Sunday, January 31, 2010

Climate Change Concerns: ‘Climate Wars’ is a book for everyone Pt 1

The book Climate Wars by Gwynne Dyer is already listed in the right margin under the heading ‘Read This’, along with a lot of other excellent books, even though I’ve only read 98 of the 244 pages.

I’m confident the entire book will be easily understood and provoke thought and discussion no matter where one stands on the subject of climate change.

Climate change deniers or skeptics may not appreciate all this is written between the two covers but it will certainly raise the level of discussion and argument.

In an earlier post I mentioned the following thought by Mr. Dyer:

The potential cost of doing too little, too late is vastly greater than the cost that might be incurred by doing more to fight global warming than turns out, at some later date, to have been strictly necessary.

We could argue about that for a month but I’d rather you first read the book.

The book consists of seven chapters, and scenarios precede each of them that are not intended to be predictions about what is to come but are ‘only examples of the kinds of political crisis that could be caused by climate change.’

Mr. Dyer also writes a lengthy introduction, well worth the time spent reading it, in which he states four important conclusions he has reached ‘after a year of trailing around the world of climate change - four important things that I did not fully understand when I started this trip.’

I thought I’d mention the four things in this space because they serve as short, critical points that together act as a dramatic springboard into the next 244 pages.

Dyer says:

First, this thing is coming at us a whole lot faster that the publicly acknowledged wisdom has it. When you talk to people at the sharp end of the climate business, scientists and policy-makers alike, there is an air of suppressed panic in many of the conversations.

The book is filled with many of the aforementioned conversations with scientists, etc.

Click here to read Part 2.


Click here now for more information about Climate Wars and CBC Radio One audio files related to the author and text.


Zoom w a View: Birds in the tree, cat on The Annex

When I say The Annex I’m not talking about a neighbourhood in Toronto. I’m referring to shed number 2 in my backyard.

And The Annex has a shed style roof that collects a bit of heat on a sunny winter’s day and makes for a great perch.

["The sparrows preferred to perch in a maple tree": photos by GAH]

For a neighbour’s cat, that is.

["The birds visited in pairs; others kept watch"]

Though a dozen birds were happy to visit my feeder yesterday they were nervous all the while, more nervous than usual.

Their heads turned every which way between feeds, making sure they had an escape route available when the cat started to prowl.

["The cat stood watch but caught nothing but a few rays"]

And, lucky for the cat...

...The snow was too cold too pack into snowballs.


Great weather today for coffee at the computer

I was so tempted.

There was no new snow on the back deck so I was this close (imagine my thumb and pointy finger 1 mm apart) to going outside in my housecoat and slippers to take a few photos.

["No new snow on my motorcycle's windshield": photos GAH]

But it’s cold out there.

["The seeds are still there"]

No new snow means the seeds I scattered yesterday for the birds are still visible, and if yesterday’s traffic is any indication, I should get a call from at least a dozen sparrows and chickadees.

The female chickadee, nervous to a fault, was the prettiest guest that visited on Saturday.


Need a feeder? I have one extra.

It’s a custom model (you know what that means, right), but I’ll give you a deal.


Link and Learn: Bicycles in Denmark have fancy seats

In earlier posts I mentioned progress made (and lack thereof) with particular goals in 2009 and went on to share my aims for 2010.

For example: In 2009 I planned to buy a bike suitable for city streets but decided to hang onto and use my classy Miele road bike instead.

["The Miele should last another 30 years": photo GAH]

Not really a failure, just a change of mind.

(Guys can change their mind right?)

While tooling around the web I came across an interesting link re bikes in Copenhagen.

Click here to see several excellent posts and chic photos.

I guess in Denmark riding a bicycle is almost an art form.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Zoom w a View: I can't even get out the front door

No, I'm not stuck inside my house.

["Jack Frost on icy panes": photos GAH]

But, upon opening the inside front door this morning I was greeted with an icy view of the world before opening the outer door to grab my newspaper.

