Tag Archives: Road Trip 2017

A Sunday Post

I love Tech, both old and new. Particularly tech that has stayed the course and proved worthy beyond any predicted life. See below two pictures of Catalina’s or Canso versions of the PBY flying boat, designed in the 1930’s and still flying today. The one on the left can be found slap bang in the middle of St Anthony’s Newfoundland. Not near any airstrip, just parked on a vacant lot as a museum type exhibit. The second we sighted from the northern perimeter road at Victoria International Airport 21st July.
These two venerable airframes have been around since the late 1930’s / early 40’s and still have that look of, how should I phrase it, worthiness. Solidity. Yes, they’re an old design, but in their heyday were known for staying in the air on long range patrols of up to 24hours. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another manned production aircraft that can match that.

Don’t ask me what it is but there is a strange kind of beauty about these grande dames of the air.

Oh yes. Have a look at the map below with the locations marked, then take a look to the extreme right at a small group of islands off the coast of Europe. We drove all the way between these points (Apart from two ferry trips) A shade over 17,000Km or well over 10,000 miles. I still don’t think I’m fully recovered.

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Last day and Ikea

Last day of the trip the other day and it was both interesting and amusing. Mrs S and I were having little fun within the confines of IKEA Richmond. Fun? In IKEA? Bill, are you completely barking? Well maybe, possibly, and then again, completely, positively, not. There is always method in any madness I might superficially exhibit.

On this trip I’ve discovered a few things about myself, and have taken more steps to embrace my inner monster, as has Mrs S. For example; We dropped by IKEA this afternoon after a fruitless morning spent on other tasks and paused for lunch. Someone’s child was screaming the restaurant down. I commented; “Someone is torturing that child.”
“Do they sell tickets?” Mrs S commented with a small smile. Well she’s entitled. Thirty plus years of dealing with other people’s unruly brats can give you a little darkness in the soul. With a little help from me, of course.
“I didn’t know IKEA did dungeons.” I replied.
“New product line.” She nodded sagely.
“Nice to see they’re keeping up with the new trend for BDSM in parenting.” I responded.
“Not before time.” She remarked darkly. We essayed a small shared chortle. You can get heartily sick of other people’s low standards and having a little fun at their expense is insufficient payment for having your eardrums reamed out. Yes, I’ve got a bad case of chronic misanthropy. I got it from coming in contact with a lot of stupid. On both sides of the pond.

On that topic I’ve often maintained that only 15% of humanity is actually using much of their brain at any one time. The other 85% are coasting gently through life on automatic without observing or paying attention. Often using less brain power than a heavily sedated slug. Well that’s their problem. If they want to go through their lives learning little that is new, then that’s their loss. Personally I’ve examined most of the religions and political positions of this world and found only one that suits my needs; that’s to leave well alone, give yourself and other people space, and bite them only if they give you trouble. Not to interfere in the actions of others unless they are metaphorically screwing under your figurative front porch. There are far too many moronic meddlers all over the place, inventing ‘problems’ to ‘fix’ (Usually by making previously harmless stuff illegal) and who should be regarded as nothing more than chicanes on the race track of life.

Anyway. They aren’t my problem. I have elected to start my Summer mornings with hot tea and fresh baked croissants today. Thus refreshed I will go out upon my daily round, attempting to be witty and amusing where possible. Shining light in the darkness, and if no one pays any attention apart from the cockroaches, buggering off to do my own thing. Not my business to fix the world. Most of it is too thick to be fixed. Pass the marmalade.

Back in BC

Bloody hell, are we back in Pacific Time? I do believe we are. “Holy crap!” said the Joker as he force fed the Pope Castor oil. Drinking half way decent wine, trying not to watch the news because it’s all drama for the masses anyway.

Although there’s no such thing as ‘the masses’. Just individuals who move, for a while, in the same (Or approximately the same) direction. And despite what some political scientists will aver, many people, including myself, have changed their views over the course of their lives. Some don’t, and never will. This is human nature. We are all individuals. Even if some of you aren’t.

