Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve (2017)

It's New Year's Eve 2017. Though we're refrigerated by Arctic air there was a complementary cloudless azure dome and dazzling yellow sunshine today. It was sublime to be outside! Conveniently the low tide was at noon so there was a broad swath of smooth, flat sand upon which to cycle to Ponce Inlet. The sea was jade and frothing. Along the beach were sunbathers, surfers, fishermen, walkers, cyclists, couples, families and holiday-makers.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Tidying Up

At three o'clock this morning I pitched about in bed crafting in my head an email to Bell Canada, the network provider for my iPhone 7.  This is not the first time I have written to Bell Canada.  In fact sadly for the past four years it has been a monthly obligation - at least during our winter sojourn in the United States of America when under the minacious cloud of "roaming charges".  Every month Bell Canada levied incorrect charges on our account notwithstading a prearranged "Travel Plan".  We had hoped to obviate a repetition of the annoyance by adopting a new plan available for the first time this year. Apparently we're not out of the woods.  I received a text warning from Bell Canada mandated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that I am potentially incurring roaming charges. I investigated my on-line account only to discover another assertion that I had exceeded my allowable limit.  Without trotting out my rebuttal, I have taken Bell Canada to task about these baseless allegations. My historical experience is that they make good their default though not without persistent and time-consuming complaint. This morning's effort was directed to eliminate the entrenchment of yet another miscalculation by anticipating the error prior to the settlement of the account on the 11th day of the coming month.  We'll see...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Una voce poco fa

It is almost the end of another day and almost the end of another year.  It is natural that one should reflect upon the past both proximate and more distant. Particularly so when today - which was appropriately grey, cold and forbidding - I've submerged myself in historical imperatives; viz.,  E. F. Benson's "Queen Lucia" (1920), Rossini's "Il barbiere di Siviglia" (1816) and a movie set in the early 1950s called "Carol" (2015) starring Cate Blanchett (a film which revived in particular my memory of the Drake Hotel in Chicago). The movie is a twist upon the seasonal tradition of Alastair Sim's performance (1951) as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (1843).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Nasty Clown

Well!  2017!  This has been quite the year! And who would have thought a clown succeeded to change it all.  A nasty clown. The image occurred to me when squinting at the ubiquitous mephitic-mouthed buffoon on the television. What I saw was a diabolical rendition of a comic entertainer of Low German origin. But this particular clown is playing more than the giddy goat. What I see is a vicious-looking hatchet.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day (2017)

The east coast of the United States of America never escapes the repercussions of Canadian winter weather.  Christmas Day here today was a chilly 67℉; and we have it on good report from our friends on Hilton Head Island (with whom we exchanged Christmas greetings mid-morning) that the temperature there was forbidding as well.  They complained of feeling housebound. Nonetheless it was sunny and as usual I went for a bicycle ride shortly after noon following the conclusion of my customary prolonged breakfast (which today included an exceptionally flavourful orange).

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Daytona Beach Shores (2017)

For the past twenty-two years we've spent every Christmas except one in a place where the only white on the ground is the sand on the beach, places like the Mayan Riviera, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Domincan Republic, Antigua, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Hilton Head Island and now Daytona Beach Shores. Progressively the sojourns have extended from one-week all-inclusive jaunts to ten-day beachclub indulgences to three-week residential hotel vacations to six-month condominium winters. The early trips were purposively planned over the Christmas holiday as it was an opportune time to shut down my law practice.  There was never any business during that week.  Even if I stayed at the wheel (as on several occasions I had previously done) everybody else had evaporated. My lingering attendance was destined to be social only.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wintry Sky

Even in sub-tropical climates in late December there is the unmistakeable hue of a wintry sky. The light is less harsh; the shadows are longer and there is an ominous starkness. The Winter Solstice is upon us complete with its Christian response. In spite of the balmy breeze and 80℉ temperature today the sky had a soft yellow blur characteristic of the atmosphere upon the approach of Christmas Eve, tomorrow.

Friday, December 22, 2017


Apart from the daily camouflage of existence nothing so explicitly distinguishes us from the animal kingdom as our abstract thoughts. The height of humanity is its dignity.  How we cultivate and preserve that dignity is of interest to me.  To be clear I consider it redundant to enquire whether the pursuit of dignity is either important or imperative. It is both in my opinion. If you disagree then the analysis will perhaps be superfluous.

A Tiny Christmas

Doc Kelly was well-known for his magnanimity. It was not uncommon for example for him to accept potatoes or corn in payment of his medical services, especially from those who would, as fate would have it, oblige him to travel by sleigh on a blustery wintry night from Town to the nearby Village of Barnhart Mills where several of his more elderly and struggling patients lived. They relied upon him and his good advice, always given cheerfully and without restraint. They would have given more to him in compensation of his professional services, but they hadn’t any more to give and Doc Kelly knew that. It is no accident that if one is good at something in particular, one is often so in general. While it may be considered an odd extrapolation, the beneficence of Doc Kelly was so widely disseminated as to include not only human kind but also animals, particularly the small ones which are so often ignored on the theory that their diminutive size somehow accounts for a greater likelihood of survival in the harsh winter months, an observation which Doc Kelly understood to be patently erroneous.

The Red Panda

Toby, who had a protuberant little belly (over which hung a tag strung from his neck announcing his pedigree), was a Red Panda Teddy bear made in Germany of Mohair, No. 458 of a Limited Edition of 1000 pieces. He "lived" in the Village clock shoppe of Mr. Dilwert Schomberg on top of The Concise Oxford Dictionary (Fifth Edition), which in turn rested upon two thick volumes of telephone books (one of which was the Yellow Pages, the other a listing of Regional Residential numbers). From this vantage atop the old metal filing cabinet (which in turn supported the Regional Listing, Yellow Pages and Dictionary), Toby was afforded a clear view across the room where Mr. Schomberg (squinting through his gold rimmed spectacles) worked assiduously during the day at his well-worn wooden desk, cluttered with a collection of pliers, small screw drivers and other implements of the trade. Toby’s view further extended over the glass-cased oak counter, and finally to the pine door entrance, appended to the outside of which was a large brass door knocker in the shape of a mighty lion’s head. Fortunately for Toby, in the poorly heated shoppe of Mr. Schomberg, he had the benefit by day of a nearby lamp which poured forth both its light and radiant heat upon Toby, at least that is until Mr. Schomberg at the end of the business day unpocketed his set of keys, turned off the lights, turned down the heat even more, then removed himself from the premises, locking the door with a double click behind him. As a result of Mr. Schomberg’s precautions, the nights were fairly uncomfortable for Toby, and no doubt accounted for the enthusiasm (in his heart only of course) with which he greeted Mr. Schomberg upon his arrival the next morning, when the light and heat were restored.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Conundrum at the North Pole

The elves were having an awful time of it! The conveyor belt upon which rode the Teddy bears, model cars, train sets, smart phones, dolls, doll houses and wind-up toys had jammed no less than three times already this morning, and it was only ten o’clock! Now it had jammed again. This, of all things, at the busiest time of the year! There remained only days before Christmas Eve, even fewer because they couldn’t really count Christmas Eve itself. Everything had to be packed and onto Santa’s shiny crimson sleigh no later than noon on Christmas Eve if he were to make his worldwide rounds in time. To complicate matters further, Santa had lately put on a bit of weight which was having the disadvantage of stealing precious moments in his descent down the chimneys (except of course those in which slick metal liners had been installed although they sometimes propelled Santa with near disastrous results).

