First day of Freedom

With my new found freedom, life after crutches, I was excited to go to the beach and get in the water.  Unfortunately, armed with lunch, bikini, towel and sunglasses – the sun decided not to show.  I sat and read my book for a bit and paddled my feet in the VERY COLD water and decided to come home.  

With freedom also comes boring tasks made easier, off to the laundrette, or laundromat as they seem to call it.  It is actually quite nice doing laundry as I can sit in the cafe next door, Remarkable Bean, and have a hot chocolate and started the new Peter James book.  The man in the shop asked if I wanted cream on my hot chocolate, my response of ‘why not, in for a penny, in for a pound’ was met with amusement and he was excited to go and tell people his newly learned English phrase!

 
I was able to do some shopping without having to ask people to carry it for me.  So far, the supermarkets are a bit weird.  Gravy comes in a sachet or a box, my frozen peas came in some sort of box and bag combination, there is no sweet chilli philadelphia and veg and sweetners are very expensive.  No wonder they eat so many Kraft Dinners – along with being delicious, it is ridiculously cheap!

Friday night rapidly approaching and I made an effort to get dressed nicely, do my hair and put make up – feeling like myself again and excited to be heading out to Downtown Toronto for the first time since the unfortunate experience in the University of Toronto.  I hobbled off to the Street Car.  Luckily I get on at the second stop, so I had a seat for the whole ride.  I dont understand how so many people fit on, and it took a stupid amount of time at rush hour (1hr and a half).  30 minutes late and I arrived at the Black Bull pub to meet my new English friend for a drink before heading off to the pole show.  Downtown Toronto has a different atmosphere to The Beach.  A lot more buzzing and I felt excitement.

Chromeageddon was a short walk from the pub at a nightclub called Barcode.  I had hoped I would have met some pole people to go to this with by now, but circumstances messed with this, so I loitered on my own a lot.  In Canada, you have to tip for everything.  So when you buy a drink at a bar, you pay the drink price, then they add tax, then you have to tip 15-20% on top of this.  I realised I had not checked if this was the same in nightclubs.  Totally not cool, but I needed to know, so I asked a Canadian at the bar.  It is.  I find this whole tipping thing weird and awkward.  My maths isnt brilliant for a start.  

The pole show was fantastic.  Great music and performances were immense.  Most of them were a lot more energetic than the last show I went to.  They were also a lot more sexy pole.  Amazing strength and performances and just made me want to go home and do something fitness based.  I chatted to some people who had some things that needed clearing up, such as what does the expression ‘taking the mick’ mean and why do we say ‘front garden’ instead of ‘front yard’.   Lots of split moves in the performances – dropping to splits and Jades, I kept hoping for a Death Lay, but noone did one.  Always on the look out for my favourite move, the Remi – I was not disappointed when someone did a Remi Extreme on a spinning pole.  Lots of transitions that I havent seen or tried before, so am keeping an eye out for the uploads to take some geeky pole notes.

Back up to the pub where where Laurens room mate had joined her for a few more drinks and then home on the Street Car.  Everyone on the Street Car home seemed to have amazing smelling take aways.  It runs 24 hours a day which is handy and only took 30 mins to get home.  

Today has been spent in as ankle was hurting after all the excitement.  I have booked a pole class for tomorrow, so want it to be well rested.  All in all though, yesterday as an exciting day of mobility – Now I am in Canada!

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Off to ‘Emerge’

I think an update is definitely overdue. So much seems to have happened since my last proper post, even though not a lot has! Its more of a mental shift.

After a nice couple of days on the beach, I pretty much hit ankle rock bottom. I had a nightmare trying to get an appointment at the fracture clinic and my referral kept getting lost. Hands were bruised and just getting up was so much effort. I spent a few days not leaving the apartment until the evening to go to the pub. All day every day watching Dexter on Netflix.  I got to the point of checking the prices for flights home.  Without a few certain people I would not be sane. The locals in the pub, helped me have fun in the evenings and, after the pub was time for everyone at home to be getting up for work – much appreciated Whatsapp banter! My room mate is always there to help with the stupid crutches and my new English friend came down to the beach one day.

