Category Archives: Canadiana

A change for the worse

No, nothing personal, just an unsettling experience in one of my favourite downtown eateries. One of the better Italian places to have lunch. Lavazza coffee, a nice snacky lunch special. Just right for when you’re not up to a full on feed. Well that’s what I thought.

We haven’t been going downtown so much recently, but the other day the opportunity presented itself so we pounced on it. I immediately went for the fresh made tomato bisque and a sandwich. Oh. The sandwich was fine, but the soup was disappointingly vapid, nothing like the superb little number we’d dined on before. So when the waiter came round with their customary “How are the first few bites” routine, instead of my usual thumbs up, I was moved to look up at him and say; “The sandwich is great, but the soup’s a bit disappointing.” And it was. What had on previous occasions been a warming, rich and mildly spicy dish had been turned into a distinctly underwhelming offering. A woefully damp wodge of Parmesan standing duty for the wonderful hit of well seasoned fresh Basil we’d previously come to know and love. I mentioned this salient omission and the waiter told me that ‘Head office’ had dictated the removal of half the salt and most of the Basil.

This baffled me somewhat. The Tomato Bisques previous incarnation had been superb, now it had become simply ‘Meh’, even for my jaded palate. A requested pinch of salt helped, but somehow it just wasn’t the same. What did ‘Head office’ think they were playing at? They’d converted the almost sublime into, well, not quite dross, but certainly a pale shadow of its former glory. A Manager type person approached and apologised for the condition of the soup. I politely told him how I perceived the change, and how I felt the recipe had been diminished. He suggested that I request extra fresh Basil and extra salt as a ‘side’ in future. “Hmm.” I found myself thinking. “If your standards are falling maybe there won’t be another time.”

Which is a shame because this little place had previously been one of my favourite downtown lunch spots. Now an infection by the doctrinaire had diminished what I had long considered their signature dish. Perhaps some dozy item at ‘Head office’ had decided that we schlubs, mere customers, needed our diet regulated by their diktat. Or some city bureaucrat who can’t cook to save their lives had demanded that all the downtown restaurants cut the salt content of their culinary offerings. I don’t know. All I do know is that it’s made me feel less than enthusiastic about returning. Other diners who share my like of the previous recipe may well feel the same. All I know is that eventually yet another downtown eatery will end up closed as diners follow their palates.

Which is a crying shame. There are already far too many empty storefronts in downtown Victoria.

But what about the Jedi’s?

Just had a very pleasant weekend in Vancouver sampling two types of Chinese cuisine we’d previously not made time for. Firstly Dim Sum. Which is good. Although I found Chinese Toon buns a little bland. Secondly Chongqing hot pot, also known in Japan as Sabu-Sabu. Approach with caution. This stuff will blow your mind and taste buds into the stratosphere. If you think a full strength Vindaloo is hot, you will find out why the Chinese do not really need a nuclear deterrent after sampling this style of cuisine. Put simply, this chilli laden content detonates in the mouth and scorches its way into the stomach for an explosion of warmth which is welcome on a chilly wet Vancouver Winter evening. Upon ordering a ‘medium’ strength meal, we were entreated not to go for the spicy option by the head waiter, and found even the ‘mild’ version a tingling mouth-fest of gustatory amusement. If you like spicy food, you will absolutely love Chongqing hot pot. Recommendation; JDB (Wong Lo Kat) herbal tea reduces mouth burn.

Meanwhile, back on the topic; the M-103 motion. Sargon of Akkad puts his thoughts on this matter forward in the video below.

With the passing of M-103, I’d like to clear something up. Firstly M-103 is not law, nor does it form the basis of law, yet. However, in the meantime it may well be implemented as policy by the ironically titled Canadian Human Rights Commission. Who are known to prosecute those whose voiced opinion does not fit an assumed ideal, regardless of supporting legislation. Their motto appears to be “If you’re Jewish or ‘white’ and Anglo-Saxon – you’re guilty.” Which I find more than a little prejudiced. Racist, even. As one who is happy to break bread with any skin colour, I must say I actually feel threatened and made uncomfortable by this bias against people of my dermal colouration.

