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Sabbatical, 2004
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A Sudden Departure

(An instalment of the Diary of an Inheritance series, which began in July, 2001, when we inherited a very much run down shack in the Québec woods.)

Toronto, Ontario
September 3, 2005

We ended our time at the cottage one day early.

Why?  Because a tree fell in the woods!

This time, however, I was not trying to cut it down.

A ferocious five-minute windstorm yesterday, probably some side-effect of hurricane Katrina, brought it down.

I had gone out to watch the waves on the lake (I cannot remember ever seeing them them that big), when suddenly I heard the “cra-a-a-a-ckkkk” of a huge tree beginning to fall.  As the sound was coming from behind our cottage, I looked up the hill in some dread, and learned two things simultaneously:
          1. The falling tree was big, but too far away to damage the cottage, and
          2. A bright flash and a loud pop told me that it had hit the powerlines.

Sure enough the lights went off and the fridge stopped running there and then.

And I knew something else:  our place is so far from anywhere that it might be days before power is restored.

Phone calls to Hydro Québec assured us that men would be coming along the line sometime in the next few days, but it is the Labour Day weekend, and there are 45,000 homes in the Laurentians with power knocked out by the same storm (evidently lots of trees had come down), so it may be quite a while before they get to us.

We were planning to leave tomorrow.

However, living without power in our cottage is sufficiently awkward that we decided it would be just as easy to pack up and head off to Winnipeg one day early (just unplug everything, so that when the power does come back, there will be no lights blazing night and day).  So, after a lovely evening – candelight, cold chicken, and reading to the light of a lantern – we got up this morning, packed up our things, and left!

Then, on the road, and realizing we had gained an extra day before being due back home (of course, I myself am not due to be anywhere, having retired, but Heather has appointments), on a whim, and some cellphone contacts with Ariel and Rachael, we pointed the car to Toronto.

Which is where we are now!  When we got to Toronto, there was a pleasant gathering over at Rachael’s, and now we’re spending the night at Ariel and Shai’s.

Tomorrow morning (Sunday) we’ll go to church at St. Thomas’, then get on the highway again and head for home.  We should be in Winnipeg by Tuesday evening.

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Tony running a chainsaw
Chainsaw Man
Our holiday this year was very possibly the best ever.  We were happy, and relaxed, and the place is liveable, so the pressure to fix and repair it has been considerably reduced.

Rachael’s performance in Stratford was a great success, and in later August, once both Heather and I had returned to the cottage, the weather got a little cooler so that I was able to get out on the grounds and finally saw up the great tree carcass.  Meanwhile, Heather and Ariel painted more of the inside walls.

Once I get home, retirement life will begin in earnest.  Shall I post anything about it online?  Who knows!?

We are, however, returning to the cottage at the end of September.  I have a church meeting in Toronto, after which I will rent a car and go to the lake!  Heather will fly down to Ottawa around Thanksgiving, and we’ll have some Fall days together there before locking it down for another year.

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Click here to go directly to the next entry (2006) of this Diary of an Inheritance.


1  In 2002 I cut a tree down at the lake with disastrous results.  Click here to see the story..
And click here to return to this narrative.

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