Sometimes we see the real things more clearly without them. It’s about the application of clinical detail to the perspective. Conjoining the noteworthy elements of a scene or issue characterizes and isolates the salient features. Let’s face it most of us haven’t the time for the nitty gritty unless it is retailed in a digestible manner. So we capture the strongest attributes and project them in a unique manner. Clarity is simplicity.
Until I was 28 years old moving into my first house in Almonte in 1976 (shortly after having been called to the Bar in March of 1975) I had little interest in household furnishings or accessories. Until then I had largely lived in furnished dwellings at boarding school, undergraduate university residence, law school fraternity house and shared student rentals, Pestalozzi College and Don’s residence at Devonshire House, University of Toronto while attending the Bar Admission course at Osgoode Hall. What little of my own I had until then was primarily discards from my parents’ basement – much of it essentially garden furniture (aluminium or plastic tables and wicker chairs). My first bed cost $80. It was a water bed (something by the way I don’t recommend at any price). I enlarged the expense by buying a wooden frame for it on the floor. At the time I was articling at Messrs. Macdonald, Affleck Barristers &c., 100 Sparks Street earning an annual salary of $4,000 – which also explains why Harvey’s was my idea of dining out. Thankfully the By Ward Market was at hand and I was able to purchase loads of fresh vegetables for a song. I weighed 155 pounds, cycled 100 miles per week and never drank alcohol.
We may have to re-think things. The COVID-19 pandemic is turning into a scourge. It’s popular classification has gone from a viral infection to a contagious disease. Not only is international travel out of the question; even crossing provincial interior boundaries to get to the Atlantic Ocean is forbidden. The entire model of vacation reward and wintering has altered. And because of its worldwide affect there is literally no escaping it. Nor does it help that social isolation is a restriction applicable to almost every possible vernacular – effectively creating a world of glass imprisonment barely overcome by the software application Zoom and related internet communicators.
Within the next four weeks I have five medical appointments starting today at the cardiac device unit of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. I am already imagining the prodding and analysis to follow. My more immediate concern however is negotiating a parking space there and the following week at the orthodontist. I abhor penetrating tangled urban centres for any reason. It reminds me of the kerfuffle we had to endure years ago in downtown Montréal when the hotel where we were going was consumed by secret police for a high-ranking political congress. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and back home to rural Almonte.
The sun rose this morning at 5:35 am. It will set at 8:25 pm this evening. The chance of rain is 10% which is to say zero; the high will be 20°C. Hardly “just another day”. I mean to say, what’s not to like! Indeed so motivated were we by the advent of this certain summertime weather – which by the way is forecast only to improve over the coming week – that within moments of awakening we proceeded to exhaust our predilection for healthful living by bicycling throughout the neighbourhood amid the early morning strollers, the runners and the dog walkers to all of whom we waved a cheery though naturally distant hello. Then routine ablutions. Followed by breakfast also shamefully routine but I adore it ceaselessly.
The thing I like about the magazine Country Life is that each issue dwells predominantly upon people, places and affairs having a rural theme. Certainly many of those are decidedly polished – royalty, castles and prestigious equestrian events – but for the most part it strives to expand upon everyday country living and the often amusing and capable denizens therein. Whenever I drive about casually in my motor vehicle there is only one direction for me – and that’s a country drive!
When we look back upon what people were wearing a century ago it is probable that things look a bit “dated”. Even our musical preferences sometimes suffer the identical abrasion. When exactly did we decide that everything began and ended with the Baroque period? Recently for example I’ve discovered Ludovico Einaudi and Alexis Ffrench. They’re both classically trained but their style is decidedly new. Already its appeal has insinuated my tastes and penchants.
Alexis Ffrench (born 1970) is a British classical soul musician, composer, producer, and pianist. Not only is Ffrench the UK’s biggest selling pianist of 2020, he has headlined London’s Royal Albert Hall, collaborated with fashion houses Miyake and Hugo Boss, played Latitude Festival, worked with Paloma Faith, composed several film scores and shares the same management team as Little Mix and Niall Horan.
It is remarkable how suddenly one can become swallowed up in things, silly every day things really. Things like X-rays and ultra sound, annual physical exam, eye exam and new glasses, tooth extraction and implant, merchandise deliveries, oil change for the car, cardiac device check, family and friends’ birthdays and gifts, scheduled contract and service renewals, sister’s wedding anniversary, vaccinations, income tax and the recurring expectations that I am certain everyone has. Not to mention in this lingering lock-down the mounting need for a sensible haircut!
I can’t think of a more innocuous introduction to gossip than the idle query, “What’s the news?” It was the faithful initial acquaintance of the late Raymond Algernon Jamieson, QC whom I fashion my “predecessor” though if the truth be known I only purchased the hardware and contents of his law practice at 74 Mill Street, Almonte where he had practiced law for 50 years or more. I believe he retired in 1975 at 84 years of age after having been called to the Bar at Osgoode Hall in 1921. He sold his practice to Messrs. Galligan & Sheffield, Barristers &c. who hired me in 1976 to plug the hole.
Many years ago I traveled to one of the islands in the Caribbean. It was so long ago that I cannot recall specifically which island. I do however vividly recollect how I came to acquire the recipe for what I now call “Caribbean Pasta”. There is nothing Caribbean about the pasta dish other than that I acquired it while there. Here’s the story behind it.