Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 21

It started off not a bad day today, we were travelling to Williamwood and Giffnock to see the old haunts of Dear Mom and Uncle when they were young. Took the subway, then boarded the train to Williamwood. Half way there the train stops and the conductor states that there has been a power failure and the train can go no further. We have the choice to get off or travel back to Glasgow for a ticket refund. Well, there is no way we are going back without seeing the haunts….so off we get. This presents a bit of a challenge as I don’t know where the hell I am, nor where to go and the fossils, even with once having lived here, have no clue either. It’s like the blind leading the blind. We walked to the main street, close to the train, and asked another set of fossils how to get the bus to Williamwood. Soon we were off. Uncle and Dear Mom had only ever travelled by train so the bus ride to the area was very foreign to them. We were dropped at the nearest bus stop and had to rely on the local folk to give us directions. Unfortunately we were sent the wrong way and ended up  walking in the freezing cold for about a 1/2 hour.  We did manage to find a tea shop to have lunch, tea and further guidance. Poor Dear Mom was so cold, she couldn't feel her toes in her shoes and they kept flipping off as she walked. ( I think she’s lost 10 pounds and shrunk 3 inches since the start of the trip)…poor thing.  We were still well away from where we needed to be so we opted to take a cab.



Best idea ever…it was like having a tour guide, and the cabbie was awesome, taking us around to each archaeological site. We saw the home where they lived, the bridge over the burn where they took a shortcut to school, Giffnock School, and Orchardhill Church where Dear Mom married my dad 46 years ago. You could see how much they enjoyed seeing the places that meant so much when they were young.

Poor fossils were absolutely exhausted by the time we got back to the flat.


Tomorrow we head home to Canada…I love them dearly, but can’t wait to see my family. We were discussing the flight home and the number of hours it will take.  Dear Mom wanted to know why it takes longer going back …I mentioned that to was shorter to fly over than to fly home as we had tail winds coming over, the flight is slightly longer going home due to head winds. Uncle bless his heart adds

“ and of course the time change too”……got to love em!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 20



We had a wonderful day today with Uncle’s school chum Kenneth and Allison. We went by taxi to The Burrell Collection, a wonderful museum housing works by Millet, Rodin, and Degas amongst a few. It also houses wonderful pieces from around the world that dated from the 13th and 14th centuries as well as pieces dated BC. From there we took a walk to Pollok Hall, an amazing manor with fabulous Spanish art and phenomenal gardens. It was a lovely day with them, we were even treated to tea and scones at Pollok House. These scones looked like they had given birth to twins….absolutely huge and absolutely delicious as well.

It was an uneventful day which was rather refreshing…I’m always waiting for the _____ to hit the fan, so to have no “incidents” made for quite an enjoyable day.

As a rather rare coincidence, while we were having lunch at The Burrell museum, Kenneth and Allison mentioned seeing the minister of a local church. As we talked more we found that he was the existing minister of the church where Dear Mom was married in 1946. Orchard Hill Church in Giffnock.

As an even rarer coincidence, Dear Mom happened to be carrying with her, her original marriage certificate  and wedding photo of my dad and her. Allison and Kenneth invited the minister over to chat and it was amazing that he just happened to be there when Dear Mom was there as well. He invited us to attend the church tomorrow and was amazed at the documentation that Mom had with her. It was a very unique experience.

Tomorrow we are heading off to where both Uncle and Dear Mom were raised….the home where they lived, the schools they attended, the streets that they walked and of course the church Dear Mom was married in which will be highlight for me.

Our fossil tour is winding down as tomorrow is our last day before heading home. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 19


Oh the things you see at the train station first thing in the morning. Today we were travelling to see my Dear Mom’s School friend in Clarkston. I was surprised to see pigeons in the station just walking around, but even more surprised to see a grown man walking around in a "” hey mom was that a guy in a tiger suit”…..”no dear I think it was leek soup” ….and this from the woman who wears 2 hearing aids….how do you get leek soup from tiger suit I have no idea…..I’m sitting here in horror wondering what else she has heard wrong on this trip. No wonder it takes an hour to order from the menu.

Dear Mom’s school friend of 76 years took us to a lovely little tea room in Eaglesham called The Wishing Well.  Violet and Mom met at Giffnock School when Dear mom was 10 and they have stayed friends through all those years. They have written to each other faithfully and Dear Mom has been back to visit 3 times and Violet came to Canada to visit twice. It was fun to watch them reminisce and laugh about their school days.