It's another chilly willy day.


It Strikes Me Funny: I am in debt but I think it’s manageable Pt 4

Getting hit with a financial triple whammy (i.e., low cash, high debt and no or low retirement savings) during tough economic times is a terrible experience.

To live with the prospects of a poor retirement while helping adult children financially survive is a tough slug to the gut as well, and more Canadian baby boomers are getting hit every year, to the tune of almost $3,700 per child.

[Click here to read Part 1,

Part 2,

and Part 3 for some context. You’ll be glad you did and I’ll still be here when you get back. Hey, I’m retired, and waiting for you means I’m not spending money - which is a good thing.]

I recently asked Herald Krimmer, a friend and financial advisor, a few questions about money matters and his answers and comments were interesting, and if I knew in my twenties what I know now about finances I might not be carrying as big a debt load as I am today.

(But, hey, I still think it’s manageable as long as sons David and Paul don’t move back home with their wives and children. Admittedly, my wife would love it but I’d be fretting everyday about who drank my ESB and ate the last slice of pie in the fridge).

While sitting with Herald at a Richmond Row coffee shop I said, “How do some people you deal with get into financial trouble?”

He said, “Some earn, for example, $50,000 per year but spend $60,000. Others earn $100,000 but spend $120,000.”

“What happens to them?” I said.

“I know someone your age (i.e., 60-years old) who will never be mortgage free. His spending went from 120 to $150,000 per year and now rents an apartment while carrying what remains of his last mortgage.”

I asked if fewer people seem to be living within their means today than 10 or 20 years ago and he nodded.

When I asked him for one possible reason he said, “Partly, it’s a sense of entitlement in people. Though many parents today had a working class start, they did relatively or very well compared to their own parents and subsequently wanted their own children to have some of the things they never had.

["My family's working class home: We learned the value of a dollar": photo GAH]

“Some members of the younger generation have been showered with gifts, so to speak, and when they go out to work they find it a bit of a struggle to maintain the lifestyle they’re used to. And instead of spending their money responsibly they run out and buy expensive goods they simply can’t afford.”

Household debt, as a result, has hit an all-time high, while at the same time we see a trend away from company pensions with defined benefits.

People can get therefore into trouble at an early age and stay that way for many years.

Any solutions to the triple whammy?

How about we expect all students to get a high school or university credit re financial basics before they receive easy credit from banks?

Mr. Krimmer liked that idea and we talked about ways of rectifying personal financial matters. I’ll say a few more things about our talk in a future column and let you know when it hits the streets.

Until then:

Reduce spending, pay down debt, and save more money for the tough times ahead.

And to David and Paul: You're always welcome at home.


You probably knew that was coming, didn’t you?


Today's Weather: Was it funny? I think you had to be there?

I couldn't get still shots or shoot a video of what really happened because (a) I didn't have my camera and (b) my wife, though she found the incident hilarious, would never consent to appear on my blog.

Her loss. I mean - the fame, the glory!

["It's cold out. The snow is even squeaky": photos GAH]

That being said, something transpired this morning while we walked home from The Little Red Roaster in Wortley Village that got us laughing at the same time.

Normally, we react differently to things because we're almost complete opposites.

"It's cold out today," one will say.

"Not to me," will say the other.

"Do these jeans fit me alright?" she will occasionally ask.

"Perfectly," I'll always say.

"Do my jeans fit okay?" I'll ask in a blue moon.

"No, not at all. You have no butt," she'll say.

An hour ago, however, we were in perfect synch.

["I could hear this guy from my porch. Squeak!"]

It was so cold on our walk home that the snow squeaked loudly beneath our feet. And because our legs are exactly the same length ("Our pace is identical," I said. "No," she said. "Our legs are the same length."), we made squeaky noises in unison.

I thought, it's the type of irritating noise that, if we lived in the tundra and had a six-mile walk home from the coffee shop, would lead to a gun fight.

