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“I don’t want the brightness to slowly leak out of me because I settled for the dulling effects of a life without play.”
- Andi Ashworth
Craving some fun recently, I embarked on a course in Travel Writing. I’ve been absolutely LOVING it! My instructor, Olivia Stren, is a doll – supremely talented – and full of the sheer joy of living and encouragement for whatever bits of talent she sees in others. The opportunity to sit for a couple of hours each week and study the words of people who’ve mastered the written word – has been just exactly what I needed.
This week’s homework was to write a short “Service” piece; a sassy, playful article that describes a hotel, restaurant, etc. for the benefit of folks who might go there.
Desperately in need of some one-on-one time and a break from our routines, my husband and I this morning played hooky from church and sought out a new cafe or coffee shop that might serve a dual purpose, to provide a date for us and a source of inspiration for my most recent class assignment.
Here’s what resulted:
“A touch of le Bonheur”
Yearning for a taste of Paris, but can’t afford the airfare? Head to The Crepe Kitchen (88 Dunn Street, Oakville, Ontario www.thecrepekitchen.ca) where the crepes are reasonably priced ($7 to $14) and as délicieux as any you might sample in the City of Light.
The Kitchen is tiny – seats only 30 – but the atmosphere is inviting with whimsical charm; from the working cuckoo clock just inside the door to the mismatched, antique wooden furniture. Peruvian owner-operators Eduardo and Ana Siles literally “thank God” for making this place – and their dream of it – come true; living out their gratitude in warm hospitality and a willingness to share their story with anyone curious enough to ask.
Ana is a trained Cordon-Bleu chef, and the open kitchen permits guests to marvel at her skill with a flat spatula, folding a crepe over a broad choice of fillings either sweet (berries, Nutella or Dulce de leche – a thick, caramel cream adored by South Americans) or savoury (mushrooms, chorizo sausage, spinach or cheese). Coffee – an organic Peruvian blend – is served in a French Press allowing for second cups on indulgent Sunday mornings.
But if you visit on a Sunday, be forewarned: street parking is limited, as it fills with the cars of those seeking a different sort of sustenance – at the historic church across the road.
Persnickety parking aside, the ringing of the church bells and the Kitchen’s picture window – which offers an ideal opportunity for people watching – provide café patrons with a touch of le Bonheur, right here at home.
Even Mother Nature decided to celebrate moving day in Kingston.
I use the term “moving day” loosely. No one sent a memo. No official writ was dropped declaring Saturday April 30 as the day by which the entire city – or at least the entire student population of the city – must move. But move they all did, or rather, they all appeared to.
Throughout the area known affectionately by locals as “The Ghetto” (street after street of rundown houses with crumbling walkways, overgrown shrubs and crooked porches that surround the Queen’s University campus) every available parking spot – and then some – was occupied by vans or trucks or cars towing open box trailers.
Longhaired girls in short shorts and flip-flops, flip-flopped their way down sidewalks two-by-two, under burdens of tables and mattresses. Boys dressed in jeans and t-shirts flexed biceps while hoisting desks and bookshelves into U-Hauls. And middle-aged parents with put-on patience helped transport sons and daughters out of one phase of life and into another.
We were moving our oldest daughter out of her third-year abode – with its four roommates and more drama than our Drama major cared to endure – and into her final year home – with its one roommate and promise of peace.
And throughout it all, the sun shone and the air warmed and the birds sang and the sky turned the most beautiful shade of robin’s egg blue, delivering the first really spring-like day since spring had arrived more than a month earlier. It was as if the weather itself had chosen to cooperate, foretelling the brightest of futures.
“Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.”
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie