Jan has yet another reason to cherish The Great Nagel. Blessed with a fine day Monday we three spent several hours clearing brush from Bob’s old Big Hill road and scouting a new trail route across his back forty to Dalem Lake. She oughtn’t to have needed the reminding but Jan got a refresher anyway: that it’s a bad idea to wear beloved jewellery whilst working in the woods. Her comfortable old fleece sweatshirt sports a hole, a souvenir from an old bonfire spark, hidden by a brooch as we set out on our bush-whacking adventure. Several hours and a few kilometres later, alas, her brooch was gone. It was only small consolation that she discovered the loss only moments after a serendipitous close encounter with a beautiful barred owl. A day later she resolved to mount a search for the brooch. I set our chances of finding it as somewhere south of 10,000-to-one. I was wrong. Robert has a long history of finding other people’s lost jewels and valuables. But spotting a bauble on a sidewalk or a sandy beach is one thing; he couldn’t possibly find Jan’s brooch in a five-kilometre stretch of trackless woods. Retracing our route, Jan and I walked right past the brooch. Robert didn’t. I was amazed – and still am.
Just because we don’t have running water or real electricity here in the Big Bras d’Or woods doesn’t mean we live like poor folk. Chef Jan is forever turning out four-star feasts on our little three-burner gas range. Once in a while I feel duty-bound to give her a break in the only culinary art I can fake a modicum of skill: East Indian cookery. Cape Bretoners apparently have no taste for Indian food; at least that’s what we conclude from the paucity of ingredients we find in local stores. But in the absence of garam masala or real paneer we make do with what we find. On Monday I put together a four-part extravaganza that seemed pleasing enough to Bob and The Mighty Sparrows, Lynn and Louise.
Though well past their childhood years the twins still have lots of wonder in them. After dinner, under a starry night sky, we went down to the swimmin’ hole in search of something wondrous. Now that we’re into the final third of August we found what we went looking for. Late August brings a bloom of bioluminescent diatoms to our shore: tiny creatures that light brightly and briefly when the water around them is disturbed. How marvellous it is to swim in a galaxy of tiny water fireflies as the stars of that other galaxy twinkle overhead.