Another beautiful day for tourists

This weather and temperature (84) is ideal for me, but this drought is reaching hazardous conditions here in the south. There hasn’t been an appreciable rainfall since November 3rd or fourth, and in Tennesee the whole village of Gatlinberg has been wiped out.

Fortunately, rain is in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, but it remains to be seen how much it will deliver.

In preparation of this, the assistant manager, Kathy, dropped by a brochure from a restaurant across the highway that delivers. It’s Italian, but it has things like steak, etc., and at quite reasonable prices; i.e. most items are below $10.00.

It saves dodging raindrops.

I have a colony of Skinks (Gecos) living in the hedge outside, and the ‘head guy’ – a bold little bugger – is determined he is going to move inside whenever I leave the door open.

Generally they scoot when I move, but not him, so I have to get up an shoo him out the door. I don;t mind them inside – they were all over the place in Belize, but he’d starve to death in here.

Tonight’s tour of Georgia includes a peach orchard, and a pecan orchard; both of which are done harvesting. The peach is Georgia’s state symbol, but interestingly is comes behind pecans and blueberries in exports.

A peach orchard ready to be harvested.
A peach orchard ready to be harvested.
Another view of a peach orchard in bloom.
Another view of a peach orchard in bloom.
A view of a pecan orchard and pod still on the tree.
A view of a pecan orchard and pod still on the tree.

More next time.


Here is something to put you in the Christmas spirit :)

I know that it’s a bit early to drag out Christmas – December 1st is more appropriate – but a good laugh is always in season.

So, here is a commercial that is bound to get you started with a laugh. Save it for when the post-Christmas bills start coming in, too.

Took $100 US from the box yesterday…

Care to guess what it cost in CAD? Would you believe $142?!!

Meanwhile, “Twinkle Toes” Trudeau is jetting around the world in ‘Canada One’, and tossing $1M gifts out the window.

It’s a partly overcast 73-degrees today, going up to 84 tomorrow. It is very dry, however, as we have not had a rainfall of any kind since the first of the month.

Laundry day, today. When travelling, everything I carry must fit on the walker. My philosophy is that it is easier to buy things than tote them around. Consequently, I pack two shirts, and wear one; two pants and wear one, and two jackets, etc.

Likewise, everything is nylon or light cotton, so when they get soiled I just wash them in the sink and they’re ready to wear the next day.

I have started writing again. Presently I’m at page 61 of 113, so the likelihood is that Part Two of COA finished before Part One is published. Such are the vagaries of having to depend on someone else – especially in this day and age.

If you’re in the market for a modest property, then I have just the one for you in today’s tour of Georgia.

The title that goes with it merely says that it is in “northern Georgia,” so I can’t tell you more than that – except it is to drool over. Moreover, the price tag is probably enough to give you a heart attack. 🙂

One more time with feeling…

[I had this all written once before, but at the last minute the computer screwed up and I lost the whole thing. Grrrr!]

It is cooler today (67), but it is forcast to be back in the mid-seventies – even an 82 – by Monday.

I also check the temperature in Orillia every morning. Glad the rain isn’t snow … Not yet, anyway.

A wedding party invaded the hotel last evening, and now I know why I never went through the nonsense. Mind you, when I was younger they still had some mystique about them. These days, from what I can tell, they are an excuse for a raucous drunk.

A batch of them took the room next  to mine, and, while they weren’t too bad, they kept me awake until 1:30 AM. The assistant manager then intervened and sent them all to bed. Being the ‘star boarder’ does have some privileges.

I haven’t done much writing the past few days. I guess I’m still feeling the disappointment of not having the novel published as expected, and missing the Christmas market.

I have some photos for you today. The first is the Old District in Savannah, Georgia, and the second is a menage of photos of the “Hermitage” plantation near Savannah.

“Towards the end of the American Civil War (1864) Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s men of the Union Army sacked the large main house of this plantation and it was never lived in again. Many of the freed Negro slaves and their descendents continued to live in the gray brick homes they had built themselves when they were captive slaves. They lived in the small brick homes for many years after the war into the 1900s as a freed people.

I believe the original house burned down, and the one you see in these pictures was built around 1902 by Henry McAlpin. Henry McAlpin’s 400-acre plantation was located on the Savannah River, just north of the city of Savannah–the heart of a rice-growing region. McAlpin was one of the wealthiest men in the South. He didn’t just rely only on crops for his livelihood; he manufactured bricks, rice barrels, cast iron products and lumber, too. Examining the site plan of the Hermitage Plantation reveals a variety of buildings and industries. At the Hermitage Plantation, like other plantations along coastal South Carolina and Georgia, the task system of labor organization was used.

The Old District, Savannah, Georgia.
The Old District, Savannah, Georgia.

More next time.

There’s good news and bad news…

I finally heard from my publisher. It seems he has been tied up with business and private issues.

That’s the good news.

The bad is that Coming of Age will not be published for “…At least several weeks,” which means I will miss the Christmas market and about 25% of my sales.

Needless to say I’m not happy, but there is precious little I can do about it.

It is just another example of people not doing the job expected of them. Everything … Everything, I have undertaken since September, and paid good money to get done, has had to be done twice to get it right: My flight arrangements, my credit card, my medicines, have all been screwed up.

About the only thing they have done right is to collect the money.


Still no word from my publisher…

Starting to get a bit nervous.

As of Monday I have sent two emails, but neither of which has been answered.

The thing that makes me nervous is that there have been quite a few publishers go out of business, taking book rights and royalties with them. It has happened to author friends of mine quite recently.

For me, it would mean six years of work plus missing the Christmas market – something that can’t be undone.

I am still optimistic, but I’m prepared for the worst.