So, just as the sound of our combined squeaking was about to get on my last nerve, I exaggerated the length of my stride considerably and the subsequent discordant noise made us laugh.

["Imagine me on the left, my wife on the right"]

I looked a bit silly too (John Cleese would be proud), and the moment was not lost on my wife.

However, for readers at home:

I think you had to be there.


The birds are lined up like planes over La Guardia

I think it’s the cold weather.

Birds are nervous about their food supply so are checking out all neighbourhood feeders closely.

["Three of seven remained after hearing my teeth chatter?": photos GAH]

They’re even sifting through several fresh layers of snow in search of the seeds I scattered on my deck recently.

["The good stuff is down under the snow"]

They’re finding plenty of seeds but fly off whenever I tip toe down by back stairs, camera in hand, and peek from behind window curtains.

["Politely waiting his turn": photos GAH]

Where seven sparrows and chickadees were perched (Where was my female cardinal?), no doubt politely waiting their turn on the ground or at feeders, three remained by the time I focussed on them.

I swear they hear me breathing.

Because it’s cold on the stairs, maybe my teeth were chattering.


Are birds visiting your feeder(s)? What type do you see?


Sorry, Jet. You’ve got the wrong school teacher

I just got this email from a friend who works for an airline company:


Ran into an ex-student of yours .... that would be Black ... Jet Black that is!

He remembered you fondly ... especially your Oakland Athletics team shirt that you wore quite frequently.

He is a police officer currently assigned to the Olympics.


I wrote back saying Jet has me confused with a serious A’s fan.

["Sorry, Jet. I usually dressed like this": GAH circa 1969]

I did wear shirts with logos during my career. More likely a Leafs or Black Hawks jersey. I did have a baseball type jersey years ago, but can’t recall the team. Not likely the A's.

How could I forget a name like Jet Black? However, if he got me tickets to the Olympics I’d remember quickly, I bet.

“Tickets for me? Jet, you were always such a great kid,” I’d say, without missing a beat.


Dear Jet. Send me tickets and I’ll give you an A+. Mr. Harrison


Friday, January 29, 2010

It Strikes Me Funny: I am in debt but I think it’s manageable Pt 3

Recently, after reading that six-of-ten baby boomers (yup, that’s me!) are supporting their children to the tune of over $3,600 per year, I realized I couldn’t afford to do that, and started thinking about my debt load.

[Click here to read Part 1 for some context.]

Yes, and your debt load too.

I know my debt is big (from a substantial home renovation), but I think it’s still manageable. Unless the kids move back home - with their kids. Then I’m in trouble, enough so to send chills down my spine while just thinking about it.

Not only are the children of many boomers in financial trouble. So are Canadians in general.

[Click here to read Part 2 for some context.]

Peter Zimonjic, Sun Media, reported the following about a month ago:

Don Drummond, chief economist for the TD Bank, says Canadian (and American) households are saving about 4% of their income, which should leave enough cash for some consumer spending, but not much.

That means any economic recovery will be lethargic, household debt levels will continue to climb and retirement savings will lag behind.

If I recall correctly, low cash, high debt and poor savings are known in economic circles as the triple whammy and anyone who gets caught up in its grip would likely benefit from sound financial advice.

My simplistic (though brilliant and oft-repeated) slogan, i.e., “reduce spending, pay down debt and save money for tough times ahead” isn’t likely enough advice to help anyone but me navigate these troubled economic times, so I recently sat down with friend, fellow hockey player and financial advisor Herald Krimmer to discuss money matters, sip coffee and collect information for a future article.

(Herald K., HBA CFP CLU ChFC
580 Waterloo St, 2nd Flr
London, ON  N6B 2P9
PH: (519) 660-6798)

About his role he said, “I help people invest their money wisely as well as help them manage their affairs.”

And about the current times he added, “Many people leave careful financial planning too late and have a habit of spending more, sometimes considerably more each year, than they earn.”

He mentioned that there are many whose poor habits will lead to bankruptcy if not brought under control.

