You are the visitor to this page since 9th October 1999.

These diary pages are mostly part of my letters to family and friends, usually in B.C. and Europe. The pages all read in reverse chronological order. i.e. Most recent first.

Sunday 31st October 1999

Beautiful day. Yesterday the temperature reached 74º. There is a pleasant wind blowing and the streets are awash with golden leaves. Everywhere homes are decorated with carved pumpkins, ghosts hang from trees and eaves and ghastly skeletons and macabre faces peer from windows.

My brother has told me that much of this super-marketed Halloween festival has been exported to England. Frankly I can't think why people would encourage their children to "trick-or-treat". What a stupid idea anyway. Children are born "charmingly uninhibited .. it takes approximately thirty years of training to teach them to be civilized .. They certainly do not need any training to become thoughtless, unconcerned about illness and death".

Apart from that, I enjoy the costumes and enthusiasm of the participants. Nowadays they seem to be focussing more attention on the playfulness of the festival and less on the destructive and macabre, thank goodness.

Sunday 17th October 1999

Went to my weekly movie treat. I always enjoy movies, so am not a very good critic. The only movie I absolutely could not tolerate was "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid". There were others, I suppose, which I simply wouldn't see. This week I decided to see "The Story of Us". It was the story of a fifteen year marriage, with many flash-backs. Like the critic of NBC, I couldn't understand why she would find it charming that he threw paper-clips at her. Nor could I think she looked particularly date-worthy by donning a silly pith helmet with a flashing light on top. I can only guess that they were both trying to say that they found each other very attractive in the first place.

Unfortunately he was a thoughtless slob. The many small thoughtless things he did or left undone would annoy anybody who had to live with him for fifteen years. She was turned from a pretty fun-loving girl into a nagging worrying housewife and mother.

Eventually they were, predictably, screaming at each other in public. Again, like the critic of NBC, I found the ending to be contrived and unrealistic. But apart from that enjoyed the movie very much (as usual).

Saturday 16th October 1999

Today was simply gorgeous. The hurricane in the south, together with a warm front, has brought warm moist air up to Canada and we are enjoying brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the 70s.

I took a long walk with my retriever to downtown Guelph. Had a coffee and returned home to a personal pan pizza. The forests of beautiful trees, along the side streets of Guelph, are now golden perfection. No doubt the rains expected in the next few days will bring the leaves down.

Friday 15th October 1999

Last week was so pleasant, but we had a cold snap and I began to think already of next spring. I went to White Rose Nurseries and bought a few bulbs: Chionodoxa Luciliae (like bluebells), Eranthis Hyemalis (a bit like buttercups), Fritillaria Aurora (huge lillies remind me of triffids) and Camassia Alba - also very like bluebells. If you would like to see pictures, either type in :- http://www.bulb.com/springguide98/eranthis.html. Or go to Metacrawler.com and copy/paste in the names. I put the bulbs in the ground immediately and today there were numerous squirrels munching in that area! $25.00. bulbs - squirrel food .. so I've put some mothballs down and hope they will keep my friendly little tree rats away.

Tuesday 12th October 1999

Here are a few pictures taken en route to Forks of Credit:

This is a tree face, Long Lane Orchards
have several of them. This would be an
interesting artistic occupation, don't you
think? It seems to be some kind
of plastic or clay. Unfortunately I didn't
realize the back light button would be necessary.
These are trees along the road to Long Lane Orchards.
These trees are laden with apples,
in the driveway to Long Lane Orchards.
This, I am sorry to say, is the moraine
to the north of Toronto. As you may see,
it is magnificent rolling countryside.
Shortly the "developers" (I say destroyers) are planning
to turn it into rolling acres of concrete.

Went on my annual pilgrimage to Forks of Credit. Stopped at Brantford Airport for lunch, on the way and met a couple of pilots from Guelph .. so it was good to have someone to talk with for a while.

Became less lost than last year, but still could not find the actual Forks of Credit. Probably because the park is closed to all traffic now. Took the photographs which you may see above.

There are many signs demanding a stop to the destruction of the area by lime pits. I can certainly see why .. the place where the lime pits were proposed in 1998 is really beautiful.

This year there were so many dead wild creatures beside the roads. I must have seen at least forty. Perhaps one day the Transport Department concerned will begin arranging for culverts to be built under the roads, so that the animals can cross their territory safely. I think the authorities for the New Forest in Hampshire, U.K., did this for their New Forest ponies and deer didn't they? It would really be a lot safer for the traffic too. A friend of ours had his Volkswagen destroyed when a deer jumped over a hedge onto his roof.

