It was by my standards early this morning that I clambered out of bed. Shortly after eight o’clock I believe. Yes, 8:00 am precisely. I recall last evening having set the alarm. The reason? Our housekeeper was coming today and, more pointedly, I had a yearning for bacon and eggs. So in order to remove ourselves from the apartment and to satisfy my hankering, we agreed to go to Antrim Truck Stop in Arnprior for breakfast. Mistakenly I imagined the place wouldn’t be busy in the middle of January in the middle of the week. Fortunately however we arrived there early enough, just early enough, to beat the line-up at the entrance to the restaurant where (inside) a glistening tractor trailer is conspicuously stationed in deference to the trucking community which notably frequents the place (there are even private showers adjoining the rest rooms). Nonetheless the restaurant clientele this morning was mostly old fogeys such as ourselves, people with nothing better to do on a brilliantly sunny wintry morning.
It was our regular server who greeted us where we stood adjacent the bakery counter.I had spotted the apple fritters among the other delicacies like butter tarts, donoughts, date squares, lemon squares, cookies, scones and raspberry creamcheese pinwheels. We and the server reciprocally gushed enthusiasm upon seeing one another. Then she ushered us to a booth where, with the benefit of deafness and the surrounding plexiglass barriers, we submerged within a pool of quiet isolation. I hadn’t noticed the young fellows who were subsequently led to the booth directly across the aisle; but I later witnessed the mountains of food delivered to them (it was by that time approaching noon and I imagine they had interrupted their day for lunch). In any event, when our own orders arrived, distraction dissipated and we similarly wasted no time putting on the nose bag. It was of course all preceded by the raspberry creamcheese pinwheels. I blame it on weeks of deprivation. No longer at home do I harbour a collection of bagels for daily consumption. It is however a poverty I am not completely convinced to be of any worth. At my advanced age the obvious question is, “What are you saving it for?” But until I’ve succeeded to confront that particular metaphysical enquiry, I try to avoid bread of any description and the accompanying spoonfuls of butter and nut butters (especially almond butter) which I adore and the limitations of which I unrepentently abuse. All this is to say naturally that the Antrim experience is one synonymous with Hades or the River Styx at the very least. For the moment I fashion the pedestrian outing as an obstruction of “witty conceits” and abstruse imagery.
Far under the wide-pathed earth a branch of Oceanus flows through the dark night out of the holy stream, and a tenth part of his water is allotted to her. In the Iliad the river Styx forms a boundary of Hades, the abode of the dead, in the Underworld.
The perfunctory alteration to Arnprior was followed by the anticipated detour to Stittsville for the constitutional car wash. From there it was grocery shopping at Farm Boy; followed by more grocery shopping at Dandelion and The Independent in Almonte. When still we hadn’t vanquished the hours of our housekeeper devoted to her profession we circumnavigated (quite literally) to the new housing developments on the edge of town. We were pleasantly rewarded. We did however withdraw from the terrestrial atmosphere sufficiently by reacquainting ourselves with the ancient dwellings in the Village of Rosebank whence my own knowledge of the area stems a half-century ago. I have always accounted it a serendipitous compliment that both I and the late Raymond A. Jamieson QC drew unnamed pleasures from the Village of Rosebank. For me it is the name alone, quite apart from the magic of the riparian scenery and the demonstrably singular personalities whom I have known from there. When exactly or why the Village of Rosebank was renamed the Village of Blakeney I have never determined but it is one of those points of history which I suspect for me would have little more corpus than the alteration to Almonte from Shepherd’s Falls, Shipman’s Mills, Ramsayville, Victoriaville or Waterford. Curiously Almonte is one of the few foreign extractions which Americans almost universally and singularly succeed to pronounce as though they were speaking Spanish; viz., AlmonTEH. Rather like the British who seemingly rejoice to propel their linquistic ignorance by pronouncing names such as Beauchamps as BEECHUM and Brougham as BRUM.
Anyway, where was I. Oh yes, wandering about the countryside, taking in the airs, relishing the luminescent white snowy fields and iridescence of the remarkable skies peculiar to this time of year. Our subsequent resort to Riverfront apartments was both welcome and reinvigorating. We had the pleasure of rejoining the company of several other residents prior to our evaporation. This parenthetically followed an earlier brief but fruitful communication with a friend who unfortunately was unavailable for coffee. As a result I have submitted to the appeal of the end of day, removing all evidence of hardware and commotion, adopting instead the leisure of a triple espresso and a modest snack combined with the latest edition of Country Life magazine.