While all of the above maybe true a NEW bike would be nice!



For 2016 I was on my Giant MTB which was top of the line in 2002 and retailed at around  $3500, although I didn’t pay quite that much. I did however buy a road bike and enjoyed the higher speeds riding around Phoenix but for the most part used the MTB on all the winding multi use paths in the Scottsdale area.

With a new chain and a new set of forks my “old bike” knocked up 2031 miles in 2016 in the pursuit of fitness and “living” post the severe bout of pneumonia. Of course when you have Stage 3 COPD it was an easy decision to give up smoking after 62 years! Well my learned Doctor said he had never seen a recovery like it and was also impressed with the total miles as he is also a dedicated mountain biker.


The last ride was Thanksgiving Day and since then the weather has shut me down but with some Christmas pressies of riding thermals its time to get out there once more. This year’s objective is 3000 miles! for the 70 year old.



……. and they work!


Superbowl Sunday and I set off again and now 1 week later despite snow, rain and cold I only have 2964 miles left to go. The winter months have given me plenty of opportunities to research many things of a cycling nature and I’m currently looking at two used bikes from Specialized. As it happens both are the Roubaix model. I hope they stay on E Bay long enough for me to buy one which could be around the end of March.



This one is the older of the 2 and is about a 2008 ?



This one is either 2011 or 2012 and I love it !!!

It seems there have been a lot of changes in the last 15 years or so with frames, riding positions, pedals, electronic gear changers and even disc brakes, although I see these are still banned from the Tour de France.


Valentines Day, and after a quick fix on the hot water boiler with a new igniter, peace is restored as well as hot water. I also see that the 2 Roubaix bicycles I have been watching have both been reduced…… I just hope nobody else is tempted before I can be ready to buy.

With cycling now underway Pool has also restarted at another local bar which was the Hollywood MkII after the first one was burnt down. When owner, Travis, brought in this awful woman the bar went downhill in a heartbeat as she sacked bar staff, 86ed several locals, and cut others off at the bar. Very soon everyone drifted down to the Riverfront which has just gone through some mighty strange proceedings.

Supposedly the Riverfront came up for sale and it was rumored to have sold around the $Million mark. The first closing date was going to be just before Christmas! Fortunately that didn’t happen and new dates came and went for January. We were all told the NEW owners would be re-opening very soon with their own people. The next thing that happens is the bar shuts down on a Tuesday lunchtime and the next day there are “Out of Business” signs in the windows!

Some say it was a health violation, some say taxes haven’t been paid and it seems as though the staff have not been paid either. More rumors are the deal fell through and now our town bar is CLOSED!

With the move of locals to the Riverfront Travis closed the Hollywood and this sold last year and became the Montezuma Mexican bar and restaurant. The pool tables at the Riverfront have now appeared in the Montezuma and I’ve qualified already! Dolores pool players will NOT be denied !!

The second week on the pedals finished up with 100.72 miles on the odometer which is a good start to the year, although its snowing furiously as I write ………..


Guess I’m not cycling this morning?     ……….. 30 mins later


I don’t think so!

That white stuff continued ALL Sunday and zero was accomplished on the riding/health kick. Monday and we take a trip into Durango to see the NEW flooring that Brenda wants for the main bedroom. Quick visit to “Steamworks” for lunch then a few other shops before coming home. The weather has improved, the temps are up, and the weekend’s snow has melted!

Off I go again  and another 11.47 is in the books. Tuesday and Wed are nice days with hardly any wind and temps around 50F. Two days of 14+ a day but then on Thursday its snow again and today, Friday, its bitterly cold and windy…… and still snowing.

However my “Buy it Now” finger is getting itchy on Ebay.



The weather leading up to the weekend was a series of blow through snow storms, overnights of 2-4″,  and then melting by lunchtime before the next onset late afternoon.

Friday evening and the next big one arrives with about 6″ on the rail and high winds giving lots of drifting and blizzard conditions. By Saturday morning things are looking pretty grim with a stiff westerly and around 10″ needing a plow out.


