July 27 - August 1


Thursday - Day One

We leave Montreal in greyness and a sprinkling of rain, and head west towards Toronto. I am unreasonably excited. It's been four years since I've been back to the city and it's going to be Philip's first time. I wonder whether the landscapes that I knew well enough when I was driving around with Eric and Laura Minns the equivalent of my 'host family' in Toronto (Eric is an old friend of my father's family), when we were going to Barrie and Stratford and the Shaw Festival and Kingston have changed all that much; the last time I was outside of the city was even longer than four years ago. I remember the rolling, Anglican hills of Ontario, and how, from the first train I ever took to Montreal, I compared them unfavorably with the coastal mountains of the west. I wonder whether I will do the same now. I think about Pickering and Eric and Laura, about the GO-Train and the drive along the lake, and about newer stuff like Ontario Place (where Margot took me in 1996) and the Toronto Dome (which I cannot fit into my knowledge of the city). Maybe Philip and I will go up into the CN Tower, something I haven't done since my Pearson years, when I was really a tourist in Toronto and Eric was showing me around.

As we leave Montreal behind us, we drive through a squall of rain between cornfields whose corn is high and happy-looking. There has been a lot of rain this summer - did I say? In fact, Andy told us that we had been in Montreal for the two best days of the summer. It appears they are over, though the weather forecast called for similar temperatures. There are ten days before the wedding - is it going to be good weather?

By the time we get to central Ontario it is sunny and hot. We have no problems finding Margot's house with a combination of her directions and those of Yahoo. The main concern she mentioned to us last night, when we called her from Montreal, was about Bone. Bone is Margot and Freddie's dog and Margot is worried that Bone might have a problem with us as we enter the house, as Margot will still be at work when we arrive. We retrieve the key from where she had left it for us and open the door. We can hear a dog barking but we don't know where she is.


We do see a cat, Gigi, sitting on the downstairs sofa and she has taken up this position as if to say 'this is my sofa and don't you even think of trying to sit here'. We bring in the bags from the car and finally a dog comes bounding down the hallway. It's Bone who, having just entered from the back with a neighbour, seems very friendly and happy to see us. We phone Margot to let her know that we have arrived and that Bone is okay with us and she tells us that she will be home in just over and hour. We settle in, check email, and get as comfortable as we can in the heat of the day. We are staying in a part of the house that is usually rented to someone but they are away this week so we have the use of most of the second floor and all of the third. Philip lays on the upstairs couch and tries to recover from the just over five hour drive from Montreal as I continue a game of Civilization that I started in the car, on the computer. Margot arrives shortly after and we catch up on a lot before we take Bone for a long walk.


We return from the walk and then get in our car and head to the food store for tonight's dinner and some groceries to last us for next few days. After collecting the food we pick up some wine and two videos and we come back home for dinner. Dinner is good, as is the conversation and the wine. We then settle in for a relaxing night of light entertainment. We had a number of choices in movie rentals but as it's been a long day, we don't want to watch anything heavy or anything that will cause us to have to think very much. Therefore, the choices for the evening are 'Bowfinger' and 'Mickey Blue Eyes'. We all get totally into 'Bowfinger' and have a number of very strong laughs during this movie. We then take a short break before our next feature for tea and biscuits. 'Mickey Blue Eyes' is okay but nowhere near as sharp as 'Bowfinger' and Margot naps during some scenes. We surprisingly stay awake through to the end. We retire, happy to be with family again and look forward to seeing both my mother and Salina tomorrow.


 back to montreal
 on to day 2


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