I have been busy teaching, entertaining and visiting ... and now I am home. Before I start preparations for next week's lessons, I will fill in some of the blanks.
My friend Erma is just back from a visit to Kenya so we had a great gossipy visit last weekend. Layla, who sent money off with Erma on this trip, joined us for dinner on Saturday. Layla is 20 and has been raising money for disadvantaged kids to help them get an education since she was a young teenager. I met her when she was fifteen. She has helped to build kitchens and dormitories at the Daisy Centre for kids with disabilities, sent a crippled girl off to have a necessary operation so that she could attend high school as a CHES scholarship girl, and used her funds for a myriad of other small projects. Erma taught in Western Kenya from 2001 - 2003. She made it her business to discover where help was needed, and has been raising money and awareness in her Canadian church and high school ever since her return. She has been back three or four times, each time discovering more projects to help, and so her Kenyan work continues to grow.
Dan, Sarah, Lucas and Remi spent a few days here while I visited Techwood and Scootz. We all enjoyed shaking up our lives a little, and I came home to a clean house, fewer weeds and a mowed lawn, to a stream free of a tree that threatened to block it, and to a clothesline that works like a charm again..
While they worked and played here at the lake, I went off on missions in the Lanark area, and managed to fill my three days in interesting ways.
I walked every day a few times with Kenya and old Charlie and discovered just how friendly Lanark is ... and how beautiful the gardens and river are. Charlie loved his walks and hip-hopped along beside Kenya despite his arthritis.
At the annual Balderson sale I picked up bathing suits that will last me for another few years. In Perth I found a wine cup that smooths out rough wine, and a bar of natural soap that smells good enough to eat. I also attended a great outdoor concert in the rain with a new friend.
Before I left, the boys and I went off to McDonald's Corners where I discovered the nicest Saturday Market I've ever been to. Listening to conversations around me while I drank fair trade coffee, I was reminded of a recent trip to London when I marched against the Iraq War with hordes of little old grey haired ladies and men ... all from the peace protest era. I bought quiches and fudge from little girls raising money for autism, and, when I asked why they were so interested, was told by the younger one that her older sister looked after a little girl who was on the spectrum. I don't think I have ever met nicer kids, and when I told their camera-toting grandfather, he said that it had to be his wife's influence because he was a bad actor. Then I wandered over to talk to a goat lady ... and was reminded of my own experiences with goats ... another tale from the depths of memory.
After eating our way around the market, we drove to the dump where I found books and blouses at the recycling centre, and then visited the woman who bought Techwood's old place. I like her ... and her dogs. She too has a Charlie with the oddest colouring imaginable. He looks ferocious but hides behind her skirts as soon as you speak to him. It took Scootz a few minutes of gentle stroking to convince him to come out from under the desk once we were inside. A friend of his owner described him as a cut and paste dog because his cross breeding has not created a harmonious blend at all. Rather he has a shepherd size and shape, a pit bullish head, some dalmation freckles, a spectacular grey diamond on a white forehead, and his front half is white, the back half dark.
I was glad to get home, but I am very glad I spent a few days with my boys. And it was nice to meet a new friend with whom I have so much in common. Maybe next time I visit he will give me a ride on his Harley.
Last night I made the mistake of retreating from the steady rain into a movie. Have you seen "The Weatherman"? I found it terribly depressing ... good ... but hard to watch the protagonist's repeated failures and unremitting sadness ...
And now I must start work on my lessons for next week. I am teaching Monday, Thursday and Friday this week. Roger, the young Swiss carpenter, will be joined by a handicraft teacher in her early fifties and another younger Swiss woman. I want to work with their common interests and the things they can teach one another. I picked up some second hand books on handicrafts in Lanark ... so I think I will start there.
Have a great week ... and I will try to make more regular appearances than I have lately.