Sunday, October 25, 2015

Things I Will Miss About Canada, Pt 2: Relationship With The Weather

As they are with distance, the people of Canada are as hard as fucking nails when it comes to the weather.

For e.g., here is a Canadian train dealing with snow:

And here is an English train dealing with snow:

"Snow is nothing but trouble", he moaned.  Precisely.

In case the point is not clear enough, I have taken some time out of my "busy schedule" (pronounced "skedjooll", rhymes with "Medjool") to build a simple chart  that will demonstrate exactly what I mean. In it, I compare reactions to various temperature levels, England* vs. Canada**.

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed reader points out that the scale below should be C not F.   And now we may begin:

In the winter in England, all you would have to do to get out of the house would be put on a coat, scarf and gloves and grumble a bit (maybe scrape a bit of frost off the windscreen), and get on your way. In Canada, you have to get special snow tyres put on and stock up on 100L of de-icer - then every day, you:
  1. Check weather the night before
  2. Wake up, see if car is still visible under 15ins of snow, realise it is not
  3. Drink coffee, get dressed quickly
  4. Put on large coat, big boots, insulated gloves, hat, scarf etc
  5. Pick up snow shovel, sigh
  6. Dig car out of snow
  7. Dig drive out of snow
  8. Sweat
  9. Take off large coat, big boots, gloves, hat, scarf etc
  10. Steam
  11. Have breakfast, have shower, put on clothes
  12. Put on large coat, big boots, insulated gloves, hat, scarf etc
  13. Make way to car already under another 4 ins of snow 
  14. Turn on car, hope it starts
  15. Wait for heating to take temperature inside car from -25 to -10
  16. Drive off
  17. Hope to fuck the snowplough has been.
I will miss this very much, and am already preparing myself not to shout CALL THIS COLD? TRY SAYING THAT TO A CANADIAN!!! at the first English person who moans about the cold when I get back.   Still, at least I'll only need one coat. 

Pip "a few degrees off thermals!" Pip


* When I say 'England', I probably mean lily-livered Southerners, of which I am one. As any fule kno, the Scottish and Northerners are as hard as fucking nails and should not be messed with in any circumstances. I cannot speak for the Welsh.
** When I say 'Canada', I mean East Coast Canada, or more specifically Quebec, where I live. As we all know Toronto has semi-tropical climate compared to that of Quebec, and Vancouver's climate is like that of Swansea. I have never been to the prairies, Alberta, the Northern Territories, etc. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Things I Will Miss About Canada, Part 1: Relationship With Distance

English Person 1: I am going to York on Friday.
English Person 2: Gosh that IS a long way from London!
English Person 1: Approx 200 miles according to this AA Map of Great Britain.  Look, there's Sheffield look, caught in the fold.  (Points at page 52.)
English Person 2: How are you going to get there?
English Person 1: I am definitely not going to drive!! It is just under four hours.
English Person 2: WOWEE that IS a long way isn't it.  I mean where would you store the provisions for a journey that long?
English Person 1: The roofrack. That or stop at the 'services' five times for sausages.
English Person 2: What a conundrum.

Me: Do you want to come for Thanksgiving? It will be a 2-night jaunt.
Friends in Toronto: Sure!
Me: Will you fly?
Friends in Toronto: No no, we'll drive, it won't take long.
Me: Are you bringing the kids?
Friends in Toronto: Sure!
Me: How long's the journey again?
Friends in Toronto: Oh, it's nothing. 6,7 hours. A bit longer if we stop for gas.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

List Of Things I Have Learnt While Clearing Out My Desk And Filing Cabinet In Readiness For Transatlantic Move

  1. Penhaligon's 'gift fragrance oils' (3 pack) do not improve with age.
  2. You can't do much with miniature postcards of Czech saints, even WITH their English names scribbled in pencil across the back. 
  3. I am never going to use:
    - the matching crystal envelope opener and magnifying glass in padded blue silken box
    - the packet of Barbapapa stickers
    - the family of finger puppet rabbits
    - a brooch (approx. 6 x 3 cms) of a lopsided monkey in a fez with the face of Coluche
  4. Some pens last forever: Bic Crystal, Staedler Permanent Felt Tip.
  5. I could, tomorrow morning (stamps permitting), send:
    -  25 birthday cards,
    - 30 blank cards feat. 17th century tulips, etc
    - c. 100 postcards of EITHER art OR kittens and puppies.
  6. I have enough loose change to buy an egg and cress sandwich in the early 90s.
  7. I have 7 padlocks.
  8. According to an unpaid bill from 2005, I owe my therapist 300 quid.
  9. I really like a) paperclips; b) tiny clothespegs; c) staples; d) old cheque books.
  10. The inside of my head looks like this: 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

