Raymond and I have just returned home to Queensborough and the Manse from a vacation by the seaside in Maine, something that we try to do each summer. (I’ve written about some of our Maine adventures before, like here – and here is a post in which I explain how the Manse got its vintage toboggan thanks to that annual vacation.)
Anyway, you know how it is when you get back home after a summer vacation – don’t you? For one thing, the vegetation is fuller and thicker than it was when you left, and here I am thinking specifically of the weeds in the garden. Everything, in fact, looks and feels just a little bit different than it was when you departed two or three (or maybe more) weeks before. Perhaps one reason for that is that in being away you’ve seen and experienced new things, and so the you who comes back home is not quite the same you who left. You’re seeing old things with different eyes, in other words.
If it’s been a good vacation, it can be a little sad returning home, knowing that it’s all behind you and that it’s time to get down to the regular daily chores. I felt a little of that when we drove in to Queensborough late Saturday night, after a taxing 11½-hour drive, and I am quite sure Raymond did too.
But you know what cheered us both up the minute we drove into town? The sight of our friend and neighbour Marykay tending to one of the baskets of flowers that have been placed on the handsome new street signs that have graced Queensborough this year. Marykay is a member of the village beautification committee, which oversaw the creation of the street signs (by the talented Jos Pronk of the Queensborough Machine Shop) and also the installation of the hanging flower baskets. These dedicated volunteers also maintain the baskets, going around every day to water and deadhead the flowers to keep them looking nice – and they also maintain the box gardens surrounding the signs marking two of the entrances to town. Just seeing that little bit of community-minded work and community pride in action on Marykay’s part was enough to remind me of how great it is to live in Queensborough.
Over the next day or two there were a few other reminders of why our little corner of the world makes me so happy. There was, notably, the gorgeous blossoming (after our departure for Maine) of our phlox plants, both the one that was already in the garden when we bought the Manse and the ones that I planted myself after buying them at the Tweed and District Horticultural Society‘s annual spring plant sale.
And then there was the need to resume the pleasant task of raising a hand from the steering wheel in greeting to all drivers one meets along the roads around Queensborough – something that you get out of the habit of doing when you’re in a faraway place where the people aren’t your friends and neighbours.
Oh yes, and one other thing (speaking of driving the local roads): there was also the whiff of freshly spread manure when I drove past one of the local farms on Sunday morning. Some of you may wrinkle your nose at the thought, but I find a brief bit of that smell, familiar from my rural upbringing, a quite pleasant and homely one. Homely, I mean, as in the way the Brits use the term: “(Of a place or surroundings) simple but cozy and comfortable, as in one’s own home.”
All in all, I’d have to say the whole experience of returning from vacation was a homely one: simple but cozy and comfortable. It is good to be back!