Apparently, David Suzuki wants us all to pledge to accept the challenge of spending at least 30 minutes outdoors (“in nature”) every day for 30 days.
Rather embarrassingly, up until this morning I had no idea who David Suzuki is. (a.: an environmentalist). Jess kindly informed me. Equally baffling is why people see spending half an hour outdoors as “challenging”. I do get that the locals really don’t want to be outside in January when its -40ish and you get frostbite in under ten minutes and so on, but surely you must have to at some point? I was outside during the months of utterly stupid temperatures for at least 40 minutes every day, if not longer. I had no choice: I don’t drive and my work was a 20 minute walk there and another 20 minutes back. And then I had to go collect Miranda, and walking the two blocks back from her daycare at Miri-speed usually took longer than 15 minutes again! Now it’s sunny and spring-like finally, I can’t imagine I’m alone in wanting to escape the house, especially after such a ridiculously long winter. It would be a struggle to restrict myself to just 30 minutes now…
Another consequence of the six month long winter was that my beloved trike, Twyla has stayed wrapped in bubblewrap and packing tape since she arrived here from the UK in November. I may have to walk in January temperatures, but I am not daft enough to try and cycle through that much snow!! April was of course, 30 Days of Biking. I eventually unwrapped Twyla on 29th April, so I missed the whole month! Waa!
So, to this end, I am going to take up Mr Suzuki’s challenge AND invent my own belated 30 days of Biking challenge, (because it’s rare that I would cycle indoors anyway!). Here’s some sunny, spring inspired photos of my progress:
Today I received another lovely letter from the very daft Rumble, and I shall quote from it to justify the title of this post:
“… I realise…that the woman herself has died since I started this letter. So what’s the coverage been like in the Canadian newspapers? Please send us all a blog post about how her life and death were represented in the media for Canadians!! Did they care? Tell me they’re not like the American worshippers?!”
She speaks of course, of Margaret Thatcher.
Her death was definitely reported over here, in fact, because of the time difference, I was actually woken up by the great news on my radio alarm at 7am. CBC Radio 1 did their bit to remain as unbiased as possible but to their credit, they did mention the fact that she wasn’t going to be universally mourned, shall we say. At the very least, the coverage negated the need for me to check http://www.isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk/ . But I still did, because it is funny.
So, for anyone else who’s interested in the official Canadian reaction, here’s the main newspaper articles:
(I would be more worried by the Harry Styles fans’ comments, but then, I have no idea who Harry Styles is.) I would say though, that it was not the “best of the web” because that article stayed safely away from the most negative reactions (like my own!) Here’s some of my favourites!
I did tweet “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead” as soon as I could get to the computer on 8th April, but sooooo many people had beaten me to it already. I was far from being a lone dissenter, even here in Canada. My own tweets were relatively tame in comparison with some of the bile, biting sarcasm and/or righteous indignation that took up most of my stream that day. What took me by surprise was the intense negative reaction that my one little Ding Dong provoked from a few (a small few) Canadian tweeps.
So, I should be ashamed for singing a song from The Wizard of Oz, yet the woman who destroyed an entire nation is somehow sanctified in death and hence, untouchable… Interesting use of the word “Classy” too – would that be in reference to Thatcher’s reign over a class war?
“@boxcoach_dan: @LeighPatrick @doctorcoffee Why do the worst of the worst always end up here? Hope she gets ass cancer & dies quickly.”
A balanced retort if ever I saw one. OK, so I am celebrating the fact that an 87 year old woman died. She was hardly going to last forever, was she? But no, apparently being pleased that she finally karked it is Wrong and “grotesque” and shameful, but publicly wishing that an alive, complete stranger gets cancer and dies is a perfectly acceptable. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Tories… Ick.
Fortunately, those were the only negative comments I got. Others were actually curious:
Why does everyone hate Margaret Thatcher? I was under the impression she was a nice PM? Perhaps I am horribly wrong.
We informed her she was indeed horribly wrong. And why. With stats. And bulletpoints. And a 43-reason list. And quotations.
