Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ottawa ON to Ste. Agathe-des-Monts PQ

Ste. Agathe-des-Monts. Sunday afternoon. Plus 30 and high humidity!

It’s been hot and steamy since we arrived at Ruth and Pat’s in Kanata on Friday. Amazing how much the temperature can change in just a few days. There seems to be no let up in the heat and our poor bods are trying vainly to adjust.

We slept in the van outside Pat and Ruth’s and were lulled to sleep by the sound of rain on the roof. In the morning we headed into Ottawa after Ruth and Pat went to work. It took a while to find a place to park but we did finally find a spot in the Byward Market and headed up to Parliament Hill. We watched some boats coming through the locks on the Rideau Canal, picked up coupons for a free tour of the Parliament Buildings and then decided to have lunch.

I figured we had to “do lunch” at the Chateau Laurier so we joined the business crowd in our rather touristy attire. As we were finishing lunch, I pointed out to Dianne that Joe Clark was sitting at the table next to us. My decidedly extroverted friend decided that she would stop by for a chat with Joe as we were leaving. This was not as quite as an audacious undertaking as it might seem at first. Dianne is a long time resident of Joe’s old Yellowhead riding and we also knew that one if Dianne’s fellow parishioners at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Spruce Grove had managed at least some of Joe’s campaigns. Joe was unfazed at being approached and introduced us to his lunch partner Sen. Norman Atkins who has family in Jemseg, NB and who was coping with the flood damage to his NB cottage on Grand Lake.

From there we joined up with our tour to see the Parliament Buildings. I had never taken a tour of the buildings although in my days with TELUS I had been in various parts of the buildings for meetings and even had lunch in the Parliamentary cafeteria on one occasion.

After the tour concluded we had a short stroll back to Bessie and decided to leave the oppressive heat and drive to Kingston to see Cousin Jane and her husband Mark Banyard.

We arrived in Kingston (which appeared to be even hotter than Ottawa) and parked at the waterfront to have a bite to eat. We made ourselves a nice cold meal and Dianne headed off with our garbage to find a garbage can. She returned a few minutes later minus the garbage and with an invitation to have a glass of wine with a lovely couple who had been admiring Bessie from their patio a few metres away. So wine and conversation it was. Mavis and Dennis had emigrated from England shortly after WW II and, as Mavis put it, “I think we’re going to stay.”

On to the Banyards and their much appreciated, air conditioned home. Mark had just returned from Japan the night before and Dianne was intrigued by work they have been doing there. ( We had a lovely, relaxed visit with the Banyards. We slept in Bessie again and joined the Mark and Jane for breakfast before leaving for a tour of St. George’s Cathedral and the farmer’s market. Rebecca and Oliver surfaced before we left and all four bid us good bye.

Jane told us that it was only a four-hour drive to Ste. Agathe-des-Monts and Cousin Mary’s home. So, ever the intrepid adventurers, we decided to brave driving across the outskirts of Montreal to reach Ste. Agathe and visit Mary and Mark Gibson.

Ste. Agathe is a beautiful little city on a lake in the Laurentians. Homes dot the shore line, many with boat houses where you can just open the garage-type door and drive your boat right in. Years ago Ste. Agathe was populated by hotels, where vacationers would settle in for the summer. Over the years as people have bought and built cottages, the hotels have become fewer in number. Some of the older, opulent cottages and summer homes are still in use by subsequent generations of the original owners.

Mary and Mark welcomed us with a luscious meal including barbequed steak, fresh asparagus and a rhubarb torte made from rhubarb from their garden. We opted to sleep in our familiar Bessie beds and got up early to attend communion at 8 am at Mary’s church. Mary presided and it was very special for me to be there. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with all of my family, Mary is an Anglican priest.)

Last night Mary and Mark took us on a long walk around town; after church this morning, Linda, one of the parishioners, took us on our own personal guided tour of the area.

As I write this, Mary and Mark have just returned from picking up their daughters Sarah and Catherine at the airport. Sarah and Catherine have been in Wales. Tomorrow Dianne and I will take Catherine with us to Quebec City where she has a job.

I’m writing this in Mary and Mark’s screened gazebo as the sun drops behind the Laurentians. A brief thunderstorm has cooled the air. I’m beginning to think that this place is a little bit of heaven on earth.

Bon nuit...

1 comment:

Sari said...

Hi Betty,
You may be feeling lucky not to be in Calgary right now. It is flooding season. I have water in my basement for the fourth straight year! On a happier note, I stayed with Mary Pat last week during my pastoral counselling course and met her new beau, Paul. Nice guy!
Have a great time in Quebec City -- celebrating 400 years -- it should be great fun.