Last Monday (Sept 2nd) was Labour Day in Ontario. Labour day is celebrated on the first Monday of September and although created to honour workers and the labour union movement similar to May 1st in Europe, it has come to represent the end of summer and the beginning of Fall and the new academic year. Many people leave the city for a final weekend in the country before buckling down to their daily routines which are often suspended during the summer. After a week of final packing and clearing prior to moving out of my house, I was delighted to be invited to my sister’s cottage in southwest Ontario for the weekend where I was able to recuperate from the week’s labours. On Saturday evening we had dinner with friends Bea and Richard who have a country house in St William built in the mid 1800s. Lovingly restored by them, it is a jewel in the heart of the countryside with a beautiful garden. We dined ‘al fresco’ possibly for the last time for those who live in Ontario as the weather is already getting cooler. My friends (thanks to you all!) have been wining and dining me extremely well for the last few weeks and this dinner was no exception. We started with samosas served with tamarind sauce followed by barbecued lamb sliders and middle eastern Fatouche salad. Now I know why these are called sliders as the little ground lamb patties slid down one’s throat very easily! Dessert was a pear flan made with ground almonds instead of flour. Delicious and of course all washed down by copious amounts of wine! When darkness fell and the mosquitos came out in droves, Richard lowered a mosquito net over the table. Now that’s a brilliant idea!!
Autumn has always been a slightly sad time for me signifying an end rather than a beginning. In many ways this autumn is the end of life as I have known it so far with selling my house and not having a permanent base in Toronto. One is reminded that nothing lasts forever and that one’s life is finite. On the other hand, as they say, nature abhors a vacuum and the end of something marks the beginning of something else. So as I leave my old life with a degree of sadness, there is excitement about embarking on a new phase. I arrived back in Rome yesterday where summer still prevails. Today is sunny and the temperature is 31C. There is no feeling that one has to return to a daily routine and since I spent my entire summer in Toronto packing and clearing, I’m now officially on holiday!