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Of quietness and rumbunctiousness

Tuesday morning it was some water leak in front of my driveway. Today it was the full-blown watermain burst at the busy intersection between our rented house and the train station.

The intersection is made up of the street that we live on and the major dual-lane thoroughfare (known simply as A20) that eventually becomes a motorway to the South. There is no opportunity to cross this road or enter it southbound for a couple of miles between our street and a roundabout to the north. As a result, this intersection is always heavily used.

But because of the watermain accident, it was closed to traffic in three directions when I was walking home from the station. The only open direction – northbound on A20 – had cars standing bumper-to-bumper as far as I could see. Knowing that it occasionally takes me ten minutes just to get through the last quarter of the mile before the roundabout, I conservatively estimated the delay that these folks were in for at around two and a half hours.

But it is certainly refreshing to listen for cars on our street and not hear any :p

After a few days home alone, I am getting more and more used to the unnatural quietness of my abode. I guess I could go as far as to state that after the rumbunctiousness of my American trip, a bit of uninterrupted serenity is not unwelcome.

Yeah, right!!! Give me a boisterous crowd again!!! Such as on at least two occasions with friends in the States.

One was a rafting trip on the Delaware river.

New Jersey crowd should know this activity quite well. You drive to a place on Pennsylvania side of the river, called Matamoras. You get on a bus that drives you about 10 miles up the Jersey bank. You get into an inflatable boat. And you spend time drifting and paddling down the river for the next six or so hours.

The day that we picked for the trip gifted us with gorgeous weather, sunny 75°F. We had ten adults and eleven children in our party, so we commandeered four vessels, tied them together with ropes and alternated between vigorous paddling and idle drifting. There was enough finger food and beer to satisfy any appetite.

Check that! There was not enough beer, so we moored where we knew there was a convenience store by the road above, climbed up and replenished our stocks.

Where the river was deep enough, the kids did not want to get out of the water. Half of the adults as well. When the river was shallow, the men had to get out and drag the rafts over the rapids. But on Class 1 whitewater, the progress is very rarely seriously impeded.

So we spent time catching up, shooting breeze, and making as much noise as a company of twenty people can make.

The smokers amongst us quickly drowned their lighters and had to ask fellow rafters for help. In a couple of instances, that constituted swimming across to another raft while stiffly holding one’s head above water, so as not to wet the cigarette stuck in one’s mouth. A hilarious sight! Too bad we did not have cameras with us…

On another day, we went to visit our friends for a somewhat impromptu birthday party.

The party was very nice, especially with three couples of very close friends present whom we only had this occasion to catch up with during our trip. But at some point, we were in need of an entertainment, and this being the midweek night, nobody was much in a mood for dancing.

I alluded in my Meme post (as well as in my profile) that I am a big aficionado of singing under the accompaniment of a guitar. I also mentioned on occasion that my own guitar-playing prowess is less than impressive. But Natasha is an excellent guitarist. And we both are pretty good singers and love to do it.

One small problem. There was no guitar. We obviously did not bring ours with us, our friends did not have one, and in all of the excitement of organizing a quick celebration, the idea of asking somebody to bring one escaped them.

That could not stop this crowd. And as I mentioned in the same Meme article, I know literally thousands of Russian song lyrics. So, with tapping and some jocose conducting, we started belting out our favorite pop masterpieces.

No less than sixty of them, in my humble estimation. Absolutely riotous! What a party!

Recalling such good times certainly makes me feel a bit less lonely…

Posted in Chronicles

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