O.O Weeeeelp, I am quite wrong I see. I really had no idea about this lady.
There is obviously a degree of disconnect between the British view of Thatcher (which is highly divided anyway, but based on experience) and the image presented in overseas media and ‘history’ classes! A Canadian friend pointed out that Thatcher was as divisive as former Prime Minister Trudeau Senior, even though he was a Liberal, and from then on, we got sidetracked because, as PM Harper unctuously sped to London for Thatcher’s funeral, this happened:
So now I have to get to grips with Canadian politics, as even though the election is two years away, Conservative/Harper attack ads began against Justin Trudeau just a few hours after he took office. I won’t be able to vote then anyway, but I do need to know who I should support! Lets hope Canada never gets a Thatcher!
Last weekend saw our first ever Thanksgiving celebration! Canada’s official Thanksgiving day is always the 2nd Monday in October, unlike the much later American one. Yet another public holiday though, which was always going to be enjoyable.
I didn’t really understand what you are supposed to do at Thanksgiving. Most people I asked seemed to shrug and give responses along the lines of “Eat too much” or “It’s kinda like Christmas but without the presents.” There were a lot of Good Causes to support, particularly Thanksgiving meals available from the Food Bank and food donation drives to support them. I dropped off a few tins at the collection point in Safeways, as did many others, I sincerely hope someone else donated a can-opener.
I asked on Twitter what Thanksgiving meant.. I got two responses almost immediately. Within those two, 140 character messages, there were EIGHT uses of the word “pumpkin”.
Based on this sage advice, I made plenty of Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin spice lattes at work, and then Weird Things started to occur. We had a visit from a reporter for the local Talk Radio at the restaurant, who wanted to to chat to our customers about Vegetarian Thanksgiving. You can listen to their comments here: RMN%20VEG.mp3
Warning: It was here that I first learned about the existence of Tofurkey. I wish to have my brain rinsed of that idea. Shudder.
As if that wasn’t enough, I made some throw-away comment about this being our first thanksgiving because we just don’t celebrate it in the UK; I got a call back from the same reporter that evening, as she thought our immigration story was interesting. And then she turned up on our doorstep and recorded me waffling about our Big Move and the five-month waiting-for-visa torture.
AND THEN, the next day I got another call from a radio show producer, this time from CBC, inviting me on Craig Lederhouse’s show again. This was in no way connected to the Talk Radio piece, just chance that they’d both contacted me in the same week?! CBC’s piece was live and I had to frantically pedal over to the studios in subzero temperatures after work. Fortunately this left me very little time to get nervous, but also very little time to prepare! They’d asked me to come up with some ideas for what coffees people should be drinking with their Thanksgiving meal! I did try and explain I wasn’t too sure what a Thanksgiving meal actually was, and even I couldn’t dream up a coffee pairing for roast turkey, but I did manage to come up with some suggestions that sounded vaguely plausible, I hope.
Here’s the podcast of my piece. I’m not sure how long it will be up on the site for though.
Strange claims to fame aside, we did enjoy our first Thanksgiving. We feasted and did the whole meal properly, pumpkin pie and all, stuffed ourselves absolutely stupid, jumped in leaves, went out for a walk when it was hailing (a Canadian tradition?) and gave quiet thanks to whoever happened to be listening for the day off… and less flippantly, for radio show invites, pie-appreciating customers at work, mutant turkeys, crunchy leaves and mainly just being here in Canada!!
This fortnight (that means: TWO WEEKS, peoples! Tamara asked me about the word last night, didn’t realise it wasn’t in common use over here) – anyway, the last two weeks have been utterly insane. But, I think I can finally breathe out again, I *think* I have got myself sorted. 13th Avenue Coffee House are posting lovely things on the internet about Doctor Coffee joining their team and welcoming Ugly Cakes to their menu. Roca Jacks have a sign outside with their weekly special: “The Dragon – 24 shots of espresso served in a bucket”. Just wondering if that had anything to do with my somewhat sarcastic comments about the Canadian drink sizes….ahem! And, fingers crossed and again thanks to the amazing kindness of strangers, I may even have somewhere to live after the Big Move in January.
