Summer’s over

Well, hasn’t it been an age since Brexit. Britain is still standing. The Sprigge quotidian hasn’t really changed – apart from the pound sliding, but then, not as much as I expected, against a weak Canadian dollar. So we might be buying a little less, but that is no bad thing. Let’s hope the rhetoric has cooled and we can all speak civilly with each other again.

Summer is over! It’s time to go back to England! So what on earth have we been doing? I’m not sure. But, here we go. Seven things I’ve learned this summer:

 

  1. Ottawa is a beautiful city, our capital, with its two rivers and one canal. No, make that a beautiful big town that thinks it’s a city. Ottawa is tidy – it picks up after itself. (After 100,000 people descended for ‘race weekend’ in May, on the Monday, there were only stacks of fencing as evidence of the huge crowds that had been the day before. Same after Canada Day. Same after any one of a number of festivals.) If Ottawa were a person, it would take its shoes off by the front door and make polite conversation with you. In two languages! (I love that. In Toronto it was hard to find French, though you could hear just about every other language..) It would take you to concerts and not kill you at spin or yoga classes. (‘you do as much as you can…’) It would roll up its sidewalks at 5 PM if it thought that would make you happy. Failing that, it provides you with access to traffic-free cycle paths from your front door, opening up literally hundreds of kilometers of trails. And you can get away from the city city to go hiking, canoeing, whatever, in 20 minutes (not to be attempted in Toronto, Montreal, London, LA, etc etc,)

 

  1. Being retired allows one to spread one’s mind a bit – a joy. I took a super philosophy class which elevates thinking and words into ethereal regions not just confined to ‘as applied to medical ethics’ – try some Bertrand Russell: Martha Nussbaum writes about anger, its uses and abuses, and although she is sometimes ‘off the wall’ she writes beautifully: If she came for dinner, one wouldn’t have to do much talking!

 

  1. The towering redwoods in California really are stunning. A religious experience – that’s all. Go see them.

 

  1. The Pacific Coast Highway in California really isn’t good for those afraid of heights (I myself am not afraid of heights, but simply of falling off them…) – but beautiful. The forest fires (set by humans) have closed all the state parks and done untold damage. But still – stunning.

 

  1. The Trump supporters that we have met believe he will modify his rhetoric if he’s elected – ‘he’s not the Trump I know from the past.’ (Wait – he who has been the major Obama birth denier for years, who fires people on television for entertainment?? How much worse can it get?) And at the same time, Clinton supporters are not supremely confident about their candidate. Even Justin Trudeau is not looking quite so sunny recently. Ah, USA, ah, world. Take a break. We’re worried about you.

 

  1. Through Libby’s friend’s (David) Aunt Deb, I have discovered a world of Aboriginal literature and a world view that I hadn’t known or appreciated before. (Read Tom King’s ‘The Inconvenient Indian’ to start; any prose by Louise Erdich, or Tom King, Pulitzer prize winning ‘House Made of Dawn’ or, perhaps, the Enquiry into Residential Schools…)

 

  1. Reconnecting with family and friends is a real, real, joy. Who knew?

Thanks for the memories…

Till later.

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