susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Friday, August 29, 2008

Port Hawkesbury

This former and apparently extremely busy port isn't nearly so busy these days. However, spending three days here has been very handy. It's built on quite a steep a hillside. And the mall and Tim Horton's (think Starbucks) are just over the brow of the hill. A couple of days yomping up and down the hill, and my little leggies are feeling full of vim and vigour and go walkies by themselves, carting the rest of me along with them for the ride. I love it when that happens! All that benefit at no effort!!

And something else pretty good - not just here, but everywhere - is the customary greeting 'Hi, how are you? Good, and you? Good' - takes a couple of seconds, isn't an enquiry into your personal life/problems and makes the world go round just that little bit more smoothly. Oh, and the delightful habit, which I may have mentioned earlier, of calling people 'dear'.

Adoption, Canadian style?

The boxing skeleton pen

Sorry it's on its side - I'm pressing the levers for the arms to make it box and its eyes glow red! Isn't it FABULOUS!!!!

Rubbish picture, though ...

Jack as Anne of Green Gables

About to be hauled off the rocks

Pretty nix all in a row

It must be washing day! And indoor drying because of the weather ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gannet Squadron

'Gannet Leader, Gannet Leader, this is Gannet Two - come in please. Over'

'Gannet Two this is Gannet Leader. Over'

"Gannet Leader, check out those shags drying their wings on the buoy at 3 oclock. Can we disturb them just a little, Gannet Leader? Can we? Please? Can we? Over'

Roger that, Roger - er- Gannet Two. I see them. Gannet Squadron, Gannet Squadron - have you got your bombs in position? See that little bunch of birdies down there? In tight formation now, right wheel, descend to ten feet above sea level, come in over them, then fire at will! Over.'

'Gannet Leader, Gannet Leader - Janet, this is Will - er - Gannet Three. Why is everyone aiming at me? Over.'

'Oops, sorry Will. Belay that order, Gannet Squadron - aim for the bally shags, chaps ... Bombs away!! Over'

'Jolly good show, chaps - got the little blighters! See 'em jumping in to wash all that off! First rate work, men. Regroup at 40 feet. Over'

'Gannet Leader, this is Roger. Shoals below. I repeat, shoals below. Over'

'Well spotted, Roger! Gannet Squadron - aim for shoals below. Dive, dive, dive!'

'Er, Janet, er, Gannet Leader, this is Roger- maybe the new glasses need adjusting - I meant rock, not fish ... ooo. Ouch. That must have hurt. Roger and Out.'

Idle minutes ....

Wednesday- today!

I'm typing this in the marina office - unlimited access! Raining earlier- and my jacket has given up. It leaks from the elbows to the cuffs, and water pours in. I can only wear it with my sleeves well rolled up...

The marina shower building door lock is broken when I turn up, so I wait until the office people get here and break in, and then unlock this building. Shower next, for me.

Tuesday 26 August

Dry, cloudy, little wind. Again we're motoring. I reckon we've sailed without the engine on for about half an hour all the time I've been here (3 1/2 weeks). We're setting off towards Havre Boucher, shortly before the Canso Canal. There's quite a bit surfy swell going with us, lifting the stern of the boat and pushing us onward.

We miss the turning for HB, and when asked, I suggest we might as well continue through the Canso Strait. This is a narrow strip of sea separating Nova Scotia from the island of Cap Breton, and we shall have to go through the big ship lock. J radios ahead and with a scary surfy following sea, we go between the high concrete walls of the canal. Ahead, a couple of men way way above us fish for our lines with boathooks - as I'm rubbish at throwing lines, I'm delighted to see them. To let us transit the lock, we hold up the traffic for miles each way, when the lock gates close and the swing bridge swivels to let us through.. Yay! Power! All for a tiny sailboat!

A couple of miles further on is Port Hawkesbury and we pull into the marina there. I've been contacted by someone - Akira - from the ybw website, who has kindly suggested we might meet up if possible, so after we've docked and J's found a computer to type up his screenplay, I ring him, and shortly after, he knocks on the hull. Larry and his wife Bonny invite us out to dinner - J excuses himself with the amount of work and a shower he must get done - but I'm hungry! We go out to the Bras d'Or Lakes, where they have a small but amazingly roomy boat, and we have supper in the yacht club opposite their private mooring. I restrain myself to a couple of glasses of wine ... Back to their oh-so-pretty house with an incredible woodburning stove/cooker in the kitchen - a hundred years old and still working well! They bargained the dishwasher for the stove when they bought the house ... who got the best of the bargain? Thanks for the excellent company L and B!

