As soon as June rolls around, my thoughts tend to focus in a special way. I begin to think of my darling Cynthia, and her upcoming birthday on June 12th.

Taken in Italy as we enjoyed a coffee together.

In years gone by, when she was alive, I would be thinking of what gift I would get her for her birthday, and how we might celebrate that day. Of course, what she wished to do (or not) to celebrate, was paramount, but that didn’t stop me from thinking of things we might do. I was never very good at buying gifts for her. Things I bought for her rarely fitted her bill. However, she was gracious in accepting my gifts, though I suspect she secretly disposed of them at later dates!

One gift I bought her stands out in my mind. For her fiftieth birthday, I asked my friend Marty Brown, who was a local hairdresser, if he would paint a family photograph for her. The picture showed Cynthia’s mother and father standing at the the front of their home in Wales. In front of the couple was a row of small children, all dressed in traditional Welsh costumes. They were celebrating the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales.

I thought this would be ideal as a gift. When I presented the gift to Cynthia, she thanked me sincerely for giving the gift to her. She then followed the thanks with, “But Martin, I don’t like water colours!” The picture is still hanging on the wall in my living room. I have a chuckle whenever I look at it, for it reminds me of her, her loving ways and all the wonderful experiences we had together.

As I write this, I know that on June 12th, our family members and her friends will remember her and honour her in our hearts.

PS. Happy birthday to dear Angela, who shares the same birthday as Cynthia. They were born hours apart and were always great friends.


Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Courtesy Wikipedia

I love to laugh a lot. I enjoy being around people who also like to laugh. As I think about this topic and my friends, I realise that all of them enjoy a good joke, or being part of a situation in which there’s lots of laughter. I think most people do.

As you probably know, this year marks the The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II. It was celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. You may also know that the Queen is renowned to have a wonderful sense of humour.

Just today, one of my good friends named Lynore, sent me a delightful video clip which I think all of you will enjoy. If you would like to see this clip, then click here. You will have to wait for some adverts to pass, but I can assure you the clip is worth waiting for. If you choose to ignore the clip, then just keep smiling and keep laughing!

Goodbye and God bless.

A New Beginning

I last published a post on my blog in February 2020. It was at the beginning of the pandemic and was called One Man’s Opinion. How wrong I was!

Just recently I received an automatic notification from the blog site. Someone new had just subscribed to my blog. Someone had actually signed on as a would be follower of my posts, should I ever choose to write another one. I found that person to be one of my friends, who lives in the Comox Valley here in BC, which is my home too. I found her action to be totally inspiring. There and then, I resolved to write another post. That simple action of my friend prompted me into action, along with one more thing which recently happened. That was my grand-daughter’s graduation.

Just a few says ago, on Saturday, May 28th., Charlotte graduated from Highland School, one of the three local high schools. During the past two years, she and millions of students her age worldwide, have persevered with their education through the most difficult of times. With the help of their amazing teachers and parents, they have gone from having no school at all, then being at home doing school work on-line, sometimes being at school and at home, and then being back in school as usual. They have missed experiencing many of the wonderful school events others have had. There were no inter-school sporting events, no trips outside the school with their friends in the school band, and limited actual time spent with friends. However, the graduation was great!

The graduation was held at the Filberg Lodge. For those of you who live elsewhere, the Filberg Lodge was once the home and grounds belonging to Robert Filberg who owned a logging company in the valley. When he died, the area was left to the people of the town of Comox. Cynthia, my wife, was a member of the board of directors for many years. Charlotte’s other grandma Jo Ross, (GJo), was also a board member. Charlotte’s great granny Liz Stubbs, aged 90+, spent years and years serving the purpose of the Lodge and grounds. So you see, the Lodge has a special place in our hearts.

The weather was great as the grads and families arrived. Grads took their seats and the ceremonies began. Each of the grads was introduced by a supporting teacher. Soon it was Charlotte’s turn. She looked gorgeous in her white gown , with her flaming red hair glowing in the sunshine. Eventually all the grads had been introduced and applauded. The ceremony came to an end and the grads and parents moved to a different spot in the grounds to mingle. I took my leave at that point.

I had one regret about the graduation. That regret was, that my darling Cynthia, and Charlotte’s other grandpa, Poppa Bill, had passed away and were unable to be there. However, two eagles perched on a majestic fir, high above the ceremony, made their combined presence known. Our family would like to think our loved ones were there in spirit.

Charlotte and some of her fellow grads took a short drive to a local beach for some photo opportunities. I’ll leave you with this wonderful picture of my lovely grand-daughter. I’m so proud to tell you she is as lovely on the inside as on the exterior. Goodbye for now and God bless.

Coronavirus: One Man’s Opinion

On December 31, 2019, China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in people associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Since then, the virus has spread to various other countries but the majority of cases are still located in China and in the Wuhan region. I’d like to offer my own opinion about this event and what’s happening world-wide.

As I write this, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continues to state that this outbreak can be managed if countries cooperate. He praises China for its efforts to contain the virus. He and the others on the WHO emergency panel all offer the same calming and encouraging message. (Photo credit: WHO)

While the media often often tends to sensationalize events such as this virus outbreak, we can take a more cool headed approach. Look at the numbers involved here. As I write, the number of reported deaths worldwide from the virus is 427, most of which have been in China. While all of those deaths are regrettable and families are suffering because of them, look at some other numbers, which will help us keep this outbreak in proportion.

More than 700 people are killed in road accidents across China every day, according to the World Health Organisation. The WHO estimates that traffic accident claim about 260,000 deaths on the mainland each year, of which 60 per cent are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. (photo credit: International Business Times)

Compare the virus news with this. So far, 10,000 people have died from influenza  in the USA and 180,000 people have been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to preliminary estimates from the USA CDC.

CBC Canada often shows the spread of the outbreak, quite correctly, by using a world map coloured bright red for countries having a case or cases of the virus. While this map with solid colours may be accurate, it certainly affects me psychologically in a different way than if the numbers of coronavirus cases were shown in each country. In my opinion, a much better tool is this one put out by John Hopkins Hospital.   

This map, (thank you Ben for sharing it with me) shows the spread by cases and to my simple mind is less frightening than the maps where whole countries are blocked off in red. The map not only shows the number of case deaths, but also those who have recovered from the virus, an encouraging stat and one not often mentioned in the media. If one zooms out on the map, one can see how minimal is the number of cases detected world-wide. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should be less vigilant, but only that there is no need for panic. It’s good that countries with less able health authorities and fewer resources can be offered help by the global community in fighting the virus.

We have all been encouraged not to be overly concerned about catching this virus. We should continue to do the simple, efficient things we can do as when dealing with a’flu outbreak. We can wash our hands regularly. We can keep our hands from our mouths (maybe this will help me cure my nail-biting habit). We can sneeze or cough into a tissue (not as formerly advised into our elbow sleeves, for the virus can remain on those sleeves) then discard the tissue into the waste bin. Above all, we can cooperate and not allow ourselves to panic in any way.


‘Bye for now and God bless.