Family comes first, especially when a teenage boy and his friend are hankering to go dirt bike riding. This and similar activities have always been barely within my periphery so it came as quite a shock when my grandson started to show such a keen interest in madcap, motorized sports. A learning curve for me – at times I feel I should carry a defibrillator with me, this was MY grandson I was watching speed over dirt hills, flying into the air, landing with a bounce. Thank goodness not a thump.
Let me back up a bit. The dirt bike was a Christmas gift we all pitched in for. As in winter, in Ontario, where there is snow and it gets cold. So actual riding was not about to happen right away. Except spring and summer do eventually arrive. A track about 1 1/2 hours away was found and it was time to go for a real spin after several weeks of riding off-road. I went along for the journey and a chance to see other places.
The boys spent a happy four hours riding up, down, and all around while we went for lunch.
Places we passed by that caught my fancy , Blessington, (a place) and Harmony Road; we were feeling quite safe until we hit Thrasher and then Slash roads. Feelings of being between heaven and hell. We drove to Picton, ate lunch at the Vic Cafe, in the side courtyard outside the library, under a large, shady oak tree. Delicious Apple Sweet Potato Salad. The sweet potato were made into raw noodles, (I have to try this at home) fresh thin cut beets and apple, quinoa and chickpeas with feta and chicken with a simple apple dressing.
We wandered around a bit before fetching two tired but happy teen boys.
Rough night. Knees fine, right fingers on fire, extending to the rest of my poor digits. I have no idea how little sleep I managed to get. Most of the night I was battling a torture chamber that enclosed my right hand only. I now understand why some cultures used biting ants, or bamboo under the nails as a means of prolonged torture. Surely anyone would agree to verbally confess anything after having a hand incapacitated through continual pain. Although only two fingers were attacked it affected all of them. It looks even worse in person!
Coffee at the house then headed out. Upon closer inspection of the two bad bites I believe they may be infected. A third bite is also spreading. Nothing open at 7:30 so I stopped for breakfast and another coffee. Where else but at Crave. I know a bagel should not have been my choice. (Edit shows I was speaking in real time at this juncture) As my day had started out rather negatively I was somewhat worried I would not be able to use my $100 bill I had not bothered to break into easier to spend notes the day before. Thank goodness they were able to despite the early hour! I think a trip to a vault was necessary as one of the staff whisked the bill away to the kitchen chambers. Sorry, medieval torture was still in my brain. I assumed I would have enough cash to last me a couple of days.
After my bagel and coffee I walked across the street to the medical clinic where I only had to wait about ten minutes. Prognosis, definitely bad bites, close inspection still pointed to a mosquito that may have lost part of its proboscis or been pulling up blood and shed it when I flinched. Assuming I flinched as most people do if fingers, feet, toes or face are attacked. However, more likely an allergic reaction and a possible infection. A prescription for topical hydrocortisone with an antibiotic was ordered plus the recommendation I also take Claritin. The doctor considered the latter is better than some of the others, something about the properties. I followed my routine of meeting my daughter, dropping stuff at her office, had her cluck over my bites then headed back to pick up the prescription. Sticker shock. Back to the office where I applied the cream, swallowed a pill, shook my head over the expense and promptly decided to do a Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”
A waterfront walking tour and live music were on my agenda. This tour starts at the reconstructed ruins of Fort Frontenac outside K-Rock Centre. I would have liked to know how much of actual Fort stones were used in the reconstruction. Much of the section I did walk along means reading or listening and casting your imagination into the past. Armed with a fairly good background of Canadian history a meander through the past was quite interesting, even if I did end up getting turned around. The building with the 12 stars and two barrels was very difficult to find – it was right in front of me but I had read 12 stairs. This was a brewhouse from probably before 1790. In the late 1800’s there were ten breweries for a population of 5000!
Dry docks were an important industry in Kingston, where steam launches were first built, giving way to tugs, barges, and, at one point the manufacturing of early automobiles. Is anyone familiar with the Fleetwood Knight? During WWI lifeboats were built for merchant marines. Tugs and barges were built during WWII, and today fireboats and high speed marine patrol boats are built. One fireboat was out of the water when I walked by, it looked rather forlorn out of its environment. Tour boats, small sailing craft and various crafts abound off the shore.
