Balsam Lake Provincial Park

Another visit to a Provincial Park to visit close friends who were camping and were on their last day there.

We call them the ‘Saleh’s’ taken from their surname ‘Saleh’, they have been blessed with four daughters and together are a bit of a crazy bunch.  They camp a lot as their father (Darwish, or Dan) has a love and admirable passion of fishing and has got everything under the sun you can imagine for a successful and adventurous camping trip, to be honest, if the world ended, as long as he had his army knife, fishing rod and his slick boat he would probably be fine (don’t know about the rest of us though!).

Turned out to be another beautiful day and was a very nice campsite with excellent facilities.  The young lady with the fish is Zaynab (or Za Za as they call her, I like to call her the ‘fishinator’) who as you can see has a special relationship with fish that she and her father catch, hard to let go I suppose, a slippy relationship!

Ali Hadi (Rosie’s son) looks proud to show off his catch which he didn’t catch but still makes a nice picture, such an innocent smile!).  Then there is my Maryam who courageously accepted the challenge of holding the fish and still managed to pull of her mesmerising smile, oh and by the way, she wants the world to know that this picture was her last day of being four years old.  Then there is Sara and Fatimah, cheeky little madams, I am sure they were up to something when I as not looking, wouldn’t you agree?

What do you get if you leave a slice of juicy watermelon near Sara…a slice of juicy watermelon that is asking to be attacked…and I have to say, she does a really good job of it!

And that fish that was caught by the fishinator earlier in the day, extremely tasty when barbecued!

Excellent company, sizzling weather, very fishy fish, juicy, scrumptious corn, long drive for one day but a fantastic day nonetheless and definitely worth it!


BBQ with the family on a crazily hot day!

I love BBQs, the smell, the taste of the food from the. BBQ, the environment that is created, and oh yes, good company!  It was over 35 today with crazy humidity! Food is very welcome, the adults are too shy to get in the pool, apparently when you get to this age, we are too cool for the pool, we just sit on the side and eat, eat, eat and then drink coffee whatever the weather…I really need to drink less coffee, it seems to come with every part of the day and every snack, damn it it just keeps coming and the smell is soooo good!

I need to detox!


Garden renovation…part 4

The paths in the garden were used to create different angles leading  to the different areas of the garden. The table and chairs weren’t really used in the garden and now have their place, their finish really complements the rest of the garden now.

The stone benches have been made to create simple and economical sitting areas that both the children and adults love, the single bench is directly under a beautiful acer tree that was a bit lost before but was then trimmed and the bushes around it were removed.  A planted area has been added in front of the side fence which looks more inviting.

The path that leads to the two metal containers in the middle of the garden becomes a bit of a central feature and is important as these belonged to Rosie’s mother (Rosie is my sister in law).  I was never fortunate enough to meet Rosie’s mother but from the people who knew her, she was a beautulful human being who was caring, loving, welcoming, generous, and made absolutely amazing food, I guess this is why Rosie’s cooking is always so delicious and homely!

This ones for you my beautiful sister Rosie, you will always be loved and I will always be indebted for everything you do for me so lovingly and selflesly.  More to come as we have not finished with this garden yet as the grass will not be staying and a fence still to be made…


Just chillin…

Another beautiful day, weather is really amazing and such a gift for the soul, everything is so much better when the weather is warm and sunny, something I should not take for granted as the UK is not as blessed with this sort of weather and when we do experience anything like this, it is very short lived.

Wasn’t sure what to do today, didn’t want to do anything too stressful so decided to just chill in the pool with my lovely Sara who makes the most adorable noises and facial expressions when she in the water, reminiscent of Fatimah and Maryam when they were this age.  When she gets nervous it is painful…very painful as she grabs me so tight as if she is drowning off the titanic, she grips my hair (my eyebrows, my arm hair, leg hair as if she is abseiling off a rocky mountain and her life totally depends on it, she closes her eyes as if she is an intimate conversation with the Lord asking to be saved from a mini tribulation!

Luckily in these pictures the above mentioned events were not taking place and she is calm and collected because she knows that I am there for her and always will be.  I am blessed with an enchanting kiss from her that I did not ask for, she just felt like presenting me with at that moment for whatever reason and that reminds me of how lucky Nour and I are to have such a wonderful little girl who brings so much happiness to so many people.  Love you eternally Sara.


When the playdough goes dry…

Ok, so the excitement of playdough does wear off after a while and keeping the children entertained inside can become quite a challenge when there are a few of them, especially when they start squabbling over who should have the shapes or the amount of playdough they can have, it almost becomes territorial!

Luckily, very luckily, Nour’s brother has a swimming pool in the back yard, this brings some relief as the children forget, very quickly, about the playdough and discover that they all used to be fish in a past life.  The fact that the weather has been absolutely awesome pretty much every day, usually around 30, does help a lot!


Anyone for Poutine…and doughnuts?

The original plan was to go for a romantic walk with Nour to downtown Toronto without kids to celebrate our thirteenth anniversary, yippee!

However, little did I know that my wife’s nieces, both who are lovely, a little loopy but amazing souls, were also coming along…that’s Fatimah (22) and Sara (15), Fatimah probably thinks that she needs no introduction as the world should already be aware of her existence!

Further to my ignorance, I did not realise that these three lovely ladies had a plan to eat some Poutine.  Poutine is a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Quebec, made with french fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce.

In addition to this, my ignorance was compounded by the fact that they were secretly re routing the romantic walk in downtown towards Krispy Kreme (the global American doughnut company).

Oh and by the way the way did I tell you that I also did not expect to get totally drenched in one of many downpours on is beautiful day!

My last few hours…

Probably not the best title to a blog I know, but I strangely feel quite sad that I am approaching my last few hours, a mix of a variety of emotions, it was just yesterday that Nour and I celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary (I will post this next as we spent most of the day in downtown Toronto yesterday with her two crazy but very loving nieces).

…I am writing about my last few hours of being in my thirties, I may look it (especially on a bad hair day!) but I certainly don’t feel it and I feel excited, apprehensive, slightly nervous, fortunate, spirited and all the other words that may explain a total mix of feelings that I experience at this moment in time while reminding myself of the decision Nour and I have made collectively to be here for this year…time will tell how good a decision this was but for now all feels overwhelmingly positive.

So here I am turning, becoming, living, experiencing, adventuring into the next phase of my life which will dictate the path of my, our next journey in life with my beautiful family and amazing friends for which I am eternally grateful…