Life went on

Three years ago today, I set off on the biggest adventure of my life – as I write that, I hope that there are still bigger adventures to come, otherwise I live in the past thinking of this one amazing thing I did once.

I miss writing my blog, I find it therapeutic for myself, and I like sharing my adventures.  Today seemed like a good day for a resurrection.

I left England on my own with no idea what was to come in Canada.  I didnt have a huge amount of money, was armed with a huge to do list and for some reason, very little fear.  I had no idea that I would break my ankle less than a week after arriving, and manage to overcome that – somehow I didnt fly home, well I physically couldnt as I couldnt carry my belongings with my crutches.  I also didnt spend a month crying at home waiting for it to heal, although truth be told there were a few of those days.  I hopped my way to the bar and found day drinkers and baseball, I hopped to the beach and fell in love with the lake and the beach lifestyle, dreaming of the day I would be able to run along the boardwalk.  The people I met in the pub those first weeks helped me settle, looked out for me and were both a blessing and, sometimes a curse when the beaches gossip struck.  That first summer finding my feet was the best and I made such a random and welcoming collection of friends.

The Brits in Toronto group gave me a lifeline to home with fellow Brits to chat about what we missed, or share amusing stories about Canadianisms, or the best place to buy English chocolate or decent tea bags.  As I write that, I chuckle thinking of my Scottish and Welsh friends correcting me saying that its not English chocolate.  I walked so much around the city with friends, sometimes aimlessly, sometimes visiting markets or countless different Tim Hortons, taking a ridiculous amount of photos of the CN Tower and visiting board game cafes.  The Brits organised my first ever baseball game – I went as I didnt want to be left out, and now look at me!

At the end of the summer, work beckoned and I found a job.  Some normality was introduced and I found myself seeing what it was like to travel on public transport for 90 minutes each way to and from work.  This began with a steep hill that was brutal no matter how many times I did it.  I learned at this stage that, in Canada, the summer commute is hellish with the humidity and the winter commute is hellish with the ice and the frozen eye lashes – there is limited respite time in between the extremes.  The ice took me out a few times sending me home with childlike grazed knees and hands.  I met some friends that were most like my at home friends, and worked in addictions.  I had missed group work and this gave me a chance to get stuck in to a new programme, and also to work with both men and women again.  I didnt stay too long as I realised I didnt want to work all the time with little annual leave.  One of these friends has already been to visit me in Devon.

When in a different country, why be sensible?   I quit my well paid job with benefits and career experience and went to work for Toronto Blue Jays as an Usher with some bar work thrown in at my local pub.  I met a whole new crowd of random, and mostly lovely, people.  I learned how much I love baseball.  I finally understand how people enjoy sports!  The atmosphere in the stadium and sense of pride I had working there stayed with me for every game.  I got a Blue Jays tattoo.  I was recently asked if I regret that now – not even a little bit, I absolutely love it!  I did some work for the Rogers Centre on the events side and got paid to work at the Guns and Roses gig, Monster Trucks, Beyonce and Disney on Ice.  I would never have gone to these, but it was great to be paid to go.  The Monster Trucks shows were such fun!

In between the bar and the baseball, I managed to spend lots of time on the beach.  I sunbathed lots, I swam in the lake, I never tired of walking the boardwalk and Queen Street, alone or with friends.  We had regular pubs to stop for cider in the sunshine along the way.  It took some doing but I became comfortable sunbathing topless on the secret beach.  This is not something I would have been able to do without the confidence and carefree attitude of one friend rubbing off on me.  This is probably not something I will be repeating anytime soon on an English beach, but for a while there, I felt care free and tan line free!  Aside from the beach, I also went off and got to see amazing things – I was going to say I cant even begin to list everything and what I most loved, but I am going to try…. bears, mountains, the Icefields Park way, Niagara Falls, Manitoulin Island, the screaming faces, all of Newfoundland, snowtubing, Toronto Islands, the squirrels, Kew Gardens, Fenway Park, Vegas, Empire State building at night, Beavertails, random road trips.  I drove on the other side of the road for the first time in my life.

My Dad visited twice and three friends visited.  We had so much fun.  I loved showing them around my new home, and realised how much I had picked up as I easily navigated the city in hire cars and on public transport.  I showed them the best spots and shared the things I loved.  The friends I made were so welcoming to my visitors – this meant a lot.

