Sunday, February 14, 2010

The green, green grass of home

Since getting back from Bruges -- I'm still editing the many photos from that trip -- Tea 'n' I have been takin' it easy. Last weekend we went to Tewkesbury for a beer festival, and had a great time. Their abbey really is worth all the chatter we hear on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, and the town exemplifies the best of what we mean when we say 'small'. We met a woman in the tourist information centre who'd been to Ottawa a number of times with a touring company she worked for. (She loved it, of course.) The coincidences continued as we met a few Americans at the beer festival, and had a great chat over a few pints.

This weekend has been all about the Olympics, of course. One more point on the local radio: Eddie 'The Eagle' is from here, and some guest they had on the other day had Tea 'n' I in stitches as he was just cuttin' into Eddie, in the sharp, yet self-deprecating, way the British seem to excel at. "Oh, God, yes, we wheel him out every four years. Only in Britain would we make a national hero of someone who's rubbish. [scathing emphasis] God love us."

The opening ceremony was fantastic; Tea's favourite part was k.d.'s rendition of Hallelujah -- I enjoyed it too, but I'm still partial to Jeff Buckley's cover -- and mine was the fiddlers, closely followed by that amazing "Powering the city" sequence against the representation of the Rockies. The BBC seems to be the only channel that carried it over here. (And the only one that's carrying the Games in general, if only partially, unfortunately.) Still, it's neat getting a foreign perspective on Canada, as they complain about how foreigners only got the minimum amount of time on the hills -- a complaint against the host nation every year, their athlete-turned-commentator was quick to point out -- and marvel at the beauty of Vancouver and the Rockies, and the diversity of our heritage. (They had all sorts of trivia about the Governor General, the RCMP, our flag and anthem -- it was great!) I've only ever flown over the Rockies -- and once at that -- and now, more than ever, I want to see them when I get back. I've got a list, actually, that includes some stuff I really should've done before now, like the Cabot Trail (I've done every other part of that coast, oddly), Gros Morne, Banff and St. Anthony, to name a few.

On that note, a new British friend, Pete, is in Ottawa right now, taking in the ice sculptures and skating, gorging himself on Beavertails. He's even made it out to Edelweiss snowboarding. I'm seeing my home through new eyes -- thanks to mobile uploads to Facebook -- and falling in love with it all over again. There's some truth to that statement about the green grass, I tell ya.

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I've been writing this over a few days. We just got back from a stroll to town for a spot of lunch at one of our favourite spots, Gusto, and a bit of shopping. I actually made Tea breakfast in bed this morning! Probably shouldn't be such a rarity, but I had to mention it, as it turned out so well. I made pancakes -- from a mix of imported Aunt Jemima (thanks, Michelle!), it's true, but that's still a challenge for me -- and they were so fluffy! Tea's now promised to call on my limited skills more often, which is of course the rub with these sorts of successes. (Just kidding!)

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