The Awakening

It’s day five of my sojourn in the land of the maple leaf. Yesterday commenced with a Canadian breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, accompanied by bacon and sausage whilst diner in situ. A Brockville eatery next to a rail track crossroads providing me with an authentic North American continent experience which I seek on this journey.

I’m pretty determined to avoid visits/experiences that are at my day to day disposal back in the UK. After all, what’s the point in flying thousands of miles to sample the wares and aesthetics of a global franchises which are at my fingertips in Leeds, UK.

For the two weeks I’m across the pond I want to broaden my horizons culturally. Sampling the delights on offer in Leeds county, Ontario, as opposed to those ordinarily readily available in my home city of Leeds, West Yorkshire.

What contrasts from home have I experienced/noticed in my first few days in Canada?

Well, firstly I was struck by how small and, on occasion, hard to locate flush handles are on toilets in this vast country. Already, the stealthiness of these flushing mechanism triggers have caused momentary flights of panic on my part.

Being unable to flush a toilet, particularly after a number two, is number one in the list of most terrifying things to be confronted by when guesting at a family’s home. Closely followed by the toilet flushing after a bowel movement, and the air freshener has run out and the windows are jammed stuck.

Incidentally, I apologise if you’re of a sensitive disposition or eating (or indeed both) whilst reading the last two paragraphs. Don’t worry, though, I intend to move onto another topic presently; subsequently, ceasing your literary ordeal by ablution.

My hosts are a lovely, warm, welcoming family whose geniality and engaging company have greatly enhanced my visit. Linda, Mathias, Lexx, Sammy, Justin, Brandon, Jair and Michaela making me feel like part of their brood; to their great credit putting up with my capricious flights of whimsy without feeling the need to drive me straight back to the airport, or taking out a restraining order.

My over the top mischievousness and attention seeking in the presence of an audience, thus far, not leading to them rescinding their kind invitation to visit their beautiful country and wonderful 160 year old home. This construction built at a time when a few miles over the border in the US a civil war raged.

As I start this paragraph it’s 11.35am local time here in Ontario (4.35pm UK time). I’m perched in a comfy reclining chair in the office located at the front of the house. Looking out of this chamber’s window, across the adjacent highway that leads into Brockville centre, is an equally large home patriotically flying a Canadian flag. A fairly common sight in the areas of Ontario I’ve been lucky enough to thus far witness.

The office has an intriguing amalgam of books, vinyl LP’s, quirky legacy audio and computer hardware, military police memorabilia (Linda formerly a corporal in the Canadian Forces MP), along with other items of family moments including in the far corner a Jason Voorhees hockey mask and a chainsaw.

Amongst the books, clues to the family’s Celtic roots with literary subjects including Scottish ghosts, along with Scottish national and Irish ‘Troubles’ histories. There’s also numerous books on crime and criminals, one of which is titled ‘Female Serial Killers’.

Hold on a minute, I’ve been invited into an anti-English house by people with an interest in serial killers, who own a Jason Voorhees hockey mask and a chainsaw…… Bloody hell, it’s time I scarpered!!!


  1. Good Morning, Gary, this is Phillip Strahin , who also resides on the continent that you are ostensibly inhabiting at the moment, although at a considerably lower latitude and somewhat west in longitude. I had to reach for my trusty Webster’s Collegiate fourth edition a few moments ago to verify the correct spelling and intent of the word ” Ostensibly” that I used in a previous phrase of this missive. My mind supplied a correct word that I seldom use, and not wishing to appear an ignoramus by misusing and/or misspelling said word I simply reached for my dictionary and confirmed the usage and spelling of the word! Simple enough, and readily available! It is 7:18 here in south Texas, and I have been up long enough to begin to feel the pangs of hunger gnawing at my backbone somewhere down there! Another seldom used word, and automatically supplied by my brain box without any prompting!) and also necessitating another visit to Mr. Websters book) My breakfast will be soon, but will not be as elegant as your described repast, but will simply be a four or five ounce smoked sausage that my local HEB grocery store ( aptly managed by my Son -in- law) and placed between two slices of bread and garnished with spicy mustard! And so my simple breakfast will be quite adequate . I did have a special reason that I wanted to discuss with you, but in writing the above verbiage, I have misplaced the thought somewhere! But no matter! I will remember it sometime in the near future and I will simply write you once again! Oh yes, my thought has just now returned, so I will close with this comment that I, too, would like to become a member of the ” visual Storyteller” group as you and several others do, but do not know how to apply for membership entry! Might you have an idea on this subject? Your friend Phil C. Strahin.

    1. To be honest Phil, I’ve no idea how you get the moniker of visual storyteller…. Facebook in all it’s wisdom added that, it wasn’t something I applied for buddy.

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