It all sounds terribly rosy and I find myself with a warm feeling of nostalgia.  I know that it wasnt all a fairy tale.  I missed my sister being pregnant, my nephew being born and his first year, weddings, my pony dying.  I missed my pets – though I had the best hamster in Mavis and had such fun with her babies, an unexpected and entertaining experience.  I also had a succession of foster cats to keep me company.  I loved the beaches and hated the beaches at times – the gossip and stirring was upsetting and tiring at times, but I loved the welcoming friendly people that I knew I could rely on.  I loved being able to go to the shop or coffee shop and bump in to people I knew for a chat.  I loved being able to go to the Remarkable Bean for a chai latte and to people watch!  I digress back in to nostalgia.  I found it difficult working in the different jobs after a while, I felt like I wanted to use my skills and I missed working in prisons.  I still got plenty of challenging behaviour to work with at the pub and the baseball, but not the same!  My apartment was cute and my own space, but I never really got furniture or kitted it out properly so it was always a mess and never really my own.  I found that Canadian friends didnt always want to go on road trips or explore Canada, but some of the Brits I met were quite a bit younger and preferred to go drinking and clubbing.  I missed dressing up in heels and dresses to go out – now I am back, I just wish I could go out in ‘active wear’ and a baseball jersey with flip flops!  I was very up and down in my last few months in Canada and I think a lot of this was to do with things like living out of cardboard boxes instead of having a chest of drawers! and not having a car which I found really frustrating, and also developing chronic plantar faciitis making weight gain worse and meaning I lost my passion for the gym as it was too painful to enjoy it or do much.  This said, there is no way of knowing which ifs and buts would have changed anything, so I probably wouldnt change much looking back,

Im still remembering more and more great experiences as I type, skiing was fantastic.  For some reason, I even look back on driving in snow squalls with glee!  Despite the crawling along the road with a very real fear of imminent death.  Oh and my friends leg going through the ice on a frozen lake that he assured me was okay to walk on.  I stayed on the safety of actual solid ground.

How is it being back?  I have been back for 9 months.  For the first couple of months I savoured every rich creamy English chocolate bar, devoured fish and chips, pies, decent bacon.  Didnt want to let Mr Jinx out of my sight.  Didnt want to go in Follys empty stable.  I have loved having cuddles with my nephew and babysitting – I cant stop spoiling him and buying him clothes and toys and all of the cute stuff.

After the initial glow of being home wore off, it did take a few months for me to settle.  There were days that I felt like I made a big mistake coming home.  I felt like I wanted to run away back to Canada.  This is weird, because I was never running away going there in the first place, or coming back.  I missed the easy lifestyle and lack of pressure.   The days where I feel that pang are getting fewer, though some days I feel like I want to hold on to every memory and bit of Canada to stop it slipping away from me and becoming a distant memory.  I am finding it harder to recall street names and shops, but then there are some places and memories that are so vivid, it is as if I was there this morning.

I have had two Canadian visitors.  I loved this.  I loved how welcome my friends made them – just as they had with those that visited me.  I loved being able to show them my part of England and how gorgeous Devon is – I also took one to her first foam party!  The Manc I met in Canada also visited for an epic and memorable night out along with a brief tour of Devon and Cornwall.  I went to Berlin, Vienna and Salzburg with one of the Torontonians – we sang songs from The Sound of Music non stop.

I got a bit down with the job hunting after a while being back.  I couldnt find exactly what I wanted, and I wasnt getting far with temporary jobs.  Canadian police checks and DBS checks held me up some more.  Eventually, in November, I found a job and got my foot back in the prison door.  I love being back in the field of work I enjoy and am good at.  I have moved sideways and upwards in the role I am doing, and the new experiences are fantastic.  Fantastic / stressful at times!

When it comes to friends, some things are unchanged and some friendships have moved on.  It is strange that I never see some people that I was inseparable from before.  It feels like our lives are different now somehow – though I dont know what has changed.   I know that there are some friends in Canada that will be friends for a life time, and some friendships that, whilst they were a huge part of my life in Canada, dont translate across the world.  I think that that is okay though.  Some friendships will always be good memories and a part of that stage of my life, even if we are not in contact all the time.