From my bed, I did manage to order an online food shop, after sun, bedding, towels and a fan (my room mate calls a fan a ventilator – she speaks a million langugages but this just makes me think of hospitals!). Paid for most of it with my English cards/ Paypal getting a great exchange rate. Just got to wait for my parcels now.

On Thursday, it was time to get a grip. I made a packed lunch and charged my ipad ready for a day at A&E (they call it Emerge here, you cant just say half a word and expect people to know what it is!). I went to Toronto East General Hospital and they were fantastic. I was amused that everyone is asked loudly by a lady with a microphone what is wrong with them and if they have diarrhoea.  Confidentiality eat your heart out! Another $550 dollars later and I was sent off to see a lovely nurse. She wasnt expecting me to burst into tears – not just a small outburst, this was a fill on snotty crying about everything situation. She put me in a side room on my own to wait for the doctor! She was so nice and kept coming to check on me. When the doctors arrived, I had my feet up on the bed reading my Kindle app – Aisleyne: Surviving Guns, Gangs and Glamour (Big Brother) got me through! I tweeted her to say I had finished and got a Tweet back.  Winner!  Now for the big news… They looked at the xrays and said its not broken! My whole mindset changed at that moment. It still hurts a lot, but now I am allowed to walk on it! I am hobbling, and it will be a long time before I can run, but I can walk!  I can make a cup of tea and carry it to my bed or the sofa without having to put it in a flask and then in my bag! 

  

Help X Review

Following my stay on the farm, Help X asks you to write reviews on each other for other hosts and helpers to read.  A nice review from Trish ūüôā  

Caroline stayed with us for her first week in Canada. She was a big help in the garden and cooked us a lovely English dinner.

She is a very fit gal and worked exceptionally hard in my huge garden. I appreciated her strength and perseverance. If we had to edge one more flower bed or pull one more weed I might have screamed but Caroline look it all with good grace. We got so much accomplished in the short time she was with us. 

Our other two guests from Germany enjoyed working with her.

My four grandchildren enjoyed spending time with her. A trip to Wonderland proved to be more eventful than we had anticipated. The water pistol fight in the garden was the highlight of a visit by my grandsons. It proves that one can be a professional in one part of life but given the right circumstance the little kid is still there. 

Caroline was a delight to host.

Trish

The reason I moved to The Beaches

Ive had some fun times this week and met a great bunch of people, but it has to be said that yesterday is the day that I got to see why I chose The Beaches area to live in… The beach is less than five minutes from the apartment I would say (for an able bodied human being, about 15 mins on crutches in this heat). 

The beach is really quiet at this end and is on Lake Ontario.  I am told that you can see the spray from Niagara Falls accross the water on a clear day.  I havent yet managed to get close enough to the water, but will check this out when I can!  This bit of the beach is right next to an off the ‘leash’ area dogs – so many dogs! They are all really chubby as well compared to dogs at home.  I can also see the CN Tower from here.

Sand and hopping does not work, crutches and the boardwalk doesn’t work either as my good foot slips on the small covering of sand.  I therefore have to plonk awkwardly close to the boardwalk path.

Lots of friendly people to chat to around on the beach, met a pair of lovely teachers – one is moving to England when her house sells.  I am not entirely sure why she wants to go to Sheffield, but they were lovely.  One weird man came and chatted – picked up on the 12 step recovery vibe pretty quickly.  He said I am without knowledge if I dont believe in it and that I am a child of Satan!  I suggested I will continue playing in Satans playground so God has more time to look after him.  Weirdo preacher.

One strange thing is the people wearing jeans and jumpers, or ‘sweaters’ as they say.  It is baking hot.  Sweltering.  They say, oh its not that hot, its not bikini weather.  It is late 20s.  It is bikini weather!  There are people running – one person even stopped, did star jumps and then continued.  Its too hot for my ipad to even work, let alone go running.  A big motivator for moving here was running in this area, but again, its too hot.

Today I brought bikini bottoms, but wasnt sure it was as hot.  Didnt think it through – had to change on the beach. Now its all very well thinking this would be easy on a quiet beach with a skirt, but a man came and sat quite close to me part way through the changing process – cue 45 mins feeling awkward wearing a skirt and nothing underneath.   Not what you need in this heat when you just want to relax.  Luckily, bikini bottoms installed and sunbathing commenced.  Phew.     

