A Good Home, Afternoon Tea, Friendship, Gardens, Joyful Moments, July Garden, Kindness, Nature, Ontario, Outdoor Living, Red currants, Relationships, Summer Garden, Vegetable Garden, Vegetables

Food, Friends, Verandah

Everybody was complaining about summer.

Not me.

Blog Photo - Muskoka Chairs and Flowers

After a painful several months – much of it spent in bed – I welcomed the summer by taking to the verandah.

Colourful cushions, simple wood furniture and time-worn rugs created a homey feel.

Blog Photo - Verandah chairs

A verandah is a place for serious summer reading….

Blog Photo - Verandah - Reading intently

Or some serious hanging out….

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug

Blog Photo - Julius lying down

In the nearby garden, sometimes it rained and hailed and the wind was crazy.

Blog Photo - Rainy Peonies

But flowers bloomed everywhere.

Blog Photo - Peony deep pink single

Birds sang.

The air was fresh.

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

Family and friends came to visit.

Some invited themselves, which I loved.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Bee Balm Single

“How are you coping these days?”

“I’ve taken to the verandah,” I replied.

“I’m coming to visit!”

It was the summer of the verandah. Of  kindness and affection. Laughter and quiet moments.

My editor Tim, returning home to South Africa, spent most of his last week in Canada with our family. He held court on the verandah like an eminence grise, saying wise, cryptic and funny things to everyone.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Tim Mischief

Some people wondered how he’d handle returning to a country which he left decades ago. Tim’s enigmatic reply: “Did I mention I’ll have the use of a heated swimming pool?”

“Long way to go for a heated swimming pool,” we laughed.

Blog Photo - Verandah Visitor 2K

Of course, one should always feed one’s visitors. Despite one’s lack of cooking talent.

“You are the best cook I’ve ever met,” Tim declared, straight-faced, to loud laughter.

I swatted him with my dinner napkin.  He complained  – theatrically –  of “the abuses I suffer in your home”. 

Blog Photo - Verandah Guest 1

We alternated between joking, serious talk and companionable silence.  If tears were hovering, we didn’t let them show. This man has been a stalwart friend to me through life’s challenging times and I shall miss him.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Tim says something wise

Marilyn visited next. Marilyn’s the doyenne of tea (See Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas.)  She kindly admired my floral arrangement and I wisely served a cold lunch… no cooking required.

Blog Photo - Verandah Guest 3M

“I caught that salmon, smoked it and sliced it,” I lied.

“Well done,” she praised, playing along.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Salmon and lettuce

Seriously, though: the lettuce, tomatoes and red currants came from our garden.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Red Currants

Longtime friend Dale arrived late one night, on her way back home from visiting family out west. I made breakfast, the only thing I cook consistently well, and we caught up on family news.

Blog Photo - Verandah Path

Marie, who lives way up north, took an evening break from her role in an important cross-country hearing. My husband cooked supper that day, as he did for my childhood friend, Angela and her family. Wonderful occasions.

Jacqui dropped in and lucked into one of the nicest dishes I made this summer.

Blog Photo - Jacqui on verandah

“But this is GOOD!” she declared.

“Don’t tell anyone!” I pleaded. “You’ll ruin my reputation.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - Dogs in Foregorund and Visitors in BG

Anthony Trollope once asked: “What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book and a cup of coffee?” 

My answer: “A verandah, a garden, and loved ones to share them with.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - Garden bed outside verandah

Dedicated, with a grateful heart, to my caring family and friends… and everyone who appreciates a verandah.

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86 thoughts on “Food, Friends, Verandah”

  1. Cynthia, this post slowed down my pulse just reading it. The tranquility, beauty, grace, and friendships combined made for a wonderful summer for you. Blessings to you, my dear friend!!!😀

    1. Thank you, Levi. Those blessings were at work this summer. I figure all those people must be real friends, because the threat of my cooking didn’t deter anyone. Either that, or they really like the verandah.

  2. I believe in and appreciate the ‘power of three’s’ (when writing and speaking) yet if we’re talking luxurious, I’d have to find a way to include a massage. 🙂 You’ve inspired me to recreate your salmon dish. It look a good as I’m sure it tastes.

  3. Loved the photos and the tales of you summer verandah days. I’d love to have a verandah like that, but then it gets so so hot here in July and August, I wouldn’t be able to spend much time on it. I do hope you are feeling better and better and pray that the Lord is restoring your health and wholeness. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Natalie.
      One nice thing about this summer: despite the rain, it was cool, with very little humidity.
      And I was so fed up of being inside the house for months that I would have stayed outside all summer if I could!
      Thanks again for your prayers.