Last I heard, Canadians' household debt is about 140 per cent of disposable income and rising, which is lower than Britain (about 150 per cent) and the US (almost 170 per cent) but significantly higher than countries that use the euro (about 90 per cent).

Also, the number of personal bankruptcies is rising and anyone who thinks they can maintain a reasonable lifestyle solely by depending on the Canadian Pension Plan is living in a dream world.

I asked Herald what he says to people in regard to planning for the future.

His comments were enlightening.


How are you coping with the triple whammy?

Click here to read part 4 and conclusion.


I Ask You: Will chickadees eat oatmeal?

Another one-eighth inch of snow fell this morning, not much by sturdy Canadian standards, but I’ll take it.

["A cold, bright day perfect for a walk" photos by GAH]

The more snow cover London receives in January the better chance it will stay until March.

This morning, from behind a curtain, I spotted a chickadee flying back and forth between a tree perch and my bird feeder. And because the bird wouldn’t sit for more than a second at the feeder, I could only get photos of him pecking at small branches.

["Did I get carried away? A two-week supply of porridge"]

I wonder, if I put a suet ball or small dish of hearty oatmeal in the feeder, would the wee bird stay longer?

Oatmeal sticks to my ribs, but will it get a chickadee to stick around?


What birds are visiting your feeder(s)?

Click here to see yesterday’s visitor - a female cardinal.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Zoom w a View: Female cardinal gives me the once over

I give her the seeds.

She gives me the once over.

["Who is that behind the curtain?" asks the cardinal": photos GAH]

(Not a very clear photo, I know. I couldn’t get a better angle today through an unscreened window.)


Who is visiting your feeder?

You don’t have one? Have I got a deal for you.


From The Workshop: Hey, bird feeders take no time at all

It still surprises me when someone says, “Could you make me one of those?”

I was making two new bird feeders the other day in the shed and a friend asked me to make one for him.

["They are so easy to make - try white cedar": photos GAH]

(My younger ‘starving-artist’ brother needs one out back of his new apartment/art studio on Dundas St., and if I’m going to set up equipment to make one, I might as well take a few more minutes and make two or more, go into business and earn my fortune. Right? Sorry, I digress).

“I really like the design,” he said.

And how could he not I ask you?

But, they’re so easy to make.

I thought, why doesn’t he simply rescue a bit of lumber and make his own? Fer Pete’s sake.

“And you’re sure the squirrels can’t get at it?” he asked, interrupting my thoughts.

["Free from squirrels - so far"]

After crossing my fingers behind my back I said, “If you keep it 6 feet off the ground and 6 feet from any pole or fence, you should be okay.”

And I’ll be okay making another and another after that, if need be, because I realize very few people have a workshop or the tools or the time to fiddle around like I do.

So, I’ll just shut up, make more feeders and count my many blessings.


["How about some custom cedar trim, eh?"]

I sold my friend on a ‘custom’ model, i.e., with cedar trim.

And you all know what ‘custom’ means, right?

That’s right. I earn my fortune 1 extra buck at a time.


Today’s Chilly Weather: Too cold for summer pajamas, Willy

If you haven’t been outside yet (in London, Ontario; the weather is different in Kingston, Jamaica, eh) run to your window.

And what do you see?

["Willy feels the chill while riding his bike today!": photos GAH]

A bright, sunny day and another fresh quarter-inch of snow in the midst of a Chilly Willy day.

("Oh boy," you'll say. "Wait 'til the Olympic Committee sees this!")

["It ain't much snow but the Olympics need it"]

Too cold to wear PJs on the back deck (unlike a week ago), too cold for slippers, and instantly cold enough, when you step outside to photograph your weather monitoring station (approved, unofficially, by City Council) to say ‘Holy Snappers’ or ‘Chilly Willy day’ without a second thought.

Willy can still be found sitting on his motorcycle, but he won’t be disappointed if Ollie spots him while inspecting the bird feeders and takes him inside.