Pool competition comes and goes, and sadly I finish just out of the money in 5th!

Monday morning and another couple of inches but the main roads are clear. Out with the bus and the side roads are not so rosey. The motor grader who tries to do my route roads has created the usual chaos and filled in all the ditches which makes the road look twice as wide and now there are zero references and as this machine has NO gritting or mag chloride capability the roads are like glass.

A little later I find out as the bus glides sideways into the ditch!!! The motor grader is not that far away and I get him to pull me out of the mess he has made.

Monday night and another 3-4″ but the county plows have done great work on the main roads. In at work and people are chaining up but then we get some calls from our route area that several parents have run off the roads on their way to their stops. Pleasant View and Lewis routes are cancelled so home I go. No sooner has dog walking been done when another major storm arrives and the wind picks up resulting in the worst blizzard we have seen in a long time. This continues ALL day and most of the night giving around two feet. It stops eventually but the decision has been made and we are actually having a SNOW DAY on Wednesday.


During the Blizzard


Finally its over

Wednesday, bright and sunny with the white stuff everywhere but very pretty. More plowing out  as life moves on.


My BMW I think ?


A couple of feet on the picnic table


We live here


Time for a plow out!

Thursday and Friday the side roads are awful and care and patience is the order of the day. Our local ski resorts are enjoying the highest January snowfalls for many years and I end up taking an activity trip to Telluride with 50 kids and parents. With all the snowfall the roads are still not clear but by the time we are coming home there has been a good melt and conditions are improving.

The calendar slips into February and Friday the 3rd is a teacher day so I’m off and manage to finally get all the maple tree decorations down and boxed. Saturday morning and everything is finally put away in the workshop loft.





A very mixed bag on the weather front with snow overnight then rain during the day to wash it all away. Well that will help as I gather up all the remaining power cables and decs on Monday that were frozen in the snow.

Now we are into the next phase of pool competitions with our local Dolores final next weekend. The last round of qualifying was yesterday and after last week’s success I was hoping for another good result. 23 players yesterday and I’m going well with 2 wins and playing John McEwan again. John is playing well but rattles one and allows me back on the table. I have the 4 ball on the bottom cushion and the 5 ball adjacent to the 8 which has never moved off it’s spot. John has 5 balls left and the cue ball is up on the top rail. I elect the tricky shot on the purple to return it to the top right pocket which it does perfectly! Now a cut on that orange ball to bottom left …… that goes in clean, but the cue ball comes back up the table further than I wanted and I now have an almost identical shot on the black for the game. Same pocket, similar cut, and the black rolls in …… but what’s this??? ……the cue ball is trundling gently up the table ……… surely it will stop?  …….. stop damn you! …. and it does right on the lip of the pocket……. and then it falls in!!!!  yes, I’ve beaten myself again!!!

Never mind try and get it together for next weekend now I know I can win these things!!


MLK day so I get a day off and now that the rain has melted most of the snow it should be an excellent day for recovering the last of the Christmas decorations from outside in the flower beds and maple tree, not forgetting the Scuffy lights and presents.

Laser lights all boxed and all front bed cables and lights in their own box for next year. No more trying to remember what fits where? All the waterfall deer are removed along with polar bears, reindeer and sleighs. Finally the rose bed lights are removed and also boxed separately. Of course just to remind me of where we are its started snowing again ……. Ho, bloody ho!

This afternoon’s project is Scuffy followed by the Maple Tree. It has now snowed, or snizzled, which is Colorardan for a mix of light snow and drizzle, for the last 4 hours which is not helping at all. Nothing happening today!


Just this lot to come down

Another day, another set of lights and the ship’s lights, all ornaments and presents are removed and boxed …… just the tree to go ….. but it starts snowing again, and then more snow …… and another change into a winter storm!

Well you can only do what you can do!!





Seems it is going to snow all January and making cycling difficult for me so as I can’t do much else time to concentrate on skiing and my other winter discipline of Pool.

