Parrywinkle, August 25, 2016

Ah, you gotta love Hudson! With its sometimes crazy characters and offbeat stories that you could simply not make up. Even for a new Fawlty Towers series.

Take this past week, for example. We were quietly entertaining guests on our front screen porch when, suddenly and right out of the dusk at 7 p.m., a radio started blasting away on the street adjacent to ours. Rap, rock, or heavy metal? We couldn't be sure. Our eardrums were so blocked by the tsunami wave of sound coming right at us through the trees.

Read on dear readers. Me thinks you will be amused. I certainly was!

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ROCKER RACCOON RACKET - Crikey mick, I thought, as we moved indoors. There's a party going on. Probably teenagers having a last blast before returning to CEGEP on Monday. Nothing wrong with that, of course. And besides, how long could it go on 'til? 11 p.m.? Midnight? Certainly didn't want to be a party pooper even if I thought their choice of music was atrocious. Personally, I would have opted for classical or country & western.

At 1 a.m., still blasting. At 2 a.m., still blasting. And by now, I'm furious. No point in calling the Hudson Community Patrol as they don't patrol overnight. The Sûreté du Québec? Tempted. But a bit drastic. So trying to be a good neighbour with people whom we had never met, hopped in the car and drove around to their driveway, thereby clearly announcing my presence. As opposed to just walking up like I was some late-comer looking to join a party after the bars were closed.

The entire street was in darkness. Not one house light on. Not a mouse stirring. Including the home where the radio was almost shaking the walls. Sheesh, I thought. They are away, it's on an overnight timer, and they simply forgot to turn down the volume control. It will switch off come sunrise and no long-lasting real harm done.

No sleep that night. And it was still going on when I headed down to, and returned from, my regular early-morning 'coffee caucus' at The Carousel. And now I'm really peed off. This time, I walked over to the house, rang the bell, and banged on all the doors that I could see. Including that of the locked screen porch where I could see the boom-box radio with its aerial upright still belting away.

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AMMONIA ALERT - Now really, really peed off and concerned that perhaps this was a cry for help on the part of the owner or owners that I had neglected to think of before, I exited the driveway to call the SQ. When suddenly the front door opened. And a lady, who had obviously just woken up, said to me, “I'm sorry. I was sleeping. Can I help you?”

“I'm very happy that you were sleeping,” I told her very politely. “We haven't slept a wink all night.” To which she replied, “Oh, do you have a problem?”

Tempted to answer, “Yeah, I'm an insomniac. Do you have any meds?” But, of course, I didn't. Instead, I said, “Yes, your radio. It's been blasting away for over 12 hours and we just can't take it anymore. This is serious!”

To which she replied, “Oh, the radio. Sorry about that. You see, we have a mother raccoon and her three babies under our deck and we were told that playing loud music would drive them away.” Tempted to tell her that I didn't give a monkey's cuss about the raccoons but that, if it continued, it would certainly cause us to put our house up for sale and move on to pastures new.

Anway, to make an already long story short, I suggested that she kill the radio, go buy a big jug of ammonia, heavily soak some rags, and chuck them in where the raccoons are currently residing. Should do the trick in a couple of days. When they will probably take up residence in the grounds of a house nearby. Probably ours. But where we already have the ammonia ready.

“Will it work?” she asked. At which point, I simply left!

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NO RECEPTION - Don't want to sound too cranky this week, but speaking of things that can bug one, how many times have you been to a restaurant recently when someone at the next table suddenly receives a cellphone call and blabbers away seemingly forever while you are trying to enjoy your meal and meaningful conversation? And I'm not even talking about those Facebookers taking shots of their plates and dishes before they even lift their knife and fork and taste what they have ordered and then complain that it is cold or not to their liking?

Well, learned from a couple of YLJ readers - recently returned from a visit to Brighton in England - that there is a new cocktail bar-restaurant there called the Gin Tub that is winning rave reviews by installing a cell signal blocker - a Farady shield built into the ceiling - and placing those old-fashioned rotary phones on its tables to call up others at neighbouring tables or the bar for another round.

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JOLLY GOOD SHOW! - And still in Jolly Olde England - albeit with a Hudson and international twist - my beautiful Sunshine and I visited Highclere Castle in the Oxfordshire village of Brampton - the current home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and with its distinctive park and gardens designed by Capability Brown - this past Monday, August 21.

Okay, a bit of poetic license, I grant you. As, actually, we were honoured to be at Auberge Willow Inn overlooking the Lake of Two Mountains in Hudson along with just 28 other invited guests for an I Miss Downton Abbey screening in convivial company organized and hosted by Ronit Yarosky, director of donor engagement at Mountain Lake PBS.

For Highclere Castle, of course, is the setting of the smash hit British six-part drama series, Downton Abbey, that follows the life of the Crawley family and its servants in the family's classic Georgian country house beginning in 1912 with the sinking of The Titanic.

Accompanying Ronit from Mountain Lake PBS were director of development Janine Scherline, director of communications Jennifer Kowalczyk, and volunteer Golan Bitton-Yarosky. All of whom gave a big round of applause to Miriam 'Min' Dunne of Gite 72 in Hudson for her help making it all happen, April Cornell-La Cache in Hudson and Bramble House in Pointe Claire for providing gift baskets for costume prizes, best costume judge Mireille Lemelin, and Auberge Willow for their generous hospitality including courtesy champagne, drinks, and delectable nibbles.

Miriam kind of summed it up perfectly for all when she said. “I was so lucky to hear about this event. Hosting it myself was not possible but our friends here at Auberge Willow stepped forward. I knew of Mountain Lake and the great work they do. And I thought how much fun it would be to join my good friends, have a few drinks, and watch Downton in great company.” A big bravo to all.

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GOOD BAD NEWS DAYS - Still on the entertainment scene, the fourth and final Hudson Village Theatre (HVT) production of the summer is visiting company’s Bad New Days’ production of The Double, adapted from the Dostoevsky short story of the same title. After the musical tribute, 60s Spotlight, the sure-fire Canadian crowd pleaser in Norm Foster’s The Ladies Foursome, followed by Matthew Tiffin’s gender-bending twist on Noel Coward’s Private Lives, this whimsical three-hander, directed by Adam Paolozza, tops off the Games We Play season with eight shows only between September 7 and 11.

The plot? An anxious government clerk meets a strange lookalike who is daring, romantic, and brash - a success at everything the clerk fumbles. Is it really his double, or could he just be paranoid? An ingenious Molotov comedy cocktail filled with laughter, obsession, and original live music, this Dora Mavor Moor Award-winning satire features the dazzling prose of Dostoevsky, over-the-top physical comedy, and three outrageously entertaining performers. In essence, an outlandish riff on the eternal search for personal identity and social status.

For reservations call the Box Office at (450) 458-5369 or go to www.villagetheatre.ca.

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation @ videotron.ca

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