 

  

Weird things in Canada

They say – stroller, not pram, chips, not crisps, cooler, not alcopop, apartment, not flat, room mate, not flat mate, cops, not police and cabs, not taxis, oh and I think I already mentioned sweater, not jumper.  I have also been told to definitely use the word eraser if I wanted to draw anything, not rubber…

They serve cans in bars

Cannabis use is very open

They dont understand the phrases – ‘ticked all the boxes’ or ‘hang fire’

The public transport is very expensive and it just costs $3 to go anywhere regardless of if its 1 stop or 3 hours

A lot of them seem to think I am Australian, when I say England, the standard response is, ‘oh, are you from London?’

They greet everyone with ‘Hey, how are you?’ – this seems to apply to texting as well

Apparently, there arent actually many bears, moose or beavers around here

They pay tax separately on everything.  The price you see is not the price you pay.  

You have to tip bar staff – it considered really rude if you dont

They call money loonies and toonies – this is a one or two dollar coin.  I think because there is a loon bird on the one dollar coin

Lastly, it is true what people say – they are all ridiculously nice, I am not sure when my constant amazement at this will wear off!

Their streets are all really long.  You have to say the junction that it crosses with because if you just say a street it could be miles long.  So instead of saying Efford Lane, they would say Efford and Torridge meaning the area around where the two streets meet.

First few days at The Beaches

The move on Monday went well and I am all moved in to a lovely apartment by the beach.  I havent actually seen the beach yet, but this is on the list to do soon.  My roommate is lovely and had her boyfriend here to help get my bags up the stairs when I arrived.  After the washing situation at the university room, I was pretty excited to have a hot bath and soak my aching arms.  Nathalie is really helpful and even though I am quite noisy hopping or tapping around with the crutches, she doesnt seem to find me a burden.  She makes chocolate – it tastes amazing.
Fireworks – well I attempted to go to the Victoria Day fireworks just at the beach further down the road.  It seemed like the Barbican on a Bank Holiday Sunday.  I got a cab down and he didnt know where the pub I was supposed to be meeting people at was.  He suggested I get out and walk ‘that way’ he said pointing at darkness.  Pretty annoyed by now, I asked him to just take me Tim Hortons.  After declining his attempts to drop me at a Second Cup or a Starbucks, I made it and the milk shake machine was broken.  Made it to a buger shop, got a milkshake, made a friend and came home.  

Since this, I have managed to go and get some shopping – the supermarket people were happy to follow me around with a basket again.  I went to a garden centre and bought two cute little mini roses for my window sill in my room and some tape to put my pictures up.  After being unable to find blu tac in about 3 shops, I nearly resorted to toothpaste a la HMP.  I have used the public transport and got a street car (a bus thats attached to a wire above the road).  A lady on it gave me her phone number and offered to get me shopping and help me if I need anything.

Gym – I went for a free trial at the Good Life gym yesterday.  They have Les Mills classes and all the same equipment as Nuffers.  They also have a hand bike and a sunbed.  They also gave me a free motivational book on Living the Good Life, a guide to health and suggess.  I met a nice lady there who go to Bridge Club in the pub accross the road from me.  Friendly, but I need to check out the rest of the gymmers to see if they have anything on the Nuffield folk.  There was an Irish guy there who came on an IEC visa and is now applying for residency.  He suggested I join the Irish in Toronto group on Facebook to meet people – I tried a few months ago and they kicked me out for being English!!

The dreaded ankle – went to the walk in clinic and told another four weeks at least with the stupid boot and crutches and have a referral to the fracture clinic.  I have blisters on my hands.