EPSON scanner image

Across the road at the Riverfront is our Saturday venue and we are two weeks away from the Championship day on 21st Jan. Yesterday I just had the feeling that I would do well as for the last couple of weeks with the “goodwill to all men” I seemed to have lost my killer edge. Not so anymore its back!


8 missiles and the gun….. I’m ready!


I kick off against Marty and win reasonably well. Next game we both are on the black and neither of us can sink the thing on a very rough and non level table. After three shots a piece my opposition sinks the cue ball giving me the win so I’m 2 up on a day with 21 players. what does that mean, you ask ? Well the game sheet for 16 players means to must win 3 times in a row to get into the money and with numbers up to 32 players you need 4 in a row. Shortly after my win I’m told my next opponent, NY Bob, has withdrawn and gone home with the flu.


My next game is against last week’s winner Todd. Good game all the way through and very evenly matched. I finish off with a very long shot on the black and it goes absolutely straight into the pocket without touching anything! Very satisfying and I feel I’m right back on my game.  With 4 wins I’m now in the money again.

Now time for the undefeated players to play off for a place in the final or a spot in the 3rd or better berth. I play Gary in this round and I’m back on the table with 2 balls left against his 5. The Yellow along the top rail “softly” leaves me with a huge cut on the Orange which I spend a few moments calculating angles. A perfect hit and it trundles all the way down the table and drops in the nominated pocket. A simple cut on the black to the middle bag and the game is mine.

Gary plays Marty for the other slot in the final and wins through and now racks for me. Game goes well and coming to the black I’m 6 balls up as he pots my last one and also sinks the cue ball. However, the Black is in the baulk area so I must come up and down off the rail. It doesn’t get the correct return off the cushion and misses the black but finds its way into the pocket for my first loss! SH  1T!

The second game has the black trapped in a corner between two of Gary’s and while I can sink mine without too much trouble I don’t like the black situation. I’m hoping that Gary will sink his and then be forced to take on his last balls by the black. It doesn’t happen and I’m left with an awful situation. I can squeeze the cue ball through but I must not hit his. A double kiss will also cost me the game as will an in off one of his. A perfect shot again just touching the black and forcing him to shoot at the “blockers” as there is no other option. This shot clears the problem and gives me a nice shot on the black and the win of $52.50 …….. with only one more week of qualifying I have now 2 Wins, 2 Seconds and 3 Thirds!



Today its Sunday, still snowing but its also the Championship over in Mancos where I qualified once with a Second . Brenda is the duty driver and not overly pleased but accepts the position as she didn’t qualify.

A wet dreary day and pool seems like the No1 choice. My first game is against Michael and I’m first to the black but there is too much chance of scratching so I don’t try too hard. Sadly he cleans up his remaining balls and sinks the black. First loss!

First game from the loser’s bench against Teresa giving me the win and 4 balls up at the end. There is also a leak from the snow on the roof and there is a catcher’s bucket at the end of the table! Kicking the bucket takes on a whole new meaning.


Buck .. it!

A bit of a surprise as I find I’m up against John McEwan who I would rate as the best player around. I saw him playing yesterday and it was like a “pool demo” …….. perfect shots every time and superb cue ball control. On reflection I didn’t play him yesterday so two people must have beaten him! Our game is awful!!! anybody watching this would have thought neither of us had played before! however I click in and run out the winner.

Bill Ragland is next and he has been on a roll of late with very crisp and accurate shooting. Two visits to the table and I’m down to my last two with Bill yet to get one. He gets two and lets me back on the table and I have a perfect run to clean up.

A short break as Marty takes on Michael, who I lost to in round 1. Looked like Marty had the game with an amazing shot but failed to hit a ball he nominated..

Now to play Michael again and I must rack as he is undefeated. Game goes well for me with some superb shots and I’m an easy winner. Game 2 and I’m playing well with more great shots bringing me onto the black for a very tight cut all the way to the top pocket.


