Posted by: Valerie | January 13, 2011

Chilly times

January is as long a month as December is a short one. It’s not even two weeks since New Year and already it seems to have drifted into memory. I am already quite comfortable writing 2011 even though I no longer write cheques. I think the last one I wrote was to the Receiver General – wonder if we’ll be able to pay our taxes online this year – I mean actually pay, not just file. Eek! I can’t believe I am thinking about taxes in January. Must stop that right away! I have always regarded Joe’s dive into preparing his taxes in early January as being a major character flaw.

I greeted the New Year with a bout of mild depression after looking back at all the miseries (not personal, thankfully) of the world in 2010, knowing that it’s going to happen all over again this year. It already is: floods in Australia, mudslides in Brazil killing 370, ongoing devastation in Haiti, a policeman murdered by an idiot with a stolen snowplough in Toronto and the hideous shootings in Tucson. Tucson is where my friend Pauline, who often comments here, lives. She says the mood of the whole town is greatly affected by what has happened there. Gun control might help prevent such psychos going on their rampages. I suggest our cousins to the south should give it some more consideration – not that they will, of course. Of course then I have to remember what happened in Dunblane in 1996. In spite of Britain’s much vaunted gun laws, Thomas Hamilton managed to have four of them – all legally. Did you know that Andy Murray (tennis, for those who don’t follow it) was a pupil at that school that day? Ugh, I think I might be revisiting that depression again so I’d better change the tone here.

Good things only now. I’m busy as hell with work for the next couple of weeks (while Robert for whom I work is floating around on the Caribbean – I do hope he isn’t seasick…) but not so busy that Joe and I couldn’t enjoy a trip to Ottawa to celebrate a present exchange with James, Angela and Deklin as we hadn’t been able to see them over Xmas. It was also a chance to celebrate First Son’s 45th birthday even though he wasn’t present, being at home in Charlottetown. We phoned him though.

Deklin is a joy, full of enthusiasm for life and dashing round at a frantic pace. He has adopted Mummy’s iPad and has recently been spotted playing Scrabble with a real person online. Can you imagine how confused the person on the other end must have been, not, of course, suspecting he was playing with a 18-month-old toddler! Apparently he likes the Scrabble app and can find it for himself.

Deklin busy with his iPad

Particularly in winter, Ottawa seems to be a long way away so it was really nice to have Joe come along as he doesn’t see the wee one as much as I do. It’s nice now Deklin remembers who we are, even with a considerable gap between visits.

Enough grandma stuff. I have been fortunate indeed this season and have been deluged with books, books, books! If only I could be deluged with the time to read. Among many others, I have the new John LeCarré – that will make a full set except for one which I must have lent to someone. It is “The Naive and Sentimental Lover” which I believe was his fourth novel and completely atypical of everything else he wrote. The critics hated it and I loved it. Not a spy in the whole thing. I do admire the way that JLC so smoothly shifted his focus away from the spy genre to other kinds of global wickedness. I wonder how many more books the old fellow cqn squeeze out. He rather reminds me of authorial equivalent of Christopher Plummer. Both approximately the same age and both still at the top of their game.

First though I must finish the second Girl Who book. I also have the third one on loan and waiting. No more to come from that source. Pity. After JLC there is the new Bill Bryson “At Home” and I always enjoy reading him. I can remember embarrassing myself in a busy doctor’s waiting room, laughing out loud repeatedly. I will report at a later date. Forgot to mention that Joe gave me a hefty gift certificate for the local bookshop.

We have a rather a nice small bookshop in Bancroft owned and run by real enthusiasts. They have just moved into more spacious premises, vacated when the advent of a whopping great Shoppers’ Drug Market put a small pharmacy out of business. They have both new and second-hand books, a great big comfy chair where you can sit and peruse whatever attracts your eye. Last time I was in there they also had a large crate containing two dear little ginger kittens, looking for a new home. I was prevented from bringing them home by a firm “no” from Joe.

There is a serious tendency in the Winsor and related families to believe that many cats are necessary for a complete family. Son Richard has eight but Joe and I only have one and a half, the half being Ginger, the feral cat. The poor wee chap is suffering badly in this present cold weather and although I am keeping his tummy full, he is hanging around the edge of the house to get some warmth but at minus 18, there isn’t much to be got. Sooo, this morning I filled a hot water bottle and wrapped it in a towel and put it in the porch for him. He liked it, I’m pleased to say.

And so to bed. And finishing the Girl Who Number 2. The electric blanket has done its job and a cosy bed with lots of pillows and a warm cat await.


  1. Tucson doing better after the outpouring of support from Obama et al. The work of one deranged man cannot be held as typical of the area but it does give us pause for thought. Gun control is a whole kettle of fish–as you point out he could still have killed Gabby with a knife–but these extended magazines are ludicrous. Too easy for multiple assaults. A friend of mine works for Gabby–she was shot 3 times–but was at the ceremony. Unbelievable that Gabby is showing signs of recovery.

    On a lighter note –what a delightful child Deklin is.

    I saw a quote the other day “The man who doesn’t read good books is no better than the man who can’t read” wouldn’t that open a great debate at a book club?

    Great post Val–again!!

    • I really love that quotation (Richard won’t let me say “quote”, not his students either in their written work. I have read studfent comments about him as a prof and they do say he’s very tough!) and would love to debate it! I have found that it’s very difficult to have a heated argument with people in N. America without them feeling attacked.

  2. They obviously aren’t educated in the field of great debate–they take it to personally. But N. Americans do take things persoanlly.

  3. I wonder if you built a snug shelter for Ginger, if he’d use it and benefit from it? Even a box on its side on the porch or something like that, with some old towels inside might help. The poor, wee thing.

    • I have tried all that, Julia. He’s not having it at all. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is a box of straw – apparently this is what the Humane Soc. recommends. Next time I go to town I will try to get some.

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