Visitors have arrived

Heather and her husband, her two sons and my grand-nephew have arrived. They turned up at about six o’clock last night, too late for me to do any grocery shopping, so we ordered in a pizza for dinner.

First there had to be an inspection of the house, top to bottom, and admiration of my copious amounts of paint affixed to the basement walls, all white. Only Heather’s husband had seen it in its sorry original state, but all, including him were impressed with my accomplishment and agreed that the basement will be a livable place to work in.

The youngster is seven and speaks two languages very intelligibly already, Japanese and English. He can switch from one to the other effortlessly, but stumbles over the bits of French that his father is trying to teach him now that he is in Grade One. He has the marvelous curiosity of a child and an astonishing ability to see. Perhaps this is only because I’ve not had young children of my own and I’ve not seen these marvelous stages of development in other youngsters.

He looked at my gas fireplace and then reported to me that, if I didn’t already know, there was a blue flame. Did it need to be turned off?

I explained the functioning of the pilot light.

“There’s also a red spot in there,” he stated and took my large hand with his small soft child’s one. He pulled me over to the fireplace to look at what he had observed.

“Those aren’t wooden logs,” I explained. “Those are ceramic, like your dad’s coffee mug or grandpa’s cereal bowl. They can’t catch on fire. It’s just there to make it look like a wood fire. You don’t need to worry. It’s not a hazard.”

I got into a more lengthy discussion on it with his father. The blue flame is normal. The red hot ceramic tile is not. There is something going on there but I really don’t know what. Eventually, I’ll have to get someone in, but not right now.

My other nephew has just quit his job in the hotel industry. He could pick up a job anywhere since the job market is hot, but he’s thinking about a couple of weeks of holiday, so he offered to stay with me for a couple of weeks while he looks for his next landing spot. In the meantime, he has offered to do some work around the place – lifting heavy things, doing some yard work, mowing the lawn, maybe a bit of carpentry or gyprocking.

I’ll be glad of the company and glad to catch up with this gentle soul.

It was an offer. It has been accepted on my side, but not confirmed on his. So we will wait and see.

Last night we sifted over some possibilities for activities. All the boys have gone out rock climbing this afternoon in Coquitlam. We were hoping to have Mr and Mrs. Stepford over for hamburgers, outdoors, this evening but they can’t come. The menu will be different, but maybe tomorrow they will come.

Some other suggestions were the corn maze, horse back riding, a walk on the Pitt River Dikes, a hike in Golden Ears Park, swimming at the Municipal pool, going to a farm to see cows, horses, llamas, fallow deer or any of the other domesticated beasties. A blueberry farm is on the way home. I hope they will remember to bring some.
The blueberries are plump and sweet this year. We had some in a pie last night. Best pie I’ve made, ever, if I don’t say so myself. I got compliments from the others, so it must be true.

Mrs. Stepford, Heather and I went out to lunch at a friend’s place here in Maple Ridge. She has a stunning garden overlooking the Fraser River, high up on the cliff. Lunch was the epitome of refined living – a plate with a creamy blue cheese, one with double smoked salmon, some very lean prosciutto, three kinds of breads that were to die for, and a dessert of home made raspberries from the garden crushed in syrup,ice and whipped egg then frozen, coated with Bailey’s Cream at the time of serving. My mouth is watering again just at the thought of it.

After lunch, we toured the two acres of garden and stopped at the pond that had been sculpted out of the garden and provided with a continuous waterfall that tumbled over raw marble leftovers from the house construction. In the pool, we watched koi fish collect at the edge, swimming purposefully in circles waiting for their lunch. As soon as the food pellets were tossed in, they all scrambled to feed and the large ones muscle their way in the throng of little ones to gobble up the large pellets that the smaller fish could not grasp in their yawning maws, no matter how wide they opened.

A frog sat on a lily pad. The lily pad caught the afternoon light that seeped through the shady trees around the pool.

Soon we had to go, and we left bearing large zucchinis, a couple of cucumbers and , a tub full of elephant garlic. What a lovely and generous lady our hostess is! We bade farewell and returned home to find Heather’s mate mowing the front lawn. We all came back in the house and had a cuppa.

Not such a bad day for the 23rd of August now, was it?

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