Monday, 26 July 2010

Canada Retrospective

So, yeah, Canada. Did I tell you we really like it there? We are so sad we even love Halifax Airport. They have people employed to stand at the top of the stairs leading to immigration control purely to smile at you and welcome you to Canada. How could you not like a country like that? And anyone who has entered the UK recently, particularly through one of the big London airports, may like to compare that description with the ubiquitous scowl and monosyllabic grunt employed by all staff at Heathrow, Gatwick etc.

We spent a couple of days down in Liverpool on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, including Canada Day when we met Jess and she stupified my children. The weather was glorious and we took a picnic down to the Keji National Park Seaside Adjunct where we had a walk and then found a little cove where we could stuff our faces with sandwiches. A cove which we had all to ourselves. If you need any persuading that NS is a good vacation destination, how's this?

In the background are rocks covered with seals, all suffering from eye strain inflicted by my sons' fashion choices.

From Liverpool, we headed off to Prince Edward Island where we had rented a cottage on the beach for a week. We stayed there once before in 2007 and thus were able to justify spending most of our days lazing around in the cottage and on the beach rather than seeing the sights. (In other words, we managed to avoid seeing Anne of Green Gables merchandise for most of the week!)

We did however go into Charlottetown on the day we arrived in order to see Great Big Sea in concert, and they were absolutely fantastic. FB and SB have been GBS fans since they could talk, if not before, and they enjoyed it too. SB in particular had a whale of a time - if we had been allowed to take a video camera in we would have been tempted to film SB instead of the band. He bounced and danced and sang at the top of his voice for the entire concert. The lady standing just to our right spent much of the gig watching my son's performance rather than the band! Just a brilliant evening.

From PEI we went to Sackville, New Brunswick. We stayed there one night because (1) we needed to stay somewhere for one night and (2) we had never been to Sackville before. It turned out to be a nice little university town, although it was pouring with rain the entire time we were there so I would quite like to go back sometime when the weather is better. One little unexpected bonus was discovering that Alex Colville had taught at the University there and that his house was now open to the public as a little gallery. Husband is very partial to Alex Colville, as is SB (we were lucky enough to see an exhibition of his work in Wolfville last year) and we spent a very enjoyable half hour wandering round his house and looking at some great prints.

We finished up with a few days at our regular haunt in Port Williams in the Annapolis Valley. It is always wonderful to see our favourite view of the valley from the window of our usual room in our favourite B&B on the planet.
That's the view I want to gaze at every day when I retire. We did pretty much what we always do. We pottered around the bookshops in Wolfville, visited the cats in the local shelter, went to Tim Horton's (it's the law) and wandered around a selection of the little towns that dot the coast of the Bay of Fundy. We visited Hall's Harbour, home of the famous lobster pound and Husband and I reminisced about how, when we first went there, it was little more than a shed on the quayside where a couple of blokes would sell you the lobster of your choice, cook it in a dustbin full of boiling seawater and then serve it to you out of a hatch in said shed for you to eat, hot and dipped in melted butter, as you sat on the side of the harbour and watched the boats and the fog rolling in. Now there is a proper restaurant and a gift shop and stuff, and that's great because it means jobs and money coming in to the area, but it is somehow less fun.

So instead of eating lobster in the restaurant, we nipped across to the general store for some bags of chips and something to drink while sitting on the harbourside and that was definitely the right choice. The store was like something from a time warp. It sold just about everything and the bottles of water etc were kept in an old domestic fridge - the kind with a big, thick door and a handle you had to pull to open it. The lovely old lady behind the counter calculated our bill using a pen and a scrap of brown paper, and then gave us our change from a cash register that went "ker-ching!!!" when she opened the drawer. Husband would willingly have stood there all day, just listening to that sound.

We were, as always, sorry to leave. The story of how long it actually took to leave the country, I will thrill you with next time.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

We're back!

The Loth clan has successfully returned to its den after the annual Canadian Extravaganza. The lack of posting since we got back on Friday is due to (1) the 2 days it took us to get home and (2) the monster pile of laundry which has been squatting in our upstairs hall threatening to eat the children unless I did something about it.

The laundry has now been beaten into submission and our sleep patterns have just about recovered so I will be regaling you with tales of our travels shortly. I apologise in advance for the level of tedious detail I will be going into - this blog serves as my memory these days so I need to record the events of the holiday for my own benefit. Feel free to skip through the posts if descriptions of my younger son eating fish and chips for 9 days straight don't thrill you to the bone.

Just before I go off to try to cut my grass (it grew three feet in the two weeks we were away) I have to tell you the best bit from the holiday. We were in Liverpool NS for Canada day and managed (this time) to meet up with Jessica from Daysgoby. This was very exciting for me, and Jess, Husband and I spent a lovely half hour or so laughing and chatting. Second Born joined in initially to claim responsibility for stealing crops from Jessica's farm on Facebook and then wandered off. First Born isn't fond of chat unless it revolves around Dr Who and other forms of science fiction, so he too wandered off.

Realising it had gone quiet, we looked around and found this

Yup, the excitement of meeting Jess in the flesh was so great, it sent my children to sleep. On park benches, no less. Jess tells me she is willing to repeat this feat on any other children, for a small fee. Form an orderly queue now.