Watch my life unravel...



Top Canadian Blogs - Top Blogs

Local Directory for Ottawa, ON


My mini-vacation

My mini-vacation took me to Kitchener, Orangeville, Woodstock, Cambridge, Guelph, Elora, Freelton, St. Jacobs and Fergus, where I visited some old friends and family and made some new friends, including Quinn and Branden.



I did lots of scrounging in antique malls and flea markets and nostalgia shows. Knowing that I had to carry any purchases home on the train, I exercised restraint and mostly just looked. But I did buy two paintings:

I got this one at the Beaver antique mall. It’s an old Mennonite oil painting by J. Martin.

Mennonite painting by J. Martin

And I got this one at the Aberfoyle flea market. It’s an oil by Mary Herisay.

Oil painting, by Mary Herisay, Montreal

I’m thinking I should maybe collect old paintings instead of new paintings. They’re a lot more affordable.

I also got a couple of cameras for my camera collection, including this Flexaret TLR.

Flexaret camera

This is my friend Henry’s house. Everywhere you look, there’s something interesting to look at or play with. It’s like a hands-on museum.

The music room

Antique coloured bellows cameras

Here are some fly fishermen on the Grand River, which is the third best fly-fishing river in Canada. Maybe North America. Maybe even the world. That’s what Henry says anyway, and he was Angler of the Year in 2006, so he should know.

Anglers on the Grand River

The trip got off to a bit of a rocky start because when I got to the bus stop I realized I’d forgotten my camera. I don’t go anywhere without my camera, so I don’t know how that happened. Anyway, I figured if I really boogied I could get home and back before the bus came.

But then, while I was rushing home, I saw an old man sitting on his lawn waving at me. I waved back. He called out and asked me if I could help him. It turned out he wasn’t just sitting on his lawn (and why would he be, since it was cold and windy and he didn’t have a chair). He had fallen down and couldn’t get up. So I crossed the street and set him back on his feet. He thanked me and continued mowing his lawn and I continued hurrying home to get my camera.

Unfortunately I missed the bus. But I always leave myself a little elbow room in the schedule, so I wasn’t too worried at first. I started to worry when the next #14 was 15 minutes late. There went my elbow room. Then I had to transfer to the 102.

I asked the driver if he could get me to the train station on time.

“Probably,” he said cheerfully.

So I sat down and next thing I knew, the 102 was jammed full of afternoon commuters and it was taking forever at every stop because the back door was broken and everybody had to shove their way through the crowded bus to the front door. I was getting nervous.

And THEN, as if the gods were conspiring to keep me in Ottawa, the bus driver pulled the bus over at Hurdman Station and said he was sorry but he had to shut the bus down for repairs and everybody had to get off.

There was no elbow room left in my schedule. I was down to the wire now. I grabbed my stuff and ran to the nearest bus and asked him if he went to the train station.

“The train station,” he replied in a flat monotone.

“Yes,” I said, “Do you go there?”

“Go there,” he said.

“Do you?” I asked.

“Do you,” he replied.

Another day I might have found it amusing, but on this particular day I didn’t have time for a profound lack of communication skills. Plus he was wearing mirrored glasses and looking out the window, so I couldn’t even read his expression.

I took a chance and jumped on. Luckily he went to the train station and it was the very next stop.

I ran in, and rushed over to one of those self-service kiosks. I’d bought my ticket online, and apparently all I had to do was scan my credit card and it would print my tickets. I scanned my credit card. It didn’t print my tickets. Instead it said it was having trouble reading my card. I ran to the second of the three self-service kiosks. Same thing. I ran to the last self-service kiosk. It clicked importantly and spit out my tickets.

The train was boarding. I made it!