I had hoped to make it to where the Grand Trunk tracks once ran, another day when I do not have other plans or head in the wrong direction. I satisfied my wandering by walking along an area where townhouses where there is docking for boats and across from the Kingston Yacht Club. It was time to say goodbye to the past and head for church.
St. George’s Cathedral has summer concerts on Thursdays with the Cranberry Dixie Band playing this day. They are a 7 piece group – drums, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba and keyboards. A very tight performance time wise – 12:15 to 12:50 on the button. I suppose there might be afternoon services. A wonderful way to spend a lunch break with time to spare to eat on either side. I believe 8 pieces were played, all quite old. They started with a somewhat subdued When the Saints Go Marching In and ended with High Society. I was rather amazed I actually knew seven of the tunes and even some of the lyrics. I do like music but only to listen to. It was a nice way to relax away from the sun. Seek out free or by donation concerts, you never know what you will hear.
Eventually I had to deal with the fact I had spent all my money for the next 2-3 days in one fell swoop. I sent a little bit frantic message to my daughter in a Victoria asking her to transfer funds to my bank account. At least I had had the good sense to take a card with me – I very often do not, choosing instead to keep to a budget. I had to think about lunch and had missed the St. George’s hot lunch. Yes indeed, I did consider it. Perhaps another week if it is not solely for the less fortunate. I would hate to take away from anyone.
Money issue solved, I headed for lunch to, where else, Crave, the Detox salad seemed the perfect antidote to my frustrating few hours – lots of yummy chopped vegetables lightly mixed with a lemon hummus dressing. I did bust apart the healthy meal with a Portuguese egg tart and a coffee. However, I went for another walk before heading to meet my ride back to the country. Passed another church that has a thriving vegetable garden plus a yard with some gorgeous blooms. The white flowers look like poppies.
10.40 breakfast (thank goodness they could break a $100 bill); 87.00 medicine (so much for breaking that $100 bill – I was once again w/o money! Transferred from my China trip funds. Lesson: always have a back up plan); 11.60 lunch; 15,455 steps.
First day of summer!
Disgusting mosquito bites on my fingers from the previous day were not pleasant to wake up to – they worsened as the day progressed. My daughter and SIL thought they might horsefly bites, nope, no chunks, just the raised mark always left by mosquitoes. Not spider bites either. I put After Bite on them and hoped for the best. I caught a ride mid-morning with a neighbour then a bus downtown. Some days heading out before 7:00am is just not going to happen.
In my search for summer solstice activities, which I did not find, I stumbled across the Aboriginal Day opening drumming and remarks ceremony. Tucked in the shade, leaning against a rock wall, I could watch and listen comfortably. At one point I ventured into the sun to find the Sacred fire where I was smudged with sage. The fire pit photo was taken with permission. I hope I recalled what I was told correctly; over the head to clear negativity of yesterday, eyes and ears to see and hear only the positive, the mouth to speak positive words, heart to send positive energy and health to others. I saw many people touch the heart twice, so I did also. Extra blessings.
Out of the activities I saw two drew my attention. A jingle dancer who invited others to join her. Energetic and full of grace, we can learn a lot about how the word inclusion should be used. I think it was important to have this dance of joy, welcome, happiness, and inclusion before the more solemn speeches. The jingle dance belongs to women and performed at Pow Wows.
A moment of silence was requested for the Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls before the speaker, whose name I did not catch, spoke about the Faceless Dolls Project. She was eloquent, non-accusatory, present. To date, there are 1200 dolls representing known cases of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. However, as the speaker empathized, “It is never just about the numbers.”
By noon my growling stomach, and the increased heat from the sun, drew me away to Apsaras Angkor for green curry chicken. I had to count my pennies – except we no longer use pennies – to ensure I had enough money after having to buy a small bottle of acetaminophen after forgetting to down my carefully laid out ibuprofen before leaving the house in the morning. Quick service, my choice must be a favourite of patrons. The place was hopping with regulars and tourists. Lunch was very good spicy, lots of rice to cut down the heat. My only complaint was having a cloth napkin – which I prefer – for sopping a sweating brow!