Oh, so nearly for the game

One more revolution and it would have dropped but sadly for me Michael cleans up his last balls and the black is a gift. From a 1st round loss I’m delighted to have made it into the “money” let alone come so close to the overall win. Never mind $60.00 for second is a pleasant result especially after yesterday’s win.

2017 results; 1 first  and 1 second …… total $112.50 !!









Well the beef was perhaps one of the best pieces of meat I’ve eaten in a long, long time! Now for those that don’t follow old traditions its straight back to it and Christmas is done for another year …… but not in this household!

There are 12 days of Christmas and we are only at Day 2. Today, (Boxing Day) starts with more lumberjacking and firewood. Put away the last of the ski boots and make ready to return Phil to Durango. Steamworks for lunch, very busy, and around the town window shopping for the must have item. All too soon we are at the airport and time to say goodbyes at the end of another visit.


Day 3, and now rectification after the 2nd storm. Frosty rebuilt, reindeers stood up and polar bear back on his stump. The motor has failed on the big buck and the front lights have gone out on the drinking doe. Scuffy gets a brushing and Santakins and Goofy are relocated.

Up the Maple tree where several strings of meteor lights have gone out it seems the water has run into the USB ports of the plugs! One to remember for next time and some waterproofing required. 3 of the 4 sets repaired.

Time for a look at Four Seasons 75% off sale. 4 more sleighs for me and Brenda finds 5 snowmen and a very long up market garland to go over the kitchen cabinets. Nice items!


At 75% off these are only $1.50 each! Very nice


Snowmen, red hats for my garland $3.00 each


Black hat ones for the tree


Special tree ornament for Brenda ….. a “Plan B” boat!!! …… and it looks just like it……. I even put the name on the back.

Day 4, and time for yet another visit to Durango to see my Doctor for the lung check up. The new CT lung scan is quick and easy and all appears well as he is quite impressed especially with the 2031 miles at 7000′. The meeting degenerates into golfing, skiing and mountain biking! ……. so I guess I’m OK ?  Nice lunch at a new venue and almost valet parking. Not much on the after Christmas goodies search but a pleasant day out.



Day 5, bright and sunny but cold. Might be a good day to try on my cycling thermals Christmas present. Tried on, very warm, top a little tight, pants just right. In fact, the reverse of the other set where the pants are a bit loose. Temps have shot up today, and no wind. It even says 53F !!!! I could ride without the thermals. Brenda will try and change the top.


Day 6, still bright and cold but more snow forecast for the weekend. Several things I could do today but currently not fired up in any direction. Film day !


Day 7, New Year’s Eve, light snow this morning and so far just a dusting. Not looking like a cycling day so 2016 wraps up with 2031 on the odometer. How many in 2017? …. think I’ll try for 3000 and see how many I can get before my next Doctor’s visit. Also want to get back to trials riding in 2017. The snow (wet) has not stopped all morning and although it doesn’t look like a big fall you can never tell up here. It carries on snowing all afternoon but as the temps go up a little no more settles.


Day 8, New Year’s Day, well didn’t see any fireworks, didn’t stay up, but I’m still here having an early morning coffee. time for those 2017 resolutions!

More Trials Riding, More Cycling, More Skiing, More Pool. Try and be nicer to the Chamber of Commerce. More summer Boating and Fishing. Stay Healthy …… be thoughtful to others.


A lot more of this please


Santa didn’t fill this stocking, but I have my eye on a few!





Plenty of this for 2017


A load of this in the Crystal Ball

Day 9, Monday 2nd Jan, and rapidly approaching 12th Night so time to think putting it all away for another year. Brenda needs 3 more boxes for upstairs and I need 3 more for outside for all the extras out there. Better get myself to Walmart and 6 up!

Walmart it is then, and to my surprise they are on a 75% off deal on selected Christmas stuff. A few more bells go in the cart after first humping 6 of the big red festive boxes. This gets followed by 6 of the tree topper lights now all down to $2.50 a pop! Two sets of the green/red baubles for my 2016 garlands at around $1.00 and a 300 set of lights for Brenda’s new kitchen garland for another $2.00.