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Nobody likes to think of themselves as lacking intellectual insight. But the test - like so many others - is in the little things. Don't imagine that you'll convince yourself or anyone else of your foresight by advancing some complicated opinion - it will probably just be lost on your audience or expected in any event.  But trip up on something simple, something that everyone can understand, then you have a challenge!


Following the passage in the United States Senate of the much vaunted Republican tax reform bill and with the precision of an autocracy, the White House administration of President Donald J. Trump treated the American public to a vulgar and nauseating display of sycophantic behaviour by its Congressional leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence.  One by one they groveled on a public podium in the immediate presence of President Trump and before national television to sing with what at times approached religious fervour the praises of President Trump as a president, leader and man.  What made the entire production outrageous was that many of the same people (such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) had more than once disparaged the President even to the extent of calling him a "fucking moron".  It must be owned that President Trump has reciprocated the verbal abuse on many occasions.  All of which combined to make the ring-kissing and knee-bending utterly preposterous and vapid.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


No matter how convoluted the arguments may become about what constitutes bias, when all is said the distilled truth is simply this, "Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done".  Period.  It has nothing whatever to do with the character or qualification of the adjudicator. And it certainly has nothing to do with the capacity of the adjudicator to distance himself or herself from the object of adjudication nor the ability to conceive the application of purely legal principles.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Real life, real people

The advent of so-called "reality TV" makes a mockery of life's tribulations. There is virtually nothing realistic about these notional ideas of what actually exists.  In any event it doesn't require much to convince me to abandon popular television communications.  Either I revert instead to PBS for imported documentaries and dramatic productions; or, I rely upon Netflix for similar nutrition including its repertoire of independent films.

Sunday Jazz

We received an impromptu invitation, "Tomorrow night Matthew will play us a little jazz, 6pm in the club room. If you are around, come join us." The invitation came from the parents of Matthew who is visiting from New York City for Christmas. The date for this inspiring wassail was Sunday, December 17th exactly one week before Christmas Eve.  It couldn't have been a nicer way to kick off the Season!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Other end of town

It is infrequently that I bike to Daytona Beach from Daytona Beach Shores. To a degree Daytona Beach lives up to its notoriety for circumstances approaching the Coney Island amusement park theme. Normally I go south on the beach through Wilbur-by-the-Sea to Ponce Inlet which is considerably more reclusive.  Today however I was drawn northward instead.  Primarily the reason was that the wind was from the north and I always prefer riding out against the wind so I have the benefit of it at my back when returning (something to do with the Protestant Work Ethic I suspect).  Besides I had previously lounged in the sun by the pool (face upwards) for over an hour so it made sense to alternate to cook my other side while riding north.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ocean Guy

After having it detailed today, I was gassing up the car in Ormand Beach when a guy passed by saying, "I don't know...but I'm guessing from the looks of you that you're an Ocean Guy." I couldn't have been more pleased!  His approbation was on the order of the First Water!  "Well, I suppose I am!", I replied. My confession was hesitant because of course I am a hopeless landlubber with no maritime credentials whatsoever (though I didn't disabuse the commentator of his fanciful notion).  Besides even without the littoral authenticity anyone who knows me knows that the Ocean is in my blood.  I love everything about the frothing green Ocean including all the nautical paraphernalia, history, produce and geography associated with it - sailing yachts and Clippers, Ship's Bells and barometers, yardarms and boating knots, buoys and wooden fishing bobs, compasses and telescopes, piers and jetties, rocky shores and sandy beaches, sand dunes, boardwalks, the huge horizon, Herman Melville, fish and jellyfish, sand dollars, sea shells and seaweed, lighthouses and saltboxes, you name it!

Friday, December 15, 2017


The first time I recall being eager about Christmas was when I was ten years old.  I crept down the stairs from my bedroom at 3:00 am on Christmas morning.  Under the austere unlit tree I found a skilfully constructed toy racing car, grey in colour with a sturdy black rubber bumper on the nose and matching rubber wheels.  The toy was a wind-up device. I subsequently amused myself by running the car about the kitchen floor until the rest of the family made an appearance. Apart from that recollection my early childhood memory of Christmas fails me.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Landing on the beach

The beach was eerily vacant today, the sea uncommonly placid. A gnome-like man with a wide girth dressed in billowing red shorts walked along the shore intently peering into the beach as though searching for a lost object. As I cycled down the beach the dark shadows cast by the racing clouds moved like transparent buildings across the face of the sand. There was a scent of mistletoe in the cool wind from the west.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

On the road home...

It is a mixed blessing to regret leaving a place. Which is precisely how we felt today upon concluding our stint on Longboat Key.  Around nine-thirty o'clock this morning the bellboy loaded our things into the trunk of the car.  As he did so we willingly and somewhat mournfully shared with him - a young chap who happened to be a native of nearby Sarasota - that this was our first but not our last visit to Longboat Key. My former reservation about the Gulf of Mexico - namely, that it doesn't compete with the intensity of the Atlantic Ocean - had completely evaporated. Everything we had seen of Longboat Key imparted nothing but the most positive impression. Though I have no doubt the adjacent barrier islands (Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, St. Armands, Bird Key and Siesta Key) have their own special allure I can't imagine - unless I am utterly insatiable - that there is much to surpass the enchantment of Longboat Key.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day at the Beach

Initially this morning I hadn't planned on bicycling today.  My lower back was killing me. I reasoned that it might be wise to take a break especially as we had cycled extensively each of the past three days.  However after my sustaining protein breakfast (and when the pain killers had kicked in) I changed my mind. But I only cycled along Longboat Club Road to the north security gate then turned around.  The sky was clearing nicely, the temperature rising.  As this is our last full day here I felt it was an ideal beach day.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Birthday Party!

Today is my birthday and as a day for a victory lap it couldn't have been more perfect! Our jaunt to Longboat Key - the putative excuse for the six-day birthday celebration - has turned out to be ideal in every way. Granted much of the triumph is serendipitous.  The weather - though somewhat cool - has been predominantly dry and clear.  For the past several days we have bicycled within a ten mile radius, relishing the pleasant winding pathways, the gorgeous scenery and surrounding architecture. Our accommodation at Longboat Key Club is nonpareil, including the beach, pool and hot tub.  The staff are friendly and proactive.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Morning Breakfast on Longboat Key

As I sat at the dining room table this Sunday morning munching my very agreeable breakfast, staring out the patio window of our suite onto the Gulf of Mexico, I thought how exceedingly fortunate the opportunity is. We're nestled on a sandy stretch at the southern tip of Longboat Key. The weather - though moderately cool today - is clear and sunny.  I attach especial significance to this day because it is the last day of my 69th year.  Tomorrow I turn 69 and spookily begin my 70th year!  Yikes!  Small wonder it is the mainspring for celebration!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Longboat Club Road

Everyone knows Florida is a magnet for northern short-term vacationers ("tourists") and long-term sojourners ("snowbirds").  Apart from the interlopers looking for a week or so of frivolity and indulgence there are those intent upon a 3 - 6 month respite from snow and cold.  The demographics of the travelers generally reflects the age of the participants and retirement affords the critical demarcation. In addition to that distinction, the cost of the privilege to linger in Florida tends to escalate incrementally with each degree of descent along the peninsula.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Longboat Key, Florida

I have always maintained that it requires but a scratch of the surface to discover some pressing sense in almost any of life's otherwise mundane experiences.  Indeed I have frequently derived considerable strength from such analysis. Granted at times the going can be more or less forbidding than at others. Today for example might be an instance of a more convenient communication with life's sometimes imprenetrable truths.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

