Friday, 21 June 2013

The term "rehab" sometimes conjures up a dreary setting or at least a Days of Wine and Roses scenario. But of course, not all rehab is like that. My mother just spent the better part of two months at Bridgepoint Hospital in Toronto. She began her stay at the old Bridgepoint after she was deemed ready for rehabilitation from a broken leg. A bout of C. difficile caused her to have to bounce (as it were) back to an acute care hospital, so she missed the long awaited move from the old Bridgepoint to the new facility on April 14.

What a change awaited her. Once the weather and her health improved, we went exploring.This is the entrance to the roof garden on the 10th floor. It was in the process of being completed when I was up there with her last week:

The roof garden, a xeriscape, has been planted with various kinds of sedum, over which bees were buzzing: 
There is a spectacular view of downtown Toronto through the plate glass:

Tables of some sort - maybe destined to be raised planters - had just been painted:

The door we came out of is at the foot of this amazing mirrored wall:
The old Don Jail - at least part of it- has been restored and refurbished to be the administrative wing of the new Bridgepoint:
Quite a difference from the parkette just around the corner:

How much does the environment affect the outcome for those using it - patients on the one hand and prisoners on the other? 


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A dispatch lost and forgotten - until just now

Spring comes to the wilds of North Middlesex (being a dispatch languishing in the dusty files of this writer's computer):

Recently, I am happy to say, we welcomed spring to the wilds of North Middlesex; however, as with so many positive things in life, there are dark sides:

People are tearing up their lawns. Three in our neighbourhood alone have been denuded. This vicious treatment left me puzzled until I realized it has to do with weed control.

Ever since chemical herbicides were banned (except for agricultural use, of course), our lawns have been going to wrack and ruin.  And the ones that aren’t weed-choked are viewed with great suspicion. We suspect under-cover chemical weed control, but it is hard to prove. Even with the best in root extraction tools, no one could possibly keep up with the proliferation of unwanted invasive greenery, especially dandelions.

Certainly no one could accuse Greg and me of the illicit use of Round-up. One of my neighbours, whose outspokenness I usually admire, said our lawn looked better before we built the house when the lot was vacant.  Viewing from the perspective of her kitchen table I had to agree. It is a wasteland of weeds: creeping Charlie, plantain, and worst of all, dandelions.

What to do … what to do! Home-made dandelion jam made its first appearance at the recent Hort  Soc plant sale and silent auction, but realistically there is only a limited demand for floral jams.

Drastic problems call for drastic solutions, hence the lawn scalping. I first became aware of this phenomenon when I saw the neighbour down the street using what appeared to be a coal shovel to scoop up pieces of his lawn and heave them in to the back of a pick-up truck.

Having removed sod to enlarge or create gardens, I was initially awe-struck by his astounding strength. But apparently, there is a tool you can use to slice up your lawn horizontally. Then you can remove the bits. After it is bald, presumably you re-sod or re-seed. Only time (and any pessimistic gardener) can tell for how long this method will be effective.

It will be like the mosquitoes. Again this year, the larva were sprayed with the latest in larvicide just before three days of torrential downpours washed it all away. Mosquitoes now abound like dandelions.

I was a little surprised to learn that this spraying is done from a helicopter. But then, there is a lot around here which surprises me. Anyhow the helicopter was parked in the cornfield field behind Tim Horton’s, presumably so its operators could get a coffee.  Helicopters look like dragonflies, so from a weird shamanistic point of view, perhaps their use is appropriate, if not especially effective. Real dragonflies might be a better idea.

On the political scene, the plans for the new town hall and public library have been greeted with almost universal disapprobation. A new one-story city hall will be built behind the old three-story city hall, which incidentally used to be the post office. The century-old building needs major structural work. Also it needs an elevator, which could cost roughly $150,000.

Our esteemed city fathers and mothers concluded building a new city hall on one floor would save the cost of an elevator. Detractors say the proposed design looks like a strip mall and local roofing experts, of whom there seem to be a surprising number for a town of 1,600, say a flat roof is a recipe for disaster.

Plans were afoot to demolish the old city hall, but that will cost at least $100,000, so the hope now is that some enterprising soul, from London of course, will buy it, convert it to apartments, and add an elevator.

On a happier note, a couple placed an ad in the Parkhill Gazette a couple of weeks ago thanking the local fire department for their help in putting out a truck fire in their driveway. I can vouch for the effectiveness of their prompt arrival. During warm-ups at exercise class, I spotted the burnt remains of only the vehicle beside a house across from the Leisure Club. The initial skepticism of some as to whether those were “really ashes” was countered by another, possibly less short-sighted, participant, a church warden who had followed the sirens down the street thinking the Anglican church might be on fire.

Finally this-just-in: I can end these dispatches on a really high note. In front-page news, the Gazette reported one of our local doctors helped save the life of a Toronto police constable who collapsed while running in the Toronto marathon. Our doctor was on the sidelines watching for participating family members when the medical excitement began. With no photos of the actual event available, our local hero and an elderly patient, who joined his practice 20 years ago as a youngster of 80, were pictured on the inside pages of the Gazette, thereby implicitly attesting to his medical efficacy over the long term as well.