11.08.10 Ottawa

‘Be flexible’ was the order of the day, and indeed what was scheduled to be a busy day getting team facilities set up at the range turned into a quieter than expected day: the range was not ready to let us set up camp, so that job has been postponed to Friday morning.

The Captain had called a team meeting for 0900, allowing many of the team what is likely to be a rare chance to sample a ‘Full Canadian’ breakfast in the hotel restaurant (the aptly named ‘Delicious Steakhouse’). This could be considered a good lesson in how the financial markets work, as dollars were expended in exchange for pounds gained, in large quantities by some.

The Team Management’s early visit to the range prevented the rest having a fruitless trip, and a further team meeting ensued to develop an alternative plan. This gave the team doctor a chance to provide further medical tips of the day, prime among them: while hydration is essential in the high temperatures and humidity being encountered, eating a healthy (?) balanced diet including some crisps should provide all the necessary salts and minerals.

With bear hunts now being off the menu, a quiet day ensued for most, though the Vice-Captain still found time to demonstrate his nature-loving side by feeding the ducks while on a visit to the historic Watson’s water mill in nearby Manotick.

The team seemed to gravitate together at dinner, with two options topping the polls: the gourmet contingent headed into Ottawa for some fine dining while the majority found their way across the road from the hotel to the local ‘Pub’, the Cock and Bull. The latter had an ambience reminiscent of many a good British local, with all horizontal surfaces sticky enough to capture firmly anything that wasn’t kept moving (that’s what your right arm is for . . .). Nevertheless, the food was good and the proximity to the hotel is likely to ensure it becomes a regular watering hole.

The staff were also most helpful and provided the information that there was a large fireworks competition taking place at the Casino in Hull (the city in Quebec, just over the river from Ottawa, not the one near Grimsby). Being enthusiastic dabblers in things explosive and pyrotechnic, two vans of adventurous explorers set off for the bright lights, arriving in time to see the crowds dispersing at the end of the show. Not wishing to waste a good journey, the adventurous explorers decided to sample the bright flashing lights inside the casino as an alternative entertainment. A few of the more intrepid members ventured to test the facilities. However, a close eye was kept on the team Treasurer: although the opportunity to recover the full tour costs in one go was very tempting, the majority weren’t quite convinced the plan would work.

It was the Vice-Captain (again - what a busy day he had!) who led the way at the gaming machines, returning a profit of over 1000%. While this may sound impressive, he had to sit amongst the grannies to do it, and never strayed from the 5 cent slot machines. With an initial stake of a massive $2, his winnings would barely have bought a round of drinks for two people! At this point most of the team (almost all of whom had now converged on the casino, the fine diners only after a protracted tour of downtown Hull due to scant directions and major roadworks) decided to call it a night and retired to the hotel. A small core of the younger, energetic members, suitably chaperoned, concluded that the night was yet young, and that downtown Hull should be explored further while the shooting programme was still a day away. . . they were heard to return to the hotel in the small hours...