High Over Ottawa…

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Well, as I look at my last blog post, I see that it’s been just about two weeks! My how time flies! There’s been plenty of things happening in the last couple weeks, so I’ll likely try to jam a few new posts on right away to catch anyone up who’s been wondering what’s new. To the left, you can see a lovely picture of Parliament Hill as seen from the air. April 29 marked my father’s 65th birthday, and he drove all the way up from Westville, NS to celebrate with his family up here. Yup, he’s now officially a Senior Citizen in the eyes of the man. You wouldn’t think it to see him and hang out with him for a while. He’s still sharp as a whip, and has plenty of stories that definitely make my life seem pretty pedestrian by comparison. Just ask him some day about the 6 months he spent slogging through the jungles, attempting the first land crossing of the Darien Gap (see this great story about the Darien Gap) in an amphibious vehicle ( a DUKW to be precise), which promptly broke down, leaving his team to slog on by foot, till he got dyssentry, and on and on! I’ve told him on several occasions that he must write out his memoirs some day. If for nothing else than for my sheer enjoyment of it all. It’s cool to hear stories from your maker about their life experiences!

Anyway, the weekend started on Friday, with a nice family supper at the Keg Manor on Richmond road. Delicious meal was a great start to the weekend of festivities. The next day, we surprised dad by starting him off with a tour of the aviation museum, which is handily located close to my sisters house. I’d never been to that museum, and really enjoyed it. Admission was a reasonable $6 as well. They have a ton of vintage planes there, as well, as the very few remaining pieces of the ill-fated Avro Arrow. Although everything was ordered destroyed, a nose cone was kept for research, and is now part of this museum. If you’re interested, we’ve got some pictures up on Flickr (of course!). From the museum, we headed over to Andrea and Patricks for a nice brunch before the next big surprise.

Captain Kevin Haggerty was booked in as our personal pilot for a fliying tour of Ottawa, just Andrea, dad, myself and Kev. We went up in the air for about an hour, and had a blast. We’ve made a separate folder of pictures for that event. The original idea that we had was to take him up for a hot air balloon ride. That didn’t happen for a few reasons. Firstly, the weather was questionable early in the week, and balloon flights are highly dependent on weather, so we didn’t want to risk it. Not to mention that a flight costs minimum of $200 per person! Now of course, this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for my dad, so that might have been okay, but the thought of booking and paying, only to find out it wouldn’t happen was too great an uncertainty. Not to mention you’re a complete slave to the winds in a balloon. We couldn’t have chosen what to see, whereas in the plane, we went all over. All in all, I’d say it was the right choice.

After completion of the flight, it was off for post-flight debriefing at our place. And by debriefing, I mean a nice aperitif before our surprise supper destination. Where did we end up? Well, a swiss restaurant of course. The Meule et le Caquelon to be precise. A great Swiss restaurant in Gatineau, specializing in fondues and raclettes of all sorts. It was a very authentic experience, and well enjoyed by all. I will definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun group food outing. It’s very social. Did I mention the BYOB aspect of it? Basically, they tell you to bring your own wine to drink. There are also no corkage fees. So bring your favorite vino, and dine for hours with friends! Great concept, and was the perfect choice for us.

Sunday was the rest day, with time spent just hanging out with family. Eventually, we hit Costco to pick up some food supplies, in order to have a nice family barbecue out on the deck. Unbelievably, the entire weekend was gorgeous, so we just had to soak it up on the deck and the back yard. I cooked probably the biggest chunks of meat I’ve ever had, and we ate till we were stuffed again! We also took advantage of the opportunity to take some family portraits that we can print up to commemorate dad’s weekend. Fine wine and fine deserts were the final order of the day, as we retired to the bar in the basement once it started getting chilly outside. To cap the weekend off, dad and Nicole decided to stay an extra day, as Great Big Sea were rolling into town Monday, and as Kris MacFarlane, an old friend of mine from Westville, is their drummer, I usually get passes to see them. Dad had never been to a show, so I arranged it for he and I to attend. We ended up with seats 9 rows from the front, dead center. Great seats at the NAC. Great venue, great crowd, great show. After the show, I also had backstage passes, so we slipped into the back and into the GBS dressing room to hang out with Kris for a little bit. I didn’t really introduce dad to the other band-mates, but they were there, which was pretty cool. All in all, a terrific weekend and hopefully a Birthday that dad will remember for years to come! We had a great time, and hopefully dad knows just how much his family loves him!

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