The Canadians - well those around us - seem to like celebrating Halloween, and from what I have seen on my walks around the neighbourhood, they love adorning their houses and gardens with elaborate displays. I can't remember such a high percentage of houses in England being decorated as they are here - however that was nearly six years ago, so maybe it's become more like the States, and also maybe it's more a city-centre thing. But then neither can I recall seeing signs of ghoul-filled festivities in Munich or Sevilla.
We took a trip to Dorval (a suburb on the south shore of Montreal island) a fortnight ago to see the accountant. After half an hour of figure-talk , we then - on her recommendation - drove along the lake shore road and stopped in the neighbouring suburb of Pointe Claire, where we bought some Montreal Canadiens Christmas tree decorations to add to our growing collection of Christmas decorations from around the world:
The chill in the air together with T actually having a whole weekend off work, meant it was time:
Time to make the Christmas Cake.
We were in the supermarket buying ingredients for the cake, when a lady walked up to me, her face full of concern, babbling away. As I saw her come towards me, I feared she was speaking French and I would therefore not to be able to help her, but to my relief she spoke English. Her dilemma - which was causing her a huge amount of stress - was she couldn't figure out which of the crackers were salted and which weren't. Although one side of the packet is in French and the other side in English, the French side seems to always be the side viewable. But the words for salted and non-salted is something I do actually know the French for! I was able to point her to the ones she wanted, and she could have non-salted crackers.
I have always found it hard when someone needs help and I am not able to understand them. They must think I'm so rude as I mumble my excuses in English or a very broken take on their language and shrug my shoulders, shake my head, looking around for someone else to help them and then walking on as they stare after me in disbelief.
Having survived the supermarket without any more drama, it was home to soak the fruit in brandy. (As well as testing a little of the brandy ourselves - it would have been awful if the tipple had gone off...ahem...)
Making this year's cake proved much less of a traumatic experience than last year. We had the tin (the expensive tin we had to buy last minute out here), we had all the utensils we needed, and we knew in advance what to by instead of treacle, and that the different, non-English sugar and flour, would work.
I don't really get why R has been banging on about the colour of the leaves. What about the poor green leaves? How must they feel? I am not colour-ist when it comes to leaves. Red, orange, green, brown; as long as they flutter down and provide me with entertainment in trying to catch them, I don't care how they look.
They also provide great amusement inside, as I can sit in the dry and warmth watching them fall from the branches, fluttering down like those white snow flake things we had last year (whatever happened to them?)
Although it was stunning around St Saveaur, and seeing the colours in the forests which stretch on as far as the eye can see, in the midst of the city the palette of colour was still fantastic.
So the guys around the 'hood asked me if I had thought about getting a winter coat yet. I replied I was thinking of sticking with my current coat. (As it is rather lovely.) For some reason, they laughed at me - I didn't think it wasn't that funny. They say the weather's not too nice outside come December/January. But I don't believe it!
It's lovely outside!
Just to please them, I have started to grow a proper winter coat. My ears now seem to fit my head more - well that's what T and R say.
I say, my ears are perfect, thank you very much.
We drove up to Saint Sauveur a couple of weeks ago, hitting the Saturday fall-colour traffic on the way out of Montreal, meaning the usual hour-long drive took two. There was no way around it though; all we could do was sit back and eat the Canadian version of 'English-style' Liquorice Allsorts.
When we eventually arrived, the town was the busiest we have seen it. (Having been there in spring, summer, and now fall, it will be interesting to return in winter when the ski season is in full swing.) Managing to grab one of the last parking places, and then securing a table outside our favourite deli, we sat in the hot late September sun drinking coffee. Arms starting to turn red in the hot sun, we then wandered along the main street before retracing our steps back to the car.
So, it's back to just the three of us in the apartment once again.
It has been made even more quiet as T gave R his bad-ass flu-cold thing. I think that's pretty sweet of him really, sharing everything with his wife. However, I don't think R shares my views...
The bug (they call it a bug, but although I have searched and searched for something to chase, I can't find anything.) has meant R has not been on the ball at all, meaning my breakfast has been served a tad later than usual, and she is not good about opening the door to let me out and then in, and out again...and in again. And then when I am tired from playing outside and decide I want to go and lie on her, she spends the whole time sneezing and coughing preventing me from getting a good days sleep.
It's not just the daytime either - I have been reduced to sleeping on a dining table chair at night, as my usual spot - either on R, or taking up half their king size bed - has not been very restful with R coughing and sniffing, tossing and turning.
I can safely say Albie's hate flu-colds.
I want to apologize for the following post. I have succumbed to the Fall 'flu and therefore am struggling to function, but I wanted to get this out before too many days after the actual event had passed...
For a limited time, the ticket to the Mosaicultures Internationales at the Botanical Garden also allowed us a second visit. (There was so much to see we could have done with more than two visits to be honest - the Montreal Botanical Gardens, founded in 1931, house 22,000 plant species spread over 75 hectares - but two were better than one!.)
People had mentioned the Gardens of Light as something worth going and see, so the following day, accompanied by T, we returned (me wrapped up in my furry lined boots and bad-ass winter coat, a tad over dressed as it turned out. No gloves though, as we can't remember were we put them...there is going to be a big panic when the cold does come...) It was one of those things we had been meaning to do last Fall, but all our time and energy had been taken up by buying furniture, cars, kittens...