News from the South Pacific

Apart from Donald J. Trump's daily diet of the latest shamefully comic political misstep there is nothing that competes with the entertainment value of a newsy letter from old friends.  Naturally these emissions no longer arrive bound in embossed envelopes written on letterhead vellum and scratched in an adventurous turquoise ink by a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Diplomat. There are however redeeming features of the email communications such as links to referenced sites as well as passable photographs. In this particular instance the drumbeat was from two birds who like us are committee members but who have literally flown the mountaintop of one of Canada's elite residential resorts north of Montréal to roost in the far-flung outreaches of New Zealand in the South Pacific.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Looking out to sea

As much as I adore bicycling on the beach my primary focus is oddly not normally the Atlantic Ocean but rather the destination to which I am cycling. This is not to say that the sea is uninteresting (though I suppose in a general way it is); instead the landmarks - being located adjacent the water - are what usually capture my attention.  In the context of our current hibernation on Daytona Beach Shores it is Ponce Inlet which has clearly overtaken my focus since our arrival.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A day of reflection

Though I suppose it is impossible to get through any day without delving into at least some reflection upon one subject or another, today seemed to lend itself especially conveniently to the endeavour.  First and perhaps foremost is that I hadn't a lot of anything else to occupy me today.  I made up my mind early this morning that I would resist my usual impulse to go bicycling.  My reason was to give my wretched knees some relief from the constancy which seems to affect them adversely.  Besides there is more than a shred of truth in the observation that the routine repetition of anything tends to diminish the value of its overall return. On the balance however my objective was more a concession to lethargy than to quality control.  For example, even after we returned from an early morning venture to the grocery store, I withdrew to my bedroom and buried myself under the duvet in an attempt to get some sleep. But it was not meant to be.  Even wearing my eye mask I could tell the sun was doing its best to shine and that alone drove me mad, knowing that I was missing out on the sunshine!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Whiling away...

I intend to betray my hardwired Protestant work ethic. I haven't the guile to dignify my banausic domestic enterprise.  However it is characterized it constitutes no more than whiling away my time. Though I doubt it matters, there is some elevation in distinguishing my quotidian exploits as spending the time rather than killing it. Indeed if there were any attempt to extinguish anything it is the consuming effort to side-step industry and all that it entails for tireless activity and busyness.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

I'm done with being frantic!

Really, I should have known better!  It has been years since we foregathered at a bar for a "Happy Hour".  What must have I been thinking! Historically I am an undying fan of the much-vaunted preprandial cocktail. I take especial pride in my rendition of the Savoy Hotel's 1930 Sidecar. Seemingly however my endurance of any vernacular other than one approaching the monastic is at an end.

Friday, December 1, 2017


The thing I hate about sunbathing is having to lie on my front.  I can never get comfortable.  Even if I use a towel under my head.  Invariably my arms and neck feel twisted. As dedicated as I am to the enterprise it is for only minutes that I can hold that intolerable position.

The way around this irritation - assuming one wants to get a tan - is to go bicycling.  Today for example my caculated maneuver was to cycle out (down the beach) at midday with the sun in my face then cycle back with the sun at my back.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hang onto your hat!

Considering that for the past month and a half since our arrival on Daytona Beach Shores I've hardly stratched the surface of verifiable industry (assuming one doesn't count cycling on the beach or lounging by the pool) it must sound a stretch to suggest that I've had a hectic day. But that is precisely how I feel! From the moment of my awakening this morning before 6:30 am I've been going non-stop.  It is now almost 9:30 pm and I am just coming up for air. As usual I resort to the cathartic relief of a memorandum to get myself in line once again.

Monday, November 27, 2017


When we're in our southern winter habitat it isn't often I choose to spend the day doing anything other than cycling on the beach or lying in the sun. However we were expecting a delivery this morning between 9:45 - 11:45 am. Knowing this I resolved to sit tight for the morning to await its arrival.  As I prepared and ate my breakfast I pondered what I would do for the remainder of the day.  The weather was less than brilliant so that alone diluted my customary drive to be out-of-doors.  By degrees I was persuading myself to go for a drive in the car if for no other reason than to give my leg muscles a break from the routine of cycling. I find the repetitious exercise precipitates tightness in my lower limbs. Though I attempt moderate stretching it never really does the trick.  Parenthetically I am munching on turmeric every morning on the advise of my middle-aged hair stylist who assures me that it worked to eliminate her arthritis.  It is useless to canvass the supportive assurances which abound on the internet.  My stylist convinced me when she reiterated that she had tried everything from pain killers to glucosamine without improving results.  I figure, it's worth a try!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Among other things...

A cosmopolitan veneer is for some an ambition having as it does the gloss of suavity and polished urbanity.  It comes however at a price. What one gains in sophistication one loses in focus (or what others may stigmatize as parochialism). I rather style the insularity as manageable appreciation.  The plain fact of the matter is that if I spread myself too thin I threaten to dissolve into the ether.  By remaining local I am able to detect not just the lustre but also the substance of what I perceive.  It takes time and experience to insinuate the depths of one's environment. Forgive me but having an exciting and glamorous international character doesn't in my books translate into absorption. I am not convinced that multi-cultural or well-travelled people are of necessity more sophisticated or refined.  There can be lots going on but nothing happening.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sunny Saturday Cycle

In the middle of the night I had checked the weather forecast.  Sunny skies were predicted.  Knowing this made me restive as the dawn began to break into my bedroom early this morning. Although we have an uninterrupted agenda of beachside living for the next 4½ months I nonetheless greedily embrace the alloted time for fear of missing an opportunity.  By degrees in my inert state I rationalized that I would get up soon, prepare myself for the day, have my usual breakfast of orange slices and protein then get on my bicycle.  I imagined that it could all be done by noon at the latest.

Friday, November 24, 2017

3703 S Atlantic Ave Daytona Beach Shores to 2727 N Atlantic Ave Daytona Beach FL USA

By entire coincidence I cycled today from our apartment at 3703 S Atlantic Ave in Daytona Beach Shores to 2727 N Atlantic Ave in Daytona Beach.  The coincidence is that the unintended destination was where  - ten months ago - we first met the real estate broker who consummated the contract for our rental apartment here.  I recognized the building as I approached it along Atalantic Avenue (A1A) which I maintained as my route throughout the journey, there and back, because the tide was so high and the beach was virtually impassable. According to Mr. Google the distance between the 2 points along that coastal route is 9.1 miles which is a far greater distance than I would have imagined traveling when I set out on my bike at eleven o'clock this morning.  Perhaps it was because yesterday I was rooted inside the apartment for the entire day preoccupied with a particular legal issue and - most importantly - it had been raining on and off throughout the day.  Besides the day before I had cycled about ten miles to and from Ponce Inlet and I felt it wouldn't hurt to take a day off so to speak.  Even though the weather was cloudy today - and there appeared to be a possibility of rain - I decided to bicycle in any event because I was in need of the expiation not to mention the exercise, rain or shine.  To be cautious I sported a shell I had bought last year on Hilton Head Island.  Even though it never rained the temperature was cool enough to merit the jacket in any event so I was glad to have had it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Business as Usual

I have become embroiled in a potentially burgeoning controversy involving a former client of mine. I stress that I have been contacted as a friend, not consulted as a lawyer. When I was still working we both fell under the heading of friends and solicitor/client. Though I continue to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada I am prohibited to provide legal advice because I no longer maintain Errors and Omissions Insurance (other than so-called "run-off" insurance for retired lawyers) through the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company. Accordingly my participation in this matter is restricted to listening and a discussion of possible practical solutions which have no bearing on recondite legal rights or obligations.  By contrast I cannot deny my interest in the legal parameters.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

En plein soleil

The skies were clear this morning. When I perched at the end of the long dining room table to sip my black coffee and eat my succulent Navel orange slices the sun was dazzling across the sea. I consulted the Tide Chart as usual.  And the weather.  The high tide was at 10:08 am and the wind was 6 mph from the northeast. For the next hour I preoccupied myself with perusal of email and the news on BBC and CNN in addition to preparing my customary conglomerate of protein (today it was ham, hamburger, bacon, eggs and American cheese slices).

