Posted by: Valerie | September 3, 2010

A brief summer idyll and the invasion of the water gremlins

I have been distracted by events recently and therefore no blog postings. If I think back as far as last Saturday I would have to report a really perfect late summer day. The weather was everything it should be – not too hot, no humidity, clear blue skies. We went for a drive over the hills to Haliburton, poked about, visited a lovely outlook on top of a cliff and puttered home by a different route. We enjoyed a glass of wine on the swing chair in the garden while we barbecued a whole mess of veggies for dinner and in the evening my favourite, favourite movie of all time was on the telly. Lawrence of Arabia and I enjoyed every second of it as I always do. If I were to have any reservation at all it would be that at the end it went a little flat. It is so incredibly well made though – the photography, the direction and of course the panoply of great actors. The digital remastering is exceptional too.

Aren't they marvellous?

Sunday began really well and I actually found some time to fall asleep reading my book in the garden. That is of course what summers should be like but up here it is only possible at the tail end of August and the early fall.

However to finish off the idyll, on Sunday there was water in the basement. Seemed to be dripping from the water softener. The gremlins are back!

I won’t bore you with all the details. The plumber found the softener was clogged with sand – call the well-drilling guy. Well-drilling guy says there’s a fracture in the well and the pump has been installed too low, well level is low – call the electrician to raise the pump. They scratch their heads in unison and say they can’t do any more until the weekend. Meanwhile, since they started messing with everything, we now have black sand coming though all our pipes. Showering is a gritty business and the laundry has been postponed so long that we may have to buy new clothes or, perish the thought, go to a laundromat. The drinking water is on a reverse osmosis system but I am sure it’s only a matter of time before that gets clogged up too. We have the chills when we think about the bills we are going to face on this one!

I love living in the country. Nature is wonderful. I did indeed have to wonder about the incredible degree of pain inflicted upon my right hand when I got stung by a wasp last Monday. I had discovered the nest (called “bike” where I come from) earlier in the day under a stone beneath my wildrose bush. Ach, I thought, leave it alone – I’ll just avoid it. Fool! It didn’t take long for an angry wasp to find me. There no more live wasps in the bike, thanks to a heavy blast of wasp killer delivered by Joe, my Verye Splendid Knyght.

On a more pleasant note, it was Joe’s birthday on Tuesday. Not a big celebration although he got more birthday greetings than he has ever received in the past, thanks to Facebook. I got him a couple of things and took him out for an excellent meal at a new restaurant nearby. Did nothing good for his blood sugar levels, however, and we didn’t even have dessert!

Wednesday brought sad, sad news. I discovered, months after the event, that my friend Caryl McKay died in May. No longer being in town, we had not been in touch much and it must be six months since we spoke. I knew she was ill but had no idea how serious it was. Caryl was a real estate client in the 80’s. She walked into an open house I was holding, said “This house is well priced. I’ll buy it. By the way I have a stone double down the road that I’d like you to sell for me.” I never had a better client and we quickly became good friends, a relationship that long outlasted my iffy real estate career. Caryl was deeply involved in the theatre, both amateur and semi-professional, and we went to lots to plays and events together. We also had a lot in common with our taste in literature. It was an excellent friendship. I shall miss her very much.

My dear friend Caryl McKay

I have been berating myself for not having been closer in the last while. I would dearly like to have had one last cup of coffee, one last giggle together.

In the last, say, twenty years, I have experienced the death of several people, my mother, three very good friends and of course my husband, Warren. Subsequent to every death, I have been left with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I have always felt that I failed the person in some way although my rational side tells me that is nonsense. But then when did the the Emotional side ever listen to the Rational?

Ah well, got to move on. Hopefully our water system will be repaired tomorrow. Hopefully the intense heat and humidity we have been experiencing this past week will disappear and hopefully Richard and Elizabeth in PEI will not suffer damage from Hurricane Earl.

The US Open, the last big tennis tournament of the year, is entertaining us well and there is another week to go so that will keep us happy for a bit.

We are having salmon for dinner tonight and it behoves me to go and cook it as Joe has been making grumbly-tummy noises for some time now.

Stay well, friends! Please.


  1. Sorry for the loss of your friend. There are many negatives about Facebook but it does help to keep in touch with friends–you being one of the primary ones.

    The last few times you have noted a household disaster we seem to have a reciprocating one down here–with a husband recovering from aortic valve replacement surgery maybe that counts as a repair of something broken.

    • Thanks, Pauline. Glad to hear that you are both home and recovering. I don’t think you need to match me disaster to disaster, this time around. Keep on dancing!

  2. It is so nice now I get to hear about what is going on in my Dads life through your blog. When I talked to him on his birthday he said “nothing new” and that he was getting a surprise for his birthday dinner.

    • I think it’s a male thing. I know that always when I asked Jamie what he had done at school that day, he would just shrug and say “nothing”. Still happens – if I speak to Angela I hear all sorts of dramatic things when according to J “everything’s fine”.

  3. I am sorry about the loss of your old friend. I also have some friends with whom I only communicate once or twice a year and it would be a shock to discover one of them had died.

    • Thanks, Julia. I keep feeling I want to call her and say how sorry I am that she died. What strange notions pop into the unwary brain.

  4. Sorry about your friend, Val . I think I know how you feel. The trouble is as we get older we find we have accumulated such a lot of people and it,s hard to keep in touch regularly with them all.We,of course are getting slower at doing things too.
    After twenty one years there are still things I think I must tell Eric.

  5. Hi Valerie.

    You were among a group of close and longstanding friends that were always at the tip of mom’s tongue, always the source of an observation or a participant in one of her stories.

    While you may think it had been a long time, I am sure it did not seem that way to mom. Heck, she had close friends she only spoke to every year or so!

    Her illness, while ongoing, worsened in quick succession. Several of her friends were caught unawares, unfortunately.


    • Colin, I really appreciate your reply. Thank you. Your Mum meant a lot to me and I miss her. I do hope you and your family are coping. In my experience the hurt does get less with time, as it must, and then you are left with the good memories. Caryl was a special friend.


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