Applications invited …

I’m on the lookout for a new companion.  Must be able to keep up with a high pace of activity, respond well to instruction and be uncomplaining about the food offered and the accommodation provided.  Rather like Dr Who, the ability to traverse several time zones and juggle no end of activities all at the same time would be advantageous.  Clearly they will need to be tolerant to all manner of distractions, show interest in my constant chatter, and share a love of playing 80’s hits on iPlayer …..  In return I offer to devote my attention, tend to their needs, and provide the odd ‘treat’ or two on occasion.  It would be a rewarding position for those keen to show commitment and loyalty ….

I know.  My husband fails the criteria on many levels – but he’s handy to have around.  What about the kids, I hear you ask?  Well, they have a tendency to answer back and complain about doing the slightest bit of exercise over and above their normal activities.  Plus, try getting a teenager to part with their mobile phone for longer than 30 seconds let alone attempt to hold a meaningful conversation which commands more than a mono-syllabic response.  It’s no surprise then that I’m on the lookout for a new 4-legged addition to the family….My cat of 22 years recently departed, and it’s quietly amazing to note that she has known me longer than my husband and my 3 kids.  That’s half my lifetime.

Half a lifetime.  That’s a long time.

She truly lived a double lifetime.  Either I was very lucky, or she managed to maximise all her 9 lives … and then some.  She surprised everyone when she managed to travel without incident from the UK to Western Canada at the age of 18.  She had 2 brothers and outlived both by a long stretch.  Tolerance was certainly one of her virtues – something I can truly relate to also …. Let’s just hope some of her longevity has rubbed off on me too …But the house is quiet without her.  I miss her not being around.  I miss looking after her and sorting her food out.  I miss her sat in the front window, carefully placed to ensure she took full advantage of the sun’s rays whilst still surveying her empire.  She was quite vocal in later life albeit deaf and mostly blind.  She had an innate knack of yowling the minute I would be on a conference call or FaceTime with work colleagues.  In fact, my husband who regularly holds conference calls with colleagues in India has reflected that her presence has been notably missed as she often made more meaningful contributions to discussions than most of the attendees on the call itself …..So, now with permanent residency secured, I’m on the lookout for a canine.  I’ve had a tentative foray into looking at Bernese Mountain Dogs … I know, they’re huge.  They’re my favourite dog, but I’ve had to rule them out on the grounds that whilst they would be adoring, they’re quite reluctant to do much exercise.  They’d be happy to watch me disappear off for a few hours and welcome me back home jubilantly – but both their speed and inclination to do more than 1 mile would see me somewhat frustrated.  It certainly comes to something if I’m more active than a dog …. never thought I’d ever see the day.  Now that’s a change in the last 22 years for you ….So, applications are invited.  I’m keeping a watching brief on new puppies in the Edmonton area, but may just take time over the summer to get used to a much quieter household, plus really decide who the lucky addition to the family is going to be.  I’ll keep you posted …

ūüôā

Saving the world …

Waste disposal … recycling …. never the most eye-catching and engrossing of topics for a blog, I know, but I bet you didn’t know that ¬†by the age of 6 months, the average Canadian has consumed the same amount of resources as¬†the average person in the developing world consumes in a lifetime. ¬†That’s frightening. ¬†The UK fares much better – mind you, when you look at the world rankings for being environmentally conscious, it’s harder to get much worse than poor Canada ….. unless you’re in the USA of course, who sits at the bottom of the league table. ¬†Based on recent events and the USA’s denial of any climate change, it’s easy to understand why ¬†…..My experience of waste disposal in the UK was never great. ¬†Whilst each householder has a rainbow variety of bins to select from in which to put their rubbish, there are strict rules on what to put in each, how often they get collected, and woe betide you if you fill the bin up above the required level. ¬†We’ve often reflected that our regular Sunday activity was a trip to the local tip, waiting in line whilst we slowly made our way to the required bins in which to dispose of anything else that we had in excess of the weekly entitlements. ¬†I’m sure my husband still hankers after these days ….. ūüėČ

Cut to life in Canada. ¬†As a householder, we put our ‘garbage’ out in plastic bags on the front lawn and every week without fail (yes, even in -30 and below), the garbage truck arrives and takes everything away. ¬†There are guidelines on what you should leave out – and most things outside this (like batteries, electrical items, paint, etc), are encouraged to be taken to a local ‘eco station’. ¬†Huge recycling centres where you may be charged depending on the items you wish to dispose.

