© 2011 jemma

How to baby-sit a house…

And a cat and a sports car. There were just too many things to look after.

Luckily, Jess and I are skilled in the art of house sitting and know how to open/lock doors and open/close windows at appropriate times and we know how to feed an animal. The car would have to look after itself.

We thoroughly enjoyed house sitting and had many adventures in and around Ottawa, here are some of the highlights to be done uncharacteristicly in point form so that I can do it quickly and then move forward a month to today… yes I am lazy!!

Highlight 1: having our own house for two weeks. Lots of baking – cherry pie, banana breads, sticky date puddings, Nanaimo bars with Kerri and dinner parties with Jess’ brothers and their gals!!!

Highlight two: The light show on parliament hill was awesome. It tells the history of Canada on Parliament house in pictures, movies, light and sound. Highly recommended!!

Highlight 3: riding the push bikes to Hogs back “beach” and falls. A great way to spend 3 hours along the Rideau river. The falls are fantastic and are like massive rapids. The “beach” however left a little to be desired. The following day we walked to the Rideau falls which are also quite nice and are bigger.

Highlight four:Spending another weekend at a cottage. Canadians do like their ‘Cottaging’! We visited Jess’ family friends Laurel and John and their lovely children for dinner and were then invited for the weekend to their cottage near Cayamant QC. We had a wonderful time at the cottage: swimming, boating, canoeing, jumping off 30 foot rocks and bruising my butt, sailing on their ‘pirate ship’, playing boules, drinking, eating and being merry. Was awesome fun!! Another highlight was driving the sports car to the cottage, it certainly has great handling on corners!!

Highlight 5:Buying a car. Yes Jess and I are now the proud owners of a 95′ Volvo 850 turbo named Harlequin. A massive thank you to Barb and Doug for helping us with this endeavour!! Which leads me to where we are now…..

From Ottawa we drove to Montreal – well through Montreal, over the apparently decrepit Pont Champlain to Saint-Mathias-sur-Richelieu. Our car made it!! Not that we were expecting anything to happen. It was a nice drive, made a little hard by all the signs being in French. The normal signs are ok, but the travel warnings are a little bit harder to translate as you drive quickly by.

We arrived at Bill and Joyce’s farm in the afternoon and were greeted enthusiastically by their labrador Spi. He welcomed us from the car where we met Bill and Joyce. Apparently Jess hasn’t changed in 20 years. We had pizza for dinner and looked at photos of Jess as a youngster and the corn broil that Jess so fondly remembers – they grow corn on the farm but for cows not humans.

The next day we went to see Joyce and Bill’s daughter Lori and her husband Yves at their shop where they do 5 axix machining. It is pretty cool and the work looks fantastic! After the shop visit, we went for the best poutine in town at the local pizza/chicken/video shop. It was very good poutine!! The guy running it has been to Wollongong too so we couldn’t have been in more capable hands.

To work off the poutine, that afternoon Lori and Yves bought the kids – Zac and Zoe – over with the atv’s for some fun in the woods. It was so much fun and very dirty work. My favourite part was speeding though the massive puddles and spraying mud everywhere. We also got to see the sugar shack where Bill and his buddies make maybe syrup. It is very nice maple syrup too.

Friday was fair day. Going to two fairs in one day makes Jemma and Jess sleepy! 🙂
The first fair we went to was La Fête Bières & Saveurs – the festival of beer in Chambly. It is a great way to taste different beers, wine, ciders and food from all over Quebec. Lori, Joyce, Jess and I enjoyed trying all the beers and fortified wines – I was designated driver though – and they even had Kangaroo!! Yes, ‘skippy’ as they call it has made it all the way to Quebec! I did enjoy a good cheese curd too.

After the beer festival, we all headed to the Brome fair to meet up with Joyce and Bill’s son Joel, his partner Sarah and their baby son Owen – yes named after Jess’ big bro! For all the Wollongong locals think of this fair as the Dapto show, locals included. We watched the tractor pull, where amped up pick-ups pull a crane anchor as far as they can. It is LOUD! Jess went on some rides and almost made himself sick, we checked out the horses and we ate greasy but nice burgers for dinner. There were no show bags though which made me a little sad.

On Saturday, Lori and the kids took us sightseeing around Montreal. We went to Mount Royal to the lookout, but saw no raccoons which apparently normally inhabit the lookout. From there we went to see Saint Joseph’s Oratory which is HUMONGOUS and then to see all the rich houses on Westmount. After sightseeing it was back to Bill and Joyce’s for a family picnic with a lot of Bills extended family. Fun fun!! 🙂 That was followed by a late night swim in Lori and Yves pool, where we finally got to see lots of stars!

Sunday was our last full day in Montreal and began with a big storm. We had left this day for exploring old Montreal so we were a little worried, but we kept our cool and the weather picked up. We drove into Montreal and parked at the old port. Old Montreal is quite beautiful with all its old buildings and cobbled streets. Jess and I did the walking tours from our travel brochure and found all the old buildings and alleys, including Place Jacques-Cartier, the Notra-Dame basilica and City hall. While eating lunch we also saw the saddest clown making balloon animals and a fantastic street performer.

From old Montreal we headed to see the Lachine Rapids which are amazing, and then headed back for a wonderful dinner with everybody at Lori and Yves’.

The next day we waved goodbye, got a travel pack from Zac and Zoe and headed to Quebec city in the rain. Hope it clears up for tomorrow!!!