False Spring? I hope not!

In the middle of February I greatly enjoyed sitting in my office or my apartment and watching the snow fall. It was quite magical. In total we probably had about 10 cm, enough to cover the ground and make everything into a winter wonderland. Normally here there is a period when the ground is covered by grey snow as it slowly melts. In the corner of the parking lots there are piles of the white stuff, bulldozed there by the clearance teams. This year it warmed up from about the 18th of February and most of the snow disappeared very rapidly. I woke one morning to see a digger loading the snow into large trucks in our apartment parking lot. It is taken away and dumped somewhere. There must have been at least six or seven loads. It was probably necessary to do this, because the piles take a very long time to melt, and the snow was heaped in the guest parking. It provided an insight into the workings of Canada in the winter, and perhaps even into the cost, as I’m sure this service will appear on the bill.

Continue reading

‘January brings the snow, makes your feet and fingers glow’.

It is most unusual for the first of the month of the year to have come and gone without my having prepared a new blog. I’m not quite certain what happened. I can only think it was a combination of the pressure of teaching and preparation which distracted me. There is quite a lot to report, both events of the past month and ones for the next few months. I have been, and will continue to be, busy.

Continue reading

Lobsters, causeways, ferries and biting insects: what we did on our holidays

When we went to Nova Scotia in August it was with enthusiasm and ignorance. There were lots of people ready to encourage us in our folly here in Waterloo. How cool it would be, what to do, etc.

Those three land masses: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island look so small on the atlas, so extraordinary, so outward-bound. What kind of people can survive there and how? The ragged coastline means fishermen and sailors. We knew that lobster and other crustaceans is a major export and that it attracts tourists, though this was a bit of a deterrent to one vegetarian visitor.

Continue reading

Hamstrings and Winter

The winter here seems interminable: for the last week of February we had record cold temperature. On one memorable day, schools were cancelled as it was considered to be too icy for the students and, perhaps more importantly, the school transport. This is beginning to become a bit depressing. Outside the school and the apartments are huge snowbanks that may take months to melt. I am beginning to grasp the reason for the phlegmatic Canadian temperament. There is very little to be done except book a short break to Florida.

Continue reading