Monday 25th August

Up anchor, motor out of the bay. Slight course adjustment from 320 to 90 .. and eastward bound we go, down the coast to Cape George. Fortunately the rain has lessened by the time we round the cape and tuck into Ballantyne's Cove Wharf in the shadow of the bulbous pine covered hill.

There's a seafood shack here, where we have fish and chips later, and a Bluefin Tuna exhibition. Oh, and showers $2 for 5 minutes!! Lots of sailboats here, unusually, including a particularly large and spectacularly ugly ketchnextdoor. It's for sale. I suspect they'll need to pay someone to take it away.

Later, after supper, J is down below typing on his laptop by the light of a headtorch, which he prefers to use, rather than turn a cabin light on. I have no such qualms, though in fact I'm writing this by the lastbit of sunset and a couple of orange dock lights, up in the cockpit. It'sa balmy evening and I can't bear to be in the stuffy cabin. Behind me, on the old fishing dock a coupld of young lads are fishing in the harbour, though I don't think shouting and cussing is going to encourage the fish to bite- and it doesn't. They're picked up, and leave empty-handed.

The harbour, likemost here, is made of massive granite-y boulders forming defensive walls and arms at the entrance. Gulls have colonised the outer edges, standing each to a rock, all facing out to sea, stilllives, an art installation. One stray bobs uncertainly on the water, a little plastic bird, floating in the stillness. It's inspecting the rocks, looking for an easy exit to hop onto. Itbobs up to one - stops- inspects - rejects with a sniff - and paddles on to the next. Three rocks down, and I've almost given up watching, when it suddenly stands, up to its ankles in seawater, on a submerged rock. So- no hopping, wing flapping, slippery slidey like the shags on the bigred buoymarking the seaward entrance to Charlottetown..

A blast of what sounds like Meatloaf in the cooling silence - then it's off, and I'm left to the gentle slap of the water, the ensign snapping in a littlebreeze, and nearby chink chink chink as a loose halyard hits a mast, and distant high laughing voices of youngsters playing on the rocky beachbeyond the breakwater. Sound carried over water, and it's now too dark towrite, so I and my coffee bucket are going below.

Where the rocks meet the sea

Next morning (Sunday 24 August) with the sun shining very brightly, we started the engine with its usual fix of quickstart squirty stuff, pulled up the anchor, and two hours before low tide, motored forward on to the rocks in front of us. The boat was well and truly stuck, and as the water went down, so the angle of dangle increased, nose in the air. I've got some photos, and will try to post them. J once again in the dinghy with the kedge anchor, having tried to dislodge us under engine. Fortunately, a nearby fishing boat full of First Nation (that's what it said on their boat) kids and a couple of adults woke up and saw what was happening. They kindly took a line and after MUCH huffing and puffing and the most dreadful scraping sounds, dragged us over and off the rocks. J put out the kedge and we set to wait until high tide to go again.

(Several hours later)

Once again, we set off, again in the wake of a couple of sailboats whizzing past - locals with local knowledge to be sure. And further down towards the deep sea, took a wrong turning and hit the mud, in deep this time, again on a falling tide Oh, for a detailed chart!! J back in the dinghy with a line, trying to pull us off, and me on board, engine in reverse. You could almost hear the squelchy slurp as the mud eventually let us go... Another local chap (oh hooray for all them, and heartfelt thanks!) was standing by in his power boat, and with J still in the dinghy and me at Fortune's helm, gratefully followed him as he escorted us to the mouth of Merigomish Harbour. J directed me to steer (back on board by this time) to a corner of the long long beach of yellow sand and we anchored for the night in the lee of the cliff. Our path was crossed on the way there by a Freedom yacht (single sail, unstayed mast in the bows). I love those boats. The woman at the wheel, hair streaming, waved cheerily.

The beach was crowded with people playing on the sand, swimming in the water, rushing around on speedy boats, playing music - Canadians at last at play on this rare beautiful day! That night the stars were out- a miracle! But I was woken in the night with the quiet persistent patter of rain on the hatch over my head....

Hahahaha - I've just looked in my note book - and I've written 'pissing with rain' - so much for literary niceties...


Well, I'm sorry there's been quite a gap, and quite a lot's been happening, but all out of reach of a computer/internet connection.

