Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Unchanging

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?


Gina said...

I'm in IE, and it looks fine!

Disappointing they didn't change, but really, if they had, they would have probably dropped from heat exhaustion!

Lynn said...

Everything seems fine and normal to me as far as the look of your blog goes.

-epm said...

I'm using Firefox on a Mac. A-OK for me. People may need to adjust their browser settings, perhaps.

I ride my motorbike with helmet and riding jacket, complete with armour for spine, shoulders and elbow. Even in the 90ºF (32ºC) heat. People are always asking me if I'm hot wearing all that. Yes, I am, but not oppressively so. Maybe I have a tolerance for heat. Maybe I'm just not bothered by things I can't control.

The issue is hydration more than heat. I say give the soldiers plenty of water and have then march on. Maybe they can tuck a water bladder in that fur hat :)

Rainypete said...

My firefox is seeing it just fine.

I've tried to see the changing fo the guard three times to the same effect. I'm under the impression that they just claim to do it so that the tourists will keep coming back.

Dale said...

Welcome back, AC. This page looks fine in FF!

karla said...

mmm. Hershey’s chocolate (especially the almond kisses) are delish!
My father in law heads down to Pennsylvania every year for some sort of antique car market thing, and he always brings us back chocolate from the Hershey factory down there. I didn’t know they had one in Smith Falls too!

Your blog is just fine on my end (IE7).

Kathy Trejo said...


Heather Plett said...

I've been to Ottawa several times over the years (I spent about 13 years in the federal government and had to make at least an annual pilgrimage there) and I NEVER seemed to be there when the changing of the guards took place. Some day, I'll time it right.

mreddie said...

Too hot for the changing - hopefully the mounties still get their man, but I can't blame them for waiting for cooler weather. We are in the middle of a heat wave as well - ours just lasts all summer. :) ec

PBS said...

Nope, no problems with your site. You certainly have a lot of good attractions nearby!

methatiam said...

I have every error message available for IE turned on as I work a lot with the web, and haven’t had a one.

We went to Hershey Pennsylvania about 2 decades ago (give or take a few years). The most startling thing I found in the whole tour was that there wasn’t a single employee there with clear skin.
Put me off chocolate for a long time. Two, maybe three days, even!

Cathy said...

Three decades. You must have seen changes, though. I know recent retirees who found the child-centric trend, the increasing litiginous climate and declining respect for authority, draining and demoralizing. Yet, I suppose, the 'essential' child still walks through the classroom door and may bloom within a caring teacher's domain.

Anvilcloud said...

Cathy // I'll stick to my guns: kids are kids. What changed in my experience was the level of bureaucratic interference. The notion of accountability is one thing but having to prove it obsessively and document it to the satisfaction of the hierarchy is quite another. In short, the kids stayed more or less the same, but the job became much more demanding -- and it was demanding enough to begin with, believe me. // AC

Valerie - Still Riding Forward said...

Page is ok by me in IE, too.

The first nose ring I ran into was shiny and I found my eyes going to the nose instead of the eyes and I am not fond of intentionally bald but kids are just people too.

I do fine with most of them.

Granny said...

I'm using Firefox as well and it looks fine.

I had many more reading problems with IE.

As well as my blogroll sliding to the bottom of course. That's when I switched.

Cathy said...

Ah yes, Anvil Cloud. My sister-in-law, who still teaches, is beleaguered by assessment hurdle-jumping. What facet of knowledge were you sharing with the young? If you were starting again, would you become a teacher?

Anvilcloud said...

I was a high school teacher, mostly geography although I taught English in my happiest years (not that the others were unhappy -- those were just my favourite years). Yes, I would do it again. Although the defined job became onerous, I liked the act of teaching well enogh. So, I would probably do it again.