Monthly Archives: September 2015

My Kingston Cana-Diary. Getting Chilli. Here Goes The Sun!

Whenever they mentioned ‘Winter is Coming’ in Game of Thrones, and the characters in said TV show speak of how bitterly cold past winters have been, I think, bleedin’ wimps, I could handle ANY level of cold people’s least favourite season could throw at me. Now I’m not so sure. Here in Canada the weather seems to change suddenly – not gradually. All I’ve been used to is sunshine and high humidity for three months solid. However, the last two days we’ve had heavy rain and an unmistakable and discernible chill in the air. I’m feeling apprehensive. My mind is now turning to squalls, ice storms, frozen lakes, snow drifts, white walkers and that proposed wall separating Canada and the US, as suggested by some nutty right-wing American Republican. Am I living amongst the Wildlings? I’m fairly certain that’s not wolves’ fur within the lining of my jacket.

Game of Thrones

Pronunciation of certain words over here still never cease to surprise me. Take the name ‘Craig’. In Canada it’s said as ‘Creg’. Vague is pronounced ‘Vaa-g’, not in the correct, expected fashion ‘Vay-gu’ :). There’s a smaller town close by too. Portsmouth. Canadians call this ‘Ports-mouth’ – not ‘Ports-mut’. Snooker is ‘Snuk-er’. Spuky isn’t it. I mean spooky.

We went to Ribfest a few weeks ago. A celebration of all things meat and beer. Plaid shirts and backward caps essential wear of course. People do love to eat Corn on the Cob over here. And the corn cobs are huge. Smothered with butter, it’s best to eat them with those little pins shaped like miniature corn. You know the ones, see below:

corn holder

I know I may have mentioned before how pungent the odour from a skunk’s emissions is.  I’ve only caught the scent after driving over the carcass of the dead animal, and it is strong, especially if the poor beast was recently run over.  I can only describe the smell as being very similar to the whiff you might get if you were socialising at a dub-reggae night held in a club over a coffee shop in Amsterdam with Tricky and Snoop in attendance. If you get that sprayed onto you – you’d better rearrange any impending job interviews.

I must mention that we were at Kingston’s Chilli Fest this weekend. Basically you wander about eating chilli, cooked up by various organizations and businesses, then, after you’ve eaten your fill, you vote for your fave spicy concoction.  Take that Mexico! Cold ain’t nuthin’.

Bye-bye, Summer.

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My Kingston Cana-diary. I’m calling part 6, controversially, following part 5.

Well it’s been 2 and a half months since I moved from Ireland to Canada. I’ve been lucky. I sometimes think it must be easier for people half my age to emigrate. For them, the world is their oyster. It’s an exciting quest. I’m older, more cynical, and miss home. It’s harder to leave your comfort zone when you’re decrepit and supposedly wiser. I was so familiar with many things in Ireland, the minutiae of daily life was mechanical. The TV I would watch, the food I would eat, how people speak back home, those streets I know so well. Over here I have to relearn many things. However, as mentioned earlier I have been very fortunate. My girlfriend and her wonderful family have been so supportive. I wonder how the young and the restless from Ireland up sticks and relocate without certainties. I suppose it’s a case of when needs must. They are the brave and the adventurous

The world is a much smaller place nowadays thanks mainly to the advent of the internet. We don’t know how easy we have it. All Irish migrants before the mid-90s had it much harder. No email, no Skype, no Facebook. I mean I can watch all the TV channels I’m familiar with from home over here. Bit weird watching Countdown and Fifteen to One at 8 in the morning though. Sometimes I even miss RTE. Then I take my brain medicine and this pining ceases.

There was an article featured in the Journal.ie about foods you can obtain in Canada that are not available in Ireland. The inference was they should be, because they’re delicious. Don’t be fooled. Some of these products are manky (or gross if you’re a Canadian). Montreal meat, butter tarts and the hot dogs here are all delicious. Poutine and Kraft dinners are not. For Kraft dinners read Koka noodles. I suspect the premise of the article should really just refer simply to foods you cannot get in Ireland. End of story.

Montreal Smoked Meat

http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/canadian-foods-2333451-Sep2015/

I still get confused here and there. On a rainy day last week (which is the first rain I’ve experienced since arriving) we took a trip to Costco, a huge wholesale supermarket which requires annual membership. They have greeters at the entrance. As I passed wheeling my trolley I was asked, “Would you like me to wipe your cart”. Much confusion arose. I thought she was offering to wipe my glasses for me. A cart is something you build as a kid, race down a hill and break both your wrists.

Motorists can turn right on red lights over here. This is apparently due to the energy crisis of the 70s. It was an every little helps approach, designed to keep cars moving in order to preserve fuel.

I spoke before about how Tim Hortons, depending on geography, can change the ambiance radically from restaurant to restaurant. My fave is on Princess Street. It’s full of colourful characters. I mean if you’re going to have a family argument, don’t stay home, get oneself down to Tim Hortons. Everyone wants to see you air your dirty laundry. I also love the way the centre portion of ringed donuts isn’t discarded. They take about 10 of them, put them in a box, and proceed to sell them as ‘Timbits’. Yummm!

Brandine and Cletus

Just watching Countdown and the conundrum turned out to be ‘Badminton’. I’ve been pronouncing it ‘BandminGton’ all my life.

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