Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cottages, boats and paint balling

The journey from Guha's to my friend Byron, another Strategic Coach escapee, was pretty short, less than an hour in fact but along the way we found quite a lot of things to delay us so that we arrived Chez Byron and Daina in Baysville around 5pm-ish, just in time to find Byron tinkering in his insanely tidy man cave (garage) and thirsting for Martinis.  (In addition to being Coach alumni Byron and I share a passion for martinis of all types so our occasional meetings usually have this theme running strongly through them with hell to pay the following morning!).

Byron is something in software so connectivity for him is paramount.  I had wondered quite how he'd manage in the middle of nowhere on a smallish lake (called Dickie Lake which was only about the size of Bermuda) but of course when we entered the house I counted easily a dozen internet related devices whirring, buzzing and chirping away all at the same time.  Byron says as he's in software he has to buy everything to see how it works and it sure looks like he'd bought everything Apple puts out, mind you he has 3 children who get the cast offs (if you can call 3 month old stuff cast offs that is).  I think he's tuned out that Apple ching sound that you hear when anything happens on an Apple device as it was constant.  He told me that the reception was 'pretty lousy' and he'd nearly killed himself climbing trees, putting in satellite dishes and various other arrays but I am also pretty sure only NASA or maybe his main office in Toronto has better internet reception.

From the back garden
As it was a lovely evening again (we really lucked out on this trip in a big way for after the tennis when it rained cats and dogs, the weather has been magnificent), we went out for a tour around the local lake and again it struck me that how you define 'cottages' depends very much where you are.  Some of the lake homes were simply enormous but both Daina and Byron said wait until we get onto the Lake of Bays and you'll see some really big places.

Dickie Lake cottages

I am really impressed by how Byron has managed his life.  He is CEO of a disparate software company that has no office but 20-30 staff (he's a bit vague about numbers) located anywhere there's a good internet connection.  The only proviso is that they meet for lunch or dinner in Toronto once a month so they remember what they all look like.

And meet at Byron's cottage for a company paint ball competition a couple of times a year for some real honest team building!

The Lake of Bays is huge, I'd put it around the size of a medium size English county.  Sussex probably.  While Byron had been vice president of the 300-strong Dickie Lake Association (of cottage owners), I could not begin to think how many cottages were around the Lake of Bays which as the name suggests is pretty big and is composed mainly of various shaped bays.  The lake (and indeed all of the Muskoka and indeed Great Lakes) was fed by the Canadian Shelf, basically the entire northern part of this huge country which is under snow and ice for months each year, and was of various depths.  Mind you the size of the lake equated with the size of some of the cottages there.

A rather nice way of coming to the cottage and avoiding the car crush

When they bought the cottage Byron put in a fire pit where he could do the rugged outdoors bit in full and cook steaks over an open fire.  And that was the plan for the evening but while the fire was getting going in earnest we had plenty of time to check out Byron's paint balling arsenal of weapons and play ourselves.  Byron showed me some of his bruises and I can believe that they hurt particularly when the gun itself was in semi-automatic mode.  Mind you it was good fun though.

I'd never done a campfire cookout before outside of a couple of outdoor barbecues so had never experienced the delight of eating smores.  These things are marshmallows toasted on the open fire between 2 Graham crackers with a couple of slices of chocolate thrown in for good measure.  Massively sweet, calorific and definitely not that good for you but really quite scrummy.  Byron's daughter Rowan showed me how to get the outside part of the marshmallow off so you had access to the really gooey middle bit.

Traditional caveman cooking steaks over an open fire -- except for using the Apple 4S iPhone as a timer that is!

And that was it.  The road trip was over.  Many thanks to Byron, Daina, Shea, Sonia, Rowan and Stanley the dog for a really pleasant stay.  Our first cottaging experience was great.

Next stop Bermuda and home.

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