The odd heatwaves we have had have reminded me that the heat was too much for me in Canada – even thought it has been nowhere near as hot or humid here, it has been enough to remind me!  The core reasons for not staying stay the same – too hot and humid and not enough annual leave in most jobs.  I also felt that I went backwards from having a career, my own house and the freedom of a car to renting, non stable jobs and no transport.  In some ways that was a big difference between some friends I met there and me, as quite a few were living without parents for the first time, so they didnt feel that same nagging of regression that got to me some days.

Where am I now?  Living at home again with my house still rented out – what was I just saying about regression?!  Is Canada off the table?  Not completely.  I feel like I have to go back to visit to shut that door.  I miss parts of the lifestyle, and I think that while I live here and save some money, I need to figure out where I want to be and how I can gain some of the positives of the lifestyle I had over there whilst keeping my irreplaceable English countryside.   I am back in the gym and feeling better mentally and physically because of it – losing the ability to exercise took a big part of who I am and buried it for a while.

Can I ever really compare the two countries and lifestyles?  I dont think I can, they were so different and both have pros and cons.  I really dont think there is a ‘better country’, but there is a ‘better fit’ for the individual.

I dont know what the next adventure will be, but I am sure I will start plotting soon enough.

 

Departure Day Blog 2015

Leaving Canada Blog 2017

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Leaving Canada

Well, that’s it. Its the end of an era. My last week was supposed to be a relaxing week in the beach, but Toronto didn’t want to oblige, so I had to settle for cloudy/ humid and sticky. I went to one last pub quiz which had a good ratio of 90s pop questions at my request, I went to a last Jays game – the roof was open and we won so that was good last game. The packing and clearing of the apartment was a never ending task, in fact, it didn’t end, I had to leave the apartment with stuff left in it after spending my last dying dying of an epic hangover and then leaving for the airport at 430am having spent the last hour trying to clear it out without waking up the whole building. My friend not only delivered hangover supplies in Saturday, but helped with the luggage and rubbish at 4am and took me to the airport waiting until I was all checked in.

I had drinks on Friday and it was lovely to see the people who mattered most. It really was most of the people who have been the biggest part of my time in Canada and it was such a fun night remembering silly happenings, dancing to Spice Girls and Cotton Eyed Joe, drinking far too many shots, lots of photos and laughter. There are people that I know I wont see again, people that I hope to and a few that I know I will.

I don’t know where life goes for me now. I have a lot of luggage (around 80kg) to unpack, a storage unit to unpack, a job to find and a bank to rob. It will take time to get used to how everyone at home has moved on, it will be strange, it will be good having a structure. I probably wont wear flip flops so much. I wont be able to walk to the beach or go to a silly amount of baseball games. I do look forward to getting myself back to the fit, running and healthy, with a high dose of sugar person. I cant wait to show Sparkwell and Dartmoor to Canadian visitors, I can’t wait to see parts of England where I now have friends…. and Scotland and Wales. I think I have done enough packing and unpacking, and once this lot is done, it is time to settle and just have some road trips at home.

Boston… day 4 

Our fourth and final morning arrived.  I had a fabulous time in Boston, but I was ready to flee from the humidity.  We were up early and off to Salem.  This is the town where Bewitched the TV show is set, and there the original true story of Bewitched came from.  It was an interesting little villagey place.  It wasnt what I expected – it was quite spiritual with candles that were “reiki charged” – anyone who knows me can imagine the eye rolling and the smirk on my face as I am writing this.  I enjoyed a sit down reenactment of a Witch Trial.  I didnt know that it all originally came from land disputes and accusing people of being a witch meant their land would be up for grabs.  To get out of being killed, one had to admit to being a witch, repent and name another witch who would be tried.  All sorts of silly things made people think one was a witch such as being an “aged cripple” or a “pipe smoking beggar”. There was one shop that sold things like hen claws and coyote teeth, they said it was all real.  I was not sure about this at all, I dont agree with it unless they were being eaten for meat as well…. I fear they were just killed for spiritual muppets to play about with.  Salem was a cute little place though to stroll around and we could have spent much longer there.

We had to get the train back to Boston to squeeze in our last highlights.  Luckily the last two places were really close to each other.  We went to see the Holocaust memorial.  As you walk through it, the grates shoot hot steamy air up at you.  The quotes and words written around the inside were really sad.  It reminded me of the Worls Trade Centre site.  Even though this wasnt the site of it happening, it was a really emotional place with the poignancy of the quotes.