Notwithstanding, if this motion does go on to form the basis of a more generalised blasphemy law, every single minority in Canada, especially the First Nations, will be threatened. Why should Islam be singled out for preferential treatment? Why should the more pantheistic beliefs of the North American natives (First Nations) be excluded? Or Daoists, Taoists, Shintoists, Buddhists and followers of Confucius? Never mind all the forms of Christianity and Paganism. And what about the Jedi? Will they have to give up wearing hoods and openly carrying their lightsabres? Or the Sikhs be forced to give up their turbans because Islam becomes the preferred religion of the corporate state?

Islam by contrast seems to be a religion of dislikes, which is defined by the things it considers Haram or ‘unclean’. Indeed, its proscriptions against Alcohol, Dogs, and Women are well known. Alcohol being forbidden, dogs considered dirty (Well they are, but dogs are also fun, loyal and trustworthy) and women reduced to becoming second class citizens, being forbidden to drive, go out on their own without a male escort and exhorted to cover their head and faces.

Islam also makes provision for treating the women of other cultures as inferior, considering gang rape and sexual molestation legitimate tools for subduing non-Islamic females. This of course includes ‘feminists’. Even the radicals who feel that by appeasing Islam they will be ‘safe’. Yes. This is not going to end well for you guys. Bend over buttercup. This is, whether you like it or not, the will of Allah.

I’d also like to make the point that if Islam gets a free pass, there will be no ‘safe spaces’ left for anyone. Indeed, radical (and not so radical) Islamists think violence against ‘unbelievers’ not only necessary but a religious duty. Well what about gays? Islamic Sharia law encourages throwing homosexuals and similar off tall buildings, hanging them slowly in public using cranes, cutting off their heads, stoning and burning to death.

My point here is that no religion, especially one with so many prescriptions of violence against non-believers and ‘alternative’ lifestyles, should be handed such a tempting platter as a blasphemy law. As has been demonstrated worldwide, they’d only abuse the privilege. Along with the human rights of everyone else. Even the Jedi.

The Evil of M-103

By a vote of 201-91, the bonebrains in Ottawa have just thrown dirt on the coffin of free speech in Canada. With the passage of the heinous and wicked M-103 motion, criticising Islam is now against the law. What a bunch of complete fuckwits the yea voters are. Do they understand what they’ve just done? Perhaps they do not. I think they lack the necessary self awareness. See Faith Goldy’s report here;

Or maybe these right-on MP’s are just afraid of militant Islam and think that by appeasing the Jihadis they will buy peace. Well I’m sorry to say they’ve set the stage for a very bleak future. A terrible war will come to these hitherto peaceful shores as it always does when appeasement is pursued as a matter of public policy. Especially in the face of a militant religious faction bent on world domination. What? Religion of Peace? Don’t make oi larf. As recent events in London and elsewhere have clearly demonstrated.

M-103 will not stop a single terrorist action. It will not protect a single Canadian citizen. Indeed, the terrorists will see it for what it is, a sign of weakness, and those bad guys just love weakness. They won’t be happy until everyone is on their knees.

Well, the Jinni is out of the bottle. In their deluded attempt at appeasement these idiot Liberal and NDP politicians have created a privileged minority. The imbalance this will create will shortly start to play out in Ontario. Then the big cities of Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Maybe even New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, PEI, perhaps even the Yukon and Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

And it won’t matter, because the progressives who supported M-103 will not be the casualties. That privilege will be extended to the little people who don’t really count.

There’s an app for that

My wife and I work from home. We have done for several years since we gained Canadian citizenship. In all that time we’ve paid our dues and taxes, got on with life and generally been no bother to anyone.