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Contract Day

It was a rainy and uninviting day on the beach here today.  Just as well as we had two preoccupying meetings - one in the morning to view a prospective rental unit for our hibernation next year; and another in the afternoon to sign a rental contract for another unit we had already seen several days ago and about which we were already determined.  Both meetings went well.  The morning meeting confirmed our prior expectations about the place; namely, that we would not be convinced to seek to secure its rental.  The building did not speak to us and the unit was smaller than we prefer (and less well maintained and outfitted). The owners (who are from West Virginia) were extremely pleasant, both professionals who fled from Communist Romania years ago and who have since successfully proven their compatability with capitalism.

Monday, November 20, 2017

In the works!

Lingering in Florida next to the Atlantic Ocean for the winter is for the most part a lethargic enterprise. Whenever I have anything to do other than bicycle on the beach or swim in the pool, I sense a moderate imposition. The obtrusion could be something bordering on work or drudgery like grocery shopping, getting my teeth cleaned or - as I did today - having my hair cut (something I confess I actually relish though it is still an obligation).  In fact the day started with a commercial bang at eight o'clock this morning when Bruno arrived to examine the oven and outdoor barbecue, both of which have been malfunctioning more or less. In view of my haircut appointment at 1:00 pm I decided to forgo any attempt at an early morning bike ride - in spite of the glorious sunshine - and chose instead to take the car to Sparkle-N-Shine Car Wash in Ormond Beach.  Washing the car is also something I enjoy if the truth be known. It's a good thing I set aside over an hour for that particular project because, aside from the fact that it takes about 25 minutes to get there, when I arrived there was a line-up and the attendant asked whether I could spare 30 minutes (which I said I could).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Breezy Sunday Morning

It's 8:32 am on a bright and breezy Sunday morning.  We've flung open the balcony doors in the living area and two of the bedrooms. The air is circulating with uncommon activity.  When I looked at the weather report on my iPhone before getting out of bed the forecast was cloudy skies but all I can see now is an azure dome. The buffeting wind is cleansing the conditioned air of the apartment and refreshing me as it dries the remnant moisture from my shower.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Terra Mobile

Several weeks ago shortly after our arrival on Daytona Beach Shores we informed the estate agent handling the rental of our condominium unit that we wished to renew the lease next year for the same six-month period. The estate agent relayed our wishes to the landlord but never received a reply. Initially we had set a date of November 10th by which we appreciated receivng the landlord's response.  That date came and went.  We subsequently heard rumours that the landlord is considering retirement and we therefore assume he might want to move from West Virginia where he lives to Florida. Otherwise we are in the dark.

Friday, November 17, 2017


I've managed to get myself into a state over the silliest of concerns. We haven't yet succeeded to secure the rental of a place in Florida for the winter next year. I confess this is hardly worthy of disturbance on almost any level but it does bear upon something resembling one's home and that - with a small stretch - is a sensitive subject for most people.  No doubt a modicum of the perplexity arises from being nomadic, seemingly akin to perpetual agitation.  In any event it has been our habit to arrange the upcoming hibernation at least a year in advance.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Alabama Nut Job

For the better part of the last decade we have been traveling to the United States of America for winter holidays.  What started as three-week vacations on Hilton Head Island when we were working has since grown to six-month hibernations in Florida following retirement. During the entire time in America we have been regularly riveted to cable news programs to follow national political developments.  I can't but recall the expressed preference of a venerable Canadian lawyer for American politics.  If you have a taste for it, its appeal is undeniable!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blustery Weather on the Beach

It occurred to me late this morning when downing the dregs of my coffee and preparing to go bicycling on the beach that I never tire of the project no matter what the weather.  True, a sunny day with fluffy white clouds assembled in a blue sky is my preference but I still have an appetite for just about any day at the beach.  Balmy, humid weather makes up for a lot of inadequacies I find.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Career Satisfaction

I consider it a distinction to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  This is important to me because I spent a good deal of my life devoted to the study and practice of law (basically from the age of 21 years in 1970 when I commenced my graduate studies at Dalhousie Law School until I retired in 2014, a total of about 44 years, 39 of which were actively engaged in the practice of law after Articles and my Call to the Bar at Osgoode Hall in 1975). Parenthetically I regret the change of the name of the Law Society of Upper Canada to the Law Society of Ontario, a name which I consider insipid though I acknowledge my objection has about as much strength as the preservation of Confederate statues in the United States of America.  The only other point I wish to make is that maintaining one's membership in the Law Society is not automatic upon retirement (assuming one no longer wishes to pay the Professional Errors & Omissions insurance premium) unless you are over 65 years when you retire.

Windy Day

When the wind blows off the Atlantic Ocean on Daytona Beach Shores it howls.  It carries more than just gusts and draughts.  There is in the salt sea air mixture the finest amount of sand picked up from the beach. Like the salt water that comes with it, the grit sticks to one's glasses, gets in your hair and maybe even between your teeth!  I have quickly learned to assess the strength of the wind by remarking upon the distance from the end of Sunglow Pier at which the wave swells begin to break.  If I strained my eyes today I could see white caps as far out as a mile. The first rolling, breaking waves tell the full story.  Today the waves were breaking a good distance from the end of the pier. And the swells were high, promoting large curls of frothing white water pouring onto itself. While it might be a surfer's dream, for me it was a swimmer's danger.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Heros

I find it offensive to denominate anyone a hero. Acknowledging their talent is judicious without approaching the cheek to comment on their furnishings. The example set by matchless people is worth emulation but not fawning. From what I know of paragons they perform well without oleaginous additives.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


It is peculiar how one becomes fixed upon an idea then transitions to a complete reversal.  That's sort of what we're now doing. I won't say that the realization (if I may dignify the change of heart as such) has been precipitous but there has certainly been an evolution towards its fruition.  After encountering repeated small obstacles to our usual agenda to settle upon a six-month southern rental for the upcoming year, we've suddenly awoken to the possibility that we needn't tie ourselves up in one place for any length of time. I accept this is an observation too patent for words! In defence we haven't any more than three years' experience in this nomadic vernacular and seemingly we have unwittingly become rooted in the routine parameter. There is something to be said for the stability of one place for six months, not having to pick up and move, learning where local merchants, suppliers, service providers and professionals are located, that sort of conditioning. On the other hand we've also discovered that it doesn't take long to habituate to almost any scene and feel comfortable.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Getting in the groove

Today we lunched at Boondocks Restaurant on the Halifax River, Wilbur-by-the-Sea. It is conveniently located exactly one mile from our apartment. Being at this casual Florida waterfront restaurant eating spicy eat-'n-peel shrimp, conch chowder and blackened Mahi-mahi consummated our initiation to the area. We sat outside at a picnic table overlooking the marina. One couldn't imagine frequenting this place in anything but leisure clothing. Eating there is messy business!