List Of Things To Do Before Moving

  1. Give giant pot to translator
  2. Unlock phone I finished paying for in May 2014
  3. Give unlocked phone (iPhone 4) to husband
  4. Explain to husband how a 'smartphone' works
  5. Check exchange rate
  6. Cry
  7. Find tax accountant and financial advisor, pref. called 'Alan' or 'Bryan'
  8. Plan leaving party. Order gin and sausages
  9. Empty cupboard x 5
  10. Empty chest of drawers x 3
  11. Listen to Tutti Frutti by New Order 14 times in a row while folding socks
  12. Remember have promised husband and Moving Man Robin that will reduce books by c. 25%
  13. Stare at Ulysses, Clarissa and In Parenthesis and remind self again how much loathe them
  14. Keep them anyway 
  15. Reduce books by 10% but tell husband is 20% and say IS BOOKS glaring and tutting
  16. Celebrate 46th birthday and note that a) still as fat as ever; b) next stop 50
  17. Look for houses "within 3 miles of" Royston with room for chairlift
  18. Go through photos. Throw away pics of places or people I cannot name. Reduce pics by 90%
  19. Go through emails/letters, 2000-2006. Throw away ones that remind self of poor taste in men
  20. Go through emails/letters that remind self that took self too seriously. Reduce pile by 100%
  21. Count cake tins. Reduce from c. 18 to 4
  22. Count vegetable peelers. Reduce from c. 5 to 1
  23. Sit on floor reading Nancy Mitford on top of emptied contents of filing cabinet & desk
  24. Check date of flight (7th November) seven times, but tell everyone is 8th November
  25. Eat cookies made for husband straight from freezer while folding pants
  26. Pick crumbs out of ladyparts.

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Date Approaches

Yes, adoring readers and/or fans, I will be leaving Montreal forever* on the 8th November. On the 16th November I start what is known in some circles as "a new job" doing something completely new (but related), which I will draw a veil over for the moment (hem hem).  In the meantime, progress is as follows:

We have found a removal company.

Referred by friends with exacting standards and a lot of books, Robin the Removal Man is 71 and follows me around with a clipboard saying things like: 

  • That box?
  • The cat?
  • Wine cellar?  (Answer: NO, I DRANK IT.)
  • Are you sure?
  • I wouldn’t if I were you.
  • Forty cubic metres, probably.

He doesn't eat biscuits when you offer them to him, but he DOES put them in his pocket 'for later' when he goes.

I have learnt how to fold clothes.

I spent c. $13 on a book having read an article about the author, a lady called Marie who likes folding socks.  The book was a bit of a let-down as it contains lot of chat about socks having feelings and thanking your t-shirts but not many pictures.  

She has her own version of "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" (which we all know because we are not idiots), suggesting that you only keep things that "spark joy". By this definition I'd be surrounded by bottles of Viejos Robles cornershop wine (c. $10), the veterinary pathologist to whom I am married, and back issues of Which? Magazine so I’ve ignored that bit o’ wisdom, but I have paid attention to the following:

Tidy up by category not by room.   For e.g.,  get all your clothes/books/hats/photos/letters etc out at a time, don’t do it by room.  It works.  Incidentally, here is some of my own advice on clothes culling. Get rid of things if:

  • you look like a twat in it
  • you haven't worn it since you last moved continents in 2006
  • it has cat wee on it.

Folding is fun!! No. Really. I am serious. T-shirt video here. Do it. Fold your socks. It makes room in drawers and makes you feel like an adult.

Do not categorize clothes that are a bit shit as 'loungewear' and keep them.  Hers is a more ladylike version of: "girlfriend, self-respect starts with not spending your life in baggy track pants and gigantic stained t-shirts with holes in - get some fucking pyjamas!".   Following this advice has freed up approximately 80% of storage space in my house. True.

Avoid 'storage solutions'.  'Storage solutions' are just expensive boxes for you to put your crap in.  Deal with the crap.

I have rented a flat (for a bit)

You do not need me to tell you that renting in London is a fucking joke. If you do not want to live in a flat full of depressed cockroaches with bloodstained sofas, you have to spend the equivalent of  $5,000 a month and commute for 2 hours.  I have gone all AirBnB and rented a flat in Brook Green for 3 months from a psychotherapist called Stephen until the veterinary pathologist with whom I share my life (and fleas) gets his visa and moves over. Then we'll move to the country and I will do a real commute, and a part of me will die inside, and I will make brave noises about "really switching off!" and "doing tons of reading on the train!". 

That is the update for now. If you have any informations to share I am ready for them. Until then, I remain over-excited and unfocused, as if left alone in a Hula-Hoop factory overnight. 

Pip pip ! 



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