Any old road up, we’re only a day away from Vancouver. The car needs repacking before we head out on another wine tasting day. The wines around the northern end of Lake Okanagan tend towards the dryer, even astringent end of the spectrum because of the climate. However, we’ve identified a number of what we think are good dinner wines. More on those particular VQA’s later.

We’ve also raided a place called ‘the Jammery‘ which does exceedingly good chutneys and jams, which will be consumed over the Summer with various cheese and charcuterie platters. Which will make a light and pleasant change from the often rather stodgy staples of more traditional Canadian cuisine. Honestly, most Canadian ‘restaurant’ food is either fried or smothered in some sugar loaded sauce with far too many competing flavours. Subtlety is not a characteristic of mainstream commercial Canadian cooking. To them, ‘gourmet’ often means with extra cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I like Canadian cheeses. They make some very good ones (Some quite exceptional). Just not over everything I eat, that’s all. Less is more guys, Capisce?

There’s also the issue with being interrogated by the waiting staff mid mouthful. Which to me is the mark of a third rate (or worse) restaurant. The waiting person can see I’ve got my mouth full, so why do they feel the need to ask diners “How is everything?” When we’re in mid conversation or mouthful? I was always taught that butting in to another’s conversation or forcing them to speak with their mouth full is plain bad manners, and when I’m feeling particularly evil, will pause with a pained expression and launch into a long and detailed description of what isn’t quite right with the food. See example below:

Waiter (Enthusiastically, interrupting diner who is in the process of speaking to his fellows): “Hi guys! How is everything?”
Diner (Pauses, puts down fork, glances sidelong and takes a deep breath before delivering this kind of critique in a thoughtful but polite tone): “Mmm. The steak is a little rubbery for my liking. A little over done. I did specify medium, not medium rare or well done. Whilst I’m thinking about it the salad dressing tastes a little past its sell by date. There’s something not quite right, an additional acidity on the back of the palate. Tell me, do you use one of these low-fat or low-salt dressings? That might account for the strange aftertaste. The lettuce is also a little limp at the edges for my liking. Look here, are these the tracks of the Common Cabbage White caterpillar or some other species? Also the fries are a little overdone and floury. They taste like they’re out of a packet.”
Waiter: (Panicking) “Errr! I’m sorry it’s not to your liking. I’ll get you another one.”
Diner: (In the same thoughtful manner) “Very well. But you did ask.”

Expect a visit from the manager or owner shortly afterwards. Don’t take any bullshit, just stand your ground and don’t blink, metaphorically speaking. Make him earn his money.

Especially if the restaurant you’re in is charging top notch prices for poorly prepared food. I can get a half way decent steak at a Denny’s truck stop restaurant for 14 dollars (about 9 quid) and a cheap but tasty burger from McDonalds, A & W, Wendy’s or DQ for around five bucks. But if I’m paying between 25 and 30 bucks per course (15-18 quid) I want a proper steak or piece of chicken, not something that’s been warmed over for two hours and in the process has turned into one of Mr Goodyears or Mr Bridgestones road safety products. I also pay not to be bugged by the staff and having my train of thought sent chugging off into the sidings when dining. I may be talking business or of philosophical matters and don’t want to be interrupted by some room temperature IQ before I’ve even taken a forkful. If there’s something wrong with the food I will quietly bring it to their attention. If all is well I pay to be left alone.

If the waiting staff who butt into my conversations knew how much their interruptions have cost them in tips over the years they would have a collective fit. I’m a generous man and reward good service, but not if someone gets pushy or serves me overpriced crap. I can also pour my own wine, I’m not bloody disabled. And don’t hover. Only drones hover.

I will not go as far as one guy from my student days who notoriously pulled out a starting pistol in the college canteen and fired it at one of their barely edible burgers, shouting “It’s still moving!” Needless to say, he was suspended for this behaviour. Still a good laugh though. Oddly enough the quality of the food did improve after that.

Yes, I’m a revolting diner, but in response to that calumnious slur I have this to say: I’m the customer. The person who pays restaurant staff wages with my custom. Don’t take the piss or I’ll dine elsewhere and tell my friends to do likewise.