Lastly, off to Hanover Street for a walk about and to get cannollis.  Unfortunately, the heat was getting to me and I couldnt eat – I was even off chocolate.  The street was a great place to go and eat if you want to have a nice restuarant each night.  Everywhere looked great and it was very Italian inspired with the names and the food. 

We popped back to the hotel to change and head for the aiport.  A much better experience with Porter on the way home.  The lady at the airport was great.  We had to sit on the runway in the heat for an hour which was annoying while we queued for take off, but other than that, all okay.  The lady accross the aisle from me was knitting, so I even had an opportunity to get help with where I had messed up mine.

Back to Toronto and in bed by midnight.

Boston… day 3 (part 2): Fenway Park Round 2

After a day out on the boat and food at Cheers, it was time to get my jersey out again ready for another Blue Jays game at Fenway.  Off to see Bob, the friendly Usher.  We sat down near where the pitchers were warming up.  I had a hot dog from outside the stadium wrapped up which was much nicer than the stadium hot dog the day before.

The game began with a rain delay before the rain arrived.  The diamond was covered with tarp and Bob advised us to have a plan for when the rain came – to either find a seat higher up under cover or go under and brave the concourse.  It came with a vengeance and we were off to higher ground.  Some people stayed and embraced the rain, soaked to the skin in seconds.  Those people had beer.  The rain delay put the game start back by an hour.  They cleared the tarp, ankle deep in water in some place as it ran off.  

The game began!  I was filled with excitement, missing the claps and the chants of our fans.   I got terribly excited when someone led the “Tulo” clapping.  I got right down by the pitchers warming up up close.  We were right behind Baustista who was being heckled throughout the game.

I got ice cream and we had our photos taken with Wally, The Green Monster who is the team mascot.  The ice cream at Fenway comes with a selection of sprinkles – this pleased me greatly.  It was the nice chocolate sprinkes, the soft ones.

It was another great baseball evening.  We did have a few “words” when my friend wanted to go back to the hotel, but I knew I would regret leaving.  We stayed until the end, which of course went in to extra innings and finished around 1am.  16 innings and we lost!  We had a picture with Bob at the end after a long evening.  I think Bob even had a little snooze towards the end there! 

It made me so motivated, I want to rent a car and travel america seeing all the baseball stadiums!  An adventure for another year. 


Boston… day 3 (part 1):  Whale Watching and Cheers

Up early-ish after the Fenway Park excitment and off to the harbour area to go whale watching.  I cant help but keep comparing to Vancouver in June.  Vancouver Whale Watching were much better, more friendly and just a better experience boat and staff wise, but Boston Harbour Cruises had an excellent whale count – though I suppose there would be more in Vancouver now as well.  The whales were just fantastic.  It was totally worth it.  They were all around us and going right up to some smaller boats – baby whales and their mums.  They were playing with each other, jumping out of the water, diving down so their tails flipped up out of the water and all sorts.  Loved it!  Very difficult to get any good photos but it was amazing to see.


After a few hours at sea, we took a very hot walk in the blistering heat to a little place where everyone supposedly knows your name.  We made it to Cheers and got a table upstairs in the set bar.  Of course the song wasnt playing on repeat in the in the bar the whole time, but it was playing on repeat in the foyer as you go in. Two gift shops in the one place.  The food, although just standard pub food, was actually very good!  I only had potato skins, but the portion was big and they were really good.  It was very busy in waves as the hop on hop off tour buses seemed to stop outside and deliver large amounts of people.  The service was great until the waitress seemed to have a passive aggressive tantrum that we didnt tip the 18-20% the bill suggested!

Back to the hotel to freshen up before Fenway Park round 2!

Boston… day 2: Fenway Park 

I was so excited about going to Fenway Park.  I put on my Blue Jays Jersey and headed for the stadium amidst a sea of Red Sox fans.  There were actually a surprising amount of Jays fans dotted around though.  The stadium was crazy once I got inside, much like Rogers.  There were fairground style entertainments with people throwing balls for prizes etc.  I grabbed two Mikes Hard Lemonades and headed for my seat.  I had come in the wrong door and the friendly Usher, Bob, sent me to the other side of the stadium.  