Until this afternoon. Mrs S received an email about a new wheeze whereby ‘WorkSafe BC’ say that because neither of us has a current WorkSafe BC certificate for ‘elf ‘n safetee at work, even though I am trained in first aid and CPR, she now has to have an ‘app’ on her cellphone to check in and check out with a designated monitoring company, which I believe is a privacy violation under the Federal 1983 Privacy Act as the monitoring agency are not part of the BC official government. This is because she is officially ‘home alone’ and therefore ‘vulnerable’. Despite the fact that I am there most of the time. Furthermore, she has been informed that she will not be paid this month unless she signs up to this summary imposition. Which has been instituted by the organisation she works for as a contractor without any consultation of the workforce.

The BC lone worker program is being extended as part of a shitty little tax grab, an attempt to force all home workers to pay full WorkBC premiums when they really don’t need to be covered by the service. In short, bureaucratic mission creep, dreamed up by people who make the Addams Family look positively normal.

As a freelancer, I have not been notified of any such requirement and having heard the above, will not be alerting WorkSafe BC to my existence. Both of us are at home, working. We are safe. We work on keyboards, not with any dangerous tools. We pay our taxes on incomes from a variety of sources. Sometimes we work elsewhere. In another country. Out of cellphone coverage. Sometimes travelling by air where cellphones are supposed to be switched off. I do not see why either of us should have to ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ just because some arseheaded bureaucrat thinks it will vindicate their pointless existence. They can fuck right off and go Salami slice some other poor buggers privacy as far as I’m concerned. We’re not employees to be monitored and managed, we’re independent contractors and therefore not covered by the legislation. Even if these over-reaching bureaucrats say we are. Fuck ’em. And we’ve got private professional health and accident insurance. So there.

We do not work regular hours, and sometimes take a shower in the middle of the day, or cook, or go for a walk, or do any of a thousand other things where we do not care to be ‘monitored’. We are grown ups, not some feeble ‘senior’ or vulnerable child who needs to be watched unless our arses need wiping. We have walked our way since the dawn of our lives, and so long as we harm no-one else are accountable to no-one.

However, there’s a rather large loophole in the proposed compulsory monitoring procedure which is wide open to exploitation by any vaguely tech savvy type. As they say, “there’s an app for that”. In fact there are a number; for Android at least. All you need to do is check out the Apps market for your specific cellphone. If a ‘check in’ call is required, this can be done by automating a text or automated call to the monitoring number concerned and setting up a schedule at slightly different times each weekday. The ‘check out’ can be either done the same way, and any enquiry calls from a monitoring company’s outgoing number forwarded to some form of SMS or phone answering app with a recorded message. Something like; “Yeah, I’m fine. At my desk in my home office, okay? Gotta go, I’ve got an urgent work call coming in. Have a great day. Byee.“. Or maybe “Hi, I’m a little busy right now, can’t talk but I’m fine.” Just set up your cellphone to block all ‘anonymous’ numbers just in case the call monitors try to get tricksy, which is a snap, and Robert is one’s parents sibling. Failing that, all Apps are just code, and will only do what they are told. They can be hacked or automated. No biggie.

Also if you’re like Mrs S and I, we switch off our Canadian cells when out of country because of the massive roaming charges. Say when we leave Canada for the US or Europe and take our old Nokia 6310i’s, we simply simply leave our Canadian cellphones at home on charge and forward all wanted calls from business, friends and family to our out of country cell phone numbers or use Skype.

The same works for email or SMS. There may be scope to forward all messages from the monitoring company to email. From there it’s not difficult to set up a rule or filter to auto answer any enquiry with a stock answer, or even a range of stock answers or SMS depending upon the time of day and one need never be bothered by these bureaucratic busybodies again. Which is an old tech support wheeze for all their most annoying clients. A kind of Silicon Hell if you will. Which is exactly where all these ‘monitoring’ calls are going to go.

I suppose we could simply just quit, but that’s giving up too easily. One does not have to butt heads with authority to rebel against a suffocating system. But it’s also not that hard to make fools of them, because the people hired to run these systems are firstly not that bright, and secondly are easily tangled in the web of bureaucratic procedures, rules and regulations they inhabit like kittens playing with a ball of wool.

