Super Summer Day!

When the financial advisor telephoned this morning to review instructions with me, we both chimed simultaneously what a gorgeous day it was! The temperature had dropped almost ten degrees from yesterday’s high of 32℃; the sun was shining brilliantly and there was a refreshing though boisterous north wind tousling the leafy heads of the trees. I had planned to take the day off from bicycling to give my aching frame a rest but that intention quickly evaporated.  As soon as I had completed my business with the advisor, we departed for our routine cycle along Country Street to the Rae Road, down Ramsay Concession VIII to the Town Hall then home.

Even though we haven’t had any rain to speak of lately the fields were remarkably green and the tiny corn shoots seemingly grow by the hour. It is easy to see where the rows of seeds have been planted. The green geometrics are symmetrically displayed over acres and acres of land which only days ago was brown. The verdancy and lushness of the trees and blossoming crab apple trees and lilac bushes were reminiscent of our leisurely walk several years ago along an arboreal canyon on a narrow rural road outside Villa Poggiano in Montepulciano. Today, instead of listening to the buzzing of Italian flies, we had the accompaniment of hordes of sprightly dragon flies which seemed oddly interested in our languorous passage, hovering about us like miniature drones. The soft air, warm sunshine and drifting clouds lent a dreamy aspect to our day. It is hard to imagine a more restful environment than this. Anyone we passed along the route was clearly in no hurry. It was an outstanding day.

Upon returning home, having placated my need for fresh air and exercise and now spirited by a hunger, I purposively sequestered myself in the kitchen to prepare my favourite summer soup, Gazpacho. All the fresh garden herbs were in hand – Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, Parsley and Cilantro. When chopped and combined with the juicy garlic buds and freshly cut crisp vegetables (green pepper, cucumber, red onion, celery and cherry tomatoes) the aroma was tantalizing! Because I never measure, I am forever concerned whether I may over-do or under-do something; however I can report from my sampling of the concoction this evening that it was a hit! I was especially pleased with the palatable balance of Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, ground black pepper and Maldon salt (always tricky as I adore salt).  For this batch I used more than usual freshly squeezed lemon juice. Our plat principal for the evening’s meal was similarly Mediterranean; namely, cold Orzo infused with stewed tomatoes and a pink mustard sauce and topped with Sardine filets. There were Ciabatta toast points fried in olive oil and smothered in goat’s milk cheese, an unctuous blend.

Lest I appear to have nothing better to do than minister to my appetites, I attacked head-on today the matter of renewal of my passport, driver’s licence and health card, These bureaucratic obligations by chance arose at the same time. Although it came as a moderate surprise to me, it should not have done so – that is, the discovery that some (though not all) of this government racket can now be accomplished on-line. This is Her Majesty’s way of saying, “You do the work and we’ll collect the money!” As much as I despise having to complete forms, the process was not half as bad as I had anticipated. When I went for my passport photograph at the local drug store the clerk was concerned that my white Polo shirt might blend in with the white background screen and therefore contaminate the acceptable definition of the photograph.  However when the photograph was taken and examined the shirt was fortuitously imbued with a slight mauve tinge and the margins appeared as a result to be distinguishable from the screen. I subsequently went to the post office to arrange an Express Post delivery of the passport renewal complete with tracking record. My application to renew my driver’s licence can be completed on-line but I cannot submit the application more than six months prior to its current expiry date (which is my birthday in December).  Apparently the same applies to the renewal of my Health Card (which I do at the Service Ontario kiosk in Carleton Place) but I didn’t discover that time limit until I had sat waiting to be served for almost an hour. Of course it’s no big deal to return another day; and I had the pleasure in the meantime of chatting with several people there from Almonte.

Post Scriptum (the following day)

Another lovely summery day today.  As we sailed home from Ottawa late this afternoon we both marvelled at the luxuriant Arcadian countryside along the Appleton Side Road. Our mission this afternoon was primarily to find and order a new recliner chair for His Lordship’s study.  The old chair is showing its age and we both agreed the fabric covering is no longer desirable. Although we were initially intent upon visiting a store on Hunt Club Road a considerable distance away, we serendipitously spied a brand new store of the same manufacturer along our route much closer to home.  To add to the luck, upon entering the store, we immediately spotted the chair we wanted in just the leather and  colour of our choice. Because the store was so new, they were having a “Grand Sale”.  Accordingly we got the benefit of the sale price as well as a further “student discount” which I jokingly asked for from the salesman (who by coincidence is from neighbouring Carleton Place).

The final victory today was the installation of Apple PAY™ on our respective iPhones. It’s nothing but another maneuver by the banks and financial institutions to caste their nets ever wider. Moneris is shamelessly advocating to its merchants the millions of untapped customers, the brand caché of Apple, the possibility to capture tourist traffic and – the real clincher in any matter of technology – “keeping up with the competition”. Anyway, besides what the capitalists are doing in the background, it satisfies my personal smugness to be part of this the latest trend in retail.  I am not in the least concerned that Apple receives 0.15% cut on US purchases made with the service; or that Apple is already worth $118 billion.  Good for them!  Apple is great as far as I am concerned! It is also significant to note the following:

The service was announced at Apple’s iPhone 6 event on September 9, 2014. At its announcement, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the magnetic stripe card payment process as broken for its reliance on plastic cards “outdated and vulnerable magnetic interface”, “exposed numbers”, and insecure “security codes”.

It is just possible that Apple will improve yet another feature of our life. It certainly provided a little bounce to our super summer day!