I also found out that I come from a family of kleptomaniacs.  The day of the reunion Uncle retrieved our coats from the cloakroom after the event and brought them to us. That would have been fine, however I didn’t wear a coat. To make matters worse he thought I was joking with him and would not give the coat back. Once he finally realized that he had pinched it, he was horrified. Later we heard that there was a very angry fossil school chum, crazed, as he thought he had forgotten where he put his jacket. That would have been painful to watch. Today as we are leaving the tea room, Dear Mom decides she’ll get everyone their coats and brings Uncle his. Only it isn’t his coat and then everyone is in a dither to return it to the rightful owner.  I think that picking up trinkets and treasures is a favourite pastime of most fossils. Dear Mom  has accumulated so many pamphlets, tickets, brochures,  maps, menus and slippers (did you know that the fancy hotels in London and Paris give you little slippers to wear around your rooms during your stay)((do the math…5 nights X 3 persons = 15 pairs of identical white slippers))… we now need to buy a new suitcase just to get all the crap home to Canada.  When we go through the security check I’m gonna pretend I don’t know her when the alarm goes off.


It was very sad to say good bye to Violet today, knowing that more than likely it would be the last time they see each other in their lifetimes. Must be wonderful to have a friendship that spans almost eight decades.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 18


Had a good day with the fossils today.Visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ( Dear Mom went there for art lessons when she was a girl). The walk there was lovely and we came across this quaint bridge, so picturesque.

Saw some wonderful artwork at the museum, works by Monet, Rembrandt and van Gogh. I really liked the Van Gogh, there was just something haunting about his painting.


My luck, there was even a fossil exhibition, and I don’t mean Dear Mom and Uncle…like a real one.  Perfectly titled Fossils Under Our Feet…what are the chances?  Didn’t spend much time there as I figure by now I’m an expert on them myself anyway.SAM_4124 

It was great to take a day from the hustle and bustle routine we have had lately and relax to enjoy the day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 17

We are staying at a nice self catering flat in Glasgow quite close to Uncle’s school. It’s nice as we have ben able to cook our own meals and have a good breakfast before heading out each day. Dear mom is having breakfast today and I watch her have an apple then her Activia yogurt…”Hey mom that’s quite a bit of fibre for one day ”…she sits there with a straight face and says….” well some days you need gunpowder”. LOL  She goes on to say that we better make sure we know where the washrooms are located today…..Uncle chokes on his coffee when I state we may need to find a bunker instead!…… Nice start to the morning.
Today is Uncle’s reunion. He’s been up since 6am getting ready and the event doesn’t start till 10. We arrive at the school and the festivities start. Everything is well orchestrated and planned out with a meet and greet in the library, then a tour of the school, a concert in the hall, followed by a luncheon.
I am now surrounded by not just 2 fossils but 60 additional ones…suddenly I’m feeling weak at the knees….by the way a group of fossils are called fossilites.  Try and imagine the scenario…they are all white haired, well those that have hair, most are deaf as doornails, they are all wearing nametags, they are all reading everyone’s name tags cause they can’t recognize anyone anymore, and they are all shuffling.  Honest it’s like being in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
So we start the tour…they have asked student prefects at the school to give the tours.  Each tour consists of 1 teenage student guide and a group of 8 fossilites. It starts off ok, then goes to hell in an hand basket. Some fossils can’t recognize their tour guide and wander off into another group, now you have 12 in one group and 4 in another. Then one sees someone that they do recognize and wanders off from his group to another  to chat. Some are stopping and just gazing and their tour leaves without them. Some are wandering into classrooms, sitting down and listening to the lecture.  So we started with approximately 7 groups of 8  and ended up with sheer chaos. It was quite comical to watch.  Somehow they all managed to shuffle their way to the hall for the concert, which was lovely as was the lunch that followed.  Lunch came back to bite me in the ass though..menu was chicken stuffed with GAGis haggis but they had a vegetarian option of  a pastry stuffed with some sort of vegetable sauce, so I pretended I was a vegetarian…trouble was when they served desert, they remembered I was a vegetarian and brought my sticky toffee pudding without ice cream….damn! That’ll teach me.
All in all a wonderful day for Uncle to meet up with old school chums and reminisce. I could see how much he enjoyed his day. They all got together in front of the school for a reunion picture, what a wonderful memento to have of the day.
Tomorrow we get to do it all over again, oh joy, as they are all meeting at the art gallery for a tour.  Yippee!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 16




