The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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This Is The Short and Long Of It.

The days are long, the nights fall away too fast. So there sit hubby and myself as the Summer months decrease without much ado.

We’ve had a few activities of late. The party for my nephew’s 18th birthday was great. As usual the family frivolity was raucous and up-lifting. I, again, had a chance to get caught up with my other sisters, nieces and nephew on their comings and goings. I truly have to admit that at this stage in my life I’m jealous. When someone asks us “So, what’s new with you guys?”, my brain goes to mush to try and think of something exciting we’ve been up to. Alas, we can’t even come close to the others. Their travels, adventures and resulting stories are beyond what Nat and I could ever get up to, being the boring old sods we’ve become. I still enjoy listening and laughing along immensely.

Our one big event this past month came by way of an invitation to one of Nat’s golfing buddies 50th Wedding Anniversary. Nat golfs with the husband three days a week, and we’ve been to dinner with this couple in the past. The wife is Quebec French, speaks English enough for me to understand, but talks a little too fast for Nat. They’re definitely a fun couple and we love their company.

The anniversary party was held at their home in Port Dalhousie with a guest list of close to 100 people – mostly family and friends from Quebec who had travelled for hours on end and would be staying a few nights to enjoy each other. The Anniversary Couple decided not to do any of the work – and who could blame them – so caterers were hired to set everything up – tent, chairs, food, drink and an anniversary cake accompanied by gorgeous cupcakes.

As Nat and I walked towards the back of the house, the French language could be heard emanating around us. We were greeted by our friend and his wife, wished them congratulations and then wandered around to check everything out. Our friend owns and rents out the house next door to him, so there was plenty of space for guests to mix and mingle. We walked around where pockets of French were heard, along with pockets of English along with laughter and screams coming from the children in the swimming pool. They certainly had the perfect day, weather wise, for this whole soiree.

After meeting a few of the family, Nat and I soon found our way to some seating under the tent. Our necks were twisting and turning as we watched the party-goers and family members talk amongst themselves. It wasn’t long after that, a foursome sat down beside us. We introduced ourselves and the conversation started. I, for one, was very relieved one couple was originally from England. To top it off, the husband was from Manchester and a huge Manchester United football fan. I suppose you almost have to be if you’re born there. It’s probably a law, or something.

I’m not a discriminator of the French language and, in fact, am truly sorry I didn’t learn to speak it fluently. Yes, I know, I still can, but my patience has been lost somewhere between hear and the Atlantic Ocean. So having a couple born in Britain sit next to us was somewhat of a relief so Nat and I could have a more fluent conversation. The loud voices around us could, at times, drown out any talking resulting in Nat not being able to hear, especially with his newer hearing aid that (in my opinion) isn’t as good as the last one.

The entire party was lovely, the speeches (as always) a little too long and the food was delicious. Arriving around 3:30 pm and the time now well after 8:00 pm, Nat had to take me home. I was very tired and had pills to take. (Sadly, a routine that can break up a lot of get-togethers for us). It was our first night out in a long while, but was good.

Finally, this past week saw our Landscaper (GreenScapes Niagara) come around with the soil and garden stone for the bottom of the yard. This small project is going to help Nat when he’s mowing the lawn. He won’t have to twist and turn around the edge of the creek with the regular lawn mower, saving him quite a bit of time out in the summer heat. Wood edging now runs east to west across the lawn in a straight line about 10 +/- feet up from the shores of the creek. The area inbetween was filled with a plastic ground cover, lots of dirt and then garden rock.

Nat’s pleased with how the landscaping turned out and will certainly shorten his lawn mowing time. Hopefully, this next Spring we’ll find some large garden pots to plant with plenty of decorative, colourful plants to fill the space. Just spruce the joint up a bit!

With nothing else on our agenda, Nat suggested maybe we take a drive to Port Dover yesterday for a walk-about along with a Fish ‘n Chip lunch. We took the 2-2/2 hour drive using Garmin and with all things “Nat & Twila” the day somehow hits the proverbial rocks and went down the toilet from there.

The drive in was easy enough and when we arrived Nat asked if I wanted to check out the shops. With me, that’s always a given. Not being able to make up my mind, however, we decided to park down by the beach. Somehow I became a bit dazed. My legs were sore from sitting in one position for so long. The sun was beaming down and I was getting a bit hot. I asked Nat if we could do the shops, but by the time I began to walk the distance from the beach to the main street, I was about to collapse. He went back for the car and found a parking spot on Main Street, but then I became very disappointed. There was nothing of interest in any of the shops for me. I could tell Nat was getting a little disappointed. He had suddenly become very quiet. After a bit of a “discussion” on Main Street, we decided to go for lunch, maybe that would quiet things down.

Not knowing where any of the indoor restaurants were, and I had previously done a little research for fish ‘n chip places, I suggested we go to a very popular spot called “Willies” down by the beach. We were a little disappointed upon arrival. This was strictly an outdoor joint. Place your order, find a seat on the patio and watch the world go by. As we checked the menu, Nat found he could have his Perch lunch and I could get some Haddock. We took a seat but once we began to eat, I stated my huge disappointment in the Chips – over-fried, crunchy inside and out – with the fish not as well battered as I had hoped. I could tell from Nat’s face he was thinking the same thing.

We slowly ate in silence. I apologized for ruining his day and his silence said it all. He agreed his day had been ruined. In my defence I had long forgotten how hilly Port Dover is, how this was definitely a beach community with take-away, outdoor eateries and not a whole lot of quaint gift shops. I’m guessing the Bikers on Friday the 13th don’t exactly come for the shopping.

The day only got worse when we began to drive home. We set Garmin to Go Home but what to our surprise it was taking us a completely different way from whence we had come. We were told to turn right onto Haldimand Rte 3 instead of Provincial Rd. 3 throwing us a curve ball that lead to heated discussions about what was going on. I felt like Nat was looking to me for answers and (in my ignorant manner) began to explain what I thought was happening. I told him, in the end, that we could still get to Hwy. 3 once we arrived at Dunnville.  We continued driving in complete silence, arriving at Dunnville a half hour later. More frustration set in as Nat was unsure what to do and where to go. We soon found the road to turn onto to get back onto our beloved Hwy. 3 to home. It was extremely easy to do with sign posts everywhere. The balance of the ride home was in complete silence, but the Garmin situation was giving me an itch I had to scratch.

As Nat drove along, I reached for the GPS and went into the Settings. Long story short, I had soon realized that with the last Garmin Update done on the computer, the whole GPS had returned to its original Default Settings. With one of our trips we had changed the Settings – map display to 3-D, driving route to “Fastest” and not “Quickest” (huge difference), along with a few other minor items. I decided to open my mouth again and tried to explain to Nat what might have happened. I could see his face thinking this whole scenario out, and finally agreed that might have been the reason.

Our Tuesday trip was over – at last!! Arriving home in more silence, total frustration and disappointment we tried to think of what to have for supper and then headed to our recliner chairs. Please God, lights out and let this day be over. With all things “Nat and Twila” the silence continued into Wednesday morning with a little tip-toeing around afraid of who was thinking what, but each were afraid to ask.