The night in John Bay was at anchor and totally without incident. All I could hear was the sound of cows mooing on the hill opposite. When J suggested I take the dinghy and row around a bit, I couldn't see myself visiting the cows for a profound discussion, and went to bed with a book instead ..

The following day saw us mooching further eastward along the coast, going further than anticipated in the end, and deciding to go into Merigomish Harbour - another even more winding entrance channel. At first I was following a couple of other sailboats on their way to the end of the maze, when J decided we'd anchor in a little cove. The water shoaled from 20+ feet to 3 (keel in the mud) in seconds. Stray outside the channel at your peril! We backed off and went further up the channel, when a man and his family and dog pulled up alongside in a small power boat. He explained where we should go, but in a maze, directions are difficult to follow. We ended up in shallow water, but dropped the anchor anyway. The man came back shortly after and suggested we up anchor and follow him to deeper water, but Jack said he preferred to stay where we were.

That evening, covering myself in deet, I went for a row in the dinghy. What a pleasure it was to see these hordes of mosquitoes dancing around me, unable to get through to my skin ... a small revenge- until several of them found they could bite just as well through my trousers AND knickers ... Apparently, there are 37 varieties of mosquito on PEI alone. What use are they? They cling to the bug nets around the hatches like ravening maniacs, shaking the netting trying to get in to slake their bloodlust!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Off to John's Bay, Nova Scotia

bye bye Land of the Spud - you're well worth a visit!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drunken potatoes

Last night, eating out at a very good pub, I got so pissed, suddenly everything seemed hilariously funny. At least I'm a happy drunk!

I may have mentioned this island is fueled by potatoes. Outside the tourist office is a very large sand-and-cement statue of a happy smiling potato, sitting on a pile of - potatoes. (Sandcastle competitions feature widely here, as do sand souvenirs). On the way to A of GG yesterday, our tour guide/driver let drop, as we rubbernecked left right left right to admire the local sights of frequently defunct operations, that crop rotation was now enforced - potatoes, maize (corn), cereals, fallow, potatoes etc. At the pub two of those items featured noticeably with my meal - and I reckon the chowder was thickened with cornmeal ... They served locally distilled potato vodka, and the menu mentioned 'potato of the day' on more than one occasion .. I disgraced myself by laughing too much, especially when I was texting as we were about to leave - and made J wait for a change. He didn't think his having to wait for me was terribly amusing - turning the tables ...

Sun's shining today! :-)

Leaving tomorrow :-(

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


despite what I said, is actually a beautiful island - the same ruby-red soil as on the Iles de la Madeleine, though this time the giant child is playing on the green grass with toy farms.

Charlottetown is my size of place for a capital - old painted shingle buildings on tree-lined streets - all very smart - lots of restaurants, and exploiting the tourist as much as possible - and why not? That's why we come here, after all.

We were stuck in Murray Harbour a few days ago - literally! We'd come through the narrow shallow entrance and along the windy (that's w-eye-ndy, not w-i-ndy) channel, turned right - er - to starboard - and stuck in three feet of water... So, with that, and the wind coming up to blow very strongly, we spent the day at anchor, giving J a great opportunity to play with his Danforth kedge (this is for the sailing readers - it's just an anchor, for the others), rowing it out in the dinghy while I paid out the line. Once anchored, there was nothing much else to do, so I read rather a lot of books... J went to the rescue of three young men trying to get back to their bottle green trimaran, rowing against the wind. No chance. So off J went with his outboard on the dinghy and towed them to their boat.

After MH, we went round the corner (Murray Head, Cape Bear) to Wood Islands, which is more of a car ferry terminal than anything else, but the harbour itself has a great feel - small, collapsing dock, fishing boats, a seafood shack (Crabby's, there for 22 years), a hand-painted notice warning boaters they use the harbour at their own risk, a beautiful white and red lighthouse about to fall into the sea, open for visitors (I climbed on a guided tour up to the light - and yes, it's VERY near the edge), and near the car lines, a soulless cafeteria (but with flushing loos!) and a delightful gift shop with fudge (for J) and icecream, and I bought lobster eggs aka chewing gum for two of my grandchildren. Last time I was away, I bought them seagull poo aka choc covered raisins, and Ebby wouldn't eat hers ... Zia read the ingredients and did!

Everything on this island (PEI) is connected to lobsters ... or potatoes (there's a potato museum) .... or Anne of GG (100 year anniversary of the publication of the book).

