Saturday, August 6, 2022

The Livery Yard

August 2022 - Stratford/Toronto ON


My birthday weekend! It started with a basket from John with my kind of goodies (he doesn't like), smoked salmon and salmon pate, wine, prosecco etc.

Heading out to Stratford Saturday morning (of a long weekend) we didn't think traffic would be bad. WRONG! It was the worst, and no matter what way we tried, 401, then 407, then QEW it was awful.

 We had thought we could stop for fish and chips before the 2PM show. But we were delayed about 35 minutes so went straight to the theatre to get parking ($20) early. Gardens outside the theatre. I have shown the gardens and sculpture before, click here.

The red flowers are crocosmia.

Inside the theatre we were able to get a glass of wine and a charcuterie plate and a protein (hummus, egg, pita, nuts and cranberries) plate - perfect. 

John snapped a couple of photos before it started. We were seeing Chicago!

Chicago was fabulous. Click here to see a a clip.

Some photos I found online.

A few more garden photos.

We then checked into the Parlor Inn. I am not a big fan of Choice hotels but this impressed me.
Free parking!! In fact, we liked it so much that it will now be our place to stay in Stratford. 
Hotel images from their website.

The Parlour Inn, originally called The Mansion House, was built in 1871 to serve the Grand Trunk Railway and repair facility nearby. 
At the time, the hotel had a special ladies waiting room where women were required to wait while their husbands finished business and social meetings. We’ve come a long way baby!

Our room - my photos.
BTW our beloved Kenneth Cole weekend bag on bed, the zipper finally broke this weekend. So sad, it has travelled a lot of miles.

We went to the LCBO (liquor store right across the street) and got chocolate and then rested in our room before going for a drink and dinner.

Avon Theatre, one of 4 Stratford festival theatres, all within walking distance of town.

Dinner at Foster's Inn. We had eaten here in 2018 and I should have read my review before I made my reservation.

We shared a shrimp salad, rather limp.
John would have had pasta but they didn't have a gluten free option. How hard is it to have a couple of boxes of gluten free and a dedicated pot to boil it in??
John's sirloin was awful and his fries were drowned in au jus. He commented to the server and she said he wasn't the only one to complain and comp'd his meal.

My salmon was good but the potatoes were also drowned in a mediocre tomato sauce. She took $10 off my meal. So overall she compensated us $50!
But we enjoyed ourselves never the less!

Sunday morning we ate in the hotel restaurant and should have eaten here last night. Prices are comparable and the menu better.

We debated walking around town but decided to check out and drive about 15 minutes west to the town of St. Mary's. Click here to see a lot more of the town and its history.


Thames River

Gorgeous drive home, avoiding the highway.

I notice Picard's at the last moment, we need to get peanuts.

Spotted a yellow ducky.

Back home and met up with a friend upstairs in the club.

This boat washed up a couple of weeks ago during a strong wind. Not sure who is responsible for getting it moved.

Monday, a holiday, John golfed. I stayed home and enjoyed puttering around. John had reserved a birthday lunch for Thursday but I said we should cancel, we've been out and about and didn't need to spend the money.

Tuesday I went for a haircut while John relaxed at home. we binged on Top of the Lake although I had already seen it!

No haircut on Wednesday either. John played his best game of the season 82 with 2 birdies!
I sorted through some photos in the trunk and threw out this pile. More to do. I also found some travel photos from the 80s that somehow were never scanned so I need to do that too.

No haircut Thursday either. John did a Costco run which meant we had to put it all away. The beer fridge needed defrosting. 
We decided we needed a new printer, the small one we bought isn't an all in one. Scanning on my phone is fine for one offs but not for a pig job.
I went through some of the CDs and reformatted a bunch to throw out. More to do. We had kept John's old laptop as it has a CD reader.
Friday I did some more CDs.

Some things made it into the charity bag, a plastic container, a basket shelf and a cookbook.

Friday John golfed. I went for some groceries and went to Winners.

W have been away the last two weekends so it will be nice to be home this weekend.

According to Google this was our July.


We watched Crime, created by Irvine Welsh (a favourite Scottish writer of mine).

