Bea Loves Books

1 Oct

by Diva Rachel Lynn

What do you do with a 1 year old on a rainy fall day?  Head to the Huron County Library.  Bea loves books.  We have been reading her books since she was a wee baby.  Her book shelves are full; some of her favourites are Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr and I Love My Daddy Because by Laurel Porter-Gaylord.

I bundle her up and off we go to the Goderich Branch.  There is a children’s section of the library which is great!  We head down the steps once we enter the library to a sea of books.  The place is all to ourselves as no other children are there.

I found this book on the shelf and it seemed appropriate for a day like today: Rain Rain Go Away, by Caroline Jayne Church

library book photo

She is trying to tell me she wants that one on the third shelf….reach!!!


A little side note. I love the fact that there is a washroom on the same level as the children’s books.  You don’t have to walk your children up to the 3rd level.  A minor detail to some, but very important to parents.

It was a wonderful 1st mother-daughter experience at the Huron County Library.  We last about 30 minutes before it was time to head home.  It is a place where your children can explore different worlds, people and things through pictures and stories.  I hope she continues to love books.  This is a place that will become a ritual for us…rainy day or not.

A few facts about the Huron County Libraries:

-There are 12 local branches for you to choose from
-As long as you have a library card, you can rent movies for FREE!
-Wondering what to read next? Sign up for NextReads, their free e-newsletters, and get great book suggestions by email.

To visit a Huron County Library, please visit their website for hours and locations.

Until next time!


A Day at the Rodeo

17 Aug

by Diva Christine Harris

It was a beautiful day for a rodeo, the sun was shining and there was not a rain cloud in sight.  The afternoon was packed full of action with many different events to watch.

Pole Bending

Pole Bending

We started the day off with an event called Pole Bending.  It’s a timed competition where the ladies have to take their horses through six poles weaving them back and forth and racing back to the finish line.

Tie down roping

Tie down roping

Tie down roping is also a timed event.  The cowboy gives the calf a head start out of the box and then has to throw his loop around the calf’s neck and get the horse to pull back on the rope, he then jumps off the horse, throws the calf on its side and ties up its feet.  This was initially used to administer antibiotics on the farm before it became a sport.

Break-a-way Roping

Break-a-way Roping

Break-a-way roping is a timed ladies event where she has to throw her loop around the calf’s neck and as the rope takes up the slack it breaks away and that’s when the time stops.

Steer Wrestling

Steer Wrestling

Steer wrestling starts with the steer getting a head start leaving the gate, the cowboy then rides up on his horse to catch up and jumps off and brings the steer down, all four legs must be off the ground.  His partner called the Hazer keeps the steer from veering away.

Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle bronc riding is a classic rodeo event.  The cowboy must stay on his bucking bronc for at least 8 seconds to qualify for a score and he may only touch the bronc with one hand on the horses halter.

Junior Steer Riding

Junior Steer Riding

The junior bull riding is for cowboys under the age of fifteen and they ride steers instead of bulls.  They must also stay on the animal for a minimum of eight seconds to receive a score.

Children's Sheep Scramble

Children’s Sheep Scramble

Just before intermission we were treated to some ladies performing daring tricks on their beautiful horses, and the little ones got to participate in a sheep scramble where they were to chase sheep to get coupons off of their backs.

Barrel Racing

Barrel Racing

Barrel racing uses three barrels and the cowgirls weave their horses around them in a clover pattern and races back to the finish line as this is also a timed event.  If they tip over a barrel they receive a five second penalty.

Team Roping

Team Roping

Team roping is similar to tie down roping, but there are two ropers.  One is designated to rope the head and the other is to rope the back feet.  If they don’t give the steer the appropriate head start they get a ten second penalty.

Bull Riding

Bull Riding

Last but certainly not least is the adult bull riding, and this is what most people come to see.  The cowboy is sat on a 2000lbs bull who wants nothing but to get this guy off of his back.  The cowboy must stay on the bull for at least eight seconds.  More points are awarded for the difficulty to stay on the bull for things like bucking, spinning and changing directions.  So it helps to have an angry bull.

It was wonderful to have such a big event so close to home and it looks like this annual event will continue for years to come.  If you didn’t make it this year, make sure to come next time!

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The Exeter Rodeo is an annual circuit rodeo event (    Watch for 2015 dates at or LIKE them on Facebook for regular updates.

New Book Illustrates Huron County

17 Aug

The landscapes, communities and lifestyles of Huron County are featured in 167 colour photos inside a fabulous 128 page photo book entitled “The Beauty and Bounty of Huron County”. This volume is the third  hard cover photo book published by T. Wegg Photography, a regional publisher who specializes in books which expand the understanding and appreciation of rural Ontario.

Beauty-and-Bounty-of-Huron-CountySections in the book highlight aerial photos, wildlife images and views relating to Huron’s productive and varied agricultural foundation. In addition, an extensive segment is devoted to the rural landscapes, historic towns and quiet villages that are a particular attraction of Huron County. The volume thus becomes a comprehensive visual survey that will serve as a treasured keepsake and a valuable resource for both residents and visitors.

