29 November 2015
A quick update this week – as I wrote last time, I think, I’m currently in the States visiting with my mother, both my brothers and their delightful families. Visiting this week does mean that I’ve been able to enjoy not one but two Thanksgiving dinners – I knew I came at the right time. But, before we get to a brief account of some of our adventures this week, I need to bring you up to date with last weekend’s activities.
Last weekend we entertained Bubble for the day (or should I say she entertained us) while Nick and Lucy tackled their loft and garage in preparation for a house move in early December (hopefully). Entertaining Bubble is always a delight and pleasure and this past weekend, with Penny’s encouragement and assistance, she decided to put on a puppet show for me. She and Penny made the stage out of an old cardboard box and then made a number of “puppets” which danced and sang and paraded across the stage. Each had names although I have to confess I cannot remember them; there was also some sort of story which wandered off from time to time which I similarly cannot remember but it was a lot of fun both for her and for me.
As the evening drew in we lit a fire in the lounge which was highly entertaining and, so far as Bubble was concerned, very interesting. She was keen to know how the fire would spread from the paper to the kindling to the logs, how it would spread from one side of the grate to the other, where all the smoke went, how the fire radiated heat into the room, etc. She also was highly excited by the different colours the flames assumed and by the sparks, which occasionally leapt off the logs with a “pop.” Indeed, this eventually led to the Pop-Tickle game – as the fire became established, we both listened intently for a “pop”. Whenever either of us heard a “pop” we were allowed to tickle the other into submission. Of course, the recipient could tickle back which generally led to both of us collapsing in hysterics until a truce was called and we went back to listening for more “pops”. Another fun but exhausting weekend!
Wednesday I flew to the States with middle son Nick to spend Thanksgiving with my mother & brothers. Our Ben had flown in from Los Angeles and met us off the plane and together we made our way up to Hanover. Thanksgiving dinner/lunch at Kendal on Thursday was excellent and we ate more than anyone should which is, of course, precisely what one is supposed to do on Thanksgiving.
After lunch, we retired to my brother Steph’s place in Canaan and for some bizarre reason we all readily (and perhaps too readily) agreed to Steph’s suggestion that we should fire up the sauna for a good Thanksgiving sweat.
My nephew Greg has restored what was previously a sauna hut on their property just next to the Mascoma River and, I have to say, it is a masterpiece. It has a wood-burning stove, which was there already – although the hut had been used as a sauna by the previous owners, it was in desperate need of restoration when Steph and Hope bought the place. Over the past year Greg has repaired the roof, salvaged and re-used the cedar boards, installed insulation everywhere and put in traditional-type sauna benches. The result is sensational! The hut was baking within about 45 minutes of lighting the fire and the resulting sauna was outstanding.
After a suitable period of roasting and basting we fled to the refreshing comfort of the Mascoma River. OH MY GOD! “Talk of the cold, through the parka’s fold, it stabbed like a driven nail!” Steph described it as what he imagined it would feel like to be defibrillated – the cold was more than painful but we all got in, immersed ourselves and jumped out again in about thirty-six seconds and then back into the sauna again for a second helping. I have to say, I don’t think any of us (apart from Greg) knew what we were in for – had we known how cold the river would be I suspect none of us would have done it but, as Hope said, that’s one of life’s crazy achievements which we can put in our scrapbook of memories.
By this time it was quite late – about 7.30! So, under Steph’s influence, we started drinking – rum and diet Pepsi for the most part although Nick and Greg the Younger, I think, were on the gin. I don’t know how much we got through but by about 11.30 we were all just about able to roll into bed. Certainly a Thanksgiving, which we won’t forget in a hurry.
Saturday I dropped Ben at the Hanover Inn so that he could catch the Dartmouth Coach down to Boston to get his flight back to LA and I made my way over to Lake George for a second Thanksgiving dinner with brother Sandy and his family and a few friends. Another suitable stuffing and then on Sunday (i.e., today) Nick and I will make our way back to Boston via Hanover and Canaan and back to the UK. A terrific and magnificently memorable Thanksgiving.
Love to you all,