This could get interesting…

No such thing as ‘Revenue Neutral’

I often spend the early hours of the morning answering transatlantic queries that I could have sworn I answered six months ago. Like this morning, and the one before that. To confirm my suspicions I went into my saved emails, ran a simple text string search and, yup. Already told ’em that. In the same words no less. Sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with Goldfish level attention spans because I have the annoying (To my opponents) ability to recall what was said on a given topic for some time afterwards. And if I’m not sure of a critical detail I bloody well go and check. I make no claims to more than a slightly better than average intelligence, however, some so-called ‘qualified’ people make me despair.

Like with this stupid ‘Carbon tax’ we’re going to get foisted on us by the idiot fop Canadians made Prime Minister. Like with the carbon tax the NDP have just dumped on the Albertans. And these dumb fuck politicians say their new tax will be ‘revenue neutral’.

Well there isn’t such a thing as revenue neutrality. If tax is applied then it has to be collected. New taxes always have a collection cost. Administrative staff need to be recruited and paid, new (often very expensive) offices built or leased and furnished, electricity, sewerage and water for all those workers so they don’t have to work with their legs permanently crossed. Computer systems and support staff. Money to pay for the phone bills and software licences. Then there’s the kind of Ouroboros-like effect of taxing government employees to pay for their own wages, offices, phone and electricity etcetera, etcetera. With every new tax, the tax collection system has to be enlarged. Web sites have to be built with FAQ’s and phone lines to keep frustrated taxpayers on while they stare disbelievingly at the way taxation has just taken yet another bite out of their stagnated income.

In short, you can’t get more out than you put in. Which is a fundamental law of economics. ‘Revenue neutral’ is one of those ghastly hollow little soundbites used by virtue signalling left of centre politicians who don’t have to keep a vice like grip on the family budget. The politico’s and their hangers on (By contrast to ordinary people, for a given value of ‘ordinary’) have privileged little lives insulated from the effects of their actions. What they can’t see is the simple fact that any new tax, like, let me see, the insane ‘Carbon tax’ that Albertans have just been saddled with cannot ever be ‘revenue neutral’. No matter how many cheques are sent out to the people they’ve just sent careering down the slope to energy poverty. Someone has to pay for all the people to administer such a scheme. Ergo any tax take is not going to be anything like ‘revenue neutral’. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this anyway.

Don’t even get me started on the David Suzuki bullshit about ‘saving the planet’ as justification for the new Carbon tax. What does he know? He’s an Entomologist for Christs sake, not an atmospheric physicist. His field, before he found there was more money to be made in advocacy and media whoring, was the study of insects. Ergo, anything he has to say on a climate science can reasonably be assumed to be no more well informed than some random bloke down the pub. Atmospheric Physics requires some serious Mathematical skill, which very few people have, even then climate modelling has failed dismally to reflect reality. Although I do admire Suzuki’s ability for making millions out of scare story advocacy. He’s made a mint from speaking fees and public appearances. The fact that all his prognostications of climate doom have repeatedly been shown to be complete and utter bollocks make me that much more in awe of his talent for turning dross into cold hard cash. That and his much-cited demand to be escorted by a ‘bodyguard’ of the hottest girls on campus. You have to take your hat off to the sheer, bare faced chutzpah of the old con merchant.

Mind you, I don’t think Suzuki had much sway over Harper, but his resurgence as influence over a half wit drama teacher who looks like Mick Jagger was his real father has to be admired. As for when Trump takes office at the end of this week and the pseudo-environmentalists like Suzuki lose their influence within the US, I will be listening to the outraged wails with a grim smile on my face.

Sent packing

Posting will be patchy for the next month or so. Sometimes you make a decision because you’re pushed into it and have to move fast and follow through then have to deal with the fallout. Today all sorts of things have come to a head and up until last night was feeling several glitters short of a Sparkle after last weeks scan. Add to that our current domicile being totally upended, with movers and deliveries arriving at the same time. Old sofabed has been disposed of with minimum disruption to the core business function of the household and a new King size (Wonderful) bed built and now in use. Despite recent recurrences of fever incurred insomnia.

