Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tea Time with Bob

Tea time is an English tradition. In preparation for any future visits to Britain, I decided to have high tea at The White House in Waterdown, Ontario. I probably should have worn something a little more fancy but I still felt like a very sophisticated rubber chicken.

Most people think that the custom of tea time came from Britain but it really began in France. People were drinking tea in Paris in 1636…that’s 22 years before it arrived in England! Tea quickly became a big hit with the rich French people. As a matter of fact, it was the French who started adding milk to their tea.

Before tea came to Britain, the English only had two main meals a day; breakfast and dinner. Dinner was eaten in the middle of the day, often with a glass of ale.

Over time, the upper and middle class moved dinner to the evening when they would eat lots and lots of food over an hour or two. They felt it was more fashionable to eat at the end of the day.

Like many people of that time, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting, named Anna, The Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) found that she was really hungry by 4pm. She would have her servants sneak her a pot of tea and some nibbles to tide her over until dinner.

Soon she started inviting her hungry friends over to her rooms at 5pm for small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, sweets and tea. She would send them cards inviting them to come for “tea and a walking in the fields.” Other social hostesses caught on to this trend and that’s how the custom of afternoon tea began.

Personally, I find the whole tea time, dinner time, breakfast time, lunch time thing rather confusing. Things would be so much easier if people were like chickens and pecked pieces of grain off the ground whenever they felt like it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coffee with Richard Scrimger

Some may think I’m just another pretty face but I also have a cultured, literary side. I’ve read many of the worlds greatest classics including Walter the Farting Dog, Captain Underpants, Horrible Histories and The Nose from Jupiter.

This week I’ve been mixing with some of Canada’s great authors at The Humber School for Writers in Toronto, Ontario. Here’s a picture of me giving author Richard Scrimger some valuable suggestions for his next book over a cup of coffee.

Richard also gave me some helpful advice. “Bob, the coffee shop’s around the corner.”

Richard writes for both kids and adults. He’s hatched fifteen books in his career including The Nose from Jupiter series of four books, The Way to Schenectady, Of Mice & Nutcrackers, From Charlie’s Point of View and Into the Ravine. I just picked up his latest teen book called Me and Death.

For more information, check out Richard Scrimger on line.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Searching for the Sacred Chicken at Bon Echo

I went camping at Bon Echo Provincial Park. There were many fun things to do including swimming, hiking and eating but my favourite was renting a canoe to check out the pictographs on Mazinaw Rock…Ok, it actually tied with eating.

I bet you’re wondering what a pictograph is.

Pictographs are rock paintings that can be found all over the world. It’s thought that in Ontario and at Bon Echo the pictographs were created by The Algonquin Tribe, one of Canada’s native people. The pictures found on the rock were made between 400 and 900 years ago.

These 260 drawings were created to mark territories, important events or made for spiritual reasons. They are usually located three feet above the water.

On Mazinaw Rock you can see drawings such as the Thunderbird and the Underwater Lynx. I’m sure if you look hard enough you might be able to find a sacred chicken.

The Bon Echo drawings were painted with the mineral hematite or red ochre. Natives painted these images with their fingers, sticks or paint brushes made from plant material.

We don’t ever want to lose these historical drawings so remember DO NOT TOUCH OR PECK THE PICTOGRAPHS.

You can find out more about these pictures at the Visitor’s Centre.