Diners of the world rise up! You have nothing to lose but your plague of third rate restaurants serving little better than deep fried leftovers. Canada has far too many of these establishments and a cull is long overdue.

Flat and out

“Bill, you’re exhausted.” Quoth Mrs S this morning. She’s feeling much better and much more like her usual self. On the other hand, the heat and long hours of the past few days have finally caught up with me and given me a sharp slap on the back of my head for being such a dipstick and trying to do everything. I was already fatigued after something like ten continuous days on the road, but now I’m completely out of gas and in need of serious rest.

The problem is, I can’t stop. Despite hitting the wall last night and flaking out, now the crises of Mrs S’s tooth and the need to get to Calgary are done it’s like my internal flywheel is still spinning at 10,000rpm. All my nervous energy is still spinning in circles and can’t stop whilst all my bodily particles chorusing; “Pack it in Bill. We’re knackered.” This is not fun.

Right. Calgary. What can I say? Fast growing town. Houston of the North. Not quite as big as Vancouver, but catching up. They also call roads ‘trails’ here, which can be a bit confusing, but all you need to know is the Deerfoot trail and the Trans Canada and you’ve pretty much cracked navigating your way around the city.

The Stampede, which rather overshadows Wimbledon this side of the pond, is in full stamp. While players whack their balls over nets at over a hundred and twenty miles per hour in a suburb of London, Calgary is (Mostly) a Rodeo festival with people (Sometimes literally) taking bulls by the horns, having whip rounds and displaying huge amounts of balls riding bulls and horses which essentially don’t want to be ridden. Also racing chuckwagons, which, I’m reliably informed was the original attempt to create fast food. Of course there are also lots of people wearing hats which should be renamed one and a bit litres rather than ten gallon and going “Yee-Haw!” at inappropriate moments. Ten gallons indeed. Three pints more like. Then there’s the country music festival which at last glance was devoid of any names I recognised (Apart from Alabama and Meghan Patrick), but that means nothing. My wife is the country music fan, I’m kind of ambivalent about the whole milieu. Apart from Steve Earle. But I do claim a virulent allergy to line dancing. Sorry, just can’t do it. My legs are all wrong and me bums not the right shape.

However, there are parades, breakfasts, and someone’s even worked in some trail motorcycling events. So there’s quite a lot going on. Of course ticket prices are high, but what the hell, this is something you only do once or twice in your life, unless you’re a real rodeo diehard or one of the competitors.

Oh yes. Did I mention it’s been raining? That Alberta has nicked all of British Columbia’s rain this year? Something to do with trying to see all the Provinces get to share each others weather. Ergo we’ve got to run the gauntlet of some serious wildfires in the next few days on our way home. Not that we’re worried because most of the big fires are in mid BC on the route we took east. We should miss most of the fun and evacuation risk because we’re heading West on the Southern route (Mostly) along Highway One.

Notwithstanding. That is a day or so ahead. Tonight I need to rest, properly.

Past ‘The Hat’

Wham-wham! Grumble, Wham-wham! And another bridge is crossed as our tyres slam over poorly patched potholes and worn expansion joints. Mrs S stirs sleepily in the passenger seat, moaning softly in complaint. She’s had a reaction to the painkillers the dentist prescribed and been throwing up all the livelong day, poor lamb. Now with some Gravol to quell the queasiness, she’s out for the count, leaving all the driving to me.

The resulting delays from having to pull over on high speed roads to let her chunder have turned what should have been a happy seven hour shared drive into a ten hour chore for me. Fortunately I had a good breakfast, and with my camel-like constitution didn’t need very much to eat or drink on the long hack into Calgary, where we’ll be resting up and going to see the Stampede for the next few days. In my younger days I’d be on the road for up to twelve or thirteen hours some trips, driving a delivery van up and down the UK, but now ten is hard work. Maybe I’m getting soft in my frail dotage.

After the last two days I could do with a break from driving, even under the wonderfully broad blue skies of the prairies. It’s been hot too, 36 Celsius recorded by our little SUV’s external thermometer, which means it might have been anything between 30 and 39 Celsius. But it’s a dry heat like in a sauna, and therefore quite bearable, even pleasant.

