Friday, March 18, 2011

My kingdom for a pond

My Kingdom for a Pond

By Manfried Starhemberg
I finally realized what is missing in my life: a pond. Every one of my friends and acquaintances has one, or the more affluent have two of them. Living in Sutton I just realized that I am of the pariah class of the pondless. No pond, not even a puddle. Nothing to show for here. I am doomed to exist pondless unless someone out there is willing to sell or lease me an inexpensive pond within easy driving distance of Sutton.
We used to live in a lovely new England town on a road called Pond Street. And we owned the pond. It was narrow, just about 30 meters across but about 90 meters long. Spring fed, it was crystal clear and in the late 70's and early 80's we had trout and carp in it.
I still cherish the evenings in winter when we put up "luminaria," the old Italian sport of putting sand and a candle in a brown paper bag. We lined the pond with those and watched our and the neighborhood kids skate. I had built a triangle of steel, weighted with concrete blocks which I towed across the ice behind my Montgomery Ward 8 Hp. tractor to pretend I was a Zamboni. Well, it worked. For the adults we would make a snow bar with bottles stuck into the top to keep them cold.
Not being a Canadian, I am not a born skater - actually to this day I can only do figure 8 turns to the right - but what fun it was then.
Now I am dreaming about having a small floating houseboat (well, an 8 x 16 ft barge with a roof) where Nancy and I could laze about on a lovely summer's evening, perhaps a hibachi next to the cooler and a moderate boombox to add a touch of Schubert or Sibelius to the hedonism of the day...
My friends do not do anything with their ponds - they own them, that's it. Six people I know that own ponds have never swum in them - they have adjacent swimming pools. A man I do some work for sometimes forgot that he had a pond because when I commented about it he said, "Yes, I remember there is some water in back of the estate which is why I cannot sell that part or build there..." This is one of the most unspoilt ponds I have seen hereabouts.
A German acquaintance of ours tells everyone who wants to know that "I havve zwei lakes." For her the two meager ponds are lakes. This is why she is a successful real estate lady. Everyone has a pond but she has two "lakes."
My other hobby is the building of model ships. I just finished a lovely steamship with a real steam engine in her. She needs a pond, don't you think? There is also a 4 ft fully rigged tall ship upstairs, a Victorian area excursion steamer, an America's Cup yacht ready to challenge all comers. And yet, no pond.
Well, I'll probably die pondless but the dream is very much alive. Every morning when I drive through the lovely townships on my bread delivery rounds I see those serene dots of unused water beckoning me to give them life.
Anyone have a cheap pond?

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