Tag Archives: Canada

The Conquest of Canada by James & Netta Windle

So, a few weeks ago I was clearing out my emails at work & I came across an email from Mr. Windle, who I have had a couple work related encounters & I happened to notice a link at the bottom of his email, which when I clicked it took me to Lulu – a book self publishing company. There I found The Conquest of Canada, which I immediately bought, then uploaded to Thor (my kindle, in case you didn’t know that). My first regret is that I did upload it to Thor because it was sooo difficult to read! See, it is a PDF document, not a kindle file, so the print was about 1/4 the size of what is written here & even with my glasses I found it very difficult to read, especially first thing in the morning.

The Conquest of Canada is a travel journal of the trip that James & Netta Windle took to Canada in September 2007. They flew to Vancouver, where they spent about a week before heading into Alberta, then getting the train across the country to Toronto, then onward to Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, then back to Quebec before flying home to the UK.

Like all my other books I have read of late, I read The Conquest of Canada while on the bus, traveling to & from work. When I started out I was really excited to read what Mr. Windle & his wife thought of Canada, never dreaming they would have anything but a good time & a positive experience. Only, they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there were positive experiences that they had, but as I read, I found myself initially doubting what they had written could possibly have happened, then that doubt was replaced by horror at the behaviour of my fellow Canadians. I was shocked to read that Mr. Windle had been warned that Canada was not a very tourist friendly country. That’s something I have never heard in my life! I know loads of people who have traveled to Canada & they all had nothing but good things to say – raving about what a beautiful country Canada is & how friendly & wonderful the people are.

A couple times in the journal the Windles wrote about how the most friendly person they met was the car rental person in BC – who was not from Canada originally. They also said something that really baffled me, which was that when Canadians are asked a question they only answer the question as it was asked, with no elaboration. As in, ask a Canadian if they know the time & the answer would be “Yes”, and nothing more. Seriously? Have I never seen this because I am Canadian & I am used to it? I don’t think so, and I am pretty sure I have never experienced it. If I had I would have thought that person was incredibly rude & I have no recollection of anything like that in my home country.

I found some of their comments about the B&B’s they stayed in to be pretty snide & some of them were pretty mean, too. I have to admit that I didn’t like the comparisons to how things are versus the UK. I’m sorry, but Canada, even though it is a member of the British Commonwealth, it isn’t the UK. It is a different country, with different customs, a different way of doing things, and different people. In other words, it isn’t England or the UK. So, I was annoyed by the constant comments about how different mobile phone service was, how the food wasn’t the same/as good as the UK, the references to how the service they received was worse than anything they received in the UK, etc. That said, I loved following the Windles across Canada, with their stops in places that are so familiar & beloved to me (Banff, Toronto, Calgary, Montréal, Saint John (my home town), Nova Scotia & Northern New Brunswick.

What I wish more than anything though is that I could have met the Windle family before their Conquest of Canada – I know a million better places they could have gone, things they could have done, things they could have seen!

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by | April 18, 2013 · 9:20 pm

Can too much Chicken Soup make you ill?

Shortly after moving here to the UK I bought Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul. I was (if I remember correctly) at Pearson Int’l Airport at the time, leaving behind my family to come back to the UK. I had that book for years, until a “friend” borrowed it & never brought it back. I loved that book. It made me laugh, it made me cry & above all else, it made me so damn proud to be a Canadian. The original Chicken Soup for Canucks truly was a book for the Canadian Soul, so I was really excited when I found out that there was a second one coming out.

I eagerly waited, hoping that this new offering would be full of the same kind of stories – stories about Canadians who had done honourable things, or about our great heritage, about our tributes to Canadian soldiers who died on foreign soil. So, while at home in Canada I bought it, using the gift card my sister gave me for Christmas.

I didn’t start reading it until the after we got home, and I really wish I hadn’t wasted my money. The first book was amazing – the stories were great. This one? Well, I am less than impressed, I have to say. The sub-title of this book is 101 heartwarming and Inspiring Stories by and for Canadians – These stories are not uplifting, not heart-warming, not inspiring.

One of the first stories in the book is about a nurse who re-counts an event at work where 3 of her colleagues were gushing about the amount of money they save on their groceries by crossing the border from Cornwall, Ontario into Upstate New York. She goes on to mention the fact that the city of Cornwall is an economically depressed place & that if the locals aren’t supporting the local businesses, then what chance do they have? Well, she’s right, but instead of this being a heart-warming or inspiring story, it came across as her being all holier-than-thou. Did she ever stop to wonder why these women cross the border to shop? She says that they all have good jobs – maybe they do, but do their husbands? Sometimes you just have to do what you have to, to survive & if that means shopping in the US where it’s cheaper, then go for it, I say. Groceries in Ontario are bloody expensive – maybe someone should look into why so many people are having to cross the border to buy their groceries!

