Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring is here. Potholes are growing everywhere.

The winter was tough -- much colder than usual and far more snow. Now that winter is fading, the cold is easing and the snow melting, potholes are appearing everywhere. The problem is so severe and so wide spread that it is a nationwide story.

These holes in the pavement are wide, long and deep. On the good side, the large sizes make many of these monster hard to miss. On the bad side, hit one at full tilt and a tire can be blown or a rim destroyed.

In London, Ontario, the city is busy filling the holes with a cold, asphalt mix but the cold nights is making the patches pop free.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Neighbourhood kids to the rescue

Winter is back and so are the neighbourhood kids. It is common knowledge on our little court in Byron, a suburb on the southwest edge of London, Ontario, that I have a heart condition. When it snows, it pours kids -- at least at my home. They show up en masse with shovels and scoops and even a snow blower. My drive and walkway are soon clear. Gotta love 'em.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kingsmill's closing after 148 years

This is three days old. I made an error when posting. Oops! Oh well, better late than . . .

Paper covering the windows at Kingsmill's is removed prior to the store opening.

After 148 years the Kingsmill's department store in downtown London, Ontario, is closing its doors. The store remains popular and profitable but the family no longer has any member ready to take the reins controlling the long-running retail operation.

Many Londoners, like my wife and I, are sad to see the old store closing. It was stocked with good products at fair prices. Today is the start of the going-out-of-business sale and only customers presenting invitations are being allowed into the store. All prices are marked down 25 percent for the event.

I expected hordes of folk arriving early, eager to be among the first into the store. When my wife and I arrived there were not a dozen people waiting at the store's front door. The numbers swelled prior to opening but the numbers were no where near those attracted to suburban stores on Boxing Day.

Personally, I think there should have been a way to maintain the department store experience. The old store is an important component of the downtown retail experience. I wonder what would be the problem with six or seven retailers taking over the store with each managing a different department. The iron beds area would be one retailer's section, while the china shop would be operated by another.

When I moved to London there were three downtown department stores: Eatons's, Robert Simpson's and Kingsmill's. At one point the Bay moved into what was then the Galleria mall where Eaton's was also located. Today all four are gone from the core.

The number of shoppers swelled in the moments before the store opening.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A mountain of snow

How much snow has fallen in London this winter? Lots! The other night the city sent a front-end loader to move the snow plugging the court our court into one big mound and it is big. It has to be something in the neighbourhood of 15-feet high.

If the Southwestern Ontario area gets hit with a sudden spring warm spell, getting all the more likely as we move into March, and if the warm weather is accompanied by rain, the resulting snow-melt will cause massive, spring flooding.