My seat was soooo good, totally worth it in a field box with in seat food and drink service.  I was right by the Jays dugout behind the cameras on the third baseline.  There were no Ushers around, so I did get to seat hop a bit in the first and second rows.  I was sat beside where the Jays were lined up in the dugout at one point.  The Usher in me was inwardly freaking out at the seat hopping, all the stuff on top of the dugout and people not having to wait at the top of the steps until a break in play to go back to their seats (all things you cant do at the Rogers Centre!).

I saw the Green Monster – a huge green wall that borders one side of the stadium.  The wall stops many hits that would be home runs if it wasnt there. 

I loved Fenway Park.  I loved the atmosphere and everything about the stadium itself.  I did not love the food prices or the unfulfilling “frank”.  The crowd sang Take me out to the Ball Game in the 7th inning, and Sweet Caroline in the 8th.  The jumbotrons were a bit confusing as there were three screens instead of one like at Rogers, so I wasnt always sure where to look.  The seats were definitely more spacious.  Someone proposed on the big screen, a man stood up and yelled “peanuts” and the crowd cheered as a peanut seller pitched them to the guy from a few sections away, a lady had a moth land on her hand and everyone cheered.  The little amusing things that happen always make me smile.

The Jays won which was nice.  It was strange having the majority of people clapping and cheering against the Jays.   At the end of game though, I was pleased to leave in the winning team Jersey.

Boston… day 2 (part 1): Harvard

Today we set off to Harvard, via Starbucks for breakfast.  We have found everyone in Boston to continue the helpful trend, really chatty and just nice people, but not in an annoying know it all way like Canadians (sorry ;)) can be sometimes. 

We found a free one hour tour at the information office and set off in a group of around 40 people.  The tour guide was a student at Harvard and full of fun facts.  I didnt realise that you could study other stuff, I thought it was just law.  I am now full of fun facts about Harvard… it costs $65,000 a year to go (though the guy said there are loads of grants and help with this) and only 5% of applicants offered get a place, Mark Zukerburg and Bill Gates are Harvard drop outs.


No films are actually filmed at Harvard.  In 1970, a film snubbed Harvard students by hiring extras to walk around in fancy clothes because the students wear normal clothes and it didnt fit with their idea of Harvard.  Harvard put a blanket ban on filming and no films have used the campus since.

There is a chap called John Harvard (English) who donated a huge collection of books and money to the University when he died, and they changed its name to Harvard.  Students were not allowed to take these books from the library, however, one night a student did.  He accidentally left a candle burning when he left the library and burnt it to the ground.  He confessed and gave back the one remaining book – The Christian Warfare against the Devil World and  Flesh – before being expelled.  Years later, they wanted to do a statue of Mr Harvard.  As all pictures of him had burned in the fire, they didnt know what he looked like.  The tour guide said that one speculation of who the statue is actually of is a chap called Leonard Hoar or a descendant of his.  He was an early president who did not have a campus house named after him as they didnt want to name it Hoar House.  Whoever he is, his feet are gold and it is supposed to make you clever if you rub his feet. 

One of the Presidents that did get a house named after him was President Massachusetts.  This house had its own interesting story…. the US Army rented the campus many years ago (1775) and the troops staying there took the door knobs and similar furnishings to make ammunition.  Harvard sued the Government and won.  

The last building that particularly fascinated me was the library.  I was disappointed that we were not allowed in though.  The library is huge, but also extends four storeys underground and a vast distance under the gardens.  This is because they needed to expand but the donator of the money to build it stipulated that no exterior modifications could be made, or the building would become the property of the state.  The lady who donated the money for the library did so in memory of her son who died in the Titanic when bringing a big collection of books back from Europe to Harvard.  He was in a life boat with his family (because they were rich) and he went back to try and save his favourite books, never to be seen again.

We walked a lot more, around the shops, Harvard grounds and some more and the area. We found an old athletic stadium that looked closed off at first, but we found an open gate and went and sat inside.  It was gorgeous in the sun.

Back to the hotel with my feet and ankle very unhappy with me.  An hour to shower and get ready for the Jays game!

Boston… day 1

Adventuring again.  This time, fleeing the country in search of excitment in Boston.  Three of us were supposed to go, but unfortunately Erin was in hospital in the night after heat stroke.  Stephania and I set off as a twosome.  First time flying with Porter – you cant check in online if you have an English passport, waited for over an hour while only two members of staff checked people in, just made it to the plane and sat next to a grumpy woman.  Probably wont fly Porter again.  What a ridiculous system.  

