We settled into our latest house sit back in my old neighbourhood of The Glebe. The house itself is typical of the area; old, brick and thick with character and ambience. The original house had been added on, but without altering the original character of the place. It was a grand place to spend the winter.
This neighbourhood is where I grew up. My old house (which has been completely renovated) is a few blocks away. The Rideau Canal where I paddled, skated, and occasionally fell in was mere blocks away. The church where I spent oh so much time in various para-military groups (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts), in endless choirs, and yes even in attending church services, is right around the corner. And my elementary and high schools were all within an easy walk.
It was definitely weird being back there. Weird, but pretty nice. We’d definitely love to come back.
One thing about being back in Ottawa in the winter was, well, having a real winter. Memories of Ottawa winters gone past are still vivid in my aging mind. And this one did not disappoint. For a few weeks through January and February it seemed to snow every second day. Luckily the area that needed clearing was small. But unfortunately there was no place to put the snow. I ended up landfilling it along the street curb.
At least Ottawa has a civilized way of managing the street and sidewalk cleaning. Unlike some more backward parts of the country 😉, Ottawa employs a fleet of specially designed sidewalk snow plows. So at least I didn’t have to shovel the walkways in front of the house. Since it is a corner house, that would have been a lot!
One of the reasons we jumped at the chance to house sit in Ottawa was to be closer to Mom and Kathy during the winter. We’d hoped to spend a lot of time with them over those cold months. Unfortunately surging Covid-19 numbers drove all of Ontario into lockdown shortly after Christmas, so we initially had to limit our contact to brief outdoor exchanges.
But once the lockdown ended we were able to play host. Kathy and Mom started making weekend visits to our big abode. We were able to spend a few days together each week, even though it was mainly so they could watch curling on our big screen (endless curling don’t-cha-know 🙄). At least the beer kept coming 🍻😁.
The days rolled by. Ann got in a lot of swimming at the Big Pool (50 meters!) and I did the occasional walk, mostly for more beer 😃, along with the more frequent snow clearing adventures 😭. One area which was fun to wonder around in was part of my old stomping grounds as a kid. Lansdowne Park used to be a playhouse for my gang. It houses a number of buildings, including a stadium and a monster-sized barn like building called the Cattle Castle.
My friends and I used these buildings as jungle gyms, climbing all over them and occasionally breaking in (but never actually doing any real damage). We would skateboard down the stadium ramps, break into concession stands and change all the prices on the display boards, set off homemade bombs, and sneak onto the park during the annual Ex (the city’s exhibition/fair).
Our time eventually came to an end with the return of our homeowners. They had their flights changed two or three times by Air Canada, but they managed to find their way back to Ottawa from their BC chalet. Due to all things Covid we left the house before their arrival. When we made contact again they were very pleased with how they found things; so much so that we’ve been invited back. We’ll see…
So now it’s back to “Ottawa”, which means living with Mom and Sis in the small condo. It’s compact, but we all seem to get along — most of the time 😉. One good thing about the move was we were able to help Mom attend her first vaccination session. She’s the first in our gang over here. Hopefully Ann will be next. I’m still waaaaay tooooo young 😁, and so is Kathy 👶.
For now, we’re just hanging out here, awaiting our turn at the jab, which will hopefully come before the end of May (for me). Newfoundland remains locked down, but there are some positive signs. It is looking like we may be allowed back in to at least see our boat sometime this summer. And we still plan to head west for a wedding, and to hang with the Alberta gang. But the timing is still unclear.
For now, it’s back to endless curling …