On the beach in Tunisia

This was me on the beach in Tunisia.  This is one of my favourite countries to visit because the food is as hot as the weather, and as I was once a competitive gymnast, so the massive selection of water sports suits me perfectly.

I like to spend a lot of time in hot countries because it’s great to get away from the extremely cold weather of the Scottish Highlands.  Walking along the sea front with nothing but a bottle of water and a pair of sunglasses is where I am in my element and when nothing else matters.

Peace and Roots

This is a view of the mountain Schiehallion near Loch Rannoch in Scotland, and is a view that represents my Scottish “roots”. I’ve been visiting Kinloch Rannoch , where my family has an enormous, cosy (and very old) caravan, looking out onto Loch Rannoch and Schiehallion, all my life. I do my best to visit at least once a year and my family often has noisy family reunions there, with a lot of laughter and story telling.There’s no TV, internet or phone signal there…. so it’s the perfect place to curl up on the sofa, read a good book, drink some hot chocolate, look out at the loch and forget the outside world. I first climbed the mountain Schiehallion when I was about 9 years old, and have climbed it several times since. I like to think that I’ll manage to climb it a few more times  in my lifetime! On a sunny day Rannoch is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth…. and even on a rainy day it’s still very special.

A different candle holder

I have many souvenirs from home.  The most unusual is a candle holder made from the Banksia cone. It reminds me of the Jervis Bay Wildflowers. Every Boxing Day we would go to the bush and camp close to Cullala or Currarong Beach.  I have fond memories of eating fresh raw oysters, going fishing, collecting buckets of clams and watching bottlenosed dolphins.

My escape

I haven’t been cycling that long, maybe for ten or twelve years now. Initially, it was just like an experiment, to see how far I rode. I still remember my sore butt after a short ride!

However, as time went by, the rides became longer and longer as I ventured into the hills around my home and was no longer fearful of anything that might happen on longer expeditions. Since then, I’ve also invested in a reliable sturdy bike, which will not let me down.

The only problem now is that I find it difficult to go without a ride when the weather or my work schedule does not allow it!

In the Snow

I love nature and the outdoors. There’s something magical about open spaces. This photo was taken last year in the mountains around  the Big Almaty Lake where  we often went hiking. We returned in the summer and it looked like a different place. In  the photo are my good friends Anna and Ian who I worked with in Kazakstan. It just shows you’re never too old to play in the snow.

My solace

My car is more than just a car. Living in the mountains in Ponte da Barca I am quite isolated. So my car is my lifeline to the ‘real world’. I spend a lot of time in my car listening to the radio, audio books and of course a variety of cds. It’s also the place where I do most of my thinking, problem solving and it’s where I come up with my most creative ideas. It’s a time for reflection and just keeping sane.

A handmade book

This is a book that I’ve carried with me ever since I left Toronto after university.  My best friend Akemi, who is a papermaker, book binder and letterpress artist, made this book for me and there are two things that make it special:  the cover is made from a sheet of paper that I actually made myself at Akemi’s studio at OCA and she gave me this book for my 24th birthday and as a ‘bon voyage’ present before I left for France.  I’ve had this book for 20 years now, and it always reminds me of home.


When I was living in Winnipeg I worked  in a radio station during my high school and University  years. I love all types of music and of course as John Lennon said ” before Elvis there was nothing”.  It was common to hear Elvis in the teachers’ room, especially at Christmas time.  A former teacher of IH Braga knew that I enjoyed listening to the “King” and had this little Elvis radio at home and gave it to me as a gift.  So I have kept it on my desk ever since as a reminder of my good friend.

The Tarot

Telling the future….how do you feel about that?  Well, that’s what I used to think until I tried it, a long, long time ago.  Halloween has always been a favourite of mine, since my first witch costume and bobbing for apples back at my primary school, St. Anthony’s near Windsor.  Later on, when I started high school, my friends and I wanted to try something different…so, we gave the Tarot a try….and I was hooked.  The fascinating pictures and the symbols associated to these have been great fun to decipher…just ask a few IH Braga students, who were lucky enough to have had a reading a few years ago at our school’s activities night.


I love food and I love cooking. I adore all kinds of fish and seafood, including Portuguese salt cod! However, one kind of fish I can’t get here is smoked fish so I have to make my own. Where I come from, we call these ‘kippers’ and the village of Craster (near where my mum’s family are from) is famous for them. They are supposed to be smoked herrings – I can’t get herrings so I use big sardines, of course!

The melody of life.

Music is the thing which keeps me sane. When I was younger and I first caught the travel bug, I wanted something small and portable so I could carry my music with me. A ukulele and a harmonica have traveled with me to the four corners of the globe and they have always been my trusted friends through thick and thin. While I was teaching during the long freezing Polish winters, my little ukulele was my link with warmer climes and happier times.

Tim Hortons

Doughnuts are what I miss most from back home. I have very fond memories of summers spent at my uncle’s hotel in a small town on the Rideau Canal. Every morning I’d walk up Main Street to the nearest Tim Hortons where I’d have breakfast – honey glazed doughnuts & a double-double (that’s a coffee with 2 cream and 2 sugar). Luckily, every year when my uncle comes to visit us here in Portugal, he manages to sneak a big box of Tim Hortons doughnuts in his luggage. He’s also brought me this genuine Tim Hortons travelling mug for my coffee.