Found a nice pub accross the road by the street car stop.  Have had two adventures there so far and found a whole load of regular goers that have kept me occupied for the last two afternoons/ evenings.  Last night was a bit crazy for a Wednesday night.  Smirnoff is served in a can in pubs.  Weird.  Tequila shots were the beginning of the end, whisky shots with lots of ‘welcome to Canadas’ took it down a level and spiced Malibu was the final nail in the coffin.  Crutches and alcohol do not mix well and the short walk home was pretty wobbly – luckily I had a door to door escort.  Today I have been unable to face going out with crutches, a hangover and hand blisters.  Stayed in and looked for jobs and got the insurance claim form sent off.  Also cancelled the rest of the stuff I had booked as wont be able to go to Kingston or the Jail Hostel in Ottwata in two weeks now.
I have found a comedy night a few stops down the road on the street car to go to tomorrow, got another comedy night in the diary with some folks in a few weeks and an invite to a gig at the end of the month and have perfected my Canadian accent when saying ‘hey, how are you?’.  

  

Am I through the worst of it?

I have left Trishs sofa and the safety blanket the Hockley Valley and farm provided.  Yesterday Trish dropped me into Toronto.  Right up until the leaving the farm, they all looked after me, helping with ridiculous amounts of luggage and tying my leg warmers on to my crutches for me to try and make them more cushioned.  My last activity on the farm was pistol shooting which was good fun.  Lucas who owns the guns put a chair outside for me and I stood and leaned on Freddie (the pale blue vintage tractor) to shoot some targets.  

On the way to Toronto like a big kid, I sat forward the whole time spotting place names I recognised from my Canada studies and marvelling at the size of the roads.  There is one road we drove along called the Highway of Heroes.  Trish said that when people killed abroad in the forces are brought back to Canada, the funeral cars travel along the highway and everyone comes and stands along the road.  I also caught my first glimpse of the CN Tower.

I had a room booked at the University of Toronto and the campus looks just like the ones on TV where they have ‘frat parties’.  Nice though.  Checked in and Trish brought my bags up for me.  The fifth floor seemed a sensible place to reside with crutches.  Room is basic, but clean.  To my horror, on reading the in room leaflet, I discovered that I am expected to clean the room and launder the bedding before check out.  It did not say this on the Expedia booking details! I spent my first night here on top of the bed using my Air Transat blanket and intend to do the same again tonight.   I have to say, I cant wait to check out of here tomorrow morning.  It is always a concern when you are staying somewhere that needs a sign telling people not to put urine in the garbage cans.  In addition to this, the communal bathroom is completely tiled and showers are up tiled steps which is not ideal when on your own with crutches.  Ill just say, face wipes are not an adequate substitute for actually washing and I cannot wait to soak in the jacuzzi bath (more later).

  

Trish left and the full situation hit me.  I sat and felt very sorry for myself for an hour not really sure what to do or how to go anywhere.  Eventually put some dark glasses on and booked an Uber taxi to the Eaton Centre.  I hope to go back and explore properly, so dont count this as a visit yet!  Got myself a sim card, so I now have a ‘cell’ number with Fido.  Got some food (including a Nanaimo bar from my to do list) and a drink and hit the Shoppers Drug Mart.  This seems to be a shop that just sells random stuff, maybe like a Boots.  I didnt get past food.  A shop assistant found me looking confused with a box of Rice Krispie cereal bars (like ours but with rainbow chocolate drops on top) and followed me around carrying a basket so I could get some chocolate and junk food for dinner.  Unable to locate the kitchen in the accomodation, I had no choice.

I asked some random teenage boys if they could get me a taxi and they flagged one down and helped me and my crutches in to the taxi.  Off to the Alumnae Theatre for the Candian Aerial Championships.  Up the stairs into the show on my bum and found some friendly folk to chat to.  Great performances.  I really enjoyed a performance by Polina Vinogradova and have been watching her other performances here on youtube this evening.

This morning was busy and I booked a taxi to take me around the three viewings on rooms that I had lined up.  The first one wasnt there – incredibly rude when I took a 40 minute taxi ride to get there!  Second one was the one I had highest hopes for – the girl has a picture of her on a horse for her facebook profile picture.   The third was just no good at all.  

The second flat – a nice sized double room, five minutes from the beach, a garden that needs a bit of TLC, nice kitchen/ dining/ living room and a bath with a jacuzzi bath.  It is on a fairly main road with shops, cafes and other businesses all easily accesible.  Nathalie is the manager of the belgian chocolate shop below as well as living in the flat.  A little more than I wanted to spend, but I got a really good feel for the place and am moving in tomorrow morning for a minimum of three months!  The practical things like a phone, room and bank account have been surprisingly easy.  I feel that convincing someone to employ me on crutches may be more of a challenge.

