My nephew and significant other have just departed for a night in Montreal. They will drop by tomorrow on their way back to the cottage. If they're late, they'll stay overnight and continue on the next day. It's all fine with us; they're really nice kids. Some people despair about "kids today," but people have always done that. I taught for three decades, and kids were always kids – always nice in other words.
So, we took them to see some small towns and the locks on the Rideau Canal system. We even saw a whole street in Merrickville move aside to let boats through – just small pleasure craft, that's all. It was a swing. Two workers crank the cranks, and the street (bridge) just swings to the side on a rail. It's century old technology (even older), but it still works a treat. We then proceeded to the Hershey factory in Smiths Falls where none of us could resist loading up on cheap chocolate. We almost always do that with new guests on day one: take them to see the small towns, locks, and the Hershey factory.
On day two, we're likely to run into Ottawa. We'll take them to parliament hill, the Byward Market, and the National (Art) Gallery. The changing of the guard is rather splendid to watch, so we headed in bright and early yesterday morning. They perform the ceremony at ten o'clock, but we leave around 8:30 in order to drive in, find parking, and walk to the Parliament Buildings. But we're not having much success with The Changing. Definitely not; it has become The Unchanging of the Guard for us.
It first happened in June last year. I had wondered if they would perform the ceremony in June; so I looked it up on the Net. Yes, according to the site, they started in June and continued through July and August. What the site didn't say was that they only begin in late June, just before the Canada Day weekend. And, of course, we were there early in the month.
But yesterday was the heart of summer, so there was no question that the show would go on. I lie, however, for there was a question. You see, yesterday was the hottest of the year in these parts. It was torrid: about 95F but feeling more like 115F with the humidity. So, they cancelled The Changing.
I don't blame them at all though. The soldiers wear those big bear skin hats and wool uniforms, and it would have been cruel to make them perform yesterday. Even the Mounted Police, the ones that saunter around The Hill on horseback and in their scarlet tunics, stayed away.
So I'm not mad or bitter. Not me 'cause I'm Canadian eh? And good Canadians try to accept our lots and take things in phlegmatic stride. But jeez louise I would like our visitors to be able to view this rather wonderful spectacle.
One blogger has written to say that this site is behaving rather badly. The print is small and there are error messages. Is anybody else experiencing difficulties?