Various Veins

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The streets around Toronto City Hall are jammed with people calling for the mayor to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail, or something of the kind. That's how it would have been handled in early USA. Mark Twain left an account of the effect it had on the victims. Hot tar is not far from napalm in removing skin.

A wise observer has pointed out that we should consider the numbers who are not baying in the streets. Our first prime minister found relief from personal pain by marinating himself with wine. When he puked on the lectern during a speech, he wryly remarked that Canadians preferred John A. Macdonald drunk to George Brown sober.

Macdonald was right, and Torontonians could well repeat history in the Rob Ford case.

Fall's here. Having worn this body to the point I might fall head first into the goldfish pond while getting it ready for winter, but lucky enough to have grandsons and grandnephews to take over, this year I have hit a new phase. Those lads have reached the age where they are in the rat race themselves, less time for public service as it were.

Another chore involves climbing onto roofs, onto ladders and up into trees to prune and disentangle the wisteria and grape vines. No task for woozy old duffers.

Last week I noticed, through the upstairs window, that the stream of water from the stone cascade into the fish pond was missing. Went to the basement to check the ground fault breaker. It was tripped. This usually happens during a heavy rain with gusty winds. The water gets splashed up into the big tin can inverted over the receptacle. It was tripped but reset OK. Couple of days later the same thing happened. This time the reset emphatically snapped off again, dammit!

There are two cords feeding through the circuit, one for the submersible pump, the other for a yard light. I suspected the pump to be the locus of the problem. It was blanketed with spirogyra which might cause overheating. The detector hates anything with a heating element. Time to pull the pump for the winter anyway. That didn't satisfy the cheeky breaker.

Disconnect the lamp. Still no change.

Visions of exploring the innards of the system prompted the notion to abandon the pond. Can't sit out there any more to listen to the tinkling water and watch the goldfish loafing under the miniature falls.

Wait, I thought. There are two switches in the basement, one for each appliance out there under the maple tree. If I turn those off it will tell me whether the fault is outside or in. If in it may be that the balky detector is suffering age problems just like me. I shut them off. Nope. Dang, it seems to be internal. One more set of tests. Shut one off and see what happens. Nothing. Tried the opposite. Still nothing. So it's not just a pump problem.

In the course of trying these tests, I happened to push down on the flipper. I felt a click. Aha! I'd forgotten that when a breaker trips it must be pushed all the way off to cock it before resetting it. Problem solved. The yard light has a photoelectric eye to turn it on when the sun sets, or a snow cloud hides the sun.

One other fall ritual is to put the plastic cover on the van shelter. Mark and the boys did that, but I neglected to anticipate the wind last week and left the front flap open. The tent balloons like a spinnaker and flaps like a mainsail. It snapped the wooden stiffener in the hem of the rear flap and tore a couple of feet of plastic that was stapled to the short end of the stick.

Spliced the stick and used tuck tape to rejoin the plastic as I did, was it last year or the year before?

Duct tape? No way. It peels off that plastic easily as sun burned skin from your shoulders. Sorry Red Green.

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