On Sunday, my Canadian odyssey continued unabated, when I moved east from Newcastle village, Ontario to Brockville, Leeds county. My new residence a family home, also in the province of Ontario, a few hundred yards north of the St Lawrence River. A vast waterway on the Canadian/US borders which from the side I stand gives opposite bank views of northern New York State.
I’m staying with a family I’m acquainted with following my sojourn to Strachan village, Scotland during the summer. People who, on hearing of bucket list aspirations to visit Toronto, kindly invited to stop at their residence which is within the same province as Hogtown (Toronto).
This home built as a hide out during the American Civil War by an AWOL Union soldier. Sadly for the escapee, he was pretty quickly found, captured and dragged back over the border to the US where he was shot for cowardice, misuse of maple syrup and overpaying for roofing timber.
His nature of his resistance so dogged you can still see his finger nail imprints on the front door where he’d hung on for dear life during his capture. The pizza box from the takeaway ordered just prior to his 1862 capture now on display in a glass fronted kitchen cupboard, marking the incident’s historical importance.
The families welcome since my arrival has been warm, cordial and on occasion involved wine. That being said, though, I wasn’t happy to be asked to sand, fill and paint the front door which’d borne “Bloody Yankee fingernail damage for 160 years!”
Last night there was a family get-together with my hosts immediate family. During this time I got to know these people as hospitable, generous, kind, humorous, bright and not keen on decorating front doors.
We dined on curry, I was taught the rules of America Football by one of my hosts (Justin- The partner of my hosts eldest offspring), laughed, had another curry, laughed a bit more, talked about the ordering a third curry, chortled, giggled, ordered a kebab, checked myself into the Betty Ford Takeaway Addiction Clinic. Finally, forgetting all the rules of America Football during the subsequent Electroconvulsive Therapy.
This morning I fulfilled a bucket list desire to breakfast in an old school Canadian/American diner. Ever since watching Kojak order this breakfast in a 1970’s episode of the eponymous cop show, I’ve always wanted to visit a North American continent diner to order “Eggs over-easy on rye.”
Sadly, though, it finally dawned on me that eggs over-easy contained a runny yolk, which I hate. Consequently, instead I ended up ordering pancakes with maple syrup, bacon and sausage, along with a strong coffee. A meal whose volume was so over-facing I was unable to completely consume it’s contents.
This breakfasting experience re-iterating to me why our cousins on this side of the pond won’t be having Bob Geldof organising a fund-raising concert any time soon to counter widespread starvation on this continent.
Later I took a stroll around the St Lawrence River front/marina and ventured to see the Brockville Railway Tunnel which boasts the accolade of being Canada’s inaugural railway tunnel. Looking through this 527 metre tunnel I could just about make out the light at the far end.
As I took a photograph of the construction, in a fit of unusual optimism, after a predominantly dreadful few years, I took witnessing this light at the end of the Brockville tunnel to be a metaphor for better existential times ahead …… We shall see!!