Category Archives: 2019 Archive

PHONES RING

Posted Nov 2, 2019

A woman I have known for some time confided in me recently. She was burdened by a lot of things. She is about my age which means that she has aging parents, at least one child with issues, and is dealing with the aging process herself and her husbands aging as well.

She is not really a person who gets down much but over time that’s not as true a statement as it once was. She was pretty down when we chatted.  I hope our conversation helped. I think she really just needed to dump it all out.

This website I do is, for the most part, a pretty upbeat thing I think and while we all have reason to get down at times I try not to go there much. But my friend reads what I post here and I just wanted to share how deep she was down that day to say that some days it logical to feel down. She was, and remains, carrying a pretty heavy stress load and some of her friends and family need to understand that.

Anyway, here is the poem I wrote after chatting with her that day. Its not a happy poem and if your having a bad day, well, perhaps you should wait for my next post, but if your just cruising along perhaps reading it will bring into clear focus that the scratch on you new BMW really isn’t that big a deal, or not getting that promotion is not as important as the real issues in life.

 

PHONES RING

Phones ring.

They ring all the time.

At home, at work, in the car.

Sometimes I answer, most often I don’t.

 

News of my fathers death,

A confirmation after decades

Of estrangement.

 

Phones ring.

They ring all the time.

At home, at work, in the car.

Sometimes I answer, most often I don’t.

 

My son has died.

Finally succumbed to his demons.

My failure, but not mine alone.

 

Phones ring.

They ring all the time.

At home, at work, in the car.

Sometimes I answer, most often I don’t.

 

It will be a big stroke one day,

My husband of forty years.

He carries instructions for passersby.

I carry the weight of waiting.

 

Phones ring.

They ring all the time.

At home, at work, in the car.

Sometimes I answer, most often I don’t.

 

More tests, more results.

My doctor is inconclusive.

I don’t think it’s the cancer that kills you,

But fearing it’s return.

 

Phones ring.

They ring all the time.

At home, at work, in the car.

Sometimes I answer, most often I don’t.

 

——————————————————————————————————————–

A couple of final thoughts from Django:

I know that was not a fun poem to read. My goal was to capture how far down she was that day.

But after sharing how she felt that day and me sharing the poem with her she seems to be feeling a bit better able to cope. If you see her, give her a hug.

THE STATUARY

Posted: Sept 25, 2019

I was never very political but several friends in high school were a bit over the top that way. Jim was one of them. In grade thirteen (yes that is not a typo, Ontario, Canada had a grade 13 until the late 1990s) the best descriptor I heard of how to get directions to Jim’s political position was to:

“Start on Karl Marx Avenue and then as soon as possible take a sharp left”.

He has mellowed a lot since then but at the time he had a lot of admiration for the policies of Pierre Trudeau who at the time was moving Canada away from the American capitalist dominated democracy model to the more democratic socialism model of most of Europe and Scandinavia.

In recent times while he recognizes the problems of many “new” Canadians wanting Canada to just be a free place but largely a variation on the American model, he still laments the loss of a strong left but has had great hopes for Justin Trudeau. So it is with this background that I got a terrified call from him last week, quite stressed about Justin Trudeau in an image in blackface.

For many of us, the deepest scars of Canada are the way we treated Asian Canadians during the second war, turning away Jews who were fleeing Europe during the war and our awful treatment of our indigenous and Inuit peoples from the first arrival of Europeans until not that long ago. It does not end there but these acts are “our Holocaust” and for some of us, who would like the country to move to more openness, equality, and tolerance there is a powerful movement the other way. So a lot of that hope for our slow but continuing evolution to a more equitable society we pinned on Justin Trudeau.

