Thursday, August 9, 2012

Squirrels with machine guns

Thursday 2nd August...
Blimey, it’s been a long day – The crazy woman across the way has been her usual shouty self for most of the afternoon and I have been on the sofa watching team GB win a load of gold medals in triathlon and cycling.

I suppose I should tell you a bit about the weekend though and what occurred at the lake....

Friday evening – about 4pm, I left the apartment with a boot full of beer and picked up Buffy from work before we drove the 100 miles or so eat towards Lake of the Woods. It was a bit like the previous journey home, only in reverse as we came across a big storm on our way. There was also a really strange cloud storm forming alongside the road that looked just like a tornado, with steep thick clouds climbing high in the air, which was really weird, but also pretty cool. 

The weird storm cloud....

...then another weird one - cool!

Cuddy enjoying the boat trip over to the cabin

When we arrived we were met by a few members of Buffy’s family who were enjoying the last night of a family week away at the cabin – Keith and Carol, with their son Aiden, who were sleeping in their sailboat which was parked up at the boat dock. Sylvia and Ted, who met us at the dock when we arrived and immediately handed out some cold Corona beers! Charlotte, who I spent a fun hour sat with and showing her through Buffy’s travel books and photos of our time in Asia. Finally there is Maggie and Jeremy, who actually comes from Weymouth in Dorset and knows Blandford too!  There was obviously John and Susan as well as Pat and the three dogs – Cuddy, Boo and Benjie.
It was obviously a full cabin and we all sat down to a fine Mexican meal prepared by Maggie and Jeremy – there was so much food – far too much rice – but it was all great and helped down by more ice cold Coronas.

The night continued with a fire lit by Aiden and some sing songs as I sat with Charlotte showing her Buffy’s books. It was a lot of fun and great to meet everyone.

Buff at the old incinerator

The lightning tree

Saturday was a bit of a lazy day – Everyone had left by the time I got my lazy arse out of bed about 11am and after a big breakfast myself, Buffy  and me took a bit if a wander around the island - fighting our way through the overgrown pathway to the old incinerator and then past a tree that was hit by lightning before we went back to the cabin and spent most of the windy and wet day sat in the porch reading books and talking about stuff, before it actually got a little cold and we eventually moved into the lounge, Susan lit a fire and we stayed there for the evening, rounding the lazy day off with a game of trivial pursuit on the dining table. It was the ‘North American’, edition and so I was never going to win, but it was a good evening – Susan eventually won on a tie break with Buffy.

Sunday was a much nicer day, but started in a very similar way as I stayed in bed well beyond 10am. The sun was out though and after breakfast and a short swim myself and Susan took the boat across the lake, picked up the BMW, dropped the roof and headed off to Kenora for a couple of hours. Our actual idea was to find a bar or restaurant where we could watch the 100m men’s final from the Olympics, but the afternoon turned out to be so much more.

We stopped at the first bar we found and there were TV’s showing 2 of the 3 Canadian Olympic channels. We waited expectantly for the 100metres to start, but a couple of minutes after it should have been on TV we found out it was on the other channel which was not being shown. No worries though as the race was shown a few times a minute or two later and we were happy to see it. Susan in particular as she loves sports and the Olympics and wasn’t able to get a TV set up at the lake to watch them. We then continued a short way along the road into Kenora itself and Susan showed me around. First stop was the lake front where we saw a big fish sculpture called Husky the Muskie. Susan, saw that it was an ideal place to do a jump shot and so I handed her my camera and she got a great pic of me doing the business with Husky in the background. 
Kenora lake front
   We then took a walk around the lake and to the town centre in the car. On the way we passed by a few old ‘souped up’ cars and trucks which had been taking part in a show earlier in the day. Then I had a close up look at some of the water borne ‘float’ planes that ferry people to all corners of the lake system to their cabins in the wilderness. The planes are really cool and I would love to get a ride in one someday.
One of the old trucks

..and a car...

Old floatplane

Kenora itself is a really neat little ‘holiday’, town of about 15,000 people – a population which swells in the summer months with lots of people visiting the area to enjoy the lakes and all the summer activities. It has a lovely curving waterfront and just behind the town centre is a chip van (as in fish and chips) which is a local institution and something that ‘You have to do’, when visiting. We didn’t try the chip van this time, but made a promise that next time me and Buffy are at the cabin, we will pop down there to pick up dinner for everyone.
Husky the Muskie
On the short drive back to the cabin we had a look at where there used to be a boat lift, which took boats from the Winnipeg river and moved them over the road into Lake of the Woods and the rest of the lake system – a neat way to be able to take your boat from home and make it all the way to the lake for a holiday. Unfortunately, it was closed and removed a few years ago, but still a cool little bit of history.    

It was a long ‘Bank Holiday’, weekend and so me and Buffy stayed for one more night and most of Monday before we headed back to Winnipeg. This gave us time to do a little exploring on Monday afternoon on ‘Ernie’s Trail’. That is after we were rudely woken up at 6am – by squirrels. The noisy little bastards were up a tree right outside our room and if you have never heard them, I will try to describe the noise they make. Imagine a squirrel, with a machine gun! I have no idea what they are doing or how they make the noise but its so bloody loud when its close that I found myself outside just after 6, throwing sticks up a tree to try and scare the little bugars away. Next time I may have to borrow a gun! 


Midnight on the swimming dock - thats the moon!

The damn squirrels!!

Ernie is an old guy who used to have a cabin near to Buffy’s uncle and aunt. He decided one day a few years ago, to cut a trail from a small beach on the north shore of an Island on the lake through the woods and up to a lookout point above the south shore. He spent a while doing this and named a few of the creeks and trees for his friends, leaving wooden plaques to mark them. It was a short trail that Buffy had done many times as a kid and so the two of us took the hour or so walk through the woods with the three dogs.

It’s a cool little trail, leading at one point down to the shoreline, where the dogs cooled themselves in the cool water before we made the final climb up to the open rock at the top of a slope with a view down to the lake below. There is also a really neat stone spiral, which it has become tradition to add to by finding a rock and placing it at the open end of the spiral, making it longer and bigger. I placed a rock for myself and one each for the dogs – after they picked themselves a rock by sniffing it. I then signed the little visitor’s notebook that is found at the centre of the spiral in an old steel tin, right next to another tin with a hornets’ nest inside it! We then followed the trail back down to the boat and a cool swim back at Buffy’s uncle’s cabin across the lake. It was a good end to another nice weekend away at the cabin.

Ernies trail

The south side of the island

The dogs in the lake

Filling in the logbook

The rock spiral

Adding my rock

It’s now Thursday and since being back we have had the internet fixed (hopefully) the maintenance guy has been around and is returning soon to paint the bathroom and I have spent a lot of time watching the Olympics on the TV. Add to that the quiz night last night when we eclipsed our score from last week with a highest ever of 57 and a trip to the cinema to see the new Total Recall and its been a good, but busy week!

I’ll leave it at that for now and get back to you sometime over the weekend or early next week!


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