Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Drive on the First Day of Spring

I had a short and virtually sleepless night. Last evening I was arrested by introspection and unable to drag myself to bed until half past two o’clock this morning. I had been flipping television channels for hours (something I rarely do – watch TV that is) and watching the most extraordinary things for me (a baseball documentary on the Public Broadcasting Station). Even after I got to bed I felt as though I were awake most of the night, just a margin above the threshold of sleep, unable to submerge myself below the level of consciousness. Anyway as usual I listened to the six o’clock news on CBC Radio 1 this morning. It is now 7:45 a.m. and I am sipping strong, black coffee at the kitchen table, attempting to reassemble myself.

Last night we had the super perigee moon experience (the biggest in almost twenty years and the closest the moon will be to the earth for the next eighteen years so I have heard). It was however only early this morning that I caught a glimpse of it in the southern sky from my bedroom window. It was indeed very bright, a shining disc, complemented by the exceptionally clear and chilly skies we have had this entire weekend.

Before the clock struck eight this morning we had planned some of our day. We decided to breakfast at the Good Food Company in Carleton Place. It only opens at nine o’clock. We were there promptly upon opening. The place filled up fairly quickly following our arrival. We each had a hearty breakfast of café au lait, fruit scone (positively delicious!), eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and homemade tabouleh. We then decided to take the back roads to Maberly with the intention of perhaps lunching in nearby Perth. This route was the reverse of what we normally take when we lunch at the Fall River Pub and Grill in Maberly. It was as anticipated an enjoyable drive, flavoured by crashing rivers of churning water and no less than four deer bounding across our path or nearby. I stopped along the way to take some photos, including several of an ancient private grave yard, a burial custom which (though not now permitted at law) was not uncommon in these remote areas of the Lanark County many years ago. Many of the historical title deeds refer to the location of these graves (usually at the front of properties alongside the road) by metes and bounds description because often the families could not afford grave markers or the markers were wont to disintegrate over time. In my thirty-five years of rural conveyancing I have never heard of anyone making application to disinter the graves to remove the remains to another location, but this is likely only because the advancing tide of development in these bucolic areas has not yet threatened the sanctity of the original interment.

When we arrived at Fall River earlier than expected we determined to push onward to Westport, if for no other reason than that we weren’t hungry enough to eat lunch after our large breakfast. Once again we came at Westport through the back door of the route we customarily travel. Not surprisingly this resort town was not exceptionally active as it is in the summer months; however, there were a number of locals moving about the streets and we were pleased to discover that a popular bakery was open for business as well as a fish-‘n-chips place we had frequented before. The entire time we were at the fish shop (“The Salmon House and Seafood”) we were alone with the proprietors (a man and a woman of about the same age as one another – say 40ish – and who are “partners” and live together, but who are not apparently married). They just recently bought the business on December 1st last, having quit their high-tech head hunter jobs in Toronto. The conversation fairly thrived when we noticed a photo of Mike catching a barracuda in Key West not long ago. I quickly revived any intelligence I could recall about Key West and we together reminisced and wallowed in the fun and indulgence of the place, exchanging anecdotes about bars and graveyards. Mike and I agreed that if ever we were to sit at opposite sides of a table with a bottle of whiskey between us, there would be ensuing trouble!

Our meal was exactly what we wanted (deep fried salmon, homemade French fries and a small tub of coleslaw washed down with bottled water). It cost us a total of about eighteen dollars.

When we had first arrived in Westport we learned that the Chamber of Commerce was not open, nor we discovered were the public washrooms. Upon arriving at the restaurant the female owner told us there was only a washroom for four of the commercial tenants in the building and no public access. Apparently she had been chastised for having allowed a mother and her child to use it the other day. When the restaurateur told us to use the public washrooms we explained they were closed. This led to the cultivation of a stratagem to use the washroom at a local pub. I dislike such subterfuge so I said we’d simply make a pit stop in the woods on our way home. As it turned out, however, upon returning to the car we saw a gentleman at the Chamber of Commerce, and by application of some common sense and a cherry “What ho!” we garnered admission to the porcelain. The chap was in fact a contractor who was renovating the place. He was there with his teenage son. The contractor said the Chamber was set to open April 1st, not May 1st as he had originally thought, so his wife had pushed him out of the house on a Sunday afternoon to get at it.

Before curtailing our adventures we sallied into Stittsville to charge the car with fuel and have the car washed. The ride home was uneventful. After having listened to the radio and our on-board “music library” for most of the day, it was a relief to turn off the juice and enjoy the smoothness and quiet of the car in the relaxing moments of the diminishing afternoon.

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