Now we’re in the air conditioned comfort of a modern hotel, Mrs S has crawled into bed exhausted, leaving me to the perverseness of keyboard and mouse. No bother, she’s past the worst and finally keeping fluids down. We’re past ‘The Hat’ (a strange place called Medicine Hat) which many old expat Canadians considered the break even point of any trans-continental trek. As in if you make can it this far, the folklore goes, you’re likely to make it to the other coast. I don’t care for the place myself, and after a rather unpleasant experience trying to book into one of the local ‘pet friendly’ hotels ten years ago, don’t much care to stay there again.

As far as the rest of the trip is concerned we only have four more days actual serious driving to do before we are back home. However, that’s a couple of weeks away because we’re stopping first in Calgary for a few days, thence in a spa break and wine tour before we stop over in Vancouver to pick up some furniture for the new residence. I’ll also do a bit of calculation on how much in the way of resource we’ve used in terms of petrol (Gasoline) and such. We’ve been keeping a log to see how many miles to the gallon our little SUV can deliver on really long run, thence it’s off to the dealership for a new windscreen and a thorough service and what they call ‘detailing’ over here. Which is rather like a thorough in and external valeting of the vehicle, including the engine compartment. The way I reckon it, the car has done us proud and deserves a proper treat. Maybe I do, too. And I’ve got an idea about that.

From the land of living skies

I blinked and all of a sudden we’ve crossed another time zone, this time overnighting in Regina. Today was fraught with the drama of Mrs S cracking a tooth requiring urgent dental treatment. So I found myself in a strange town in a land that even pancakes would vouchsafe; “That’s a bit flat, that is.” searching for an emergency dentist.

The Gods of fools must have been smiling because within thirty minutes of Mrs S declaring in tears; “Bill, I can’t do this.” We had located a suitable dental practice and she was waiting for a chair to become available. Another hour and a half (and four hundred dollars) later, we set off back on todays trek into deepest Saskatchewan.

My powers of persuasion must have been on form because we went from a ‘No can do’ at front desk to a ‘No problem’ inside five minutes. Must have been the kicked spaniel look that I gave the receptionist, and the pitch and roll I put on my voice that carried into the back treatment room to bring a Dentist scurrying out to declare that one of her other patients had just canceled and she could fit Mrs S in right away. Which left me filing out the paperwork, and Mrs S being helped into a welcome treatment chair.

Now I’ve cracked teeth before and am fully aware how bad it feels. So I was fretting a bit, but even so managed to keep running interference on a parking meter, reading a book, and translating Mrs S’s slightly muffled voice into something everyone could understand. Filling in the gaps of her medical history and just being generally helpful. Thus we went from pain to no pain and the balance of my world was restored.

One of the things I will say about North American dentistry is it’s quality. From pain relief to diagnostics, these guys kick your average NHS Dental surgeon into touch. I’ve even got to the point of looking forward to my twice yearly checkup because fillings are fraughtness free and the one time terror of a dental examination is now a relaxed sit down with a pleasant windowed view of trees. Yes, they’re all (OMG!) private. But they are very, very good.

I did all this fuelled by a single Werthers Original because what with one thing and another I completely missed my morning coffee and any semblance of a breakfast. My sole sustenance was a single hard Caramel candy. The sort Scott of the Antarctic should have taken along because he and his team would not have frozen to death in Moose skin sleeping bags if they had. They would have had the energy to man-haul their sleds all the way to the pole in jig time, beating Amundsen to the punch by a week. Sadly they did not have any such candy (Probably because they’re made by the beastly Hun) and paid the ultimate price for this omission. But everything is obvious with 20/20 hindsight, isn’t it?

Which may be one of the possible downsides of a hard BREXIT. No more Werthers Originals. Or BMW and VW spares. Although those companies will be looking to keep their markets by funneling cash into a British import business to bypass any extra tariffs imposed by vengeful EU Bureaucrats.