The Tenancy Agreement

About twenty-two years ago I travelled to Naples, Florida with a friend to interlope at his mother's and step-father's rental apartment on the Gulf coast for a week over the Christmas holiday. My recollection is that the apartment belonged to a Vice-president of Mobile Oil who planned to retire there ultimately but who in the meantime had agreed to rent it.  My friend's mother explained to me that she and her husband routinely spent three months of the year over the winter in Florida; and that they always arranged their upcoming stay in the year prior to the visit while they were then currently in Florida. At the time I marveled at the planning which naturally exceeded anything I had ever undertaken for my comparatively shorter southern jaunts to the Caribbean or Mayan resorts. Now that I have graduated to the vernacular of a retired snowbird the planning routine is a familiar one.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Shopping in Daytona Beach

As much as I am shamelessly devoted to driving my automobile it is an odd repercussion of our hibernation in Florida (or elsewhere in the United States of America for that matter) that apart from the journey to and from here the vehicle suffers ignorance by design. We've become instead overwhelmed by prolonged breakfasts after which we indulge ourselves in schemes of fitness (bicyling on the beach for example or swimming or - dare I say it - weights and pulleys); and by the time all that is accomplished the evening is upon us and there's dinner and the news then bed.  Not what you'd call a dynamic agenda by any standard but nonetheless passably healthful.  I confess our daily absorption in American politics is beyond doubt.  We've even discovered by chance that our political immersion far exceeds what is the perceived normal for most Americans.  Certainly Mr. Trump can be thanked for much of the vigour which swirls about the native political arena but I suspect it is also true that Americans - at least on the level of those who contribute to and watch cable television - have a passion for politics competing with the likes of Nova Scotians in Canada where residents actually know their legislative representatives.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Better tell Jeannie!

For want of a better description we are "snowbirds" from Canada. We sojourn in Florida over the winter in a condominium located on the beach of a tiny barrier island called Daytona Beach Shores. If I may be forgiven the cheek of weighing in upon the esoteric affairs of the condominium association where we reside, I am compelled to note the distinction of its concierge Jeannie B. who undeniably defines much of the delightful experience in this fine establishment. From the moment we were first introduced to the property over a year ago we were smitten by her knowledge and aplomb. To the credit of the condominium association Jeannie is aptly characterized as the frontline contact for the building, its residents and interlopers.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Life's Dreadful Realities

There are so many reasons to be disconsolate. Sure, one likes to think positively and be thankful for what one has. But in the small hours of the morning when flipping back and forth in perpetual anxiety, there's an austerity of optimism. It is then that the drudgery of life and the shallowness of its preoccupations, its random disappointments and blunt realities are transparent. If, as I am, one is rapidly evolving into an era of old age and decrepitude then the frozen truth is even more chilling! The despondency has a compelling authenticity when there is Biblical authority for the inevitable confrontation of the vanity of life.  These hard midnight thoughts urge upon us an admission of defeat no matter how we may seek to disguise our futile human enterprise. The trepidation goes beyond mere mortality or amortization; there is in addition the interim contamination of everything that precedes it - with fear.  How trifling are our exploits!  How harsh is our existence!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Daylight Savings Time

Last night I set my new wrist watch and pocket watch back one hour in anticipation of the shift to Daylight Savings Time (DST) this morning. I brought along four other watches on this trip but I have no intention of re-setting them unless and until I wear them.  Three of them may even reset themselves because they're somehow tied to a GPS or satellite.  All I know is that when I bought them I needed only choose from the settings the closest urban centre and select whether I wished the device to accommodate DST.  Besides I always prefer using any new device for the first while.  In addition the opportunity to wear a watch in this environment is fairly limited, given that when I am bicycling I don't want anything strapped to my wrist to contaminate my tan line; and certainly when I am swimming I don't wear a watch (even if they're purportedly "water resistent" whatever that means). The number of times we "go out" is infrequent but when we do I do like wearing a watch.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Shoe in

We both bought new shoes today.  I like shoes.  I've even considered that I may have a shoe fetish. I once had a pair of shoes custom made for me by a cobbler in Montreal.  Those were the days!  Custom made suits, shirts and shoes!  Now I couldn't be bothered.  For one thing I'm done with suits and French-cuffed shirts.  As for shoes - given my escalating arthritis - the only ones at all comfortable are deck shoes (first popularized by Sperry).  Now every manufacturer has got into retailing them but there are few brands I like - among them Sebago.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Back to the Beach

It wasn't until almost 10:30 am this morning that I first opened my eyes. Through the blinds on the balcony windows it appeared from the dim light that the sky was grey.  I got up and squinted through the centre crack of the blinds. Yes, clouds.  Grey.  That helped.  I hate waking up late in the morning.  In defence we had both been up at 2:30 am sipping coffee and poring over our computers.  I had gone back to bed shorty before 5:00 am. Clearly I needed the rest.  It seems my bicycling is taking more out of me than I imagined.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

New Direction

When the front wheel of my bicycle first met the soft white sand of the beach I knew in an instant that I would be going in a different direction today - northward towards Daytona Beach rather than southward towards Ponce Inlet. There was a tangible wind from the north.  And that was the direction I was headed. The strategy would be to go as far as I could - into the wind - then when I felt worn down I would turn back with the benefit of the wind to push me homeward. To my surprise - whether because I was energized or because of the novelty of the expedition - I went along the beach much further than I had anticipated. I suspect it was my greediness for invention which trumped my notorious passion for routine. It must sound odd to advance that within a matter of 5 miles in one direction or another the view of the beach could be much different. Yet it is.  As one would expect the scenery along the coast towards Daytona Beach is more urban than it is in the other direction towards Ponce Inlet. Towards Daytona Beach there are more low-rise hotels, fewer high-rise private condominium residences. There are also more people on the beach for the same reason.  In neither case is the beach swarming with people. I guess that on my entire outing today over a period of about two hours I only passed six cyclists.  There were clusters of couples (mostly elderly) and young families but the numbers in total were still less than 50 - 75 I would imagine thoughout the length of the ride.

Say it like it is!

Words can promote a harsh image. In some instances the usage is as alarming as attending a job interview in the nude, revealing far more than one would care to know or share. To shelter from the embarrassment and abrasiveness of words we adopt variations which insulate us from the undisguised meaning. Consider the popular idiom for war which includes such sanitized editions as “taking out“, “eliminating” or “eradicating”. On the subject of killing we are all too familiar with what are essentially state–sponsored terms such as execution, abortion and euthanasia. Somewhere in the middle of the nuances of murder and war are those applied to the annihilation of animals, the least offensive being "slaughter" or the more disturbing term "abattoir" whose etymology is the blunt French word "battre", to beat down.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Refining the Routine

