Parrywinkle February 25, 2016

Ever wondered why February - that would normally end this Sunday but won't until the following day Monday, February 29, because it's a Leap Year - is the shortest month of the year? With 28 days as opposed to all the others that have 30 or 31?

Well, to be candid, I haven't exactly been losing any sleep over it either. But for my ongoing edification - such as it is - thought it behooved me to check it out this past week. And apparently it all dates to some cockamamie ego battle and scurrilous squabbling back in Ancient Rome between two Caesars named Julius and Augustus.

Back then, it seems, the old Roman calendar had only ten months, starting in March and ending in December. In between, it was just considered to be winter. Not worthy of any special recognition. However, a certain Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome after Romulus and for reasons uncertain, decided to change all that and add two months - January and February - in about 713 BC.

Well, Augustus who was jealous of Julius whose month (July) had 31 days, while his (August) had only 30, stole one from February. And then, to the surprise of everyone ...

Ah, who cares? Spring is only weeks away on March 20 which, as everyone knows, has 31. At least it had the last time I checked!


ERIN GO BRAGH - But I do know for a fact that Hudson's 7th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade is back on Saturday, March 19, at 1 p.m. with legendary radio personality, Ted Bird, as Grand Marshal. And that as of this past Sunday, we now have a new Queen and her Court who will reign for the next 12 months - February included.

And all crowned at a festive fun-filled, albeit competitive, coronation at Auberge Willow Inn on Sunday evening, February 21, brilliantly emceed by two gems from The Jewel, Terry Girouard and Irishman of the Year in 2014 Tom Whelan.

T'was sure a grand night, with fans and families of the six contestants cheering on their favourite and the Willows' Nancy Campeau and Christine Booth helping to ensure that all went off without a hitch.

Of course, as in every contest of this caliber, the judges had their work cut out for them in selecting the Queen and her two Princesses. And a big bravo to the other three ladies who went home, obviously a little disappointed but justifiably proud to have participated. Namely, Marlene Minchau, Meghan Fabbro, and Kate Ilaqua.

Must say, on a personal note, I was delighted when it was announced to much applause that Marge Alexander Crombie, who was there with her hubby, Jack, is our new Queen Mother for 2016. Graciously accepting the title from her predecessor, Miriam O'Brien, who gave her traditional blessing at the outset of the evening that saw the main dining room chock-a-block full with guests

including some members of the Hudson Parade Committee comprising Jim and Austin Beachamp, Mike Klaiman, Gary McKeown, Frank Hicks, David Legault, Ken Doran, Andrew Dumas, Patrick O'Grady, James Campbell, Stephan Hollander, and the aforementioned Tom Whelan who was up on stage.

As always, the young Bernadette Short Dancers danced their hearts out to thunderous applause. And also spotted thoroughly enjoying the festivities were Hudson Councillor Deborah Woodhead, as well as Vaudreuil-Soulanges Liberal MP Peter Schiefke, who could not stay for the final results as he had three other engagements to attend that night. Talk about commitment to the community. I mean, he's not even running for election!

Didn't ask him, but I'm sure he will also be there for the next big event on the Parade's agenda, the Roast & Toast Dinner for Grand Marshal Ted Bird at Whitlock Golf & Curling Club in Hudson on Saturday, March 5, at 6 p.m. with the Club's famous Italian Buffet dinner on the menu. Not sure if there are any tickets left at $50 per person, but the number to call is (450) 458-5305, extension 200.

See you there?


SCUMMY SCAMS – Meanwhile, have not been on a rant for a while but, I have to tell you, I'm getting really peed off with some of the latest scams currently hitting our community in the hope - on the part of slimy scumbags - of making a fast buck at our expense, if not steal us blind.

And no, as a resident of Hudson for nigh on 40 years, I'm not talking about our town's former Hudson Director General, Louise Léger-Villandré, sentenced to - in my opinion at least - a slap on the wrist 30-month sentence on Monday, February 22, for having stolen at least $1.1 million from the 5000 or so residents of our fair burg over decades and eligible for parole just five months from now. Crikey mick! Should it ever happen, and I assure you it's not going to, I'd probably get a stiffer sentence for shoplifting at the local depanneur or knocking off a gas station to treat myself to a luxury cruise in the Mediterranean!

However, heard a horror story this past week about a homeowner who received an unsolicited call from a self-described 'mould expert' asking if she had spotted any signs of such in her house? “There's a couple of little spots in one room that might be mould,” she replied. “We can come and check it out with no charge to you and with no commitment whatsoever,” said the friendly voice on the other end of the phone.

Like a rampant rat up a pump, he was there the next day. Toting an impressive-looking case on wheels – which he rolled across the carpet despite the snow outside - for his so-called forensic analysis. Waving 'wands' and some kind of Star Trek-type gizmo, he asked her to step back as it could be very dangerous to her health.

Why, he even took an air sample in a little plastic vial that he said he would have to send off for testing at a cost of about $450. Meanwhile, his immediate verdict was simple. He could rectify the little signs of mold for about $3,000 as it would entail a few days’ work including sealing off the room with plastic sheets and his specialized crew wearing masks, but that was only the beginning.

“The mould's spores have almost certainly spread throughout your house through the air ducts,” he told the homeowner who asked to remain anonymous when I told her I was writing about this in Parrywinkle. A request that I respect.

“It is extremely dangerous for your health and for anyone visiting you until it is fixed,” he told her. “We will have to check it out from top to bottom and we will be pleased to give you a quote. When can we start?”

They won't be. For the lady made a call to a trusted friend, who knows her house well, has worked in the local renovation and construction business for many years and who popped over to check it out for himself. He told her that it was very minor, was being blown all out of proportion, and to beware. In essence, he said, they were totally ripping her off.

Now of course, there are credible professionals out there who specialize in tackling mould and who have built their reputations on giving a fair and honest assessment of the problem and a proposed bill to boot. But these cowboys looking to make a fast buck thinking we are stupid?

To parryphrase Oliver Cromwell, once Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland - but alas not Hudson as we did not even exist then - “Depart. I say. And let us have done with you!”

And in closing, if you have similar stories to tell about this scam or any other issue that is bugging you, please do drop me a line at the e-mail below. Would like to hear about it. For as they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed!

And that's a wrap!


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