The EU needs a good hard kick in the bureaucratics anyway. These petty little tyrants have been busy empire building and siphoning money out of the European economy for far too long. All it needs will be a number of the other member states to tell them the magic money tree will not be giving the pompous plutocrats any more fruit and tell them their new offices are in the basement. Not the French, because they’re used to being subjugated by turbocharged globalist Sir Humphreys. The type I’m referring to are the pompous little pricks who take over the best Parisian Restaurants and double park their Mercedes, blocking the street while their bodyguards practice their bladder control outside trying to look tough. I’ve seen this on numerous occasions in Paris, and twice been unable to book a table because some over promoted suit has decided they have to have the best because they are the masters, not the servants they really should be seen as. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the copybook of other empires (Ottomans and Chinese) and have the bastards castrated when they get above a specific pay grade. Want a government job? – here’s the downside of your pension scheme.

Anyway. Mrs S is now well and recovering from this mornings ordeal. She has said she may be fit to drive a little tomorrow. We shall see. I’m a cautious man, and would prefer to shoulder the burden of driving until the pain has ebbed enough for her to be painkiller free. So we’re off too see Alberta tomorrow, because we’ve heard they’re stampeding for something in Calgary, and we want to see what all the fuss is about. Especially since Justin Trudeau has said he won’t be going. And that’s good enough reason for me.

What day is it?

After a few dozen days on the road, you tend to lose your sense of time and, well not exactly space, but place in the calendar. Today was definitely Tuesday. I think. Well my automated calendar thingy tells me it is, and I know the name of the town we’re in so it must be Tuesday 4th July. I think. It’s actually Wednesday the 5th at the time of posting, but even then I had to stop and check.

Well, we’ve crossed half of Northern Ontario and I can honestly report that there’s next to bugger all up here, so if Kim Jong willy waver manages to fire a missile that can actually hit North America, the odds are that such a warhead will detonate somewhere in northern Ontario, where it will not be noticed by anyone but the local wildlife and maybe a very lost deep woods hiker. You have to drive across Northern Ontario to appreciate how abso-sodding-lutely vast this country is. Then remember that all you’re seeing is a very limited slice of what is actually here.

We left the environs of southern Montreal, just on the border of Ontario three days ago, and we’ve still another full days driving to reach the Manitoba Border. You might think it’s a long way down to the shops, but hey, that’s nothing compared to Canada.

Frankly I’m beginning to feel tired and irritable. Mrs S likewise and we’ve had a couple of occasions when we’ve come close to taking chunks out of each other. Voices have been raised. Then apologies have followed. I do not lose my temper or raise my voice lightly, but with just over two weeks to go, it’s becoming a chore. By way of relieving the tensions I’ve scheduled a few days at the Calgary Stampede followed by a wine tour in lower eastern BC before we leg to to Vancouver for a quick bit of shopping in Vancouver and then the ferry home to clear the spiders out of the bathtub. Which should calm things down.

Then I’m going to wonder (As usual) why people in the UK (and elsewhere) keep voting for left wing policies. Every time they do vote in Labour it all ends in tears. The seventies were a case in point. Getting anything done took an age and fifty bloody forms. Taxpayers money simply got pissed up the wall up to the point where everyone seemed to be on strike because the government were trying to do everything and succeeded in fucking it all up. It seems this is a lesson the Canadian electorate have yet to learn. Or re-learn. I see the evidence every day on my travels across this wide land, so full of potential and resources. Closed stores, idle machinery, abandoned farms and houses. Honestly. In seven hours driving yesterday we must have passed a couple of hundred houses with broken windows, no windows, no doors and open to the elements. Abandoned churches and other buildings that seemed to be collapsing in on themselves, like the owners had just packed their bags and simply walked away. On that topic I recall council estates in the UK all boarded up and left to the vandals, simply because well-meaning but economically illiterate people had simply made it impossible for business to provide the necessary work opportunities. That’s the problem with lefties and any other people who think they can run other people’s lives for them, they have to meddle with things they don’t really understand. Like matters of economics, or just about everything else, really.

Car keys, full tank of gas. Here we go again.