One of the things I’ve always found quirky over in Canada is that we pay a recycling levy and tax at the point of sale for any bottle of liquid. ¬†Being fairly new to the Canadian way of life, I’ve always thought that this is a great way to incentivise people to recycle – charge them a fee at source, and reward them with some monetary incentive if they then do return the bottles and help the environment. ¬† Never quite understanding how the whole process worked, it was only after a woman started arriving at our garbage pile every week with a car to collect our bottles, just before they would be taken away by the garbage truck – that we started to think there may be something in this. ¬†There were some telltale signs … in 2 years of collecting our bottles she’s managed to upgrade her vehicle and now appears in diamant√© jewellery ……

Anyhow. ¬†Collecting our bottles is only half the tale. ¬†There are ‘bottle depots’ (pronounced ‘dee-poes’) around the city, so as a bit of an experiment, we started to save all our liquid containers with the intent of taking them to one of these localities and seeing how much our ‘waste’ was worth. ¬†After a month and a half – and in our defence, we did have a visitation from a fab friend over from the UK during this time which saw an upsurge in the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed – we decided to take our 8 huge bags brimming with all manner of glass, plastic and cardboard containers to one of these places.

Upon arrival, the smell of stale alcohol and the way your shoes stuck to the floor took me straight back to my Saturday nights out as a student in ¬†Sheffield. ¬†Unaccustomed to such odours, my youngest kid scrunched her face with disgust and turned up her nose declaring, ‘what’s that awful smell’, whilst my husband and I exchanged a knowing glance and reminiscent smile.

The rules are simple. ¬†If it hold less than 1 litre, you get 10 cents, more than 1 litre you get 25 cents per item – irrelevant of whether it’s made of veneered glass or the cheapest piece of cardboard going. You tip all your bottles in a huge bin next to a friendly ‘operative’ with ear plugs, who then sorts and counts out each item. ¬†The noise is deafening as you’ve got another 8 banks of operatives all performing the same task alongside each other. ¬†Frankly, it was embarrassing the sheer volume of cans, bottles and containers we’d amassed and finally after only 10 minutes, we were awarded with the grand total of $18.Not enough to fund our retirement I know. ¬†But upon departure, we concluded as part of our commitment to helping the environment, it was only in the global interest that we should continue to consume such liquidities and make this a regular family venture.

It does fly in the face of both our vehicles – mine is a truck – which manages to deliver an average fuel economy of between 16 – 18 mpg. ¬†Still, we’ve got to start somewhere. ¬†Baby steps as they say ….. ūüôā

Past, present …. and future

I was reminded the other day of an album I bought on vinyl, 30 years ago. ¬†Apart from it being as brilliantly sounding today as it was back then, just hearing the opening bars to each track – took me back to when I would play it endlessly on the second-hand record player in my bedroom. ¬†Some tracks I haven’t heard in a very long time – yet, I still know all the words and the nuance of every line and song. ¬†Sometimes I can’t remember what I was told last week, and yet this album¬†from 30 years ago, I can recite verbatim. ¬†I also wonder, that as a teenager listening to this in my bedroom all those years ago – what would I have thought if I’d have known that 30 years later I’d be listening to it again living in Western Canada? ¬†I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me.