Incrementally as we settle into our winter digs on Daytona Beach Shores I am refining my petty routine. Though there is unquestionably a marked difference in my daily agenda here from what I do at home (mainly an absence of indispensable medical, bureaucratic, regulatory and substantive hardware concerns), there is an underlying commonality involving such matters of necessity as groceries and laundry. In harmony with what we have regularly heard reported from another Canadian interloper in Florida, Publix grocery store is hard to beat.  We too shop at Publix for the provisions we want without having to search resources elsewhere.  Specifically the fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and fish are all top quality. I cheerfully say this because one of the staff at the store modestly dismissed the establishment as a "beach outlet" (though pointedly that was said in response to my query about a styptic pencil). The store pharmacy also attended to our seasonal flu shots. I like that products such as Kéfir and premium olives and dill pickles are available.  Publix prepares very tasty complete seafood meals with veggies for between $9 - 13 each which makes for a convenient change from dining out or take-out.  My culinary habits are all but written in stone - breakfast is always orange slices, black coffee and protein (a variety of salmon, hamburger, ham slices, bacon, cheese and eggs accompanied by green pepper shards and halved cherry tomatoes); dinner (we don't do lunch - for obvious reasons) is a bed of chopped cilantro to which I add sliced mini-cucumber, shards of green pepper, a handful of zucchini spirals, halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese all drenched in lemon juice, touch of olive oil and grated salt; then I add protein of any description (salmon, crab cakes, red meat, chicken). Dessert is blackberries swimmig in Kéfir. The secret for the preparation of fresh salmon filets is ZiplocⓉ Zip 'n Steam cooking bags.  Though one can add pats of butter and herbs, the plain fish is an undeniable success - and literally ready within minutes!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Business Meeting

We have a business meeting at ten o'clock this morning.  Coincidentally our correspondent shares with us a common ancestry. As I have elsewhere remarked there is a history of exchange between Canada and the United States of America within my own family beginning with the adventure of United Empire Loyalists from Boston to New Brunswick in 1776 and continuing until as recently as the emigration of my niece and her husband from Toronto to Hollywood, California in 2017.  During that period of 241 years other members of my immediate family have shifted back and forth between Canada and the United States of America so I am not certain on what side of the border the weight of the averages lies.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Just another Monday

What a mockery it is to dismiss another beautiful, cloudless, sunny day by the beach as "just another Monday"! And yet such is our transparent privilege!  Naturally - in spite of the sarcasm - I am only too eager to acknowledge the unparalleled entitlement.  We couldn't be more pleased with our decision to frequent Daytona Beach Shores for the season. After seven thoroughly satisfactory years on Hilton Head Island we were hesitant about reassigning our hibernation. Perhaps our exuberance is in good measure a product merely of its novelty though in fairness I have to say there are many features of this environment and our accommodation here which forcibly compete with anything we've previously experienced. I'm willing as well to accede that I never tire of things maritime whether the crashing Ocean, the sound of gulls, formations of pelicans skimming the waves, weathered wooden posts wrapped in braided rope or the nautical names of streets and commercial establishments.  One's own sunburned hands and face are themselves an inspiration! Without being a seafarer the proximity to it all is overwhelming. Perhaps living at sea level is itself a removal of obstruction when connecting with our most profound evolution!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Most Satisfactory Sunday

Though I wouldn't say we did anything especially exciting today it has nonetheless been a most satisfactory Sunday.  The morning began rather mournfully, overcast skies with a threat of rain or drizzle. Basically it was a miserable day though nicely lending itself to melancholic Sunday morning music while sipping black coffee and surfing the internet.  This place, like any other on a cloudy day, is just as dull. Oddly I noted that the weather APP on my iPhone predicted a sunny day.  It turned out the prediction was correct.  By early afternoon we were under a dome of cloudless blue and brilliant sunshine. It has however remained somewhat cool because of the high winds out of the west.  We're apparently on the precipice of one of those refreshing, clear days (tomorrow) when the temperature will only reach 68℉ before climbing on Tuesday to 75℉, then up to 80℉ on Wednesday for the remainder of the week.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Meeting the Challenge

Not everyone is as perfect as you and I! Accommodation it would seem is the key to successful relationships. To imagine otherwise is equivalent to storming a castle wall in your bare feet.

As compelling as may be your own individual way of relating to the world, it may come as a mild astonishment to discover that not everyone looks at things with the same fervour. People are plainly motivated by different stimuli, this notwithstanding the many similarities which characterize humanity as a whole. It helps to recall your own indifference to some of what others find captivating.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ponce Inlet

Ponce Inlet whose name obviously reflects the historical Spanish influence which insinuates the entire State of Florida is a small (pop. 3,012), quiet residential community at the most southern tip of the peninsula (barrier island) on which Daytona Beach Shores is located along the Atlantic Ocean. Ponce Inlet is "Land's End" - there is no outlet to the mainland. I cycled there on the beach at nine o'clock this morning - a brilliantly sunny and clear day though moderately cool. This tiny resort is famous for its lighthouse which is the tallest in Florida and the second tallest lighthouse in the nation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What a busy day!

At four o'clock this morning I gulped my first handful of pills for the day - 2 Tylenol Arthritis, 1 Celebrex, 1 Baby Aspirin, 1 Coversyl and 1 Lipitor. Though I had been half-awake in bed for the past several hours, I then slept soundly until 8:20 am.  I have learned that those drugs - or at least some of them - are a soporific.  And a good thing.  I have never slept especially well. Nor might I add have I ever taken sleeping pills.  So the pretext of those drugs for arthritis, blood pressure and cholesterol is sufficient to assuage any reservation I might otherwise have about timing their consumption so strategically. Besides my regiment of pain killers throughout the day - painkillers about every four hours - promotes taking the first round early in the day to ward off complete discomfort when I finally rise from the lair.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I'll take one of each, please!

The thought of missing out on anything within my general purview drives me bonkers!  Certainly this is not a panoramic observation, I'm not so greedy that I reach for everything imaginable.  But within the limited scope of my experience I consider it an obligation to harvest what is available. This afternoon for example I felt duty-bound to go for a bike ride.  Today I ventured on S. Atlantic Avenue southward to Ponce Inlet where the peninsula ends and access to the mainland is no longer possible.  The road narrows incrementally. It is a comparatively quiet ride, predominantly residential. There is an old Florida flavour that insinuates the area, sandy walkways and driveways, stucco houses, many low-rise homes with overgrown front yards. The places looked more habitable than decorative. Though we had driven down the same road last year when first inspecting the area, this was the first time I had cycled as far. I'm guessing my one-way trip was about five miles. Luckily for me there was very little wind today so the length of my ride wasn't adversely compounded by the atmosphere.

Monday, October 23, 2017

American Cheese

At one time it may not have been entirely unfounded to prefer a rendition of something European over one American. Frequently though the partiality translated into having one's nose well in the air when it fell to discussing American productions of food, art, music and even automobiles.  It was impossible to break free of the cachet of anything French, Italian, German or Swiss. I did however learn to cultivate a bias for American hardwood furniture from North Carolina (manufacturers such as Henredon, Thomasville, Maitland-Smith, Sligh and Wesley Allen). No doubt this was part of my burgeoning interest in home decoration. I broadened my education about furniture by researching the Canadian made products of Gibbard and by perusing what I saw in Country Life magazine from England.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Lolling by the Sea

The weather forecast today is thunderstorms, 83℉. The view across our third-floor balcony onto the Atlantic Ocean is one of grey, threatening skies and strong winds tossing about the fronds of the surrounding palm trees.  No matter, it's Sunday morning, an occasion to squander one's energy.  I've been engaged in idle reflection throughout my leisurely routine of coffee, mandarin orange and protein. It is precisely one week since our arrival on the peninsula. While I won't suggest the process of accommodation has been one of unparalleled baptism, it has however been focussed and sometimes intense.  It intrigues me how our assimilation deepens by degree as the broader picture narrows to more detailed scrutiny.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Solo Flight to Dillards

No doubt as a mark of my declension I was reluctant this morning to undertake a solo trip to Dillards in search of a pair of trunks to use when bicycling.  I confess a degree of trepidation when it comes to navigating the highways in and around Daytona Beach.  I don't suppose I've ever liked wending my way through traffic in any large urban centre.  Many of the roads here are wide and well-marked but if, as is my preference, the smaller back roads are taken instead, there is unquestionably some pressure to ensure the correct turns are taken.  It obviously helps to have the assistance of another pair of eyes in the car.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Oktoberfest at Ocean Villas