The photo collection is a collaboration of three photographers. Telfer Wegg is known from previous books and publications featuring his images of rural Ontario. Contributors David Bishop and Bonnie Sitter are Huron County photographers whose systematic explorations of back roads and byways with their cameras have enabled them to capture dramatic visions of Huron County seldom seen by casual observers.

Photographs by Telfer Wegg, David Bishop, Bonnie Sitter
Hardcover – 8.75 x 12 inches – 128 pages – full colour – $40
ISBN 978-0-9698207-6-5
For further information, please contact:
Bonnie Sitter
tel: 519 235 1909

A Night of Gnocchi, Galleries and Good Theatre 

17 Aug

Part 2 Bistroby Diva Calista Powell

It has been a very long time since I walked through the doors of Blyth Memorial Hall, and upon walking out last Wednesday I vowed to return soon. A friend and I came down from London to see the Blyth Festival’s preview show of St. Anne’s Reel a new play written by Gil Garratt and directed by Marion de Vries. Starting with an absolutely amazing dinner by Chef Peter Gusso at Part 2 Bistro, my friend Pravin and I chose the vegetable gnocchi pasta in a brandy rosé sauce, and the mushroom stuffed chicken supreme. I am a huge gnocchi fan, and not many restaurants can make it right, but as always, Peter Gusso did not disappoint. Pravin chose the chicken supreme, and as he is originally from Toronto, he was amazed that the ingredients were from our local Huron County agricultural belt. I was definitely proud to show someone from a busy metropolitan area how we do things in rural Ontario. Resisting the temptation of dessert, we then headed over to the Hall and had a couple moments to browse through Kelly Stevenson’s art installation at the Bainton Art Gallery. It was amazing to see the fine details in the geometric patterns of her work and it interested me that she used india ink on a variety of mediums.

A couple onlookers view Kelly Stevenson’s exhibit at the Bainton Gallery.

A couple onlookers view Kelly Stevenson’s exhibit at the Bainton Gallery.

Doors open at Memorial Hall.

Doors open at Memorial Hall.

After perusing Kelly’s captivating work, we settled into our seats amongst a full house of eager theatre-goers. The performance started off with old man Walter in his farm house struggling to play his fiddle. He is then joined by a young and beautiful woman with a ghost-like presence who disappears when a travelling cowboy, Daniel shows up at the door. Quite quickly, the character roles fell into place and it was established that Daniel was returning back home for his mother’s funeral and Walter was in the midst of dealing with his recent widower status. Through heated bickering and passionate fiddling, the two wove a story of love, loss, and life’s regrets with the ghost of St. Anne hovering over them with a watchful eye. David Fox, Emily Lukasik and J.D. Nicholsen received a well deserved standing ovation at the end of their performance. I made a point to not read any synopses before St. Anne’s Reel and, as always, the Blyth Festival put on a deeply moving and unforgettable production.

St. Anne’s Reel plays until September 6th, 2014.

For tickets and other information about the Blyth Festival visit:

Blyth Festival
P.O. Box 10, Blyth, ON  N0M 1H0
519-523-9300 | 1-877-862-5982

Photo 1: Come visit Peter Gusso and try his amazing gnocchi!

Photo 2: Doors open at Memorial Hall.

Photo 3: A couple onlookers view Kelly Stevenson’s exhibit at the Bainton Gallery.

Stag and Doe celebrates road to matrimony

15 Aug
Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jason Chesworth, Rebecca Auerbach and Greg Gale. Photo: Terry Manzo.

Nicole Joy-Fraser, Jason Chesworth, Rebecca Auerbach and Greg Gale. Photo: Terry Manzo.

by Diva Claire Carter:

I am at the point in life where many friends and relatives are walking down the aisle.  With the announcement of an engagement, often comes news of engagement parties, stag and does (also known as buck and does or Jack and Jills), bachelor and bachelorette parties, and a date set for the main event itself.  Despite planning, sheer luck sometimes seems to have more to do with how smoothly things run for all of these events.

I had the pleasure of attending the Stag and Doe in Blyth on Sunday, August 10, which is a shining example of how sometimes, things don’t always go as planned.  Within minutes, my guest and I (and the rest of the audience) were sharing serious laughs.  The plot of the story is worst case scenario, but has very real situations, of course punctuated by humour, shock and a bit of salty language.  There are parts of the stag and doe experience that seem universal; the community centre, games, discussing the guest list and similar social events from the past.

Because the show features both a stag and doe AND a wedding, we see the same honest writing and acting as far as the wedding is portrayed – budgets are ignored, family dynamics are made public, alcohol plays a factor in decision making, schedules for the day are delayed and the fairy tale image of the day differs from the reality (sometimes leading to bridezilla behaviour).

