“It’s a good thing I’ve nothing to do because if I did I’d have no time to do it!”

Quite alarmingly every day as the late afternoon draws to a close and the florid remains of the evening sun enrich the western sky I marvel at what a busy day I’ve had without being busy at all. I should put it down to regimen – you know, the boring but time consuming repetition of events day after day.  I’m a prime candidate for that. I thrive upon routine! Today for example (or just about any day really): out of bed (plus making the bed) and bicycling on la route précise before the clock has struck 9:00 am; followed by the vital shower and accompanying ablutions (including naturally the rinsing of the spectacles, iPhone and Apple Watch); then the standard breakfast of sliced green apples, baguette bagel with Champfleury cheese and steel cut oats; and finally rounded out with a unhurried automobile drive in the country. I mean to say, there goes the day!

  • Creamy and unctuous, with a white rind that becomes orange with time and an irresistible fruity taste, Champfleury is the undisputed king of soft cheeses. Champfleury is the creamiest of our soft cheeses. Made in Canada and inspired by the greatest French cheeses, it is made of pasteurized milk and cream.

By the time I get to the end of that modest agenda I’m tuckered. The cycling accounts for some of the exhaustion.  And, yes, we did “do” the groceries today. Afterwards I devoted inordinate – and sadly unsuccessful – duration attempting to remove a shadowy mark from the car windshield. I’ve decided the smudge is imbedded within the glass; and, more aptly, that I shall ignore it completely! It’s one of those hideous stains only visible when the sun is at the exact angle or you lean far to the right and gaze quickly back to the left with an upward glance. In sum I admit defeat. I abandon the privilege of victory to preserve my sanity.

The late afternoon is very dear to me.  It represents the conclusion of those erstwhile recurring obligations, viz., exercise, bathing, groceries and whatever silly little thing percolates within my scope. If the day were like a brain with separate constituent parts then the late afternoon is the intellectual side of things. It’s when I read and write. For reading I remove myself from the stiff-back chair I use when writing and lounge instead in my large green leather chair and ottoman where I embellish my iPad book reading with Apple Music through my Bose Noise Cancelling headphones. Snicker if you will but it represents the fruition of years of study on how best to enjoy one’s drawing room experience.  In the past we added the very desirable feature of a Vermont Casting to radiate the flickering firelight upon the recovered pine hardwood floors.  As well I confess that there was a time when a frozen martini and a plate of smoked oysters were readily at hand. I owe the fabric of the six o’clock preprandial engagement to the late Louis de la Chesnaye Audette, QC OC. Louis lived in an ancient home in the Sandy Hill area of Ottawa where he regularly held court either there or at his club Le Cercle Univérsitaire off Range Road (“just around the corner” as he liked to say). He insisted on small portions of whiskey in his highball; but as you might imagine he was known to have more than one – in fact as many as possible until his steward Jeffrey materialized in the doorway of the drawing room to announce that dinner would be served shortly or, as Louis preferred to say, “Jeffrey says we have time for one more!” This provoked a good deal of back and forth from the side table and the liquor cabinet.

  • Louis de la Chesnaye Audette, OC (April 7, 1907 – April 2, 1995) was a Canadian lawyer, naval officer and civil servant. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, the son of Louis-Arthur Audette and Mary-Grace Stuart, the tenth child of Andrew Stuart, he was educated as a lawyer and practiced in Montreal during the 1930s. During World War II, he served with the Royal Canadian Navy and commanded several ships ( HMCS Pictou, Amherst, Coaticook, and St. Catharines) in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Those halcyon days are now history.  The characters in the numerous enactments are either no longer whinnying among us or gone in different directions. Reflecting upon those memories will forever illuminate the past.