Thunder, lightning and in rain ....

If I never see another boat in my life it won't be too soon. I'm fed up with having to listen to weather forecasts of awful weather, and think dragging around from one place to another in the slowest most boring way possible is a good idea - no it isn't - a car would be MUCH better. And when we left Wood Islands (cute even with the biggest car ferry terminus on a tiny island), we nearly climbed on to Indian Rocks offshore and spent at least a couple of hours disentangling ourselves from this mess, to find ourselves virtually back at Wood Islands and having to start out all over again and arriving late at Charlottetown, out at sea, in the middle of the most dreadful thunder and lightning and torrential rain, I couldn't see more than a few yards beyond the edge of the boat at times. J couldn't see the marks, the radar was swamped by rain echo, so guess who had to stand in the cockpit getting fucking soaked through. Major SOH malfunction. I wanted, and in fact still want, to just come home. It took a horrible couple of hours at least to get the ten miles up from the sea, through a narrowish entrance and to the yacht club, where I'm writing this.

Interestingly - type 'rain' into a text message, and it comes up as 'pain'. Never a truer word.

Oh, and joy of joys, we went to Anne of Green Gables's house today (good tour chap/driver, though) - everything on this island is either potatoes, lobsters or A of GG ... combined usefully, I thought, in lobster-flavoured crisps (no, they weren't) and A of GG flavoured crisps, though I really couldn't see myself eating a young girl, even disguised as a potato....

The visitors to A of GG's house are a) ladies of a certain age on coach trips, wearing plastic rainhats and carrying sticks, b) occasional husbands of above, wearing very bored expressions, c) Japanese tourists, all young, and d) a chap with very long dreads ... very Anne, I'd have thought.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Jack's just looked along the row of computers and asked 'Are you through?' in a very meaningful way. 'Very nearly' says I, lying through the braces.

So I finish up and close down and ask him, typing away merrily, if HE'S through. He gives me a sheepish look, so I start up again ...

BTW those photos were taken with my phone - and I look GHASTLY - whereas in real life of course I look endlessly glamorous and gorgeous ...

Georgetown, PEI

A very pretty clapboard town with big trees and long lawns down to the main street.

We tied up to the wharf yesterday in the POURING rain - which seems to be a habit, doesn't it? - helped by a young chap who gradually drowned as I watched ... That evening, lots of people happened to drop by our dead end of the wharf - we were the entertainment! They're very friendly here. Lots of gathering further back down the wharf - one of our visitors said it was the local meeting place.

I've acquired quite a few pets here. I've been assured by quite a lot of people here it's the worst year for mosquitoes ever known, and as usual they love me .. I, on the other hand, have become a violent serial killer.

Today, I took a stroll along the main street, passing a museum which opens 'by chance' and a playhouse in bottle green clapboard - very big. This is a very quiet place, and I haven't quite found a horse yet. J and I had breakfast at the back of the store. Plastic cutlery doesnt cut well done bacon. And my pet flies came with me - they enjoyed the toast with tomato jam.

Off to Murray Harbour later.

Friday, August 15, 2008

From Fortune's deck

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

That was at 3.30 am .. and now it's lunchtime

at Shirley's Place, the harbour, Souris, PEI.

Waht to do when you sit on a chair on a porch outside the greasy spoon and discover most last night's downpour has soaked invisibly into the seat? And you're wearing a clean pair of khaki combats? And you get up and look as if you've wet yourself? Why, you sit on the next door wooden bench, heated in the sunshine, and try to dry off. But you've been seen by a couple of knowing locals, also sitting on benches, who tell you - just that little bit too late - that the seats are wet ...

And how do you eat a BLT with mayo and braces? Why, you share it with the front of your once clean dry khaki combats.

Of course I know what's good for me - the FUCKING BASTARD absent sun is shining hot on my back. So I'm happy sitting on this bench, drying my arse and roasting my soul and bones.

There's a familiar and evocative smell here in the fish dock in Souris - for the first time this trip - of gently decaying shellfish. Strange it might be to say this, but I love it ... the lobster season is over for this year, though, but some fishermen are coming in with their catches of fish packed in ice. A boat ahead of us is unloading their catch, and the languid skinny boy crew with overgrown black hair under his baseball cap is slouching round the wharf making fast, then fixing the boxes of fish to the lifting crane and they're winched ashore, checked by a woman in an official hi-viz vest and clipboard, loaded into a 4x4 and off to a market somewhere.

