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she’s back

I have to tell you, this not-blogging thing is pretty nice; it’s been years since I’ve simply bumbled along without feeling the need to call myself to account and report in to you every few days … However, there have been complaints from the faithful. So here I am.

And here is a partial list of our activities during Penny’s 18 day visit – a suggestion for those of you hankering to visit Toronto at some point: the Art Gallery of Ontario, the St. Lawrence Market, a day swimming and bike-riding on the Toronto Islands with lunch at the Rectory, a lengthy birthday party in a Cabbagetown garden, the Royal Ontario Museum and surrounds, a blockbuster movie, a play at the Royal Alex, a day at Niagara Falls with a ride on the Maid of the Mist and lunch in Niagara-on-the-Lake, two days in Stratford staying with friends and seeing a musical, a Shakespeare and a classic American drama and hearing an inspirational lecture, two days in Montreal having dinner with an old friend and lunch with another and much walking about, three days in Ottawa including a tour around town and a walk and lunch in the Gatineau Hills, and a stunning international exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada, a Porter flight back skimming along Lake Ontario, and a full day garden writing workshop.
Bored yet?
Not to mention the overwhelming pleasure of meeting your hostess’s entire immediate family.
Montreal was vibrant and fascinating, made me want to go back soon – I rented a Bixi bike and rode all over Old Montreal and downtown, a great city for bikes with many designated bike lanes, safe and pleasant. We met old friend Louise and went, of course, to Schwartz’s on the Main for a smoked-meat lunch – Penny said she had never eaten so much meat in a sandwich – and I went to see the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Musee des Beaux-Arts – quite spectacular. I’m not a fashion buff, but it’s clear that his designs are not mere clothing but pieces of art.
And then Ottawa, much much family, avid talk among the English – my mother and aunt and friend Penny talking of biscuits and pudding over cups of tea. Much discussion of the riots in Britain now, and of past times. I wish I lived closer to my mother – it’s hard to be so far. However, we do our best during my intense visits. We all loved the superb Caravaggio exhibit at the Nat Gall – not only his own stunning work but the canvases of those influenced by him, and the Simon Schama film at the end that dramatizes his short, savage, brilliant life.
Home Saturday evening to rush about getting ready for the garden workshop the following day – but friend Louise had come from Montreal to Toronto and was staying here, so with the three of us chopping and cooking and listening to rock and roll, the work vanished. The workshop went very well – eleven writers, a thunderstorm forecast but a no-show, the garden at its best at the height of summer – a most enjoyable day, I think for them as well as for me. One participant wrote, “Yesterday was refreshing and wonderful, and inspiring to meet so many terrific people. So much great writing and so many great stories – we are so varied and yet we weave common threads.”

And another wrote – okay, she’s my biggest fan and anyway, I paid her handsomely for this – “I believe that you are one of the nicest, most patient, compassionate, brilliantly talented, modest, and “evolved” human beings that I’ve ever known in my life.”
Love it! If only! But thanks.
The next day, Penny flew back to the rainy isle; she’s home in Sheffield, where she reports it’s chilly, grey and damp and she likes it that way. We are back on either side of the ocean, with many memories. I am almost settled again; it took me two days just to get my email under control, the kitchen, the jumble of clothes in my bedroom … and you, to get back to you. But I’m back. The good news about the mammogram lightened my heart. This nice, evolved human being returned her ridiculous impulse shoes, is renting an AutoShare car tomorrow to buy a load of groceries, and actually opened her memoir yesterday morning, to begin work.
On we go, into the best days of summer – peaches and sunshine, with just a hint of sharpness in the air to remind us of what’s coming, just down the road.



2 Responses to “she’s back”

  1. I am so glad that the hospital exam turned out well. What a relief. You are now free to continue to evolve.
    Looking forward to experiencing your many adjectives soon.

  2. beth says:

    Evolve I will, Chris. And so will you.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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