Month: June 2012

Transport

Ok, so my last post was typed without use of the space bar, thanks to my dearest darling daughter. This post is written entirely on my phone, (testing the ‘post by email’ function on the blog!) also due to aforementioned daughter *breaking my entire laptop!* I am
internet-less. This also means i am TV-less as i can’t play dvds let alone stream anything, i am skype-less so i can’t talk to Carl and i’ll have to become anti-social(media, that is) too! Waa!
People tend to bemoan my lack of transport rather like i moan about their internet usage – what do you mean you’re not on twitter? What do you mean you don’t have a licence? Etc. I for one would much, much rather be without a car than without my computer. I think i would probably even choose it over Yoshi the bike. There was an article in the metro the other day singing the praises of some bloke who spent a month only shopping in ward 3 of regina – pretty much the area i live in. Oh wow. He shopped *local* and this is newsworthy?! I’ve been doing that since i got here – and he was still using a car too. I think he should try it without the car, restrict his shopping to what can be carried by hand, balanced on a pushchair or tied onto a bike and be forced to take am uncooperative toddler with him at all times. In fact, screw that, just let me write the article next time, ok? Rant over.
Anyway, shopping aside, for the sake of my new bosses’ peace of mind, I have acquired an official Saskatchewan learners’ driving licence. i had to take a written theory test. Again. This time i got 28/30 – not bad since I was having to constantly rotate all the pictures in my head so i could figure out which side of the road i was supposed to be on! It’ll be a while before I can take my road test – 4 different people told me 3 different, contrasting views on whether or not they have ‘reciprocity’ with the UK about swapping licences over, whether this applies to learners licences or whether i have to wait nine months on one sort of licence before I can upgrade to another… Gah. It is so needless complicated and it’s not like I even want to drive anyway! Still, at least now I can legitimately get some practice in, i hope.
I wouldn’t be so laid back about driving if it wasn’t for the thought of Carl arriving soon, and because I have Yoshi the bike.
Unfortunately, you really do need to drive in this city. I am lucky in that the Cathedral area is about the only bit you can walk around, and where it is pleasant to do so. Everything else, supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas etc require a car to get to. The downtown area is mainly pedestrianised, but that is confined to two streets. There is no concept of a town centre or even a high street that you can amble round aimlessly. It all requires a specific destination and intention, which is far too much like organisation to me. An alien concept of town planning.
In this sense at least, Yoshi is wonderful, especially as Miri’s trailer has a lot of space for shopping in the back of it. The other week i navigated all the way down to the blueish hell-hole that is Walmart on it, and got a whole week’s worth of food, and Miri, on to the back. Unfortunatelly all that weight made the back tyre go flat. I naively tried to fix it myself, and broke the pump, bent 2 spanners, covered myself in bruises and oil and got throughly cross with it. It was then i learned a great deal more about my neighbourhood. A few weeks ago, I optimistically attended a “bike maintenance” class at the library – which served to teach me how i *could* have fixed the bike if only i possessed a 12mm socket wrench. By fortuitous accident, I ran into the bloke who ran the class, coming out of Safeway the day after the flat tyre occurred. I explained my woes, and he offered to fix the bike – for free! But with the condition that I brought Yoshi along to an art gallery just a little bit outside comfortable walking distance. Comfortable distance or not, I didn’t have a choice: i couldn’t ride Yoshi, neither could I find anyone to look after Miri while I got on a bus with the bike, and I certainly couldn’t afford to pay the bike shop to fix it instead. So i walked 11 blocks, pushing the bike with Miri in the trailer on the back. And we got completely and utterly soaked. First proper Prairie thunderstorm I’ve
experienced! It hit us about the halfway point so there was no point in turning back, and Miri was OK in the trailer, laughing at Mummy dripping wet…. There were hailstones and everything!
We eventually arrived to find that this bloke was also an artist, and he had an exhibition of paintings and sculptures based on the theme of a workshop – a giant roll of duct tape and the WD40 label done in oil paint and so on – and he was sat in the middle of it all, fixing bikes actually as an art installation!! Bloody brilliant!!
So, Yoshi became a work of art for the evening, and I got a new inner tube, the brakes tweaked and the gears fixed, AND a free shower…. I was seriously impressed and very grateful. But the whole adventure taught me a great deal about this area. Only in Regina….?

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We’re on the move again!!

Only a street away, this time though!

This is going to be a short post because I need to go to bed, and also because Miranda has pulled the space bar off my keyboard and typing this coherantly is very difficult indeed.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, when the parents werehere, Mum got ever so overambitious and started looking up houses for us in Cathedral Village.  After going through the paper several times and finding every house she could under $300,000, she eventually found something more useful – a three bed place in the next street to ours, up for rent! Cathedral Village is definitely not the cheapest part of town, but on Carl’s new income, we can afford it, hopefully. Better still, it’s available from August 1st, which is coincidentally the same day Carl is supposed to start  his new job.

