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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Country mouse in the big city


When you think of the heart of the city, you might bring to mind the Byward Market. Well, that is where I drive to work now, as evening news producer/ writer at CFRA News/Talk Radio. I don’t have to deal with rush hour because it’s a smooth mid-afternoon drive in and a cruise home just before midnight. It takes less than an hour one way, and I use that time wisely. I listen to the news and when I’m all caught up with that, I car-dance.
The Market is a bustling beehive of activity at any time of day, it seems. The heat from the pavement causes the scent of warm tomatoes, donuts and flowers to waft through the air. You can hear live music coming from the street corner where a busker dressed like a geisha girl is playing an antique Japanese string instrument. Yesterday it was someone singing old French Canadian pub tunes while playing a guitar, a tambourine and a bass drum. You never know what you are going to get.
I look out the studio window onto George Street, and I am reminded of when I lived in Taipei. I was then situated one city block from town hall. My roommate, Sylvia from Singapore, placed two brass turtles on stacks of books looking out the window onto the busy intersection below. The turtles were part of a feng shuei action, to divert any negative energy that might be emanating from the people and vehicles in the intersection.
I don’t feel that George Street requires any feng shuei correction. Most of the people I see outside seem to be in an extremely good mood. They don’t appear to be in a hurry to get anywhere. I think most pedestrians and motorists passing through the market have a pretty relaxed agenda. Except, of course, for the dozens of people I see every day who are obviously playing the highly addictive “Pokemon Go” on their mobile phones. They have their noses in their phones and if they don’t watch out they may get hit by a passing vehicle.
I usually bring my dinner to work from home, to save money and calories. The Beavertails donut kiosk and the Lois and Frima homemade ice cream stand are right outside my office, however, should I need a snack. I can also get fresh sushi, Chinese bubble tea, a Three Amigos cookie, and myriad other delights. I can pick up fresh fish at the Lapointe fish market and bring it home for the next day’s lunch. I bought myself a sterling silver ring made out of an antique spoon for ten bucks. It’s like being a tourist every day.
I have to admit, though, the first two weeks of walking across the market to my parking lot after dark I was a bit spooked. Ottawa has its fair share of people on the streets who can be a bit intimidating when they approach you for spare change at night. But for the most part I feel pretty safe on the market. And I’m out of there before 11pm.
On the other end of my commute is the farm. I wake up when I wake up. No alarm clock required. I go for a jog, then fall into the pool to cool down. I weed the garden, then take a shower, dress, do some laundry and tidy up the house. The rest of the morning might be spent making some meals for the Farmer so he doesn’t starve while I’m at work. Then we enjoy a leisurely, substantial lunch together before I drive in to the city.
It isn’t your typical farmwife life but what is, really? I have my weekends off for social activities, family dinner and the Kemptville Farmers’ Market.
The other day at work I used the sayings “a man on a galloping horse would never notice” and “I’ll have it done in two shakes of a lamb’s tail” so I think they are on to me. The country mouse is in the house.
When I get back from my morning walk I like to let the turkeys out of their pens to roam around for the day. Sometimes I get a bit of turkey poop on my shoes. Let’s just hope I remember to change shoes before I head to work, or it will be more than my colloquialisms that let everyone know I live on a farm.




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