A Gift from Brigadier Bill Reid

For a certain group of Islanders, describing our house as “Brigadier Reid’s house” is sufficient. Brigadier Reid, his wife Eunice, and their children lived at 100 Prince St. for many years before us.

While we know bits and pieces of the Reid family’s history, most of our experience of them is through the bits of pieces of their life that remain in the house. Brig. Reid, for example, was very much involved in the Scouting movement, and you can see evidence of this in the many whistles that are hidden behind closet doors and in the very far back of drawers.

The only structural downside of our house is that its roof is very prone to generating icicles: two of the last three years we’ve had severe ice problems, the first time around enough to cause water to stream down the inside walls of the house.

Some of this is simply due to the nature and age of the house, the rest of it is oure own fault for not cleaning out the gutters in the fall.

Again this fall we procrastinated (see note below about our tendency in this regard), and neglected to get to this. Yesterday, however, was a Good Fine Day: warm enough to work without gloves, and not a spot of snow to be seen.

So Catherine put Oliver up for his nap, and we headed out to the back yard to get the wooden ladder that the Reid’s had helpfully left for us.

When we placed the ladder on the back side of the house and climbed up to gutter height, we were dismayed to find that it just didn’t reach quite far enough — we needed about four feet more to reach as high as we needed to go.

Reconciled to going gutter-full for another winter, I suddenly recalled that there was a twin of the ladder in the basement. Catherine scrambled down to bring it up, and, sure enough, we found that it was more a siamese twin: it was part two of an extension ladder, part one of which we had up the side of the house.

After some rearranging, slotting and sliding, we had the two ladders married, and had all the height we needed to clean the gutters and more.

And so, two hours later, we were the happy owners of a house with a spotless, free-running set of rear gutters (we’re hoping for another balmy day soon to do the front).

Eunice Reid died this fall, and we were out of town for the wake, so didn’t get a chance to pay our respects. To the Reid family: thank you for providing us with a wonderful house. And to Brig. Reid, thanks for the gift of an extension ladder.


Alan's picture
Alan on December 25, 2002 - 16:00 Permalink

While I expect that this is a matter you have received masses of advice upon, two bits of information I gained in the Near North of Pembroke Ontario might be helpful. If you have water entering the house, you likely have what they called an ice jam — a wall of ice built up in the gutter which allows a pool of water behind it. Lee Valley, I think, sells a heating cord that can be put at the lower end of the roof in a zig-zaggy manner to keep openings in the ice and allow the water to flow. The other thing is that ice forms mainly on a warm roof. If you insulate your attic at either its floor or behind walls and ceiling keeping an airspace and the outer roof as frigid as the outside air, no ice jams form at all. That being said, taking an axe to roof ice was an Ottawa Valley hobby made possible on repetition by deep drifts below.

Christopher's picture
Christopher on December 26, 2002 - 18:38 Permalink

Taking axes, etc to ice dams on my mother’s roof led to Messrs Two-Els, Leclair, Ogg Bro #5 and your humble servant reshingling said roof on the hottest weekend of the year a year or so back. (Not that we planned it that way: we carefully waited till Labour Day weekend as it would be cooler. Or so we thought.) Some hobbies may best remain in the Ottawa Valley.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 27, 2002 - 14:56 Permalink

Oh, agreed. Get the roof cold in the first place…

Bill Reid's picture
Bill Reid on April 27, 2004 - 15:10 Permalink

Hi Peter
Recently came across your post at 100 Prince.Brought back many memories.Hated to see it go, but time for new owners…. Great to hear you folks are enjoying it now. Except for the ice dams etc…We spent a lot of time on the old extension ladder doing the storm windows and leaves…
Regards to you, Cathering & Oliver
Bill Reid (Jr)