Saturday, December 19, 2015


The original version of this post contained a strange transcript of an email I wrote to Simon at work asking for advice about Barbours. I was going to bin the post but the comments were lovley so I have cut the boring bit out and put the end bit in, which will explain the comments. Please and thank you. 


I have so much to say on the subject of being back in Blighty after 8 long, long, unremarkable years in Canada that I don't know where to start. If you, my adoring readers and/or fans, have any 'questions' or 'topics', insert them forcefully into the comments box below and I will do my utmost best to answer them.

Pip "Mince Fucking Pies Everywhere and Permanently Drunk - Isn't Life Grand!!" Pip


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.


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