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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The coldest capital

Setting off to the shops on January 14th
For a while, this winter, Ottawa was designated the Coldest Capital In The World, beating the capitals of Mongolia, Greenland and "the stans" with its low temperatures. Then last week, for a short time, the thermometer showed +11℃! and most of the snow on our roof melted. That was odd, although a January Thaw is not unheard of; I remember a similar occurrence in 2008 while George and Jonathan were staying with us for Christmas and the New Year. Last weekend though, down we went again to a windchill of minus 30 or more, resulting in more frustration for Chris who hasn't flown his plane for ages, which makes him antsy (1838, American English). The thing is, you cannot fly if your wing-covers are stuck to the wings with ice from the freeze-thaw-flash-freeze cycle. You have to persuade a kind, tall friend (Chuck, in this case) to help remove them by force and bring them home in the car, so that you can drop them on the kitchen floor and let them melt, soften and dry out before driving back to the airport to slide them on again in a bitter wind, with your wife holding the ends up above the snow.

Having no choice but to put up with the weather, we wrap up well and carry on going for walks outside, or to the warm and humid gym for exercise, in all weathers. Yesterday we walked into town via the frozen Rideau Falls, as weird and wonderful, although not so vast, as are the famously frozen Niagara Falls, just now.

The two most attractive spots in town this month are the new seating area surrounded by tropical plants on Level 2 in the Rideau Centre, like one of those outdoor "parklets" (modern, wooden structures that sprang up around Ottawa a couple of years ago), and the Paper-Papier store in the Byward Market, which sells flowers as well as paper products, and which smells wonderful the moment you walk in. The Central Experimental Farm has a tropical greenhouse too, which is worth visiting in mid-winter; I haven't been there recently, but must do that soon.

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