The lounge is full of boxes as yet unfilled and all our books are in boxes. The kitchen, well, let’s just not go there. The whole apartment looks like it’s been bombed with cardboard cluster munitions. Because of my current illness I’m feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck and yet busy as a nut hunting squirrel letter writing to relatives and friends to let them know where we’re going and when. It will all come good. The trick is not to stop half way.

Notwithstanding, despite current illness, which is not what the Doctor and I thought it was, but a genetic condition which won’t actually kill me, but will intrude unpleasantly from time to time, I’m pretty good.  Currently having a few days off in Vancouver and catching up on sleep.  For the first time in months I’m feeling relaxed and totally centred, which is nice.  There’s a sensation of having turned a corner, despite tripping over noisy demonstrators and the occasional beggar who can’t keep his nose out of my business.  Apparently because I didn’t want his ‘help’, which I didn’t ask for, I’m a “Cruel and bombastic person.”  Well, yes and no.  Cruel in that I don’t care about the rude whining of other people when they try to butt into my business uninvited, and bombastic in that I didn’t ask for something, now bugger off and let me get on with things in my own way.  Which was visit a motorcycle dealership to check out the kit and make some informed decisions about protective clothing for next year.  Task accomplished and decisions have been made with a clear head.

If there’s one thing that does annoy the fuck out of me about life on the wet coast is random strangers talking at me without invitation or an “Excuse me.”, like they’re the fount of all fricking wisdom.  I like my own space, and while not a total misanthrope, can see the appeal of such a lifestyle.

Any old road up.  I see things are business as usual in the old country. Cracking down on ‘porn’ and increasing the snooping laws when the economy is the thing that matters. I think Trump has it right. It doesn’t matter what you are and what you think so long as you’re getting on with stuff and adding value.

The ‘experts’ (funny how they’re so often wrong, mm?) allegedly want us to live forever (Until we are no longer useful and can be disposed of neatly so as not to be a ‘nuisance’ in our dribbling dotages) on a meat-free, smoke free, sugar free diet while all our real freedoms fade.

There is a thing called ‘quality of life’ which is represented by a triangle of mental, physical, and spiritual parts of our being.  The overarching glue linking all three is the freedom to choose.  Take away that freedom, and quality of life suffers.  Which is something the busybodies and puritans are incapable of understanding.

Somethings burning…

…And I think it’s my candle at both ends. Failing that or I’ve got psychic jet lag, or should that be that I’m out of phase with my astral plane? At present I’m up at all hours of the night, from 3:30ish onward, which is 11:30am UK time. No idea why, but I seem to have developed a prescient early warning system that tells me when there’s something challenging going on across the pond.

The early hours went like this; wake up feeling totally wired and with all my brain cells buzzing. Go into office, which is out of earshot of our bedroom. Switch on ‘pooter. Check email. Sure enough there’s an ‘urgent’, highest priority panic now item squatting in my inbox like a squashed frog. Bugger. What have they got their panties in a bunch over this bloody time? Reply to email. That takes half an hour. Fidget. Play a game of Spider Solitaire. Forty five more minutes and Bong! Another response to my carefully worded missive. Reply with clarification. Well, there’s forty five minutes of my life I’m not getting back. Oh Jesus H Christ on a frigging Bike! Can’t people read? Am I teaching a sodding TESOL class? Notify lawyers. They respond in real time. At least they’re awake and on the ball. Remind others that if they had taken my advice two whole years ago we wouldn’t be having these issues. Still, can’t be helped. Make tea. Watch a little YouTube. Another hour and a half rolls by with the email chain growing ever longer until finally it’s 9am Pacific, 5pm across the pond and everyone stops wasting my bloody time and decides to shut up shop for the day. Hopefully that will close the door on this particular conversation. Oh well, it saves having to drag the whole sorry business over into tomorrow. I’ve gotten an answer, not quite the one I wanted, but close enough, and despite the insomnia, sometimes that’s all you need.