Not hours after our arrival from Canada on Monday, October 16th at Ocean Villas condominium on Daytona Beach Shores we were being exhorted to attend the upcoming Oktoberfest in the lounge. Our initial reaction was to ignore the invitation.  Historic involvement with condominium boards has taught us that these seemingly innocuous collaborations can imperceptibly transform into a net before one's feet.  Plus as mere tenants we feel somewhat as intruders in these close-knit congregations. When however several days later I encountered the concierge in the garage parking lot she reiterated the extension and was obviously not about to accept anything but acquiescence.  If it is one thing I have learned about living in a well-managed community property it is that one should never contradict the putative monarch. Accordingly I sheepishly succumbed to her dilation upon the event and as instructed subscribed to the list of items posted on the bulletin board.  It was settled that our contribution was beer and cheese dip which I thought was a lucky break considering neither item required à la carte preparation and no one else had yet expropriated the privilege.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Life is Better Here

Comparatives are inevitable.  For example, comparing USA to Canada; or Hilton Head Island to Daytona Beach Shores. We have of course more than a passing familiarity with each of the alternatives.  Today after I purchased my new bicycle (actually it's a bit like me - used and abused) I ventured out of the cool garage of the condominium into the dazzling sunshine to explore the immediate area.  Where we're situated is about half-way along Daytona Beach Shores.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Extenuating Circumstances

Though we haven't any transgressions to palliate - nor in my opinion is there anything else in particular for which to make allowances - there nonetheless remains the matter of playing down the urgency of life.  For the past several days since our departure from Canada en route to Florida (where we shall spend the season) we've quite understandably been rather preoccupied with travel, dealing with traffic and hotels and finally getting settled at our new digs and acquainted with the people and circumstances here.  In retrospect it is all a bit of a blur frankly! In addition to getting a stock of groceries and household provisions, organizing the linens and closets, syncing our devices with WiFi in the apartment, lounge and by the pool, buying a printer/scanner, coffee maker and weigh scale (and figuring out how they all work), rearranging the furniture and cupboards to suit our needs, advising the estate agent of pre-existing repair issues, deciphering the light switches, trying out the grand piano, dealing with unexpected legal (estate administration) and banking matters (one of our credit cards was compromised), we even managed to get our annual flu shots at the local pharmacy.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tech Stuff

Though I invariably end up swooning over the latest software or technological gadgets it is equally true that precedent to that euphoria there is a uniformly predictable period of huge frustration and discontent. For example throughout my entire business career I couldn't get a new computer or other device without having to endure what seemed to be endless roadblocks to the use of them. There was always something!  And today - years after the introduction of computers and the internet and all the associated gizmos - I am still lurching my way through the launch of new technological components.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Getting the Keys

We were wide awake with gleeful anticipation at 3:30 am this morning.  Our program today was a meeting at 11:00 am with the condominium concierge and the estate agent to complete our introduction to the rental property and to obtain the key fobs and garage door opener. Meanwhile at Jacksonville Beach at the Marriott hotel where we had stayed overnight we were leisurely recovering from a very agreeable experience yesterday at the beach and pool and afterwards while dining on the patio overlooking the sand dunes and the Atlantic Ocean.  Fortuitously we had escaped any of the rainy weather which we had understood was initially predicted. Accordingly we were buoyant and not unnecessarily perturbed that there was no water in the hotel when we awoke.  In fact there had been an apologetic notice in the elevator that due to Hurricane Irma damage there would be a water supply interruption from 1:30 - 3:30 am.  But the interruption continued until almost 5:00 am this morning.  At my request the front desk clerk Whitney called our room around five o'clock to advise that the water supply had been reinstated.  We slipped ito gear almost immediately, completing our routine ablutions then loading the car and headed south along the picturesque A1A to our destination on Daytona Beach Shores where we planned to hibernate for the season.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

South of the Mason-Dixon Line

We're currently lodged at Sonesta Suites in Charlotte, North Carolina which I believe I am safe in saying is below the Mason-Dixon Line. The vernacular here is singular, everything from the drawl of speech to the unprecedented expressions of personal interest, kindness and the unique disposition to humour. It was however earlier in the day when we breakfasted at a Cracker Barrel Country Store in Pennsylvania that the Confederate transition first became apparent. The flavour of the South is unmistakable, as distinctive as the taste of Hickory smoked Red Deer.  And as lingering.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Breakfast at the Mississippi Golf Club

If there is one thing about which I can opine with undisputed authority it's bacon and eggs! Since the age of 14 years when I began attending boarding school I have had the privilege of having breakfast served to me on almost a daily basis.  Upon subsequently attending undergraduate university to study Philosophy I lived in residence on campus and frequented the dining room there on an equally regular basis.  The only haitus from this entitlement was in law school when I lived at Domus Legis and shared apartments with colleagues.  Then we were responsible to prepare our own meals (and I confess the culinary descent was unmistakeable).  But as soon as I began practicing law in Almonte I re-instituted the habit of matutinal chomping each day at the Superior Restaurant with colleagues and friends for the next 35 years.  Like some other regulars about whom I have since heard, it was possible to set the clocks by our morning ritual. In each of those instances the order of the day was bacon and eggs or some variation thereof.  The fat and protein content was central.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Taking the plunge!

Our eagerness has overwhelmed us!  We're taking the plunge!  Rather than lolling about in the apartment for another day before our scheduled departure we've succumbed instead to a maverick spirit and opted to head to the Canadian border tomorrow. Though in the past we've gone to Kingston, Ontario to initiate our evaporation from the impending winter, tomorrow we'll frequent Gananoque which is moderately closer to the Ivy Lea Bridge to the USA, our artery to renovation.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Do you take for philosophy this twaddle, this intolerable pettifoggery adorned with a few scholastic trimmings?
P.-J. Proudhan

Who among us hasn't occasionally circulated by the stratagem of sharp practice or hair-splitting a distinction without a difference? The innuendo though frequently founded upon earnest pursuit is more often a mark of a trivial quarrel or squabble. Seldom does the skulduggery reach the height of malicious calculation. Where however the pettifoggery descends into corruption or deceit it is intolerable.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner in the Country

With accustomed gusto and gleeful anticipation we nosed the sedan out of the concrete subterranean garage of the apartment building into the clear early evening air in the direction of the Ashton Station Road. My partner and I were bound for what we knew historically would be an exceedingly fine dinner at the rural residence of my long-standing and learned friend, a Renaissance man who by default has acquired the shiny and not displeasing patina of an imperturbable punching bag having endured the indiscriminate blessings and clobbers of both fortune and misfortune. As usual we took the winding road around the Village onto the Upper Dwyer Hill Road to McCaffrey Trail following the meandering Jock River.  At the mailbox we turned from the dusty road into the shaded drive leading to the stone mansion.  There we were greeted as always by the gambolling Finn, an unruly black Labrador with penetrating and mildly disturbing cinnamon-coloured eyes.  Finn's repeated barks were soon stifled by a disciplinary shout from our host who materialized carrying a trilogy of wine flutes in one hand and a bottle of Champagne in the other, arms spread wide to welcome us.  Thus began our Thanksgiving dinner in the country.