Prediction: You’ll appreciate wearing a safety vest today.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It Strikes Me Funny: I am in debt but I think it’s manageable Pt 2

Years ago, long before Canadian men and women became baby boomers in wide Levis, they wore snug-fitting polyester bell bottoms, wide ties and sandals.

["I love cool pants!": photo PAH]

And in spite of the fact they didn’t look cool or rad in polyester (barely nifty, and it was highly flammable to boot) - though they thought they did - they were fruitful and multiplied and raised children who grew up to become the micro-fleece- and cotton-clad generation that now asks six-in-ten of their parents for almost $4,000 per year to help with life’s expenses.

Chilling news, isn’t it?

But children of baby boomers are not the only ones feeling the pinch.

The boomers themselves, and Canadians in general, are too.

For example: According to a survey and study by RBC, registered savings plans (RRSP) contributions as a share of personal income have fallen over the past 11 years, coinciding with the aging of the baby-boomer generation, which is now saving less.

(No mention was made of how many children were still chillin’ in the basement).

I also learned just over a third of Canadians contributed to, or plan to contribute to, an RRSP for the 2009 tax year and that’s the lowest since 1996. (Dec.17, London Free Press)

Fewer Canadians started saving for retirement this year as well, a poll found. Almost a third said they hadn’t yet begun putting any money aside, compared with one quarter a year ago.

Although a chief economist for the TD bank says that Canadian and American households are saving about 4 per cent of their incomes, I was told recently by a financial advisor that 4 per cent isn’t enough to provide security in the future.

Because of my debt load I’m putting away even less than that.

Like I said before, however, I feel my debt load is manageable (for a few reasons) as long as my sons don’t move back home with their families.

Whoops. There’s that chill again.


If not 4 per cent, how much?

What about the Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age security payments?

Click here to read Part 3.


It Strikes Me Funny: I'm in debt but I think it’s manageable Pt 1

I started thinking more seriously about my debt load recently after learning that six-in-ten Canadian baby boomers are providing financial support to their adult children to the tune of $3,675 per year. (Canadian Investors Group poll)

["I can only afford popsicles for Ollie": photo PAH]

Information like that sends a chill down my spine, almost as cold as the chill I’d feel if my pensions and wee RRSP dried up and blew away.

After all, I am Canadian.

I am a baby boomer.

I have two adult children.

You know how I feel about money.

And six-in-ten chance is... 6 out of 10!

That means there’s better than half a chance I could be emptying my wallet every year. I don’t like those odds and I don’t have that kind of money to spare.

Hey, I can afford popsicles for my grandson and breakfast for my two boys every now and again, but if the bill ever comes to $3,675 they’d better be prepared to pick me up off the floor.

Part of the problem may be that many adult children cannot find a job and must live at home. Or they have a low-paying job and regularly feel they need help with monthly bills.

Or they have a decent job but have expenses and debts beyond their means.

Or... we can just agree it’s a complicated world out there and 60 per cent of boomers are taking a hit along with their kids.

The problem with me is, I have a significant debt load right now (Did I tell you anything about a year and a half’s worth of renovations?)...

["Can you drop that, Ed? Twenty windows have arrived.": photo GAH]

...and though I feel it’s manageable, it’s only manageable as long as my children hang onto their jobs.

Do you feel the chill?


Adult kids aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch.

Click here to read part 2.


London’s Weather: It’s improving while I speak - saving the Olympics!

It’s actually snowing outside, and it’s near the end of January, and spring is supposed to be on it’s way.

Isn’t it?

We’ve had our thaw. Then comes spring, right?

["I spared no expense on my weather station's brick foundation"]

I know, it’s confusing for me too.

Perhaps this morning’s quarter-inch of snow means we’ll get out snow cover back, it will last until March and we’ll have enough left over to share with British Columbia during the Winter Olympics.

