Mechanical Saturday

Bill-Columnby L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Much of what we traditionally do on Saturdays is performed as though by rote and as a result is hardly engaging. It was however with a degree of gusto this morning that I sprung myself from the downy lair. Though as usual I hadn’t slept particularly well last night – plagued as always by wacky anxiety about preposterous matters I can never recall the moment of awakening – I nonetheless greedily anticipated this morning’s foray upon the new day.It was our intention to frequent Low Country Produce and Café for breakfast – fish and eggs with a biscuit! Having lately denied myself any bread (yet another struggle to lose weight) I was especially enthused about the biscuit.

FISH & EGGS – omelet filled with smoked salmon, spring onions, asparagus & goat cheese – buttermilk cheddar biscuit or toast – stone ground grits,
skillet potatoes or fruit – $12.50

Preliminary to the outing was a glance at the thermometer. The weather report was highly favourable – sunny and a high of 76℉. After the ritual ablutions, including a shine of the spectacles and pinky ring (my “disco ball”), I donned the customary Maritime garb of cotton shorts, Polo shirt (stripped blue & white) and deck shoes. I confess so great was my verve that I withdrew from the top drawer of my bedside table the latest brown leather accoutrement and secured it to my right wrist, a nonchalant gesture of flagrant abandon! Such was the inertia of the day! When I exited my boudoir I was informed by His Lordship that there was a fresh wind about so I returned to my bedroom and pulled a red crew neck sweater over my head.  No need to mar an early morning start with an unnecessary chill!

 

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Gathering in the drawing room to compose ourselves and to crystallize our attack on the day we delayed our departure only momentarily before setting about our objectives. Downstairs we fired up the Caddy and headed with deliberation – at least as much as can be expected of two old fogeys at 25 miles per hour – through the cavern of Sea Pines, Live Oaks and Spanish moss to Greenwood Avenue then onto Lighthouse Road where first we stopped to fill the gas tank, the equivalent of the mandatory visit to the watering hole.  It was exactly a week ago that I had filled the tank at the same place. I suspect I hadn’t driven the car more than 100 miles in that time but I always prefer to run on a full tank of gas; it’s a quirky matter of integrity (and a moderate nod to refreshment generally). This particular outlet endears itself to me because, unlike many others in the area, it doesn’t fuss about my using a Canadian credit card (which after all is set up for US dollars) and I haven’t to enter a zip code of any description. This inconspicuous little gas station nestled among the palm trees is conveniently located adjacent the mall where Low Country Produce and Café is situate so it was but a hop to the other parking lot before we were happily hoofing it to the trough.

We entered the restaurant and waved a cheery hello to the barista as we passed her by and directed ourselves to our usual perch at the counter. We had expected to be see either or both of the servers who are normally there on Saturday morning but instead were greeted by an ebullient young lady who we subsequently learned was seconded from the Beaufort branch of the restaurant (which we visited last year). Our meal was as always perfectly satisfactory (I saved the biscuit for last) and we were soon on our way to fulfill our other Saturday commitments, specifically shopping for household provisions and groceries.

hilton-head market

Our first stop was Harris Teeter located on the edge of Sea Pines Plantation.  There we gathered mostly bottled water and pharmaceutical items. I also ran the car through an automatic wash which is conveniently located in the same mall and surrounded by tropical Palmetto ferns making for a breezy renewal. We prefer to collect our fruit, vegetables and protein at Fresh Market on William Hilton Parkway where we subsequently directed ourselves. Fresh Market streams classical music into its public speakers; the lighting is distinctly dimmer than in most grocery stores; the wooden display cases engender the expression of traditional furniture; and the staff make you feel that they are your personal shoppers. Once we had completed our shopping there we headed home directly to unload the goodies.

Yesterday our estate agent had notified us that an electrician would be attending today to substitute three dimmer switches for the existing lighting in the kitchen area of the condominium. Upon our arrival at the condominium, Earl of “Pilgrim Electric” was hard at work. We quickly absorbed ourselves in the detail of his undertaking, discussing the refinements of the new installations. Naturally the topic of the recent election of President-elect Donald Trump arose and the expected banter on that subject ensued, punctuated by the decidedly Confederate introduction of Christianity and the need for prayer. We also canvassed Earl’s opinion regarding two other electrical matters; viz., one, a bathroom fan; and two, the hood lights of the assembly over the stove. Earl did what he could to improve the bathroom fan (he will return later to replace the entire unit); and he made a suggestion regarding the replacement lights for the hood fan.