I am very fond of this apartment and I have definitely made it mine in the two months we’ve been here, living above work has been handy, and the location is brilliant, but it won’t do three of us. Having been woken up by Miri at 5.15am this morning and with her not going to sleep until gone 10pm, sharing a bedroom with her is not ideal. Mummy doesn’t get two hours nap time in the middle of the afternoon!! I don’t like being on the second floor with no garden either, and living above the cafe means I occasionally  go a whole week without actually leaving this building! Carl and I are going to need more space when he gets here, so I think it will be time to say byebye to this place!

I signed the tenancy agreement on thenew place this evening and handed over a very large cheque from the Bank of Mum and Dad for the damage deposit (THANK YOU!! AGAIN!!). New Landlord seems a great bloke, not put off by Purple/Blue hair or the prospect of Incoming Ferrets. (woohoo!) So, all is exciting!!!!!

Poor Carl has a hell of a lot to sort out over the next few weeks – redundancy money hopefully, selling the house in Darlington (still!) then worrying about international removals, getting our stuff on a ship, getting the ferrets on a flight and all before starting a brand new job. I’ve been googling shipping companies, but otherwise there is not really much I can do to help him!

It is all coming together, slowly, but there is going to be a lot more stress and expense yet!

the new house!

A U-shaped mouth means “HAPPY!” Ü

Miri has learned that a smiley face means Happy and goes round pointing out things that look happy. This is all very cute and endearing until she applies the logic to the flap-lid on street rubbish bins (which are rounded) and sticks her hand in to the rubbish going “happy! happy!” and I feel so heartless pulling her out and telling her not to….

Had a lovely week with Visiting Parents for the most part, it was great to see them and we had lots of adventures! Poor Miri was very ill at the beginning of the week though and she couldn’t really appreciate the presence of Granny and Grandad to begin with. But she soon got better again and was duly spoilt and generally adored. I finally got to explore a bit more of Regina, and as they had a hire-car, we actually managed to get out of Cathedral Village. They did all my food shopping for me so I didn’t have to cart it back in a rucksack on the bus!! And they dropped me at my Steampunk workshop at the library branch in Southlands Mall, (which was brilliant – I made Ridiculous Headgear involving a steel tulip, copper wire, tiny spoons, a small gold frog and the old valve off the espresso machine). Best of all, thanks to Dad I got a new (old) bike sorted, she is bright green and Ashten named her Yoshi (a proper name for something so green, obviously) and they bought Miranda a trailer to go on the back for her birthday, so I can tow her around. It’s wonderful!

Yoshi and Miri’s trailer

We also went out to Moose Jaw to see Mac The Moose properly and take Miri to the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owls Centre which she loved, and we sploshed around in the pool at the Temple Gardens spa. Lovely!! We also investigated Regina Beach as well- beach in this sense referring to Patch Of Sand On Edge Of Huge Lake. A salty beach is around 1500 miles in either direction from here…. a concept I still can’t really get my head around.

The parents loved Regina, especially this neighbourhood. Mum, in her usual overly-ambitious style, decided to buy the property paper and find me loads of houses which, although lovely, are waaaaaaaaaay beyond our mortgaging capabilities at the moment. She is right though, there are a lot of nice houses around here, and your money certainly goes a lot further here than in the UK. A friend back in Darlington commented on one of my photos, saying the street looked “fairytale like” – I assume that is a good thing (though to me, it immediately conjours up images of long haired women locked up in towers or gingerbread houses and precocious brats burning old women in their own ovens – don’t worry, I don’t inflict my interpretation of fairytales on Miri just yet!) – aaaaaanyway. In Cathedral Village at least, there are no semi-detached houses with annoying neighbours you share a wall with, no terraces, no high rise tower blocks, not even many apartments, no scruffy allotments because everyone has a garden, no graffitti, no dog shit on the pavement, no litter, no smashed up bus shelters, no constant background noise of irate dogs/car alarms/police sirens/people arguing and swearing at full volume and certainly no neighbours playing car-alarm-style “music” very loudly whilst sitting on their doorstep swigging lager at 7.30am on wednesday mornings. In short, no chavs.  It is not quite paradise – there are still police sirens, the potholes, like the roads, are gargantuan, far too many people drive humungus 4×4 trucks to go three blocks, there are a worrying number of Healthy People out jogging often in neon shades of lycra, every weekend I am rudely awakened by enthusiastic bell ringing at the Cathedral and someone even drives themselves there every Sunday in a bright yellow hummer – (WHY?! I cannot think of a single reason why you would ever need to go to church in a tank. This is the prairies, not the Gaza strip!) But apart from that, it is certainly an idyllic world away from Darlington!! AND it’s sunny.

All this is reflected in Me subconciously too, it seems. My friends have commented that this blog and my other writing just seems much more animated nowadays. I am feeling Colourful again, I’ve dyed my hair “ultra violet” and bought myself a neon orange “bunnyhug” (er, hoodie) to go with it – very bright in comparison with the clothes that I brought over here with me, 80% of which were black or purple!!  More significantly, I’ve lost over 5kg in weight since I got here without realising, had no permanent headache and no insomnia or anxiety attacks at all since arriving.

All in all, it’s “big U-shaped mouth” time for me!

Me and the Mother being PURPLE.