it, fill the jars with the mint as tightly packed as I can, then pour malt vinegar in it. Put lid on, plastic lids are better if you have them. Once opened to make mince sauce I keep the concentrated in the fridge. To make sauce take out at least 2 heaped tea spoons of mint, put in whatever you use for your mint sauce, add a couple of tsp of sugar, and fill with malt vinegar stir well and ready to use. We like it on lamb, and most green vegetables, plus sometimes mashed potatoes, it especially good on spinach. When the new potatoes come in, I always put several sprigs in with the potatoes while they are boiling. I dry the mint same as all other herbs.


Oregano I use fresh and dried in all my meat sauces for Italian dishes not too much either way because it is very strong. When I make a Greek salad I chop it and sprinkle it fresh on top of it.


Rosemary I usually put a very small amount in meat dishes, not poultry or fish. I do put a few sprigs in olive oil with garlic granules when roasting red potatoes and cherry tomatoes. When using dried I just use a pinch.


Sage I use in all poultry dishes chopped fresh, or a generous pinch dried


Tarragon is good with all fish dishes especially if baked, or grilled. I do not use it when making English fish and chips. Occasionally I’ll use it in poultry dishes such as pies, chowders etc. a pinch at a time sometimes 2 pinches.


Thyme has a very strong flavour so I’m not as generous with the amount I put in. I mostly use it in all beef dishes. Fresh just strip leaves from stem and put in while cooking. Dried I only put in a scant pinch.


Winter savoury has a peppery flavour; I use it in all meat dishes such as stews, casseroles, meat pies. Plus I use it on fish. I usually put a generous pinch or 2 in all.


Not an herb but I love the taste of Nasturtium flowers just to eat they are very peppery, yellow ones are mild, the redder they get, the stronger they are also good on salads. Warning if you just pick the heads, and pop them in your mouth, check there’s no insect inside them, bees love their nectar!!


Additional info

Back when we had a huge garden, I had many raised beds, many were loaded with herbs. During that time I made a lot of herb vinegars to use, sell, and for gifts. It is very easy to make, you just need a lot of herbs. Just about any herb will do. Fill a gallon glass jar packed well with which ever herb you want to use, fill the jar with white vinegar put lid on it (if lid is metal put a layer of plastic wrap between vinegar and lid), if plastic lid no need to do this. Place in the sun for 3 weeks. Strain put in bottles or jars, put a few sprigs of the herb used in to show what it is, and put top on. These are good for cooking and for salad dressings. There was one vinegar I did make that was not an herb, but was very popular it was Raspberry vinegar. I found the late raspberries made the best vinegar. Again just fill jar with raspberries, fill to top with white vinegar, set in sun for 3 weeks. Strain and bottle or jar up, do not put fruit in, the vinegar will be pink so you will know what it is. I sold out of this one very quickly.


The next 3 photos are our raised beds where I grew herbs back in late 80s and 90s

That's it folks, I enjoyed your comments last month would love to have more. Update on Mike he is still improving.


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Reply Wendy
3:36 PM on July 27, 2017 
lovely pictures, good tips on the herbs, love the raised beds
Reply Dawn Griffis
3:48 PM on July 27, 2017 
Wendy says...
lovely pictures, good tips on the herbs, love the raised beds
Thank you Wendy I found raised beds were easier to deal with. The corners were great for balancing the large bottles of herb vinegar's when they were curing.