Pat Blythe: The Final “Rays” of Summer
It’s the final weekend of summer….the official/unofficial end of walks along the beach, barbeques, wearing white, lounging with a martini…yes it’s Labour Day weekend. Many of us are all off cottaging or tenting or beaching. Escaping the city for one last breath of summer air and that sense of liberating freedom that comes with it.
Celebrating the finality of whatever that summer was that just whizzed by us. I’m sitting here at my sister’s cottage at Kettle Point, visiting with my new great-nephew (and taking lots of photos of course) for the first time. My baby sister Carrie is the proud grandma and between her and my mom, you almost have to peal the baby off them. He’s cheek pinchingly adorable. Happy and active….eager to get those legs working and he’s only two months old. As well, my niece Em has invited several of her friends at the cottage and they are currently attempting to make tacos with what looks like 15 pounds of ground beef and half a tiny package of taco mix. The adults are all full of suggestions but the kids (yes, they’ll always be kids) will figure it out. My sister’s excuse for everything is, “it’s the cottage”. In other words, you make do.
My great-nephew, baby Cameron — two months old. Go on, pinch those cheeks….
One more time…..
You guys have your dogs and cats. I have Cameron.
The past week has been busy, busy…. full, fun and very entertaining. The following week is going to be hectic and demanding with travelling back-and-forth to London as well as trying to pack up my second floor. Renovations commence September 14….the entire second floor will disappear to be replaced by a larger bathroom, a larger second bedroom and a small den/office. I have business in London so planned to bunk in with my mom for 10 days to get through the worst of the renos. As luck would have it, her main floor bathroom is undergoing a major facelift as well. You couldn’t have timed that one any better. Thank heaven there’s the downstairs loo.
So, here I am enjoying the long weekend with family at my sister and brother-in-law’s cottage for the first time in about four years. Thought I’d get away from The Big Smoke and work although I seem to spending a fair bit of it on this damn laptop anyway, as well as my “not so smart” phone. The apron string is still not 100% disconnected but it will have to do. As my sister pours me another G&T, we chill as much as we can in 33 degree heat. The humidity is unbelievable! More pics of baby Cameron and the older kids trying to “fly like Superman” on the trampoline. “Air shots” are what they want. Then down to the beach to fry in the scorching sun. If anything makes you dance today, the heat of the sand will. Everyone is doing the two-step down to the water. At least it’s a shorter distance. Residents and vacationers “woke up” to the loss of 50′ of beach front this year. Over to the store for more alcoholic beverages and an ice cream cone that practically melts two licks in. Made it back to the cottage with NO ice cream running down my arm but the lips and tongue were working rapid fire. One, two, three….gone. Inhaled that baby and it was yum yum yummy!
Ice Cream Freeze – Hannah Montanah
(a little bit of fun with the “old” Miley)
The kids are back from the beach, starving. They cook, they clean, they cook, they clean…. they do their mommas proud! Then we all talk music. One of girls is a music major in fourth year….she plays SAX!!!! The other has completed her degree, both at UWO. We discussed how they all listened to their music. One streams…Spotify….and pays her 9.99 a month. They pretty much all listen to the radio at one time or another and still learn about new tunes in this manner. They also go on line to check out “the charts”. YouTube is a given. Everyone goes there. Three collect vinyl, one loads MP3’s, and CDs…. pretty much passe. They all love live music, and by live I mean human beings playing instruments, so the local clubs are popular destinations. Only my niece enjoys the DJs more. One prefers ballet, opera and classical to anything else. Her radio of choice, CBC. I took the opportunity to introduce all of them to Xprime and Dirty Loops. It was an interesting conversation and I would love to pick it up again some time.
The “kids” at the cottage….
“Superman” on the trampoline
My song of this summer….
Xprime – Ambedo
Tonight (Sept. 6), Sarah Smith is playing at Birch Pines campground, just up the road from the cottage. Perfect timing. Took my mom over (she loved it) and hung with my baby sister Carrie (when I wasn’t shooting). Smith is always engaging and the crowds love her. Her smile just lights up her face and the evening. Tonight was no different. Between sets it’s hard to get a hello in, she’s immediately surrounded by people as soon as she steps off the stage. Smith’s full five-piece band performed and it’s the first time I’ve heard them all together. Solid, full sound they were all rockin’. Drummer Bobby Reynolds is sharp, quick and precise, and has fun twirling his sticks and occasionally standing up to play. The latter I have never seen before — innovative and entertaining. Drummers are usually located at the “back” of the band. Part of the backbone (along with the bass) of most acts, drummers are nonetheless almost hidden from view with guitars and vocals dancing around and in front of them. Not Reynolds. He keeps the beat while on his feet, joining in with the rest of the band and ending many songs with the “Reynolds flourish”. Guy Miskelly on lead guitar was MIA in Duncan due to flight cancellations but is present and accounted for tonight. Ken “The Zen” Ross on bass, he just thunders, and Mark Underwood on keyboard rounds out the sound of the Sarah Smith Band. It was a hot and muggy night but everyone danced.
The Stars – Sarah Smith
The Sarah Smith Band, Birch Pines, Kettle Point
A fitting finale to conclude the summer that really wasn’t. As Fall slowly takes hold (yes it’s been a stinker for the past week) and the weather cools down (and it will cool down), our outdoor escapades will slowly fade. Clubs get less busy, the outdoor patios slowly empty and close, and people begin the age long tradition of “hunkering down” for the winter. Personally, I experienced one of the best summers EVER! People, places, events, music….it’s been jam-packed, exhilarating, sometimes exhausting, but never boring and always, yep, just plain fun. I’m looking forward to the next six months and some of the exciting events that are yet to transpire. Maria Muldaur in October, Canada Oh What A Feeling in November and the YEAH YEAH YEAH show in December. It’s gonna be a blast.
…and those tacos…..they halved the beef, added some salsa….it all worked out.
I leave you with a montage of shots from this year’s CNE. I managed to pay the old girl a visit and munched on the requisite corn dog (known fondly as the pogo), curly fries and the best chocolate milkshake I’ve tasted in years. The place was jammed, the weather hot and heavy and EVERYBODY was having a really, really, really good time.
The Ex 2015….
Lee Harvey Osmond onstage at The Bandshell
LHO up close
Just hanging out
….or lying down on the job….
Pay to play….
The Midway (a sampling)
Love is in the air (or at least in the cable cars)
All photos by The Picture Taker
Personal experiences, YouTube, my camera
Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.
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In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husbandChristopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts, Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!