Every year at about this time we take our bikes to Bill Barrie Jr of Almonte Bicycle Works for their annual reconditioning and any needed repair. As I said to Bill upon collecting my bike early this afternoon the bike looks better than the day I bought it (which frankly was a good number of years ago – I’m guessing ten at least if not indeed considerably more). Bill takes very good care of us and our bikes. He is a trusted friend and cycle specialist.
My bike is a Townie Electra from California. The Electra part of the name is metaphorical only. Electric bikes were not common when I bought mine. Since I’ve owned the bike Bill Barrie Jr, in addition to regularly tuning the bike, has attached a carrier, a bell, magical “puncture free” tyres, numerous chains and a new gear changer. No doubt he’s added other refinements all of which I conveniently ignore as I am perpetually thrilled with the mechanics on every level.
Today’s leisurely cycle about the neighbourhood involved a bolt through the verdant canyon of lush boughs surrounding the Ottawa Valley Trail which punctuates the centre of the town, the erstwhile B&O Railway line from Brockville and Ottawa to Renfrew County where the precious timber grew before being cut and floated down the Ottawa River to Ottawa. Coincidentally years ago we had magnificent foot-wide pine planks installed in the drawing room. The wood was recovered from the chilly depths of the Ottawa River. To this day I can see the glistening illumination of the fireplace flames upon the naked parts of the dark polished pine floor. Over the top of my martini glass. While reading Jane Austen. And nibbling smoked oysters.
Speaking of the Ottawa River I had chance today to chat on-line with Suzanne Campeau who has lately abandoned her mansion on Barlow Crescent in the Village of Dunrobin in pursuit of her new digs nearby the Nepean Sailing Club on Lac Deschênes, also part of the Ottawa River. As usual Suzanne startles me with her sometimes alarmingly candid – though always charitable – observations of life. She and her sister Patricia Flesher (formerly of Pat Flesher Furs) have long ago conditioned me to direct conversation.
And speaking of new homes, on my way back home on my bike this afternoon, as I rounded the corner at the Elizabeth Kelly Library, I encountered Frank and Julia Thomas who have just completed the construction of their superlative new home which is the talk of the town. The home is terribly modern, complying with every imaginable persuasion of neutrality, convenience and overall healthfulness. Julia reports that the floors are heated – which she extolled has improved her knees. Meanwhile Frank, at the age of 93, is the picture of health. I told him it was a vulgar display of strength!
And just to complete the serendipity of all this noise, as Julia, Frank and I were lingering by the sidewalk, chatting with animation, the people who bought their former house on the other side of town appeared. They are from Ottawa South where I reported my sister and her husband live nearby the Rideau Canal. I made a point of welcoming the erstwhile urbanites to our little town. Though they did not say, I’m guessing there’s an undisclosed connection between them and Almonte. I shall make it my mission to discover that thread!