The South is living up to its reputation for hospitality

I have been flattered with two invitations to Thanksgiving dinner. One came from the maintenance guy here at the hotel – Josh – and the other from one of the waitresses at the Waffle House. I declined as graciously as I could – preferring to do my own thing – but I thought it was very nice just the same.

The temperature is 72F today, but it has cropped to 32F on one of the previous nights. Fortunately, I have a heater in my room, and the temp climbs quite substantially (30-degrees) during the day.

I received quite a few compliments reegarding the plantation house I featured in my last post. It seems people like looking at gracious homes as much as me. Therefore, I have picked another for today’s post: “Campbell House.

Hope you enjoy it.

More next time.

40F-degrees last night … Brrrr!

Yes, it`s cool – like a fall day in Canada – but if you can find a sheltered spot in the sun, it’s quite comfortable. The high forecast for today is 58.2F.

I like to sit in the sun for a few minutes every day. I have a spot on the south side of the building that is sheltered from the breeze. Unfortunately, I can’t work there because of the glare on the screen – also because there is no table and chair – but it’s a great spot to relax and contemplate the world around me.

This surely is a great spot. Not only is it quiet (so far), but it is also a picturesque piece of property. The buildings block the noise from the highways, and what little commerce there is (gas stations galore) is hidden behind a grove of trees.

Fall means that most everything goes into a state of suspended animation; the grass is brown, and the trees – while still green – are shedding leaves, etc. Still, I prefer green to white, any day.

Hills & Dales Plantation, La Grange, Georgia.
Hills & Dales Plantation, La Grange, Georgia.

Georgia is, of course, the home of some spectacular plantation houses. An example of these is Hills & Dales Plantation. It was the home of textile magnate Fuller E. Callaway, Sr. and his family. The property features the historic Ferrell Gardens, which are one of the best preserved 19th century gardens in America. The gardens were created by Sarah Ferrell between 1841 and 1903 and include extensive boxwood plantings, fountains, a herb garden and a greenhouse.

The centerpiece of the 35-acre estate is a beautiful Italian villa designed by the noted architects Neel Reid and Hal Hentz, which was completed in 1916.

I’ll include other examples in future posts.

More next time. 🙂

A beautiful day in the neighbourhood

77 degrees.

It is forecast to stay this way until Saturday and then drop off to 63F, daytime temp. Just a reminder that all good things come to an end.

I still have not seen the galley proofs of COA, so if they do not arrive today I will have to put some pressure on my publisher. The Christmas market is now.

In the meantime, I reached page 45/115 on the second part, so I could be finished with the first draft by Christmas. There are some areas that will need work, but I should be ready in lots of time for a March 2017 release.

Since there is no news apart from eating, sleeping, and writing, I thought you might like to share my view from the workstation out the front window.

Looking out the front window.
Looking out the front window.

Okefenokee swamp

The area of Georgia where I am staying in the entrance to the fabled Okefenokee swamp, home to – among other denizens – “Pogo.”

Pogo comic strip
Pogo comic strip

okefenokeeOtherwise, The Okefenokee Swamp covers 438,000 acres and is one of the five largest swamps in the world. The source of Florida’s famed
Suwannee River, it is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.

Legend holds that the name Okefenokee is an old Creek Indian word meaning “Land of the Trembling Earth.” The story makes sense
as the bottom of the swamp is formed by a thick layer of accumulated peat. Trees can be made to shake by jumping up and down.

A chief of the Lower Creek village of Chehaw told U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins in 1796 that the swamp was a terrible place.
Even the bravest of warriors, he said, feared going too deep into the swamp. It was filled with snakes, alligators and “tygers” or
panthers. It would later become a refuge for them.

During the Creek War of 1836 and Second Seminole War (1835-1842), Seminole and Creek warriors fled into the Okefenokee with their families to escape forced removal from their homelands on the Trail of Tears. Army and militia troops built forts around the perimeter of the swamp and occasionally skirmished with bands of warriors.

The pressure eventually forced most of the Native Americans to flee south into Florida, although some local families found in the area today report they descended from these bands. [See more:]

We are enjoying a stretch of beautiful weather (temp today 73F) which is supposed to carry on until Sunday (Thanksgiving). Then it drops into the 60s and even 50s the following week.

The nighttime temps are in the 40s even now, so there’s about a thirty-degree spread.

More next time.


Woke this morning to 48F degrees. However, it warmed to 71F this afternoon.

On the topic of temperatures, the maintenance guys were around today to fix my radiator so I can get some heat when I need it. The hotel is old, so things do break down. I can live without most things, but warm isn’t one of them.

Nothing particularly newsworthy. About all I do is eat, write, and sleep. I’m sure it doesn’t sound overly exciting to most people, but it suits me very well. The room is clean, the bed is comfortable, and the water is hot. What more could anyone ask for?

I have a regular server by the name of Shane – “Like the cowboy,” as he likes to say. He’s mid -twenties, quite polished, and comfortable in his own skin.

I like people like that. They are like springs that bounce back at you, rather than having to draw them out. He is also well acquainted with the menu, and we spend a good deal of time discussing the pros and cons of the various dishes. I got through about 72 of them back in 2014 – 15, so I’m looking to make it 73 this year.

That is about the extent of my socializing, except for saying hello to the staff. Theresa is my housekeeper, Kathy is the assistant manager, and Josh is my maintenance guy.

Josh is having a small get-together for Thanksgiving, so I have the honour of being invited. Otherwise, the restaurant is closed, but the Waffle House is open 365/365, including Christmas.

Time to get some writing done.

Here are the pines I was telling you about. I think  they are "lodge Pole" pines, but otherwise they are very elegant.
Here are the pines I was telling you about. I think they are “lodge Pole” pines, but otherwise they are very elegant.