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What the hell happened to August?

September 2, 2019

It’s Labour Day (Happy Labour Day!) and thus it seems appropriate that I will soon be labouring. I’ll be spending a large chuck of today up on the roof, cleaning the skylights and clearing out the gutters. This has been my job since Mike and I first bought the house in 1996. It ain’t fun, but it’s got to be done and, as a poor widow, I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it. (I’d clean the chimney, too, if I could, but I can’t.)


This is normally an August job, but August got away from me completely this year. (Thus not a single post.) There were good reasons and an annoying reason for this.

My mate Tony was visiting from London for the first part of August. It was a lovely visit. The day after he left I actually did sit down to write a post about it, but before I could finish it, I started feeling so rough that I had to lie down and have the first daytime nap I’ve had in longer than I can remember.

By the next day I’d been flattened by the worst summer cold I’ve ever had. (Leave “summer” out of it. Just the worst cold ever.) For over a week I could barely get off the sofa. By day four (or was it five?) I was fantasising about my long-dead mum turning up with chicken soup. On the sixth day I had to drag myself out of the house and into the village for the auditions for this year’s panto. After a two-year hiatus, I am back in the director’s chair and you can’t have auditions without the director. If there’d been anyway to postpone I would have done so, but there really wasn’t. The good news was that the auditions were well attended and the panto cast. The bad news was that the effort to actually get to the auditions knocked me back for another three days. (Whoever said colds are three days coming, three days with you and three days going has never had this bloody cold.)

I was pretty much back on my feet by the following weekend, which was just as well, because I had to go to Seattle for the Mike Wallace Memorial Baseball Game. (I’ve probably written about this before, but in case I haven’t: When Mike died in 2011, his best friend Charlie came up from Seattle to speak at the memorial. He spoke movingly about the many things they had in common, one of which was a love of baseball. At the end of his speech he said that every year when the Blue Jays came to Seattle, he planned to go to a game in Mike’s honour. At the reception afterwards I told Charlie I’d rather like to be at that Blue Jays game. And so a tradition was born. How fortunate for me that Charlie made that comment. Not just because I get to go to a baseball game once a year, but also because it would have been so easy for me to have lost touch with Charlie and his wife Robbie after Mike’s death and this has kept us very much in contact.)

A funny thing happened at the Peace Arch border crossing. For the first time in nine years, the US border guard I spoke to wasn’t gruff and suspicious, cross examining me in detail about where I was staying, with whom and how I knew them. This year the border guard was friendly and even cracked a joke about the annual invasion of Blue Jays fans. (We pretty much take over the stadium when the Jays are in Seattle, making it almost like a home game for the team.) Two things struck me about my interaction with this particular border guard. The first was the fact that I can clearly remember border guards cracking jokes back in the 1990s. The second was the fact that this particular border guard, unlike all the other border guards who’ve given me the third degree in the previous eight crossings, was black. I honestly don’t think this could be a coincidence. Just saying.

The Jays are not having a good year. The only thing that’s kept them out of the bottom of their division is Baltimore, who are doing even worse. The owners have sold off (traded) the best pitchers and many of the best and most beloved players. It was all pretty disheartening – until they brought up some younger players who are an absolute joy to watch.


My (and I think pretty much everyone else’s) favourite is young and adorable Bo Bichette. This is him taking the first at bat at the game I attended, just before he hit a mile-high foul ball, caught by the guy two seats over from me. (Robbie and I were ducking at the time.)

When we were talking back in the spring about this year’s Mike Wallace Memorial Baseball Game, Charlie asked me if I wanted to go to the Saturday night or the Sunday afternoon game. I said an afternoon at the ballpark was always a fine thing, so that’s the game we attended. The only game the Jays won in the series (the first they’d won in quite a while) was the Saturday night game, some of which we caught on television. They didn’t win the Sunday game, but it was still a good one, one which, we all agreed that evening, Mike would have loved.

No time for much by way of outdoor chores last week, as my time was consumed with panto prep: recruiting a stage manager, meetings with set, props and costume folks and finally finalising the script. (When you’re using a script written for a theatre with a proper stage, there are always adjustments that have to be made for staging it at our far-from-ideal community hall.)

I did manage to get part one of the roof job done on Saturday (sweeping all the pine needles off), so I guess half the job was completed in August. Now it’s time to get up the ladder and do the other half.

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