My buddy was pretty down when we skyped (yes I have a laptop now, a used DELL that Janice gave me after Jim had it upgraded and refurbished), and in our long chat I reminded him of the piece he wrote several years ago inspired by a story that happened in Vancouver B.C. about twenty years ago about bullying and intolerance. The story here is a real stretch of that original event but one that was a logical flow from the original story, especially now with so much bullying in the schools, and some of it racially driven. A lot of Jim’s writing is not up to a publisher’s standard but some pieces, like this one I like.  I have reproduced it here.

 

                                                                              THE STATUARY

“I hate Vancouver” she shrieked as she ran through the front hall to her room.

It had been another draining day. The bullying of his daughter had not stopped, and seemingly nothing could be done. As a single parent, he had moved to West Vancouver in the hope that he and his daughter would fit into a racially mixed environment. A lot of colleagues had told him “if you can’t fit in on the North Shore- maybe it’s you”.  Aruj had taken these words initially as his motivation to make a better life for himself and his only child, but it now felt like an ominous threat.

His wife had left and gone ‘home’ a year and a half earlier because she couldn’t adjust. His secret hope was that when everything settled down and they had carved out a nice life that she would come back. Maybe just for a visit at first, but then permanently. Each Sunday they had a phone conversation. 

He sat in the kitchen and made a tea. Amrapali was still in her room sobbing. The only comfort he could find was that they were working on the problem together. Neither one ever mentioned ‘The girl in Victoria’ who had died at the hands of bullies several years earlier. Or the one in Seattle who had recently taken her own life.  “We will deal with this while it is a small problem” was the way he had come to express it to her, thinking it would offer hope and thinking that by calling it a small problem, he could somehow diminish the real magnitude of this burden.  Every week he saw her spark for life reduced. Her flame was going out. He would have to solve this.

Even the house felt threatening. It was larger than they needed and with them both out all day, it did not feel lived in, or comfortable. They had not much more than a nodding acquaintance with the neighbours as everyone seemed busy with their own lives. The house purchase had worked out financially and when they bought it he thought the swimming pool would be a nice aspect, but they hardly used it, and it was a lot of work to keep it clean. But it was nice to look at and fun when business friends came over or on some hot summer days.

He poured the tea and took one to her. She was working intently on her homework now. As he scanned the room he expected it looked like every teenage girls’ room of her age. The remnants of a child’s life, from not very long ago, mixed with a teenager’s passions and punctuated with some shocking components, at least from his standpoint.

“In a bit, I will start your favourite dinner Amrapali” he said quietly. “Amy,” she said without looking up.

Setting his tea on the centre of a coaster he pulled out a pad with his strategy for dealing with the problem. As an accountant, he found it easier to set it all out on paper, both to organize it and as a technique to test what had been inaccurate assumptions or missed variables.

The list, nor the ones he had drawn up before, didn’t really help. The school administration was involved, the teachers knew, the police had come to the school and given a talk.

The real problem was a handful of girls and their parents. The girls tormenting his daughter were all privileged and their mothers controlled the Parents Association.  Many of the parents of kids at the school were too busy to be involved in the Parent Association very often. They would support whatever activity had been planned, were very supportive of their kids, but with limited time and often two careers the turn out for the Parents Association was usually this group of ‘trophy wives’ several other moms and one or two fathers, depending on the issues planned for the meeting. He was embarrassed he had written TROPHY WIVES in capitals and crossed it out but wrote and circled twice: Parent Association.

As an independent school, the input of this group in both the evolution and administration of the school was considerable, linked to their family’s involvement and ongoing financial support often over generations, and items would only be put on the agenda if this controlling group felt it was appropriate.  He had never felt so humiliated and isolated as his treatment at the meeting the previous week when he had raised the bullying issue again.  The Chairwoman told him they were not concerned with the topic, that it seemed to have been dealt with already and seemed to be isolated to just a few incidents. They would not be putting this on the meeting agenda and the meeting would be focused on planning the next fundraiser.  He pressed the point, and the chair decided to have a vote on whether this topic should be discussed or not – eleven to three against it being on the agenda.

