Morning tea?

Cup of tea artwork by Nicole Godwin

I casually asked a friend to come over for morning tea as we had a few things we needed to chat about. She looked at me and smiled, “Do I have to wear a hat and a frock? And will the Queen be there?”

It had happened again – I thought I’d worked out all the little language differences, but morning and afternoon tea must have tiptoed past me while I was shoveling the snowy driveway.

In Australia, morning and afternoon tea are terms that pretty much cover any food you eat between breakfast and lunch (morning tea) and lunch and dinner (afternoon tea). At 10am you might have fruit or cookies (we call them biscuits) and tea/coffee – that’s morning tea. Morning tea is most definitely not to be confused with brunch, which is more of a substantial meal between breakfast and lunch.

“Well what do you call the food that the kids have when they come home from school?” I asked my still laughing friend. “A snack,” she answered very matter-a-factly!

“And what about at work when you have a cake or something yummy – what do you call it then?” I asked, determined to catch her out. “We just call it cake and coffee; der brain.” OK she didn’t actually say ‘der brain’; she’s much too nice to say it, but I could tell she was thinking it!!!

On reflection, I can sorta, kinda see where she was coming from, but I think I’ll stick to saying morning and afternoon tea. I will however keep my fine china in the cupboard until Will and Kate accept my morning tea invitation.


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Introducing… milk jugs

Da da - the big bag, little bag and jug

“Why would you want to write about milk jugs? That’s a stupid idea for a post,” said the  little man dressed in hockey gear who just popped onto my left shoulder.

“It’s a great idea. They don’t have them in Australia,” said the two tiny surf lifesavers in unison on my right shoulder, both holding up teeny weeny glasses of milk.

I looked left and right; it wasn’t a hard decision. And besides it was two against one! And I REALLY like milk jugs!

So here’s the deal. In Australia we use plastic containers (that come in 2 or 3 litres) and cardboard cartons (1 or 2 litres). The three litre containers are heavy and the milk rushes out on the first pour. Trust me; it’s not good when you have heavy handed (or weak and puny) kids. I used to think that our containers made perfect sense… until I was introduced to plastic bags of milk in Canada.

Here’s how they work. You buy a big plastic bag of milk that contains three separate one litre bags. You insert one of the plastic bags of milk into your milk jug, snip the corner and voila! Out comes milk. It’s not heavy, it keeps milk fresh because you are only opening a small bit at a time, and you can control the flow by cutting a smaller or bigger hole.

But to be fair, as much as I love milk jugs; there is a trap for beginners. If you shove the bag of milk in and have an air pocket at the bottom, the milk bag sits too high, and when you go to pour it, a big rush of milk lands in your cereal and all over the bench.

You can now consider yourself educated about milk jugs. I’m sure it’s a work-based competency somewhere that you can now tick off.


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Earth lights

This is one of my favourite images (thanks NASA). It’s a satellite picture of the earth at night. It gives me a real sense of how few people there are in Australia and Canada compared to some of the other countries in the world. I know the lights don’t equate exactly to population. I mean, I’m sure houses in most US cities are ablaze with dozens of lights, where as a remote village in the middle of Kazakhstan might only have a couple, if any, but you get the general idea.

It’s hard to see exactly where Canada starts and the US ends as the vast majority of Canadians live within 150km of the US border.  What is easy to see is the sheer size of both countries. Canada is the second largest country in the world with an area of over 9.9 million km2. It’s so wide that it has six different time zones! Russia is the largest with 17 million km2 and the US is third at 9.6 million km2. Australia is sixth in the size rankings with an area of 7.7 million km2.

As for population, we are both mere snowflakes in a storm.  According to Stats Canada’s population clock, there are now 34,682,046 Canucks. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’s population clock puts the number of Aussies at 22,807,045.

To put this in perspective, have a look at the top five most populous countries:

  • China 1.3 billion
  • India 1.2 billion
  • USA 309.9 million
  • Indonesia 234.2 million
  • Brazil 193.4 million

That’s the end of my school lesson today. Hope I didn’t sound to teacherly!


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Unique and stunning rock art – one of my favourite places…

Raw, unique and stunning rock art

Imagine delicately balancing rocks, or should I say boulders, precariously on top of each other to make mind blowing art work. That’s exactly what John Felice Ceprano does at the Remic Rapids on the shore of the Ottawa River.

And the really amazing thing is that his art only last about five months. The sculptures get knocked down or washed away as the ravages of winter set in and the river level rises.

Each year John Felice Ceprano creates sculptures using only rocks and stones available at the site. He carefully selects and balances each rock, creating unique and beautiful artwork. Most of the pieces seem impossibly poised with only small stones or shards of rock holding them in place.

As for John Felice Ceprano, he’s one of the most chilled out people I’ve ever met. There’s not an ounce of apparent stress; he oozes peace, love and happiness! And this is the man who has given 25 years to his river rock art, plus half a finger which he lost when a boulder had it’s own idea about where it wanted to go.

You can see more of John Felice Ceprano’s rock art at

Peace out…


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How to speak Aussie

My son has a friend who has been trying to perfect an Aussie accent for the last year. Every time he comes to our place he fires off his latest attempt at saying g’day. I must admit, a few times … Continue reading

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G’day Canucks and Aussies

G’day Canucks and Aussies, I’ve set up this blog to give you a peek into some of the wonderful things I’ve observed, laughed at or considered pretty damn peculiar, in the land of maple syrup, beavers and hockey. I’ll also … Continue reading

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