Sod it. Is it only 9am? Set up percolator, make and consume a pint of hot black coffee. Feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and I’ve got two critical meetings this afternoon. They say tax shouldn’t be taxing, but getting your finances just right so as not to overpay can be a headache. Protect the capital, manage the expenditure. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Find several day old news item on economic suicide note as announced by the Trudeau boy. Carbon taxes. Wealth redistribution. Yeah, redistributed out of my pocket into some politicians boondoggle. Good luck with that because it’s not going to happen. I have recruited a decent team of advisers over this side of the world. British expats all and they’re pretty lean, mean and keen.

References off to potential new landlord. Decision meeting on Wednesday. Bloody hell is it only 10am? Try to sleep for an hour. No good, I’m too wired. Shower, shave, dress smartly, check notes. I lose an hour somewhere along the line and Mrs S is telling me it’s time to get moving. Come 2pm local time we’ve signed on the dotted and all our local money has been secured before the next tranche arrives and we get to discuss how to maximise our investment yields. In conversation I remark to my finance guy; “I’ve learned two major lessons over the past two years. Trust nobody, and make sure your insurance is good.”
“I’ll have to remember that one.” He replies. Mrs S smiles. She remembers Paris. As do I. Must do it again some time when all the shouting has died down. This time without the untimely injuries.

Now it’s 6pm and I know I’ll pay for missing half a nights sleep this time tomorrow. I’ve got a scan in the afternoon, and my ‘bloods’ will be all over the place. Which may not be such a bad thing if it makes me look more unwell than I actually feel. Might bump me up the long, long waiting list.

This is weird. Why don’t I feel tired?

Waiting…

Mrs S; “Lovely day.” (She turns, advances to front door.) “Inspiring prospects. Time to go out” (She turns to William.) “Let’s go.”
Bill Sticker: “We can’t.”
Mrs S: “Why ever not?”
Bill Sticker: “We’re waiting for Canada Post.”

Excuse me channelling Samuel Beckett, but I’m still waiting for my book order to arrive when the official delivery date was 25th July. Now the gaping void on my bookshelves sings a siren lament every time I pass, achingly begging for fulfilment. It pulls at me like a gravitational singularity, pulling my gaze first to the gap, thence to the void on our front doorstep. A promised space stares at me accusingly. I feel its hunger like a gape in my belly. So potent it’s almost sexual. An unfilled bookshelf is a terrible thing. It haunts, accuses, points and says; “Fill me!” with the urgency of a lover in heat. Thwart it at your peril.

Another victim of Canada Post Will the postman eventually leave my package on the doorstep while we’re out, or one of those faux-cheery accusatory little cards saying; “We tried to deliver your package, but you were out. Pick it up at your local postal depot next week.” Next week! No, no! I wasn’t out, I was here, waiting. I’ve been good. Honestly. Eagerly anticipating my orders arrival with an acid sense of anticipation, ears pricked. Listening for the faintest thump on the doorstep which will announce my books arrival. Afraid to go out less I miss the slightest clue. Hoping against hope that my package has not been delivered to another household, where my precious purchases will be treated with contempt by someone else who is not capable of appreciating their contents, or horror beyond measure, callously left out in the rain, wrapping soaked and wood pulp pages beginning to rot, for my package to be picked up by the delivery person next time they pass for redelivery. If they ever do.

I’m driving my wife nuts.

Update 5th August 2016 12:48pm: All ten books have arrived.  My bookshelf is now whole.

Going fishing

Trout fishing the lakes with brother in law up island tomorrow, as it’s a long weekend and Monday is a public holiday over here. Today I’ll make time to pop over to Canadian Tire to stock up on Steelhead trout and Smallmouth bass lures, as most of my gear is for salt water. Brother in law is a fly fisherman. I prefer spinners. What with the recent warm weather, I think the fish will be hugging the bottom and be too sluggish to rise for a fly, so my lures have to go deep.