["One -quarter inch = a huge weather event!": photos GAH

Yes, the Olympic organizing committee is still concerned about their recent spate of warm, rainy weather. It tends to play havoc with the slopes, and a skier’s dream to soar down the hill with the greatest of ease.

But, if our local snow event means anything (and a 1/4” is a great weather event in my book!), the Olympics will be saved and B.C. will have Londontown to thank.


Are you delighted to see a bit more snow?


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Deforest City Blues: Our environmental efforts are embarrassing

For years London has been the centre of a region known for its ability to degrade the environment faster than you can cough out the tune to Smoke Gets In My Eyes.

Who says our city isn’t number 1 in an environmental category?

(You don’t get the musical reference?


“They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind.
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes.”

Our city is bad enough to deserve well-aimed punches from local newspapers.

For example, Joe Belanger wrote the following in the Jan. 23 issue of The London Free Press:

For decades, London has “raced” at a glacial pace to catch up to the rest of the world on environmental issues, especially as it relates to household garbage, transit and roads.

(Punch. Well deserved).

If this city doesn’t soon get its act together on these basic environmental issues, taxpayers aren’t just going to be saddled with enormous costs to catch up. This city could very well find itself sitting on the sidelines when the federal and provincial governments look for green-friendly homes for the emerging green industries.

(Punch, punch. Again, well deserved).

Though our city lags behind, much blame must be carried by our provincial and federal governments.

For example, the lack of an environmental message from our federal Conservative government is deafening.

This from the same issue of the Free Press:

Canada may have a lousy reputation for fighting climate change, but Environment Minister Jim Prentice insists he is a “passionate conservationist” who takes the issue seriously.

“Personally, I believe the wise and prudent thing for us to do as a society in Canada is to reduce our carbon emissions,” Prentice told a Sun Media editorial board meeting. “And I personally...believe there’ll be significant consequences on a planetary basis if we don’t.”

(Though the above message sounds pretty good for a party that is a Johnny- or Stephen-come-lately to saying ‘carbon emissions’ and ‘significant consequences’ in the same sentence, Mr. Prentice tells us, likely without realizing it, the depth of our government’s commitment to the environment).

Prentice, who bills himself as a keen recycler who doesn’t own a car, says every Canadian must make an effort to cut their own emissions by unplugging their flat-screen TVs, recycling and turning off the lights.

Though our country has no clear plan to reduce emissions, perhaps we could all help by turning off the lights.

Embarrassing isn't it?


Ollie and Me: Grandson, grandfather - one and the same

This morning my wife told me the following story about my grandson Ollie:

Recently his parents bought a small cabinet for winter hats, mitts and scarves and shortly after they placed it in their front hallway Ollie discovered it.

He was so happy.

He opened the two doors, pulled out the drawer and said, “I need more toys.”

["Ollie adjusts the duplo bridge while Thomas waits": photo GAH]

Though he doesn’t need more toys (he has more as a three-year old than my four siblings and I received during our childhood), I had to laugh.

Not because of his spontaneity and imagination, though he has both in spades.

Because I was thinking, if I got a new cabinet for my study, what would I put in it?

The same thing as my grandson!

Oh yeah, Ollie and I are definitely related.


Today’s weather: “A quarter inch of snow. Rejoice!”

A bit of snow fell last night and there is more to come - I can feel it in my bones.

It’s about time.

We went from 12 inches of snow cover in London to one during ‘the January thaw,’ which is a distressing matter for those like me who appreciate blankets of snow into March and think that global warming is the pits, especially in the winter.

["We'll take a bit of snow over nothing": photos GAH]

While this London isn’t getting enough snow, the other London is getting too much at times.

Yup, things on the weather and climate front are getting more out of whack by the month.

["My grassy path to The Annex is still visible today"]

This just in:

Mexico City, one of the world’s largest cities at 20 million population, has long struggled with a lack of water but the crisis worsened in 2009 due to drought.

(So, write Mexico City under California and Australia and other well-known places around the globe suffering from water shortages).

