I was sitting in seat 36c yesterday, contemplating with some horror the steaming stuff on my tray table called ‘beffchikin’ by the air steward (sorry – in-flight service provider) and musing on Toronto. What was it about the funny little city that I was already missing so much?
Of course I would miss the beautiful A whose generosity, energy and kind spirit allowed for a rambunctious, visually impaired, British misanthrope to camp in her living room for three weeks. It was great to share a place again, to have someone to look out for, chat to, giggle with, lounge about with and go out on the town with. Much as I love my little Cambridge flat and all my own space sometimes the silence echoes off walls and putting on the TV, radio and kettle doesn’t quite obscure the loneliness. (pause for melancholy sigh. Turns into slight snooze as jet lag runs rampant..)
Then there was the traffic. Even though the silly Canadians drive on the wrong side of the road, in and around the city pedestrians are priority. No one drives at you if you step out into a road even if traffic is against you, no one hoots viciously if you don’t get out of the way quickly enough when the lights change and everywhere are signs saying ‘give way to pedestrians or else’. I hardly needed to use my cane at all lolloping around the city and felt safer then I ever have in UK.
And people in Toronto seem nice. Yes, they are often very ernest and sometimes a little humourless but cynicism and sarcasm do not always make for a more thoughtful or artful place. Polite more then friendly, people do however make eye contact, ask if you need help, look out for each other. Even the kid trying to sell me crack on Bloor st East was polite.
A new friend told me that 50% of people in the city are immigrants and there is definitely a great multi-cultural buzz with some lovely ethnic food and hundreds of different communities crowded along the streets. This factor gives Toronto an edge and an energy all of its own.
And importantly people think the British accent is
and so, you will be pleased to know that with my accent ranging from lovable ‘cor blimey’ cockney to 1940’s BBC posh I milked it for everything I could!
Now I sit, so seriously jet lagged I spent half the morning disoriented and weepy and had to have a snooze in the shampoo aisle in Asda. I have fed the birds (when I could find the bird table through the forest that is my garden Somewhere in there is a lawn mower and potentially even a lawn) have vaguely unpacked and am working through my post. Dennis the Squirrel just ran past the window after roughing up some wood doves I think he mouthed 'where the f**k have you been, woman' at me before collecting his 10% off the bird table, Ahhh then, back to normality.