Day 10, and snow on the rail with more to come. Seems the Subaru battery has gone down so I guess I’ll be back to Walmart this morning for a replacement. Dolores school buses out and about as they are starting 1 day ahead of us……. better enjoy my last day off! Well at least its “early release” tomorrow so I should get home in daylight.

With the weather looking pretty crappy for January I’d better start thinking thin again as I’ve put on a few pounds during this winter break. Hopefully it should come off once I can get out there and push a few more miles on those pedals, but before that its battery time. They put the 2 year old one on test and I set off around the store which is dangerous and a few more Christmas trinkets are in the cart. Seems this battery test takes 90 minutes!!!  Why don’t they tell you?   End result the battery failed the test so we get another FREE which is just as well as it costs $93.00…….. All fitted and she is happy.

A bit of a tidy up and make ready afternoon as tomorrow will be our last full night of lights as yet another major storm bears down on us.

Day 11, back to school so back to the 0430 wake up call. Roads are clear but the forecast for us is about 1 foot over the next 2 days and over 3 feet up the road at Rico which is close to 9000′. Not much can be done today as its “Early Release” and I’m back in just after midday. Last full night of lights so enjoy!





Day 12, a real crap morning with none of the forecast snow and its raining! Home again and try and remove some of the outside things but its wet and very unpleasant so concentrate on inside. Brenda is on upstairs and I complete downstairs with some of the outside stuff brought in to dry.

The crew of Scuffy are rescued, Santa is last to leave the ship and wreaths and lanterns brought in to dry before being boxed up again. The rain continues all day until my homeward run when it changes over to snow and then the storm really hits!

We have had NUMEROUS well wishers praising our 2016 display and generally the town’s people are pretty angry over the results and will be making their voice heard. Until then……….. Happy New Year.








The “White” Christmas

4″ on the rail this morning and a fair bit of devastation to the display. Frosty took another hit along with 2 deer and a couple of Santakins and the sleigh had a rough time too with another battering. Lights out on a deer and the polar bear is on his side. Well, peeps, no help from me today as its still snowing, mighty cold and pretty windy.

Time for the fire and the new yule log picture on channel 565 to give us fires in stereo. This one has puppies and kittens.


Stereo log fires

Breakfast with sticky cinnamon rolls and then presents…… and the phone calls begin. woweeee! its gone midday and no cooking moves have been made.


Brenda salts and peppers the beef into submission while I peel potatoes, parsnips, and my once a year favorite “the bullet hard swede”. Carrots, leeks and sprouts are all prepped for the off so now time for a Christmas cocktail.


Veggies up and ready …… swede on the rolling boil and parsnips and potatoes finishing their parboil before roasting


Stand back! Its Christmas cocktail time

Attention to detail pays off with regular basting and core temp checking on the super beef. Circa 1600 we are ready to eat and have a glass of Phil’s v, expensive wine. The bottle goes well in our new bottle holder.


What a gorgeous lump and roasting veggies


and roasting sprouts too


……. and now the carving and the eating. For me, I always love the better done “End Cut” with all the salt and juicy fatty bits.


Now that’s a meal!





A few warming days with temps up around 47F and slush and mush everywhere. This morning, raining and dreary but now its changed to snow so fingers crossed as we are picking up Brenda’s son Phil from Durango at 2130 tonight!

Well, all’s well on the Christmas decoration front and now it’s time to ENJOY whatever the holiday has in store. On the weather front two major storms will hit us, the first tonight, dropping a foot or more at Telluride and about 4″ for us in Dolores. A brief spell of sunshine on Friday (our planned ski day)  and then another 4″ + on Christmas Eve (night) and another 2″ on Christmas morning.

The day goes reasonably well with a trip into town to pick up Phil’s rental skis and some bits and bobs at Walmart for pies and cookies. Back home some festive cooking is under way and after normal lumberjack duties I can finally get on with some wrapping. Doesn’t last long as I will run out of sticky tape before I get into it so another run for supplies to the dollar store, don’t forget the brandy and champagne,  ….. oooh, and a quick look in the Flying Pig just in case!

