Stuart MacLean on The Vinyl Cafe

I was listening to Stuart Maclean on his show The Vinyl Cafe today on CBC Radio. For those of you who don’t know, Stuart Maclean is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humorist, and host of CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe.


For you in the United States, I think you can listen to Stuart through his podcasts on his website.

Stuart’s radio show usually includes a reading of one of his stories, which, told in Stuart’s style are always entertaining. Today’s was no exception. Stuart MacLean was playing live from a place called, Bracebridge Ontario, which I believe is in Cottage Country in Ontario, Canada.

His opening this morning as he described Bracebridge was bang on for cottage goers like us.

His descriptions of how Bracebridge comes to life in April as the cottagers return is so accurate and so much like the way our particular cottage country comes to life in April.

Stuart Maclean’s description of cottage season, was written so well that even on the radio it translated to mental images that I could certainly relate to. I only wish I could write as well as Stuart Maclean, but alas, I am a mere hack when it comes to the written word.

I loved his observation of how in cottage land, for plumbers, there are two seasons, “water on” and “water off” which is so true. The water supply is such a marker of cottage life for those of us seasonal dwellers.

Spring in cottage land is an era of tradition. Opening the cottage on a particular weekend, often this weekend, “May 24th” We do things in order of importance, for instance, getting the water on, the boats out, the wharf in the lake.

Cleaning the accumulated dust and cobwebs from the camp, airing out the bedding, lugging firewood for those cool Spring nights.

Then there are the outboards that need to be started, to see if they will run again another year without a tune-up. Windows to be cleaned, screens to be attached again, some needing repair as they always do, door hinges that need to be sprayed with WD-40 to quiet the squeak, and leaky pipes that need to be repaired.

The grass needs to be raked, to gather up last fall’s leaves, and to rejuvenate the lawn, that usually consists of weeds and green stuff with a little grass showing up here and there, but mostly weeds.

Usually a dead branch or two to be cut up for firewood, and this year, a tree down in the woodlot needing to be made into firewood before it rots.

Every year we try to do at least one home improvement to the summer cottage. This year for us it is a new living room couch and chair, and hopefully, if all goes according to plan, a new front picture window with screens on either end to allow for a cool lake breeze on a warm day.

Well…I am no Stuart MacLean, but I try hard….Since my daughter gave me her guitar, I’m actually thinking about a new career in music.

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4 thoughts on “Stuart MacLean on The Vinyl Cafe”

  1. When I was growing up in Toronto’s deepest, darkest suburbia (aka Scarborough), Bracebridge was indeed cottage country to me, AND it had quite a famous Santa’s Village, which I believe finally closed.

    As for your musical career, might I suggest a stylist? I’m not sure blonde is quite you. ;)))

    And I love Stuart!

  2. Yes, nice shot! Kind of Greg Keelor-esque (Blue Rodeo).

    Santa’s Village is still going strong.

    As for Stuart McLean, I used to listen to him when I worked in Algonquin Park (could only get CBC up there). He is a great story-teller.

    Hadn’t heard him for years, but caught a Vinyl Cafe just last week while driving up to the cottage.

    He was telling a story about three generations of men and a fish head they would wear on their belts.

    Strange story, but hilarious in Stuart’s breathy, almost constipated/asthmatic sounding cadence.

    As for the weather. I had to go to a race in Montreal this weekend, which guaranteed great weather at the cottage. You’re welcome.

    I’ll apologize in advance for the cold, wet next weekend as I’ll be at the cottage once again.