Exquisite Moments

I haven’t blogged for a couple of months.  In April, I had nothing to say.  In May and June, I got busy and experienced exquisite moments during my travels.  I have been to London (twice) and to Canada, specifically Montreal, Oakville, Niagara on the Lake and Toronto, all of which provided experiences that touched my heart. 


I find these moments to be particularly poignant by expanding my perspective and seeing the world through the eyes of wonder.


Remember what it was like being a child when everything was new.  I do that often.  I love watching little children who have just learned to walk and their legs go faster than their bodies.  They inevitably have a fall because they are chasing something that has caught their eye and they instinctively want to know more.


Our first trip to London was to see Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall.  This was our second time but I have to say the best time.  At 79, Eric Clapton genuinely enjoyed himself on stage and took us on a journey, emphasizing his love of the blues.  Each of the musicians and backup singers that no doubt has been playing with him for years were overjoyed too.  His voice, his guitar, his lyrics brought me to tears.  He exquisitely inspired old and young on stage that evening.


The following day was the Chelsea Flower Show.  Although it rained off and on (no avoiding it in the UK this past year where we have had record rain), the flowers that adorn the showground are beautiful.  Flowers make us happy and Chelsea provides us with exquisite delight with bursts of colour every year.


Montreal, Quebec is somewhat of a foreign place for this West Coast Canadian girl.  I had visited her only once before when I was 20 and found the city to be sophisticated with scrumptious food – this was before the province almost separated from Canada.  That move devasted their economy when almost all Canadian corporations’ head offices moved to Toronto, including the stock exchange.


This time, Montreal felt a little depressed, downtrodden and we couldn’t find an excellent meal.  However, she offered one saving grace, an amazing light show.  Fete des Lumiere is something they do very well in France.  The AURA Experience at the Notre-Dame Basilica is one of Montreal’s top attractions.  It was both beautiful and inspirational and I recommend going should you find yourself there.


We made our way via train from Montreal to Toronto and then to Oakville to spend a few days with friends.  You know you have a loyal friend when months, even years pass by, yet when you see each other, it seems like yesterday.  That is how it is with my friend Judy who I met through work all those years ago.  Judy kept our friendship alive by visiting me in San Francisco two times and introducing me to an interior decorator that hosted sojourns for likeminded women.  I was blessed to travel with Judy and the design clan to the South of France and Tuscany, before and after my wedding.  Judy also ensured she was at our wedding in Jersey and two years ago she visited again post COVID because the pandemic instilled a need in her to stay in touch with those that matter to her.  I have visited Judy a couple of times in Toronto in the past, once as part of a work trip and once because I made the effort.  This it was my turn again.  Sojourns for our besties are important as demonstrated by Judy.  True to form, she was the consummate host which led to exquisite moments in Oakville and Niagara on the Lake with her and her husband.


And speaking of Niagara, I travelled to Niagara Falls with my husband for the first time in my life.  Rather late in life for this Canadian; better late than never as they say.  And I timed it so we were there (with the help of Judy of course!) on Tony’s birthday.  A morning at the Falls was a present for him however, they were a gift for me too because of their beauty and power, the combined falls (Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil) have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North American that has a vertical drop of more than 50 metres, with Horseshoe being the most powerful waterfall in N. America.


Post Niagara, it was time to travel to Toronto for my husband’s conference but not before a visit with Andy and his wife Susan who also live in Oakville.  Andy and I used to work together.  We both started a position at the same time in cross border estate planning and asset management for international private clients for a major Canadian bank.  This resulted in traveling together to London, Geneva, Guernsey and Jersey not to mention conferences in Miami and Toronto.  Andy has a wicked, dry sense of humour and we two have had many moments of laughter over the years.


Andy greeted me with long, strong hugs.  Our time together is rare so an exquisite moment for sure.  I cried a tear when we said goodbye with another bear hug from him.


In Toronto I attended a networking event at my husband’s conference (and the reason for the trip in the first place) and met up with old colleagues from years gone by.  That was special as was the Toronto Blues Jays game I took my husband to as a birthday present.  However, my Torontonian exquisite moment was, believe it or not, in the Hockey Hall of Fame where I had my photo taken with the infamous Stanley Cup.


When I was a little girl, my father would have Hockey Night in Canada on our T.V. every Saturday night.  He was a Hab’s fan aka the Montreal Canadiens because he grew up in Quebec after his family moved there from England when he was two.  When I was fifteen I had short, long-distance romance with the son of Bill Sutherland who played for five NHL teams and later went on to a lengthy coaching career.  “Sudsy” finished his playing career in Winnipeg and is an honoured member of the Manitoba Hall of Fame.  Later in life, I would meet Wayne Gretzky (the best hockey player of all time) a couple of times and dated one of the Vancouver Canucks, another short-lived relationship.


I remain a loyal Vancouver Canuck’s fan because that’s my hometown, not because of their success.  Unfortunately, the Canuck’s are known to choke when it matters most.  Their best showings were when they lost the Stanley Cup Final in 1the 1993-94 season and 1981-82.  I do dream of another exquisite moment in my future when the Canuck’s take home the Stanley Cup.  In the meantime, reliving key moments of my life through hockey in the Hall of Fame was an unexpected, exquisite moment.  After all, hockey is Canada’s national sport and it’s a game that touches every Canadian life.


This blog will be released on June 24th, the same day as this year’s Stanley Cup Final so I have to say it – GO OILERS!!!!!  Give Canada that exquisite moment!


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