Thursday, 9 October 2014

'On the Water'

I have always loved boats and being on the water.  Perhaps it is because I am from a group of people who made their living on the sea.  Sir Winston Churchill once called Newfoundlanders the best small boatsmen in the world.  So maybe I come by my love of boats naturally.  Any chance to get a boat ride is one I will gladly take.
 Recently, while squiring our visitor around Ottawa, we did the boat ride where you are taken up the Ottawa River.  This is one of the tourist outings offered here in the capital that is well worth the money as you are on the water for about an hour and half all told.  It is true everything looks different from the river view.  Of the Parliament Buildings, you get a good view of the library which is a wonderful piece of architecture in and of itself.  You get to see the far side of the many embassy homes that have estates backing on the river.  These are really mansions, some very modernistic and elaborate in design and I imagine the river views from those windows would be spectacular.
 As well you get a good look at the back side of 24 Sussex Drive which is the home of the Canadian Prime Minister.  That particular house looks more like an English country manor with a number of dormer windows and small peaked roofs.  I imagine many tiny rooms under the eaves probably built and intended for the live in maids who in the old days would have kept the place ship shape.  Nowadays I don't think any help lives in.  What was once the gardener's home which is a modest but large house quite nearby, has had to be taken over for security details, the most ever assigned to a prime minister.  What a sad sign of our times that is. 
I kept an eye out for animals or birds.  A few sea gulls but nothing else spotted on the journey.  Not long into the trip and as we chugged further downstream, the wind increased and the warm day became quite cool.  I was happy to have my melton jacket and scarf as I didn't want to go inside and miss out on a minute of the experience.
We passed under several bridges that connect Ottawa to Quebec.  At one point several people on the boat were taking pictures of the bridge just as several people on the bridge were taking photos of us.  Incidentally, among the tourists was a group of Tibetan monks all decked out in flamboyant orange tunics that also included leggings; I was interested to see that even their tote bags were made of the same orange material so they matched head to toe.  They all had cameras and were taking many photos of everything they saw.  At one point, one of them took a photo of us; I can imagine our faces being looked at in some faraway country into the future.  How strange.
Heading back inland I was sorry the trip was ending.  Walking back up the drive to the street,  we felt a little uncoordinated; yes, we definitely knew we'd been 'on the water'.