Lunch on the patio

As part of the moving process – that is, shifting across town from one apartment to another – we’re obliged in accordance with our mandatory accommodation of the landlord to vacate our current premises on occasion to permit the estate agency to “show” the place and to create “virtual” showings available on-line for prospective buyers. We’re only too pleased to cooperate. Today for example the estate agents informed us they wished to take photos and videos in addition to showing the unit to an interested party.  The processes we were advised would take place from 11:00 am – 2:15 pm approximately. Accordingly we ensured that we first straightened the place then fully abandoned it in order to allow the uninterrupted transaction of business by the various commercial parties.

The paramountcy of retail did nothing to inhibit our unrelated post meridiem visceral amusement. Initially we hadn’t an interim destination in mind but we quickly settled upon our stock response to similar opportunities in the past; namely, Katarina’s Coffee Shop in Prescott, Ontario on the St Lawrence River. Pointedly the coffee shop is easily accessible within less than an hour on Hwy 416 directly south from Ottawa. It is a smooth, comfortable ride along a 4-lane highway. Having said that, we chose instead today to wend our way from Almonte on the so-called back roads (municipal and county roads as opposed to provincial highways) through Carleton Place, Smiths Falls and Brockville then to Prescott along the scenic 2-lane highway that fringes the St Lawrence River.

Katarina’s Coffee Shop

Although one could easily expatiate upon the blatant British imperial and regimental influence which insinuates this part of the world (not far removed from the historic battle grounds of the War of 1812) and likewise upon the Canadian hero Major-General Sir Isaac Brock KB, our focus today was upon the balmy summer air and the glorious afternoon sunshine.  Further as we approached Katarina’s Coffee Shop we awakened the less scholarly appetite for common sustenance. What indescribable contradiction separated by centuries between incursion and relaxation, treading upon the ground of our ancestors on both sides of the international border!

The War of 1812 (which lasted from 1812 to 1814) was a military conflict between the United States and Great Britain. As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was swept up in the War of 1812 and was invaded several times by the Americans. The war was fought in Upper Canada, Lower Canada, on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, and in the United States. The peace treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the war, largely returned the status quo. However, in Canada, the war contributed to a growing sense of national identity, including the idea that civilian soldiers were largely responsible for repelling the American invaders. In contrast, the First Nations allies of the British and Canadian cause suffered much because of the war; not only had they lost many warriors (including the great Tecumseh), they also lost any hope of halting American expansion in the west, and their contributions were quickly forgotten by their British and Canadian allies (see First Nations and Métis Peoples in the War of 1812).

It must however be acknowledged that there is nothing common about the provisions and menu at Katarina’s Coffee Shop. The new owner Ms Nicole Hudson has awarded to this already iconic resort the most desirable mouth watering gastronomic contributions, forcefully assisted by her in-house pastry chef. Within moments of locking our sights upon the venue my palate began reacting to the mere thought of the double-baked chocolate croissant and the equally celebrated affogato al caffe which for those of you not acquainted with this superlative mixture is a dollop of vanilla ice cream drowned with a shot of hot espresso.

Forgive the enthusiasm! We first nurtured our desire to satisfy our bodily needs by driving at controlled speeds from Brockville along the picturesque riparian route, treating ourselves to magnificent images of elegant residences bordering the dazzling St Lawrence River.

Katarina’s Coffee Shop features seating indoors and upon the street side patio sheltered under mature trees and umbrellas. As my sedate repast unfolded in the afternoon shade, I fixed my attention upon a young couple seated nearby enjoying their ice cream. They had in tow a well-tempered dog resembling a Rottweiler. Increasingly I am amused by the appearance and habits of youth. She had purple hair and an incomprehensible costume most closely similar to a skirt or dress. He wore a baseball cap (backwards naturally) and astonishingly in today’s heat a hoodie and long pants, all in black. On the back of his hoodie written in Old English font was the imperative to treat others with kindness. It was a proclamation I most certainly hadn’t anticipated. He was sylphlike to a fault which I presume excused his burden of textile. Both youth were clearly devoted to one another and to their dog, alternately taking carriage of its lead and the administration of head pats.