Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

Ontarian Toon

Over the years I’ve put pen to paper (or typed text to Word document) in a variety of locations. Some the more pleasing environments of European holiday destinations, the kaleidoscopic garden at my Leeds home, along with my Uncle Arthur’s orangery which has stunning views of the Great Wall of China……. Incidentally, the latter is a splendid Chinese restaurant in Cleckheaton; Uncle Arthur doesn’t reside close to that particular Seventh Wonder of the World in Asia.

There were also the less salubrious places I’ve plied my penmanship, such as numerous waiting room in a Leeds Teaching Hospital oncology unit, outside of my dad’s hospice room as he laid moribund. Not to mention on one occasion applying quill to parchment  within the boundaries of north east town Birtley.

Today’s visual accompaniments, though, have to be the most serene and idyllic environment I’ve ever written in. I know that’s a relatively subjective statement with no tangible parameters to accurately gauge it’s factuality. However, I submit the comment with a certainty I hold that this’s the first blog I’ve written entirely on Canadian soil.

I’m stopping at a AirBnB residence on the outskirts of Newcastle, Ontario. As touched upon in yesterday’s monologue Sixth Sense & No Sense, during my two week stay in Ontario I’m staying at two residences; this one on the outskirts of Newcastle and the second a family residence in a Ontarian town in the county of Leeds.

This morning I visited the Canadian version of Newcastle. This village significantly smaller than the north east England city that was just over the River Tyne from Gateshead, the town I spent my fledgling years.

There was none of the iconic sights of my childhood such as the three main bridges over the Tyne (High Level, Swing and Tyne), people braving the autumnal chill by wandering around adorning a t-shirt with the words ‘Who the f**k are you looking at’, Bert’s Pie Shop and Micky Thompson’s iconic stamp collection.

Micky’s collection, which he kept in his kitchen cupboard beside his dad’s Bovril jars at their Wells Gardens home on the Chowdene estate where I was raised, attracting visitors from as far away as St Austells Garden’s and Torquay Gardens. His pride and joy a Penny Black he claimed was priceless, but everyone knew was a 1970’s 2nd class stamp he’d coloured in with a black felt tip marker pen.

I managed to get some great pictures of today’s meander around Newcastle village, the place which took it’s name from the city close to where I was schooled, raised and first used the ‘f’ word. It was also great to experience a real Canadian sidewalk sale and vintage car display. A real touch of authentic Ontarian small town living.

Tomorrow I’ll be journeying to Brockville in the Canadian county of Leeds. Remarkably, well a bit anyway, the English city of Leeds in West Yorkshire being the place of my roots, where I returned to reside over 23 years ago.

Some people who live in and around Newcastle city in the UK colloquially refer to it as ‘the toon’. In a further western province of this vast country, on the North American continent named Saskatchewan, they’ve a town called Saskatoon. Today, in the province of Ontario, I enjoyed a very pleasant few hours in Ontariotoon.

Categories: Blogs, fiction, humour, parody

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