Following Earl’s departure we resolved to go in search of new LED bulbs for the hood fan assembly. Once again we drove through the secluded narrow streets of Sea Pines Plantation to our monochromatic destination, the hardware store. Although we found new light bulbs, they were not much stronger than the others; their only evident recommendation was that they were LED.  When we got home and installed the new bulbs our suspicion was confirmed though there is a modest improvement.  No matter!  The point is, that duty was performed!

It was by then about mid-day and normally I would have been drawn to go for a bicycle ride. But after much prevarication I decided I really did require a “day off” and as a result I opted instead for the more leisurely act and calculated concession of reclining by the pool in the sunshine.  Once there and installed on the chaise longue it was but an instant before the warm sunshine and the high wind in the tall Sea Pines lulled me into a most pleasant daydream. My bliss was only disturbed by the squeals of little girls who arrived with their mother for a quick swim in the pool.  They weren’t long in tiring of that and soon set off towards the beach leaving me once again in solitary peacefulness.

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When at last I stirred from my self-imposed moderation, I decided I should do something about the pine sap which I had earlier noted had fallen on the windshield of the car. Previously I had attempted to remove the sap with a Kleenex (bad move!) and later with a moistened cloth but neither had been effective. It was I decided time to do something affirmative about this matter as it was guaranteed to be a continuing problem as long as we were on Hilton Head Island where it is virtually impossible to escape the sap of the tall Sea Pines.  Last year at the grocery store I had purchased a can of barbecue lighter fluid (when I had been unable to find normal lighter fluid – nobody smokes anymore!) and it had proven partially effective but only just. I reasoned that something more purposeful was required.  We thus determined to go once again to a hardware store in search of the recommended product. Upon arriving at the hardware store the clerk referred us to an automotive supplier.  He did not – ungraciously I thought – volunteer any store in particular.  We therefore consulted the GPS in the car and settled upon the menu selection located nearby.

At the automotive supply store I felt distinctly at sea.  Automotive stores are not what you’d call my habitual vernacular. As luck would have it I happily stumbled upon an aisle of products dedicated to the improvement of a car’s appearance. Among the products on display was one called Turtle Wax “Bug and Tar Remover“.  On the back of the green plastic spray bottle was a narrative which indicated it was suitable for glass in addition to plastic and metal.  I found it difficult to imagine that it would be suitable for glass (particularly as it would likely leave a greasy film) but the assertion was there and my experience in automotive hardware hardly afforded me any practical standing in this theoretical controversy.  When I got to the counter to pay for my purchase the clerk (who I knew by then was fluent in Spanish and English) informed me that the product I had chosen was “the best”.  I naturally took comfort in that commendation.

With undeniable alacrity we returned home to test the product.  I can gleefully report that it worked to perfection!  Under any other circumstances I would have been inclined to invite Mr. and Mrs. Turtle for dinner!  The supreme delight was that it not only removed the sap but it left no residue whatsoever on the windshield.  So enraptured was I by my serendipitous discovery that, when we encountered acquaintances in the condominium parking lot, I gushed about it effusively to them.  The lady of the party immediately took up the intelligence; and when she shared with me that she too had been beset by a sap problem with her own car, I instantly rose to the occasion and, armed with my Turtle Wax spray bottle and roll of paper towels, had her lead me to the offensive particle on her automobile.

The application of my miracle substance did not however work quite as I had hoped.  Rub and rub as I might, the smeared substance on her windshield resisted my best efforts even though I sprayed heaps of the solvent on the spot. It appears that the sap on Her Ladyship’s automobile had resided in situ for a year or more and had thus acquired something in the nature of fossilized rock. As I continued the struggle (admittedly with a degree of mounting personal embarrassment), the supervising congregation was joined by other residents who momentarily diverted attention from my failed enterprise.  Nonetheless I continued working, albeit with the pretence of some aloofness from the subject at hand.  But I was in earnest.  And my determination paid off!  Suddenly the rock-hard smudge of petrified sap relented and was gone!  Amid cheers and applause I illustrated by the deft application of a fresh paper towel that  no tell-tale residue remained.  It was unquestionably one of my finer moments!

Afterwards back at the condominium I rejoiced in the magnificence of our accomplishments.  By this time I was cultivating an exponential interest in the evening meal. I therefore planted myself in the kitchen (after having appropriately adjusted the dimmer switches to full technical advantage) and began preparing the ingredients for my Caesar salad.  The sun was beginning to set. Things today had unfolded with unparalleled gratification.  I had besides tossed my red sweater into the wash, laundered it, dried it and folded it.  This too was significant because it will hopefully reduce the XXX sizing to a manageable XX (a retail tactic of choice by the way).  So many details that go to make up one’s biddable Saturday!

hilton-head-sunrise