This afternoon, I asked the reception at the uni where I can get some more supplies, lunch and csh machine.  They advised me it is only a block and I can get there on crutches.  A block is a long way on crutches.  250m to the cash machine and a Yeh Yogurt (no ‘H’ in Canada) cafe for a toasted sandwich.  Two lanes of traffic stopped when the lights were green for me to cross the road!  Another 250m to the convenience store.  Back to the cafe for a peanut butter milkshake and a rest.  It is now that I got a message from Lauren who I have been chatting to online asking if I was about.  She came and met me.  I have a friend!! This perked me up a lot.  I am going to the fireworks with her tomorrow night on the beach.  She carried my supplies back to the room for me and now here I am.  Subway that I bought on my epic journey earlier for dinner and Creme Egg in rather biazare packing.  Remembering Creme Egg Fridays….    

The foot – the foot is now blowing up, the toes look like little cocktail sausages and there is some extensive bruising coming out.  I purchased some Advil as on films and TV, they all seem to talk about it.  Hoping this will also help with the fact that my arms hurt so much I could barely lift my creme egg to my mouth and my arm pits are so bruised, the thought of getting on the crtuches makes me want to cry.  I am going to watch Bad Teacher and then try to sleep.  Almost out of Diet Coke anyway.

  

From the sofa

Following my last post, I have been to the hospital.  After a good few hours in various waiting areas and following x-rays on Thursday evening, they have confirmed that I tore my ligament and my ligament kindly pulled some bone along for the ride and broke it.  The hospital kindly charged me $750 dollars before I could be seen and then sold me crutches and an air boot for a further $150.  This has to be paid up front and then claimed back on travel insurance.  Travel insurance claim form looks very through and wants loads of documents.  Just the thought of trying to find a copy shop and organise printing and copying and sending everything is making me tired.  I will address this after I have been back to have my ankle looked at again on Tuesday as no doubt they will ask me for more money.  

Yesterday was a very grumpy day on the sofa.  Nothing I recognised on the TV added to the irritation until I found Ellen.  The afternoon was passed with Holby City on IPlayer and looking for flats and jobs.  Trishs, Bill, Mellina and Simone have been helping me up and downstairs and bringing me drinks.

The level of annoyance is high right now, but less than yesterday.  So frustrated that I have the stupid crutches and it’s taking me forever to do anything.  The thought of going in to Toronto later today with a hotel for one night and then nothing is pretty daunting.  Before this, it was exciting and I was all ready for hiking around the city viewing flats and getting a feel for different areas.  Now, I will be swinging around on crutches with taxis.  Trish is going to drop me to the hotel later as there is no way I could have got there with all my luggage on the bus.  

Flats – I will stay a second night I the hotel on Sunday and hopefully find a room to move to on Monday.  Tomorrow I have a few viewings lined up in The Beaches area of Toronto.  Hopefully then I can hang out on the beach while my ankle is in the cast.  Job hunting has changed from bars and restaurants to call centres – I may as well be working while I can’t trek around the city and I will be spending more money on taxis than intended now.

Waiting to see what the doctors say on Tuesday before cancelling any bookings, but pretty sure there are a few things I will need to change now.  This includes eating.  I have been working my way through the different chocolate bars,  but now it looks like I will be on a cup a soup, toast and hot chocolate diet.  Veg will be challenging with no one to help me shop as I can’t carry stuff easily.

Fellow Brits that are coming to Canada or are in Toronto are keeping me going sending messages and still wanting to meet up despite me now being a bit of a burden.  I can meet people for stationary activities. Or boat trips I guess!  I am also grateful for night feeds so I had Kim to message whilst in the hospital.  I am hopefully going to some fireworks on the beach on Monday for Victoria Day which is a public holiday here with a fellow IECer.

