Wednesday, 12 August 2015

On getting to Kingston and what I did there

We left the Barn in Prince Edward and rode on a variety of back roads recommended by Cathy in pleasant sunshine albeit with a slight East wind. Since Toronto, the wind has been uncharacteristically uncooperative. We rejoined the Wayerfront Trail around Bloomfield. We made decent time to the Glenora ferry waved on by 18th century Union Jacks, i.e. just the crosses of St George and St Andrew. These are the chosen of the descendents of the Loyalists who settled the area under that flag. I would have liked to buy one in order to tease the Paternal Unit, but no joy even in Kingston.

 On the ferry, we held our arms out from our bodies to let the breeze dry our sweat. This devolved into pretending to be cormorants drying our wings. After the ferry, I left the Parents to proceed at their pace whilst I sped ahead. At Finkle's Park, I chanced upon a couple of young guys on their way to Maine from Seattle. Joel was riding a bike from 1975 that must of have been older than he was! Like a number of the cycle tourers I have met on this trip, they didn't have front racks. Now that I think of it, MEC only had one model for sale. Joel and his buddy Gabe looked like they had started out from Seattle clean shaven but had left their razors behind. ;-)
 The parents caught up to me as I had lunch. We rode loosely in loose proximty to the edge of Kingston. As traffic lights slow the Paternal Unit down significantly, I left them to make their own way to our destination, namely the house of Cookie, a very accomplished and slightly eccentric friend of Mummy's from their days at the Penguin Ski Club. In order to gain access to her house, I had to cross a portion of CFB Kingston, complete with signs ordaining the priority of marching soldiers! I found her house at the end of wooded lane and let myself in as she was out at an art gallery displaying her paintings. Her house had been built by her mother and rather reminded me of Aunt Lorna's house in that it was built on a slope with the bedrooms below and kitchen above. The Parents arrived a bit later and we made ourselves comfortable in the rooms assigned to us. Cookie appeared a bit before six. We had supper with her and her neighbor Jean, a somewhat shaky but spry older woman who is clearly a dear friend of Cookie's.

While parking my park in Cookie's garage, I noticed that her rear mudguard had seen better days. Over supper, I inquired if I might repay her hospitality (we would be there for two nights) by replacing her rear mudguard. She graciously declined. Mummy then made an ungracious about how men always want to weigh down women's bikes with "unnecessary" bits and pieces. This was a clear reference to my attempts to get her to carry a second water bottle in a cage and when I installed a rear mudguard on her bike as a Christmas gift for the benefit of herself and Désirée who would be starting to be hauled in a bike trailer by Mummy and others. (I felt that it would hard on Désirée to get sand in her face.) It has been two years since the trailer was retired and Mummy hasn't removed the mudguard. Hence, I found her comment a bit unfair.

We talked about plans for the rest day on the morrow. I mentioned I was going to see the Meagher house plaque which I had seen unveiled in 1984 with Granny. Cookie being an long time Kingston resident, produced a book about the buildings of Kingston which included it. I noted some particulars. The next day, we split up to do our own things: Pappy wanted to read chez Cookie, Mummy and I both had museums in mind but in different ones at least at first. We also items to buy and we agreed to meet for lunch at an Indian restaurant with Cookie. My first stop was the first I came across: Fort Henry. It is a splendid example of mid 19th century fortification and its only actual use was to house prisoners from the 1837-38 uprisings and enemy aliens during the First World War. There was a traveling exhibition about the latter. I fell into a guided tour which cunningly took us through the old bakery which was still being used to bake mouth-wateringly delicious smelling bread available for purchase in the gift shop, no free samples available. ;-) The fort had been designed quite cunning and cold bloodedly with carronades positioned to grape shot into the ditch from positions in the outside wall which were accessed via a tunnel from inside the fort. Unexpectedly, the fort was mainly designed to withstand an assault from the landward side rather than the river as an amphibious assault would be so much easier to repel. As I left, one of the tour guides in period uniform brought out a goat graze on the the lawn. I joked to another guides/guards: "Ah, the Regimental lawn mower." I bought a wonderfully tacky guardsman T-shirt and some baked goods.
I met the others for lunch then did some shopping before visiting the Great Lakes Maritime Museum and the old ice breaker/aid to navigation vessel they had. I was mildly disappointed the tour of the latter didn't include the engine room or the helicopter pad. On the other hand, the museum had the very first Laser sailboat, viz number 0, as owned by the designer. My mother inherited her mother's Laser number 308, named "Wombat". As the first one sold was number 100, this puts Wombat in with the first. The current production level is over 200,000.

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