Within an hour of arriving in Boston, it was clear to us that it was a great city to be in, the people are so friendly (nothing like those terrible New Yorkers I encountered in 2015).  We keenly listened for that Boston accent we all hear on TV, knudging each other as we heard twangs.  I think the accent is not a true stereotype as not everyone has it! 

We checked in to the hotel (that Erins Dad had treated us to – Hilton, lovely!) and headed for a stroll on Newbury Street where the shops are.  On the way, Erin said she felt better and was in a car on the way to Boston.  It was to be an 8-9 hour journey.  Alas, she made it half way before stopping and feeling ill.  It was a lovely idea!

The shops were nice to explore and we just walked and walked until a little park.  The buildings in Boston are a lovely mixture of nice old ones and shiny new ones in the back drop.  


Lots more walking and looking in shops and then we walked in the direction of Fenway Park.  There were people everywhere throughout our day in the Red Sox gear, with New York Yankees dotted around.  


The atmosphere around Fenway Park was lovely.  Lots of people, all so happy, music inside luring people in, bars all along the street next to the ball park playing music, with people eating, food smells – oh the food smells, the hot dog vendor food looked fantastic!  We walked around soaking it in and stopped for food and a pint at the Cast n Flagon pub.  

I got some deep fried Twinkies.  Not what I was expecting, not a taste sensation but not terrible.  Very strange.  Perhaps better if hungrier.

Aching feet, full tummy and time to plan our tomorrow.

The Week

Last week after a couple of days out, I kept the rental car for the week.  It was so nice to have some freedom in Toronto.  I went to the beach with a friend, then just spent the afternoon at hers with her and the kids.  I went out to a little lavender farm near Hamilton.  It was really pretty and smelt amazing as soon as I got out of the car.  I spent an evening at a friends house eating pizza, chatting and teaching her how to knit (we all seem to be at it right now).  It really hit me on the way home how much I will miss her and how I just wish I could take some people with me.  It has been nice just hanging out at friends houses, I havent been able to do this much here without a car, and I have never had an apartment fit for entertaining.  

I used the car to go to Kingston on Thursday with a pal.  We went to get Butter Tarts from Bettys Butter Tarts in Coburg on the way as they were recommended.  They were amazing butter tarts!  Soooo good.  I liked mine so much I wore some in my hair and down my top all day.  I dropped my friend at her appointment and pottered around Kingston.  I had a pint in the sun at a pub I have been to a few times before, I chatted to a Cornish man I met at the Farmers Market I explorer, browsed the shops, had some food and a milkshake and headed back to the city.   

I dropped the car back on Friday morning and went for a walk with a friend.  It was so hot and humid, we ended up shopping for wool and needles and sitting in the knitting shop cafe for a few hours relaxing.  Pub grub and home.  I slept for a crazy 16 hours! 

Balls Falls Conservation Area

Another day out on Monday and I went to Balls Falls with a friend.  The weather was just right, not too humid but not cold.  I went to the falls in the winter but it was snowy so we didnt make it to the waterfall. We walked up to the top waterfall and then down to the bottom of it.  There were little frogs everywhere on the ground hopping around.  It was so nice to, again, be out of the city and in the countryside.  There are two waterfalls so we also had a look at the lower falls which reminded me of Devils Punch Bowl.  


We didnt realise before we went that there were old barns to look at with the carts to be pulled by horses, a cute little vegetable garden and all sorts of other interesting bits and pieces.  We ran around like children exploring.  There was a tree trunk that showed what happened in the life time of the tree and at what ring.  So, for example, it had about halfway on there that the Titanic sank.  


The gardens near the start were so pretty with lots of different bright flowers and butterflies and bees.  We sat by a pond and had a picnic.  There were so many bullfrogs in the pond loudly, well I dont know, ribbiting? at us.  It was just so peaceful and idyllic.


After our nature time, we browsed the outlet mall.  We were so proud our ourselves for not buying our dream handbags that we found!  It was a definite excuse to stop at Burlington for dinner (pie) in the Queens Head English pub – the only “English pub” I have been to over here that I would count as an English pub.

Last stop… Michaels craft shop… an easy place to waste time and money creating dreams of craft projects that would take ten years to complete them all!  I left feeling full from the pie, inspired and motivated by the craft supplies, excited by the fabulous photos I took and relaxed after a happy day out.  I am still thinking about that handbag though.