Agony

Yes, my Love Ones,

I am now using cheap tricks to get your reading attention. Agony is a word that should be reserved for forms of torture like being burnt at the stake; probably severe pain would suffice but it wouldn’t have grabbed your attention.




Last post I was preparing my aging body for its annual assault on the Lions – an arduous 7 hour hike I undertake once a year to celebrate a beautiful person, Duane Amphlett. And so I have been “grinding” – doing the Grouse Grind to get in shape. A well intentioned reader suggested I try the BCMC trail adjacent to the grind. “Try taking the BCMC Trail up” he wrote, “it splits off from the Grind near the beginning and comes out about 100′ from the top. It is a switchback trail and therefore, much easier on the joints. It is taken by fewer people so it also means you can enjoy the scenery rather than be concerned about the spandex ass in front and the line chargers behind.


He was right; compared to the Grind the way up felt like a walk in the park. Did I mention that coming down a steep slope is WAY harder than going up…….I was picking my way down carefully, watching for roiling rocks and ankle grabbing tree roots when, on a seemingly hazard free slope of loose gravel, my right leg went skating out from under me and I went ass over tit. There is simply no elegant way of describing it. What ensued; inching my way down the mountain with two pointed sticks as “crutches”, was perhaps the most painful hour and a half of my life (and yes, I have given birth twice!) 


I was fortunately traveling with a friend and I think if he hadn’t been there to encourage me I would have just packed it in, coiled into the fetal position and happily become fodder for whatever hungry ants or bears that happened along. At one stage the pain was so unbearable I tried crawling down on my butt – anything to take the weight off my foot. Caked in dirt, a salty salmagundi of sweat and tears making rivulets down my pain contorted face, Chris offered to take a photograph. It provided a much needed moment of comic relief. At one stage I laid my head to rest on Chris’ shoulder and sobbed but after one or two BooHoos I realized it was counter-productive as my throat constricted and I could barely breathe. “Only things that will help me get down this fucking mountain” I reminded myself……. 


As we approached the bottom, Chris went ahead to get the car. Two rather handsome young men, heading straight for me, looking straight at me, were laughing their heads off. “You two aren’t laughing at ME I hope?” I asked. “No, no” they said in plummy English accents, “we’re laughing at US – we’re pooped already.  We’ll have to turn back soon”. I was in no mood. “Oh for God’s sake, get going you little Pommy wimps” I said, as I prodded the last one in the butt with my “crutch”. They almost fell over in paroxysms of mirth and it was their peals of laughter that kept me going for the last few hundred yards. 


“Pommy bastard” is somewhat derogatory Australian slang for a gentleman of British origin. The word pom (or pommy) is said to have originated from convict times when prisoners transported to the Australian penal colonies had Prisoner of Mother England printed on their shirts.


Agony has given way to dementia as the foot was broken and I am now imprisoned by a cast and a set of crutches for the next 6 weeks!!!  I have amused myself in a variety of ways (I can highly recommend the movies “Death at a Funeral” and “The Lives of Others”) including fantasizing about what I might be doing right now if I were able bodied and in one of my favorite parts of the globe. 


For example if I were in Sydney on Saturday August 23, it would be the middle of winter with average August temperatures not too dissimilar from the summer temperatures of Vancouver. Hmmm! I would be hooking up with my gorgeous cousin Bruce who is a member of the world famous Bondi Icebergs Club. Famous for their winter swimming, the Icebergs was founded in 1929 by a group of crazy surf lifesavers and has since grown to become an Aussie icon. Every Saturday morning through the winter months, men, women and children swim 2.4 km in the ocean from the headland of Bondi to the northern headland of Bronte. I have always wanted to do it. Added bonus: the trendy bar at the clubhouse offers one of the most spectacular settings in Sydney to reward oneself after an arduous winter swim.


The Sydney Icebergs Club at Bondi Beachpicfornewsletteraustralia2005bondiicebergs.jpg


The view from the bar at night7616_1183421246989_20070703-bondi-icebergs.jpg

8005292.jpgIf I were in Florence on August 23- well I just wouldn’t be in Florence – it’s too damn HOT. Most Florentines head for the hills or the beach and I would be no exception. I would head to Torre del Lago on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli in Northern Tuscany for the Puccini Festival where performances take place in a 3,100 seat Open-air Theatre, just a stone’s throw from Villa Puccini where the composer lived, worked and is buried. Currently playing in repertoire is Turandot.


dr-axels-garden-e-hampton.jpgIf I were in New York on August 23 I would definitely be attending this year’s Guild Hall benefit, “Garden as Art”, which for the paltry sum of $100 offers a tour of 7 private gardens in and around the New York playground of the rich and famous, The Hamptons.


agarden05byer.jpgDescribed as a “fabulous balance of spectacular and beautiful settings”, many of these oceanfront gardens have never been open to the public before. “They range from small personal gardens to expansive, lavish gardens that are professionally designed.” Right this very minute, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I could be roaming through Dr. Richard Axels’ (2004 Nobel Prize recipient for Medicine) Georgica garden, or the “Spencecliff” estate, a “1920s era Italianate stone grotto garden filled with lush pots and contemporary sculpture which includes a pebble-filled courtyard, cutting garden and orchard’, or the Washburn garden, “35 years in the making, where a three-story-high espaliered pear tree and perennial and mixed borders add a modern complement to the 1737 residential architecture” or  the Sagaponack home of Steve Perlbinder, a “classic modernist residence overlooking a beach dune with two-acre pond, grassy meadows and high limbed trees. Hmmm!