Three years ago, I started this blog after being asked if¬†we would move to Canada for a year or so. ¬†Back in 2014,¬†being issued with¬†temporary work permits for 3 years seemed a long time in the future – and yet, here we are. ¬†They are due to expire in September. ¬†For those of you who have been keeping up with our antics, you’ll know that about 18 months ago we started the process of applying for permanent residency as an option to extend our time over here. ¬†It’s certainly been a long time in the making and by no means, is a simple process. ¬†We’ve had the ‘delights’ of sitting an English test (part 1 and part 2!), demonstrating our education credentials, applying for police checks, taking medicals, proving job histories – the list has been endless. ¬†Not to mention the cost. ¬†Anyhow, as you’ll know, we finally submitted the full application back in February (click here for that saga) – and this culminated in an¬†interview with Canada Border Agency last Thursday. ¬†During which, we were all granted¬†permanent residency in Canada. ¬†Success!

I was expecting some trumpets heralding the news, a few fireworks to mark the occasion – but alas, no. ¬†We have a piece of paper as confirmation, but now have to wait until our formal ‘PR’ cards arrive in the post which will then act as our main source of documentation proving our status here. ¬†In the meantime, all other temporary permits, study visas and work visas have been taken in lieu of the cards arriving – which means that whilst we can leave Canada, they won’t let us back in – until¬†the PR cards arrive. ¬†Thank goodness, we’ve got no overseas trips planned for the next 2 months …

I’m also slightly relieved that we don’t have to¬†worry about having to pack everything back up to return, and even more so, our cat (yes, she’s still here¬†at nearly 22 years old) equally can continue to reside in the manner to which she has now become accustomed. ¬†I was starting to panic that she wouldn’t last¬†the flight back across the pond ….. mind you, I had the same concern 3 years ago when she first flew across here. ¬†She’ll outlive me at this rate.

So what does it all mean? ¬†Well, it never prevents us from returning back ‘home’ – but at least it allows us to continue residing and working in Canada for the foreseeable future. ¬†It provides options and choice – and that’s what we wanted. ¬†And for my British friends reading this, no need to rush about getting a trip over to visit in the next few months! ¬†Take your time – we’ll be here for a while¬†for those venturing over this side of the pond.¬† Feel free to sample the harsh cold of the far north with lots of winter skiing and skating – or bask in the blue skies, constant sun and high temperatures over the summer months. ¬†The choice is yours ….

So, upon reflection – the latest albums I’m now listening to over here in Canada, I’m just wondering where I’ll be when I replay them again in another 30 years from now? ¬†Now there’s a thought …. ¬†ūüôā

Fast and furious …

Human nature is a funny thing. ¬†The clips on ‘You’ve Been Framed’ and ‘America’s Funniest Videos’ generating the greatest uproar in our house are¬†always when an individual has¬†the fates conspiring against them and they end up plummeting to the ground. ¬†Their moment of impact sees you cringe, you let out a gasp, before howling with laughter at their misfortune.

You’d think that as the years go by, I’d learn from my mistakes and be a bit more cautionary when attempting something new. ¬†But no. ¬†You’ll no doubt remember my dalliance with ice skating and the very first attempt I made on ice, which resulted in several hours at the local Canadian A&E department and¬†a broken wrist (click here to relive the saga …..). ¬† Mind you, I’ve attempted cross-country skiing and downhill skiing since without much incident – although there was that time when I tried jumping off the ski lift …..My middle kid has been pretty proficient about learning to skateboard – and now most of the snow has finally disappeared (I know …. it’s May), skateboards are a popular mode of transport and can be seen out and about around Edmonton. ¬†She’s been learning on a small narrow board, so has ‘upgraded’ to a longer and wider board that is probably closer in style to a surfboard than a skateboard. ¬†We never had flat pavements when I was young, so¬†the ability to even attempt roller-skating – never mind skateboarding – was always limited by the severity of the uneven flags and the sense of foreboding that at any second, you’d be thrown into the air like a catapult. ¬†It’s a completely different story over here. ¬†Smooth pavements, well-laid pathways and flat surfaces make learning to roller-skate and skateboard much easier. ¬†So, upon leaving the store this weekend with her¬†larger and visually stunning ¬†new skateboard, she wanted to head¬†straight to one of the local parks to test it out.She quickly started getting the hang of it, declaring it was far easier than her previous smaller version, and the ability to balance seemed¬†effortless. ¬†I watched her for several minutes, impressed with how quickly she adapted, after which an element of what can only be described as sheer recklessness then descended as I uttered the immortal words …… ‘give it to me, I’ll have a go’.Clearly catching¬†the rest of the family by surprise, they were stunned into disbelief as they watched me place the skateboard on the floor and try¬†to decide which foot to start off with. ¬†It wasn’t an immediate choice – do I start on the left foot, or start on the right – there was certainly some hesitation as I debated how to put my best foot forward, and this possibly¬†translated into some degree of trepidation and nervousness in the watching family members. ¬†For my part, I was totally confident in my abilities and had a mental vision¬†of me demonstrating the moves with professional skill and adeptness as I set off. ¬†The first attempt went well. ¬†I wasn’t quick – just getting my balance, and in all honesty, one foot was on the floor most of the time.