Thirteen Lives is a 2022 American biographical survival film directed and produced by Ron Howard. The film stars Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, and Tom Bateman. The film chronicles the events of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue that saw a junior football team and their coach trapped in a cave for a period of 18 days.
And I can tell you that you will spend an hour of the running time experiencing the primal terror of being underground, underwater, and suffering the agony with every scrape of helmet on rock and panicked squeak of a cylinder running low on oxygen.
We loved it.

I'm watching the latest season of Great British Bake Off - season 12 here.


Saturday - Stratford

Sunday - ordered Swiss Chalet

Monday - slow cooker beef stew

Tuesday - spaghetti Caesar salad focaccia

Wednesday - pork belly bites tacos

Thursday - rotisserie chicken nachos

Friday - steak, broccolini mushrooms and onions

My new cookbook came, the one I raved about last week!


I am binging on Claire Allan's books set in Derry, Northern Ireland. I finished The Liar's Daughter, dark and twisty, it spills dark family secrets. It was a little predictable towards the end but I still enjoyed it.

I started another of hers, Ask No Questions. I am reading her books out of order, there are recurring characters, but it doesn't matter to me.



  1. Happy Birthday!!!! Sounds like a lovely trip to Stratford -- and yay for goodie baskets! I bet it feels good to go through the photos and CDs. I have some of that to do too. Maybe over the winter. Even though you stayed in Canada, you did a nice bit of traveling last month.

  2. Thanks for this nostalgic tour, especially Stratford. Last I saw there was Christopher Plummer in King Lear. And St. Mary's lovely spot. I always make notes of your recommendations for books and streaming.

  3. Happy birthday wishes to you! That was some trip and I love dthe food photos. Can't believe the British Bakeoff is in season 12 and I have only seen one epiosde about bread making. That was on the plane back from Omaha last year.

  4. Happy Birthday
    Coffee is on and stay safe

  5. Happy birthday! The hotel looks lovely and I enjoyed the pictures of the flowers. I was going to read The Liar's Daughter but once I researched it a bit I felt like it was too dark for me. Have a great week.

  6. So glad you had a great birthday trip!

  7. Happy Birthday!

    Glad to see you had such a lovely time. I haven't been in a theatre since before Covid, gosh I miss it.

    Have a good week ahead!

    Elza Reads

  8. What a lovely birthday trip! A beautiful place to stay and, wow, Chicago. It's been a long time since I've been to see a play. We are talking about doing that soon.

    I need to see if the newest season of Great British Baking Show (what we call it here) is on now. The cover of your new cookbook is amazing. You will have to show us what you make from it.

  9. What a lovely weekend- Happy Birthday to you!

  10. Happy, Happy Birthday! What a weekend! It looks like a marvellous time. Birthdays should be celebrated vividly. I hope it was everything you wanted it to be. Cheers to another great year around the sun!

  11. Happy Birthday!! Gorgeous photos, as always... especially loved the garden shots.

  12. Happy Birthday!

    I will help u eat all the basket of goodies.

    I know seeing Chicago must've been amazing. If you haven't seen Fosse/Verdon I recommend it.

    Oh how I love that Parlour Inn!!! 1871 and Ladie's Waiting Rooms! I'm reading the diaries of a girl who is 15 in 1874 and she prefers bein in the company of men (mannered, refined, gentlemen) because "skirts make me sick." Skirts meaning ladies, not the clothing. So, I imagine she hated having to wait in Ladie's Waiting Rooms. lol

    I love that Picards and seeing it reminds me I have to try to find dry roasted unsalted peanuts today.

    Ooo that view from the club! Poor little boat.

    Thanks for your review of the Thirteen Lives movie. I had wondered if it was any good. Sounds like it is so now I have another "movie that is suitable for watching with the 95-yo" in the queue. It's not easy to find movies I can watch with her because our tastes are vastly different. I keep a little list so that when there's nothing on TV during prime time, I can just pull up an "ok for mom" movie. lol

  13. A belated happy birthday. Often great things can be found in gift hampers.
    Congested traffic really makes you not want to go anywhere at times.
    The plate at the theatre looks so good.
    The hotel looks very impressive.
    It's good that you complained about your meals, and received a substantial reduction.
    Are you needing hair ribbons to tie your hair back?

    1. I will need ribbons soon! I am very good at airing my displeasure to John's chagrin!


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