This evening, I have the Canadian Aerial Championships in Toronto.  Trish told me about an app called Uber where you get taxis that are driven by people not taxis , so they are cheaper.  This is good as they don’t seem to be much more than the public transport so I can book these while I need them.  I am determined to go tonight, so I can book one of these and the theatre said that they are accessible on crutches.  Sunday’s pole class will not be as easily fixed and will have to wait.

Trishs friend brought a Timmys hot chocolate to the sofa for me today to cheer me up and her sister has been keeping me company and adding things to my Toronto to do list.  Trishs sister, Donna, also brought a lovely little dog who has been sitting with me and brought me a piece of dog biscuit that she left by me.  It isn’t Mr Jinx but she is still cute.

  

Wonderland and wheelchairs

Todays adventure: heading for Wonderland.  A big theme park like Alton Towers.  I should have known things wouldnt go to plan when I stabbed the top of my foot on a branch before we even left the house.   Theme parks are not my first choice of entertainment I must admit, but whilst in Canada… and I like pottering and a day out with some of the smaller rides.

So, Trish dropped Melina, Simone, two of her grandchildren and me off at the park just as it opened.  Big rides, gorgeous sunshine and hardly any queues as it is a school day.  Parents dont get fined here for taking the kids of out school though, so Vail and Neva had a day off.

I decided to skip the giant rides they went on first and ease my way in to the day.  Stepping off a rock to get a photo of them on one of the rides an hour after arriving I fell on my ankle and stained it again. The girls went to find a medic and an ambulance arrived.  Embarassing.  They put me on a gurney.  Now, not just put me on a gurney, but strapped me on as well!  I have never been in an ambulance before, but now is not the time I wanted to try it.  I had all my vitals checked and they put me in the sun outside the health centre with ice and a bandaged ankle.  I told the girls to get me at lunch time and settled down with the only entertainment I had – Holby City on IPlayer.  The park has no wifi.  Thank god for Holby!  Nick from the health centre kept checking on me and they were so nice.  Took a selfie in the ambulance.

 The girls came to collect me, still unable to walk, so we got a wheelchair as they didnt have any crutches.  Tanned shoulders and nice ride around the theme park as they very sweetly insisted on pushing me.  I managed to go on one ride – a giant swinging boat which was fun.  

 Food – Subway is different here but delicious – steak and cheese roll for lunch.  We also crossed Beaver Tail off my list of foods to try and I had an Avalanche cheesecake one – like a flat crunchy doughnut base but rolled out like a pizza base with white chocolate paste and chocolate and caramel chunks on top.  I also tried another Canadian delicacy – Funnel cake.  Again, the base is made out of spaghetti shapped deep fried doughnut type of stuff and it has different toppings – we had ice sugar and whippy ice cream.  A succesful food outing topped off with a ‘Timmys’.  

 A note on the wheel chair – people looked at me differently, it was hard to navigate and at one point I had to park up elsewere to wait for my food as I was blocking the queue.  On the brightside, I was happy parked up anywhere in the sunshine with my seat.  Also, when i did try to wheel myself, it was really hard work. I need to not eat amy more funnel cake or beaver tails!  It is easier to use the good leg to create mobility Flintstone style.

Settling in on The Farm

Three full days in and life on the farm is pretty good.  Although, I feel as though I am in a sort of limbo and not quite on the Working Holiday yet.

Trish and Bill – Trish greeted me at the airport with a big hug and is exactly as I expected from the video and photos on her and Bills HelpX profile.  She immediately took me for a ‘Timmys’ (Tim Hortons).  The Canadians seem to rave about Tim Hortons and I have to say, the hot chocolate exceeded expectations and immediately overtook Costa.  I feel I need a second try before committing to say it is better than Starbucks, but I think it might be.  Back at the farm and Bill is also, as you would expect from his photo.  He is from Colorado and looks and sounds the part.  Trish sounds like I would imagine Dolly Parton to sound and has lovely twang to her voice when she shouts ‘Be-ill’ (Bill).  They dont just have helpers on the farm to help, but as a temporary part of the family.  There are also two german girls here called Simone and Melina.

  
The area – The farm is in Hockley Valley, near Orangeville (or Orgneville as they say!).  The area is lovely.  We have nice houses and views at home, but these are all in a whole other league.  The houses all have verandas to sit out on and BBQs.  Everything is bigger than home, big living rooms, big houses, big gardens, big cars, big roads and the ants are huge.

