Life and Times of a Famous Native Canadian Artist, Vol. 2

HA!  joking of course.  we are back on the range.  we:  me and the ghosts that haunt me.  the gals are out there somewhere, on the road.  i’ve been out here on my own, on the range, for a brutal 5 days and 5 devastating nights.

we’re a long way from that travel day!  and we’re a long way from the kooky goings on in the mind, when riding the subway from Kipling Station to Bloor and Yonge.  yes lads that was quite an afternoon.  our movie star days are behind us for now.   my hair is slowly growing back.  i don’t look like a Klingon anymore.  i’m closer to Francis Ford’s version of the older Dracula:  the dude with the red outfit, laughing at Johnny Boy…  it will be “hat day” for daddy for another 300 days at least.

and so the gals are out there somewhere.  and i am here alone.  not spooked by aliens and abductions like last September!  nope!  no, we’re onto something diff now.  the mighty blue and green is out there.  the river is running slow.  slow like Labour Day.  there isn’t a sound save for the sand hill cranes buzzing the giant fields to the north.  and its wonderfully and beautifully hot.  time is 8 p.m., it has to be a grand and glorious 28 or 30 C, blue sky, no breeze.

had the run around this afternoon: the mighty painting drop off.  a whole winter’s worth delivered to art gallery addresses here on the island.  while muddling, i kept thinking about the river, and how grand it would be to be out there sun tanning, toes wiggling in the mighty Manitou.  of course out there you need a freshener so i stopped along the way to pick up a few German pilsners.  and thank goodness i had the wellness of mind to pick up something decent in the wine department down south, before i came up here.

it’s hot alright.  so we’re cooling with a Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay, 2016, Sonoma Coast, perfect for a very warm summer evening where there is no need for much of anything as we have it all right here.

well almost all of it.  the girls come home sometime tomorrow night.  an address like this needs a few ladies.  their 6 inch heels clicking on these hardwood floors and their bikinis out drying on the line come this time of day!  ah yes.  i anxiously await their arrival.  the lawns are mowed.  the sunflowers are growing.  the hummingbirds are here.  and the moon is arriving closer and closer to dawn.  perfect timing for the ladies.

all the windows have been open for the past ten days.

and so here i am, alone, looking east:  17 acres of open wilds, green and blue.  Tuesday night.  July 10th.  what a grand and glorious summer night.  the chardonnay is precisely what the doctor ordered!  the 17 acres is part of what must be 10 thousand acres of wilds.  especially towards the north.  out there somewhere are the coyotes and we don’t want to be shaking hands with them tonight.

and finally:  my novel, a project i have been working on since 1996, is on the club house turn!  i have people looking at it right now, formatting, and i hope to have it in my hands and in your hands by July 30th!  it is a horror story.  it is a nightmare landing right here on earth.  it is a filthy and vile tale of wild Indian-ness.  but it is also very real.  the reason it took so long to finish is i didn’t have an ending.  then one morning on Island Park, back in April 2017, i was visited by a dream, and there was my ending, already written for me.  and so i wait for that formatting, a cover, we can agree upon, and STAMP!  roll it.  push the print button!

and that is the truth:  i did not have an ending.  mom is long gone.  going on, well it will be 5 summers since she came out this way.  gosh i miss her.

it was me and mom, we said and signed a contract, back in July 1996 (oh those WILD DAYS!!!) that we would each write a novel.  she wrote Once Upon An Island and had it self published, produced into a theatrical production complete with original music and yeah, they did alright with that.  silly me:  i never read the book nor saw the show…

but like i said.  it was the very wild mid to late 1990’s.  NR was a going concern back in those days.  a house on fire.  we needed all hands on deck to manage that one!  or miss manage as it turned out!

water under a bridge i blew up long ago.

and so here i am.  on the range:  a paradise on earth, alone!  but in a very comfortable chair, in a room with a view.  and no noise pollution.  no light pollution come 11 p.m.  just me and the great wide open, the flashy chardonnay, my fun shorts, my tanned toes on the mowed grass, and a library filled with books of wild adventures.  a pipe to smoke.

we shall cue this one and let it play.  we are in complete and total peace out here.  and so it is time to visit the lawn, the maple trees, the river and the great sky, with this one playing in the house, which of course i can hear, as all the windows are open.

another glass of this chardonnay will do it.

Advertisements

home sweet home

broke out of the city 8 a.m. Friday morning and good thing too!  it was forecasted to be smoking hot weather wise, humid through the roof, and everyone in the GTA knows that the 400 highways out of Toronto anytime after 12 noon on a Friday, in the summer time, are INSANE!  we managed to break free and arrived on the range just after 3 p.m.