As he packed up to leave the meeting he demanded they record the discussion and vote results in the minutes of the meeting. Her response had echoed through his mind for days- “The minutes of our meeting reflect the conclusions we draw, and decisions we make, not the distractions along the way”.

His daughter’s bullying, and by extension, his daughter, and himself had been reduced to a ‘distraction’.  His only solace was that as he left the meeting he said to the principal, loud enough for everyone to hear “when you are at home in your own safe bed tonight you should reflect on what you heard at this meeting and evaluate what your beliefs are and whether you have a responsibility to every student at this school”.  He heard one person clap as he left the room.

In the privacy of his car after the meeting, he cried. What was he into?

This self-absorbed group of women who spent all their time together working out, going to spas, planning vacations, and shopping had lost all sense of humanity. They were all educated, aware of current issues, yet oblivious to what they were doing with this school and to people’s lives.  His upbringing and beliefs made him sorry for them, but he felt disappointed in himself that he was beginning to feel so much anger and frustration with them as well.

In the days following that meeting, the bullying girls escalated their taunts now making comments to his daughter about him and his ineffectiveness at the meeting. He had made things worse, not better.

He poured another cup of tea and made dinner, linguini with jumbo shrimp and garlic toast with a hint of mint and curry.

She was feeling better now, and they watched one of her favourite shows on TV while they ate. It wasn’t a practice he liked, but with everything else that was going on and her mother gone, it was a way to introduce some fun and special things into her horrible day.

After dinner, he did some office work. As he walked by the security system he noticed a blinking light on the machine indicating it was time to reset the recording. The system turned on whenever it detected movement in the back garden. The insurance broker had suggested it for liability reasons with a pool. Other than when a tree branch fell into the pool the only time the system turned on was when the raccoons would get into their neighbour’s garbage and come into their backyard to wash their food in the pool before eating it. Initially, he had been upset when this occurred as it meant his neighbours continued their sloppy garbage practices, but he and his daughter had enjoyed watching the antics of the raccoons on the tape and he was pleased to see they had another installment to watch tonight.

He put the USB key from the security system in the player in the family room and called her to join him. As he was getting the system set up he looked at the pool to see if the raccoons had left a mess, but it looked fine. “Did you clean up anything by the pool today?” he called.

She said she hadn’t.

The recording began to run, and the timer said it was from Saturday night.  As they started to see shadows moving out of the range of the pool lights he began reflecting on what had happened Saturday wondering if it might have been kids or some real intruders. It had been a very hot but dry night. A woman appeared in the light. She was naked, dropped her pool robe on a chair and slid into the water. Before he could say anything to his daughter three more appeared, all naked, dropping their pool robes and all quietly sliding into the pool. Their voices were low, but it was obvious they were talking about the pool and the last one they were in and the next one they would go to next door. They were moving down the street going for a swim in each pool. After a while, they seemed to forget about the motion-sensitive lights that had come on and were jumping in the pool and laughing. The recording looked like a wild sex party. When they came out of the pool they started drying off in the warm night air and despite moving slowly to not reactivate the motion-sensitive lights the lights from the house lit them up well.

“Look at them Amrapali  – they are all so pasty white, like statues by Michelangelo”.

“I think they are more like statues by Vince the Trainer, Dad” was her fast reply.

“Do you recognize the voices?” His daughter asked. He had not, but just as she asked it became clear. These were four of the parents of the problem girls and four of the problem women in the Parent Association including the Chair.

They looked at each other and started to laugh.

After they regained their composure, he wondered out loud, what they should do with this recording. “We will post it on the internet of course,” his daughter said without hesitation. “They humiliated you, their daughters and others are tormenting me, this is sweet justice.” Her last two words she repeated slowly “Swweeeeet Juuussssssticce.”

“But if we do, we will be no better than them. We will have become the bullies” he countered.

“They came into our yard illegally; doesn’t that count for something dad?”