‘This is easy’, I declared – getting more enthusiastic and overly confident by the second. ¬†‘I’ll have another go’.

In hindsight, it all quickly went wrong the moment both feet left the ground. ¬†Recognising the need for speed, I pushed¬†off a bit too keenly. ¬†This only magnified into a problem – which resulted in¬†my downfall – the moment¬†my remaining¬†foot left the ground. ¬†It didn’t even get as far as being placed¬†on the skateboard as the visual representation of¬†Newton’s law of force = mass x velocity, and what can go disastrously wrong when any of the elements are miscalculated, was perfectly demonstrated. ¬†The skateboard continued its projection forward, whilst I was momentarily horizontal in mid-air before gravity took charge and landed me unceremoniously on the tarmac and in a mound of gravel.

Two of my kids burst into side-splitting laughter, whilst ‘husband’, just tutted, rolled his eyes, and uttered, ‘for goodness sake,¬†you’re not a teenager you know!’. ¬†Half suspecting he¬†had an afternoon’s delight in the local A&E to look forward to, he was somewhat relieved when I hobbled to my feet, hand bleeding profusely from pot-marked gravel embedded in the skin, and a sore bottom that was saved from being scalped literally by¬†the thickness of my jeans. ¬†¬†Thankyou, Levi.

To say I’ve got a slight bruise on my behind would be an understatement – there’s quite a range¬†of deep¬†blues, purples and blacks; and no doubt all colours of the rainbow will make an appearance over the next few weeks. ¬†Sitting on the sofa and chairs are proving a challenge, and the palm of my hand has seen better days. ¬†Still, chalk it up to experience and another sporting attempt I can now cross off my list. ¬†Fast and furious wasn’t the wisest of choices,¬†it’s safer just watching it at the cinema ….

ūüôā

There’s a reptile in flight ….

img_9324I think I was a reptile in a past-life.  Usually in a constant state of seeking to nudge up the house thermostat in a bid for a warmer temperature and a place to defrost my hands and feet, I can normally be found nestled under several layers of clothing, with thermal socks and gloves that only a heat-seeking missile would be attracted to.  Ironic then, that I find myself living in a Winter City where temperatures are sub-zero for at least 3 to 4 months of the year.

