blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Running around

'Well, in our country,' said Alice, still panting a little, 'you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.
'A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. 'Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'
(Lewis Carroll: Through The Looking Glass)
If you're a Red Queen type of person, September is one of the more demanding months. It's time to get up and running again after the Sommerpause, as we call it in our German conversation group.

On September 1st I flew back from Britain and later that week invited four of my German speaking friends to Das Lokal, which serves Spätzle. A dozen or so of us also met for lunch last Wednesday to say goodbye to Andrea who's leaving town. Mira, who had volunteered to be the hostess, served us an all-vegan meal because Andrea is vegan. I gave a little speech about how much we're going to miss her on Thursday mornings and handed her an album of photos. Today the group had a more usual get together at Elvira's place which necessitated more driving back and forth. I'd chosen a funny article for us to read––about someone's first exposure to opera––found in a free magazine on a German train.

Chris has been using his German too, to prepare a paper for his December conference in Sindelfingen "Zum Kern des Software-Testens gehört ein Paradoxon ..." it begins ("At the heart of software testing lies a paradox ..."). I've checked and rechecked his every word, especially the pesky adjective endings, but am glad to say our friend Barbara has been over to supper to improve it further. Not that either she or I understand the thrust of the argument very well. The next step for Chris will be to practise talking it over without reference to the text. He's done this sort of thing before, but public speaking is tough in a foreign language and his expert audience is sure to follow up with questions.

Public speaking has been on my mind. I and some other Flying Club people had three goes at a presentation on Learning to Fly, the first go for practice, the other two goes for real in front of an audience would-be pilots and company at the Aviation Museum. Tonight we're having a debriefing session. The presenters, each approaching the subject from a different angle, were Jim, David, Benoit, Jeremy, John, Nathalie, Kathryn and me (...and I, Chris would want me to put, but I'm not such a pedant as he). All of us except David spoke too long-windedly; being at the microphone can be a heady experience. My job was to tell the audience how much wider are one's horizons when one takes to the air, literally and metaphorically; I waxed a bit too lyrical about some of the places I'd flown to.

Meeting at the Métropolitain
Chris gave another couple of lectures about airmanship in the ground school (17th and 22nd Sept.) and yesterday I held forth yet again, this time to a group of diplomats and accompanying Canadians, in a side room at the Novotel, about the 40 year history of the Diplomatic Hospitality group I belong to. I kept this very brief but had also prepared a slide show that ran on in the background all the time we were there. I don't know what took longer, selecting the pictures from my albums or fussing over the projector. In the end Chris borrowed one from work; the hotel staff had to find a screen and an extension cable. More fuss. Never mind, I think it was worth doing. Last week our Diplomatic Hospitality Group held its annual coffee party inviting all the diplomat spouses on our list––nearly 100 turned up from 38 different countries. So that was worth while too. We held it at a place aspiring to be a Parisian bar, called the Métropolitain Brasserie. It's posh, and right in the centre of town.

Earlier that week I'd been to the first of the local CFUW events, the one where you have to be careful not to sign up for too many activities. I put my name down to help with the HIPPY group offering "Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters" every once in a while, and also brought a photo album along that I'd compiled for UWHAW's table––"University Women Helping Afghan Women".

The Flying Club's family barbecue
Instead of writing this blogpost I should be sorting out the contributions to the next edition of the flying club's newsletter Crosswinds, since a number of people have been submitting contributions to the editor's desk,––i.e. mine. I still haven't written my own report about the family barbecue party that followed our annual Flour Bombing and Precision Landing contests. That might serve as another blogpost, including some photos I took, on its way into the newsletter. I have to be tactful, since both contests were won this year by my husband.

Gardening, that's another thing. The flying club gardens are partly my responsibility too, but I have neglected them. I did spend an hour on the patch in front of the clubhouse last weekend and Carol turned up to help. We didn't even dare to look at the other, longer beds beside the hangar, shall have to persuade more friends to help with those.

This month I finally got to see Dancing in Jaffa, the film that documents a period of 10 weeks in that city, when world champion ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine came to teach Jewish and Palestinian children to dance together and forget their enmity. Our German conversation group had read an article about this earlier and the film had a showing (one only) at Ottawa's Mayfair Cinema the other day. It would warrant a second view. Another film I could watch over and over again is Babette's Feast––I have the video at home and it merits a separate blogpost. So does the novel I'm currently rereading, Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow.

Ottawa's War Museum from the bike path
So many things on my mind besides: seeing my elderly friend Melita in a nursing home and feeling anxious about my mum in Wales. My Friday suppers for our group of friends. Chris' singing lessons, for which we have to practise, including a love duet by Mr. John Eccles (1668-1735). My visit to the War Museum to see an exhibition of paintings by Canadian and German war artists, and the harrowing 1st World War galleries.

The sky this week is a glorious blue and the leaves are changing colour. Life moves on. I must cook some supper for Chris. Our son arrived at the gate in Toronto airport this evening, having sat through a night and a day all the way from SYD. Our daughter has just reached home in London after flying back from Helsinki.

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