Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You drive me crazy

The scene: B and I are on vacation in Nova Scotia, on the last and longest day of a road trip around the Cabot Trail and then off of Cape Breton Island. I am behind the wheel of our rental car we have nicknamed the Gangsta-car. (For the record, we ordered a compact, this is what they gave us.)

B: "There's an on-ramp ahead, better move over to the left."

Me: "Yah, O.K."

B: "It's clear on the left, you can switch lanes now."

Me: "I can see that, thank you."

B: "Are we going to get off at the next exit for gas?"

Me: "Yes, that's what I said I was going to do two minutes ago."

[A few kilometres later:]

B: "There's a gas station, on the left. You can go in there."

Me: "I see it."

B: " There's no left turn lane, you'll have to wait at the light now."

Me: "I'm aware of that."

B: "Wait, wait, not yet... O.K., all clear, you can turn in now. Bay two is empty, pull in there."

Me: "SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!!! Please stop the CONSTANT FREAKIN' NARRATIVE about my driving. I've been driving for 34 years without a single accident. When I got my licence you were still getting dinky toys for Christmas. Relax, enjoy the scenery."

B: "Sorry, I was trying to be helpful."

Me: "Well you're helping me go insane."

For the next 50 kilometres or so B silently studies the map and the road signs.

Me: "I'm getting tired, do you want to drive for a while?"

We pull over and change places. A few minutes later:

Me: "You're going too fast for this curvy road. And we are too close to that truck ahead."

B gives me a quick icy stare.

Me: "Sorry, I'll keep quiet."

B and I are incredibly compatible. Soulmates. But, Oh. My. God. we do not drive together well. We both know we drive better than the other. In fact, better than most anybody else on the road.

In between nattering at each other, we did catch glimpses of the scenery. Which ranged from the sublime:

To the ridiculous:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Which fork now?

Now I am over the shock of shit...fifty. Oh yes, sooo over it.

So, let's get back to where we left off just before that

On vacation in Nova Scotia in early September. We headed up to Cape Breton Island. It is spectacular and rugged, much of it national park. We hiked in the brilliant, fall-kissed sunshine. Our first morning we hiked to Ingonish beach and around the lake behind it. I have never seen such a beach: Salt water on one side, and a freshwater beach behind the long spit. Except for a few terns and gulls, we had it to ourselves.

Then we took Middle Head trail out to the end of a peninsula for a picnic lunch high on the headland.

Late in the afternoon, with pleasantly achy leg muscles, we got back to our:
Tent? no.....
Backpacker's hostel? no...
Inexpensive cabin?

Because we were staying at the luxurious, decadent, way out-of-our-budget Keltic Lodge. This was a birthday gift from my generous parents. If you ever want to treat yourself, oh man, this is the place to do it. Look:

When the third course of our four course dinner was served B whispered: "Which fork do we use this time?"

I shrugged. Even If I knew, I could not have answered. My mouth was full of lobster. Succulent, pink and white, tender lobster, drenched in fresh squeezed lemon. This was worth turning fifty for! Thanks Mom and Dad.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Just another monday

It was an ordinary day today. There was a bit of fall nip in the air when I was waiting for the skytrain. The only seat left when I got on was beside a very fat woman, and she took up her own seat plus half the one next to her. I struggled with the dilemma of whether to sit next to her, uncomfortably perched on one butt cheek, or to stand, offending her because it would be obvious I did not want to sit beside her. I stood. Apparently my compassion ends where numb bum begins.

At work I went to a meeting where I had to defend a decision I had taken last week. The meeting attendees were not happy about it, and had asked for the meeting to let me know just how unhappy they were. That was fun.

My sister called from Spain, excited about her recent pregnancy scan of her baby, due in March. I was thrilled to hear her talk about seeing the tiny fingers move.

For lunch I had left over macaroni salad.

On the way home I stopped at the bank to deposit two little expense cheques. B and I went out to the local sea food place for dinner, and dropped in at his parents to pick up a bag of apples from their tree.

Yup, just another ordinary Monday. Oh, except for one more little thing. I, um, I, I...I.... Oh God,....I shit,.....fifty.

Oh how I wish I was 21 again.

Or maybe not. Now that's a photo guaranteed to dispel any longing for my lost youth.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Tancook Island ghost

One day on vacation last week, we were headed by ferry and bicycles for a day trip to Tancook Island. It lies about an hour's boat ride from Chester, and a million miles from the well visited coves that dot the tourist routes of Nova Scotia.

"How many people live on Tancook?" I asked the ferry captain.

"A hunnert-tirty" he said. "Plus twenny-far more on Little Tancook Island."

When we arrived at "big" Tancook, it seemed most of the hunnert-tirty residents were there to meet passengers or pick up stuff unloaded by the big red crane on the ferry.

There is no store, gas station, or any business other than a small cafe on the Island. The cars there do not have licence plates, or presumably, insurance either.

So I tightened the strap on my bike helmet before we hit the road. All ten dirt kilometres of it. I wonder how many targets there are for the owner of this souped up Tancook chick magnet?

Despite the warm sunshine, Tancook Island had a chilly, eerie feel. We stopped at the top of a hill half way across the Island and explored the graveyard. The graves here date back to the late 1700's. There are dozens of sad little headstones from a smallpox outbreak in the 1870's. One family lost twelve children.

Walking through the whole graveyard, we counted only 7 different surnames on over 200 years of headstones. I began to hear echoes of duelling banjos (or maritime fiddles?)

Near the end of the road we rounded a bend and came across a black and white cat lying near a small red building. He stretched, sauntered over to us for a rub, and walked into the single room red shed. Then we saw the little sign over the open door: TANCOOK ISLAND MUSEUM. We followed him inside. Someone has collected antique tools, photographs, furniture and household items from Tancook, and gathered them here. There was a donation box for "money for the lights". Despite the bright day, it was dark inside, and the lights were on. The cat rubbed up against our ankles as we walked around the "exhibits".

About 50 metres past the museum we stopped to greet two men painting a barn. "Hello, what is the museum cat's name?" I asked.

"What cat?" one man said.

"The friendly black and white one, hanging around the museum just up the road," I explained.

They looked at each other, shrugged, and one answered, "I daown't naow any cat up theyah".

When we rode past the museum on our return to the ferry later, after our picnic lunch, we stopped and looked for our feline tour guide, but he (she?) had dissappeared.

It was a ghost kitty, I'm sure of it. Perhaps the beloved pet of one of the young children in the graveyard. Guarding the child's treasures now on display in the museum. A very fat, well fed ghost, I'll admit. But still.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

We have been on holiday in Nova Scotia. Since this was B's first trip to the Maritimes, we visited some of of the usual sites on the first few days.

Like historical Lunenburg,a UNESCO world heritage site:

The schooner Bluenose was in port (she graces the front of our dimes too.):

We stopped to photograph the famous three churches of Mahone Bay.

We paid our respects at the memorial to the passengers of SwissAir flight 111. We did not know until afterward we were there on the ninth anniversary of the tragedy.

The windswept rocks near Peggy's Cove made for several hours of hiking and exploring:

Tiny Blue Rocks harbour was gorgeous:

We explored the lovely village of Chester on foot:

Which of course earned us a Kieth's Pale Ale and a Moosehead Lager on the deck of the Rope Loft pub.

Where we plotted our Nova Scotia adventures ahead. Which would take us on a ferry ride and an encounter with a ghost. Stay tuned.