Tag Archives: Connecticut

A vote for independence

Yesterday we celebrated July 4 with our American friends.  Having just experienced Canada Day on July 1 in Montreal is was fun to experience the US equivalent in the small town of Westbrook, CT.  We were not disappointed.  You’d be hard pressed to find a nation who takes pride in their country more than the Americans.  I toyed with the idea of prancing down the beach in my Union Jack swimming trunks chanting ‘God Save the Queen‘, but the respect I have for their patriotism prevented me from undoubtedly making a fool of myself.

Grove Beach at dusk, July 4.

The real fun begins as the sun starts to fade.  Everyone gathers on the beach and starts to dig the holes that will become a fire pit.  Most people are moving lethargically having just stepped away from the table, but as the ‘moment’ draws near there is a heightened sense of anticipation and energy that starts to be felt from everywhere, especially from the younger participants!

Our resident fire-maker and host, Brendan, got the fire going and it wasn’t long before the children were all crouched around roasting their marshmallows in earnest.  Marie had Smore making duty and was busy prepping the Graham crackers and Hershey’s chocolate.  The production line seemed endless with one child after another running up with the marshmallows in varying states of doneness, ranging from a light golden colour to a deep black crusty hue.

Roasting marshmallows.

The magic is in watching the kids though.  Put children, a beach, a fire, marshmallows, a pink sky and then fireworks and you’ve got yourself an incredible evening.  Lest we not forget the two dogs, the awesome Primo and Rio, an ultra laid back pro basketball player who goes by the name ‘Q‘ and glow-sticks galore and you’ve got all the makings for an evening that will not ever be forgotten.  Incidentally, Q played for the Montreal basket ball team for a couple of years and so it was like meeting an old friend!

Ollie making the leap during the 'Hole Jumping' Olympics

Just prior to settling in to watching the fireworks, we had an impromptu ‘Hole Jumping’ competition.  Ollie had started digging at about 2.00 p.m. that afternoon and he had kept digging right through to supper time.  The result was a hole that was at least 8′ across and probably 3′ deep.  Talk about an invitation to jump right across it!

The variety of looks that were captured during the glow stick portion of the evening provided for much amusement from all corners.

Happy 4th of July

Finally, the fireworks started popping and banging at around 9.00 p.m. and we were treated to the display that was taking place in Clinton to the right and, hold on, can’t remember the name of the town to the left, but we got to share in their display as well.

The festivities, and by that I mean the fireworks, continued late into the night.  Just when you thought they were done and you started drifting off to sleep a loud BANG! shocked you out of your slumber and brought your heart rate right up.  Eventually I managed to somehow tune them out and fall to sleep.

Thank you America for sharing your Independence Day celebrations with this Canadian family and thank you Karen and Brendan for having us as your guests once again!

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Westbrook, CT

It’s finally that time of year again. Our annual trip down to the beach house in Westbrook, CT. A more perfect location is hard to find.

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That’s not to say that the drive down was not without it’s challenges. The rain, falling for at least 80% of the trip, was torrential at times. There was one spot in the middle of Massachusetts where a series of cars were pulling off dramatically to the side and parking there with their hazards blinking gloomily in the semi-dark. We elected to continue, slowly, my thought process being that sitting motionless on the hard shoulder did not appeal to me when visibility was so low. I had a better chance of avoiding any mishaps if I was already moving. We had also passed a very unpleasant looking crash about twenty minutes prior so that was very much on my mind as well. Got to keep moving.

We made awesome time. Arriving at the beach house we were thrilled and excited to see Karen and Brendan and it really felt like coming home. This is the fifth year that we come down here for a week and it always feels as if we’re just continuing off from the previous trip. We’re spending the next few days with some new friends which is brilliant. For dinner this evening we were seventeen and not a single glass or plate was broken. Burgers, salmon, baby bok choy and banana chocolate chip sour cream cake. An eclectic mix for sure, but then so are all the house guests. Just as with the dinner, it all works well together.

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As I lie here in this enormous water bed it sounds like the Battle of the Somme outside. It is July 3rd but by the sounds of things they are in full dress rehearsal for tomorrow. If what we’ve been fortunate enough to see tonight is anything to go by, then the display tomorrow is going to be phenomenal.

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