(Oh. And on the way back, I took a taxi home. Three of the last four taxis I’ve taken have been from the train station to my house. In all three cases, the drivers spent the entire time on the phone. I don’t like that. Call me neurotic, but I want the driver to have both hands on the wheel and to be concentrating on driving. Two of those three drivers took a route that overshoots my house and then doubles back, which adds a couple of dollars to the fare. Last time the fare came to $21 and I gave him $30 and asked him to give me back $5. That’s a $4 tip – that’s reasonable, right? He then rummaged through his pockets, and said he only had $3 change so could he have an extra $2 tip? I just wanted to get inside, so I dropped it. But you know what? It still pisses me off that I got manipulated into giving him a $6 tip.)

Okay, this post is kind of rambly and ranty and all over the place, which isn’t what I intended at all. I should clean it up before I post it. But you know what? My living room needs a cleanup even more than this post does, so I’m going to do that instead.


13 comments to My mini-vacation

  • XUP

    Oh.. frrrrr.. this happens all the time in taxis. They’re always on the phone and they have a zillion and one ways of squeezing more tip out of you than you’re willing to give and they’re always going places that are out of the way and they’re always narrowly missing getting into accidents. I think I did a whole blog on it once. I notice a whole different ambience when I take taxis to and from work — then they behave. Bastards

  • KatieC

    awww you went to woodstock?! i’m from just out side of there and went to high school there… .there’s not much to see except maybe the statue of the cow, who recently got a facelift.

  • XUP – I remember that post of yours, and I remember disagreeing with you at the time. I’ve changed my mind. You were right.

    Katie – Damn, I missed the cow! But I did go to the Woodstock Nostalgia Show, which was good, and I had an excellent breakfast afterwards at a 50s diner on the main drag.

  • Doh! You were in my town??? If I’d known you were coming to town, I would have spent more time looking at people and wondering if that’s Zoom. Or maybe that one. Or that one. Oh well… next time?

  • Sin, as I passed through your town I looked for women with cameras and thought “Is that Sin?” “Or maybe that one?”

  • You were in my old neck of the woods too! I grew up in Huron County, so I spent some time in all those places (we don’t have any cities in Huron). Very very beautiful area.

    Mmm… now I am thinking about those appley-waffle things at the St. Jacobs’ market. So very tasty!

  • maybe the bus driver had echolalia?

    seriously though, using a mobile phone while driving is a criminal offence in australia – is there talk of making it so in canada too?

  • oma

    It is illegal in Quebec now.

  • Carmen

    re: taxi….file a complaint at City Hall…’s important.

  • Melinda

    I really like the Mennonite oil. Quaint little picture.

    The mobile phone thing is illegal here too unless you have a hands free kit.

  • Samantha

    Ah, Fergus. I grew up there and in Guelph. You know Fergus is a slow place when teenagers look forward to going to Guelph. As an adult, I am sure I would find things to appreciate there (they didn’t have that big pub downtown when I lived there – I worked in a bird shop in that building) but as a teen, it was so dull. Scenic, but dull.

  • I was in everybody’s old neck of the woods!

    I can understand, Samantha, why you might have found Fergus dull as a teenager. (What’s a bird shop?)

    Melinda, thanks about the Mennonite oil. It’s kind of primitive and folky, but there’s just something about it that I love. I’m really happy I bought it. (I have mixed feelings about the other one – I think I’ll like it better when I find the right wall and the right frame for it.)

    I thought they were just talking about banning cell phones while driving – I didn’t realize there were any jurisdictions in Canada where they’d already done it. Personally I think it’s a good idea. I’ve heard that it doesn’t even make any difference if it’s a hands-free phone, because the problem is drivers are thinking about the conversation, not about the task at hand.

    Heather – yum. I want one of those apple-waffly St. Jacobs things too.

  • Samantha

    It was a store where we sold exotic birds. Cockatoos, Macaws, all manner of parrots, parakeets and conures. Not much of a market in a small town like that and it shut down after two years. Also, most people aren’t prepared for the commitment that a large pet bird brings. It’s like having a toddler for 50 years. By the way, I adopted a cat from my local humane society on Friday and I think he may be Duncan’s little brother.