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).