It is truly amazing how smooth a day can go when the fossils stay out of trouble and behave themselves. Today seemed like a breeze compared with the onslaught of fiascos they brought the last  few weeks. Dear mother says to me yesterday…”Do you wear cream on your face? You should be putting night cream on you know, you’re starting to get quite a few lines”……)*_)*&(*&(*^)*….I wanted to tell her that before I started this trip I was virtually wrinkle free, but didn’t have the heart. Instead I told her that I’m ok with aging rapidly.  I keep thinking that if  I have aged so much in 2 weeks can you imagine what another 7 days will bring.  My biggest fear is that when I get off the plane in another week my own family won’t recognize me.  I’m almost confident  I will be helped off the flight in either a wheelchair or a box whichever comes first.

Do you remember the escapade with Uncle’s Visa card?….All for none I say as he tried to use it several times since finding it in London and it has been declined both times. Maybe he called in to report it lost, then forgot he had! *())(*&^*&^*&  Just kidding, we think it’s because they were upgrading him to a platinum card just before he left and they have cancelled the Gold when they issued the new. At any rate, it has to wait for the mystery to be solved as we can’t get through to the number they give you on the back of the card…typical.

All these one offs of things not going smoothly are disconcerting for the fossils…it’s like Dear Mom saying she made a list of things to pack and ticked them off as she put them in the suitcase, then to find she didn’t have any toothpaste when she got here, but she knows it was on the list. Thank god I brought extra toothpaste, but forgot that damn wrinkle cream!

We walked to see Uncle’s school as a boy, Glasgow Academy. Uncle is here for his school reunion tomorrow. That should be rather fun don’t you think. Just won’t be 2 fossils it will be a whole group of them.  I can’t wait…. it’s more fun than a body should be allowed to have.

We did take the subway, without incident I may add, to Buchanan Street to the shopping district and had a nice time browsing. Dear Mom did get a couple of nice sweaters, a couple of new books to read and Uncle bought her a very pretty scarf. In the shop, John Lewis, I did come across some Amy Butler fabric…very pretty selection, but still too expensive for me to splurge on. It is very different here, fabric is mostly sold in sections of department stores, rather than specialty fabric stores like we have back home.

Wish me luck tomorrow!  Please don’t say break a leg….I just couldn’t handle anything more!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Glasgow Memories Fossil Tour Day 15

We’ll I am on the final leg of my journey with the fossils. We stayed last night at the Renaissance Pancras Hotel in London, before taking the train up to Glasgow. Glasgow is where my Dear Mom and Uncle were raised .  We were given a Chambers Room to stay in last night and our room overlooked Pancras Train Terminal. It was amazing, definitely a room with a view. Managed to get just a bit of shopping in before heading out and captured to Fossils in front of Fossil’s , how appropriate.


It was a bit of a nightmare with the fossils this morning when we got back to our room…we were all packed to catch the train to Glasgow so I thought, when Uncle could not find his Visa card.  I can’t believe how much stuff can ensue with these two.  It was all downhill from there. We had left an hour to get from the hotel by taxi to Euston Station to catch our train. As Uncle is finishing his final packing he can’t locate his Visa card….then all hell breaks loose. All his bags are unpacked, every nook and crannie checked, front desk called to see if its been turned in, every envelope and wallet opened…still no card. Now panic is setting in, and scampering starts, back and forth from suitcase to carry on, from carry on to suitcase…I was getting dizzy just watching…it’s the only time he has really moved quick this whole trip. It was like watching Fred Astaire.  Dear Mom and I start pitching in. Now there is crap everywhere. I’m looking at my watch thinking…” We are gonna miss our train”. Finally the sweetest words to a nerve racked fossil tour guide ”found It”.  OK people, now we have 20 minutes to get to the train,  quick, everything into the bag!  No you can’t fold it, just throw it all in, can’t fit that jacket, looks like you’ll be wearing it!  Fossils, I have learned this trip, are always putting things in safe places. Unfortunately, they can never remember where the safe place is! 


