31/10/2012

WHOOO-hooo !!!

On my way to Canada I bought Christmas presents for my son and daughter-in-law. One day I walked into Ingersoll town - yes, walked - past lovely houses, half of them already decorated for Halloween, and when I reached Main Street I wandered round the shops looking for Christmas wrapping paper.
Could I find any? Fat chance!
In Tenerife and England, Christmas hit the shops as soon as the "Back to School" stuff had gone. Not so in Canada. Halloween had taken over.
 In the Dollarmart there were Halloween costumes and decorations, Halloween paper plates and candles, Trick or Treat sweetie bags, plastic pumpkins, scary lanterns, glow-in-the-dark skeletons, witches brooms and hats, spiders and rats and cobwebs. But no Christmas paper. I found one solitary pack of holly-decorated napkins and bought those plus a roll of Sellotape to make my own wrappings.

And today, back in Tenerife, I have succumbed to the pressure and laid in supplies for when crowds of neighbourhood kids come knocking on the door. The only English words most of them know are "Trick or Treat" (and those are American) but they all know how to hold out a goodie bag. I admire their costumes, give extra sweets to the ones I know, and take a photo of each group so they know it's not worth trying a return visit on this foreigner!

29/10/2012

IMPRESSIONS OF CANADA - and Quilts


 I arrived in Toronto at eight in the evening, but my body thought it was one in the morning the next day, so my first impressions were absorbed through a fog of fatigue. Large airport, grim-faced staff at Immigration, then a welcoming hug from the son and daughter-in-law I last saw eighteen months ago.  An hour later we were consuming a hearty soup and homemade bread in their home in Ingersoll, and I managed to stay awake long enough to avoid jet-lag.
The next day we went to the supermarket, looked round Ingersoll, and visited a quilt exhibition.

 QUILTS!  At the Victoria Park Creative Arts Centre in Ingersoll there were hundreds of them - hanging on walls, draped over frames, suspended from the ceiling.
I was reminded forcibly of the tapestries women used to make to keep the draughts at bay in castles, because many of these quilts were far too ornate and delicate to sling over a bed - and you definitely couldn't put any of them in a washing machine!


I was stunned - my own efforts at patchwork cushions years ago faded into insignificance in the face of this splendour.
The were quilts for babies, quilts that told a story, special quilts for weddings or birthdays or Christmas.


 The labels on some told me that they had been sewn by one person and quilted by another - a complete industry revolves around this craft, of which the little stalls selling fabric scraps and strips and threads were only the tip of the iceberg. There were even some landscapes made from fabric.


I was too dazed by the variety - and by tiredness - to ask sensible questions of the women - and men - who had laboured for so many hours to produce them, so I will simply let the photos speak for themselves.






                                                                            WOW!
That was only my first day in Canada - watch this space for more impressions.

28/10/2012

RAIN!


This was the view that welcomed us when we opened our terrace door this morning - rain!
I had woken in the night to the sound of it thrashing down, and after nineteen months without rain - our last real rain was on St Patrick's Day 2011 - it was music to my ears.
It's come down again several times again today - long may it last.

27/10/2012

Turn your back for a minute...

 ...well, a month, to be fair, but they've been changing things while I was away.
Down in Las Galletas, a coastal village about eight kilometres from our home, the Government department "Costas" (Coasts) has been busy demolishing buildings that encroach on the beach.
That pile of rubble on the right was a two-storey villa, and the pink three-storey block of apartments is due to go soon.

Next to that is another weird construction with wonky walls which has been there at least thirty years. It's not beautiful, but presumably it has been somebody's home all that time.
Beyond that an Italian restaurant extends onto the rocks - how much of that will be demolished is anyone's guess.
We are all hoping that the tiny fishing cottages which have recently been converted to small holiday homes will survive - they were there long before Costas decided that the coastline should be cleared to "improve the environment" - or maybe, say the cynics, just improve the view for tourists? In other coastal villages whole streets have been demolished, leaving families homeless.


 Further along the promenade, two sewage outfall buildings remain untouched - although as workmen have been extending pipework out beyond the harbour for a year, maybe these ugly blocks are due for the chop eventually.
Who knows?
Meanwhile, this is the view from one end of the promenade - let's hope it improves soon.













And in our community gardens, two banana plants  which showed no sign of even a bud before I left, have produced flowers and bunches of immature bananas in a month - I knew they grew fast, but this took me by surprise.

So, like I said - turn your back for a minute and everything changes!

24/10/2012

HOT hot hot!

The drop in temperature on Monday was a fluke!
Today, inside our apartment it is 26 and outside it is 45. No wonder the crops are withering.
At least one vineyard has had to abandon its attempts to produce a vintage this year, the supply of local bananas and oranges is pathetic, and the potatoes for which the Canary Islands are renowned are double the normal price and hardly worth cooking.
The OH, who is snappy at the best of times, is even worse when deprived of his potatoes.
Bring on the rain!

23/10/2012

WEIRD OR WHAT?

Well, that's weird!
Despite the fact that I have only blogged twice in the month I was away, five people checked in today and seven yesterday - that's more than I get sometimes when I AM blogging!
Either I have a few faithful followers who can't wait for me to get back, or these were random hits. Whatever the reason, I shall return to the fray once I have sorted out my photos, and tell any of you who are left what it was like being a temporary member of the expat community in Canada - and how good it is to be back in my own bed.