All posts by Janice Blain

Weekly table tennis program a source of fun and fitness

Last year I watched a fascinating British television program on aging, called How To Stay Young.  Despite the familiar theme, it proved to be full of interesting and inspiring information which spurred me into thinking about playing table tennis for its beneficial effects.

I had played as a teenager and I now have a ping pong table in the basement for an occasional game with my grandsons.  However, that was the extent of my table tennis experience and the idea of playing as a sport had not occurred to me.  In part, that was because I had never seen it mentioned in my search for fitness classes, so I had low expectations of finding a club within easy reach of Stittsville.

Finding information online was a challenge but perseverance paid off and I was delighted to discover a group, right here at the Johnny Leroux arena.

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How a knight in a shiny tow truck saved the day with a bottle of Coke

Having just finished a yoga class I was pretty relaxed when I discovered that my car wouldn’t start.  Greeted by silence apart from an almost inaudible click when I turned the key, it was obvious I wasn’t going anywhere.

With the help of receptionist Amy at Beyond Yoga, I calmly contacted my emergency roadside assistance number.  I was told I would receive a call from the towing company to tell when they would be there to rescue me.  While I waited I checked out the bus times, found the towing company’s phone number, knowing that once the studio closed I would no longer have internet connection.

It was almost closing time and I hadn’t received a call, so it was obvious that the studio would close before tow truck arrived.  Concerned about me having to wait alone and get home by bus Amy offered to drive me home.  However, a call to Sharkey’s thwarted that plan as they don’t tow unattended cars.  So it became a matter of waiting and taking my chances that they would get the car started instead of towed, thereby avoiding a bus ride home and a very late night.

Fortunately I didn’t have to sit in the car for too long before my knight in shiny tow truck arrived.  I had deduced that it wasn’t a battery problem and thought it might be the starter motor.  I  wasn’t far off.

It didn’t take Kyle long to figure out the root of the problem with the hood up, as he watched and listened while I turned the key.  Yes, it was an issue with the starter motor.  At first he was going to tow the car to my garage.  However, he hesitated because he thought he just might be able to get it started, but no promises as he went to his truck for the necessary tools.

Only the tools proved to be nothing more than a bottle of Coke.   “Your not going to pour that over the engine are you?” I asked in disbelief, but as he began to explain that the problem was corrosion, I soon clued in.  “You mean you are going to use it the way they use Coke to clean pennies?”

“Exactly, the contacts are copper,” he replied.  He shone the torch on the green corroded contacts and pointed them out to me.  (I later took a photo of the area while he kindly pointed once more, to ensure I would recognize that part of the engine again and he demonstrated exactly what I had to wiggle).

One bottle of Coke later, when I turned the key, the engine roared into action without hesitation.  The Coke was rinsed off with a bottle of water to remove the residue.  What an amazing trick.

At this point, I could have had the car towed to the garage but Kyle advised that it wasn’t really necessary now and I too could start the car this way as long I was prepared, with a couple of bottles of Coke and a bottle of water.  How simple and how effective.  He even gave me a pair of latex gloves to keep in the glove compartment, so I am ready for action should the need arise in the future.

So thoughtful, and how appreciative I am.   After all, he could have just towed the car to the garage resulting in a repair bill, leaving me to find my way home by bus.  Instead he went that one step further, to try a simple solution that would allow me to drive home and perhaps even avoid a trip to the garage for a job that, obviously, I could do for myself.

So all this to say a great big thank you to two people in our community, who went beyond the call of duty, proving that a little kindness goes a long way.

Amy Pham at Beyond Yoga on Hearst Avenue, Kanata, who was prepared to drive me home, called emergency road assistance for me twice, and stayed later than she normally would.

And Kyle Abraham, on night shifts at Sharkey’s Towing, Iber Road, Stittsville, who did not take advantage of a damsel in distress, but instead solved the problem and gave her a useful lesson in simple, albeit unconventional, emergency auto mechanics.

Janice Blain's car in front of Beyond Yoga in Kanata.
Janice Blain’s car in front of Beyond Yoga in Kanata.

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REVIEW: Danby’s breakfast is worth the road trip to Richmond

If you know where the Richmond Bakery used to be, you know where Danby’s Roadhouse is now. There is a Danby’s in Munster too (Danby’s Bar and Grill) but for this trip we went to the Richmond location, at 6127 Perth Street.