The Farm – The farm house is huge with a big sweeping drive way as you approach the house through the large gardens.  The gardens are Trishs pride and joy and she is part of a garden club who tour each others gardens in the summer, she also writes for the local paper on gardening.  The house is really homely and has a weird amount of seating areas.  There are 3 decking type seating areas and I have counted 6 other areas with chairs/ sofas and tables and a bar.  Lamps are very low hanging and I keep hitting my head.  My room is a large double with my own toilet.  It is quite cold at night due ot the air con – thank god for tog rated socks, thanks Katie!  Me and the other helpers have a little gym, living room area and bathroom in the basement at garden level.  The grounds for the horses and cows to roam in are massive and we have to drive a golf buggy type thing to go and find them to feed them.  The big barn has lots of old rusty piece of machinery attached to the walls on the outside like something from a film – I have to say, this is usually horror films!

   
 Work – Work is 5 hours a day gardening.  It seems to vary and today was about 4 hours.  It has been lovely and sunny so far so I have been catching some sun at the same time.

Free time – So far, I have pottered around the farm, used the gym and sunbathed while reading outside.  We have one day off a week, but usually finish work by 2, so have all afternoon and evening as well.  As Trish and Bill include us as family, a lot of time is already planned out for us. such as dinner with Trishs daughter for mothers day last night and water fights with her grandchildren (this counted as work hours) on Sunday.  This is why I dont feel like I am independently in Canada yet!  Trish also arranged for her friend who shoots unwanted animals on the farm to come and set up targets so we could shoot them.  (Trish doesnt likw any animals being harmed, unless they are a risk to her plants, then the snails are crushed and the rabbits are shot)

Today we went into town and I got a Bank Account set up with Scotia Bank and got an SIN number which is like a National Insurance number and means I can work.  I was able to take a bank card away there and then and paid most of my cash in so I dont have to worry about having so much on me now.  I just need to get a mobile phone asap.  I will start looking for places to live in Toronto and jobs in the next few weeks.  We had another Timmys – chocolate milkshakes.  Trish dropped me accross the road to get my SIN number while she went to the copy shop with the other girls.  I had to ask how to cross the road.  Totally unprepared.  The roads are so big and cars were everywhere with the crossing thing beeping and no little green man to tell me what to do.  I spotted a man who also looked like her was waiting to cross and scuttled along behind him when he went.

Canadians – They are SO nice!  I totally see why people say this.  They are all smiley and pleasant.  The ladies in the bank were so chatty and helpful and asked about when I had arrived etc.  They all say ‘have a great day’ and one lady said ‘have a beautiful day’.  Trish said they all mean it all well.  She asked why it amuses me and what we say instead.  ‘Bye’ is somewhat less heartfelt!  I have learnt that Candian paper is a different size to ours – it is shorter and fatter, so nothing fits in my plastic wallets which is annoying.  Candians seem to respond to everything with ‘sure’ or ‘cool’ and Trishs says that most things plant related are ‘darling’ or ‘its just beautiful’ and ‘isnt it gorgeous’. 

Animals – I have seen loads of wild chipmunks pottering around the decking, we caught a raccoon on the first night in the humane trap and Trish released it somewhere else and a porcuppine crossed the road in front of us. Bill has some stunning horses.  They are friendly if you can get near them, but all unbroken and a bit wild at times.  Trish has a very spoilt border collie called Zip.

  

Food – So far, surpringly, I have managed.  I let them know as soon as possible that I am nont into salad.  Today at the ‘grocery store’, Trish got Diet Coke, Philadelphia, hot chocolate and mushrooms.  I got a stash of chocolate from ‘Dollarama’.  Bill took us all out to a Nandos type place on my second night and we have had a german creamy pasta meal twice.  Last night, Trishs daughter did greek food.  It is my turn to cook tomorrow and we have supplies for carbonara and I will make a coconut cake for dessert.  I am trying so hard to make sure I use the gym, but it has been very tiring so far as my body keeps telling me to wake up in the middle of the night here when its time to get up for HMP at home.