An hour later, on heading back past the celebrations I discovered lunch was being as part of the festivities. Well of course it was I muttered to myself – sharing food in the myriad indigenous cultures of Canada has nearly always been present whenever I attend functions. I took photos. A simple, but most likely satisfying, bannock and vegetarian chili topped with lettuce, tomato and cheese. Oh well. At least my lunch was tasty.
A call from my eldest daughter meant hanging out downtown longer. She was rushing off from work to see my SIL receive a promotion. I later found out she was given the honour of placing the pin. After asking at least three times, and seeing it written down, I think the promotion was to Master Warrant Officer, Airforce. Do not quote me on that.
I headed to Crave for some reading. A stupid woman – actually downright rude – had her feet on the table where I headed to sit. Rather than cause a scene, while still maintaining my right to sit there, I said I wanted to use my side of the table. She would have had to pull it closer to her to use as a footrest. Heavy sucker, the table measures probably 3 1/2’x 3 1/2’ or more. Feet removed (read that as how I wanted to deal with it) the woman reluctantly pushed the table closer to me. I still cannot believe anyone would put their feet on a table in public. My daughter met me after the short ceremony. (The table hog left soon after) With all the rushing to make the event she had not eaten her lunch so had one of Crave’s fabulous cinnamon buns – topped with pecans. As these sinful treats are not anywhere near my allowable eating radar I was happy to gobble up her last small morsel.
To celebrate the promotion we had dinner at a local country pub. My grandson had gone off with his friends for the night – last day of school. I ate two pesto wings – I never have pub food – and had fish tacos, all pretty good. My travel companions refused to talk to me after I left them behind. Lunch and dinner out in one day is not healthy for pandas – nor for me.
2.75 bus; 17.00 lunch; 5.65 acetaminophen (to carry with me when pain is really bad – or on the way to bring so); 2.50 (borrowed from other daughter) coffee; 11,200 steps. My knees were grateful.
I set out to discover more of the beautiful homes in the downtown core. Let me say now that walking an average of 20,000 steps per day is extremely tiring when pounding the pavement! I only had a coffee at Crave, trying to be a thrifty spender. Then met met my daughter on her way to work – taking full advantage of her proximity to drop off my rather laden down bag. I had left the house prepared for stormy weather – only some squirrel spit. Although not nearly as entertaining as having my daughter be my tour guide I managed to unintentially cover two of the walking tours in about 2 1/2 hours. I started with Earl Street, and ended with William Street when my curious mind wanted to see what was there. Lo and behold it was one of the streets listed in my guide.
Earl Street is one of the oldest streets in Kingston, gaining its current name in 1850. Many of the homes were built as far back as the 1830s. The gentry and industry workers had dwellings here. Of course the grander homes belonged to the wealthy, although it appears some of what we now call duplexes, and row houses, were occupied by various professionals who had tenants, or offices, in the adjoining spaces, and several of the smaller homes were owned by businessmen and managers in trades such as hardware, and various shops. These days doors, verandah and sometimes even the facade of a duplex or row house may be painted in unmatched colours – owners do not seem to discuss choices. At the corner of Earl and Sydenham is the Rosemount, built in 1849. It is now a bed and breakfast – I stayed one night there two winters ago. Quite a difference seeing it surrounded by green. I love the chimneys.
I did stop at the Springer Market outside City Hall, not many vendors to entice me to spend my money. Perhaps it is busier on Saturdays. At the urging of my pandas I bought a goodie baked on Wolfe Island. I am quite sure I have had too much doughy stuff since arriving in Kingston. The walking tours are a great way to get in at least 10,000 steps (to make you feel less guilty about a treat) and learn some of he local history of the area. I downloaded the App, so far have not listened to the audio but found the information more useful than in the booklet.
