Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I get lonely for Helen. I re-read some of the thousands of emails we exchanged over twenty years. News. Challenges. Grief. Stories. Support. Love. Solidarity.

She wrote about a mutual school friend who stayed behind to chat with her after a book club meet. Una was seven months pregnant forty years ago when she was summoned from Dublin to Cork by her family as her mother was terminally ill and wanted to die at home in the pre-hospice era. A few days after Una's arrival she woke up in the middle of the night with terrible pains that she thought might be labour. She lay there in terror.


The only phone in the house was downstairs in the hall and no one in the house she was reared in ever disturbed her father, a light sleeper, in the middle of the night. Ever. The punishment for one of her brothers who had the temerity to do so resulted in injuries that kept him out of school for over a week.

Una wept as she told Helen how she cried and moaned into her pillow all night, her body writhing in agony. In the morning she waited for her father to leave for work before she got out of bed. The pains had now stopped and she was relieved but she felt nauseous. Once the doctor arrived to administer morphine to her mother, she mentioned the pains of the night before and he evaluated the situation. He immediately summoned an ambulance.

The baby was born dead a few hours later.

Una said to Helen it was the first time she'd ever talked about all of it.

Helen wrote to me: "I'm only telling you because you understand that kind of terror."

Sadly, I do.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Blue Window

So yes, open it
Just a crack.
The blue curtains
Need replacing.
Once I saw outside,
1935 it was.
I didn't like it then.
I doubt if I would now.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tales from my Couch


Bill, a man in his late fifties, slim - B.
Trudy, his wife, a hefty woman - T.
Me, their host - M.

B - (settling into the couch in my living room) - how are the roads around here?

M - (laughing) it depends on what you want to do with them: drive, lie, walk or dig them.

B - (laughing)Oh, I'm into running, I do half marathons.

M - Oh they're not bad for that, I trained on them, I can tell you where the best ones are.

T - Oh he's mad for the running, I don't believe in it myself.

B - Well now Trood, it's either that or die.

M - What?

B - (looking at Trudy) I'm going to tell her.

T - You tell everybody.

B - Because it's so amazing.

T - (eyeroll) He never shuts up about it.

B - I used to be 500lbs.

M - (gobsmacked)Seriously?

B - 4 Years ago I had a gastric band put in. I could barely stand up without help.

M - And you've changed your lifestyle. Well good for you!

B - Yes I run in different races now. I track my steps every day, I have hill training and mountain climbing and all sorts of physical events. I love it.

T - (in a flat tone of voice)From a couch potato to a marathon man in 4 years.

M - Talk of change, positive, life affirming.....

B - I love my new life. I took 6 weeks off work recently to have all the extra skin excised from my body, it was painful and horrible but as you can see...(and he waved his hand over his flat stomach and athletic thighs)

T - I hardly know him. He was 250lbs when I married him and now he's 180lbs.

B - I have loads of plans. A huge bucket list. Climbing mountains and deep sea diving. You name it, Bill's going to do it!

Ah, I think. Now where does all this leave Trudy?

At breakfast this morning, he asks for porridge, yogurt and a sprinkle of almonds and granola on top.

She has the big Newfoundland fry-up.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dis 'N Dat

Mistaken Point, Newfoundland. Closeup of fossils.

I was going to write a post about degrees and it got away from me so I'll hold off until my thoughts formulate a little better on the topic. It sounded very interesting in my head. On paper it was clunky and awkward. So I breathe.

A guest read my two hander play. She made great suggestions. She's involved in community theatre and arts on a small island off the coast of BC. An enthusiast like myself. I picked her brains free of charge. She was gracious about it considering she paid me to stay for two nights.

I am awaiting 2 more PGS at the moment. I'm getting quite a bit of traffic from Maine, USA this summer. I love Maine, I've been there a few times and wonder why the residents are leaving one view of the Atlantic and wandering up to our view. All are driving. Quite a journey. Maine people are salt of the earth. And they have LL Bean. 'Nuff said.

