Sunday, 19 September 2010

Canada 3 - The Tooth of Time and Rocky the Raccoon

We had another easy going morning of sitting outside our cottage soaking in the sun and view. I went for a walk through the cedar woods to the river, I really enjoyed the peace and beauty of the place. There is a beaver's dam on the river, I watched for a while from a distance, but the animals remained well hidden.

At noon we headed out to Elora, a small, pretty town about half an hour's drive from the cottages.  It was our last full day with Dianne and Dan and Glenys and I took them for a thank you lunch at the place of their choice.  We went to Shepherds, an Irish pub.  It was quite authentic inside, and the food (I had fish and chips) was delicious.  

The Tooth of Time and waterfall at Elora Gorge
(Photo by Glenys Newcombe)
After our meal we walked the short distance to the Elora Gorge.  Here the Grand River falls 25 feet into the Gorge.  Between the waterfall lies a small, angular rock islet known at the Tooth of Time (sometimes the falls are also known by this name) that just seems to hang precariously.  In fact it has been shored up a little to prevent it being swept away by the constant power of the water.  We had tea at The Mill right beside the waterfall  - we could hardly hear ourselves talk for the roar of the water.  We watched a group of six ducks swimming in the rapids, defying the swirling water and currents, nature is amazing. 
It was an extremely hot and humid day (temperatures were above normal for the time of year) and I was wilting - trying to stay out of the direct sunshine.  I love warm weather, but find it hard to deal with it when it is very hot.  Luckily we next went shopping and everywhere is air-conditioned.  Elora seems to have a strong artistic community as there were lots of interesting and unusual shops, often selling original works of art and merchandise, so there was plenty to browse round.

We left Elora and drove to another small town called Drayton to visit June, Dianne's sister-in-law who had invited us round for drinks.  Her home was a beautiful, large brick built home, fabulously decorated inside in a Victorian style with lots of her husband David's lovely handmade stained glass.  We sat  in a covered outside porch and had orange juice, what a lovely place to live!

June came back with us to the cottages.  Glenys and I did our packing before joining the others for a light meal of crackers, cheese and tuna followed by a delicious Dutch apple pie.  Again we had a lovely evening chatting as the night fell. 

At one point there was a loud rustling by one of the bird tables, Dianne shone a torch in the direction of the noise and there was a raccoon holding onto the bird table with its front feet and anchored to the nearby tree with it's hind legs.  Rocky (as Glenys christened him) seemed unperturbed by the light being shone at him or our close presence and he continued to eat from the table.  Glenys and I were entranced, we had never seen a raccoon in the wild before and here was one just a few yards from us!  Rocky stayed around for about 20 minutes, munching happily on yesterdays leftovers, though he did leave the butternut squash!  

It was the perfect way to end our time at the cottages, it was like he was saying goodbye to us, and indeed Dianne and Dan who had another week at the cottage said they didn't see him again in that time.

Rocky the Raccoon (Photo by Glenys Newcombe)
I felt sad as we walked the short distance from one cottage to the other our way illuminated by torchlight.  We lit the oil lamps for the last time and chilled for a while before retiring to bed.  A place like this is not for everyone, but I (and Glenys too) had found it all a bit of an adventure, it was quite nice not having TV, the Internet, watching the time, or the noise of our modern world.  I coped fine with no electricity or running water, though I did miss a "proper" toilet a bit.  I enjoyed drawing water from the well, showering in the cute outdoor shower with apples on the roof.  It was good just to slow down and kind of be part of, or at least almost live alongside nature.  It's an experience I will never forget, and I'd like to thank Dianne and Dan for inviting us. 

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