There’s only two ways to go in such a climate – either embrace the frozen north, or hibernate; only to reappear when the snow has subsided and we start to climb into the positive temperature range around April/May time.  You may be reading this assuming I’m the latter ….. but no.  Despite my cold-blooded tendencies, I do enjoy the winter activities and especially, a spot of skiing – either downhill or cross-country.  Both are readily available in Edmonton, and working in my favour for the cross-country is the fact that Alberta is a prairie-state and literally, as flat as a pancake.  It certainly makes for a less arduous (and by definition, much more fun) way to experience the sport with the avoidance of any hills or steep terrain which would have me hyperventilating with effort and collapsing with sheer exhaustion.  img_0046But I do miss my mountain fix.  It’s one of the scenic aspects I miss most about living in the UK.  That said, Jasper, and the Canadian Rockies are a mere 3.5 hrs drive to the West and are mountainously majestic on a monumental scale.  We’re lucky that we can take a quick trip there for a weekend, get my mountain fix, and attempt the downhill skiing of the Marmot Basin.  With 86 runs, the longest high speed quad-chair in the Canadian Rockies, and views to die for, it’s a spectacular place to ski.  And this past weekend, we did just that.marmot-basinAll the family have their own equipment, and during the past two Winters we’ve lived in Canada, everyone has gradually picked up the skills and technique to get them from the top of a slope, down to the bottom – hopefully, without any mishaps en route.  Even my youngest kid who is now 7, will happily throw herself down the more gradual terrains – which means the whole family can ski together.  My middle kid is the risk-taker, and will seek out every treacherous route in a bid to experience moments of sheer terror with shrieks of hysteria.  Living on the edge is definitely one of her life philosophies ….

Beset with a few challenges including my husband having the navigational prowess of a lemon, my middle kid demonstrating a strong magnetic draw to any dare-devil activity, and my youngest kid being solely focused on remaining upright; I adopt the role of chief navigator and assume responsibility for making sure that whatever chair lift we go up, there’s a route back down that doesn’t require the mastery level of a black diamond.  With the trail-blazing abilities of a bloodhound, I’m relied upon to traverse the various routes down the mountain, identifying a variant path each time from the one before, until we all safely arrive with aching limbs and tired muscles to the awaiting chairlifts at the bottom  – only to be whisked into the heavens such that the cycle can repeat itself yet again.img_9355After a few hours, confidence was high and I decided to inject some novelty, proposing we take a chairlift towards the top of the mountain rather than focusing on the middle and lower terrains.  As we ascended, the views were spectacular and the scenery stunning.  With my attention somewhat distracted, I had failed to notice the need for a rapid exit at the top of the lift as the chairs quickly gained height before flipping around a spindle and returning back to the bottom.  Graciously hesitating at the top to let my kids off first, was my undoing.  I missed the optimum point of departure – and only when the chair started to pick up speed and the ground quickly fell away did I realise a hastier exit was required.  The prosaic lines of the immortal song, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go Now’, reverberated through my head – and a nanosecond split decision saw me adopting an ‘Eddie the Eagle’ approach to descent as I ‘launched’ myself off the chair.goat in flightA ‘Clash’ it certainly was.  Imagining it to be more graciously executed than the reality, I felt I had it perfectly controlled until the landing.  Maybe it was the knees, or even my posture that let me down, but my husband later recounted the moment when he witnessed the ‘splat’ as I hit the ground and arrived unceremoniously in a heap at his skis.  Even the best of us, have our odd moments of misadventure and I’m still chuckling about the incident a week later – whilst nursing a rather large bruise that has managed to feature all the colours of the rainbow.  The bruise has managed to generate enough heat to keep my reptile-like tendencies at bay, retaining warmth in my hands and feet.  I can’t help but think it’s far easier just to notch up the thermostat …. ūüôā

 

Google images supplied the cartoon in today’s blog, the rest have been photogenically captured by ‘goat and kids’

Life in a freezer

Christmas goatDid you know the best temperature to maintain your home freezer is between -18 and -23C? It certainly comes to something when we’ve been living in temperatures below that for the last few weeks and our home freezer is warmer than it is outside …. how bizarre is that?  We’ve been sat with the freezer door open just to take the chill off!  There again, this is Edmonton – the most northerly city in North America.  It’s to be expected, I guess.