Christmas presents wrapped, my skills seem to be going downhill, as I used to be pretty good at this task and quick too!


2000, and all aboard for Durango and for the most part the roads are just wet with bits of slush to add to the fun. The weather goes as per the forecast and my own predictions as we head for the airport. A fresh fall of a couple of inches as we pass Summit Lake, bit slippy here but on we go. More snow as we crest Mancos Hill and a bit of fog coming down the other side. More snow and fog approaching Hesparus and tandem snow plows coming up the hill from Durango. Roads are mostly clear in Durango but are very poorly lit (need more street lights people). 15 mins out from the airport and Phil texts to say he has landed.


2130 we are at the airport and find Phil in baggage claim which ALWAYS seems to be the WEAK LINK in the system here as they are always short of baggage handlers and on one visit to pick up Brenda we waited 40 mins while the handler went on BREAK!!

2200 and we are on our way and hit the edge of tonight’s storm. More snow, loads of slush, fog and generally poor street lighting making everything worse.


Up the hill and it starts as we move into the asteroid belt and it sure is coming down! More fog for the topping on the fun cake and conditions are awful all the way back to Mancos where we get a brief respite until Summit when it starts again.



Slowly and safely make the top of the hill into Dolores and say hello to a bunch of deer just standing by the road. Home around 2330 and I for one am off to bed!

Friday, the planned ski day, lots of fresh white stuff but very wet and slushy. Plows have done a great job on the roads so if we can get it together then Telluride it shall be! A lot later than planned we are on the slopes and the weather has changed again and we now have a superb “Bluebird Day”, no clouds, no wind, …….. just perfect and of course tons of new snow.


Saturday, Christmas Eve, and its blowing a gale again ahead of the next storm. Not so good on the pool tables today but never mind its Christmas.


Christmas morning and indeed the forecast storm has been through leaving another 3-4″ on the rail and maybe some more to come. Be thankful, plenty of wood to burn and food and drink a’plenty.






Santa suffers a spot of bother during the storm


Always loved this card my son sent me ….. sums it up nicely!

Slightly warmer and coming back the other side of freezing for the next few days so work begins on rebuilding the Christmas display after the ravages of last weekend’s storm.


Scuffy and crew take a hit for the team


But the crew stay at their posts


Doorman Frosty took a beating too!

Another timer had to be bought and is now up and running. The boat and occupants got a “brushing” to remove the snow, and the ice over the hull was chipped away like Deadliest Catch! All members of the Santakins family are still moving and are back in situ.

Up the maple tree the Meteor lights clearly do NOT LIKE being blasted by rain and fierce winds and 4 sets of the 8 have given up the ghost.Two sets with bayonet connectors were saved but one is toast and the other I haven’t been able to reach as yet.

Poor Goofy got soaked by the rain on Friday night and then swept overboard by the gale force winds. His body is on the rocks which he is currently frozen to.


Once I get outside finished, downstairs needs it’s seasonal décor which I still haven’t got to. I did tart it up a bit last year with some super decorations from the 4 Seasons Nursery post Christmas sale where upmarket decorations are for sale with 75% off.

If I get all that done today, which will make me very happy, then I need to rewire some lights on our 2 balcony items of Reindeer and Angel which we first put up on Christmas 2005. The newer LEDs are SO much brighter I think it will be worth the effort.

Outside got finished!! Goofy had to be heat gunned off the rocks and is now in intensive care in the tumble dryer. He should be up and about in a day or two. Just a few ornaments to recover that are buried in the snow.


Goofy back on duty


Maple gets extra lights



Downstairs day today, hallway and the “Yoga room”…… shouldn’t take too long.





Now to transform the bleakness of the office hallway into yet more of Santa’s hideaways. Two garlands to go up, Bambi and Harley need that yuletide cheer and see what’s left over in the decoration boxes.