    1. Remarkable, Gallivanta! Thanks for this link. I had no idea about the origin of chenille bedspreads — er, TABLECLOTHS. Mine is so old, it even has a hole in it – carefully draped to one side so no-one will see it. I should patch it one of these days. Otherwise, it’s perfect
      Gee whiz: on reflection, I just realized that everything on my verandah is flawed in some way — er, I mean, has character… kinda like me.

    1. Thank you. I admire the modern, perfect outdoor furniture that I see in some places, because they look so lovely. I look at the items on my verandah and everything has a crack, or is frayed in places. Many people would have thrown out that old rug, for example. But it retains its wonderful colour, and adds to a feeling of comfort and cheer.

      I enjoy your blog, BTW. Thank you.

  4. Sitting here in the Texas heat, and not complaining, I remember an August visit to my daughter while she was at U Toronto. She lived in an old, predominantly Italian, neighborhood, flowers everywhere.. It was the epitome of beautiful summer, and I feel that I know of what.you speak.

  5. I closed my eyes at “I welcomed the summer by taking to the verandah” and didn’t want to open them. Thank you for inviting me along for the food, friends and verandah, bliss. Sending positive thoughts for Tim as he returns to South Africa.

  6. Sounds lovely, out on the verandah enjoying the best of summer! It must be even more enjoyable in good company and delicious food … Glad you could make the most of it, Cynthia. 🙂 Delightful read.

  7. What a comfort this was to read and look at (the photos are so good). To know that you have been happy and relaxed on your verandah after such a long winter illness is wonderful news. I am typing this at the end of a day of rain and cold – autumn has arrived very early (sob, sob!)

    1. Oops. We had a day like that – and it was cold – but summer came back.
      So don’t lose hope.
      Summer could be just playing with you!

      Thanks for the reply, Clare. I really appreciate it.

      1. I hope it does come back. We have had nearly a fortnight of what the weather forecasters on TV call ‘unseasonable cold’. I will have to keep looking at the photos of your verandah and bask in the comforting warmth.

  8. Cynthia, I am sorry you have been in pain, I hope your restful verandah is helping you back to health and happiness. Its really lovely to be able to share with good friends and family.

    1. Thanks very much, Julie.
      The older I get, the more I understand that everyone is dealing with something. No such thing as an unblemished life.

      But being outdoors has been a blessing and I am very thankful.
      I hope your summer goes well, Julie.

  9. This is such a delightful post, Cynthia. Love that veranda! I’d like to paint my Adirondack chairs white, but I know they would never stay lovely and white like yours. 😦 Such a beautiful place you have to sit back and chill. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth.
      I’ve written several posts this summer on that verandah!
      Our chairs are stained, so are not a pure white. They are all quite elderly now, so have been re-stained a couple times.

  10. What a heavenly and welcoming place. I can see that that is the right place to recuperate and also that your guests are never, ever in a hurry to leave your lovely home and well served table ;0) Johanna

  11. I am oohing and aahing! How I wish I could join you on that verandah. Just the enticement I need to keep up with my writing! Nothing beats a therapeutic, tranquil “outside” space! Please continue to enjoy my dear, before Winter returns. Cheers.

  12. How wonderful to have so many visitors to your veranda. I have many childhood memories of spending time on the front porch and was able to build a large front porch on my house. I have to say, down on the Gulf Coast, we use it all the seasons except for summer!

    1. Your summers must be really hot!
      We’ve had some blistering ones in the past, but not this year.
      So many of us have childhood memories of our families’ verandahs I remember ours quite clearly and it was something I always wanted to have as part of my home.

  13. Thank you for inviting us to share your verandah – an enjoyable place where you and we can open up to the world around us, that place that lets us linger happily somewhere between inside and out… Your words brought back many memories of other verandahs, to mingle with the chairs and rug and friends and food on yours. Now I’m feeling happily nostalgic!

    1. Hi Margaret:
      Having Jamaican roots yourself, you must indeed remember other verandahs. Whenever Caribbean people came to visit this summer, they’d inevitably remark: “A Jamaican verandah!”
      Thanks for your lovely blog. Your paintings and poetry are good for my soul.

      1. Hello, Cynthia! I do miss those verandahs, especially in summer! So I loved your description of yours.
        And I am humbled by the idea of my work being good for your soul, though I know that creating it is good for mine.
        And thank you for the wit, wisdom and beauty you share on your blog.

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