It’s raining... it’s pouring... grandbabies!

Fionn Francis Veale Martin Timms

Born April 15, 2016

to Arran and Orla

in Dublin, Ireland

  1. 1.Keep the parents up all night, so they have to sleep when you do.

<<< Orla has learned to sleep sitting up,

>>> while Steve just mimics Fern.

  1. 2.Be prepared to travel, because they WILL take you places...

<<< like long, long flights to Canada,

>>> or camping, in a tent,

>>> in 3.6°C night temperatures.

  1. 3.Always dress appropriately for the occasion...

<<< like going to the pub with dad,

>>> or, going to the beach on a searing August day.

  1. 4.Eat your first solid food ...

<<< with great enthusiasm,

>>> or not.

  1. 5.Wear a Halloween costume ...

<<< that is really scary,

>>> or not.

  1. 6.Last, and most important,

Keep Your Grandparents Laughing

Driving the tractor beneath a low-hanging maple tree branch, for the --

hmm, let’s see:  28 years

x 30 weeks/year

x 3 times a week -- makes it at least the 2,520th time.

Suddenly, with no warning, the tractor will no longer move forward.

Wearily, the driver sighs, turns the engine off and tries to dismount. That’s when she realizes that a giant branch is lying behind her shoulders.

The branch has been flung at her so stealthily, so silently that it’s hard to believe it is heavy enough to bring a fairly powerful tractor to a dead stop.

Fern Hazel Timms Walker

Born July 8, 2016

to Laura and Steve

in Toronto, Canada

How to Be a Timms GrandBaby

49th Year

The 2016 Issue

last updated January, 2017


If A Tree Falls in the Forest ...

Never mind even thinking about what it could do to a human head!

See, there’s a theory out there that trees are sentient beings. Their roots form a massive, interwoven communications network beneath the surface -- kind of a Tree Twitter feed, which one tree can use to tell the others that it’s being attacked by, let’s say, a specific kind of bug. The others then start producing chemicals that those bugs don’t like, to avoid being infested themselves.

We don’t know how our trees feel about the fairies who live in the holes the woodpeckers make. But we do know that the older a tree gets, the meaner and sneakier it gets.

So watch out, fairies!

... Is It Trying to Kill You?

The Grand Timms Girls

They ski, both downhill and cross-country. They skate. They dance -- ballet and hip-hop. They love to go rock climbing. They swim. After watching Penny Oleksiak in the Olympics, Alex decided to try out for the Toronto Swim Club, and made it. They run. Alex is on her school’s swim, cross-country and track teams. They cook. They create. Ellie makes music on the piano, and goes to art classes. Somewhere in there, they fit in Grade 4 and Grade 1 schoolwork. And now, it seems, they’ve taken up flying. Good grief!

May every good fortune that you desire, be yours in 2017.

And may you deserve every good fortune that comes your way.

And may the “interesting times” we are living in, please stop!

Sometimes it feels like we have to make an appointment to see them, but Kate and Stefan are really good about driving out here for Sunday dinners, or inviting us there. And occasionally, we get the girls for a sleepover -- for which we get a delightful Thank You note written on the whiteboard.

Speaking of grandchildren

(we are, aren’t we -- at length!)

Typical grandparents.

But we mustn’t neglect to tell you the latest adventures of

Alex, 9, ...

... and Ellie, 6.


  1. 2016.That “kitty litter box of a year”*.

The year that has battered my hope for the future into the ruins of ancient, bombed out cities. The year that has made me despair at being a member of such a stupidly destructive species.

I can’t stop thinking about the children. Not our extremely fortunate descendants, who simply by being born in Canada, and Ireland have won the global lottery. But those 10.86 million** refugee children, living in tents or sleeping by the road, or drowning in the Mediterranean.

Entire countries turning their backs on them. Building barbed wire fences. Or concrete walls. Letting themselves be swayed by demagogues who play on and enhance their fears of ‘the other’.

More than half, 51% of those ‘others’ are children. Children fleeing violence and war, but who in 10-20 years will be shaping the world our grandchildren will be living in, and I have no idea how to prevent the hatred they will feel for those who would not help them.

Do you?

  1. *as Elizabeth Renzetti wrote in the Globe and Mail


Oh, just look at the article on the granddaughters. There is more sports news there than you can shake a stick at.

And where did that phrase come from?



Of course we had to travel to Ireland after Fionn was born. Where once again, we discovered what a perfectly walkable city Dublin is, especially since many downtown streets are dug up for the expansion of their public transit system. We stayed in a apartment, just a 5 minute walk from Arran and Orla on Ranelagh Road, and once we’d been approved as safe guardians, took Fionn on many a baby carriage ride through the nearby neighbourhoods.

Once across the Atlantic, why not visit Paris? After all, our friends, the Laurin/Desjardins, have been given a hardship posting to Paris by Radio Canada and were ready to welcome us to the exquisite food, wine and attractions of that beautiful city.



Feeling nostalgic?

Indulge yourself by reading an issue or two from our archives.

The 1997 issue

The 1998 issue

The 1999 issue

The 2001 issue

The 2002 issue

The 2003 issue

The 2007-8 issue

The 2009 issue

The 2010 issue

The 2012-15 issue

The 2016 issue


“What is life but a gradual shipwreck?”

John Banville

Ancient Light

“O! now, forever

Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content!

Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars

That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!

Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump


Othello, III, iii, 348


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