Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tax Day (2016)

It is precisely 6:30 a.m., Saturday, April 30th.  This day of the year is of course most commonly significant as the date by which one must submit a tax return for the previous year.  I understand however that when the day falls on a weekend - as it does this year - the filing period is extended to the next business day which in this case is Monday, May 2nd.  Yesterday we arranged to meet with our accountant at 10:00 a.m. this morning to sign papers.

Friday, April 29, 2016

What an odd day!

Seldom do I feel that absolutely everything is boomps-a-daisy! Today was however the exception.  Try as I might, I could find nothing about which to hinder the carefree sensation. Normally I am encumbered by some modest disturbance, some niggling preoccupation or distasteful duty. But not today.  No, the horizon was perfectly clear!  I conducted a summary examination of all that normally amuses me, from things to people, and therein I could find no limitation.  It was if truth be known mildly distressing that I want for nothing. From head to toe I am happily outfitted, including accoutrements and spectacles. Similarly the mandatory prerequisites of food, shelter and transportation are satisfactorily settled. The wedge of spiritualism widened before me, projecting me towards a rare state of intellectualism, as though a severance of the mind/body dichotomy.  My erstwhile visceral state vanished from view. Instead what pressed upon me was an uncommon and curious condition of satiation.

Perhaps it was this morning's intelligence from our accountant that liability to Her Majesty had at last  - and none too soon! - been quantified.  We immediately settled the account as the final act of fulfillment. What could be more uplifting than determining that overhanging mystery! Or it may have been the very agreeable bicycle ride in the cool morning air, nurtured by the flourishing buds on the trees. Whatever the reason I was stranded in an atmosphere of perfect delight without a care in the world!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Catching Up!

It was about ten days ago that we returned home to our beloved Almonte from our winter hibernation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Since then we've been flying high. As usual, when things get going as fast as they have been lately, I start to feel out of touch and I become overwhelmed by the need to recapitulate in order to catch up emotionally! Sometimes the pace is so intense that I lose touch where I am. Trotting out the agenda of the past week or so would hardly capture the turbulence engendered by those frenetic events. It has been a marked distinction from our lazy regular day on Hilton Head Island; viz., breakfast, bicycling on the beach and settling in for the evening. Yet the notable element of being home is the strength and variation of the competing emotions. Dormant sensitivities and passions have been revived by reacquaintance with family and friends and having to deal with the sometimes highly personal intelligence shared by people whom we know.  How much easier it is to remain detached and unperturbed when listening to the babbling of a stranger!  But friends and family command a  measure of attention and responsiveness.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bumps, Scrapes, Tarnishes and Tears

As a general rule, bumps, scrapes, tarnishes and tears are unwelcome. Consider the illustration of a new car. Upon discovering a nick on your new car, do you ruefully regard it then gently rub an index finger over the offending score as though you could expectantly make the blemish gradually cease to exist, hoping against hope that it were but the unintended and serendipitous smudge of an airborne fowl? The phrase "wear and tear" (an undisguised import from the legal exclusions of warranty contracts) is hardly the answer! In an instant the integrity of your vehicle is compromised. Indeed the entire point of getting a new car is under siege! The spiritual heights of the impermanent flight are unceremoniously grounded. Cinderella's vanishing carriage has nothing on this vaporization!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Pair of Socks

Saturday morning!  I can't explain it, but even after retirement, Saturday morning still elevates me!  This is particularly so when as today the sun shone and there was not a cloud in the bright blue sky!  Rather like listening to the atmospheric music of Erik Satie's "GymnopĂ©dies". I did however suffer a modest dampening upon briefly recalling the disagreement I had had with my elderly mother last evening.  But I was, at least upon awakening this morning, satisfied that my intransigence about returning her vacuum cleaner had triumphed and my general approach to the new day was one of refreshment not hesitation or regret.  This, I was about to discover, was to be a short-lived buoyancy.  But for the time being, ignorant as I was of my overhanging destiny, I prosecuted the morning ablutions without reserve and prepared myself for what I then anticipated to be a perfectly splendid Saturday. As I dressed I amused myself to contrive to purchase new white socks and to discard the old ones.  White socks are like toothbrushes, common, hardly a luxury and certainly not something one should feel the necessity to keep forever.  Long ago I discovered the unusually gratifying result of capitalizing upon such petty indulgences. Rejuvenation requires far less exertion than one might imagine; the simplest modification can afford incalculable fodder!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Back to Basics

The return from our winter sojourn has been a blunt confrontation.  It's as though we've been back for weeks though it is but slightly more than twenty-four hours. We crossed the border (where I am pleased to report we had a very satisfactory encounter with an unusually pleasant Canadian border guard) and made a bee-line to home and by-passed the customary longer route which would have included a purifying car wash and grocery shopping. Our re-entry to the condo was (as frankly I had anticipated) instantly gratifying, re-uniting us with the serenity and gem tones of our familiar environment. There were no unsettling discoveries other than a note from our housekeeper regarding the malfunctioning of the aging vacuum cleaner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Last Day on the Beach (2016)