thebalitimes-cover-dec8-14.jpgIf I were in Bali, I would be intoxicated with the vibrant colours and exotic fragrances that make this island destination so enchanting.  This Saturday, the Galungan festival would be in full swing. Balinese culture is full of colorful celebration and pageantry and Galungan is the most festive festival of all as it symbolizes the victory of Dharma or virtue, over Adharma, all that is evil. It is believed that during this ten day period all Balinese ancestor gods return to earth to join the party and they must be suitably worshipped and entertained. It is a spectacle. People dress up in their finest clothes and parade to the temples with baskets of offerings piled high on their heads.



penjor_02.jpgLong, highly decorated bamboo poles called “penjor”adorn the entrance to every house and arch over the streets like a canopy of bobbing necklaces.

penjor.jpgEach part or bead of a Penjor is not merely an ornament but has a deep religious meaning. Now would be a great time to be in Bali. Hmmm!
 



chez-julien-cafe-near-church-saint-gervais-on-rue-des-barres.jpgAnd if I were lucky enough to be in Paris I would just be lollygagging at one of my favorite sidewalk cafes munching on baguette with freshly sliced ham and cold, sweet butter and sipping an aperitif.


anis-bouabsa-meilleure-baguette-stokbrood-2008-705715.jpgIf I’d done my homework I would have sought out a café that serves one of the “best baguettes in Paris”. Every year, a panel of illustrious culinary judges adjudicates the Baguette Grand Prix and awards the annual honor of supplying the Presidential Palace with their morning toast. This year the honor went to Anis
Bouabsa, the son of Tunisian immigrants whose bakery is located in one of the grimiest rundown areas on the periphery of Paris. It has catapulted him into France‘s gastronomic elite and some I hear are mighty miffed!
 


But instead I am looking out my Vancouver window at grey skies, with my leg elevated on a pillow wondering where I will go to next.  Hmmm!  


10 Responses

  1. Virginia Leeming Says:

    That is precisely why I don’t do Grouce. After breaking my arm last year and spending 8 or 9 weeks in a cast, I don’t want to repeate the exercise. Well, where was the mud-caked, tear stained face photo? Others were spectacular, of course. Leallving for Victoria next week to pack up mum’s things. Cheers
    Virginia

  2. Caroline Guille Says:

    Hello Peg,

    I love your way of looking at things in life and your way of using your imagination!
    (I am Caroline, Neil’s victim!!!.)
    But, thanks to you, we are travelling, mentally, in those beautiful places (Bali, Paris, Florence, etc..) and we are enjoying those great pictures!

    Even if you feel “frustrated” by not being able to do what you would like, your life will have an other savor and taste once you will be able to use your both feet!
    By allowing your mind to dream and to “travel” and your body to rest, you are making me dream about what I could do if…
    I guess, sometimes, we all feel “in jail” in a way or in an other way but I think that the most important is our capacity to let ourselves “nourish” by our dreams because, one day, they will become true!

    And one day, Peg, you will enjoy the beautiful baguette in Paris with some fresh butter and the existence will have all its meaning and you will feel so “lucky” to be able to enjoy THIS SPECIAL MOMENT!

    Cheers!

    Courage et bon retablissement!

    Caroline.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Peg,

    I’m so sorry your’re broke!!! Neil told me….I enjoyed today’s post.

    Take Care Girlfriend,

    Sheila

  4. Squeege Says:

    Darling,
    I wish I was with you. I would buy, butter and feed you a fab bagguete if it would make you happy. But, your foot might be healed by the time it would take me to fly from the other Olympic city, Shanghai. Come visit, this place would fed you stories for years to come, it has for me. Take care of that foot, it has been good to you for ____ years. Lot’s of kisses.

  5. RuthJones Says:

    Oh Peg, so sorry you are immobilised. I loved your armchair tour of favorite places, it’s a testament to your creative spirit that you can stay positive while stuck at home, perhaps inspiring your next adventure. I’ll call and see if you need anything..got books? Love, Ruth

  6. ML Says:

    Peg, you’ve cheered me up immeasurably and I, too, am in agony (of another sort, mind you). We must agonize together – soon.

    With best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  7. uncle dooney Says:

    get better soon peg, sorry to hear about it , it sounds like it was very painful indeed.

  8. Neil Says:

    In to everyone’s life a little pain and suffering must come. You should be allowed a short time to wallow in it but not too long so that it sticks. There are good times, smiles and bright skies around every corner. Just take the leap (sorry, didn’t mean for that to sound like a poke at the pokey).

  9. Linda Stieler and Barry Johnson Says:

    Dear Peg,

    And part of your strength lies in your injured self dreaming of all the wonderful places you’ve been when you have been healthy and well.

    Barry and I are in Iceland making our own dreams from the most magical, mystical, beautiful place we have ever experienced.

    Dream on and get well quick!

    Blessings,

    Linda and Barry

  10. Peg Says:

    Hi Peg; I can feel your pain, sas I cracked a rib skiing in April. Sometimes it’s a way of saying, “my body needs rest” keep the leg up! As for the rest of the tour, Paris sounds lovely right. One of my fondest memories is walking around Paris, with a baguette in hand and nothing else to eat. It was wonderful! I’m off to Kenya in November.
    Heal fast.
    Susie

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