Let’s answer some questions and tie up those pesky loose ends

Union Jack at the Manse

Of course you’ve been asking yourself, “Why on earth was the Union Jack flying at the Manse this past Oct. 25? What are those people commemorating this time?” For the answer, read on.

I think that tonight is the night when I should  answer some of the questions you must have been asking yourselves in response to earlier posts here at Meanwhile, at the Manse.

What’s that? You haven’t been tormented with unanswered questions about the life and times and adventures of Raymond and Katherine here at the Manse? Oh. Well. Really. Hmmm.

Well then, I’m going to answer those questions anyway, even if they’re my own darn questions. I hate loose ends!

Question 1: Who finally won the battle, Raymond or the chipmunk?

Raymond and the chipmunk

Raymond hard at work this past August trying to stop up one of the many entrances to our chipmunk’s web of tunnels.

Last sighting of the chipmunk

The last sighting of our chipmunk, taken from the Manse’s front porch in late August.

You might recall that in this post from late August, I told you all about Raymond trying to outsmart a wily chipmunk who was digging holes and tunnels in the Manse’s yard and finding his way into the birdseed stash in our back porch. Raymond was quite determined that he was going to gain the upper hand, and I am pleased to report that, after some initial setbacks, it appears that he has. It took a lot of mothballs down the various chipmunk holes (not to mention covering over those holes once the mothballs were down them), and of course the birdseed had to be put far out of reach, but Mr. Chipmunk has not made an appearance for a couple of months. Chalk one up for Raymond!

Question 2: Why was the Union Jack flying at the Manse this past Oct. 25?

Laurence Olivier as Henry V

Laurence Olivier as Henry V in the movie from 1944. Larry chewed a lot of scenery in that one.

Why, to mark the start of the Battle of Agincourt, of course! Remember that great speech from Shakespeare‘s Henry V when Henry rallies the troops against the French?

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day and comes safe home 
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is named 
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day and live old age 
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot 
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words – 
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester – 
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son, 
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by 
From this day to the ending of the world 
But we in it shall be remembered –  
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. 
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” – that is some seriously good stuff, is it not? Thanks, Mr. Shakespeare.

Question 3: Did I ever find a source of slab bacon?

Corn chowder

Katherine’s Famous Corn Chowder (from a recipe by the great New England chef Jasper White), which requires slab bacon (preferably locally sourced) to make it perfect.

Perhaps you will recall a culinary lament I shared with the world in this post, about not being able to find slab bacon locally to use in one of my favourite things to eat, corn chowder. Subsequent to that, with some help from a reader and friend, I was able to find not one but two possible sources! The reader and friend suggested a butcher shop at the southern end of the Municipality of Centre Hastings (which I have yet to check out, but will); and meantime, at a late-summer event celebrating local food producers that I wrote about here, I had a chance to ask the good folks from Palmateer’s Abattoir outside Tweed – a long-established and well-regarded slaughterhouse and butcher shop – whether they perchance carry slab bacon. And they do! Which means many batches of fine corn chowder, with all local ingredients, await us.

And finally, Question 4: Is Raymond better than I am at finding photos on the internet?

Jack Baker's Top SecretApparently the answer to that is yes. I did a post this past week (it’s here) about two midcentury Canadian whiskies from Seagram’s that were called Jack Baker’s Secret and Jack Baker’s Top Secret – Jack Baker himself having been from nearby Madoc, which is why I was writing about the whisky in the first place. Despite a considerable search, I was unable to come up with a single image of a bottle of this fine but now near-forgotten beverage. Lo and behold, shortly afterward Raymond did come up with one, as you can see in the accompanying photo.

Really, what with outwitting the chipmunk, thinking to celebrate a battle that took place 599 years ago, and finding possibly the only extant photo of a bottle of Jack Baker’s Secret, I think we can say that Raymond is the inadvertent hero of this post. All he needed for a perfect run was to be the one who found me that slab bacon.

4 thoughts on “Let’s answer some questions and tie up those pesky loose ends

  1. That Ray is no slouch. You better hang on to him ! Btw, I also hate loose ends, and have a pet peeve with media org’s that never follow up on their own stories. E.g.: whatever happened to the TTC leprechaun ? Not even the hairdressers know. Perhaps we can get Kevin Donovan on that one.

    • I agree with you on both counts, Mark! That is, that Raymond is a keeper, and that news organizations should follow up on the stories they do. As an editor, I have spent a lot of time trying to get reporters to do just that – with mixed success, I must confess. They always like the appeal of something new.

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