The Stag and Doe is the perfect show to go to with a group of friends for a bachelorette party, to gift tickets to all engaged couples or those celebrating anniversaries.  The actors in the Stag and Doe have great chemistry, and to the audience, seem like real couples, friends and enemies.  Having attended Kitchen Radio, I noticed a number of actors have roles in both shows.  It was amazing seeing how versatile these individuals are!

Another highlight of the show was catching the final performance of Bonanza Weekend, a Blyth Festival tradition when theatre-goers have the opportunity to watch all four main stage plays in three days for $100.  What a fantastic idea!  The theatre was packed, and the audience was having a great time.  Next year, I hope to plan my Blyth Festival trips around this great weekend.

Blyth Festival
Box 10, BLYTH, Ontario  N0M 1H0

Tickets are still available online or at the Box Office.

HCP’s Les Miserables blew this Diva away!

15 Aug

by Diva Christine Harris

It was an amazing treat to be able to see Les Miserables on opening night in our own backyard, Grand Bend.  This was my first visit to the Main Stage at the Playhouse and I really enjoyed being up on the balcony.  The view was great from above; and it was also really neat being able to see the conductor throughout the night.  The evening started out with an introduction by Alex Mustakas, the Artistic Director of Huron County Playhouse (Drayton Entertainment).  He told us how long and how hard he had been working at bringing this musical to his theatre and welcomed us for the evening.

Cast of 2014 production of Les Miserable at Huron Country Playhouse Photographer, Hilary Gauld-Camilleri

Cast of 2014 production of Les Miserable at Huron Country Playhouse Photographer, Hilary Gauld-Camilleri

I really don’t know where to start, I was completely blown away.  The set was ingenious with how it moved and how they were able to quickly and easily change the feeling from a small quaint room to a large battlefield.  Props for the set like tables were easily slid into place with the system they used, so it took very little time and very little attention away from what was going on.  The costumes were beautiful pieces from the era that took you back in time, so you were able to get completely lost in the story.  The music and the singing by far was the most spectacular part of the evening.  A seven piece orchestra lead by conductor Robert Fraser did not disappoint.  With cello, keys, bass, percussion, reed and french horn the orchestra sounded beautiful together and complemented the amazing voices on stage.  I enjoyed the duo played by Eddie Glen and Kristen Peace as Madame and Thenardier who were both comical and crude; they lightened the mood and brought laughter to the audience.  Lee Siegel who played Javert had a strong and commanding voice; he was one of the performers I enjoyed the most.  My very favorite of the evening was “On My Own” by Ma-Anne Dionisio playing Eponine, that one will be in my head for days.

David Rogers in Drayton Entertainment's Les Miserable, playing at Huron Country Playhouse until Aug.30/14

David Rogers in Drayton Entertainment’s Les Miserable, playing at Huron Country Playhouse until Aug.30/14

At the end of the evening we were treated to a meet and greet in the lobby with the full cast and a midnight buffet.  Fans were able to talk to their favourite actors, and some even got autographs.  I was very happy that I was able to enjoy this whole experience and be a part of such a big production coming to such a wonderful theatre.

Les Miserables runs at Huron Country Playhouse until August 30th.

Drayton Entertainment
Huron Country Playhouse

RR 1, 70689 B Line, Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0
GPS coordinates: N 43° 18.834 W 81° 43.549
Box Office: 519-238-6000


Indian Head Massage a Luxury at Benmiller Inn Spa

14 Aug

BenmillerSpaby Diva Christine Harris
Today I had the pleasure of going to the Benmiller Inn to visit the Spa.  I have never visited the Benmiller Inn and was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful landscape and decor.  The Maitland River flows through the property as Sharp’s Creek and goes through the old mill as it used to be a pioneer settlement.  The grounds are well kept and the interior has a wonderful rustic feel to it.

I was met at the Spa by Ward who was exceptionally friendly and full of information.  He was telling me that the Indian Head Massage I was to receive initially started out a long time in India as a treatment for hair with oils. But as these treatments went on they were starting to notice many more health and wellness benefits as well.  Today the massage is done without oil, and usually seated in a massage chair.

The RMT in me was very curious about this type of massage since I had never experienced one or knew much about it.  I found myself paying close attention as the massage started and thinking about how it works and why.  As much as I tried to pay attention about half way through my massage I found myself getting quite relaxed and unable to focus and just went with the flow. As Wade had explained it is common to get a bit lightheaded after this type of massage because a lot of blood flow has been brought to the area. He gave me a bit of time to get up on my own and met me out at the desk.  Now in all honestly, I do recommend waiting a while until you drive home or bringing a designated massage driver because when I left I felt very serene and relaxed, and almost ready for a nap. I can still feel the effects of my massage as I sit here typing this in the few hours after, my muscles feel looser and I have an overall sense of tranquility.  This was a wonderful way to start my summer holidays!

Benmiller Inn & Spa
81175 Benmiller Line, Goderich, ON  N7A 3Y1

The Benmiller Inn has luxury accommodations, CAA-rated Four Diamond dining in addition to their wide range of spa services.  Visit the website for more information.

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