Well, when you’re eating them, not much. They both taste awful as far as I’m concerned. Isabel arrived home bearing another gift from Mr S last week, and I decided to cook it the next day. I was on Skype to my mother at the time, and so the conversation was peppered with various observations and interjections – “What is that?” “It’s a sausage, Mam” “What kind of sausage?”I”I have absolutely no idea. Something that Mr S shot at the weekend” “Oh my goodness! It’s huge!”, – as I wrestled the gigantic sausage coil around the pan. It looked like a curled-up snake, and was the thickness of my wrist. The kids loved it. I hated it. Unexpectedly, so did Michael, who usually likes that kind of thing. It was a weird purple-looking colour inside, and it was really strong. I thanked Mr S for it when I saw him at the school, and discovered that it was moose sausage – the last sausage was white-tailed deer. We have one more left in the freezer for when I’m feeling brave again. Mind you, having listened to the news reports from Ireland last week, it could be worse – we heard you’re all unknowingly eating horse….
I’ve been thinking about some of the other differences between Ireland and Canada lately. In Saskatoon, and in most of Canada I think, the pedestrian always has the right of way. So if you’re walking down the street and stop to cross the road, the cars in both directions immediately stop and wait for you to cross. It’s almost embarrassing. In Ireland, they’ll stop if you hurl yourself in front of them and then shout abuse out the window while taking off again. When we cycled en masse around the neighbourhood during the summer, there were constant queues of cars pulling up to let us all cycle across the road one by one. They even smiled at us. I know I’ve said this before, but Canadians are just so polite. There aren’t really any roundabouts in Saskatoon; instead there are three-way and four-way intersections. The rule that applies to these intersections is that whoever arrives first, goes first, and so on. So you pull up, wait for the first car to go, then you go, then the other car goes etc. etc. And everyone abides by this. It’s unbelievable. If this was the rule at home, there’d be murder done at the crossroads. “I was first!” “You were in your arse!” “Get out here and say that to me”. Hurls at the ready. I just don’t see it working as an Irish Rule of the Road.
We all plug in our cars overnight when it’s below -15. Which it has been forever, and will be forever more. There’s a power point outside every house, and every night the cables trail from these to the front of the cars. I can just picture the scene at 2am on a Saturday night in Dublin, as the crowds fall out of the pubs, and think that it would be best craic ever to unplug them all again. The biggest thing to be careful of is forgetting about the plug-in and just driving off in the morning. Jo Ann did this twice in a row, had to buy two new cables, and put a note on her steering wheel to remind herself for the following morning. Her husband thought it would be really funny to hide the note, so the next morning she got, drove off and took a strip of siding off the house. He didn’t think it was so funny then.
Tattoos are endemic here. Practically every man and woman has at least one, if not more. We were in the pool a while ago, and I couldn’t believe the amount of tattoos, their themes and the places people had them. One man had a portrait of his wife’s face etched into his whole back. I told Michael I’ll be very hurt if he doesn’t get one done as a sign of his abiding love and respect for me as his wife and the mother of his children. There are tattoo parlours everywhere, but I haven’t succumbed to temptation yet.
Temperatures finally hit ridiculous temperatures at the weekend, and I found myself heading to a swim meet with Christopher and Isabel on Sunday morning in -41 degrees. I had often wondered what that would be like, and now I know that it’s like having a million knives stuck into you. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and I thought I might die when I was loading the bags into the car. The radio and newspapers were carrying frostbite warnings; any exposed skin will be frostbitten after ten minutes outside. The inside of my nose froze solid, and the steering wheel was painful to hold. I sent the children to school on Monday morning with only their eyes showing, under strict instructions to march quickly to the school. By the time they came home at 3.30pm, temperatures had risen to a balmy -24 degrees. There’s more snow forecast for tomorrow; surprisingly, the novelty hasn’t completely worn off yet. This photo was taken the day we went for our sleigh ride at the Western Development Museum:
My extra son brought his new girlfriend to visit us on Sunday. I had been forewarned by June, who had told me that Jay was bringing Nikki up to introduce her to his second Mammy. They arrived at about 4pm and were instantly sent outside to take a photo of us for the Irish Times article that appeared today. We were part of a piece about emigrating with a young family, and I had been speaking to the journalist, Sheila Wayman, the previous Saturday. When she asked for a family photo, I realised that the last photo of the seven of us was almost two years old. I need to remedy that. We stood on the steps, freezing our asses off, and smiled through gritted teeth at Jay, who was brandishing his iPhone with great aplomb. The paparazzi had nothing on him. They had tea, we chatted, and then as they were leaving, we turned into their parents. “Where’s your snow boots? You didn’t come out without a hat, did you? Have you no gloves?” The shame of it. We worked out that Michael is thirty years older than Nikki, which is kind of depressing. She’s very sweet and pretty, with fabulous hair, and I heroically managed to restrain myself from asking her about her intentions towards Jay.
Here’s the link to the article:
Here’s another of the photos taken by Jay:
One of the main differences between here and Ireland is that everyone here calls me Barb. “Hey Barb, what’s up eh?” (all sentences in Canada finish with “eh?”). I don’t really feel like a Barb. Maybe I will next year.