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