In an attempt to keep away from a routine I am trying to eat any meals out at places I have not been to. Lunch was at Chez Piggy, although pricier than what I would normally pay for lunch I decided it was about time I checked this hidden place put. A nice outdoor patio, shaded enough for me to not regret the decision to eat al fresco. I chose the Cha Gio Salad: Vietnamese spring rolls (chicken, pork and shrimp), fresh greens, coriander, mint, glass noodles, cucumber, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts with a light dip/dressing on the side. Absolutely delicious! I sometimes worry that a popular tourist spot will be a disappointment, this was not. Attentive service without feeling I was rushed. Very fresh greens, a snap to the bean sprouts – they must grow them in house or buy locally – spring rolls lightly deep fried, none of the usual greasiness often encountered in spring rolls. A satisfying meal that did not sit heavily. I love a good salad. No photos, and my pandas were not happy with me when I told them they could wait until dinner.
The final photo is of Wellington Place, having gone through a major renovation I first noticed in 2014 and watch with interest whenever in Kingston. It is nearly ready for occupation; personally do not like the modern additions. I expect it is better than having it torn down.
There is something comfortable about returning to a place previously visited. I expect it is along the lines of going to the cabin, or snowbirds flying to Florida, enough familiarity to encourage exploring without being completely out of ones depth. Kingston has become like that for me. It took this long to also discover that few of the tourist sites open until June. Kingston has become one of my cities to discover and what better time than for Canada 150.
I am still staying in the country which means up early for a ride to town. For my first week I expect this will be my routine. Crave was my first stop. Fortified with a good cup of coffee and a spinach feta danish I finished my book and worked on my first blog entry for this trip. With photos not uploading in town then sporadic internet in the country I was doubting my adventures will ever read. I shall persevere. I plan to shed books as I read them in an effort to lighten my load for going home.
A walk up Princess St., the downtown core, I eventually met up with my daughter for an early lunch (for me, late breakfast for her) at Geneva Crepe Bistro where I tried the Great Canadian crepe with peameal back bacon, (I am absolutely certain I have never had this before – it must be an Eastern Canada thing) scrambled egg, mushrooms and green onion. It was very good but far too much. I only ate half. A doggy carton spent three hours in my hand – next time I will insist on a bag also. My daughter had the Elvis crepe, topped with banana, bacon, maple syrup and chocolate ganache – and peanut butter on the inside from what I could see – somehow my darling child (28) ate the whole thing. We definitely needed to walk off our meal.
A self guided Walking Tour of Kingston was the perfect outlet. To suit the upcoming Canada 150 festivities we chose to “Walk in Sir John A.’s Footsteps.” Rather than plug into the App I had downloaded my daughter became my personal guide, reading aloud each short blurb in the booklet I also had. Until recently she worked with Haunted Tours of Kingston proved an easy transition and she added some snippets of unexpected information along the way. (No secrets of the trade were revealed).
Sir John A. was the first prime minister of Canada, with Kingston slated as the capital of the country. Rather short lived, with Ottawa eventually becoming our capital city. We spent a lovely afternoon looking at some of the homes Sir John A. either lived in or rented for family members. Kingston reminds me in some ways of Victoria, maintaining many homes built in the 1800s, the main difference is that homes in Kingston were build using stone, brick or limestone. Some of these were beautifully crafted with many retaining their fabulous brick or stonework.
I was quite happy to see that St. George’s Cathedral was open to visitors. My last visit to Kingston found only one church actually open to the public, this was not one of them. Playing in the air was the sound of what the flock might encounter, an organist was practising the pipes, quite enthralling. Finding signs of the inane in places too often sombre always delights me. I was not disappointed – pews are uncomfortable so why not soften the seat with a personal cushion? On the way out I was tempted to give a go on the two bell pulls flanking the main doors. I refrained.
I was also quite exhausted by the time we made our way to where my other daughter had parked her car. My grandson had a friend over so the early evening and dinner were quite boisterous. I was in bed by 9:00 and probably only woke up once until I had a near cramp in my thigh. Wearing my runners tomorrow.
4.60 coffee and danish (Crave); my daughter treated me for lunch; 21000+ steps