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Monday, February 17, 2014

The A-frame A-list: On offer - Canada's sexiest baseboard heater

new electrical service - check
In a recent post I mentioned Lesley Kenny's fine Descant blog. Although I did not meet Lesley at the Purdy Picnic last summer, I distinctly remember seeing her - in the famous outhouse, intently scanning the once-autographed walls with a flashlight. "There's a true investigative journalist," I thought. And I was right.
wet basement sorted out - check

new chimney - check

In the January 22 Descant post Lesley shared her interview with WIR Katherine Leyton* and spoke about a fund-raising idea that had sprung out of something the A-frame restoration architect Duncan Patterson had said at the Monarch Tavern event on January 20, and expanded upon in a CBC interview with Carol Off the following day (Part 2, two-thirds of the way through the segment).
new power pole, new driveway - check

The challenge. In exchange for a donation hefty enough to fund one of the needed upgrades for the A-frame (think spray-foam insulation, think septic tank) the lucky donor would receive recognition: his/her name inscribed on the bankrolled item. The idea of the Michael Enright septic pump was floated. And took off.

Descant introduced the idea, and commenter R.W. hit on a poetic crowd-sourcing inspiration - posting a list of needed items and their costs. A flurry of emails between Jean and Duncan, dips into Al's poems for the proper literary authority, vetting by the academics and the "A-frame A-list" was born. On the list: a writing cabin ceiling, a firewood shelter, a well pump, or a tree....

barnboard and windows replaced - check
Response has been encouraging. To date Purdy fans have purchased two ceiling fans an exhaust fan, a bench and a sump pump.

Interested? For the full list, go to Lesley Kenny's January 24 post on the Descant blog.

Much more fun than clicking that green donation button at

But either way, do consider a donation.

As Duncan says "every dollar helps."
Now we need a deck for our red lounges
* Another engaging interview with Katherine can be found on the CWILA website,

Poets at Home - the Al Purdy A-frame Writer in Residence program

the A-frame will soon be home to writers
As my father would have said "I wouldn't have given much for its chances". For years we thought we were about to lose Al and Eurithe Purdy's A-frame, that poetic landmark on Roblin Lake, to demolition or developers. Now, thanks to heroic effort by Jean Baird and friends, the A-frame has been purchased, is being renovated, and in July 2014, will welcome its first writer in residence Katherine Leyton. 

The 2014/15 writers in residence were announced at an event organized by our own Duncan Patterson and  held on January 20 at the Monarch Tavern in Toronto. An  interview with Katherine was posted by Lesley Kenny on her Descant blog. That was the post that led to the now-famous response by RW...but that's another story.

the deck will be rebuilt and filled with life

the sun will soon shine again on the writing room

This post is about the have-to-pinch-myself-to-be-sure-it's-real feeling when I stop to think that there will be writers once again living at the A-frame. Writing. Interacting with the community. Holding readings on the deck.

 Katherine will be the host of the Second Annual Purdy Picnic which will be held in Ameliasburgh on Saturday July 26. Jean Baird introduces Katherine in this interview posted on the APAFA website.

And those writers in residence? Here's the complete line-up of writers who will be living and working at the A-frame in 2014/15: Katherine Leyton, Sue Sinclair, Nick Thran, Kath MacLean, Laurie Graham, Rob Taylor and Helen Guri. 

*There was another great interview with Katherine by Lesley Kenny in 'Canadian Women in the Literary Arts' online.

Stewart Jones - 'Painter in Residence' at the Al and Eurithe Purdy A-frame

Recently the Aframers heard from Wellington-based artist and gallery owner Stewart Jones. Stewart has recently moved to the area and opened his gallery called Studio House PEC, Stew had been in touch with Michele L, the original local A-framer last year, and recently contacted Jean Baird with an offer.Stewart writes: "I would gladly offer to do an oil painting of the A-frame and have you auction it or sell it and take the $ to put into the renos. I have been a fan of Purdy since high school and would love to do what I can to help the community." Amazing offer. You can be sure Jean got in touch with us right away.

So, at this point the hope is that we can raffle (or offer at silent auction) Stew's painting during the PEC Authors' Festival this coming April. Stay tuned.

And if are in Toronto February 20 - 23, you can see Stew's work in person at the The Artist Project, Exhibition Place. Booth 402. If not, visit the gallery Facebook page, with its link to Stew's on-line store.  And if you're in Wellington Ontario, visit the gallery at 169 Main Street. There's a new show featuring the paintings of Peter Rotter opening March 22.