Imperceptibly over the course of an hour upon awakening this morning, we resolved to leave Hilton Head Island tomorrow instead of two days later as planned. The weather forecast is for rain tomorrow and the next day so there isn't much point lingering here. After five months on the Island we are of course content to get on our way; in fact, we're somewhat anxious to return home in a general way.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Banks and Insurance Companies

To speak of banks and insurance companies as though they were separate and unrelated entities is a misconception. They are the Janus face of the financial market. They each have one hand in the other's pocket and they each have their other hand in the public's pocket. The popular household mortgage and insurance binder are roulette games with about as much risk for the lender or insurer as for casino operators. If one extrapolates the association of banks and insurers they are one big family.  By the time one ascends to the rarefied atmosphere of re-insurers it is an apex similar to tracing one's ancestry back to the Mongolians, the beginning of time.  Just to be clear, the risk factor is not limited to insurance.  It doesn't require much speculation to discover that lending $300,000 - 800,000 to someone on the street to buy a house has an element of risk.  The mortgage lenders spread some of that risk among their insurers to cover foreseeable downturns. If, as sometimes happens, the real estate market is at "risk" of declining, the banks resolve the issue by acquiescing to the inflation of housing prices then reducing the cost of borrowing (while of course at the same time co-operating with the increase of capital borrowed).  If things get totally out of hand it is never beneath the big guns to sacrifice the lesser of their own (who were likely to have succumbed to the false allure of securitized debt which had no financial cushion to absorb large loan defaults).

Monday, April 11, 2016

It's a festival!

Hilton Head Island was unexpectedly calm today, something I hadn't anticipated in view of the upcoming RBC Heritage PGA Tour to be held at Harbour Town this week. I read somewhere that 100,000 visitors are about to arrive. But apart from a few decorations and the occasional road sign there were not many other indications of a looming festival.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fuck you!

Nothing quite so succinctly captures a dismissal as the expletive "Fuck you!" Oddly it is an imprecation suitable to almost anyone, young or old, staid or whacky, man or woman. It does of course have the advantage of being direct and easily understood.  It similarly does not admit to ambiguity or misinterpretation. The possibility of inviting comment or correspondence is slim; it normally represents a conclusion rather than an initiative.


A fresh start is more than a carry-over from my law firm billing practice of latching onto a discernible alteration in the progress of a file as an occasion to render an account. It is a daily rejuvenation which permits me to start with a clean slate.  As trying as it might be at times to withdraw from the warmth and shelter of the duvet, the reward of the opportunity of a new day invariably kicks in.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sandy Day on the Beach

As keen as I am on the beach and matters Maritime in general it was only today - after almost five months on Hilton Head Island - that I interrupted my ritual afternoon bicycle ride on the beach to lay on the sand to soak up the sunshine. Granted today was a spectacular beach day, dazzling sunshine, searing heat (79℉) and a glittering sapphire Ocean. The riotous Ocean breeze swept the clouds wildly about the azure dome, enlarging one's thoughts and warming one's mind to new ideas. Suddenly shadows raced over the face of the beach like a changing mood. The wind filled the lungs and buffeted the soul; it tanned the hide, tousled the hair and billowed the garments. It was an overwhelming and arresting blend that transported me to ineffable reveries.

Filling the Void

As distinguishable as are youth and maturity, employment and retirement, ups and downs and almost any other binary juxtaposition one might assemble to describe the polarities of life, the components which have filled the void of my own life are oddly constant. If any difference exits it is largely characterized by my having more time now than formerly to dwell upon my ambitions.  For example I have always sought a degree of excellence not only in what I performed but also in what I experienced. While this may resonate with a degree of haughtiness it is in fact no different from those who dedicate themselves to a lifetime of economy (though obviously the products of the two inertia are frequently at different ends of the scale). My father couldn't bring himself to rationalize the utility of sterling service, RenĂ© Lalique crystal or Crown Derby china, much less Breitling watches or yew tree furniture. I on the other hand could never succeed to rationalize the compromise of quality for the sake of austerity (even though I knew it propelled me to a destiny of perpetual fiscal misfortune).

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Marker 97

Just to recapitulate, the 10-mile beach on Hilton Head Island's Atlantic Ocean coast is punctuated by steel markers every 1/10th of a mile. Starting at the "toe" end of Hilton Head Island (a metaphorical reference to the astronomic appearance of the Island as a foot, where the toes are at the south end and the ankle and heel are at the north end), the first marker is Marker 1. Around Tower Beach (just north of South Beach where we reside) there is Marker 12 (approximately).  This of course denominates 1.2 miles from the most southern tip of the Island. At Marker 39 is Beach Club (still within Sea Pines Plantation); then Coligny Park at Marker 59; Sonesta Beach at Marker 72; and finally Marker 97 at Burke's Beach at the upper (north) end of the beach where a break of large rocks effectively terminates the beach before having to transcend the inland waterway to continue further north.

Monday, April 4, 2016

My other car is a Porsche

I told a lie this morning.  Just a little lie, one of those "white" jobs, nothing really awful but nonetheless a lie. And if you can believe it, I told the lie to the gardener!  Of all people!  To begin with, why would I possibly have felt the necessity to lie to the gardener!  The only thing I know about him is his first name. But there it is!  Within minutes of my resurrection this morning I had succeeded to contaminate my existence by telling a lie.