Oh, and to lower the tone, there's a tiny islet off Ile d'Entree covered all over in shags. Don't have to look far for a name.

Remind me to tell you about the ghost walk, the highlight of my stay in Sydney, will you?

En route to Souris, PEI

and yes, OK, I own up - it's been a bit of a drudge so far - waiting in Sydney, feeling sick towards Dingwall, bored towards the Iles (though I can recommend the cafe Pas Perdus in Cap aux Meules).

What happened next?

What with very confused - ie very SCARY - seas off the easternmost point of PEI, and Jack deciding now would a really good time to take down the sails, and Fortune trying her damndest to shake off her two annoying horsefly crew overboard, rolling, heaving and pitching all at the once, and a huge crash down below as the contents of Jack's personal locker, including it must be mentioned, the urn containing his son's ashes, hurtyling across the cabin floor, followed shortly after by lightning all round and the mast being the highest point out at sea, oh and did I mention it was 2 in the morning, a pitchy, witchy black morning? When the swarm of green bees on the radar turned into a cloudburst as we're approaching the harbour of Souris and a huge car ferry decides now is an excellent time to leave, kindly shining his search light on to the rocky entrance as we squeeze between the ship and the rocks, then we're headed for some fishing boats in a side harbour, me up in the bows, straining to see in the inky black, my torch being fairly useless, when what DO I see but a FUCKING GREAT BLACK BASTARD OF A WALL right in front of the boat... so pretty sharpish and not caring if I wake the entire town of Souris from their uncaring slumbers, I scream and scream STOP TURN LEFT STOP at Jack, who has a hearing problem ... By the time he's understood why his crew is shrieking and yelling and jumping, he swerves to the left, missing the BASTARD WALLby less than a couple of feet.

Legs trembling, we come alongside a proper wall, with a proper ladder and proper mooring cleats, and I don't care if my bare feet are shredded as I run around the wharf making Fortune fast... Apart from all that and writing this still wearing soaking trousers and adrenaline and the torrents are trying to get in through the hatch above my head, we had a pretty dull trip from Ile d'Entree to PEI.

The windswept Iles de la Madeleine

are a a fishhook in the middle of the massive Gulf of St Lawrence - red earth humps covered in lumpy green blankets, threaded together with long yellow sand dunes and lagoons where heron fish for hours. Houses are scattered all over, randomly, as if a giant child spilled his rainbow jelly beans. And the winds blow all the time, only the strength varies, so the sky by the water is filled with butterflies as kite surfers take flight.

This sounds like a tour brochure - but truly they're beautiful. This next bit is a bit rough - sorry!

From the harbour of Cap aux Meules, packed with stern-to laid up lobster boats, we left on Monday afternoon, heading for the only main island not attached to the rest - the Ile d'Entree. Alone geographically, it's also alone as the only English speaking island. It's all a matter of history. But I digress a bit here and go back to the joined up islands ....

The main group speak French - descendants of old Acadians, and I was surprised to find most of the people I spoke to spoke little or more than not no English. and the accent varied from tiny island to tiny island. One main road runs from one end to the other - the Chemin Principal - and about 13000 p0eople overall live here, but many thousands more visit in the summer. We'd been lent a car (thanks Roger and Louise), and drove instead of sailing to Havre Aubert at the southernmost tip of the chain. Here is tourist heaven! Rows of tiny gray painted beach hut boutiques sell souvenirs to the nose-to-tail tourists in and out of their cars. I bought a stained glass seagull - glass - how practical! - on a boat, in a suitcase, on a plane ...

But as I said - On Monday we went through a very heavy sea mist - not quite fog - to the fishhook's bait - the Ile d'Entree, which we passed in the dark on our way from Cap Breton. Only about 100 people live here and tripper boats deliver and collect hikers out to bag The Big Hill. I had a stroll as far as a beach with a broken down car on it ...

Then over night from Tuesday afternoon towards Prince Edward Island.

Monday, August 11, 2008

update - pinched from an email

I`ve been snitching a few minutes here and there on grudging internet access in libraries and tourist offices - with the ravening hordes reading over my shoulder and panting for the keyboard - scarcely have I sat down, than the clock ticks and the sandy dunes of time and Cap aux Meules (where I am at the moment) drag me back to reality.

