Monday, March 24, 2014

Meet Jo of Tina's Terrific Team for #atozchallenge

Jo has been my faithful reader since I first started my blog 5 years ago, and we've become friends.  She's a voracious blogger, posting almost everyday.  Her posts are honest, she cares about our planet and it's creatures, and she's an amazing cook, always sharing a recipe at the end.  

Year's ago she was interviewed here, and I've used some of the questions for you to get to know her better.  Go there for the whole interview to learn more.

Q1. What made you and Matt decide to move from the UK to Canada? Was it a good move for you?

A1. We found that the UK was getting somewhat stifling. There was no room to stretch out one's arms and for people like us, not a lot of room for advancement. It was a bigger wrench for Matt because he has two children. My parents were living in the Mediterranean region by then anyway and I have no siblings. In fact my father died shortly before we emigrated, having said previously that he thought it the best move we could make.

Yes, it was a great move. We have lived in North America, mainly Canada, since 1975 and have, we think, had a much better life than had we stayed in the UK. We had two homes, one in Canada and one in North Carolina and have enjoyed our time in both places. Our Canadian home had a pool in the back yard, I don't think that would have been possible, or, come to that, particularly enjoyable, in England - the weather isn't really good enough. 

We certainly spent a lot of time in our pool; we lived outside all summer and had all kinds of pool parties. We also had a travel trailer/caravan which we trailed around Ontario and the States and had a wonderful time visiting both people and places.

Q2. What other countries have you visited or lived in? Are there any more that you really long to see?

A2. As I have just mentioned, we lived in North Carolina in the States for about 12 years. We loved it there: the weather was excellent, apart from the odd hurricane, and the living was easy. We had a delightful property of about 1/2 an acre with a double wide mobile home which was a great place to live. We were 15 minutes from the sea shore and could easily feast on shrimp in particular and lots of other seafood fresh out of the water. 

Whilst in NC we went on a Caribbean cruise with some friends and spent a lot of time travelling in the States. Other than that, before we moved here, I had visited Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia (as it was then) Malta and Spain - I particularly loved Greece, France and Spain. 

I speak pretty good French, moderate Spanish and a smattering of Greek which helped. Maybe I should say 'spoke', I'm pretty rusty in those languages nowadays although there was some opportunity to use French when I was working here in Canada. 

My parents lived in Malta once they retired so we joined them there for vacations, although I had already spent two weeks there before they retired. My parents, and therefore I, lived on a boat from shortly after the Second World War, which accounted for my visits to so many countries. When my father retired, he sailed his current home to Malta. 

Later, things got politically uncomfortable for the Brits in Malta so he moved to Spain, calling in at Southern France on the way where we also joined them. Later they bought a house in Spain and sold the boat. I have also visited the Bahamas for a few days and spent two weeks in The Dominican Republic and another two weeks in Southern Portugal which we loved. In fact I have thoroughly enjoyed most of the countries I have visited.

I would love to visit Asia. Ever since I read Shogun by James Clavell, I have wanted to visit Japan. I would also like to go to Hong Kong, plus see some of the interior of China, which looks so beautiful. I would also love to visit Oz, as much to see some of my cyber friends as to see the country. In fact I once had an ambition to visit one town in every country of the world. It will not, unhappily, come to fruition, but if I could, I would still love to travel a lot more.

Q3. It's apparent that you love food and are an amazing cook. Have you a favourite recipe to share with us?

A3. My favourite recipes vary from year to year, I guess. One of my latest faves is Bobotie and Yellow Rice, which I recently posted in my blog. 

My father was always interested in food. When he married my mother she literally couldn't boil an egg; she used to say later that it is, in fact, a difficult thing to do. There was a story about how he picked her up from work one evening and they were going on somewhere else so he took her back to his flat/apartment whilst he changed. He was feeling peckish so asked her to make a bacon sandwich while he changed. He came back to find her in floods of tears because she had no idea how to make one. 

To me, later in life, knowing my mother for the great cook she was, this was a hilarious story. She could, and did, cook anything. She could out-gourmet most restaurants and knew the French names of everything even if her pronunciation left something to be desired. She was a much better cook than I will ever be. Her main recipe source originally was Mrs. Beeton who is a classic British cookbook author from way back. My mother's copy, which I now have, was dated 1935.
For the sake of brevity, I didn't include the recipe.  If you visit Jo on Food, My Travels, and a Scent of Chocolate, you'll find plenty.


Sharon Himsl said...

Thanks, Tina. I commented at Jo's blog. See you in the A-Z.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina and Jo .. I know you both quite well! Jo - you've certainly travelled places and now I know more about your father's love of boats and see why you visited so many countries - exciting.

That's brilliant your mother took to cooking and creating recipes ... and I obviously missed the South African Bobotie recipe - which I love. Mrs Beeton is a great mainstay .. and remains so in our British kitchens ... I had a few of her books ... I may have kept one or two .. I'm trying to declutter ..

