Saturday, June 23, 2012

Photo update from the hood. Fathers' Day in Lake Annis
The lupins have been spectacular this year.

Port Maitland Beach. Air, wonderful and warm; water? freeze your ankles.

The smell of the wild roses at the beach is brilliant.
One of my winter hooking projects. The place is now lousy with  pillows.
We see a lot of deer on the road. We're forced to drive pretty slowly because of the state of the road, so that's probably good. These deer are not safety conscious.

Porcupine. Headed for the neighbour's dog. And the neighbour's 22. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Here I am. Not dead, not sailed away, not mute with ennui in a forest glade. 

Well, the ennui thing is not too far off. But a couple of days ago I had a lovely email from a reader, thank you Julian, and that reminded me that blog stats are people too, and that it's very nice to write an update and know that there are people waiting to hear from you. 

So pffft to the ennui (and the vacuuming) and on with the news. 

No, we haven't sold the boat yet, and that's been the single thing that's occupied us to no good effect over the last few months. There's been a few brutally close calls, several visits to the boat and a survey done, and for various reasons - the VAT in the UK (killer, and it applies to transport costs as well), time constraints, delivery problems and financing woes - there she sits in Florida with the varnish and paint giving up, and here we sit on a pile of bills. We've reduced the price again to cover the costs of time and elbow grease that it will take to beautify her again, and we wait in hope that someone who understands classic boats will recognize what a deal they're getting. 

After the most recent boat disappointment, we got tired of seeing the bottle of champagne waiting in the fridge and drank it for breakfast. Just one of the freedoms afforded by retirement.  But I think it was close to Mothers' Day as well. Whatever. I haven't replaced it.

It hasn't been all lolling about drinking and moaning since I last posted. Randy has been building an enormous cherry china cabinet for my sister. One evening, over a glass of rum, she decided that she needed a china cabinet that looked like the bow of a sailboat in the corner of her dining room. Given that she summers in the village where our great great grandfather and great great uncle built sailing vessels, it seemed apt. And then she said, I think I know who could build this. 

Randy's had great fun with the design and making two small scale models. It's nearly finished, almost ready to be taken apart, driven over to Port Maitland and installed and christened. Maybe July we're hoping, because for the past month he's taking a hiatus from ... everything, pretty much. 

He had his right hand operated on to correct Dupuytren's contracture (fingers curling) in late April. That involved four trips to Halifax for us (almost 4 hours, one way), enjoying the hospitality of the good and patient friends who housed and fed us each time, and no considerable pain and discomfort for the Captain. 

His hand looked like Frankenstein's monster's digits for an unpleasant few weeks, and he wasn't able to drive (the Subaru is a standard), or so much worse, COOK. It'll be another couple of months before the hand gets closer to normal function. 

You don't realize how much someone does until they stop doing it.  Last week I was in the basement and was cheered beyond belief when I heard the vacuum cleaner moving around upstairs. 

The basement is another story. This house was built in the swinging sixties, and suffered hugely, if you remember, from the most egregious design and decorating faults of the time, with the foremost being cheap and nasty fake-wood panelling and ugly acoustic ceiling tiles. The decorating equivalent of Spam and Velveeta. The ceilings we live with. In the worst moments of depression, I remind myself not to lie on the floor to moan, cause then I'll look at the ceiling and feel worse. 

We've got the main floor pretty much sorted, but the lower floor was dug into a gentle slope on one side, apparently ignoring the gentle streams that were wont to flow there. But dig and build they did, then they merrily insulated and coated everything inside with panelling, glued down wall-to-wall carpet, and ceiling tiles, then hung hideous curtains, installed a kitchen made with boards of compressed sawdust, and left it all to absorb leaks from unknown and uncounted sources. Yuck doesn't begin to cover it.

While Randy has been doing his physio exercises, I've been down there ripping and tearing and making trips to the dump in the dodgy truck. I've uncovered patches of mould of various colours, textures and aromas, a warren of mouse trails in the insulation, caches of acorns and piles of sunflower seed hulls (stolen bird food), and teeny tiny turds, regular tiny turds, all sorts of turds. Mouse, squirrel, ... and then my turd identification skills fail me. No bats. So far. 

I thought that the indignities of snorkel face were at least behind me, but now I'm planning any interaction with people around how long it will take to lose the marks from the respirator mask that's protecting me from all that mould and all those dusty turds. Sheesh.

Sounds like a completely gross project, but at least it's weirdly satisfying to kick out a panelling wall, and I can start to imagine what the place might look like once we get the leaks stogged. And the vermin relocated. For starters. 

For real fun, I've been teaching myself to reupholster things. Improving my creative-stream-of-invective skills at the same time. Also I've been learning to play bridge at a seniors' club in Hebron. I play once a week with my dad and three of my cousins and their friends - there's usually 25-30 playing bridge and cribbage - average age about mid-80s. I try very hard not to curse, so I was very relieved when a lovely white haired lady next to me muttered "shit" when someone trumped her ace. They're very patient with me as I learn the game, and there's a very good good potluck lunch. They love my homemade baked beans. I love Clara's apple pie. She's only 90-something, and she owned and ran the two best restaurants in western Nova Scotia for longer than I've been alive, so yup, it's really good pie. 

I'm in a cold sweat half the time I'm trying to figure out the damn game, but it's a gas, and I love these people. There's a lot of laughter. I'll see how they feel about having their pictures taken for the next update. 

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