If you think that the English winter drags on, try Edmonton! This is Mrs Toque's ancestral pile on St David's Day - no daffs there!
Though they do get a few more blue skies than England, and a great many more than Wales.
Merry Christmas everyone.
We managed to catch the first flight from Heathrow to Edmonton, Canada, and walked into Edmonton airport to a media scrum. Here's Mrs Toque talking to the media of her home town.
We made the news (see the video here).
It probably didn't help matters that Matilda was wearing her Santa suit.
My buddy Paula is bidding to become Miss Canadian Universe.
Click on the photo to visit her Facebook site and pledge your support.
|Taken from the Sun newspaper in England (as mentioned previously the Scottish Sun doesn't carry Kelvin MacKenzie articles). I honestly have to say that I don't recall children ever waving at me when I was on my way to work in Edmonton. They do have good magic mushrooms there though, not that a policeman would ever...|
The Edmonton Journal carries an interesting account of the England victory as it was enjoyed by drinkers at my old watering-hole, Elephant and Castle on Whyte.
Typically though the Canucks just don't get it.
On this day the people rejoicing were not Brits, they were English. You can bet your bottom loonie that that the majority of Scots would have been honouring the Auld Alliance and supporting France. And as for the Welsh, well, they would rather die than see England win the World Cup.
Peter Preston, writing at Comment is Free, sums up:
So it came to pass that, yet again, the standard, slightly self-serving lecture on Britishness was duly shredded and scattered all over a foreign field (called the Stade de France). "This is a proud day for the country," said our sort-of elected leader: but he could only clamber aboard such a patriotic podium because Scotland had fallen off it already. And, in truth, there was no way of disguising what had actually happened. Not a Welsh moment or a Scottish moment, but an English moment that - in the winding way of these islands - had somehow morphed into another National Moment.
There he goes again with the 'the country' routine.
Where Calgary Flames fans buy their clothes.
Go Oilers Go!
Tuesday was my last full day in Edmonton; a sad day for both myself and landlords of various local pubs and bars.
What can I say? I'm still not a convert, I like to live in places that you can enjoy on the hoof (Edmonton's greatest fault lies in it city-planning and reliance on the car), but I have warmed to Edmonton in the twelve months that I lived there. It has its moments and the people are genuinely friendly, which counts for a lot. I can truthfully say that it began to feel like home.
Thanks to the Alberta and Edmonton bloggers who welcomed me into the fold - in particular to the individuals whose blogs I have read, and who occasionally comment upon my ramblngs (you know who you are).
On my last day we took the opportunity to visit Speedrat at Westmount School. Regular readers will be pleased to know that he seems happy in his new home, and became happier still with the delivery of veggie lasagna, pistachio nuts, spitz and biscuit that we brought him.
Naturally I am very excited to get back to England, my excitement heightened by the fact that the nation is gearing up for the World Cup. But spare a thought for Mrs Toque. She is an Oilers fan, and looks likely to miss the Stanley Cup final unless we can find somewhere, or some channel, that shows the games in England. If there are any Canadian Expats that can give us any information on where we can see the games in England.
So here I am back in England. What was all the fuss about; what did I miss? Well, how about views like this taken from the balcony this morning?
I have been referred to as a hooligan on several occasions in Canada. Not because I am (everyone knows that hooligans are Irish) but because I am English, and that's the stereotype.
Talking of hooligans, I shot this video last night down Whyte Av.
There's a moment when the crowd disperses, backing away from the fire, booing and throwing bottles. The object of their contempt was the guy up the lampost. Not sure what he did, but I don't think he'll be doing it again.
Pictures to follow.
|Have your left breast augmented, then pop downstairs for the second cup.|
|Koch are one of Edmonton's best known car dealerships. Germans may be surprised to hear that Edmontonians pronounce 'Koch' as 'Kotsh'. Little wonder!|
|Who should I see down Calgary Trail? Why, it's none other than Edmonton's premier soccer celebrity 'Soccer Steve'.|