Hello. How are you? How’s life treating you? Good, I hope.

Well, this past weekend was anything but good for many. The heavy rains and the overflowing Ottawa river tested the mettle of homeowners, the limits of shorelines, the adequacy of property defences, and the soundness of foundations. Emotions were raw and unfiltered, and anxiety high in those facing the destruction of property and the loss of valuables.

Fortunately, most of us were untouched by this weather event. Last weekend’s unseasonable temperatures and all day rains merely kept us off the bike. That’s all. We missed riding – and that put a dent in our training schedule. And, that was a bummer. But, hey, complaining is a relative thing. It’s a natural tendency to bemoan one’s fate or to whine about what we don’t have and not to reflect on what we do have.

So, in these times when the trials of others are foremost, we reflect and give thanks to whatever gods may be for our good health, our good fortune, and our freedom from harm and want. We think of those affected by the water, and wish them a rapid recovery and a speedy return to the way things were.

Here’s the tentative plan for Saturday: group ride cancelled!

Weather: High chance of showers throughout the morning. Temp 10 – 12 C  and winds SE at 10.

As for Sunday, the temperature will be 8 – 12 C, with sunny periods. POP 60%. Likelihood of us riding is high. Stay tuned. Will post an update late this evening, if the Saturday morning forecast improves; otherwise, the next post will be Saturday afternoon about the prospects for Sunday.

New cyclists welcome.

For non-subscribers: See Contacts

Okay, Ride your bike! Bye-bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

Jiggs’ Dinner    (michael crummey)

Out of bed by seven to leave plenty of time to dress for church. The salt beef in to soak overnight to take off the brine: put it on to boil in the largest pot in the pantry. Drain off half the salt water and replace it with fresh every hour. Clear a spot on the counter. Start the vegetables.

Potatoes are inevitable, like grace before a meal. You’ll want a spud for everyone eating, two if they’re smaller than your fist. The skin is mottled brown and spotted with eyes, the flesh is white and damp. The taste is neither here nor there, like its colour, it complements everything you serve. Cut the largest in half or three to avoid stony pits enduring after everything else is ready to eat.

Carrots are the middle child, no one’s particular favourite, but well enough liked by all. A good rule of thumb is to cook more than you think you need. Never worry about leftovers: a carrot holds its flavour like no other vegetable, it tries so hard to please.

Turnip and Parsnip
Predictable vegetables, sturdy and uncomplicated, tasting of the winter root cellar, the warmth of darkness smouldering beneath snow. Turnip is served mashed with a tablespoon of butter and a pinch of fresh pepper. Parsnip served like carrot, the beautifully tapered torso laid naked on the plate.

Leaf and stalk of turnip, boiled until tender. The dark green of deep water shoals. As tart as spinach and better for you, the limp stalk wrapped around your fork like thread on a spool, a spill of green liquor on your lips with every mouthful.

Similar to lettuce, but heavier and more densely rounded: the quieter and more secretive of two siblings. Too firm and fibrous to be eaten raw, boil the cabbage whole until the inner leaves have paled almost to white and part before a fork like the Red Sea before the staff of Moses.

Slip the pocket of tears from its papery shell. Do not bring the knife near the flesh. Drop two or three whole onions into the pot to cook the tang from the core. Eat them by the forkful, the translucent layers soft and sweet as orange sections, every bit of bitterness boiled away.

When the church bell peals, place all vegetables to boil with the salt meat. The peas pudding is wrapped separately in cheesecloth or a piece of rag and placed last in the pot, before leaving for church at a quarter to eleven.

By twelve-thirty everything is ready. Take up the vegetables in separate dishes and people will serve themselves as they please. Ladle a spoonful of the salty liquor from the pot over your food, or dip up a mugful to drink with your meal. Protect your Sunday clothes with a linen or cotton napkin. Bow your heads before you eat.

Be thankful.