Well, today is ‘Victoria Day’ in Canada – a national holiday to honour Queen Victoria’s birthday, and as such, the skies are blue, the sun is shining and the weather is a toasty 17C. First declared a national holiday in 1845, it wasn’t until 1901, the year of Victoria’s death, that the holiday officially became known as Victoria Day. Since that date, it not only remembers Queen Victoria’s birthday, but also commemorates the birthday of the current monarch (Queen Elizabeth II). Of course, there’s also another unofficial version of the ‘day off’ commonly referred to as the ‘May 2-4 weekend’ (Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819), as hard working Canadians celebrate an end to Winter and welcome in warmer temperatures through the consumption of cases of beer (or any other liquor one assumes). It’s also seen as the time after which we can safely start to plant outside and spend time in gardens now the colder weather has lapsed and the prospect of killing off all living things due to the harsh climate dissipates slightly. Unfortunately, the plants newly procured and planted in my garden have no protection from my natural ability to fell anything within 250 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if everything is left floundering and on it’s last legs within the month ….
I’ve been waiting weeks for the notional ‘cut off’ date before starting to buy plants and flowers for the garden. Back in the UK, it can be as early as March – but we didn’t see snow disappear properly in Edmonton until the start of April and even then, we had a sudden snow ‘dump’ just under 2 weeks ago. We were also not able to bring across anything remotely connected to the outside and garden from the UK in our container as it was regarded a ‘bio-hazard’ – (how on earth they allowed my husband entry I’ll never know) – so I’ve had to buy a lawnmower and outside furniture along with plants and pots (that don’t crack and break in the deep cold of Winter – or at the first signs of frost).
The ‘piece de resistance‘ is a monolithic BBQ. We’ve had to enter new territory and venture into the unknown where BBQ’s are concerned. It’s huge business in Canada with every type you can think of and sizes ranging from large through to gigantic. Our background in BBQ’s isn’t the best. Only being used to a portable unit no bigger than the circumference of a dinner plate, and the obligatory wait for 3.5hrs before coals start to achieve a temperature useful for melting butter, we’ve always had good intentions but in reality, probably have only made proper use of it on a handful of evenings in the UK. It’s a completely different animal over here and the monstrosity we procured can easily reach high temperatures within 10 minutes – a feat my oven only dreams of. So, we’ve had evening meals on it for the last few nights – albeit we all sat inside to consume them – and have even cooked a typical English breakfast on it yesterday morning. I’m sure the novelty will start to wane and we’ll normalise around 4 or 5 times a week – rather than 3 times a day currently!!
Given Victoria Day also has a tongue-in-cheek celebration in the consumption of liquor – it has been truly required upon the construction of the outdoor furniture. For those familiar with the challenges of flat-packed items, you’ll identify with this quite readily. I wouldn’t mind but I did attempt to manage expectations as upon purchase, most of the comments in the review section focused on the endeavours faced with constructing all 5 items. Putting the criteria of price above ‘constructability’, I relayed these to my ‘not so D-I-Y’ husband prior to commencing the build just so he knew what he was in for …… (I’ve always found that setting expectations very low for jobs in the house along these lines has proved most fruitful – especially when he’s then able to complete the required job with somewhat ease).
On this occasion, I obviously hadn’t set them low enough as the obscenities and curses uttered as each item was unpacked and attempts to construct disintegrated with each item. Keeping a low profile during such times is always the best policy except with the frequent interjections of ‘here’s another bottle of your favourite ale’. Anyhow, I’m now typing this blog to you all sat on one of the newly built items (and comfy it is too), but have decided not to point out the several ‘spare’ screws and items that don’t seem to have been fully utilised in their construction. So, with no further ado and looking out my now colourful garden with a mouth-watering smell wafting from the BBQ, I’ll raise a glass (or two) to Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.
Happy Victoria Day everyone 🙂