My life is very full - a bit too dense, actually, but I'm heading off on Friday for a few days' break and I can't believe how excited I am. I love road trips and exploring and visiting. And Daughter is joining us to add another lovely dimension. Photos from the road to follow.

Mistaken Point not too far from here, has just been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Oldest fossils in the world - see photo above. We are bracing ourselves for even more tourists. All good for my wee haven also.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Instant Love

Have you ever had that experience? Meeting someone for the first time and feeling a bond, a special recognition and connection. An "I know you!" No, I'm not talking romantic love. And yes, I've had that instant lust a few times too.

I'm talking something else entirely. And it doesn't happen too often. And I'm glad it doesn't. Otherwise it wouldn't be that special, would it?

I was friends with this man, let's call him Donald. Not soul friends or anything. He was the brother of a close friend. She has many gatherings at her house and myself and Donald had this ongoing almost flirtatious relationship. We didn't see eye to eye on politics or religion or core beliefs but it was engaging and fun for others to listen to and watch. At another age, due to the sparks, we would probably have taken it further, as those mad days would demand, but even thinking of those mad days tires me out along with the idea of taking off my clothes.....

Anyway, Donald had one of those cancers that are insidious and invisible. He looked wonderful but his blood was in bad shape and he died, mercifully quickly, after several years of treatments and blood cleansing machines and chemo and gawd knows what else.

At the wake, a couple of months ago, I met his daughter for the first time, she had flown up from Boston for his funeral. And it was one of those things. For privacy, we went out to the parking lot and talked and talked. And hugged long and hard. And agreed, yes, there was a special connection.

She flew here a week ago and insisted I be invited to a family function recently and there I met her partner and her kids and that absolutely special connection was still there. I shared some of my art and poems with her and she showed me a special blanket she's making for her autistic son. And it's hard to explain, but we truly know each other, can see inside each other.

Loves her I do.

Friday, July 08, 2016

My World of PGs*

*Paying guests

It's busy out here in my little corner of the Edge of the Atlantic. Tourism season chugs along. I run out of Nice after a few days of it. Hospitality means I have to share my home with strangers. And ensure the rooms look decent and breakfast is palatable and I'm interesting. My reviews are such that I think my PGs walk through my door expecting a performance. OK. I'll give you an example:

We had a most wonderful night with WWW. We talked and laughed like old friends. She gave us a great dinner recommendation and we had a wonderful sleep. Breakfast was lovely with homemade yogurt and partridgeberry jam as well as eggs ham oatmeal and toast and more great conversation. We really wished we had longer to stay and know we will be back next time we are on the island. WWW is the most wonderful Airbnb host we have met.

WWW made us feel right at home and this was my favorite place to stay in Newfoundland. It was like stepping back in time but with a host who was a literary genius. WWW knows so much about the area and Newfoundland that it was a real education. It was also the best breakfast of our entire trip. I would love to stay there again.

And many in this vein. Which is wonderful for business but if you're like me, a gregarious loner, it can be a little wearying. Reading the reviews I fall in love with myself a bit and want to visit me but then I gladly welcome back my inner Cranky Crone and joked around with Daughter the other day asking her should I present CC to the guests, a la The Soup Nazi and bark orders at them to go to their rooms and not disturb me and if they don't wash the dishes tonight they won't get any breakfast in the morning, and only use one tiny towel as the others are just for show, and if they want sheets it'll be $100 extra, etc.

All in good fun and a stress buster. My guests are quite lovely. I just hosted an opera singer and his dancer girlfriend who were cycling around the Avalon. He and I bonded over Gilbert & Sullivan, he is set to play the lead in the Pirates of Penzance in January in Toronto.

And then there was the doctor and her wife who were so incredibly well-travelled and interesting and invited me to stay in Vancouver with them anytime I wanted.

And the French couple who were working in Guadaloupe who were on their way to St. Pierre and Miguelon to visit friends. There are many such French outposts on our globe.

Then there was elder-biker, a seasoned road warrior, and I can't forget the Quebec father and daughter couple and.......

And yeah, I get paid for this.

Which is the icing on le gateau.

As you can see, the francais is rubbing off on me.

Time for the Cranky Crone to emerge.