Harley joins in


Bambi always looks good ……… but this sometimes doesn’t go down well with overnight visitors!


A good day was had! Brenda got her work bonus that she thought was not coming, her hearing aids for the dreaded tinnitus have been approved, I got downstairs finished.

After Brenda’s vicious attack by the dog last summer one of Santa’s reindeer is on hand to deal with miscreants.

christmas toons photostricks_blogspot_com 4







The last day of school and the arrival of perhaps the most vicious storm I have seen in Colorado. Wet and unpleasant all morning and about 2″ of wet snow on the company car for the 0530 drive to work.

Wet and miserable but warmish at around the 45F mark but by mid afternoon its much cooler and the wind picks up with gusts to 45 mph.  By the time I’m driving home the rain has increased dramatically and as I drive into Cozy decorations and lights are taking a monumental battering and its not looking good at all! The rain is crashing into the windows, branches are bending, lights are on and off ….. I can’t bear to watch! The rain changes to snow and by morning we have 4″ on the rail. Scuffy has taken a few direct hits, but Santa is still at the helm. Crew members still on deck have fallen under the weight of snow and a polar bear and reindeer are on their sides. Looks like some electrical timers are frozen shut.

However, here are some pictures of this year’s efforts prior to the storm and the rest will re recovered today as the sun warms things up.


First the front beds and the deer by the Waterfalls


More of the brighter LED lights on the front bed trees this year


Different angle


NEW passengers in the sleigh


More NEW LEDs for the rose bed


Frosty at the front door


The popular shooting stars I made!


The other side ……. and how did he get all those green and blue lights up that tree?




Its the Maple Tree


“Joy to the World”


………and now lets see what is happening at the dock. The crew are ready to board, the presents have been loaded, engines checked, lists gone over and GPS coordinates logged in.


Idling Wake from the powerful Mercury engine


Presents loaded and patrolled by the dog


Crew “Santakins” ready to cast off


First Mate says “Ready to cast off”


Captain Santa powers up


” HO  HO  HO  GO!


Scuffy plows through the waves


“Twas a cold winter’s night ……. “

Front beds were all completed back after Thanksgiving, the house and finally the NEW sections of the Maple Tree, took another 8 days of work in the cold. 2 more days to load and complete the boat.


A well-wishers photo

Well after all that, and in excess of another $500 of lights and decorations, we achieved a slap in the face SECOND PLACE as the school children that frequent the coffee shop were this year’s Judges. What a great idea that was!!! Well done indeed Chamber of Commerce to let  children decide what business should be!! All flashing lights to music with Darth Vader and friends ……. well in the spirit of this time of the year don’t let the single digit upset you for it is given freely !!!

…..and here is a little yuletide song by my doggie friend composed for the Chamber or is it chamber pot?






After Saturdays “double” success on the pool table and good work on the lights on Sunday the weather changes again and now its even colder and 4″ of snow on the rail as I start back to work for the last 3 weeks of driving in 2016.


NEW for 2016, the Advent Tree

A crisp wind to chill the marrow and of course the seasonal batch of idiots out driving in the snow! Tailgating, FULL beam on the headlights, or NO lights at all!! Talking lights Brenda is working overtime on tree and garlands.



Just love these ornaments

The weather was so unpleasant that virtually nothing got done outside until Friday when “Front of House” got the twirlers up the poles and the first row of ice lights. Today not much happening as it snowed again last night but seems to be melting quickly. Well, its Saturday again and after Brenda’s excellent performance last week she wants to go for a second helping of the “Pool” pie!

Quick visit to the Community Center for their Christmas wares sale and a few odd ball purchases. Home and get ready for pool. Practice session goes reasonably well and the fun begins with 18 players.



A couple of goodies from the craft fair

Eventually Brenda and I meet on the winners side and this week I win and things are looking pretty good in my 3rd match as I’m on the black and 6 balls up! I can’t believe how every time I get back to the table I’m completely “snookered”. I never do get a chance at a decent shot and from 6 balls up I get beaten!!


