Have more sugar; these feelings aren’t going to eat themselves!

This will be the first of, one hopes (for obvious reasons), a series of dispatches from Toronto, or what I’m now affectionately referring to as Quarentown. No, we are absolutely not all in full lock-down like poor Italy. This morning, the premier declared a state of emergency, Parks Canada is closed, libraries are closed, we’re…

A “right good-will draught” to end the year

It was the best, most, and first of times. 2017 was other adjectival things too, but I’ll stick to the good bits. Best reads (in alphabetical order by author surname) Grand Hotel, Vicki Baum A Favourite of the Gods, Sybille Bedford Notes from a Dead House, Fyodor Dostoevsky Old Filth, Jane Gardam Hild, Nicola Griffith…

Your cat is probably cheating on you

If you have a cat, and that cat goes outdoors even occasionally, then you’re going to have to accept this: you’re not the only person in your kitty’s life. As the body attached to the hand that feeds, pets, and takes away the night soil, you are almost certainly the most important person in your…

Big city side-eye

I remember reading a short story many years ago, written (I think) by Morley Callaghan (most famous for punching Ernest Hemingway’s head), about a professional executioner arriving in a small town hoping to have a “good, neighbourly time” before anyone realizes why he’s there. Having tasted the first delicious drops of local friendliness, the hangman’s…

Walking

Having fallen and pinched a nerve over five months ago, I’m enjoying an early taste (it tastes bitter) of one aspect of old age, at least as it’s appeared to me: A constant, dragging achiness mixed unwholesomely with chronic poor sleep. This unhappy nerve has made both sitting and laying down truly terrible experiences; I’ve…

A parliament of snails

I ride my bike a lot. To say I ride my bike a lot doesn’t really cover it, actually, because that statement refers only to the frequency of my cycling adventures. It doesn’t refer at all to the fact that cycling is one of the great loves of my life; it’s up there with my…

An urban squirrel triptych

I don’t think I knew the difference between squirrels and chipmunks until I moved to southeastern Ontario. I grew up in Nova Scotia where the only urban wildlife on my radar were seagulls, rats, mice, crows, and spiders bigger than God’s boots. What a joy to move here and discover all of the above as…