Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Southampton Summer – So Far

with 3 comments

Where does the time go? It’s a trite expression, but a true one. Especially when your home turns into a summer cottage for friends and family. Over the last little while we’ve been entertaining guests and baby sitting grandchildren to the point where this blogg has been ignored for want of time and inclination.

Nonetheless, it has been an interesting summer so far. Some would say the tourist crowds are off this year and blame the price of gas. Judging from the traffic on High Street, I wonder. The beach is busy on weekends and gloriously clear of summer people during the week. Although the barge out off Chantry Island is an ugly sight. They’re laying a new water intake on the lake bottom. Sitting on the sand watching, I’m amazed to see a big crane just off shore. It scoops out rocks, sand and water and dumps it all into a giant truck that drives in and out of the lake. Not what you expect to see on lovely Lake Huron.

Southampton’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations kicked off last weekend to a ‘standing room only’ crowd to see “Captain and the Council” a play celebrating the incorporation of Southampton as a village.

A Tall Ship, That’s right – only one visited our harbour.

There were supposed to be two but the other experienced engine trouble and headed backed to Toronto. Judging from the crowds lining the docks on both sides of the river, thought, no one was disappointed. It was a foggy morning to begin with, but around 11:00 AM sunshine prevailed, blue skies appeared and The Playfair sailed into the oldest port on the Bruce Coast. Quite a sight. Next morning when it was outward bound for Owen Sound hardly anyone was there to wave goodbye.

We watched from the Range Light Pier.

There’s a derelict beach that runs out from there. The town never cleans it because there are too many rocks. Not good for swimming or sunbathing.  It’s a wild stretch. Trees driven in by winter winds collect on the shore.  Bent and twisted driftwood piles up. People like to come and take the best pieces to landscape their property.

That morning, I watched an elderly gentleman drag a giant gnarled tree stump up from the beach. He struggled a bit. I offered to help not sure if what he was doing was against the law. Beach theft. He declined my offer. Ultimately a friend appeared and they dragged the driftwood up the rocky hillside, stuffed it into the back of their van and drove off.

By now the Playfair was well out of the harbour and the driftwood absconders well gone.

These are the strange and unexpected things that are happening this summer. And the summer isn’t over yet.

More company is coming. The 150th Anniversary gets into high gear mid-August. And I’m wondering when winter will be here.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

July 30, 2008 at 9:44 PM

Posted in thoughts, Writing

3 Responses

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  1. Why, because man/woman, to this time has not scoured and cleaned this beach do you refer to it as a derelict beach. This is a “natural” beach on the north shore of the town, much admired for its rugged beauty, especially by city cyclists and walkers aching to a brief glimpse of reality. The south beach, the one for sunbathers and toddlers, is cleaned and scoured by dozers, trucks, machines and town workers. The wonder of the town’s waterfront is that it has multiple beaches, each with its own special beauty; Northshore beach, Town beach, Long Dock Beach, Waterworks Beach and South Street Beach. They are enjoyed in different ways–just like bloggers.

    wayne MacDonald

    August 6, 2008 at 9:16 PM

  2. Hi Wayne:

    Perhaps you’re right – the word “derelict” does not do justice to the rugged naturalness of that beach.
    And I do agree with you that its ‘natural’ untouched beauty adds another dimension to what Southampton has to offer. That stretch of road has a charm and attraction for me. The sunsets from that vantage point are marvelous and often missed by visitors. I ride that rode often. And when company comes – that’s the first “scenic tour” we give them.
    I did not mean to disparage it. The word just came to mind when I saw some old tires and parts of a car artfully tangled with the driftwood.

    Thanks for reading my blog and setting me straight.

    Take care.



    August 7, 2008 at 12:42 PM


    Not to worry. The dozers and backhoes have arrived at the north beach and have begun the “cleanup.” Loads of driftwood are on their way to the dump. The north beach, at last, is losing its charm, I assume all in the name of the 150th anniversary. Enjoyed your blog.

    cheers, Wayne Mac


    August 7, 2008 at 6:38 PM

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