Parrywinkle, October 5, 2017

Had all gone according to plan, my beautiful Sunshine and I would be in Cuba this week at our favourite hotel in Cayo Santa Maria celebrating my birthday. But to parryphrase the Scottish Bard, Robbie Burns, 'the best-laid plans of women and men oft go awry.'

The reason being that the Cayo, - Key in English, 400 km from Havana on the north coast, and accessible only by a 50-mile long sea-level causeway - was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Irma with incredible devastation that has left the Cuban people there struggling to rebuild their homes, lives and, indeed, livelihoods as tourism is their number one - if not only - employer by far.

Tell you folks, as I've said before and will surely say again, we are truly blessed to live here in our little part of the world. Despite our sometimes petty, parochial problems that at times simply boggle the mind!


DYNAMIC DINING DUO - Meanwhile, far from hurricanes over in Europe, one local couple was celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary last month with a first-time visit to Italy that saw them based in Tuscany with visits to Venice, Florence, and Rome, home of The Vatican. But it wasn't all just sightseeing and snapping selfies. Part of it was actually work.

In that Zeina Abdulkarim, and her hubby, Robert Aboud, spent days researching cuisine and wines for the third season of their Zeina's Kitchen classes launched in their St. Lazare home just last week with some 30 guests sampling a fabulous foretaste of what will be featured this time around.

Says Zeina, who when not concocting creative cooking is a much-in-demand stylist at Salon Odyssey on Route Harwood, “It was a gift to ourselves, it was a dream come true, and one of my most memorable moments was taking part in a traditional Italian cooking class in Umbria at Chef Raphaella's home with six other guests from around the world.” (See photos on YLJ Facebook page).

Adds Robert, “Being able to set foot and visit the vineyards and cellars of wineries I had only previously read about was an energizing experience and the push towards bio-dynamic wine making is clearly on the rise.”

For further info, go to And saluti and buon appetito!


FAKE NEWS? – I mentioned The Vatican earlier. Just learned that Donald Trump was there at the very same time as Zeina and Robert and immediately after issued a press release that for some strange reason has not been picked up by the mainstream media.

Said Trump, "I met with Pope Francis today. He's a really great pope. Great, great pope. You know he's the leader of the Catholic Church. Big church. I couldn't believe it when he told me how many Catholics there are. Way more than I thought. They have churches all over the world. Some are very, very close - so close - to my hotels and golf courses.

"He took me into the Sistine Chapel. Beautiful ceiling. I don't think too many people even know about this place. The paintings are great, I'm telling you. The Pope - great guy, by the way, knows more about the Bible than almost anybody, we got along great, I think he really likes me - told me the whole thing was painted by this young Italian. I think his name is Michael Angelo. At least that's what Francis - we're great friends - called him, I think. Trust me, we're going to hear more about him. He's really artistic, and everybody tells me I have the greatest eye for the bestest art.

Added Trump, “I told Frank I'd like to buy some of Mike's art. I asked him if Mike's done anything on velvet. He'll check, great guy. I'll hang his stuff at Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower in New York. He needs more exposure. He's too much with the churches. He could paint my presidential portrait on the Capitol Dome. Or maybe a mural on my big, beautiful border wall, but just our side. "Unbelievable. The fake media is at it again. I just saw something on TV that Michael died 450 years ago. Sad. I've already got some people looking into this and you won't believe what they're finding!”

Will keep you posted!

And that's a wrap!


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