How to RV across and Record Canada

Thanks Margaret for this review. Much appreciated.


lucyIf you dream of taking a long road tour and writing a good book about it, here is a good model to follow. I picked it up at Prose in the Park where I bought local memoirs that might improve my own writing in the same genre. Lucy’s Road Trip by award-winning author Louise Szabo stands out for these reasons:

  • Vehicle as Lead Character
    If you are going to make a 8088-mile road trip, you have to obey the terms and whims of the vehicle that carries you. Giving the RV a name and titling the book after her makes this clear. In this case it is a 24-ft Class C RV with a diesel engine priced at $17,000 and purchased with $100 down. Its former owner left it filthy and stinky so the first challenge was to scrub it. The second was to fall in love because you realize it will fulfill your dreams comfortably and affordably.

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The RV we named Lucy

I still remember the day when I came home from work and Charlie opened the door for me all excited and pleased with himself. His announcement that he had put a deposit on a ten-year-old 24-foot long RV came as a complete shock. We had discussed buying one when we got married over 30 years ago but I thought that the dream had died long ago. We’d camped in a tent, progressed to a tent-trailer, then to a 13” trailer and now owned a cottage which kept us grounded. Obviously the lure of the open road was still in Charlie’s soul.

“I know you. You’ll love it. Wait until you see it.” He brings me to this monster of an RV, so dirty that I couldn’t tell if it was white or gray. Parked at the back of a farmer’s field I wasn’t impressed.

Charlie opened the door, I took one step in and almost tripped as I stumbled back out again. It smelled of a heavy smoking male who had lived in it with minimal washing facility for himself or his laundry. The stink was so overpowering that it almost knocked me over. What on earth was he thinking? He must be out of his mind. No way was I going back inside that thing.

Charlie opened the windows and vents, left the door wide open and coaxed me back in. With my hand over my mouth and nose I gagged as I entered again but managed to stay long enough for a good look. At first glance I hated it. At second glance it looked alright. At third glance, once scrubbed, shined and disinfected I could see its potential.

I walked out, took a deep breath, took another, turned to Charlie and smiled. Travelling across Canada in this RV would be fun. We bought it. We named her Lucy and I am forever grateful to Charlie for finding her.

Check out my book ‘Lucy’s Road Trip – RVing Across Canada’ ISBN 978-1-77216-006-2

12 Sidewalk Book-Signing Tips from outside Brittons

Thanks Margaret for the great advise. #book signing


Making a living wage selling books on the sidewalk outside a book store for four hours on a hot, busy Saturday is not easy but can be done with the right tools and approach.

Brittons Book Store    pPoto by Amanda D, Brittons Book Store, 846 Bank Street, Ottawa. Photo by Amanda D.,

Here’s what worked for me:

  • 1. A sandwich board with my name and title on it put outside early in the morning so people knew I was coming and slowed down when they saw I was there.
    2. Being conspicuous by wearing a red dress, and my wide-brimmed, wacky, khaki hat to keep the sun off.
    3. A table and cloth with a dozen of my books neatly displayed (one turned over to show the back cover blurb), bookmarks, business cards and my best pen — to show I was a professional signer!
    4. A stool. This was the key. Store owner Ted Britton had…

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The Most Beautiful Jewel Box in the Theatre World

The Jószef Katona Theatre in Kecskemét, Hungary is named after the writer of the first Hungarian national drama. It was built in 1895-1896, renovated and modernized in 1960-1962 and again in 1986-1987. Its last restorations were done sometimes after 2000.

The Jószef Katona Theatre in Kecskemét, Hungary

The Jószef Katona Theatre in Kecskemét, Hungary

On our last visit to Kecskemét in 2010, our host had managed to get permission for a private tour of the Jószef Katona Theatre. It was mid-afternoon and a few hours before the evening performance of ‘Les Miserables’. Let in by the security personnel, we entered the building through a back entrance used by the actors and staff. It felt strange and eerie to be the only ones on the premises. A very narrow meter wide hall led to the backstage. On each side the many doors opened to dressing rooms. I would have loved to peak in but didn’t dare open any of them. The cramped quarters and almost dungeon feeling made me realize the antiquity of this building.

As we entered the theatre all changed from dim surroundings to an opulent area. The gold from the molding glinted against a burgundy and white background. Rows upon rows of seats were draped in white sheets to protect them from the dust. With two levels of seats I noticed way at the top a sectioned off area for the standing room crowd. And above all was this magnificent immense chandelier glinting above the 850 seats. The theatre was magnificent.

The theatre hold 850 seats with standing room at the top.

The theatre hold 850 seats with standing room at the top.



We then entered a spacious and bright lobby. Wide staircases led to the upper level where we found many comfortable cozy seating areas.

