On phones and pools.

There really is no connection between the two items in my title, except that I have wanted to blog about both of them for a while and just haven’t got around to it.


They say familiarity breeds contempt. And they also say that those who live closest to a major tourist attraction are the least likely to visit it. How many people do I know who have actually never bothered to go to Niagara Falls, despite living so close? A good number.

Here in Brantford we have the Alexander Graham Bell Homestead, former home of the inventor of the telephone, which was invented right here in Brantford! Now I know folks in Boston will argue that point, but we all know the truth. And the very first long distance phone call ever was placed from Brantford to Paris, Ontario.

When Brianna was young she attended a number of summer day camps out at the Bell Homestead. I was always impressed with the quality of programming, and the astounding ease with which the staff could relate any imaginable topic back to Alex and the phone. She learned a lot out there, and had a lot of fun. We still have the spider plant she grew from a cutting from the Homestead greenhouse – because the Bells grew things in the greenhouse, doncha know!

Fast forward to her grade 12 year, and her Canadian History class. This course had essentially a local history curriculum, and the students visited and learned about many people and places from our lovely city. They also did an entire unit on the Bell Homestead. They visited the homestead every week for a couple of months, and each pair of students was assigned one of the rooms to research. They had to familiarize themselves with the contents of the room, their purposes, and also with the general history of the Bell family. Why? Well, on Mother’s Day the Homestead was open for free tours conducted by the students!

Now, I have visited the Homestead many times, whenever anyone comes to visit, and I have heard the tour guides’ spiel over and over, but I have to say, I’ve never heard it done so well as these high school kids did it! Stephen and I went to see the results of Brianna’s hard work and am I ever glad we did! He had never been there, and was suitably impressed both by the homestead itself and by the obvious effort the kids had put into learning their material. He asked lots of questions and not one of the kids was fazed by his questions. If they didn’t know the answer – and most of the time they did! – they went and found someone who did. And I admit, I learned several new things I had never known before. I had never heard of Carrie Bell, nor did I know that Alex’s mother was a painter. Well done, grade 12s!

And the really cool part? They had a laminated Brantford telephone directory from 1930, and I actually found my grandparents’ phone listing! How utterly thrilling was that!!!


Well, just one pool, really, mine. It’s open. And it’s blue. And nothing exploded, imploded, collapsed or refused to work during the opening process. Much to my shock.

Paul came to town to help me open it, since he knows the equipment. I was terrified that it was going to be a complete disaster, as it didn’t get opened last year at all due to the renovations. However, when the cover came off, yes it was green, but not murky. And once we got the salt generator fired up, the green disappeared right promptly. Stephen has been a great help in vacuuming and cleaning it, which has made it much easier. A huge worry off my mind!

Now, why did we open it so early, you might ask. Well, I’m having some work done in my back yard, and as part of the work I will be having all of the lines to and from the pool replaced and buried underground, where they should be in the first place, but aren’t, which is a very long story and not really relevant. The landscaping guy, who also installs pools, said it would be much easier for them to work if the pool was open, so I opened it. During the second week of June my entire backyard will be torn apart and rearranged. Essentially the pool and the pussy willow tree are the only things that aren’t being moved or changed. Stay tuned for updates on that.


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