Posted by: Valerie | July 2, 2010

A fried fridge, sandy soil and sapphires


Getting back into a routine of writing regularly is proving harder than I expected. The benefits of our lovely trip are fading into second-level memory as we move from one domestic crisis to another. I wonder what it might be like to live a carefree life with no stress. Perhaps I’ll never know. The latest incident happened last week when our fridge died on us. We had of course just done a week’s shopping and put it all away when it became clear that everything was getting warmer, not colder. Panic!

Oscar the auctioneer

I won’t go into the details but I must note that there are definitely advantages to small town living. First of all Oscar, the auctioneer, who has a gas bar and shop not too far from here kindly agreed to give a temporary home to all the items from the freezer section and even offered to lend us an old fridge from the auction hall which he would have his son deliver to us the next day. Then the young woman who runs the local Sears outlet said she would have a new fridge delivered on Saturday morning. And indeed two husky guys showed up in the pouring rain and replaced the fridge. Now that would never happen in the city! So we now have a new fridge. I find it hard to get excited about a new fridge. 

My garden is beginning to recover from the neglect of the spring. I love it at this time of year when the perennials are in bloom. I did try making a vegetable garden a few years ago but the sandy soil of the Canadian Shield does not make for lots of juicy crops. Also it was too far from the water supply and I suspect it might have done better if it had been watered more frequently. Then I came to the conclusion that working hard to produce crops takes time and money and the result is only ready when the commercial version is cheaper than dirt in the markets.

I can still get sentimental about my garden in Hurworth, the village we lived in in Northern England. Behind our Georgian row house on the village green, I had about ¾ acre of walled orchard. The soil was a magnificent rich black tilth that had been cultivated for over 200 years. I grew just about everything we ate except for meat. Everything grew beautifully. We have about seven acres here and what grows best are pine trees and poplars. You can’t eat them unless you are a beaver.

The truest blue - my delphiniums

It is hard to believe that my little grandson is about to have his first birthday. His Mum has had to go back to work as maternity leave has run out and it’s pretty upsetting for her. It really is a dilemma facing young women. I know Angela would rather stay at home with Deklin until he’s ready for school but if she does, her career is put on hold to the point that she may never be able to resume it. She is extremely fortunate in that her own mother comes up from Brockville, a small town on the St. Lawrence and babysits during the week. I do hope Gramma has the stamina – the little guy is faster than a speeding bullet on hands and knees!

Some time ago I wrote about losing one diamond from a rather special ring. We dithered about with the insurance company – first they said it was covered and then they decided it wasn’t and I put the whole thing on the back burner and did nothing further about it until earlier this week when I had a wee chat with the local goldsmith. In short, we have decided to replace the missing diamond with a lovely sapphire. The diamond they had originally suggested was not a match to the others as they are old and cut quite differently from the current fashion. I will get my repaired ring next week. It is Joe’s (belated) birthday present to me. I am very happy.

Joe has been most happy too since we returned from Alberta as he has been totally immersed in the World Cup and now there is Wimbledon to watch as well. Joe’s ratty old armchair is getting some heavy usage and will probably deteriorate even further by the end of all this. Life may seem rather dull without the buzzing of those horrible horns. Nah. We’ll get used to the quiet. It will be very pleasant indeed.


  1. Danger, Excitement, Nudity and Foul Language—-loved every word of it!!! and glad that you are back to blogging. Now I have to get back to the world cup and Wimbledon. Sorry that Andy didn’t get into the finals.

    You describe Hurworth so well. I loved that house and your fabulous Orkney chair!!

    • I still have that chair. It has been retired to an upstairs bedroom to avoid the attentions of Charlie the cat. I do still love it though. It sat in my living room in Hurworth with two old cushions in similar tones and two Siamese cats cuddled up thereupon. Still got the cushions…

  2. Love your stuff, Val.

    According to my favourite and now deceased Jim Rohn….for the last 6000 years life has been “difficulty mixed with opportunity”….so why should today the next year, 2, 5, 20 years be any different?

    Sorry about your fried fridge, your lifeless veggies, your lost diamond…..but back to Wimbledon and the finals of FIFA!

    • Your man must have been an evangelical Christian – they are the only people who believe the world is only 6,000 years old! But he makes a point which most of us alive would have to agree with!

  3. Never mind Wimbledon – the Tour de France has started! Only two days in and they have already had some spectacular crashes and 3 guys are out of the race. It was a treat to watch them cycle across part of the Netherlands and into Belgium. Makes me want to go back. Of course, it was sunny and 25C and it is usually raining, so that helped with the nostalgia.

  4. Forgot to mention that the sapphire replacement is a brilliant idea–and much in keeping with the antique stones–sapphires and diamonds very popular in the 19th cent.
    Wimbledon over–world cup soon over–never been able to get interested in the Tour so Golf at St Andrews next!!

    • I’m always sad to see the end of Wimbledon. I was kind of rooting for Berdych but that may be just because he is incredibly cute! Tour de France does nothing for me and golf ho-hum.

  5. Love the blue of the delphiniums, just stunning.

    We have friends who are battling to get their fridge fixed as it isn’t very old. No one really cares!

    I remember weeding the vege garden there, not a pleasant experience with the black fly and the deer fly. I think I’d rather go to the market too. Gardening is very pleasant in New Zealand compared to that.

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