Bleeding Heart Liberals and Tory Blues

It is not an unimaginable conclusion that the liberalism of some people is a vacuous product of nothing more than inexperience and abstract thought.  That is, their open arms and open minds are strictly clinical and not the result of having had to accommodate others or put into practice what they so enthusiastically urge.  It is one thing to advance constant inclusiveness and boundless toleration if you don't have to live with it.

Friday, October 6, 2017


Many, many years ago I saw for the first time a carriage clock.  The discovery was an enterprising youthful encounter, entirely new and initially puzzling.  The brass clock with its white enamel face was in a well-worn brown leather case. The sliding front door of the case had been drawn up and stored in a sleeve at the back of the clock. Presumably I eyed the device at an antiquarian's shoppe because someone had the courtesy to explain to me the ingenuity of the clock.  I immediately imagined some sylphlike petticoated lady in an exceedingly frilly dress with a huge bustle and large, ornate hat clambering onto the velvety vermillion seats of a coach-'n-four while carrying her overnight bag in which was secreted this essential timepiece.  Like so many antiques it is preposterous in today's society except as a curiosity. By comparison what I bring along with me now when traveling is much altered from those venerable days.


A really good meal or a pleasant day requires a mindset. I have to be locked into a certain predisposition. This alone presumes one is in control, an additive which admittedly isn't always the case - at least if one discounts aimlessly ricocheting from one stimulus to another (the sad product of evolution instead of determination). You see, there's the crunch when it comes to mindset - does it restrict what you are or does it enable what you'll become?  I have opted for the latter.  For one thing I have never viewed any of my accomplishments in life as any other than the product of effort.  This isn't me being hopelessly modest - I honestly don't harbour any miscalculation of my innate capacity -  but neither do I concede that my ambitions when cojoined with application are valueless.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cleaning Day

Our cherished housekeeper attended today for her regularly scheduled visit. The precursory cathartic purge was in full swing by eight o'clock this morning. I proceeded immediately from the lair to the bathroom where first I cleansed myself then methodically removed from the counter and stored in the cabinet below or in one of the adjoining drawers each item of morning ritual and ablution (prescription pills, pain meds, eyeglass cleaner, mouthwash, dental floss, toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, razor and stand, comb, hair product and skin cream).  The sleepwear and sleep mask were set aside for laundry.  In the dining room the W H Barlett placemats and napkins were hidden away. The Maldon salt cellar was perched on the bookcase.  In the kitchen the evidence of industry or humanity was removed and stored beneath the counters. All was in hotel readiness!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Sometime after four o'clock this morning - as I rolled about in bed half awake - I fell upon the idea of renting our Florida condominium for a year at a time by reducing the current monthly rental charge but extending the lease over twelve months instead of six.  I doubt the landlords have much luck renting the place between May and October in any event particularly as a minimum of 2-months residency is required. The only advantage to us in renting for the entire year is to secure the tenure from year to year and to keep others from using the place during our absence.  We are of course restricted to a 6-month occupancy limit due to current reciprocal income tax legislation. I doubt we'd ever make such an arrangement but it at least highlights the possibility for some creativity in the management of leasehold interests.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Breaking the Barrier

Though most of us haven't any hesitation about grousing from time to time we're normally less inclined to partner our occasional euphoria. Happy people can be such a tiresome trial! Those who insist upon oozing forth their good fortune and beneficence can be horridly unsettling. In this instance however I am compelled to do so. Admittedly I am rather smug about it.  Though I haven't done anything in particular which might qualify as an achievement I nonetheless feel compelled to rejoice in what to me is a victory of sorts. What occurred to me as a pondered this unusual state of delight is that I have broken a barrier. To me that qualifies as remarkable in every sense of the word.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Out of the Race

When at the age of 14 years I entered Fourth Form at St. Andrew's College I soon awoke to what was to an extremely competitive society.  The over-riding vernacular of contest for me was the academic but on almost every other level in the school heat was undeniable - sports, cadets, pipe band, debating and a repeat of all of them on the intercollegiate scene particularly with what was called the "Little Big Four" - namely, St. Andrew's College, Upper Canada College, Bishop Ridley College and Trinity College School.  The fierceness of rivalry even insinuated the intramural clan allocations (Bruce, Douglas, Wallace, Montrose) and the boarding houses (Memorial, Flavelle, Macdonald, Sifton).

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Whiskey Bouquet

The benefits of sleep - though much touted - are as frequently ignored.  For those of us who obsessively feel the necessity to keep busy, to do things, sleep is more often regarded disdainfully as something to which we succumb rather than something to cultivate as a healthful habit.

Friday, September 29, 2017


Generally I wouldn't say I have misgivings, remorsefulness about what I've done or said, neither about what I haven't done or haven't said.  This is not to say that I don't live in a world of apprehension and anxiety.  Sadly I do.  But confined to the limits of my own conduct I'm confident to say I seldom regret what has transpired; and certainly I don't normally characterize myself as contrite about anything I've done or said no matter what the outcome. I've always been able to cushion the logical effect with a plausible cause, what obviously I fashion as a relieving victory of the cerebrum over the viscera.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Counsel of Perfection

Honestly I can't say why I have always deferred to professionals for advice.  Perhaps it is a predilection cultivated contemporaneously with my own advancement as a legal professional.  That however isn't conclusive because at the age of 28 when I had only been practicing law for a year I eagerly retained the services of a chartered accountant to handle my income tax returns thenceforth. Never did I harbour the desire to do it myself; and I certainly did not flatter myself to imagine that I could do it myself.  By comparison my own father filed his returns until he was about 90 years of age. It is safe to say that he considered his competency sufficient or the task not insurmountable. I should note however that when I eventually succeeded to transfer carriage of his filings to a chartered accountant we subsequently discovered that my father's returns had been reassessed by Canada Revenue Agency on an annual basis, sometimes three times per year.

The Texture of Personality

What distinguishes people is the texture of their personality. It is often lableled their character and it is woven into them by birth, genetics, education, lifestyle and random events. Whatever the amalgam it is assured to inspire differences of opinion from others. As amused as we are in particular to study the character flaws of others, it is oddly an inclination to avoid examination of one's own texture perhaps because we assume its causality is self-explanatory or otherwise redeemable no matter what the appearance.  Besides it is far more entertaining to indulge our passion for reflecting upon others even though we'd likely admit if pressed that we're no better or worse than they.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

It is with undisguised pride that I share with others that I am a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  Though the number of licensed lawyers in the Province of Ontario numbers in the many thousands, at my age (68) there is nonetheless some distinction involved. For reasons about which I am not clear, it is my understanding that if I had retired from the practice of law prior to attaining the age of 65 years I would have forfeited my entitlement to claim that membership. If one continues to practice law after age 65 and pays the mandatory Errors and Omissions insurance premiums through the Law Society or excess coverage through the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company, then of course one is entitled to maintain membership in the Law Society.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Night Work

Earlier this evening I renewed my interest in my Google Blogger site.  Actually I now have two blogs on Google.  They are conveniently summarized on one page.  The older blog is called "The Toy Box"; this blog - the more recent of the two - is called "Duffy St. James" (named after a silly nom de plume which I expropriated from some forgotten source years ago).  There may have been a time when I used the nom de plume for the purpose it is intended but this blog comes closest to fulfilling that objective.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Late Summer Reflections

We're languishing below the dome of a transparent cloudless sky.  There is an oppressive dry heat under a white desert-like sun. If the forecast can be relied upon, two days remain before the thermometer returns to seasonable levels.  For the time being socks, sweaters and shells are on hold. It is time for late summer reflections reminiscent of dies caniculares.