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Barrie Doyle and I are having our second annual lunch at Flynn’s Traditional Irish Pub on the corner of Main and Robert streets in Penetanguishene.
I remember the place from the 1950s when it was the Toronto Dominion Bank, its liquid assets then somewhat different than they are today.
We are each working our way through a Blarney Burger. Fried egg, Irish rasher, cheddar and Flynn’s sauce — an Irish breakfast on a bun.
Barrie is an old Toronto Telegram hand, coming to the paper in the 60s just about the time I left. He was with the Toronto Star in Washington during the Nixon years, and went on to public relations and teaching.
He is now retired (although that is hardly the word for someone who has just recently turned out three successful novels) and living at Balm Beach.
Ebullient, full of good humour and good nature, interested in everything from travel, to journalism, to politics, he is the ideal lunch companion.
We share a lot in common, including our alma mater (Ryerson) and our Welsh/Irish heritage.
His most recent novel, The Prince Madoc Secret, was to be the third of a trilogy, The Oak Grove Conspiracies, but his fans are demanding another book, so the trilogy is evolving into a series.
The books span time and place, from the 12th century to the 21st, from Wales to Istanbul, the United States, Canada, and a myriad of places in between.
They are full of action and intrigue, with heroes turned villains, and villains heroes.
These days, authors are not only expected to write books, but to market them as well, and Barrie has been on the road a lot lately doing exactly that — Mississauga, Alexandria, Virginia, Washington, D.C.
This Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29) he will be at Chapters in Peterborough. He will probably have with him a four-foot replica of a 700 AD broadsword.
It is a great prop.
But he has learned that he can’t take it everywhere.
“I think it is better that I leave it at home when I am going into the States these days,” he says, taking another bite of his Blarney Burger.
Sylvia Sutherland is a journalist and was Peterborough’s mayor from 1985 to 1991 and from 2007 to 2016.