IMG_0641

home sweet home on a classic summer evening:  lawn mowed, clear blue skies filled with bird song.  no noise pollution.  and at night, no light pollution.  unless of course you count the full moon blazing and the fire flies buzzing:  light pollution.  (ha!)

IMG_0129

ah yes… the sweet Manitou River flowing through the front yard.  and this year it’s running way slow, slow like Labour Day.  (she’s running slower than pictured)

IMG_6572

and those summer nights…  summer in the country.  summer away from the city, far far away from the wild goings on downtown.  far from the subways, the trains, the planes and the taxi stand.  far from the drunks and the drugged, the dispossessed.

out here at night its the night hawk wings skidding on the summer sky.  read the classic Anishnabe poem:  Cruising Back to the Ranch with My Young Friend.  or the poem inside the liner notes of the album, Starfish, by the Church.  that says it right there!

IMG_1628

but i’ve been on the road since October 21, 2017.  a place like this, out here, needs maintenance!  it needs a grounds keeper and a gardener.  last year i was on the road for ten months and when i finally arrived home for the summer i found this!  the lawn had gone native.

IMG_1615

last summer after 10 months on the road:  hay field with crows.  truth is the lawn isn’t as far gone this year but it is a mess out there.  it is one gigantic nightmare out there.  its so bad i don’t want to take a picture of it!

but i am here now.  and with some free hands i’ll soon turn this place around so we’re looking at some measure of civility in the big wilds.  you see i like going out on the lawns on a summer evening, a tasty red swirling in the glass or some of that 15 year old scotch we smuggled in from overseas, handy and dandy!  i want that front lawn mowed like a golf course!

IMG_0898

of course there are some things you just don’t mess with.  the Manitou River is one of them.  this beauty rolls past our front door night and day, 365, and let me tell you it is just fine as is!

IMG_0080

The Manitou River:  it’s good to be back home!  It is July 1st, Canada Day, and we’re back to stay, 8 glorious weeks!  and pretty soon there are going to be some very lovely ladies in residence!  now that is really what this house on the range needs:  the sound of the ladies, laughing…

 

p.s.  if all we have to fuss about is the condition of the lawn:  you know life is pretty darn good!

also:  the poem in the liner notes of the album:  Starfish, by The Church, 1988

Good, now and forever, music reach and awakens,
Swimming in the shallow end, down, down, remember
A need, a gnawing longing for what ?
Shapes and faces come slowly into mind
Glissando Australian insects out there signalling
The sound of Dad’s car in the drive
Lying in the grass, watching the sky
The piano washes over thoughts, the smell of crushed mint
The ants which come out as it begins to get dark
Helplessness, planes miles up turn on their lights,
Child, oh child, the tastes in our kitchen,
Not knowing the right words but wishing long and hard
Golden clouded moon, enveloped by the family
Melting further the cracks in the pavement become chasms
Shrubs whisper, walls conceal adult pleasures
A mere hint and we’re gone too
Forever, beautiful things, the shop that sold shadows
A walk down the path towards our old home
Mercurial touch of past summers
The sheer wait of nostalgia
Maria, now long dead, glide through this tonight
Shimmer, disappear and return
Emerging random memory in flux
Falling felled the flowering kingdom
Finding buried tin soldier years later
The sounds of a carnival way off in the valley
An abandoned nest, the sprinklers splash on in darkness
Windows glimmer dim waiting for her at the edge of dusk
Distance, our hesitant conversation, someone calling
A bucket full of starfish, warm rain, the long sleep
Deep dream, dream of now, now and forever good

Travel Day!

Wednesday morning coffee in Glasgow, lunch in Amsterdam, dinner in Toronto!  wowza!!!  now that is a good old fashioned travel day!  we started out at 3 a.m., Queen Street, Glasgow, just as the party folks across the street were closing the bar!  one gal out there in a white mini dress and jean jacket gave me a free show!

but before we took off, we had Tuesday to play tourist.

IMG_4779

Glasgow Central Train station: pulling out at 1130 a.m. and going back to the town of Ayr.  thought i’d go see the ocean from their point of view, one last time.

IMG_4798

the beach at Ayr: glad to see it again.  walked it alone and let me tell you if i’d been wearing a “mood ring” that puppy would have been changing flash colours like a disco!

IMG_4784

interesting…  these boys came to visit me a number of times on my last day.  this is in the town of Ayr, outside the family style fish and chips diner.  he/she gave me the look, said a few things and flew away.

IMG_4803

house for sale, just up from the beach, town of Ayr.  what a CRIB!!!  i imagined that one on the back 90 at the tree line, back home on the range.  what an artist studio/party house that would be!!!

