Back in my old life, in the urban wilderness of
, protection was a big issue. London
“Always wear protection,” my mum would plead in her weekly phone calls from the English hinterland. “Always carry protection!” blared the TV adverts. “Make sure you’re protected. Wherever, whenever, whoever!” boomed the billboard ads.
But you know what, I just never really bothered.
I never wore a reflective jacket when riding my bike. I didn’t install a burglar alarm for the apartment. And, if I was out on the town I never carried a couple in my wallet.
Spare keys! What did you think I was talking about?
I believe that in my past missives on these pages I’ve painted a picture of
and my past existence that even someone who’s never ventured further than Bancroft or Bobcaygeon will appreciate was very different from how I live today. And, the issue of protection is no lesser tale of contrasts than any other. London
London was, is, a maelstrom of humanity, much of it wonderful and exciting, some of it slightly dodgy, a small element, the dregs shall we say, downright nasty. Basically, you had to be on your guard just in case those dregs turn up when least expected. This meant taking precautions and getting protection.
Double mortise locks for the front door and lockable latches for the windows. A buttoned pocket for your wallet. A cycle vest and helmet, if cycling, and padlock to lock up your bike. An alarm for your car (this was not to protect your vehicle because no one so much as twitched a curtain when one sounded. No, the car alarm was purely recreational, to annoy neighbours in the early hours). A careful eye on your bag and cell phone at all times. A wary glance over your shoulder at the ATM. A mace spray for the ladies - not for use on the ladies (I was never that blessed in the looks department) but for use by ladies when amorous young fellas like me came-a-bothering. A couple of prophylactics in your wallet, if you were more blessed than I. And the list goes on.
London was a wonderful place but you had to have your wits about you whenever, wherever, whoever, as the ad campaign so succinctly put it.
Haliburton County is a whole different ball game, I find. People leave their front doors unlocked; their car windows wound down whilst popping to the store; their bikes propped nonchalantly against a lamppost, not a chain nor bolt cropper resistant cycle lock in sight.
Protection in Haliburton means the obligatory bug jacket and screen room (but I’ve probably bored you to tears already with my insect related rants).
Protection means keeping an eye out for your veggies. Fencing them in even! Folks in
look at me like I’m crazy when I tell of the razor wire and an electrified perimeter fence that would thwart even Steve McQueen and James Garner stretched around my carrots and cauliflowers. Little do they realise the tenacity of rabbits in these parts. England
It is no word of a lie to say the rabbits turned up the day after we tilled the soil of our veggie patch. And, by the third day they were up on the deck leering at me through the screen door as I potted baby broad bean plants. I’m positive one even gnashed his buck teeth when my back was turned.
Protection in this rural idyll means checking that the beavers haven’t dammed the creek downstream of the house, causing it to flood the basement. Putting the chickens to bed before the neighbourhood coyote comes-a-calling.
Protection here means keeping your eyes peeled and wits about you as Mother Nature does her damndest to reclaim what is rightly hers (using undercover agents disguised as lovely fluffy critters that your wife and child adore): as she tries to take back the small patch of land that you, or the kind folks you purchased from, have carved out of this wild and wonderful wilderness.