The theatre lobby.

The theatre lobby.

Seating areas of the upper floor.

Seating areas of the upper floor.


The place looked royal and majestic and well deserving of the accolades given to it when the Europe theatrical convention voted it as the most beautiful jewel box in the theatre world

Caribbean visit to Martinique

Come with me to St. Anne in Martinique

St. Anne, Martinique

Martinique is a French island in the eastern Caribbean Sea with a land area of only 1,128 sq. kilos (436 sq. mi). We were staying in a suite at Le Hameau de Beauregard walking distance to Sainte Anne, a quaint town with narrow streets. On this Sunday afternoon we joined the crowds of people in town. Along the dock fishermen sold the catch of the day chopping up, as requested, the size of the piece of fish you wanted. A small crowd gathered around a woman busy cutting into a huge Marlin fish.

A narrow street in St Anne

A narrow street in St Anne

Along the main street we found restaurants, souvenir shops and a few grocery stores. As in most typical tourist town the price of everything was high. Where only an hour ago there were people everywhere, by four the place was deserted as all the shops closed.

La Saline beach near St. Anne, Martinique

La Saline beach near St. Anne, Martinique

One of the most beautiful beached of Martinique is Les Salines beach. The beautiful silky sand made it perfect for walking. The water was as warm as the air and a pleasure to swim in. We did find it strange that along the shore there were no sea gulls or any kind of birds at all.

Trees bordered the beach and we were lucky enough to find an empty picnic table to sit at for a bit of people watching. Behind us at a fruit stand a young man used his machete to cut up coconuts that he clients. After watching him take that same machete and dig it into the stand to make a hole to plant his umbrella pole we sure didn’t feel inclined to buy any coconut from him.

All along the shore beautiful young local girls carried large baskets of bathing suits. They’d approach tourists their own size and began their sale pitch by modeling the suits. They’d slip the bikini bottom over their own and removed their top and replace it with the top of the bikini that was for sale. One after the other each bathing suit was modeled. If the client was interested they tried on the bikini the same way. Sports Illustrated was nothing compared to what we were seeing. It was done in such a natural way with such beautiful girls that it looked almost poetic. It was the most entertaining activity on the beach. If only I’d been 20 years younger.

Travel Dream and Nightmares – Four Women Explore the World

by Louise Szabo, Barbara Brown, Jan Jacobson, Wendy Quarry

A visit to Pécs, Hungary

During one of our visits to Hungary, Charlie and I had the pleasure to drive to Pécs a three hour drive west of Budapest. One of the oldest cities in Hungary and built on a hillside, Pécs, a university town, has the largest Turkish ruins in Hungary.


I expected to see only old ancient buildings. As we drove into town, many shops, especially the Arkadok shopping centre, were cosmopolitan. There was traffic everywhere and the closer we got to the historical part of the city, the narrower became the streets. Most were one-way and with cars parked on one side we drove with care to avoid hitting them.


In the main square they’d replaced the old cobblestones with new flat ones making it easy to walk on. Surrounding the square were old architectural buildings. We could the City Hall, The country Hall, the Nador hotel, and the Fatebenefratelli Chruch.



The main attraction for us was the Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim. Now converted to a Catholic church the crescent moon and cross of Islam were still visible on its cupola. With the only light coming from the arc windows the inside of the church was dark. On some of the plaster were Turkish decorations and inscriptions. I managed to take a few pictures pleased to get away with it.



Through archways twelve streets lead into the courtyard. I could well imagine the old days when knights on horseback rode to this busy part of the town through those archways


Pécs is home to the Zsolnay porcelain factory. Since 1853 it has produced stoneware and other decorative ceramics. In 1893, they started to make porcelain pieces made of eosin. This is a glaze that makes the porcelain appear an iridescent metallic in shades of green, red, blue and purple. Although the Zsolnay Museum was closed that day, the many souvenir shops in the square sold Zsolnay porcelain.


After our pleasant day in Pécs it was a treat to enjoy our beer at one of the many café patios. Pécs was well worth the visit.

When will you visit Pécs?


Accepting the role

Amanda Staley explains it so well. I too am a writer.

Amanda Staley

This post is probably closely related to my It’s a Confidence Game, being able to tell someone you are a writer takes a lot of confidence.


Accepting a new role into our already hectic life is challenging. At first calling myself a writer was like getting those stretch blue jeans out of the dryer and putting them on. They are a little snug at first and you start to wonder if those three extra pounds you put on has pushed you into the next size, and you need to buy new pants, but you realize the longer you have them on the better they fit.  Calling myself a writer, followed the same sort of pattern. At first it didn’t seem right and I felt awkward about telling people. I mean what if my work was crap? I didn’t want anyone to know. Now, I smile looking back on those…

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