Over desert, the two were into a raging debate over the question of how to deal with this change in the balance of power. Her spark was back, and in turn, his. This problem would have to be managed of course, but she was happy, and they debated on for some time before bed. They agreed to sleep on it and figure it out the next day.

He was up very early and surprised to see his daughter was as well.

Breakfast was the best it had been for a long time. His daughter headed off to school early and was happy.

“We will figure it out tonight!  Have a good day Amrapali” he called to her as she headed out past the Arbutus trees on their front lawn.

“Tonight” she called back and turned back “I will” and then “Amy”.

She probably didn’t hear her dad as she walked down the sidewalk “Amy”.

 

She was at school early and said hi to a couple of classmates.  At her first class, Amy got out her books, opened her laptop, and smiled.

A little sunset, a little dawn.

P.S. As always, don’t be afraid to reproduce this piece but please attribute it to this website.

Django

WOODSTOCK FIFTY YEARS LATER

Posted: August 15, 2019

Those of you who are devout readers of my dispatches and ramblings know that in my first post I wrote a piece about my buddy Jim and a life-changing event in his life. It occurred fifty years ago this weekend, August 15th to August 18th, 1969. If are a reader who has not read that piece, well SPOILER ALERT – you should go back and read it before you read on now!

So the essence of that experience was that Jim not only did not get to go to Woodstock, but he also shot this poor girl in the arm with an arrow. While I don’t get a lot of emails the shocking nature of this true story really got a few people to respond to me. This post is not a long one but the topic deserves more of a response than I usually do at the year-end Question & Answer posting I do.

The first important part of this story follow up is “what happened to that poor young woman who was shot?” I don’t know, and Jim does not know. At several points, Jim has reached out to try to find out who she was and how she made out in her life but has yet to connect with her. So if anyone you know from New Castle, or Scranton Pennsylvania who is probably in the back half of her 60’s today who cottaged in the lake country north of Brockville and Kingston Ontario in the late summer of 1969 please have her contact me at django@bell.net and I will connect her with Jim.

The second issue is what happened to Jim based on this terrible thing he did. Well, that’s kind of complicated – nothing, and lots.  At the time it was viewed as a terrible, stupid mistake. There were no legal charges, no real consequences in some respects but he never got to apologize. The family of the victim did not want anything to do with him, his parents were overwhelmingly embarrassed by his behavior and it was within days of the young woman and her family going back to the United States and them all going back to school.  So nothing happened in legal terms or even any direct consequences but from that point on he not only had the memory of this terrible error in judgment but was reminded of it regularly when he would add more bad decisions to the growing pile.

So that’s what I know of what happened to the two of them regarding this incident. What is crazy however is a strange turn of events that occurred later in Jim’s life relating to Woodstock, the event that his parents did not allow him to go to that weekend. While he had a lot of fun playing music himself he was very much a recreational musician but did enjoy photographing bands for a press service in the mid-’70  at the end of high school. It was probably that experience and that his son Jason, a musician and music production student at the time, as well as a friend Adrian (see links we love), a lead guitarist with some known bands, that Jim and Janice started to fund some emerging artists for their first albums and then eventually became partners in an indie record label.

Jim did not bring any musical talent to the partnership, just some business experience but one project his partner in that company, Brian did with the label was a tribute album to THE BAND, who of course had played at Woodstock. Garth Hudson from The Band was the key figure in putting this together and brought in a bunch of musical friends to play a number of songs. One of those artists was Neil Young who also played Woodstock of course with Crosby Stills Nash and Young.  So while he did not make it to Woodstock that weekend in 1969, he eventually had a slice of that memory many decades later.

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The album, as well as a two-volume extended version, is available through Curve Music. Just go to our LINKS WE LOVE section and you can find more details there.

 

FATHERS DAY

Posted: June 16, 2019

For any of you who have been paying attention, I am not a father. And my dad and granddads are all passed.

So what I am writing about today is Jim – well not Jim exactly but his dad.