Mrs S and her sister are going to have a picnic nearby, so they can natter and criticise our casting technique. So, picnic basket is being readied, finger food prepared. Although to be honest perhaps it’s best to let sis-in-law buy her own picnic stuff. She can be a bit picky, and has to watch what she eats because of the Statins and low salt regime she’s on.

The only threat to our plans are the forecast thunderstorms for Monday. Oh well, if the fishing is a washout we know a number of places for a decent lunch. Which with sister in law is too often a tense affair in case we say something she doesn’t like. Which can be anything from our holiday plans to what we choose for lunch. Heavy sigh. She can be very hard work.

At least when you go fishing, no one fusses about what your opinions are on a given topic, nor do the fish care what creed or colour you are or what you’re doing next year. It’s a simple hunter gatherer interaction and refreshingly free of human-induced complications and opinions. Which is probably why fishing is so enjoyable. Mr Rea and I agree on this, so it must be one of those universal truth thingies.

TTFN

A little weekend drama

A sunny Victorian Friday afternoon around four. Unscheduled call from sister in law up island. Our elderly widowed friend up there has suffered some kind of sudden illness and called an ambulance. Mrs S gets on Skype and contacts the sheltered living facility elderly widow is domiciled at. No answer. They’ve gone home because Friday is ‘poets’ day (Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday). Has the Ambulance been called or not? Has it arrived? Has friend been admitted yet? After half an hour of phoning hospital we have our answer. In-laws will go in first to check because they’re closest. We’ll get ready. Just in case.

While waiting for answers I pack. Five minutes and we’re all set. Suited and booted. I’ve even thrown in a couple of books because I know from long experience that hospitals are all ‘hurry up and wait’. In-laws agree to put us up for the night, saving us a hotel bill, and after a flurry of exchanges on cell and Skype, we decide that since we have power of attorney over friends ‘living will’ we have to be there. Just in case. We were heading oop norf tomorrow for a visit and delivery of birthday presents anyway, but this event has shifted our timetable forward by twenty four hours.

So, out into the crawling nonsense of Victoria’s Friday afternoon traffic we go. Taking half an hour to travel the first four miles. Once out onto the highway it gets better and the hammer goes down, in a genteel sort of way. Moving briskly but safely. Out of the way boys and girls, Uncle Bill has a job to do.

Around seventy miles later. Me driving and Mrs S on the phone, we pull up and head into the hospital emergency department. Finding to our eternal relief that elderly widowed friend is mostly just dehydrated after a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, and will be ‘filled up’ and sent home between twenty four and forty eight hours later, providing all the other tests hospitals and doctors like to do draw a blank. We regale friend with tales of our recent US road trip to keep her entertained before a porter comes to wheel her down to X-ray. By the time we leave the hospital it’s eight, so Mrs S and I brave the sluggish evening service at a White Spot restaurant because neither of us have eaten since breakfast.

Over to in-laws for a tea and jaw session before bedtime. Hospital in the morning so we crash and roll out of our pit for a swift mug of tea before getting on the road again. Agree to meet in-laws later.

We arrive at the hospital and pile into the short stay facility to find elderly widow friend has had her check up from the neck up and down again. According to ER physician “There’s nothing we didn’t expect to find in a ninety six year old body.” So we found her rehydrated and good to go home, which was a pleasant surprise. By eleven am Saturday we’re all done and elderly widow friend is home and resting. We make sure Reception knows about her current state and ask them to make sure an appropriate fuss is made, which they are happy to do.

Thence it’s coffee, chat and cookies in a trendy but basic café with in-laws before heading back to the barn. Job done. By twelve noon all is well. After a stop for a leisurely lunch we’re home by three thirty. Our little weekend drama is over and we have now stopped to catch our breath. Wasn’t that fun? No. But we’d have only been bored otherwise.