Parrywinkle March 31, 2016

Well spring has finally definitely sprung here in Hudson and environs. And to parryphrase that immortal British poet, William Wordsworth - apparently written some time in the month of March during his lifetime from 1770 to 1850 - “Like an army defeated. The snow hath retreated.”

There again, I could also give a nod to his fellow poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who will be forever quoted in certain knowledgeable circles as the guy who wrote those unforgettable lines, “In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns of thoughts of love.” And you thought it was William Shakespeare, right?

But I won't. For rather, I would like to turn the spotlight on a worthy wordsmith who lives right here in Hudson and who, over past decades, must have written countless thousands of words as one of Canada's favourite humourists and playwrights. I'm referring, of course, to Lorne Elliott. Who also happens to play a mean ukulele, by the way, but not relevant here!


THE FIXER UPPER - For this coming Saturday, April 2, Lorne has been invited to stage one of his plays at the Gwen Shea Hall Centre in Wakefield-La Pêche in the Gatineau Hills. And given the fact that he has written so many, it was not an easy choice, he told me last week. As it was for one performance only, however, he opted for one that could 'easily travel' and with a small cast. Namely himself and fellow Hudson thespian, Karen Cromar.

A comedy in seven phone calls, it’s titled The Fixer Upper. And it tells the tale of Bruno MacIntyre who wants to take charge of his own life, and his Aunt Tillie, who doesn't think that a very good idea. What could be better? Summer in the Maritimes, cottage renovation, and family manipulation while exploring family relationships and communications between generations, and how the younger ones think they can handle situations.

The play - formerly titled Tourist Trap - was first produced in 2000 at Theatre on The Grand in Fergus, Ontario, and it has been produced regularly across Canada ever since. Explains Lorne, “In fact, it was re-worked and published by Acorn Press as a novella under the title The Fixer-Upper and we have kept the new title for the subsequent productions of the play. I have directed and acted in it over the years and I'm delighted to bring it back in 2016 to Wakefield.”

As I'm sure the audience will be too Lorne! For more info, go to or call (819) 459-2025.


DOWN ON THE FARM - Speaking of family relationships and guys wanting to take charge of their own life, how's this for a segue? Met up this week with Lorne's nephew, 25 year-old Joe Elliott, just back in town after spending three months helping 10 families in Haiti set up their own chicken-rearing operations so as to earn much-needed income for the parents and their youngsters.

Oh, yes, and also after spending the past 15 months working for a few weeks or more at a time for food and board on organic farms throughout Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Malaysia, Thailand, and Asia. And that's in addition to an internship he did while studying environmental and wildlife management at Vanier College. Namely, researching two types of indigenous monkeys in the Cloud Forest of Peru. And working as a student during harvest season in the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

“It's been quite a ride,” he told me over coffee at a downtown diner. Which has to be one of the biggest understatements I've heard in recent years! “And I'm glad to be back home if only for three weeks before heading to Coburg, Ontario, to manage an organic vegetable and poultry farm there through until December.”

“Those few short weeks in Peru really opened my eyes to the rest of the world outside Canada,” explained Joe, who studied at Collège Bourget and also has a degree from Acadia University in Nova Scotia. “And I knew there and then that I wanted to spend the rest of my life - or a good part of it - in the world of farming.”

“What?” cried some of his friends. “You have two degrees and you want to be a farmer? That's not a career. It's just a lot of hard work for little return.”

Laughed Joe, “Yes, it is a lot of hard work. But it is so rewarding and enriching. It is more than a career. It is a lifestyle. And it is one that I love.”


HELPING HAITIANS - Well, hitchhiking and travelling by bus and train - whenever he had enough cash in his pocket to do so - throughout so many countries in such a short time frame, is sure proof positive of that!

“But what about those chickens in Haiti?” I asked him. “It was a marvelous experience,” he replied. “It is a very poor community and we built coops, bought pullets, and showed them how best to raise them. Each of the 10 families has 50 chickens growing at any one time which they sell at local markets. The fact that I spoke French and quickly learned to speak their language, Creole, certainly helped in my dealings with them. And they were all so appreciative.”

So what's next on the agenda for Joe after his job in Coburg? With the full support of his father, Donald - who once worked on a dairy farm in Ontario - his uncle Michael Elliott who also raises a few chickens and grows organic veggies here in Hudson - and Lorne, he plans to become a farmer in his own right in the next few years. Perhaps becoming a partner in an existing farm where the ageing owners have sons or daughters of their own who are not interested in carrying it on.

“Ideally,” he says, “somewhere close to Hudson. But if not, wherever there is an opportunity!”

Way to go Joe. And do keep me posted!


FOUR ALL WHO REED AND RIGHT – And now back to the written word as mentioned in the opening to this column. And no, that's not a typo! For quite coincidentally, I received a wonderful e-mail this week from Hudsonites, Ozzie and Linda Voortman, recently returned from their over-winter sojourn in sunny Costa Rica. And who reminded me that English is indeed a crazy language. Even, at times, for those for whom it is their native tongue.

Begin with the word, box, for example, and the plural is boxes. But the plural of ox became oxen not oxes. One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, yet the plural of moose should never be meese. You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice, yet the plural of house is houses, not hice. We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Possibly compounding the confusion is the fact that there is no egg in eggplant. Nor ham in hamburger. And neither apple nor pine in pineapple. Other paradoxes. Why does quicksand work slowly? Why are boxing rings square? And why is a guinea pig neither from Guinea, nor is it a pig?

Other food for linguistic thought. If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? And in what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

And you have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down. Which you fill in a form by filling it out. And in which an alarm goes off by going on!

Think about it. And would love to hear from you if you have anything to add!


CALLING CORRIES – In closing, it is not essential that one speaks - or even understands - the Manchurian dialect in order to attend the next luncheon of the Hudson Coronation Street Appreciation Society at the Auberge Willow Inn on Sunday, April 3, at noon. The colour theme, however, is 50 shades of blue, including navy, royal, and turquoise. See you there?

And that's a wrap!


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
Current Issue


Monday to Thursday: 9:30 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Friday: 10 A.M. to 12 P.M.


Telephone: (450) 510-4007

  • Facebook App Icon
  • Twitter App Icon
  • 2016_instagram_logo

             © 2020 The Journal.