Cheers and Jo is a stalwart of blogging and food! Have great weeks and enjoy the A-Z ... Hilary

Brian Miller said...

very cool....i def hope to travel more as my boys get older...japan is on my list as well....nice to meet you jo

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You need to visit Asia, Jo! Japan is amazing - you would dig it.
The odd hurricane in North Carolina. I like the way you worded that.
Tina, you have yourself a winner in Jo!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've actually had the pleasure of meeting Jo and Matt in person on one of their trips to NC.

Jo said...

Nice to meet you all today. I am currently suffering from wet mouse with my laptop so have been driven to my desktop. As for visiting Japan, I don't think that is going to happen now, sadly, we are suffering from two things, old age and lack of funds. The government just don't give us enough money to travel, they keep that for themselves.

Jo said...

I am ashamed to say I totally forgot this was happening today. Thank you so much, Tina, for featuring me and giving me a starring role. I have amended my blog to link back to this one. Guess I am still half asleep.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tina. I've been visiting (and signing up to follow) each of your minions' blogs, but haven't gotten to Jo's yet. I can see I'm in for yet more interesting thoughts from a well-traveled blogger.

Jo said...

Thanks bemuzin, I returned your visit but found it hard to place a comment. For the A to Z that is so important, if people cannot find the comment area, they will give up and leave.

A Beer for the Shower said...

I always see Jo's picture floating around the blogosphere. Nice to finally put a story to the name, and wow, what a story. So well traveled. As for me, the only place I've actually been outside of my home country is Asia, and it was a blast. Would definitely recommend.

Jo said...

Thanks, often seen your name around too. I wonder though, do you really drink beer in the shower, doesn't it get waterlogged?

JoJo said...

Wow Jo!!! What an incredible life you've had! All those wonderful travels too. My aunt moved from London England to Windsor Ontario and loved it.

Andrew Leon said...

That is a lot of places, places I will never see unless I hit it big as an author, which is what my wife is hoping for.

Jo said...

JoJo, Never been to Windsor, ON, but I have certainly been to London in both countries. We like Canada very much.

Let's hope your book makes it to the top and you earn enough money to do some travelling Stephen. You never know.

Jo said...

My apologies, I, of course, meant Andrew.

Jeff Hargett said...

Wonderful! Jo and Matt are great folks. Had the chance to meet them both while vacationing at the North Carolina coast last year. We had a great time despite me losing my dwarf tossing championship title to Matt in a bowling match. Hope I get the chance to meet them again someday.

Thanks for spotlighting Jo, Tina. And Jo, thanks for an interesting read.

Jo said...

Thanks Jeff. It was a fun day wasn't it? Hope we will be back down, Matt is a bit anti driving so far now too. Won't let me drive, not sure why. Plus the rate of exchange this year. Glad you liked the interview.

Arlee Bird said...

That was quite a get-to-know-you post! Know I know a lot more about Jo. What a life! Homes in Canada and North Carolina sounds pretty good to me.

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to get to know Jo better. I've been following her blog and really enjoy the stories and recipes she shares there.

MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Writing Tips
Effectively Human
Lots of Crochet Stitches

cleemckenzie said...

An interesting lady, and I'm impressed by her multilingualism. How great to travel to a country and be able to use their language, even if it is a smattering.

Happy Blitz Day. Hope you enjoy the herds of people knocking on your blog door.

Jo said...

Glad you all found me interesting LOL. I wish we still had a home in NC. As for multilingualism, I was in Sicily once and hated not being able to talk to anyone until I found a shopkeeper who spoke French. After that I swore I wouldn't go to a country without knowing something of the language.

loverofwords said...

Great Co-hosts Tina! But I need help and I am jumping in here to ask you. What is the 'Circle' thing? When I visit new blogs, I am greeted by the "Friends in Your Circle" thing. How do I use it? Do I use it? Thanks, Natalie

Jo said...

Funnily enough I have been wondering the same thing. Do you know Tina? I certainly don't

Masquerade Crew said...

How does the team thing work for A to Z?

We usually do lots of guest posts since I don't think my brain could survive after 26 posts. Most of the material on our site isn't written by me, in fact.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blitz day, Tina. I received an email from DL Hammons that you are to be blitzed today. Have a lovely week as well.

Jo said...

Nice to meet you too Michelle.

Don't envy you the Blitz Tina, it's why I quit the Blitz team.

Silvia Writes said...

Nice to meet you Jo, though I remember having seen you around before. Canada is a great place to live, according to my friends, and now to you. And beautiful.
Yest, Tina, you have wonderful friends, who are also great cooks. What more can one ask for? Sweet post.
Silvia @

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

That's a very nice interview, Tina. Jo certainly has had an interesting life with visits to so many places.
Best wishes and happy blitz day!

Julie Flanders said...

Nice interview - it's great to learn more about you, Jo. Have fun with the A-Z!

Chippy said...

Happy slightly belated Blitz Day.

I had a note reminding myself, I had my laptop on and I still forgot!


Glenda said...

Hello, and wow what a interesting life you have lived. I am so happy I had the chance to meet you and I look forward to checking out your blog soon.

Jo said...

Thanks Glenda. Nice to meet you too