Did make it to the train in time, and had a relaxing trip up to Glasgow. Very pretty scenery on the way. I was surprised at how  the landscape changed from London. Everything is wonderfully green with sheep on the hillsides everywhere.  The next few days should be great as the fossils will be showing me pieces of their childhood and memories of their lives.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chunnel Crossing Fossil Tour Day 14


Hard to believe that this is our last day in Paris. It has been a wonderful few days. I can see why Paris is my daughter’s favourite city, she stayed in Paris for 3 weeks a few years ago and fell in love with it, and so have I. Our Eurostar Train did not leave till 6:13 so we had a little bit of time to see some final sites. We have had great weather the last few days, however today it rained most of the day. Prepared with our umbrellas, we headed for Musee D’Orsay. We bought a “skip the queue pass” at the hotel and were able to go right in. I felt sorry for the line-up of tourists waiting in the rain just to buy tickets. The museum is fabulous… situated in what was previously a train station. Amazing architecture! I managed to get a picture of a little boy standing in front of the massive window clock that is housed there. We were able to view the Impressionist collection of paintings, quite wonderful. My favourite was the pointillism section. We even saw many of Van Gough’s famous pieces.The Fossils were in heaven as they are both artists themselves. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed of them.

Speaking of the fossils….I was a little surprised to find that in France PAY toilettes are the norm. Typically from .20 euros to .30 euros per tinkle.  I know that as you age the frequency of having to visit the loo increases. I know this, as I am aging as well.  I wish I had known that the frequency of going to the loo increases exponentially the closer you get to the 80-90 age gap.  I should have brought an extra 100 euros just to cover the expense of all the trips to the toilettes. The first day in Paris I found myself running around like an idiot trying to get bills changed to coins to accommodate the loo machines. Honestly, I think the Fossils thought we were on a gambling holiday, and that the loos were some sort of fancy French slot machine.  It got to the point that I was telling them they couldn’t have afternoon tea, for fear I would run out of coins.

We are off to Glasgow for Uncle’s reunion tomorrow. Looking forward to more adventures with the fossils over the next few days. They will be in their element as they both grew up there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chunnel Crossing Fossil Tour Day 13


I need to get some valium and quick before I have a nervous break down.  You would not believe what happened today, even when I tell you….this kind of stuff only happens in the movies!

The Fossils and I decided to spend the next couple of days using the L’Open Bus to get around Paris. These are double decker buses that stop at the major sites and you can hop on and off.  Very reasonable, easy to utilize and easy to locate.  We saw the sights all day,  hopped on, hopped off, had lunch, and saw the main sites we wanted to visit. Mom was sitting across from me in a set of seats that face each other with a table in between, like the set ups you see on trains. Just 1 stop from where we were to get off to go back to the hotel the bus driver slams on the brakes to miss a car and poor Dear Mom goes flying out of her seat and gets wedged under the table. Everyone is flailing around, screaming, its like a scene from Titanic. When the shit settles, Dear Mom’s still trying to get herself up, but her breasts are jammed under the lip of the table and she can’t pry herself out. The young girl sitting next to her manages to help her up. Mom’s shaken up, no doubt, I’m freaking and Uncle’s having a stroke. ^(*^(*^$%*% . I notice that Mom has cut her hand during the mayhem and it’s bleeding. The girl sitting next to mom, gets out her backpack and hands us an antiseptic wipe and a couple of bandages, which was so kind of her.  She is with her kids, so of course the bandages are kid friendly. Shaken and stirred, Dear Mom got off the bus and we managed to get her settled down and bandaged up. Don’t you just love the Tweety Bird look on her. Poor Mom, she really has had a ____ kickin this trip. I prayer to god this crap doesn’t come in threes.

Before all this excitement, we did have a wonderful day sightseeing and enjoyed Paris crepes.  We were going to go to the top of the Eiffel tower, however the wait was 2 hours.

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Paris is such a beautiful city, I can’t describe how it feels to be here, to see the amazing sites with two amazing Fossils.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chunnel Crossing Fossil Tour Day 12


I hope you know, I can’t make this crap up. Dear Mom looks at this weather outlook card the hotel leaves ( so guests know what the weather will be the next day) and says….”We better take our coats and umbrellas to Juno Beach as its going to rain, then get cold” )*_)*)(&*&)&….OMG , give me strength…the sad thing… Uncle agrees with mom after she shows him the card and says “I’ll look out my umbrella”… I said..”GIVE ME THAT THING!” When I explained the card to them and that it typically doesn’t snow in Paris in September they both started killing themselves laughing….Really?