Jim’s dad was a bit of a classic of his era. He did woodworking and built their cottage and could fix the car and the only thing he could cook was on a barbeque. You know – that kind of dad. He was a dependable sort of guy who people could rely on to do be supportive when needed and speak his mind when that was needed. He was a lithographer by trade and ran a bunch of printing plants across Canada for the Queens Printer in Canada (the Federal Government printing office).

He was not a young guy when Jim was born ( I think he was about 35 or older) and perhaps because of that or his own upbringing that saw him leave home at sixteen, or having a first child (Jim’s sister) nine years earlier who was more conventional, he and Jims mom did not quite know what to make of Jim. This was a wild monkey, to say the least, and neither of Jim’s parents had any idea how to manage him.

The good news is that they all survived Jims years in public school (if you have not read my first post you might want to now as it explains some of Jim’s behavior in public school) and against all odds his years in high school as well.  Today ADHD and a variety of other mental health descriptors would be applied but at the time the kindest label was the one I used earlier – wild monkey.

Jim had a life-changing event when we were traveling in Europe in 1973 with our other buddy Jim (another Jim, yah that’s the only name they gave out in 1954) which really made him straighten out, or at least be more focused. He scooted back to Canada at the end of the summer after high school, slid into University and there was no looking back. All his energy was now channeled into something. He would work all night as a security guard then go to school in the day and catch a bit of sleep in the evening. That’s how he lived through first year and went from a failing student in high school to a straight-A student who was in the top of his class for most of his courses in first-year university.

It was quite a scary transformation and one that his parents had given up on seeing happen.

The really good news is that his parents went on to live into their eighties and from that time in 1973 until they passed Jim had a really good relationship with them but has always been haunted by how bad a kid he had been until then.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, its because today, Fathers Day, while his kids, Jade and Jason were preparing him an amazing meal, Jim sat down at the computer and banged out this poem about his dad and just sent it to me. It could use some edits and Jim is not the strongest poet but damn it’s pretty straight up.

 

A SHORT POEM ON FATHERS DAY

I don’t know all the things

I learned from my dad.

But when doing some carpentry

Was reminded of his approach to objects.

 

Things exist for a reason

And until they have fulfilled

That reason to exist

Are somewhat incomplete.

 

When a nail would be bent,

We would find a hard surface to hold it on

And pound it with a hammer until straight.

The nail could now fulfill its destiny.

 

Toothpicks needed

To find a mouth,

And both ends used,

To be complete.

 

A transit ticket

Lies waiting

To be dropped

In its box.

 

A bottle of rye should not

Be left half consumed

Biding its time

To complete its task.

 

I was a bit of a mess then,

Much more than incomplete,

But he didn’t

Give up on me.

 

You can’t analyze a tall man,

In a short poem.

Suffice it to say,

He straightened bent nails.

 

 

 

P.S. from Django:                                                                                                                                                                        Because I was hustling to get this posted I have not tracked down a picture of Jims Dad or Jim with his kids but I will post those images here when I get them. Also as always, feel free to reproduce the poem but please attribute it to this website.

 

POISSONS DE TERRE DOUX

Posted: April 3, 2019

When I sat down to write this post the focus was going to be about the Tortierre recipe that my Odie always made and the Tortierre recipe that Jims Nana did and I was going to compare the two. Well that may appear at some point in the future and it is a nice comparison of those two meat pies but in starting to write it, what became clear is that I really wanted to get down some thoughts on the life my Odie had. It was tough and colourful and spaned a time in history and a part of the world that saw a lot of change.

For those of you who have read all my posts, you will know that I was only marginally better as a grandson as I was as a son. But with that said my Odie did mean a lot to me and I did spend more time with her before she passed a few years ago.

Before I even get into this story I should comment on the title of this piece. For those who do not read French, Poissons de Terre Doux means Sweet Land Fish in English, and for those who do read French, yes that says poisons de terre doux, which is a pretty strange combination of words but stick with me here and it will all be explained in this piece.

