After weeks (months even) of moaning about the cool, wet summer this year we have finally got our come-uppance.  We have enjoyed several days of brutal heat now and today the forecast temperature is 32 deg (with the humidity they reckon we have a humidex of 43 deg) and this little corner of paradise is hotter than Florida, hotter than Georgia, hotter than anywhere on the continent other than the deserts of Texas and Arizona according to the weather maps.  The mosquitoes like it, that’s for sure but thank goodness for A/C … and bring on the fall right now say I.

A friend who visits the same cabin at Kenauk as we do was there last week and came back with photographs of an unidentified snake that he sought help with. Very interesting, about four feet long and an unmarked grey colour it has every resemblance to Canada’s largest snake, the Gray Rat Snake … were it not for the fact that they are not listed as a Quebec species although they do occur in Ontario.  J recalls seeing a snake like this one in the area during a previous visit.  There are five or six snake species around here but fortunately none of them are venomous. The ones that impress me are the water snakes as they zig-zag across the surface of lakes (and empty them of swimmers!) and in fact, it turns out that this fellow is actually a large and very mature example of the Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon), and one that has got some local experts quite excited by its discovery.  Hope it is still in evidence in a few weeks when we visit..

Wandering off at a tangent now … I switched on the radio a few minutes ago to find they were playing Finlandia and it took me back to the moment in my life when I realised that “classical” music was actually pretty good stuff.  It’s very much one of those clichéd lollipop pieces but it has staying power because it’s actually enjoyable.  My father was a classics buff and I was a typical teenager who looked down on this stuff which clearly could not compare in any way with the Beatles and their ilk but one day at school we were all loaded onto a bus and taken to Leeds Town Hall for a special schools concert.  I remember the place was packed and our class, instead of being in the usual audience seats was placed in the curved seats behind the orchestra usually used by the choir when choral works were being performed so , as near as damn it, we were sitting in the orchestra.  Anyway, usual tunes played, can’t recall what but we affected bored superiority throughout and then they launched into Finlandia, kettle drums, brass and all and it was a “wow” moment.  Took me years to admit to liking this stuff in public (of course) but that’s what did it.  Don’t sit kids down with recordings – take them to a live concert – magic.