Posted by: Valerie | October 31, 2009

A Lot of Not Much At All

Since my return from Ottawa last week hardly anything has happened. We get up, eat breakfast, fiddle about on our respective computers, eat a healthy lunch, fiddle about on our respective computers, go for a walk, read the mail, fiddle about on our respective computers again, then I make dinner and we hang about till bedtime.  I think we need more exciting lives!

In times like these I take refuge in my books. Right now I am reading Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden that won the Giller Prize last year. Although I’ve had it since my birthday last May, I’ve been saving it until I got through a whole pile that had been waiting for me. It’s an aboriginal book and really quite lovely. Very fine writing indeed.  Sadly I am already almsot three-quarters through it, I realised this afternoon. Nevermind, I just ordered some more goodies online. The new Booker prize novel by Hilary Mantel, one by Dennis Lehane whom I admire and damned if I can remember the third. I have to order three to get free shipping, you see. I am Scottish, after all.

I wrote all the above yesterday and now it’s Saturday. How things can change overnight. Today we are in renovation mode – again. This is absolutely the last piece of renovation that we are up for. One small bedroom remains to be drywalled and recarpeted – and herein the lies the problem. Several contractors have come to look at the job and promised to be back to it “later” and never shown up. The room is very small, as mentioned, and has a sloping gable wall.  What makes it extra difficult is the fact that there is a queen size bed in there and because of earlier renovations to the hallway, the box spring cannot be removed so the drywallers have to keep moving it around as they work. Of course the rest of the upstairs is crammed full of the furniture and junk from the little room. Finally we persuaded a man who has been helping us with other things to take the job on and he came today with his teenage son to start ripping off the old panelling. The dust was horrible – and will be worse no doubt when the sanding begins but at least that won’t be old and mouldy. Today it’s affecting my lungs – gasp, gasp.

Kent, our handyman/drywaller has a very pleasant 15 year-old son. Nikolai was adopted from the Ukraine as a five-year-old orphan. He is well-mannered and charming. Would that they all were. Foreign adoptions seem to be getting quite common now. A friend of a friend in Ottawa has two Chinese girls, my good friend Pauline who will probably read this, has two Chinese grandchildren and Joe’s barber Tony has adopted two little Romanian boys.

I was thinking that I did not have a photo that would fit today’s post but speaking of Tony the Barber gives me the perfect idea. Tony has the most amazing shop in our little town. He is a serious collector of all things barberish and his shop is full of interesting stuff. Here are a couple of photos I took during a recent haircut.


joe gets a haircut

Joe hasn’t got much there but the traily bits need doing every so often.  And all for $11.00. Mine costs a whole lot more than that!


An original chair for wee laddies

Wildlife: Not a lot going on, that we saw at least, but I have to report that the mate of the grouse that Charlie the cat brought home has been hanging about disconsolately in the apple tree. It probably won’t be too long before he also commits suicide by crashing into a window. They really are senseless birds. Probably best on a plate.

How is it possible that when I have really nothing to say, I manage to write 650 words? No, I didn’t count them – the software did.


  1. Well, for not much of a busy day, you had an interesting post. It seems to be the way of retired folk. I think it is great. It isn’t only grouse that wham into windows, we have chickadees, bluejays, and doves that just seem suicidal, but shake themselves and get up and eventually fly away.

    We have windows on both sides of the house and even though I manage to keep curtains closed, there are times, when I have to open them up to see.

    • Thanks Betty – I kind of enjoy just rambling away on the blog. It’s good exercise for my word skills.
      Just a question – why do you keep your curtains closed? Is it for the protetion of the birds? I’m afraid I like light too much to deny myself.

  2. The two grandchildren in Denver are doing fine–I was glad to see them in spite of the 14″ snowstorm that came with the visit–isn’t it fun having one? a grandchild I mean not a snowstorm–I’m glad you get to see Deklin.
    You could always cut Joe’s hair and apply that money to your haircut–I’ve beeen doing Bill’s for 25 years–and getting tired of it–but I haven’t told him yet!!
    Always glad to catch up with your blog–life “oop north” is not far different from our summers where we venture out rarely.

    • I should have made mention of the fact that foreign adoptions are appealing (in the USA anyway) because they are final pretty quickly. No-one will come into the picture after 18 months and claim the child. This happened to acquaintances of ours where an aunt came into the picture on the final court date and claimed her rights as a relative. The family had taken care of the child since birth. The aunt won custody–the family have not, and probably will not, recovered from the loss. American law favors the family–which does not necessarily mean the child. I could go on more–but that is one reason adoptions out of the country are appealing.

    • I have a feeling that Joe would not find that I had the right qualifications for cutting his hair!

      Your story about the poor people having their adopted baby taken away is horrifying. I can certainly understand the foreign adoption choice. And of course it’s giving a decent life to children who may otherwise have no hope.

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