Friday, March 14, 2008

Oh Canada, Earth Hour

You may wonder how a couple of Brits ended up in Canada, although a lot of us do. In our case, we were on vacation with my parents in Spain when the Canadian correctional system came to England recruiting. They recruited a couple of people from the Borstal (YP prison) where Matt was working and when he found out about it, he was disappointed he hadn't been there and wanted to apply right away. I was not keen on the idea, I had always been told "if you can't make it in England, you can't make it anywhere". However, the idea played around in my head for a week or two and then I brought up the subject. Matt just happened to have a whole bunch of leaflets in his jacket pocket and that was the beginning. Of course the two people who were recruited got their fares paid. We didn't unfortunately.

Our first place to go was Canada House in London who promptly sent us to Ontario House which is where we made our applications. The man who interviewed us told us there were no jobs in the prison service in Ontario although our friends had already told us there were lots. Finally Matt flew to Canada (a trip we could barely afford) and was interviewed and hired for a job. He eventually came back and the official raised all kinds of other objections. He said we couldn't get our medicals done quickly either, however, we did get them done within 24 hours, being in the prison service Matt knew very helpful doctors plus having our own private doctor. I think the official was a bit "took aback" when we turned up with all the medical forms completed so quickly. He then started making other objections, finally, as we had been at this for a year, Matt asked to speak to his supervisor. She came along, asked what the problem was, checked everything out and stamped us through straight away. Pity Matt didn't ask for her before. Why some officials are so objectionable and obstructive I don't know.

I have already described what happened when I landed with one German Shepherd, 6 suitcases and two coats. Matt having already been here a month. What a hectic time that was for us, but now we feel as though we had never lived anywhere else.

Our first vacation here, we decided to rent a trailer and go up north, it shook us that we travelled 1,000 miles from home and were still in Ontario, that was when we began to get some idea of how big Canada really is. Another thing which made us realise the vastness of the country was the Olympic Games were being held in Montreal in 1976. From England we had thought it was Canada hosting, nope, it was Montreal which is in Quebec. Almost like another country. Each province acts very much like a separate country although they are loosely united under a Federal Government. Matt's dad told him he had cousins in Canada, this was narrowed down to Ontario, then Toronto, finally he came up with an address. But in England we have little conception of the size of Canada. Admittedly a lot of it isn't in use because of the climate there, but with technology, I suspect these areas will be inhabited eventually. Of course, if global warming carries on, these areas will not be so inhospitable. Unfortunately, it won't do the polar bears much good if all the ice has gone. I wonder if they really will disappear or whether they will be able to adapt, I do hope so. We are losing so many of our spectacular wildlife. In fact that is my favourite charity, World Wildlife Fund, who are doing a wonderful job of helping to preserve so much which is in danger of disappearing for ever.

Talking of the World Wildlife Fund, I do hope you will sign on at my website here to participate in Earth Hour, it is such a little thing to do for our home.

I watched this recipe being made and thought it looked pretty good - I do like the recipes from this programme. Haven't actually cooked it myself yet, its not really diet food *g*.

Angel Hair with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Every Day Italian (Giada di Laurentis)

Servings: 4

1 (10-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (oil reserved)
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup dry white wine
8 ounces angel hair pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and parsley and stir. Mound the pasta into bowls and serve.

Have a great day.


  1. 'If you can't make it in England, you can't make it anywhere' ... I wonder if this is still true.

    My favourite is 'if you are tired of London, you are tired of life'. I will know when I am tired of life; it will be the day I am not checking Eurostar timetables on the web to see when I can next go to London.

  2. In that case I must be tired of life, no way I would want to spend time in London any more. How can you, who live in Paris, say that anyway?

    No Europe is too old, too small and frequently too dirty for us. Two weeks in the UK was more than enough. Have you ever been this side of the pond? You should, there's room to breathe over here.