We were up at an early 6am for our trek to Juno Beach. Two hours by train to Caen, then a 30 minute taxi ride to Juno ( very expensive…65 euros one way just for the taxi)  visited from 12-5 then did the reverse trip back. Did not get back to out hotel til 10pm. Very emotional day for Dear Mom and for me too. Saw my Dad’s memorial brick, he served in WWII from 1939-1946. It brought back many memories for my mom, but  had been on her bucket list so I’m glad we saw it together.

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There was a wonderful poppy quilt exhibited at the site. Beautifully quilted…donated by Lynda Munroe and Lynda Davidson from Ontario.


Fossils are all conked out tonight after such a long day, up early, lots of walking, tons of fresh air and floods of emotions. We need lots of rest as we are sightseeing in Paris tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chunnel Crossing Fossil Tour Day 11

Well we have arrived in Paris…Eurostar is amazing and state of the art. Can’t say the same for the Metro and RER lines in Paris though. While the systems go everywhere and are quite reliable time wise, they are not at all user friendly if you do not speak or read French. As well they are not geared to travellers carrying suitcases. We had quite a time today getting to our hotel. Finally a kind French gentleman who saw we were struggling got us going in the right direction. Next dilemma, no escalators or elevators at the stations, well there are but they are never going in the direction you need. They are going down when we needed up, and up when we needed down. We had to carry our suitcases up flights of stairs then down flights of stairs. Poor Uncle had to carry Dear Mom’s and his own and I carried mine and all the smaller bags, as Dear Mom had to hold onto the rails to get up or down. As soon as we were off the final connection Uncle says…” I don’t care what it costs, we are taking a cab back when we leave” and dear mom just stood there and threw her subway ticket up in the air. It was just too much for the fossils, me too for that matter. Once we got off the subway we needed to locate the hotel. We stopped and asked a young French girl who pointed the way …as I said “thank you”  … Uncle pipes up and says “ Gracias”   Really!  Uncle we are in France not Spain! He told me he spoke and read French….he lied!  He must be just dazed and confused from the subway ride.  He got a new camera for the trip…one with GPS. Everywhere we go he shows me where we are on the GPS. I don’t really need to know I’m in London Uncle…cause I AM in London. Where else would I be?  Maybe they put GPS on these new cameras just in case fossils forget where they are. God help me…weary is not the word for how I feel. I’m sending Dear hubby an email to have him advance  book me into the Norse Wing for a few weeks when I get home.

Now we are settled at our lovely hotel, the Marriott Rive Gauche, for the next few days and we can relax and enjoy Paris. We did manage the subway much better without our luggage and were able to take in a few sights later in the afternoon.  Notre Dame was spectacular. No words can describe how you feel when you light a candle there. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. It was a humbling experience. Everywhere you look there is history, amazing architecture and it is a great city for people watching. We all  sat at a little cafe and had a few drinks for about an hour, just watching the world go by. Now that is time well spent with fossils. They even tried being Marilyn Munroe over the subway grate. Strange but true, we had dinner at a Greek restaurant. I know, we should be having French food while in Paris. We passed this little restaurant, the Greek music was playing, it looked so welcoming and the menu sounded delicious. It was a delightful way to wind down our day. Dear mom even had a small glass of wine and she never drinks. Well it’s off to bed, early rise tomorrow. Bonne nuit mes chers fossiles, dormez bien.


Great Britain Fossil Expedition Day 10

Not much to report today as the majority of the day was spent travelling from St.Ives to London by train. Much better journey this time as we had pre booked seats. Once in London we stayed at the Renaissance St. Pancras Hotel, right at Pancras Station. This was a perfect layover for the fossils as we are right in the terminal that houses the Eurostar which we take to Paris tomorrow. It has been a bit of a challenge with pulling luggage on and off trains, through  streets and terminals, especially for the fossils. I have to remember that my Dear Mom is almost 90, so she really is doing a fabulous job of coping with all the travelling. We had access to the executive lounge at the hotel, whereby you get complimentary afternoon tea, evening wine or drinks and canapés. When we arrived we did go down for tea which Dear Mom and Uncle loved. From there we ventured out around the station for about an hour. The St.Pancras Station is a phenomenal building, one of the most beautiful in London. Double decker buses are everywhere. As soon as we got back to the hotel, Dear Mom asks to go back to the lounge as she wants to see what canapés are available….too funny, could hardly get her out of the place. We did manage to have a quick swim, then I tucked the fossils into bed as we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.