Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Aged Scotch

As soon as I thought I was near enough to the actual city, I pulled off the highway and took a main drag through Hamilton, so I could see a little of it, at least. Looked like most places in the states, lots of strip malls, though there seemed to be a high propensity for dollar stores. Hmm, I could live here, I thought. Except for that "cold" thing. Brrr. Never did get the hang of cold. Whether being raised primarily in the southwestern US or having a thyroid about as active as your average brick is the main source of this, I can't say, but cold just plain hurts. Too bad there isn't any warm and balmy snow about...
Anyway, I drove on north until I ran out of road...kinda unexpectedly, since the map showed another park ahead. And there was one, but the road dwindled into a residential street and the actual part leading to the park was little more than a bit of back alley behind a tiny apartment building. Bicycle entrance or something. I was interested in exploring but decided I didn't want to leave my car in what might be someone's drive, so I turned around and went down another way, roaming aimlessly for a few minutes. Decided I might as well stop at Dundurn Castle, since it was on the map, relatively easy to get to, and well, I was there.
So I parked and got out. A group of other folks was gathering at the other end of the lot; one asked if I were part of whatever reunion they were meeting up for--something military- or history-related. I laughed a no, just a wandering stranger, and proceeded to wander. (Whether strangely or not is subjective).
Read the historical postings here and there and ambled around the side, and hither and yon. While I'd seen the place on the map I had not heard of the estate. Big ol' mansion of a big ol' Scotsman. Signs pointed to going around to the stableyard...back there was the giftshop and a restaurant. I poked around in the giftshop a bit...I'd like a wee Canadian flag to go along with my US and TX and British flags. I never intentionally started a collection, they just kinda flagged me down. ar ar
I did find a flag but it was a tad pricey for the size, and though I considered getting it, it occurred to me that in a town full of dollar stores, there must be a cheap maple leaf somewhere. So I held off for the time. Tickets for a tour were also expensive, for someone who had no real idea where she was, anyway. I've toured a number of old mansions in my time, and since I'd just done Lyndhurst, I thought I'd pass, but walk around. Never know, I might change my mind. But I was still looking for a phone to call Mr. Frid before I made any other plans. (I had a cell phone, but with my service it'd cost a dollar a minute in Canada, so I needed a payphone!)
Dundurn Castle stableyard (in and around to the left is the giftshop).
I walked around the other side of things, essentially a park, following the fence. Figured I might could see the lake somewhere around here. There was an opening and a rough trail and I followed it (perhaps stupidly of me). I like to think of it as adventuresome. It led steeply down an overgrown hill, apparently a bluff or ridge overlooking some rails, but I could see the lake. If I looked real hard... There was certainly a lot of botanical company. Here's a shock of goldenrod. Exhausting that little jaunt's educational aspects, unless I wanted to explore what breaking a leg in Canada would be like, I climbed back up the wild and re-entered civilization. Walked around to the street and noticed some folks across the street hadn't been so lucky. But I really liked their sign.

I wonder if I could do that in the front yard. Well, with a slight change in message.

For those who enjoy blurring lines, obviously here's where JF/Barnabas hangs out. (a cryptic joke)

It was a very eye-appealing necropolis, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time snapping at cemetery statuary just then, so I took a couple of shots from across the street at Dundurn. Then I got down to business. There was a payphone out front along the road--I'd spotted it going into the Dundurn grounds but I was hoping there'd be one by the giftshop--out of the wind and away from the street noise. No such luck. So I girded my coins and shoved a finger in my ear and called Mr. Frid.

Luckily, I got hold of him! Then my luck went downhill, lol. He greeted me warmly but said he'd expected me yesterday and was too busy to meet today. Bummer. I was taken aback about being actually expected, given his excitement at the whole prospect the other day (er...doubt it...CALL), but there was no point trying to explain all that had ensued between Sunday morning and now. He flattered me in saying that he had the painting and stuff set up for me (though Richard really didn't quite suit his decor). I was laughing and reassuring him that it was just a toy, something to play with, use for parties or for the website or whatever, auction off, just a giftie--he didn't have to live with Richard. He had to attend to some sad business and meetings in a few minutes, and I did understand that it was just bad timing and I'd have done the same. But I did ask if it would help any if I came later (it wasn't like I was in a rush...yet). He thought about it a sec but said no, go on. I figured he didn't want to be held to any obligations if the event ran longer than expected, etc. Definitely understandable, and I wasn't expecting anything, just a thought that if we ever got together longer than a few minutes, maybe we could produce something.

Hmm, that didn't come out quite right.

Project-wise. Art-wise. Idea-wise. Naughty people!

He assured me he'd be sending me stuff and mentioned a few other things, then ended up saying we'd meet up next time. Of course he couldn't see my eyes roll, but I really gurgled at that...pretty sure that this would be the last chance. Just to get back at him, I said, yeah, next time he was in San Antonio. He ha-ha'd at that one, and we went on our separate paths.

Oh well, guess I had time to poke about after all. I headed back to the Castle and took a better look at things. Collinwood's Old House, in gold, I'd say... Now there's a porte-cochère.

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