In Canada they could construct rope overpasses quite cheaply for racoons, skunks, groundhogs, opossums etc. Already the squirrels in cities use overhead wires to cross the roads. Birds and squirrels use the traffic to crack their nuts. Animals learn what best to do for their survival.

Monday 11th October 1999

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I was having a coffee, sitting in the dappled sunlight of my morning room .. and suddenly felt able to write this philosophical poem about my cat, nature, evolution and our arrogant attitude toward other living things:-

My Cat Wears Camouflage -
a philosophical poem.

As I observe my gentle cat,
Even in sleeping she is not quite that
Which one might suppose:
For she wears camouflage.

A million years of breeding
I have undone.
My gentle cat is
actually a silent killer born.

Softly her shaded shadows
of silken grey and
pinkish oranges and yellows
would blend into the
corns and hays of the mellow
quiet barns where she and her
kind evolved for survival
and particular purpose.

Can nature and evolutions'
Gods ever forgive me
There will never be
another like my trusting
From her brain - made
for silent watching ..
planning .. pounce .. slide through hay and blade
.. and

To her slender body -
built to slide and flex
through slats or other
narrow cracks?

To her graceful hesitant
watching walk
Designed to stalk,
One foot before the other.

Yes, Gods forgive me -
There will never be another
Like my gentle cat to
wear her subtle camouflage.

Suddenly she 'wakes
And I realize
Within the wond'rous golden
Perfection of her eyes;
We shall pay in full for our ignorant
Arrogance and atrocities.

Her Gods of evolution and good nature are never mocked,
Nor has man won.
We are the unknowing unfortunates
Who will be undone.

Sunday 10th October 1999 I went to see Random Hearts. Such a pleasant movie, lots of talk:
Once upon a time in more recent years, there lived a man and a woman. They were completely unrelated and living in different parts of the town wherein they dwelt. Each supposedly was happily espoused, having "good sex" and not more than the usual amount of problems and arguments.
We see the man and woman in their everyday lives and all appears to be well. The man's wife departs on a business flight to another city and the woman's husband does likewise. They are on the same flight, which has a serious accident. I really enjoyed this movie and will not tell you any more in case you want to see it for yourselves.

Saturday 9th October 1999

What a glorious morning. On such a day the poet John Keats wrote "To Autumn". In the odes and sonnets the art of Keats is seen in its ultimate perfection. The odes call for special mention, for they are among the most beautiful achievements in the literature of England. In these the man reveals his most intimate self and writes with the certainty of a great poet.

The Ode to Autumn was composed one Sunday evening in September of 1819 in the fields near Winchester. From beginning to end, the matter and method are superbly matched:

To Autumn by John Keats.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that 'round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring ? Ay, where are they ?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
October came in with the first killer frost - a couple of days ago, which killed my masses of nasturtiums. After that we had a few cold days while an Arctic High rested itself over the area. Last night there was a strong wind and a peculiar fine spray of rain. This ushered in a pleasant warm wind from the south. The forests of maple trees, in this part of the world, are now turning their beautiful colours. The perfume of maple, from the wet leaves, mixed with fresh rain and trodden pine, is everywhere. What a pleasant morning for a walk.

Last night I rented a very old movie: Miss Marple "Murder Most Foul". I hadn't seen that for many years. Usually one changes and stories cannot be enjoyed again - Have you noticed that? I still enjoy Agatha Christie movies tho'. I have tried to watch various musicals: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, An American in Paris and so on .. but usually turn off in about the first half hour.

Some time ago I saw the latest "Midsummer Nights' Dream" and enjoyed that so much I tried to rent the video. However, it is not available. Instead there was a production by the British Shakespeare Company. Personally I think I have never seen such a poor interpretation of Shakespeare's work. The costumes were very plain. The scenes were unsuitable. The actors were "camping" it up .. I think that's the word. So, I must remember not to rent that one again.

Sunday 3rd October 1999

Very pleasant day. I walked for several hours this morning .. and wore myself out. Felt I deserved a quiet movie .. so went to see "Mumford". Enjoyed this immensely. Mumford was a drop-out. He had particular way with people, or an aura about him, which always seemed to make people confide in him. Eventually he became a psychologist. That's all I'm telling you. Unfortunately I was the only person in the cinema .. so I don't suppose that movie will last long.

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