A Working Weekend at Dorval Island

This weekend was a bit different from the usual ones in Ottawa, but much like other Dorval trips.

The Trip to Dorval

I grabbed the Saturday morning train for Dorval and arrived at the dock at 11:30. It was a nice summer day after a rainy week (after a desert dry month): hot, sunny with a slight breeze (sun reflecting nicely off the waves). The ferry arrived half an hour later - apparently the new union has negotiated a lunch break (repas du capitane on the schedule).


So, fine weather for helping my aunt with the gardening and other chores. The big one (and sweatiest) was repairing the stone block steps down to the beach. Brute force and fiddly work were both involved. Did I mention the sweat? The breeze off the river was a lot less than usual, but what little there was was welcome. I was able to take a break now and then, and guzzle down some ice cubes and Pepsi - went through four trays of ice over the weekend. Then there was the dust from trying to fix up the vacuum cleaners, it mixes well with sweat. Yup, nothing like spider and bug dust. Ugh.

Front Porch Eaten by Ants

Fortunately I didn't have to do the really hard work - repairing the front porch support beams. The front porch is the width of the whole house and is quite deep - it's a room in itself. Apparently the guy replacing the stairs had found nothing underneath them to attach the new stairs too - the main 6x10 inch beam had rotted / been eaten almost completely through in the middle. While I was there, the porch front had been replaced and a new beam put in, with lots of jacks to hold up the porch. Of course, he had run into minor glitches like the concrete posts breaking apart. I'm glad I only had to worry about stones pushed around by the river ice.


A hot night passed well - the bugs seemed to like the electric light and not me. But there were thousands of them, bringing the kitchen window alive with crawling motion, and fattening the many spiders outside.

More stone steps on Sunday, and some tree pruning. Then a nice air conditioned train trip back to Ottawa in the evening.

Well, that was a nice change from the pressures of work - got to implement that video player by the end of the month (with fast seek for alternate paths, and audio compression / decompression).

And then there's next weekend - the road trip down to the Shaw festival. Sure hope it's cool on Friday and Monday for the un-air-conditioned driving!

- Alex

Copyright © 1998 by Alexander G. M. Smith.