For those wondering what -25 and below feels like, its best described as uncomfortably cold. When it hits below -30, the outside air is so cold that each time you take a breath and breathe in, your chest hurts as your body isn’t able to warm the air up quickly enough before the cold blast of oxygen hits your lungs. Any drops of water quickly turn to solid ice – so much so, that moisture in your nose instantly crisps up, your eyes feel grainy and any skin left exposed to the elements starts to painfully throb. Frostbite is certainly a reality and you need to treat the weather with respect in what you wear, how long you’re outside for, and how many layers you’ve got on in order to maintain your core body temperature. My kids do a lot of swimming, and within the 90 seconds it takes them to get from the entrance of the Recreation Centre and into the car, any strands of hair outside the obligatory woolly hat has instantly frozen on their heads, and their wet mesh bags turn to solid ice and can stand upright without assistance. It’s like a reality scene from the film with the same title …. ‘Frozen’.  As I say …. bizarre.

temperature snoopy

There are some saving graces.  Thank goodness for the ability to remotely start my truck which can be nicely warming up before we reach it in the car park (or the garage come to that) – complete with automatic heated seats and steering wheel (mmmm….. toasty).  Talking of the car, if it’s left outside for long periods then the advice is to plug-in the block heater if the temperature gets below -15 to protect the engine and other components from freezing solid.  I’ve never done this as yet – my mechanical knowledge isn’t that great – I’ve no idea which switch to flip to open the bonnet let alone have the ability to plug-in a ‘block heater’ (a what?)  I know, I know …. a typical female stereotype – but to my credit, at least I can reverse and park with ease …..

Cute_Funny_Animals-05

On a more practical note, there are some basic aspects which require consideration that I felt would be useful to bring to your attention and will be alien to those residing in warmer climes.

Supermarket shopping.  Or even, just a trip to the bakery.  There’s a delicate balance between how long you can leave newly purchased perishable goods in your car and take the opportunity to call in at other retail outlets on the way home, before everything has frozen solid and needs to be defrosted.  Milk, yoghurt, bread ……. On the plus side, the garbage which we store in the garage ready for the refuse collectors to call and collect on a weekly basis, becomes frozen so at least the pungent aroma of rotting food is mitigated significantly …..

hand warmersI don’t mind a bit of a chill, but my survival instincts are tested to the extreme when we dip below -20.  So much so, I’ve purchased mini sachets of hand warmers which when activated, will retain their warmth for upto 6 hrs.  I’ve even expanded my arsenal and to this year’s collection have supplemented these with some toe warmers and even body warmers. Quite frankly I don’t care where they need sticking – I’ll put them anywhere as long as they keep me warm!

It’s all relative.  This week has seen a massive swing and we’ve gone positively tropical for the last few days with a massive swing of 25 degrees – up to 0C.   Boy, does it feel warm and bearable in comparison. Even the local weather network reporting on the daily weather describes it as ‘warm for the next few days’ which made me stifle a chuckle, before we’re due to plummet back into arctic conditions just in time for Christmas Day.  Oh joy!canada nativityThank goodness Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. I can’t help but feel the Christmas story would’ve been a different affair if Mary and Joseph had found themselves in Edmonton seeking respite.  Just the thought of residing in a stable with the minimum of shelter, sub-zero temperatures, and only a cradle in a manger would have, I strongly suspect, most pregnant women thinking twice.  Not only that, any nearby animals would be scarce on the ground, sensing they’d be used for food, heat and clothing.  The shepherds with their flocks of sheep would be safely nestled in their small-holding (if they had any sense), plus the 3 kings would have been noticeable in their absence, opting to remain in their palaces where it was warm and luxurious.  Oh, how different the Christmas story would have been ….

2015-12-06 20.04.14

Christmas is a time for giving.  For family.  For being thankful, for joy and for peace.  For all its frigid nature, life in a freezer at this time of year certainly injects the feel of Christmas.  There are sparkly lights on the outside of all the houses, Christmas objects in gardens lit up and twinkling, the temperatures so cold that the frost glimmers in the air, and along with the fairly light dusting of snow we’ve had so far, it all serves to create a magic that is hard to replicate.  In the words of that well-known song ….. it’s a wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you, be of good cheer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas ‚ĚĄÔłŹūüéĄūüėä

 

Thanks as ever to google images for the majority of pics in today’s festive blog …

Christmas comes but once a year …

What song do you sing at a snowman’s birthday party? …… Freeze a jolly good fellow.