IMG_4804

more swanky addresses in the town of Ayr.  i think that’s the owner walking at right, he was going for his fancy Maserati and didn’t look happy i was standing out there snapping  pictures.

IMG_4809

yes:  quite the neighbourhood, town of Ayr.  i’d like to see this in September, Indian Summer of course!  (although its tough to imagine being anywhere but on the grand and glorious range, and the beauty Manitou River, during Indian Summer.)

IMG_4836

back in Glasgow:  that’s the Central Train Station as seen from Gordon Street.

IMG_4833

and that’s the hotel attached to the Central Train station.

next day we were up at 2, on the street for 3 (free show at around 315) and at the airport for a 6 a.m. flight.  all went easy at the Duty Free (i needed a 15 year or older bottle of scotch that couldn’t be found in Canada) and we were on the plane in good order, and on schedule.

IMG_4837

there she is:  at Schiphol, Amsterdam.  she was another sold out bird, it was sardines style flying, 6 hours worth, me in with 2 young gals from Iran.

IMG_4845

safely back at Pearson International, darn near where we started way back on May 28th. well I can say this much:  we maxed out those 31 days!

Scotland is a beautiful place and i look forward to going back someday.  next time we need to rent a car, drive those back roads and really do it up tourist style.  but after 31 days on the road, like that final afternoon in the town of Ayr, i couldn’t keep from thinking about another special place:

IMG_0633

home sweet home:  i too, have the good fortune of a swanky address!  but at this address there are no neighbours, there is no light or noise pollution, and at times there are some very lovely ladies there!  plus 8 horses, 4 cats and 1 pooch!  blessed indeed…

but we’re not home yet!  i’m still in the city of Toronto.  we put another 24 hours behind us and i’ll be standing on that blue and green paradise!

Monday in Glasgow

waiting on an airplane in Glasgow!  we’re here early and not bugging out till Wednesday morning which leaves sweet Monday and Tuesday to hit the streets!

IMG_4715

perfect day for it too!  sunny, hot and dry.  beauty weather for our last few days on the adventure.  that is St. Vincent Pl. as seen from the south side of the street.

IMG_4720

The Iron Horse on West Nile Street:  perfect spot for an afternoon snort and fixing up a few postcards.

IMG_4725

of course i could NOT walk past this place!  had to go in!  The Raven on Renfield Street.  they had some very cool looking t shirts, the company logo, in black of course but the shirts were not for sale.  (lame!)

IMG_4729

St. George’s Tron, Church of Scotland, as seen from the intersection of West St. George and West Nile.

IMG_4750

in George Square, downtown Glasgow.

IMG_4753

Glasgow City Council as seen from George Square.

IMG_4754

Glasgow City Council!  what a facade!

IMG_4774

looking west on St. Vincent, right next to George Square.

IMG_4776

looking north on Queen Street at George Square, that’s the train station in the back ground but not Glasgow Central which is where i’ll be going today!  one more day in this great country, that’s all we have for now.  once i get the chores squared away, i’m getting me a ticket to ride!

Friday in Inverness

left the woodlands yesterday at 10 a.m., out to the train station, and booked a ride!  22 local bucks and 90 minutes to the town of Inverness!  now over there in Pitlochry it can seem like a fairy tale landscape with the huge trees, super greenery, soaring hills, open cliff faces, deep ravines, old rivers running here and there.  the train tracks cut through this, and the folks here don’t keep it trimmed back.  the trees and brush grow right up to the windows and in some places there is a green canopy.  sweet!

but a short 15 minutes north of here you’re in a totally different landscape.  you roll out of the woods and see something like this:

IMG_4337

beauty landscape north of Pitlochry, south of Kingussie, on June 22.

IMG_4363

north of Kingussie, on the way to Inverness:  over there you can see the windmills, all placed in that windy little valley.  a good plan i suspect but i would not like to see them in my back yard.

IMG_4397

town of Inverness, as seen from the foot bridge over the River Ness, looking, i think, that’s south east…  (not sure truth be told… )

IMG_4399

town of Inverness, that’s Bank Street, running north and south.  the river is shallow and appears to be running slow.

IMG_4411

Bank Street, Inverness, Friday afternoon, June 22.  River Ness.

IMG_4417

there she is!  the ever popular castle on the hill, overlooking the river and on the other side:  the valley below.  River Ness.  as seen from the Ardross Terrace.

IMG_4453

groovy scenes along Castle Road, next to the River Ness.  it was close to here where i saw and heard “them”…

IMG_4489

there was a lot more in that town, many photos to the tune of around 300 taken, but we don’t have the space for that here.  nor did i have the time to spend, getting in with the locals.  i was back on the train at 4, hoping to get back in time for the last bus out of Pitlochry at 550.  here is a scene just after leaving the town of Inverness,  looking west.

