Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Local Orchard Bar and its Patrons

While coming up the road today I noticed that the Patrons of the Orchard Bar and Pub were having a
raucous time, drinking from fermented apples, telling naughty jokes and generally raising hell and putting a prop under it!

Whilst the little birds, - the Finches the Thrushes, the Robins and even the Sparrows - stayed soberly home, the Starlings and the Blackbirds perched high in the apple trees, surveying the world in an inebriated splendour, sweeping down every few minutes to have another sip of the fermented apple cider that kept them in this glorious state!!!

The owner of the Pub was absent, and the wickedly merry birds took advantage of the situation to indulge their serious drinking habits until someone called Time, Gentlemen!

I continued on my way up the road, reminiscing about days when husbands were young and sometimes spent Saturday afternoons in the Local Bar, enjoying themselves in much the same way as our glossy feathered friends! And with much the same results.....

Friday, March 16, 2007

The books I brought home from the library...

One for frivolity - Daily Candy, A to Z. I took this book to bed with me last night, but after having spent a great deal of energy in trying to outsmart Husband at cards I put the book down after the pages on D - is for Do-Gooding, turned off the light and immediately fell asleep. I will read some more tonight, -

D had some interesting observations - "Some say the world is divided into two types: the good who spread love and lend a helping hand; and the bad, who avoid charitable activities, drop-kick puppies and spit on babies".

Two for nostalgia - The Old Dog Barks Backwards by Ogden Nash. The first Ogden Nash books I purchased came through the Book Club I belonged to back in the early forties, - a set of four volumes which have traveled with me for over sixty years, and which I still enjoy as much as ever. They include The Private Dining Room, Good Intentions, Versus and Many Long Years Ago.

From Good Intentions:

Sally Rand
Needs an extra hand.

and - Assorted Chocolates

If some confectioners were willing
To let the shape announce the filling
We'd encounter fewer assorted chocs
Bitten into and returned to the box.

from Versus

"Whatever others may sing of spring,
I wish to sing there is no such thing.
Spring is simply a seasonal gap
When winter and summer overlap,
What kind of a system is it, please,
When in March you parch, and in May you freeze?
Yet give some people a glimpse of a crocus,
And all their perspective gets out of focus.
They lose their rubbers and store their V-necks,
And omit to renew their supply of Kleenex,
They shed their ulsters to walk uphill in,
And forget their sulfa and penicillin.
I suppose it's the same in Patagonia;
Today spring fever, tomorrow pneumonia".

A timely writer, no matter that he has been gone for almost forty years. And that the books I quote from were written in the 1930's.....

I love him, - he is even better than Gooks! And I shall wallow in nostalgia for those days I first read Nash, while I was still single, young and carefree.

Three for entertainment - The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason.

The flyleaf tells me the book is rich, atmospheric and evocative of the sights, smells, and textures of nineteenth century Burma - that it is a writing of deep potency and resonance, of beauty and pain and all things in between. That it is an irresistible amalgam of Kipling, Rider Haggard and Conrad at the very best.

It sounds to me as if this is a book I will have to renew, - not one to be skimmed through casually.

Four for nourishment of the Soul- The Measure of a Man - a spiritual autobiography by Sidney Poitier (for whom I always had the greatest admiration, and whose films I found delightful and touching ). I have missed him all these years, without realizing it until I saw his book on the Quick Read shelf. Seven days before it must be returned to the library. Definitely a priority.

As I leaf through the pages I see his comments on the daring of producing "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" at that particular time, - and the criticism he received for playing an elegant and humane role. He points out that the message the film portrayed was that "black society does - of course - contain individuals of refinement, education, and accomplishment, and that white society - of course- should wake up to that reality?" Unfortunately, the message was sometimes misinterpreted .

The weather forecast doesn't look too great for the next few days, - this is the book I will escape indoors to read.

But now, Husband has stirred from the T.V. - it's Card Game/Cabaret time!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

As Spring Advances

Husband and I drive along the river bank to check on the current condition of the run-off.

To day we found the ice had disappeared from the
sides of the banks, and the river was flowing at a fast pace. In places, as it pounded against a curve in the river, one could almost say it was boiling. Certainly simmering......

And the snow is disappearing fr
om the lower slopes.

Whereas two weeks ago the K on the mountain was dramatically outlined with snow, today there are only outlines of small slides to emphas
is the feature which gives the mountain its name.

We are reminded of various spring times over the last twenty years while we were living in the valley bottom that caused a fair amount of anxiety over the threat of flooding. The looms and the piano lived on the lower floor of the old house, and their safety in case of flooding was always of the utmost concern.

This year is particularly tricky, with record snowfalls in the hills and a late spring run-off.

The hope is for continued coolish weather, - warm enough to keep the creeks happily gurgling into the rivers that feed the Similkameen, and the ground water soaking into the hills. No rain or hot weather welcome.....

This valley has been devastated by flooding twice in the last sixty years, and as we drove along the river bank we looked with skepticism at the large, expensive homes that have been built on vulnerable flood plain land.

I did not mention this at Lunch with the Ladies today, as three of them are living on properties that have been inundated with wild water in the past.

Despite the wonderful river bottom land we left behind, we are thankful to be back on the hillside!

We watch spring advance with delight, but also with some trepidation!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Signs of Spring - Tara la la la

O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
I should like to live, whether I smile or
Just to watch the happy life of my green things growing.
- Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

The Forsythia from the Lost Garden that we brought home and nurtured in the bathtub - blooming its little heart out and brightening up the living room, - and bathroom....

The sap rising in the peach orchards, and in the willows, turning the trees into
candle flames which almost rival the colours of fall.

A poor misguided farmer who has not yet learned the ways of the valley, - that you leave your prunings and cleared trees to dry for at least six months, so that when you do put fire to tinder it results in a good clean flame, rather than smoke which travels the length and breadth of the valley.

And the river, starting its run-off slowly while the ice clings to the banks in four foot sheets.

In the fields the number of small cavorting calves increases day by day, and up north at Meadowranch the new lambs start to arrive - and the pictures of them cause a great swell of nostalgia. Ah, for days gone by....

Each day a few more bulbs escape the earth, tentatively, and I see the delphinium, the peonies and the Shasta daisies pushing up their first shoots of tender green.

The poplar trees have that unmistakable colour which promises swelling leaf buds - there are pussy willows down in the yard below us, and catkins hang on the hazelnut trees in the Lost Garden.

In the morning the chittering and chattering of small birds is as pleasing to the ear as their most melodious songs. Occasionally great flocks of starlings gather in the apple trees, and the little dog, the Straight Guy, is startled by the sound of a farmer's scare gun which sends the starlings scattering and starts him barking.

The clouds are benign, the sky is blue, and although the wind is sometimes bitter, most times it is mild and wafts the fragrances of spring. We are not yet finished with March - not even half way through. The month has brought surprises before, and nobody is relaxing into Spring, - just enjoying what comes, day by day.