The drought was so bad Mexico City sucked Lake Avandaro half-dry, put the quaint village of Valle de Bravo in jeopardy as a popular weekend vacation spot for the rich and caused water skiers and boaters to dodge rocks as the lake level dropped to half its volume.

Prediction: London will receive a bit more snow this week and we’ll all do more about combatting climate change after more of us smack our speed boats on the rocks in the Great Lakes.


Are you still shovelling snow?

Where do you live?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Today’s Weather: London barely has a titch of snow

For those who live way out of town, a titch is a very small amount of anything.

E.g., “Just put a titch of salt on my potatoes, please.”

For those who live in London, they will know what I mean but may be wondering if we’ll get more rain today and if our titch of remaining snow will disappear soon.

As you can see, on Jan. 14 we had more than a titch.

On Jan. 19 we experienced a thaw, snow melted and my trained weather monitors (a giraffe and some construction guy named Bob) disappeared shortly after Ollie spotted them through the window.

Today, the official word is ‘it’s a bit slushy out there’ and we’ll hang onto our last titch for a few more days.

["Today's weather - slushy; poor for cycling": photos GAH]


PS If you have a spare giraffe and construction guy, let me know.

When it snows I’ll need to bring in the motorcycle rider.


Zoom w a View: Motorcycle Miles

I have been watching photos from a 2006 motorcycle trip float across my computer screen.

Watching. Dreaming. Planning.

["A postcard from the side of the road": photos by GAH]

In 2006 I hugged the St. Lawrence as far as Morrisburg, turned left toward Ottawa and landed in Algonquin Park.

Scenes from along the way take my mind back to good roads, restful camp sites and a Mennonite farm where small white flowers had grown in wagon ruts and pointed homeward.

Dreaming. Summer. Halifax.


Searching for a glass of fine beer in London: Glass 3

[Posts inspired by BEERS OF THE WORLD by David Kenning]

Question: Would you walk or drive to a beer store in Peterborough, Ontario, to buy a lovely glass of the beer that put the city on the map?

I think the answer from most people would be, no, not unless I live in downtown Peterborough, and at the moment I don’t.

Hey, no problem, I’m in the same boat.

However, if the question was phrased just a bit differently to me, i.e., would I walk to my son’s fridge in Fenelon Falls and open another bottle of KLB Cream Ale (from Kawartha Lakes Brewing Co.), my answer would be, absolutely.

["Smooth, creamy - as advertised": photos by GAH]

KLB Cream Ale is advertised as an all natural ale, made by a small independent brewery dedicated to the highest standards in brewing (which we would all be thankful for if the beer ever found it’s way to London) while using only the finest all-natural ingredients and no additives or preservatives.

If you read the fine print on the label (as if preparing to say, “I’ll take small brewing companies for $1,000, Alex) you’ll learn that the beer is ‘brewed in small batches, with a top-fermenting London ale yeast,’ is non-pasteurized and is known in some parts (i.e., NE of Toronto) as ‘the beer that made Peterborough famous’ (the answer to a final round Daily Double if I ever saw one).

Question: If the beer wasn’t in your son’s fridge would you buy it?

Answer: Yes.

The ale has a lovely amber colour (which is my turf, as opposed to the lighter coloured Boris, glass 2) and a flavourful, hoppy nose. It has a mild, spicy flavour on the tongue and makes an effort to fill the mouth with satisfying goodness.

(Take note: I’ve never said satisfying goodness before. I must like it.)

My son asked, “What do you think of it?”

I said, “Hmmm. Smooth, creamy - as advertised - malty, with no bitter after taste.”

“Like another?” he asked.

At 4.7%, it was impossible to say no.

If you’re looking for a fine glass of beer in London, KLB may be nowhere in sight.

But, when you’re in the Kawarthas, I recommend you try a tall glass.


Let me know what you think of it if you find it.

Do you have a favourite glass of beer to recommend to me?

Click here to read about Boris, glass number 2.