Dorval Island Trip Starts on Saturday

Another fine weekend has gone by. This one started on Saturday afternoon with a pleasant train trip from Ottawa to Dorval. Time just seems to fly by quickly when clattering along (except in Quebec where they have welded rails). I did a bit of reading, but mostly watched the view out the windows and tried to determine the age of the passing telegraph poles. I arrived early at Dorval, a bit after 7pm, in and walked down to the ferry. Yet more good timing prevailed and the ferry was just about to leave when I got there. I even remembered enough French to ask for the ferry tickets my aunt had left for visitors.

Windy Sunday Dinner with Friends

After Sunday morning chores (caulking windows and other cracks), I got in touch with an acquaintance from work and his daughter who were visiting relatives in Dorval. We went and visited a musician friend of his, who has built a large house (yup, home-made home) with a giant studio in the basement. There's one room with padded walls, a really thick (bank vault thick) door, a glass window and a drum set. The room on the other side of the window has a couple of mixing consoles (each with maybe 50 channels) and a handful of multitrack tape recorders (the kind with the inch wide tape). Really impressive. Anyway, we bummed around for a while (driving around, stopping at Baskin Robins) and eventually went back to Dorval Island, which they hadn't seen before. The day's strong blowing winds prompted a few stories about sailing on the St. Lawrence and capsizing in similar conditions. Fortunately my aunt had prepared food, for some other people who didn't turn up, which we had for dinner. Good conversation, great weather, perfect evening. Well, except for the bug swarm that night (small ones that get in through the screens and then form a thick cloud around the lights and TV).

Monday Chores, Ducks and Tepper

Monday was a cool quiet day for a few more chores (filling in a septic tank with rocks). Unusually, ducks showed up along the river while I was collecting rocks. It's been decades since ducks paddled the St. Lawrence. A couple of brave but hungry ducks paddled over to me, and eventually got rewarded with some hotdog buns. I also finished off another Tepper book that night, while sitting in front of a fire and listening with one ear to some friends of my aunt's friends talking about people I don't know.

Tuesday Return to Ottawa

I did a few repairs around the cottage on Tuesday morning. I drove my aunt back to Ottawa in the afternoon, along with a cargo of caffeine free Pepsi (not the diet stuff) that you can only get in Quebec. The weather was nice for driving. Still, I made a mistake and followed a couple of vans through a maze of pylons to Hawksbury, rather than taking another path through the maze to Ottawa. This forced a trip down highway 17 instead of the usual route. Maybe it was fortunate, the usual route is all chewed up and under construction right now. I'd forgotten what it was like to drive through the country, at just about the same speed (less traffic too). Remember driving through Alfred? Anyway, I got back to Ottawa in time to miss the final delivery notice for a C compiler I had ordered.

- Alex

Copyright © 1996 by Alexander G. M. Smith.