Niagara Falls is the destination on my penultimate day in Canada. Views that have long been on my bucket list, which’s grown ever shorter during my odyssey in the land of the maple leaf. Visiting the globally famous waterfall a tourist aspiration I’ve held since old aunt Ada who in 1970’s arbitrarily advocated “Niagara Falls is truly beautiful, Gary……. Now can you and Ian*** shut the hell up, I’m trying to watch Coronation Street!!”

*** – My younger brother who was heatedly disputing my interpretation of what constituted a flick or a shuffle at the table football game Subbuteo at the time.

So later this afternoon, when I witness the majestic geological water feature at first hand, my thoughts will turn back to that day in the mid-1970’s when a dream was ignited by a cantankerous lady in her dotage. Not to mention the subsequent scrap I had with our kid over table football edicts.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to tick off another item from my liste de seau by visiting the CN Tower in Toronto. A tourist aspiration I’ve held since the same old aunt, who was visiting my childhood home in Gateshead on a separate occasion, randomly submitted “The CN Tower is a truly magnificent structure, Gary……. Now can you and Ian shut the hell up, I’m trying to watch Crossroads!!”…….Our kid and me once again arguing of what constituted a flick or a shuffle at the table football game Subbuteo at the time.

The old aunt isn’t the only family member fortunate enough to have visited Niagara; five years ago my uncle Joe spent time at what he describes as his favourite waterfall in the world whose name rhymes with Viagra. The septuagenerian equally as enthusiastic about the geologically forged water feature on the Canadian/US border as aunt Ada, eruditely and enthusiastically describing the Falls as “The dog’s bollocks!” and “Not bad if you like water!”

I’m penning this section of the essay while stuck in a traffic jam on the journey to Niagara. To clarify, I’m undertaking this task from the passenger seat; I’m not driving the automobile which is my chariot to the North American continents premier waterfall.

My current audio companions, as we trickle westbound on Highway 401 at 10 kmph, the silent rumble of the adjacent car engines of the similarly impacted, along with occasional impatient sighs of my driver, the Archdeacon of Elizabethtown, whose low tolerance levels when confronted by traffic latency leads to him frustratedly gnawing of the steering wheel.

We’ve just passed through the roadworks causing the not inconsiderable traffic congestion that has been the scourge of the Archdeacon of Elizabethtown’s last thirty minutes. Like when navigating your way through a motorway contraflow in the UK, construction workers hard at labour are conspicuous by its absence. There was one guy with a ZZ Top beard adorning a high-vis jacket standing by a Traffic Control Specialists truck; however, unless his job title was Head of Standing About Looking Gormless, he wasn’t fulfilling his role.

We’re now driving at speed along Highway 401, the Archdeacon of Elizabethtown refreshed from lunch at an On Route service station and free from the shackles of motorway congestion is now in better spirits. They’ve asked if they can dictate me this weekends sermon for their congregation at the Elizabethtown Pentecostal Cheesemakers Church. A Canadian cult who meet every Saturday evening to write anti-Beelzebub tweets while swapping Gouda recipes. I’ve told him I’ll think about it, but I’m not gonna. I’m not his chuffing secretary!

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The Archdeacon of Elizabethtown has now returned to the domain of road rage. The targets of their wrath a truck emitting gravel onto tailgating vehicles, along with several fellow road users whose erratic driving are turning this journey into an episode of the Hanna-Barbera animation The Wacky Races. Canadian drivers skirting the south west roads of Ontario province with a directional motor skills of Forrest Gump on speed. 

Right, we’ve arrived in Niagara I’m gonna hop out of the car to berate Dick Dastardly, Penelope Pitstop and driver of the Arkansas Chuggabug for cutting us up once too often…… Bloody rednecks!!!