On the loser’s bench, and now I seem to be in constant play mode and another 3 wins I find myself in 3rd or better against Jerry. A win here and now play the owner and birthday boy, Garry. I win the first game and the second goes all the way to the black with Garry winning. Again I can’t complain with another 2nd place .

Well its Sunday on the lights, and this just might be my last year EVER as some people have made it quite clear as to their priorities. It’s even down to a judging panel of school children (thanks Chamber of Commerce!) who will no doubt be looking for flashing things, music, star wars characters and all the “Non Christmas” crap I don’t have.




Sorry Dolores, WE like traditional, and just maybe we use a Judging panel of members of the Chamber of Commerce!!

I’m afraid Ultimatums and Christmas do not go together in my book so next year I’ll sit by the fire and watch the many Hallmark movies. It was fun over the years but this is it and if people screw with MY deadlines and planning then they can DO IT THEMSELVES. Definitely the end of this, rather like the Escalante 2 Day Trials.

Last shooting star hauled up and the final 2 rows of ice lights. Now all the cables and timers upstairs and down. Finally by 5 its all done for the day and now time to adjust timers and check their on/off functions. All looks good, save for a missing bulb on one strand which put a section out and the last shooting star may have the same problem.

Missing bulb replaced, loose wire reconnected, and 12 dead bulbs replaced in strings various. House done! Next up the Maple tree and Scuffy as the “NEW” addition for 2016.

Last year I bought some globes, which light up an internal and changing light sequence. Problem here is the batteries are expensive and don’t last that long. Now the question is….. “Is it possible to change over to mains power?” A standard cell phone charger reduces the 115 down to around 5 so I acquired 3 chargers for defunct cell phones and wired them in ….. yep! they work perfectly.


Now on Mains power

I took Friday afternoon off to try and finish the lighting, added a few extra bits, sorted out the Lasers from last year and strung the red and white main lights on Scuffy. Bells, balls, tree toppers all rigged and now waiting for my “elf” who will leap around the tree for me on Sunday.

Saturday again, another Christmas wares sale at the Brewery and yet more pool. Pool starts badly with Lauren nearly running the table on me but I fight back from my first loss and march up the loser’s board and end up taking another well deserved 3rd place.

Sunday and into the last week of driving and also the “Light Contest” so flat out to achieve the goals that have been set. Elf arrives and 90 minutes later all lights are up with the extra tree toppers and 4 more strings of falling ice lights.


Into the last week of 2016 driving

Monday and a few changes to positions, some extra lights, and the purchase of the 3 spot lights to illuminate Santa and friends. By Tuesday everything is in place and looks good! …… but just like last year there is always a sting in the tail! A huge storm rolls in and it rains all day Friday and about mid afternoon the winds increase to about 45 mph.

I’m into my last 2 miles with the last 3 passengers, when rounding the bend from CR20 and onto CR U, there is something strange ahead in the dusk as the headlights are having trouble with the transition from daylight to night. ………. better radio this one in!


“While Shepherds watched their flocks by night etc etc”

“Base this is 43”

“43 go ahead”

“Base ……  Sadly…… I must report that the Shepherds have NOT been watching their flock! …… there are about 50 goats racing down the road in front of me at 15 mph heading to Highway 491….. Due to the rain and cloud cover I’m afraid  I’m unable to determine if there is a NEW STAR in the East”!!!

herd of goats on the road, Aveyron, Midi Pyrenees, France

By the time I get back from my last drive it is not at all nice. As I drive through the town I notice several displays are NOT working at all, and our main competitor only has 1/2 of his lit up.

The wind is wreaking havoc in the maple tree, with lights out, spot lights on the move and the shivering polar bear taking the battering of his life. The rain hammers into the windows and lights are being blown in all directions. By bedtime it has changed to SNOW but the wind is still  blowing.

Saturday and the chill factor is horrendous, no repairs will be undertaken today! Pool as usual and I finish in 4th which considering how badly I thought I was playing can’t be all bad.

Sunday and no change in the bitter cold!