Working 9 to 5…

chintzA few weeks ago, as Simon graciously explained, I gave the community food store the flick. It didn’t take long before I felt inspired to give something else a go and here I am – a home design associate with Chintz and Co. Basically we sell everything and anything for home decorating. I work in the table top section, lots of dinner settings, glassware, napkins etc (For more info

I have just completed my first week there and have enjoyed it – although my feet are killing me. Hard concrete and tile floors do not go well with heels!

For those wondering where it is – our units are half a block to the left and Simon’s work is next door on the right. Its a small world we live in but come winter I will appreciate it. 




Originally uploaded by simmogem.

There was a nice thunderstorm on Wednesday night last week. Lightning flashed across the sky for about 2 hours like this. It seems to be a fairly frequent occurance here.

I have about 10 photos were I managed to capture bolts of lightening but the one on the right of this image is massive. Make sure to click to see the larger version.




Originally uploaded by simmogem.

You may recall from my blog titled ‘Last chance to see a redneck wedding’ that the locals of Wayne drank from jam jar glasses – why I do not know – anyway, on one of my trips to the second hand store I came across two and had to grab them.

This is a picture of the jam jars debut, filled with Kokanee Gold (glacier beer from Canada).



Scotch Bonnet
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Simon and I have taken to regulary eating chilli – we even soak our own beans the night before cooking to get the best result. Not last night but the night before Simon brought these little peppers home to try and spice things up a bit – in the kitchen that is.

Like anything new that one intends to eat we tried a little bit first and were very dissapointed – the tip of the pepper was like a capsicum – no bite at all. Wise ol’ me though suggests ‘isn’t all the spice in the seeds’…

To give you an idea, the garden variety Jalapeno rates about 2500 – 8000 on the Scoville Scale (first scale ever created for measuring the heat in chillis), these little suckers, 150 000 – 325 000 (

I have not seen Simon hop around so much in my life and my tougnue was tingling an hour later and after two glases of milk and a beer.

Needless to say one scotch bonnet made some damn fine chilli!

Instant human. Just add coffee.

Coffee Machine

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle. — Honoré de Balzac (1799-1859)

They have some great ideas over here, but this one is up there with other great north American inventions such as insulin and the mechanical skirt lifter. A coffee percolator that drips straight into your travel mug, ready for the busy 80 metre commute to work. I don’t know how we got by without one previously.

Unfortunately its only 110v so it can’t come back home with us. Some one get in contact with DJ’s and tell them to get these in stock in time for our return.

Calgary Farmers' Market

Calgary Farmers’ Market

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Another day of exploring – two short bus rides to the Calgary Farmers’ Market, the best place in town to buy fresh produce.

On arrival the smell of popcorn and cinammon donuts filled my nostrils, but I was not tempted, I walked right on by – to the cupcake stand for a free sample of a mini mud cupcake. The Hummingbird would have been very impressed with these little homecooked morsels, but no time to delay more sampling to be had. Honey almonds, chocolates, the best cherry pie I have ever eaten and of course wines! A white from South Africa and a very good red from Argentina. On recommendation from the store owner I grabbed a Canadian Semillion from British Columbia (Johnny, I will give you the verdict once it has been opened).

I also bought some peaches and two cobs of corn for my husband – I am good to him aren’t I!

A quick note regarding my trip home, I missed my stop, but no worries, saw the University of Calgary, the Tom Baker Research Centre for Cancer and Hockey Canada’s Calgary Headquarters.

Where's Simon?

You may have noticed a lack of posts from myself recently.  Well I have a job… ensuring the people of calgary have all their photographic needs met, and this has occupied my time of late.

But how does Gemma manage to see so much and write such informative posts about Deanne house, Fort Calgary and the intricacies of a toy store in Kensington I hear you ask?

Well it seems life at the Community Foods store was a little too much for my precious wife and more suited to that of a hard working hemp wearing hippy.  So she packed it in and has been living a life of leisure these past few days.  I can’t say I have been unhappy about it though, dinner in the oven when I arrive home from a hard day at the lab is anything but unpleasent.

Hope your all well,

Simon (the bread winner)

Deane House


Originally uploaded by simmogem.

I know I have already covered Deane House in my previous blog but I have stumbled across a bit more information which I found interesting – the house used to be on the other side of the river!

It was sold in 1929 to Charles L. Jacques who moved it across the Elbow River and set it where it is today. It was hauled across the river on timber skids across temporary pilings using a tractor. The pictures are quite amazing.

This was not the first move the house had made, in 1914 when the railway tore down the NWMP buidlings it shifted the house a little down the street and used it as the Station Agent’s home. Deane wasn’t very happy about all this, when the house was sold to the railway he took out all of the hedges and gave them to friends – he was a keen gardener.

Calgary – Then and Now

Fort Calgary

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

My day at Inglewood was shortlived. Whilst there were some good antique shops, cafes and a particulary interesting war memorabilia store the strip of Inglewood was not very long and so by lunchtime I was heading back to Downtown.

On the way though I stumbled upon Deane House and then Fort Calgary. Deane House (picture on Flickr) was built by Superintendent R. Burton Deane of the North West Mounted Police. It cost him $6200 to erect the home after he arrived in Calgary to find the previous Officer’s Quarters condemned, I guess back then they didn’t have subsidised rental. The house is perched right on the river and you can enjoy an afternoon tea – Silver service of course – or lunch in the front parlour, followed by a stroll in the garden. Most of the house is open to visitors, I took a quick walk around, although being on my own it was quite eerie so I didn’t stand to long in anyone spot!

Across the river is Fort Calgary – were it all began back in 1875 when the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) rode into town to put an end to the illegal whiskey trade. These barracks were erected in 6 weeks and whenever it rained they would leak terribly and fill with mud. Later in 1882 a new barracks was built just to the right of Fort Calgary. This new barracks was torn down by the railway company in 1914 but a replica now stands in the exact same spot and you can have lunch there just as a member of the NWMP would have – enamel dishes and all. Simon and I intend to do just that – so more to come.

Gemma's Day Out


Originally uploaded by simmogem.

It was a sunny morning, so as Simon headed off to work I took the Fourteenth Street Bridge out of Downtown and into Kensington. Boasted as one of Calgary’s best shopping villages I have to say I was a little disappointed – having said that I did part with some of my newly earned Canadian money!

Shops didn’t open till 10 so I settled down for a coffee just across the street from where I took this photo. With my novel and medium roast I passed the half hour till the toy shop next door opened. What a great store, toys dating back to when all was wind up, my favourite was the tin ballerina, pull the cord and she pirouettes along the table. Plenty for the boys as well, including racing cars, die cast knights and train sets. Still I always say you can’t go past a good tea set and the miniature silver service was particularly sweet.

Moving on though, the Galleria housed some of the best local artwork I have seen thus far and the Honey Bee was right up my alley with plenty of antiques and old fashioned sweets. Lunch was the highlight though – Nellie’s Cosmic Café. Homemade Cauliflower Soup, crisp green salad, topped off with a thick slab of corn bread dripping with honey, all washed down with a cuppa coffee! There is nothing like a hearty Canadian lunch to finish off a shopping trip.

As I said Kensington was not as good as I had expected but I think that is because Calgary is still growing. When we are spoilt with shopping strips like King St in Sydney and Chapel St in Melbourne one can expect a bit too much from a city that only reached its population of 1 million last week. Keeping this in mind I am off to Inglewood tomorrow – Antique Row. Stay tuned…