Lately, folks, I’ve been getting quite a number of e-mails, and phone calls; some from folks whom I wouldn’t necessarily know if they popped up in my porridge, but they know me. It seems that they are a little worried, or perhaps more mildly put, concerned, why they haven’t seen me out and about lately. There seems always to be a question of concern, of my mind, of my health, and of my general well being.

Well let me tell you folks, I really appreciate your concerns, and I’ll tell you also that I am as healthy and happy as a well fed hog in a crate. I want for nothing and my needs are few. I am beginning to enjoy the art of living alone. It could, would, and should, I suppose, seem a little unusual to others, but I am swamped with the fodder of many memories; among which my loneliness just seems to evaporate. My mind is not feeble and my body not weak; and having had a good teacher at my side for 52 years, I am amply able to be quite self-sufficient.

Now before I prattle too greatly and run out of space, it might be a good idea for me to get down to the nitty gritty of letting you know just why I have not been out and about much lately. And it is not the fact that the weather has been nasty and cold. It is not the fact that the streets are covered with ice and snow. And it is not the fact that I cannot walk or feel danger in so doing. If there is a fact that should be placed, well up front in the list of reasons, it is the possibility that I’m just lazy.

But the reality of it all is I have been holed up during the last three months doing what is known in the writer’s field as “salt-mining.” That, deciphered in the language akin to those not in step with the lingo of writers, is simply that I have been busy getting my next book ready to be published. It might interest you to know that I have just started the Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, countdown on the last of 200 articles for my fourth book, which is the third of the Best of Bits and Pieces series. By the time this article, which you are now reading, is delivered to your door, the makings of my new book will have been transferred to a mitt full of what is known in the computer world as floppy discs, and trundled off to the printers.

  Then I should have a copy back for proof reading in about three weeks, which will take, in the there-a-bouts, an additional week of being holed up, once again, in quiet concentration. Then back to the printers, and ready to be marketed in approximately three more weeks thereafter.

 So there you have it folks, but just in case I’ve overlooked a tidbit of curiosity that might be sought in the minds of some of you worry-worts, let me assure you that I am an early riser. My feet usually hit the floor, with ample time to wake up my not-set digital alarm, which, if it were traditional, the big hand would be pointing at twelve and the little hand Trudeau saluting the five. But by the time I have sorted the panic of socks, shirt, shorts, and slippers and located where I set my glasses and flung my signature visor, the call of nature will have hurriedly hustled me down the dark hall, in the general direction of that which the Little Lady referred to affectionately as the porcelain parlour.

On my way there I usually detour to switch on my neat little three cup machine that brews coffee. Then while I consummate my triple S reason for being in said room of bodily functions, it spits, spurts, burps, and natters in competition or complaint. (I’ve not figured out which), but it’s back down to a simmer by the time I am ready to tantalize my tongue tip, taste testing that which it has just brewed; and I, with intension of improving greatly by adding a nip of the Irish traditional addi­tion. Then I totter off smiling, with a brimming, teetering cup full, to the room that I fondly pass off as my study.

So from five in the morning, until well past nine, I usually spend the bulk of my time on my butt, self-editing the turmoil of alphabet spewed onto the pages the day previous. This while blissfully sipping the comforting one, two, and three mugs of hot, soothing, smooth Irish coffee. During the rest of the morning I usually get ample exercise trotting multiple forth and back trips to the bathroom; in answer, of course, to the coffee related demands of a bladder, whose frequency favours the very young and those in the realms of second childhood. So now you know exactly what I’ve been up to lately.

Take care, ’cause we care.   519-843-4544



Barrie Hopkins