I`m afraid this email will probably also be on my blog - internet time is nothing like real time, which drags indeed .. for a variety of reasons. Enough to say, we sailed from Sydney last Thursday in the early morning, gliding out of the Southern Arm into the Gulf of St Lawrence, left turn for the northern capes of Cap Breton. All going well for quite some time, then I`m aware of my eyes desperately searching for the horizon .. oh oh - the lurgy lurks again, ready to pounce out of the swelly waters .. then the shoulders collapse boneless and all power leaves my hands, as they try to grip the wheel and stay upright. I`m not sick, but in all mercy, I`m back feeling I never want to see a boat, the sea, have a shower, or even drink another glass of water for the rest of my life .... I lie down in the cockpit, and even Jack notices I`m not looking too bright ... To the sounds of my dull moaning - which fortunately for him he can`t hear - we press on interminably - I know this trip will never end - and for a while I sleep - oh bliss... Then we`re approaching Dingwall - at the tip of the peninsula - a village scattered around a pretty river entrance - shallow entry - double granite protecting walls - and drop anchor. I drag from cockpit to bunk, apologising to J for lack of sociability ...

Next day I walk to the tip of the harbour entrance, where children and their parents have organised a swimming area and raft between the two arms to one side of the harbour entrance. The sun is shining and I plait grasses into a band to tie my hair off my neck - the long wiry tendrils wave around my face, and I add wild flowers to the band. Once a hippy ....

Then that night we leave for the trip to the Iles de la Madeleine - my sealegs are in place - and I`m ok on this bit, thank goodness! I`m on watch as we approach in the dawn - the low slung islands with a few craggy humps loom on the horizon and I`m looking out for the entry lights for the marina - nope - none .. but it`s light enough as we get there and turn into Cap aux Meules, sideways on to the waves. The wind picks up inside the marina - none all night - and now quickly blowing a houly, so J`s ensign is blown horizontal .. It`s 6.30 am by the time we snug the boat down and fall into our bunks. It`s now Saturday 9 August.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hi peeps

Well, still weather bound in Sydney - and I know the place pretty well now - by foot, at least. I'm posting this at the library and they're pretty mean with their internet access, so this is short.

I'm off to read your comments - keep them coming - I love to hear what's happening elsewhere!

PS I was walking through Old Sydney the other day and a barefoot madwoman dashed out into the street ahead of me and hurled something on the sidewalk ... when I rather cautiously got to outside her house, I inspected the remains - shattered balloons and pieces of ice! Icebombs!!

Otherwise, Sydney is (scuse me) a little samey. Friendly, but samey.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jack at play

Friday, August 01, 2008

On the boat again ... well how I got there, anyway

So - what did I do yesterday? Early train to London, got on the wrong tube to Paddington. Got on the RIGHT tube to Paddington. Caught the Heathrow Express with seconds to spare ..

It't a short flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The plane was full to the brim and I was squashed between a Canadian hapy on rum and coke one side, who eventually dropped off after offering the handsome flight attendant a job on the oil rigs, and a quiet Brit on the other, who dropped off. Mind you, I was so tired I was asleep before we took off - when I woke up, I thought we were still taxi-ing for take off. That was a first.

Behind me was a small loudly squealing piglet, whose legs comfortably reached the back of my seat for six hours.

Notes hereafter - sorry, only 20 mins on this computer...

Landing in Canada after two years, flying in over Ice Age scoured land - memories and comparisons. A large tank of live lobsters in the terminal - a terminal destination for them, surely. Tim Horton's ubiquitous coffee shop. The airport is people-sized and comprehensible, unlike Heathrow. I had a mad few minutes with the auto check-in booth, that I couldn't make work, then declaimed at the girl at the check-in desk. She kindly inspected my paper work and pointed out I'd checked in for this connecting flight in England and here (waving it briskly) was the piece of paper to prove it. Ah, oh - THAT piece of paper, eh ... ? The one I'd tried to use to auto check in for my flight from the UK - and failed. I hate paper.

The next flight on a wee DH1 (de Havilland?) was rather delayed - I think Air Canada had forgotten about us .. They rummaged around and eventually found a pilot, co-pilot and a very dapper cabin attendant. "X, old chap, I know it's your day off, mate, but do us a favour, eh? Double - no - TRIPLE pay sound good enough?"

So out we all trooped and squeezed into this little plane with propellors and no headroom for tall people (that counts me out, then).

gotta go folks. see youse later