6 May 2012

And so, in a heartbeat, it is over. We had a great ten days visiting with Mom and Dad, Steph and Hope, Sandy and Pam, Susie and our good friends Chip and Leca Boynton. Can anyone explain why these visits, so long in the anticipation, fly by in a flash?

The flight home was long and tedious but smooth and straight-forward; it left Logan on time, arrived at Heathrow just ten or fifteen minutes late, immigration let me back into the country without too many tricky questions, our luggage was waiting on the carousel for Penelope when she breezed through customs, when I eventually emerged from my interrogations we walked out to meet the bus waiting to take us to our car and, apart from a short delay on the motorway due to an earlier accident, we had a smooth drive home. Penelope managed to snore her way from about Newfoundland to Iceland; I slept not a wink on the flight – I always find it very difficult to find a suitably comfortable position in which to snooze, especially when the person in front of you is reclining comfortably with her head in your lap. Still, a few days should see us right again.

An Adirondack Adventure
Those of you who are also recipients of Pam’s Wednesday Whiner will have had her account of the Adirondack Adventure we enjoyed while visiting Sandy and Pam and the Lake. Penny and I had been in Hanover with Mom and Dad for a few days until Susie flew in on Thursday from Portland. On Friday we all drove over to the Lake – it was a glorious Spring day with bright blue skies although it was fairly breezy and, in the wind, pretty fresh.

Sandy and Pam had arranged to prepare dinner for all of us on Friday so, soon after we arrived, they drove up to the Ritz to begin the festivities. Sandy lit the barbeque (the entrée for the evening was his world famous barbequed salmon with pesto) and Pam began getting garlic bread and asparagus ready to throw in the oven. Just as she did so, however, all the power went out.

Initially, Pam suspected that switching the oven on had blown the fuse but it soon became apparent that the power was out everywhere. What to do? What to do?

Sandy, naturally, has a generator at his place as do just about all the permanent residents of the Landing. So, he went down to the Peter Pan to fire it up. Pam could then put her stuff in the oven there and we wouldn’t starve after all. In the meantime, we had to stay up at the Ritz because it would have been somewhat difficult to transport the blazing barbeque down to their house without either burning ourselves or the forest.

Naturally, the power outage had knocked out the heating at the Ritz and, as I mentioned, it was fairly fresh, i.e., f***ing freezing! And, we faced the prospect of a long, cold night without any heating. So, before we all retired down to the Peter Pan for dinner, Penny, Susie and I went around gathering all the blankets we could muster and putting them on the beds. The house was warm, of course, as the heating had been on all day but we knew it would get mighty cold by about three or four in the morning without any power. By the time we had finished, each bed had about eight inches of blankets and we felt moderately confident that we would, at least, survive the night.

By this stage the salmon was cooked so down to the Peter Pan we all encamped and a fine feast was enjoyed by all. We ate, we sat, we talked, we laughed and finally, at about 9.30 it came time to face the music. We made our way back to the Ritz accompanied by Sandy who telephoned the electricity supplier once again to see if he could find out when the power would be restored. After navigating the labyrinth of options on the automated call system he finally got through to a human and, just as he asked, “Any idea when our power will be restored?” hey presto! All the lights blazed into life and civilisation was restored.

There were those, I have to confess, who suspected that Sandy and Pam had staged the whole event just to give us a bit of excitement. After all, the power conveniently goes out just as Pam switches the oven up to supercharge; the power is restored just as Sandy is speaking with the operative asking when it will be restored. Coincidence? You decide.

In spite of (or perhaps because of) the Adirondack Adventure, we had a great time at the Lake and a great visit all told. Of course, it all flies by so quickly – you’ve barely got your feet under the table and it’s time to go home again. Steph and Hope were great, Mom and Dad were in fine form, Sandy and Pam were welcoming (and entertaining) as always, and it was great fun to see our friends Chip and Leca who endured the long drive from Boston. And therein lies another coincidence:

Penny had decided that we (i.e., she) would cook Chicken Basque for dinner on Saturday evening (recipe available on request) which was to be followed by one of the finest desserts known to man – strawberry and rhubarb crumble. All was duly prepared and we waited in anticipation for Chip and Leca to arrive from Boston. About 1.30 they rolled up and, as Leca got out of their car we could see that she was carrying something as an offering to the assembled congregation. Leca had very kindly prepared – strawberry and rhubarb crumble! As you can imagine, we had to compare and contrast the two recipes and I’m pleased to announce a draw – both were absolutely delicious – each slightly different from the other but it’s awfully hard to beat the combination of strawberries and rhubarb. My goodness we were full!

And so we are home. I’m delighted to say that we missed gallons and gallons of rain in our absence (although the hosepipe ban is still in force – apparently we will need several months of non-stop deluge to replenish the water table). The dog greeted us enthusiastically when we arrived home but her excitement may, in fact, have been a complaint that we were home at all – she had Penny’s sister Judi to look after her in our absence and J is much more fun to be with than either Ms Playchute or me. Oh well, back to the grind.

Calvin and Hobbes - Rain

Love to you all,

Greg