Werefakawi

Back in the deep distant days of my youth there was a joke about a tribe of Pygmies who were so short that they were first identified by their exasperated cries of “Werefackarwi! Werefackawi!” as they desperately leapt up and down in the Elephant grass, trying to find identifiable landmarks and avoid being trodden on by careless passing herds of grazing fauna. A sad fate that overtook the last known group in 2013 when the last of the tribal elders was found plated to the bottom of some Elephant tracks near the Namibian border. Whenever it comes to Montreal’s road system I feel equally lost as those now extinct natives of Sub-Saharan Africa. Leading to Mrs S and I repeating their famous lament ad nauseum.

All this despite Satnag and a reasonable map of the area. The problem is, what these shiny, whizzy techno-thingies never tell you is that some clever dick has stuck a concrete divider exactly where you want to change lanes to get to your exit, and unless you’re a local, won’t have a clue how to get back on the right track. Don’t forget the road surfaces, which readily conjure up the adjective ‘corrugated’. Honestly, I don’t see how the self-driving car is ever going to become a reality if the very satellite navigation system it runs on is this unreliable. I’m told the technology is coming on in leaps and bounds, but frankly me dears, this is probably why they keep crashing.

As you can probably tell, my last remaining reader, we’ve been out of touch of all media, both online and off. No TV, bugger all in the way of reliable Interweb yet having a jolly nice time. For example, yesterday saw me chilling and alternately toasting at a Nordic Spa, which in methodology resembles the mechanics of a Roman Bath house. Steam Room, Sauna, Warm pool, cold plunge, rest area and even some sunshine to try and spread my ‘farmers tan’ a little further than merely my arms face, and neck. You know, if I ever make a million or two I’m going to have a house with a Nordic spa built in, and sod the renewables hyped cost of Electricity. Although I’d probably go for some kind of wood stove heating for the Sauna and Steam rooms. Wonder if I could get a couple of decent female body slaves to scrape scented oil off me with Strigils? On second thoughts, better not. My wife is a jealous woman, and would insist on the body slave being male, which would kind of take all the fun out of things. Oh well. A chap can dream.

As for satellite navigation, we’ve decided that it’s not the most reliable way of getting from A to B, and have fallen back on good old fashioned paper maps and dead reckoning as the rain catches up with us after a rather pleasant five day hiatus of sunshine and cloud. Tomorrow sees us scooting out into the wilds of Northern Ontario, which means more rocks, more trees, more rain. Hi ho.

So what have we missed? Not a lot by the look of things. BREXIT grinds on and that Trump fellow south of the border continues to raise the blood pressure of a lot of deserving people. I occasionally find myself wondering about who will be the first of them to collapse and die, having first worked themselves into a froth over his twitter feed.

The only real blots on my particular landscape are other people’s screaming kids and a windscreen with a spreading crack, which will require replacement. The crack first started when we were following a truck in Manitoba. There was a bang on our insect encrusted glass, and when I cleaned the charnel house of insect remains off the glass a couple of hundred kilometres later, found a two inch split from a single mini starburst on the drivers side. Now the crack has spread to over a foot and a half long, and a windscreen replacement will be the order of the day when we get home in three weeks. Hey, we’re insured and our little Subaru will be getting a full service as well. It’s also going to be the last of these continent crossing road trips for us. While we love parts of Quebec and fully intend returning because it’s the one place in Canada with any real style, next time we fly. It will probably end up cheaper.

Rain, rain

Blood and sand! That was a hair raising nine hours. The roads of Newfoundland are pockmarked like a pre-vaccination era smallpox survivor. And it was raining. Raining very hard indeed. So hard that the satellite connections were going down like victims of the Black Death. Fortunately we were carrying plenty of cash, so paying for food and gas wasn’t the problem it could so easily have been. Did I mention the aquaplaning? Jeebus, I might as well have been surfing. The wheel was almost kicked out of my hands at even moderate speeds, and led to our journey time being extended by at least an hour and a half.

I don’t normally mind rain, and BC but this time the Atlantic weather really chucked it down. I was only mildly surprised not to hear pained miaowing and yapping as cats and dogs bounced off our little tin box while we alternately drove and skidded most of the way from the finger of Newfie-land down to the Avalon Peninsula.

