I’m A Human Being….

“You’re Welcome!”

A retort I’ve heard on numerous occasions from my hosts since arriving in Ontario; ordinarily in response to gratuitous responses of “Thank you.” I’m unsure if that is a nationwide Canadian trait or merely the good manners afforded by residents of the Ontarian province. Irrespective, it’s behaviour I find endearing and worthy of mention in essay.

On only day six of my vacation on the largest landmass on the North American continent, it would be crass of GJ Strachan to claim informed insight into the Canadian psyche. However, I can say thus far I’ve found the people in this quaint south east area of this vast province to be genial, polite and welcoming.

Back home in England I write many narratives while American coffee shop in situ, being served by amiable Eastern European immigrants. Here I’ve the juxtaposition of penning this in a Canadian cafe being served by an English lady; although admittedly one whose lived in Brockville for decades. It’s a small world as the cliche goes, although last Friday, weary from sleep deprivation and seven hours into the flight over here it certainly didn’t feel that way.

My hosts at the family home in Elizabethtown, where I’m residing for a fortnight, have two dogs and two cats who have used me as trampoline, moulted copiously on my English threads (made in China), along with constant attempts to lick my face. I knew using Pedigree Chum*** dog food as beard oil was a bad idea…… I just hope my canine buddy in the UK (Coco) doesn’t get wind of this family pet infidelity!!

*** – Other dog foods are available. Including any meal from my dinner plate, which I’m easily emotionally blackmailed into giving to my canine buddies as a consequence of being a sucker to the old ‘sad eye’ routine.

I’m going to the Canadian capital Ottawa later today. I’m not sure what’s there but I’m told the nation’s prime minister, whose federal government reside within the city, is a whimsical guy. At this point, though, I’m unsure if this is laughing at or with him!

Looking out of this Brockville city cafe, looking across the street there’s a New York restaurant whose signage boasts to prospective customers menus providing both Canadian and Chinese cuisine.

At this juncture I’m unsure what Canada’s signature dish comprises of. A lazy stereotype, without the benefit of research by the writer, would no doubt posit a cliched assumption it’d be moose, elk, mounted policeman steaks……. Although, as with back in the UK, with cannibalism outlawed on these shores the latter’s unlikely.

fa 1 the elephant man2

Yesterday I journeyed on a half hour drive to a truly beautiful little town called Merrickville, which I’m reliably informed isn’t named after Joseph Merrick. News which didn’t surprise me. After all, the aesthetic qualities of the severely deformed Merrick, portrayed in the movie ‘The Elephant Man’ by actor John Hurt, were the very antithesis of this highly scenic wee borough.


My time in Merrickville was spent walking along the canal banks, photographing ruins of 1860 grain storage houses, inspecting the canal locks and seeking a public toilet. With the newly turned yellows, reds and oranges of fall leaves, the walk providing kaleidoscopic views of a pyro. Locating a lavatory the most scenic nature stroll I’ve undertaken while seeking to answer the call of nature.


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