IMG_4557

ah yes…  those rolling hills near Kingussie.  i’d like to walk that road over there, at night, at full moon, in the summer time.

IMG_4617

the road to Tummel Valley:  just off the main road and going down that narrow and twisty back road called B8019.  just 12 miles from town to the boons, past and west of Loch Tummel.  i walked half of it the other day but we don’t have time for that today and tomorrow we’re to report for noon, the bus out and a plane standing by.  our movie making days are over for now.  i might be back on the range by Thursday at the earliest.  Friday at the latest!!!  (ha!!!  i say that now but i know nothing makes the Great Spirit laugh more than a man with plans…  )

6 miles on B8019

had the day off and the sun was high and bright so i hit the open road, B8019 on foot, thinking i was going to walk my way to Pitlochry, 12 miles away.  i started off bright eyed and bushy tailed, singing “i love to go a wandering” but 5 miles in the glam had faded big time!

IMG_4202

i wanted to see this:  Loch Tummel.  we drive by twice a day, going to and from the office and i’m always wanting them to stop so i can get a better look.  what a scene!  looking south east.

IMG_4210

looking south west:  check that out down there:  someone has a crib overlooking that scene and they’re the only ones around.  wowza what an address!  i can imagine this through the 4 seasons!

IMG_4234

further along:  i still haven’t had my rack of lamb…

IMG_4239

The Inn at Loch Tummel, ultra wowza!  this place is truly in the boons but inside it looks pretty swanky!  the dining room looks like a pretty grand place to sit down for a couple of hours.  hey we should go there in September!

IMG_4253

pretty sure that is a cemetery down there.  couldn’t go in for a closer look as the private property signs were up.

IMG_4273

and there it is!  Loch Tummel as seen from the Queen’s View.  glad i made the walk but the 6 miles man…  that was all i could muster for today.  hitched a ride with the bus at 230 and arrived at Pitlochry for 3 p.m.  beauty sight seeing adventure!

Tuesday at Kingussie

the boss cut me some slack on Tuesday!  nice day for riding the rails.  to get there i had to take the local bus which only comes around this way ever few hours!  found myself at the train station at 11 a.m., booked a ride north leaving at 11:50.

IMG_3947

Pitlochry train station, north bound platform.  the next three stops are Kingussie, Aviemore, and Inverness.  going south would be Perth, Glenealges, and Stirling, but those will have to wait for another day!

IMG_3961

riding north bound, what scenes and my how the landscape changed in what seemed like a few short miles.

IMG_3975

no castles on those hill tops!

IMG_3984

i wanted them to stop and let me out!  i’d like to walk that road, walk it into the distance, going west.

IMG_4005

you can’t see them but there are sheep out there!  lots of them.  got me to thinking about lunch how i’d like a rack of lamb when i got there.

IMG_4022

the corner of A86 and King Street, Kingussie, Scotland.  not much happening in this town!  nor is there a rack of lamb on the lunch menu!  (frowning face goes in here!)

IMG_4030

heavy duty cemetery just down the street from the diner.  went in for a little snoop and the dates on those stones, wowza!  they’re going back a few, i saw one with the date: 1824.  you don’t see numbers like that in the Mindemoya Cemetery back home!

IMG_4033

how many years have you been here?

IMG_4039

IMG_4044

that black one was so far gone you couldn’t read an anything on it.

IMG_4029

Ewan Mack, KIA, WW1.  hey i’m going to look up where the 7th Cameron Highlanders were on July 31st, 1917.  a fella like me wants to read a story like that.

IMG_4049

walking around in there, i saw quite a few names that you’d see up there in the Mindemoya Cemetery:  Mackenzie, Robertson, MacDonald, just to name a few.

IMG_4084

south bound, blazing back from Kingussie to Pitlochry, a 45 minute ride, 20 bucks there and back, local currency.  a fun and simple way to spend an afternoon off duty.  i was thinking about going up to Thurso, super in the boon docks but it was all rain in the forecast up there.  that would have been an over night, we’ll save that one for another time.

instead it was the Coach House saloon at 430 p.m., what a wild bunch of local boozers in that joint!  ah but it is an adventure!  there will be plenty of quiet days come July when we are looking at something like this:

IMG_2508

my front yard, sunset in September 2017, big time thunder storm happening to the south south west, during that wild and beautiful heat wave!  remember that one?  3 weeks of blazing sun, 38 C during the afternoon!  wowza indeed!  when i get back home, i’ll be sitting at this very spot, on a Friday evening, thanking my lucky stars and looking back at this little road journal.

but we are here and it is NOW!  time to see about that afternoon adventure seeing how the boss cut us some slack, 2 days in a row!