Apparently the Western side and perhaps all sides of Newfoundland are subject to a phenomenon known as the ‘Wreckhouse winds‘, winds so strong they on one occasion, pushed 22 freight wagons off the rails. Local legend has it that these hurricane plus force gusts have toppled parked vehicles and the occasional locomotive over. Whether the Gods of Wreckhouse were active that day I do not know, but do I know that driving conditions were as difficult as anything I can recall, even over Shap Fell on the M6 on a really bad winter day. Possibly even more so. Our little Subaru normally shrugs off wind and rain like they don’t exist, but that day all bets were off.

Anyway, we made our destination, somewhat belatedly, in one piece and parked up in a sheltered place to recover from our travel tribulations over a bottle of Cabernet and a nice meal. The following day it was almost sunshine all the way. Apparently this is average for this time of year. These Newfies must be made of tough stuff if they can cope with this sort of weather.

Newfoundland is a strange place, hostile, then with a twitch of the veil the sun shines and it’s utterly gorgeous. Rather like the North West of Scotland. And the mossies and no-see-ums are just as fearsome as the notorious Scottish highland midge, an insect so aggressive that when one is captured in a jar it will attempt to beat itself to death. However, two Newfoundland midges were reputed to have got into a fight over a particularly tasty moose and laid waste to half a hectare of trees. However, that is supposedly the stuff of folklore, but having seen the real thing I’m not so sure.

Pass the Benadryl and put in a bulk order for Deet. A Lobster dinner is beckoning. For your amusement, please view the following two videos.

Yes Prime Minister Global Warming etc Part 2 from Aris Motas on Vimeo.

How to?

Mrs S and I converse about a lot of things in the car, and to amuse my one remaining reader, I would like to enlarge. Yesterday we were heading south, me at the wheel dodging the plague of potholes on the 430 from L’Anse Aux Meadows when she asked me; “Bill, what sex is an iceberg?”
Caught off guard for a moment I mentally scratched my head before replying. “I have no idea.” I confessed honestly.
“Ships are usually referred to as ‘she’.” My good lady enlarged. “But what about icebergs?”

My wife likes to challenge me with these apparent non-sequiturs from time to time. I think she likes to keep me on my mental toes. As in ‘tenterhooks’. In the German Medieval sense. Nastily inventive people those medieval Germans. The English version comes from around the same period in the 15th & 16th Centuries when torture was considered de rigeur for all those pointed little questions like “When did you last talk to that heretic Luther?”

“Erm. I didn’t think icebergs had a gender. Ships, yes. Even cars. Bugger.” Was the answer forced out from between my teeth as I failed to miss a brace of suspension rattlers.
“Yes, that’s true. As inanimate objects they wouldn’t.” Was she testing me to see if I was getting bored with driving? Okay. I thought I’d throw out a few ideas.
“Upon reflection.” I said as we cleared the trees and the sea, with it’s complement of blue-green masses of ice hove into view like ghosts on the horizon in the mist. “Perhaps icebergs could be described as female. Sedate. Queenly. Even regal.” I averred carefully.
“And cold?” She joked.
“Definitely.” I replied. “At least until they melt.” Maybe there was an oblique message in the original question. Which is giving me pause for thought. We have had cross words in the last week or so and apologies have been made, but I have the feeling all is still not well in our relationship.

Now I know she’s not happy with our current accommodation (And neither am I), and this neck of the woods is a bit remote for her, (and me) but I’m getting the distinct feeling I’m in deep trouble. However, in keeping with my policy for these remoter sections of our epic road trip, I’ve booked us in for a nice spa break near St Johns for the day after tomorrow. Maybe that will get me out of the hole I appear to be in. Or the potholes that have had me swerving like a drunk to avoid our cars suspension being shattered, at the very least.

A few miles later while slowed to avoid yet more of these bloody potholes, we were treated to the spectacle of the RCMP making an arrest on the other side of the road as we drove by. Handcuffs, the whole thing. Which sparked off another discussion. Further questions about iceberg sexing were forgotten.