So where do I start – well much of how my fathers family evolved flowed from the first world war and was then exaggerated by the second world war.

My Odie was born in 1899 and had two boys, and one daughter, my dad being born in 1919. She was from a little village in Brittany as was the man (my grandfather) she would eventually marry was also from there.

So at the beginning of the first world war my grandad went off to war, survived and came back. But having seen more of the world than just his village decided to not be a fisherman like his father, as he had seen how difficult and at times dangerous a life it could be.  He chose instead to be a chocolatier.  After trying to get an apprenticeship in Rennes and then Brussels he ended up in Paris working for a master chocolatier who was a bit of an old-world version of that trade. Among the other components of the trade he learned the art of making chocolate molds and distinguished himself from the other apprentices in this aspect. When he returned to his little port town to set up shop, it was a fortuitous time as his father who was retiring from fishing was able to let him use the front of his building which his parents  had used as a fish store. It was a very rough space and of course, smelled of fish.

When he (my great grandfather) would come home with the days catch, it was my great grandmother who would then sell the fish that day in the store while he cleaned up the boat and geared up for the following day. By selling in the store they always got a better price than selling at the dock and he was able to retire, unlike most fisherman who would essentially fish till they died.

So the way my Odie tells it, she and my grandad cleaned up the old fish store and geared up to open the chocolate shop. But there was a problem. The village was very controlled by the few merchants in the town and there was a law that this space could only be used as a fish store. The town had very few stores and had laws that protected the boulangerie from having competition, the patisserie, the fresh grocer, etc. So while the only chocolate that was being sold was a very small selection in a small store that was a dry goods and hardware store that also sold sweaters and boots, this store (my great grandparents store) could only be used to sell fish.

Now when Odie tells the story she gets very worked up at this point talking about her husband, buckling down and working for over a month on doing new chocolate molds – all  in the shape of various local fish. Some were very small at less than 10 cm (4 inches) but many more like 30 to 40 cm (16-20 inches) and a few that were over a meter in length (40 inches). I wont go into the details that Odie would tell about his exact designs with fish scales and other details but she was very proud of what he produced.

While he was working on this Odie and some friends were working away on cleaning up the store and trying to get rid of the fishy smell. My grandmother was  pregnant with her third child at the time. She would get quite graphic in her details of the fish smell often overwhelming her and the sickness that would ensue. I will spare you those details. During this time my great grandfather the retired fisherman was talking to locals to get them onside with the idea of the chocolate shop. During this time he was also making the new sign for the business.

When they opened as Poissons de Terre Doux, there was very little opposition, but lots of snickers regarding the name.

The business did well and my father, his brother, and sister had a very good life growing up there. This happy story might end there but World War II intervened.

When we look back at history it is easy to identify the Third Reich as being “bad” and all other countries they took over as being “good”.  The reality is that in several countries – Holland, France, and others – there were a number of people who, tired of war from less than a generation before, wanted peace – at almost all costs, and while not welcoming the German occupation, looked at it as the lesser evil.  Apparently my uncle who was a few years older than my dad was in that group and was part of the French administration controlled by the Germans and as he was an early supporter became quite senior in that puppet regime.  My grandparents and my aunt and my dad never spoke to him again. This was because they were so ashamed of his decision but also because after a few years and the liberation of France he died. Its not clear if he died at the hands of the Germans or the Allies or the French Resistance.  If he had come back to the village in Brittany he had grown up in he might have died at the hands of his relatives!

My father was too young to be involved in the war but wanting to help, worked most of the time with his mom at the chocolate shop while his dad and sister did some work in the shop but both also spent their time in minor roles in the French Resistance. It was a classic tragedy of siblings or children and parents on different sides of political conflict.

