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Cold Showers and Pirates

(A small instalment of the Diary of an Inheritance series, which began in July, 2001, when we inherited a little cottage in the Québec woods.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

an outhouse, with a running shower in front of it
The perfect cold shower

You may wonder at this, but a cold shower can sometimes be a true delight!  The weather has been extremely hot at the cottage, and at this stage in my life, I find being excessively warm saps all my energy!  A cold shower, therefore, is very restorative.  Instead of spending the day in lassitude, I just climb up to the shower, get good and wet, and PRESTO! – I’m ready to do some of the ever-present cottage chores.

“Climb up to the shower?”  Yes, that’s what I said.  At our totally primitive woodland establishment, we have installed an outdoor shower beside the outhouse door – which is up a bunch of stairs.  It’s a bit of a contraption, I admit:  beneath the house a hose is connected to a tap on our water pump; from there it runs up a tree to the roof of the cottage where a considerable length simply lies in the blazing sun (to warm up the water, naturally);  then it travels up the hill to the outhouse platform where we have placed our recently-acquired shower assembly (see photograph).

You might wonder why, if I need to cool off, I don’t just go swimming?  Well, of course, swimming is an option, but (a) you must not use soap in the lake, and thus can’t really clean up, and (b) the water has actually been heated slightly, in its journey across the cabin roof, so that the shower isn’t quite the shock to the system that diving into the lake can be!

So... I guess life at the cottage is, well, different from normal daily living; which is a good thing.

“Nobeard” the Pirate, and Captain Morgan

a home-made drawing posing as a flag
The Pirate’s Flag
Heather and I have had a couple of pirates staying with us.  Our granddaughter, Calyn, along with her friend Morgan Galinaitis, were permitted by parents to come to the lake for a week.  The girls are fifteen years old, and we feared that they would treat the visit with the boredom and scorn that girls of that age can sometimes reserve for living with a couple of seniors, especially if those seniors are in a wilderness cabin where there is nothing stylish and hip to do.  But they surprised us.

Calyn, in pirate gear
NoBeard the pirate
In addition to doing plenty of swimming and fooling around in the water, the girls borrowed one of the Fisher Price boats and explored the lake.  They decided they were pirates, and made a pirate flag for their tiny vessel.  Then notices began appearing on various docks and swimming platforms: “This dock has been captured by Nobeard the Pirate and girl sailor Morgan.” A fisherman encountered the pirates, and allowed them to “capture” one of the oranges he had brought for a snack.  For several days they would do things like this, to our great delight, returning at the end of each outing flushed with victory.

In the evenings there would be card games to play, or jigsaw puzzles to complete.  The girls never once complained of boredom.

One evening they were just chatting with each other, while Heather and I read, or were busy with our laptops, when something that one of them said seemed to me to be just a little too grown up, a little on the risqué side, and I said, “Careful!  There are old people in this cottage who can hear what you’re saying!”

“Old people?” said Calyn, “Morgan, there are old people in here!  How did they get in?  Did you leave the door open?”

Our Descendents

Earlier in August we had a memorable family event:  all four of our children, plus their spouses/partners, plus all our grandchildren, found themselves in Toronto on the same day.  We haven’t been all together for more than ten years!  It was wonderful, and noisy, and chaotic, and just right.  A total family portrait was organized (you can click here to see it); and, as Caribana was in full gear that day, a bunch of us went to see the parade.  On Sunday, a contingent of about 17 people (friends of Chris and Andrea had also joined us) went to church at St. Thomas’ Huron Street.  Sitting as we did in the front pews, we made an enormous and very visible addition to the congregation!

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The next entry (late Fall, 2006) of this Diary of an Inheritance is also the very next Oxbow.  Click here.

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