Of course there are still massive decisions to agonize over, like whether I’ll have to come over on my own in January with Carl and Miri following me later – which makes financial sense but no emotional sense whatsoever. I can’t leave my baby!!! Waaaaaa! Let alone what we’ll do with our house, the ferrets and so on.
But for now, I may just let myself relax. Yesterday I did a huge amount of nothing, just writing, ranting, and eating!! I met up with Tamara again to go watch the game (well, we were supposed to be going coffee cupping, but it got cancelled cos The Game takes over everything!). We went to her friend’s house, met some others, and all the men were growing moustaches for Movember, some serious 70s porn taches happening there, very surreal! Our host was a chef and owns a fish shop, so the snacks he’d made us to watch football with were in a different league (geddit?) to ‘potayto chips n dips’! Deep fried oysters anyone?
I didn’t understand Canadian football. When they said “the game” I thought it would be hockey. But no, it’s big blokes in lycra and shoulder pads and helmets, kinda wrestling and falling over, and very rarely kicking the ball. Meh. I still don’t get football, even the British version, but I’ve come to view this experience as some sort of initiation ritual…..
And today, I am going to visit 13th Avenue Coffee House again this afternoon, but for now, I am going for a Stomp in the snow. Weeee!
Lets start with the positives. I AM HERE TO STAY!!! MWUHAHAHAHHAA!!!
So, yes. Yesterday, I went and did my thing on the radio. As I said before, this came about by a total accident – our waitress for the evening at the Fainting Goat restaurant also happens to work for CBC (like the BBC only… er… Canadian). They wanted to get me on the show, but originally I was going to do an interview with Ken from Kave Haz to help promote the place. But that didn’t work out and given today’s events I am very glad it didn’t. Instead, they framed it round the idea that I was over from “London, England” (doh!!) on a mission to bring European style coffee to the Prairies. Apparently this is newsworthy!
Anyway, CBC is huuuuuuuuuuuuge, and I was pretty nervous since it was a live interview. But the lovely woman doing Useful Techie jobs pointed out that if you compare the population of the UK with the population of Saskatchewan, then I probably had more listeners than when I was interviewed on BBC Tees for Doctor Coffee’s Cafe back home!! Craig, the presenter was very charming, friendly, put me at ease and was very professional so the interview was fairly easy. He also put a link to this blog out on facebook!!!!!! AAAAARGH! So, if you are reading this Craig, thanks again!
The response to this five-minute interview has been utterly phenomenal:
Hmmm….! I will visit one day methinks, but probably not today!
And then came the twitter responses; first one from Moose Jaw from the place I was writing Nanowrimo in yesterday:
and then one from 13th Avenue Coffee Shop, who I’d visited last week, resume in hand.
Now this last one turned in to an email, asking me to come visit them the next day. So this morning, after an utterly disastrous time at Kave Haz which will be explained in another blog post, I went down there in the vague hope that they could cheer me up and rescue me from the predicament Kave HAz have landed me in.
They did far, far better than that!!!!
Turns out, they really want to develop the coffee side of the business, as it already houses a restaurant as well. They have only taken over the business recently and seemed to want to make their stamp on the place. And, as luck would have it, two of their staff are leaving in the new year so they are actually looking for somebody to take over!! So they offered me the job. Aaaaaaaaaaand it would be starting in January like I’d hoped, aaaaaaaaand it’ll be full time eventually on a decent wage. Aaaaaaaaand they sounded interested in the Ugly Cake Company, so I may be able to keep that going, Aaaaaaand, they want to use Roca Jack’s coffee, AAaaaaaand they have a proper espresso machine, Aaaaaaaand they also own some property around Regina that they let out, as do their friends, so they can even try and find us somewhere to stay, aaaaaaaaaaaaand, they may even have some contacts to help Carl find some work too!
So absolutely bloody amazing. Aaaaaaaaaaand I got a free burger out of it, which was delicious. Can’t wait to get started now!!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!