Another story is about this stupid girl who goes to a hockey game with her boyfriend & pretends to be interested in the game’s rules, asking him loads of questions, just to bug him. OH MY GOD!!!!! Is this what Canadian stories have been reduced to? I’ve only read 26 of these supposedly “Heartwarming and Inspiring Stories by and for Canadians” & I want to choke just about all of the authors so far! I think I might skip the rest of them, just to save myself from repeatedly shouting & throwing the book against the wall!

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Filed under postaweek2012, Relaxing reading

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

In June my younger brother & sister came over from Canada for a vacation & my sister was reading this when she arrived. She lugged it through Europe, then when she left to go home she left it behind. So, of course, I thought I would read it! I have read a lot of Nicholas Sparks’ books & most of them have been fine – a predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable read. The Rescue was no exception!

The Rescue follows the story of Denise Holten, a single mom with a developmentally delayed child. Her son, Kyle, who is 5, has the vocabulary & speech ability of an 18 month old, but no one seems to be able to tell Denise exactly what is wrong. On the way home from seeing yet another specialist, Denise and Kyle are in a car accident. Denise is rescued by Taylor McAden, a volunteer fireman, who Kyle takes an immediate liking to.

Through Kyle, Denise & Taylor begin to develop a bond, but Denise knows that something just isn’t right. Taylor is holding back & Denise fears that she, and more importantly, Kyle are going to get hurt.The Rescue is a lovely story full of emotion & I especially like how Sparks shows Denise to be the human she is – someone prone to frustration at not being able to make her son speak. She’s vulnerable & scared that her son is never going to fit in, never find love, never be normal.

As I said earlier, Sparks books are pretty predictable in that they follow the romance formula – guy meets girl, there’s an attraction. One or both of them has a “Fatal Flaw” that must be overcome & then there’s the requisite happy ending. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not good reads, though, because quite the opposite is true. Sparks has a wonderful way with words & makes his characters, and his stories, come alive. He writes about believable, every day situations which helps his readers identify with his characters & their stories all the more.  If you haven’t read any Nicholas Sparks, this is a pretty good place to start.

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Filed under postaweek2011, Relaxing reading

Unsavory Delicacies by Russell Brooks

I was sent Unsavory (I always want to put the “u” in that word!) Delicacies by the author as a review request some while ago, but have really struggled to find time at the weekend to get it read – which is crazy as it’s a very short read!

Unsavory Delicacies is a trilogy of short stories (starter, main & dessert), namely – Crème Brûlée, To the Last Bite & Shashlyk and Morezhenoe. The three stories are very short, very fast paced & quite thrilling! The stories are all interconnected by a restaurant (not the same restaurant, mind) & an underlying theme – revenge. Crème Brûlée begins in a restaurant in Old Montreal (love stories that take place in my native Canada!) & features spies & some serious intrigue. To the Last Bite is about a food critic, Dennis Kirby, who takes great pleasure in ripping restaurants apart in his column. This one is not for the faint of heart, or those with a delicate stomach! Shashlyk and Morezhenoe takes place in Russia & features a character from Crème Brûlée, Ridley Fox & again features spies – this time with a Russian Mafia twist.

All 3 stories are excellently written – my only regret is that they are so short. I think that all 3 could have been a lot longer & still would have been as good. These left you wanting more – a lot more………but maybe that was Brooks’ idea all along!

 

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I'm so confused! (and getting more confused by the minute) – another non-book post

As some of you may know, I am part owner of a forum for Canadian Expats in the UK. This forum has been a sort of home from home for at least 6 years (through 2 different formats) & it is a place I love dearly. It used to be owned by someone else, but through some crazy circumstances we ended up being the proud owners of http://www.canadian-expats.com (don’t go look though, as there is nothing on there to see). The old website (cancuks.co.uk) lapsed & now someone else owns that domain name, which is how we ended up with canadian-expats.com & canadian-expats.com/forums……..

Now, we (me, Glitter & Rcee) have owned this website/forum for about 3 or 4 years & we have seen our membership dwindle to the point where I wonder whether we should even bother any more. Most days I go on there & there are few or no new posts & while we may have 113 members, there are only a very small handful who ever post anything. I know that a big part of the problem is that no one can find us on the internet very easily.

So, with that in mind & thinking that I might like to own the domains ceinwenn.com & ceinwenn.ca, I went & did a little research. Well, that only led to more confusion & more research, which in turn led to more confusion. I know that we need to get something (preferably something really good!) onto the canadian-expats website, but how? We can’t afford to hire a professional & I certainly can’t do it myself. Maybe I need to take a course at the local uni to learn how to develop websites?!!

Oh yeah & I’m still no further along on deciding whether to buy those domains. Any thoughts?

 

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Filed under Life, postaweek2011