Not our first visit, it seemed unusually quiet when we entered around 11:15am. The restaurant/bar area at the back is darker and offers booths but tends to be noisier, so we headed for a table by a window in the bright restaurant part at the front, where there was one lone diner. However, that didn’t last long as other people began to arrive. Families, couples, and friends. The quiet restaurant soon became filled with animated voices and every plate that went by looked delicious. Our own meals were no exception.

Three of us each chose a different breakfast from the specials on the board and the extensive two sided menu which includes a children’s section. This offers smaller meals at smaller prices, for those 9 and under.

The pancake lover chose strawberry and chocolate pancakes (pictured above), one of the two breakfast specials. A previous breakfast special had been banana and chocolate pancakes, with the banana cooked in the batter. However, today’s plate came with three chocolate chip pancakes heaped with fresh strawberries and a generous dollop of whipped cream. The pancakes were described by my friend as “chocolate chips with pancake”. No shortage of chocolate chips here and the strawberries were so good he shared them to prove his point. This enticing plate was priced at $10.

Danby’s traditional two egg breakfast comes with a choice of bacon, sausage or ham plus your choice of two sides, from a list of nine options. Home fries and a pancake were selected on this occasion, costing a mere $7. Today was a first time at Danby’s for this friend, and she was impressed.

Danby's traditional two egg breakfast. Photo by Janice Blain.
Traditional two egg breakfast. Photo by Janice Blain.

For an extra $1 each, one or both of your side choices could be from the eleven upgraded sides offered, or you could even indulge in breakfast poutine for an extra $3. Maple syrup is one of the upgraded sides, should you want that for your pancake instead of the corn syrup on the table. I had to count again, but yes, 21 side options available at different price points.

I chose the three egg veggie omelette, loaded with mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes, plus sides of mushrooms and fresh fruit. Fresh sautéed mushrooms and real fresh fruit! I am always disappointed when a menu offers mushrooms which turn out to be canned. And more so, when fresh fruit is not fresh fruit but a mix of fresh fruit and fruit from a jar or can. Or worse, no real fresh fruit at all. At $9, this meal didn’t disappoint on any level.

Danby's three egg veggie omelette. Photo by Janice Blain.
The three egg veggie omelette. Photo by Janice Blain.

Coffee or tea is included with all breakfasts making this restaurant, in my opinion, unbeatable for choice and value for money. Three excellent breakfasts, quality food, with coffee for under $30!

The servers were very attentive and pleasant, while the kitchen staff proved their efficiency by delivering a wide range of food in good time.

Clean bathrooms and attractive decor round out the package causing Danby’s Roadhouse to become one of my favourite weekend brunch stops.

Breakfast is served on Fridays and Saturdays from 8-11 and on Sundays from 8-12, after which the menu changes and lunch is served.


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Friday market at The Barn showcases local food vendors

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles from volunteer contributor Janice Blain.  Born and raised in England, Janice is a retired early childhood educator who now calls Stittsville home.  She’ll be sharing her photos of local people and places in our community.)

The Stittsville Market at The Barn in Village Square Park is a new addition to the Stittsville scene, and with the postponement of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, this is a timely and hopefully viable community project.

Last week I was so taken with the produce being offered that I didn’t even notice the barn itself.  I took the time to look around after speaking to Sue Bird, the owner and dynamo behind the market that is being held there each Friday from 4-7pm.

Sue’s plan is to continue the market throughout the summer and hopefully into the fall, adding vendors or rotating vendors as time passes. (The latest news is that Bower Farm (organic vegetables) will be there this Friday, and a local honey producer will be at The Barn on August 4.) Currently there are three regular vendors, Chris, Haico and Katie.

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PHOTOS: Magical mystery walk through Bell Park

“I have been walking in Bell Park admiring the trilliums and ferns but this weekend I discovered an added attraction,” writes Janice Blain, who sent along the photos you see on this page.

“Someone has, or some people have, turned the woodland walk into a magical mystery tour with pretty painted stones placed along the paths.  I imagine they are the work of at least two children and would like to thank them for sharing their artwork and adding such a lovely surprise to my walks.” Continue reading


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PHOTO: With thanks to the bird feeder

Thanks to Janice Blain for sending along this photo. She says:
“Stopped to watch the chickadees and nuthatches today on the Trans Canada Trail west of Westridge. I am sure many people are familiar with these feeders which are constantly filled by a devoted bird lover, who is unknown to me. Would like to take this opportunity to thank them.”

(We love seeing photos from in and around our community. Please send your best pics to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca)

Stopped to watch the Chickadees and Nuthatches today on the TCT west of Westridge. Photo by Janice Blain
Photo by Janice Blain

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