Archive for the ‘far away places’ Category

Hubby and I were sorting out the den the other day in our annual Spring/Summer momentary cleaning frenzy. This goes hand in hand with the clean-up the garden and get rid of all the dog poop, plastic bags, weeds and rusty [unused] garden implements frenzy. Or clean out the ponds with all those moldy leaves and dead goldfish that we forgot on the bottom last winter frenzy. Or the remove the canvas gazebo that inverted itself during the first snow-fall and is now three feet tall in the middle and unless you have very small friends will never be used to eat in again frenzy. No frenzy lasts very long and is usually over before the end of the weekend. We don’t belong to the immaculate lawns and gardens brigade – to the disapproval of the neighbors – and would no doubt have weeds the size of tree trunks if we thought we could get away with it and if the council wouldn’t keep snooping around and delivering official looking letters threatening dire results if we don’t repair the eaves troughs, clean up the back-garden, remove the broken lawn furniture and dispose of the old car forthwith. Let’s face it – we’re slobs. We are the sort of neighbours that you don’t want moving in next door to you.


It’s not that we don’t want a nice looking house and yard with sweet smelling roses climbing up the drainpipe – it’s just that there are so many other things we want to do before we go to that great lawn and garden centre – or maybe if we’re unlucky that big compost heap – in the sky. Like learn the guitar, sail up a canal in Venice, spend a summer in New Zealand, go swimming on a beach in Hawaii, read Moby Dick and War and Peace, paint, learn Japanese in Japan, travel through Europe, visit all the malt whiskey distilleries in Scotland, look for the Loch Ness Monster, set up an eBay store, or anything else our little hearts desire – so long as the money holds out and none of it has to do with gardening. Of course money always has to factor in there somewhere but we figure if we wait until the real estate market is just right we can flog the house for far more than we paid for it and take off with the kid’s inheritance. Not that it will amount to much once we’ve bought the enormous RV, the better to tour the continent with.


We could ‘do’ North America first, before we do the distilleries. I always wanted to see the Custer battlefield – silly sod that he was. What did he expect after he had massacred all those innocents? A fruit cake and a silver cup? You couldn’t exactly blame Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull now could you? If *your* family had been slaughtered for no particular reason other than arrogance and idiocy I think you would be a tad peeved and out for a bit of revenge too. I bet that was some sight to see – something like a scene from a David Lean film – a thousand braves on horseback slowly appearing in the haze over the top of the hill waving tomahawks and Enfield Rifles while singing their death songs. Pan to small group of very pissed off troopers who didn’t sign up for this led by old yellow hair, soon to be old no hair. That’s what’s called a ‘bend over and kiss your ass goodbye’ moment.


Another place I would dearly love to see is the Grand Canyon, preferably sans tourist buses. We’ve flown over it a couple of times on our way to Las Vegas, usually at night which makes it rather hard to see. The visit to the Hoover Dam was something of a disappointment. It wasn’t nearly as awe-inspiring as the brochures would have you believe and we didn’t even get to see Charlie’s Angels or James Bond, or Harrison Ford for that matter, plummeting over the edge – not even a lone bungee jumper. All in all a bit of a let-down, so to speak. I’m hoping that the Grand Canyon will be much more thrilling. Although I rather suspect that the tourist trappers will be at it again and there will be ice-cream stands and souvenir stalls every 5 feet all the way to the bottom. No doubt even the donkeys will be adorned with Celine Dion’s face on a saddle-blanket.


I was in Jamaica once, anxious to see Dunn’s River Falls but was put off from two miles away by the sounds of ‘today’s reggae selections’ issuing from the canyon interrupted only for a brief commercial about Conchita Bananas or Planters Peanuts or maybe it was Blue Mountain Gold, which might have been coffee but one could never be sure – not in Jamaica at least, where the bar-tenders, all the waiters and the little boy who lives down the lane will sell you a stash of Marijuana the size of a brick for fifty bucks. The problem with that is you would no doubt be forced to smoke it all before your 4 day holiday expired because you dare not carry it back in your luggage to puritan Canada. Horrors! Canada Customs would have a fit – and possibly so would their pot-detecting sniffer dogs. I did hear of one couple who mailed a brick to themselves. They are probably still languishing in Kingston Pen .


One of those ‘101 Places to See Before You Die” books suggests that in addition to jet-setting around the world and visiting such relics as the Great Wall of China or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – oops – there I go again thinking of gardening; you could actually do no better than visit your own home town, but this time as an adult. Good idea actually. If I visited Portsmouth as a tourist I could go on boat rides around the harbour, take the ferry to France, have a drink in the Still and West, stroll along the seafront and eat an ice-cream on the pier or winkles from a paper cup. I could take a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Clarence Pier, from the top of which you can see the entire harbour and the dive tower at Hayling Island, or I could ride on one of those open-top buses and marvel at the ornamental clock composed entirely of flowers at the rock gardens along the Ladies Mile, or imagine myself in some bygone era trotting side-saddle on my bay mare down the path beneath the chestnut trees on a lazy Summer afternoon wafted by salt breezes from the sea. Hmm – sod the gardening – where’s my passport. With the money I save on lawn and leaf bags I can buy postcards of the Victory.




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