A soft day

With religious resoluteness I retired to bed at ten o’clock last evening. But sleep was not to be had. Instead for the next hour I rolled back and forth, attempting, by stretching my left leg and reversing the extensions of my toes, to extricate myself from the convulsions of the muscles and the paralysis of my feet. Apparently the tricycle ride earlier that day had been more adventurous than I appreciated. The now immoveable and desensitized muscles of my left calf (below my new knee) were tightened and strained by the exuberance. At last admitting defeat I succumbed to the provocation and got out of bed. The soporific exercise was for the moment complete.

I crept and hobbled cumbersomly to the drawing room.  When seated at my desk overlooking the bluish darkness and the reflection of the glistening moonlight upon the river, I swtiched on the lamp and gingerly opened the second right-hand drawer with its whisper of mahogany and clinking brass handle and took out the container of lately “authorized” CBG from Canadian Cannabis Clinics through its product agency Aurora Cannabis Inc. So eager was I to relieve the pain and convulsions that I ingested 3ml of the stuff. In the shadows I attempted stretches by hanging onto the side of the desk, bending downward, raising and lowering my knees in repeated application. The wiry old strings of this ancient instrument did not react readily to such modification though I believe some relief was achieved. Meanwhile still wide awake I pursued my email (there was none) and revisited my blog site (which was tedious) and by fair means or foul latched onto a web site for whisky tumblers (which I confess afforded amusement although purely artistic and totally without functionality).


I was nonetheless propitiously reminded of the need to buy an acceptable bottle of single malt to complete our diminished liquor cabinet (which is presently confined to wine, cognac, sherry and Porto).  You will note that the alcoholic choices can all be drunk neat from the bottle.  No contamination of sugar, lemon juice or the vulgar carbonated drinks nor even salted soda water. Ice too is superfluous. And long gone are the histrionic performances at the sideboard with a syphon and its cylinders of carbon dioxide. Though it may sound peculiar to enhance an alcohol collection if one does not drink (I am reputedly a “recovering alcoholic”) it is not entirely an unfamiliar chorus.  Indeed the late Judge Willy Gunn was similarly inclined. I believe he had half his stomach removed as the product of over-indulgence but it never dissuaded him from encouraging others.  Upon one visit chez Gunn (the Judge was the father of my erstwhile fiancée) he gave both me and my debating partner Jon Stobie several shots of the rum reserved for sailors.  It was not an inexact alliance as we were then in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Well!  If you haven’t had sailors’ rum before, be warned!  It has an extraordinarily high and consequently toxic and utterly mystifying proof. Let me put it this way, Stobie and I rolled home that night. Literally!  And it was in the dead of winter in the snow. Coincidentally in the preparation of this blog I sadly stumbled upon Jon Stobie’s obituary (September 16, 2004).

Born April 2, 1948 in Oxford, England, Jon died at his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia just three months after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He attended the Dragon School, Oxford and Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ont. He graduated from Princeton University (Dean’s List) in 1971 and Dalhousie University Law School in 1975. He then articled with the law firm of Stewart MacKeen & Covert (now Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales). Following his admission to the Bar in 1976, Jon clerked with Justice Roland Ritchie of the Supreme Court of Canada. He returned to Halifax in 1977 to join the firm as an associate and became a partner in 1982. Jon practiced law for 28 years, carrying on a diverse litigation practice focusing on commercial, securities, construction and insurance law. Jon was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2000.

The ceremony encircling drinking alcohol is therefore not lost on me.  In fact I am upon reflection rather well initiated to the enterprise. To be precise, about 45 years of it from age 21 at law school (mostly beer at the Picadilly Tavern in downtown Halifax with my erstwhile drinking companion Professor Ian B. Cowie) until age 65 at the sunset of my law practice (mostly martinis by the fireplace at home in Almonte or at the condo in the city with my partner and our French bulldog Monroe – and memorably with the late Louis R. Irwin to whom parenthetically I am indebted for an introduction to Country Life magazine which to this very day I cherish beyond alcohol).

Crystal drinkware and decanters figure large in this alcoholic assessment.  The whisky tumbler is unquestionably one of the dearest to my heart. I adore the weight and translucency. Even glancing at our collection of tumblers (now remotely stored on the top shelf of the cabinet in the most inaccessible part of the kitchen) I am stirred to eulogize. We have a variety of decanters (displayed more proximately atop the wine cellarette) which are significant to me not only artistically but for a quite unrelated reason.  One of the decanters of which I am especially fond (and which no doubt cost the most) was intended as a Christmas gift to my sister. When for preposterous reasons I cannot now imagine or recollect I told my father (who was a confirmed teetotaller) of my proposal he quick as a snap objected to the gift, enticing me instead to give my sister the money equivalent. My sister and my father – quite unlike my mother and I – were tightfisted (at least when it came to self-indulgences of this extravagant order). As a result my father’s recommendation was as usual well-founded – for both my sister and me. I no longer remember by whom the decanter is made (and I cannot overturn it to look because it is filled with cognac) but it was neither Waterford nor Lalique but may be Orrefors (it has that precision and sparsity of the northern hemisphere). While contemplating this unusual topic today I realized we have never before decanted whisky.  Probably because I was one of those déclassé who preferred blended whisky to single malt (Lagavulin being the only exception).

But I digress. In spite of my fitful sleep last night, I awoke late this morning, seemingly invigorated by the ultimate sleep or the CBG or both. After a winning breakfast of steel cut oats (with a dollop of Oikos 11% yoghurt and several prunes) I triumphantly toured about the neighbourhood on my tricycle. My trusty Fitness app discloses an acceptable 6.37 Km.  The late morning fresh air beneath the azure sky and yellow sunshine was incomparable.  Everyone everywhere was animated by the pleasing autumnal weather.  And then of course there was the habitual drive to the city to expunge the grit of the highway from my trusty vehicle.

Punctuating this thoroughly agreeable sunny Saturday was a much anticipated visit to Remedy’s Rx with our trusty pharmacist Mariem Eldihimy, BScPhm, CDE who in her inimitably professional though always sociable manner fulfilled the vaccination of our annual Covid and flu boosters. As we unhesitatingly expressed to Pharmacist Eldihimy during our conference we value her expertise and long-standing association.

It would be unfair of me to overlook mentioning as one last strategic footnote to this rapturous day; namely, the delectable evening meal. I shall spare you, dear Reader, the superfluity of a gastronomic description except to observe it was nonpareil!