Jessica of London, co-author of In Conversation and Contemplation at the Tate Britain brilliantly blurted this one day last year: “To be capable of steady friendships or lasting love, are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart. but of strength of mind.” This wisdom is attributed to John Hazlitt. That was not only amazing but uncanny. Jon (with no h) Cook, my University of East Anglia professor, wrote a biography Hazlitt in Love. It was the same Hazlitt, of course. Interestingly, I doubt that Jon was capable of either. But I am, somehow and blessedly. That is why it is so wonderful to have Lynne and Arthur back in my life. Last week, when undergoing the real estate fiasco friend Bruce was questioned by the agent about whether or not I got along with people. He, a friend of some fifty odd years answered: “She has friends all over the world!” Bruce does remind me that our friendship had a twenty year break when we were no longer in touch. Details, Bruce, details. Someone once said that people who did not have children had the tendency to have more friends and closer friendships. It does make sense, as one has more time and energy to spend with friends in the absence of child rearing. I, of course, do not have kids. By choice, as stated by Alexis at the age of fourteen in the presence of Beth Drinkwater and Jenny Main. I don’t remember because of betrayal trauma but that is what Beth said when she was visiting me in London in 2015. .
And then, talk about amazing coincidences. After finally finding out that was Coal Harbor down there I had a vague memory that husband number one, who lived in Berlin, moored his boar in Vancouver spending his summers trolling the waters of British Columbia. On impulse, I immediately emailed him. I awoke yesterday to an email from him confirming my suspicion. And then, how is this for uncanny (the new word of the day), he wrote that he was writing from the Frankfurt Airport. “FYI C dock at Coal Harbour Marina – see photo – she is the visibly wood boat. This is sent from Frankfurt Flughafen. Sold our Berlin flat yesterday and now about to depart with D. and Il Conte the Bengal for long trip to Olmaha on Vancouver Island. We will live for a couple of months as the James Bay house is not ready but all our stuff, including circa 300 bottles of wine, is in a container on a ship underway to Canada.” (D. is the replacement wife, as I call her. Il Conte is the cat) I fired back an email. “How truly amazing is that?? Is it ok with you if I include the picture on one of my world famous blogs? It is such an coincidence and it does definitely make for a strange story. The story being that I find out the name of the harbor from the bellman and then think of emailing you and asking you about your boat and then voila. Funny that at some point we are going to be living in the same province and all because of you. Why you? You were the guarantor of my Canadian passport, pure gold in these days. I write this, of course, from Trump International Hotel. I connect a great deal with people from our former life. Lynne and Arthur, Bruce and Nancy. It does seem strange after all of those years in California. At this moment life could not be better. A bit strange I do admit but great.
So it is very unusual that we are both at a time of great transition in our lives? Yours very complicated but for different reasons than mine. Good to hear from you. I shall refer to you as Husband No#1 on the blog to give you some anonymity. Bring wine to BC – is that not a lot like bringing coal to Newcastle? (hahaha) Alexis” But a friend wonders: “Will circa 300 bottles of wine survive shipping with probably no climate control.” Don’t ask me but I guess I could ask either Wine Guy or the amazing sommelier here at the Trump International Hotel. His name is Robert Stelmachuk and he knows EVERYTHING about wine. (in my humble opinion).
Yesterday was a huge day as well as I finally unpacked after weeks of living out of suitcases. My posh and opulent room has plenty of space, I asked for extra hangars and they arrived instantly. Then the door bell rang and it was Glenda arriving to do my room. Needless to say we were happy to see one another. I set aside the day to preform dreaded chores but managed to accomplish a great deal including a telephone call that revealed that I had received reimbursement for all of my London medical expenses. That was a PHEW.
But I did serious literary taks as well. I strongly identify with the subject of my biography whose name happens to be Dave Dryburgh. It is uncanny but I begin to wonder about many things and so send an email to the wonderful Will Chabun. My biggest question is the circulation numbers at the time Uncle Dave was writing his daily column. Could it be that my blog numbers rival his? Would not that be strange? This is the email I sent Will. “I am wondering what the circulation figures were at the time Dave Dryburgh was employed at the Regina Leader-Post. Or probably just the years 1940-1948, I have been reunited with my high school and college friend Lynne. Her fondest memory of me is a particular occasion in 1963. She returned to our shared apartment to find me busy writing a paper for school. Apparently it went like this: Type, type, type SH**! Type, type, type SH**!. This was of course pre computer and I must have been making errors which occasioned the use of swear words. This is my question. In many ways my writing eerily resembles my uncle’s – is there any way we can find out if he had similar practices? I do actually jest because I do know his writing habits. He would arrive at the paper at around 10 – sit at the typewriter and write his daily column, apparently error free. When that was completed he would turn into Mr. Sociability. The work completed and then socialization is eerily similar to his niece’s working habits. But I have no idea whether or not he swore and I have no way of finding out, I do not think. Except perhaps to examine Gladys Arnold’s papers at the University of Regina. As you can see I am consumed with the man. It is normal for biographers apparently. Thank you so much. Alexis”
Then the wonderful Will sends back not one, not two but three emails. He will look into circulation numbers, see if I can get at Gladys Arnold’s papers and “I have also asked an elder of the local journalistic tribe if he could to chat with you about that era. He has agreed” This is pure and absolute gold for the mighty biographer Alexis McBride.
But then this was how the day ended. I went to Mott 32 (I must find out why it is called that). I shared with staff my email from Mathew. Mathew said: “We miss your loud laughs in the restaurant.” They said: “We would really miss your loud laughs if you went away.” Jay did an excellent job of explaining exactly each and every dish I was contemplating. I therefore sang his praises to boss Ali. I did tell boss Ali that I admired his managerial abilities, which are similar to Mathew’s. They both encourage cooperation amongst the staff resulting in a sense of congeniality. I asked Ali about his background, He worked his way up from his first job as a dishwasher. How impressive is that? I think that the Trump International Hotel was very smart to hire him.
But here is the boisterously merry part. C,(the 40 year old who wants me to adopt him), began to serenade me with a long series of Frank Sinatra songs. It was very sweet but he is actually not a very good singer. I told him he should not give up his day job. I do laugh.
But there is never a free lunch. I went back to my beautiful room and had a gastric attack in the middle of the night. But then an email came from London. it was precious. I finally got back to sleep and woke up this morning at 5:30 giving me time to write this blog. The sun is shinning now and I can see the mountains. The photo is the view from the bathroom taken very early this morning. .