What carol is sung in the desert at Christmas? …. O camel ye faithful.

santa and sleighI know, I know. ¬†I couldn’t resist. ¬†We’re getting close to the height of the madness associated with the ¬†Christmas season and my¬†kids have been busy rehearsing for their School Christmas Concert. ¬†It’s a serious affair. ¬†My middle kid is in Grade 5 who have the honour of performing this year’s coveted christmas play, entitled, ‘A Pirate’s Christmas’,¬†during the concert. ¬†Rehearsals have been underway for the last month or so and it’s at times like this that¬†I’m always reminded of the scene from the Richard Curtis film, Love Actually, when Emma Thompson’s daughter arrives home from school to announce she’s got a part in the School Christmas play….. ¬†love actually

Karen: So what’s this big news, then?
Daisy: [excited] We’ve been given our parts in the nativity play. And I’m the lobster.
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: [beaming] Yeah, *first* lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?

This always makes me chuckle. ¬†In my day, school nativity plays were pure and simple. ¬†There was Mary, Joseph, a ‘tiny tears’ baby doll, 3 Kings, couple of Shepherds, the ‘Angel Gabriel’ (always the second most popular choice after the part of Mary & Joseph was awarded), Innkeeper (and wife), with¬†the rest of the class making up the stable¬†‘animals’. ¬†The standard ‘tunes’ were customary¬†– ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘We Three Kings’, ‘O Little Star of Bethlehem’ ….. and by the time you were in the ‘top class’ in primary school, you never needed to learn any of the parts as you’d seen it rehearsed and performed so many times¬†since the age of 4, that you knew it off by heart. ¬†Oh, how times have changed …..

nativityBack to recent school events, and there has been quite an intense process of auditioning for parts and judging from the daily ‘feedback’ from my middle kid, there’s clearly a perceived hierarchy associated to the roles awarded – she was desperate to be ‘Prancer’ or “Dancer’ as these were ‘talking’ reindeers. ¬†Auditions mustn’t have gone¬†to plan as she was relegated to being ‘a non-talking reindeer’ – the irony of the part not being lost on us, as the challenge for my middle kid to remain silent for any longer than 30 seconds only usually occurs when she’s fast asleep.

reindeersWhilst a smidgen of disappointment was apparent, she accepted the role with good grace. ¬†We had instructions to source brown tops and bottoms (for reindeers, obviously), and were kindly informed that antlers would be provided. ¬†In the meantime, my youngest kid has been learning all the songs as ‘Grade 2’ are to be the accompanying ‘choral’ voices. ¬†She’s been taking this very seriously, insisting her older sister acts out the play whilst she sings along – and rather like a mini-Simon Cowell, woe betide my middle kid if she doesn’t perform to the youngest’s exacting standards. ¬†My role during all this is rather akin to the UN Peace Talks¬†…..

santa sleighDramatic events transpired during rehearsals earlier this week and¬†the role performed by the reindeers in pulling the sleigh across the stage transporting Santa to his final destination. ¬†Apparently, only ‘Prancer’ and ‘Dancer’ (you’ll remember these as being the ‘talking’ parts), were asked to pull the sleigh whilst all ‘other’ reindeers would follow behind. ¬†This provoked outrage in the muted reindeer community who insisted that Santa would always have all¬†reindeers pulling his sleigh and wouldn’t invoke favouritism. ¬†It’s clearly been a bone of contention. ¬†I didn’t like to point out that¬†the¬†opening scene of a reindeer ‘dancing’ with a beach ball was slightly out of character …..

reindeer protestAll in all, it’s definitely Christmas. ¬†I wouldn’t have it any other way. ¬†Christmas tree is up, sparkly lights are switched on and there’s an accompanying Christmas moose (the size of a Great Dane) lit up on our decking. ¬†Snow has fallen, temperatures are below -20 and I’ve got the heating on full blast. ¬†It’s certainly a Canadian Christmas. ¬†Ho ho ho ……

ūüôā

Thanks to google images for the pics in today’s blog