At the end of the war, my father was recommended by several respected local people in his town for a position in the government and almost instantly was swept up in the French Diplomatic Service in a very junior administrative role. The succession of governments, ideas and the various swings in perspective meant that many senior people were dismissed based on their history and very junior people like my father rose through the ranks not by merit but by not being affiliated with any group or party.  And that is how my father found himself in his 30’s in a middle ranking position with the French Embassy in Ottawa, Canada in the early 1950’s and eventually met a nice French Canadian girl – my mom.

So I have been off on this bit of historical drama but need to bring you back to the story of the chocolate shop. In the 1950s my grandfather, grandmother and my aunt ran the shop until my aunt died of cancer and then a few years later my grandfather passed away as well. My Odie moved back into the flat above the store and rented the storefront to a company selling local handicrafts and antiques to tourists.

For years I have been trying to track down a photograph of the store, but a few years ago, a good friend saw some chocolate molds and photographed them for me. They had been purchased for props for the film “Chocolate” set a long distance away from Brittany but the molds bore the stamp of my grandfather. I have been able to get a few photos of those molds, but these are all the medium-sized ones up to about 30 cm (12 inches) – I have never seen any of the really large ones. I can’t imagine what a one-meter (over a yard)  chocolate fish would be like!

 

19cm chocolate fish mold 1

 

 

 

CAPTAIN CIARA

Posted January 5, 2019

Usually, my posts are thought out and a bit more reflective, but I am pretty bogged down with lots going on so this one is going to be tight and without as many of my usual diversions.

I got my new captain! From my post last summer about Captain Kyle post you know that I had my eye on her for some time but she had other commitments, so I muddled through waiting to get her on En Plein Air. The wait was worth it.

Her name is Ciera and for those of us who are not Irish its pronounced Kee-ra. She is about ten years younger than I am -ok I will help you with the math – she is in her mid 50’s. To be brief, she is a medical doctor, a bit on the run from a nasty husband, and lives in the moment. She is a great captain, much more like Captain Sven, so I can just not sweat how the boat is handled.

She is from County Cork and her dad was a sailor. He didn’t do much fishing but used his boat in season to take tourists out and tell them stories about the region. In the off season, he would write but was never published. Her mom worked a bit with her dad on the boat but was a textile artist who at times just made really kitschy pieces for tourists but in her later life was recognized for her landscape quilts and had some pretty big art shows.

Ciera was not artistic and unlike her parents, she was focused on science, which eventually led her to a degree in medicine. Much of her adult life was not very nice and I will have to leave that to another day to tell you about.

So all through her life, she sailed with her parents, and that skillset and a healthy respect for the moods of the sea, made her the captain she is.

The deal I cut with her is pretty straight up. Everything we earn goes first to the boat – repairs, dockage, fuel, any hookup charges, and also includes our personal food and wine. The rest gets split between us. So what this amounts to is that in slow months there is nothing left to split and once we get to some good months there will be a bit, and of course, this is getting her and me our room and board covered in the boat costs. But she has a pension and some money that she can access when she needs to and I have my little Canadian allowance so life is pretty good and when things are slow she will be able to go traveling a bit and with someone to look after the boat in slow times I will be able to make plans to get back to Canada to see my neurologist, my dentist and a few friends like Jim and Janice.

Everything I just described in terms of our arrangement is what I proposed and she agreed to but she had one other stipulation that I agreed to. Whenever she wants and for three times, she can ask me for a big favour. And she made it clear they are big – like donating a kidney big.  I have a good sense of one of them and even though this is a really open-ended commitment on my part I agreed. Life is a gamble and from the exposure I have had to her over several months I trust her.

She is almost as tall as me, attractive with long grey hair and is not overweight but solid and probably stronger than I am. I understand through her whole life she has worked out which makes her quite a contrast to me.

So before you all start getting excited about this as a new romantic relationship in my life (that was the first thing Janice said when I sent them an email about her) you should also know she is a lesbian. So this is my business partner, captain, and buddy I am introducing.

I will fill in more details later but for now I am in a bit of a scramble as we are off to the southern coast of Greece having some mechanical work on the boat done in the off season.

Django