We’re down to single digits – six days and counting. Still, having to sit and wait for moving day (May 29) drains a person’s patience like bath water down a plug hole. In other words, a real bummer! However, I’m not sitting around twiddling my thumbs as I’m trying to get ahead of the curve with working deadlines, and so far succeeding. Also, using quiet moments to scan the pages of on-line home mags and finding decorating inspiration on every page, but at prices that I’ll definitely be translating downwards to suit our budget. Apparently, there really are people who’re prepared to pay $7,000 for a brass faucet (tap, for our non-North American friends), otherwise, why bother to make them, have them photographed from every angle, and pay a fortune for a glossy advertisement in an up-market magazine? Que sera…
So, although the drive from Mexico already seems like a dim and distant memory – yet it’s only been six weeks since we left – I remembered a story the other day that I’d overlooked when I was doing my daily blog. The incident actually began five or six weeks before we left, when we were planning to head to Ajijic for a shopping trip and Peter discovered we had a flat tire (tyre). No problem. He opened the back of our SUV, removed the jack, and started to wind down the spare wheel that’s cradled by steel cables under the chassis. The mechanism felt lighter than normal, and when Peter looked, someone had cut through the cables and stolen the whole damn wheel! Although it’s only speculation, we guessed that the theft must have occurred during the five weeks the car sat in a body shop waiting for repairs after a tree fell on the roof. (Okay – that’s another story!) Whenever it was parked at home, the car was kept beside the house, inside a car port, and behind a locked gate, and cutting the steel cables would have required a sturdy hacksaw or a very hefty pair of bolt cutters – not something any normal person carries in their back pocket. Grrrrrrr!!!
One of our wonderful former neighbours (“thanks”, Joe) took Peter with the flat tire to a garage so they could repair the puncture and get us on the road again. However, knowing that we had a long road ahead of us, Peter ordered a spare wheel and new cable mechanism from the Dodge garage in Guadalajara the day he took our old gal for her major, pre-trip service. The service manager told him to return in 10 days, which became two weeks, then three weeks and, finally, crunch time. OMG! Could we embark upon a 6,000-kilometre journey without a spare wheel – especially the first two days when we didn’t want to be stuck on a Mexican roadside in the back of beyond. However, by this time, we had a date for signing our paperwork at the lawyer’s office and didn’t want to delay our departure until a new wheel arrived, (sometime when). So, hoping to restore some peace of mind, Peter went to an auto store, bought several cans of the air and foam ‘stuff’ that it’s claimed will provide a temporary repair solution for punctures. However, it was with a huge sigh of relief when we crossed the border into Laredo, knowing that help would be nearby and speak the same language should the need arise.
It’s been surprising, or perhaps not, that since we left Mexico I’ve received a couple of emails – from friends of friends of friends – who’d heard via the Ajijic grapevine that we’d returned to Canada and, in particular, to Nova Scotia. They, too, have expressed a growing disenchantment with various aspects of the Mexican way of life and were planning to head north at the earliest opportunity, and I think one of the most poignant reasons – and one that I’ve heard more than once – is the very heartfelt “I don’t want to die here”. The wife of the couple from whom we bought our Raquet Club home told me the same thing – one of those tiny confessions that was stored away in the tiny seed vault at the back of my mind. However, since we returned to Canada, that seed has germinated and I now realize what she meant. At least, it’s dawned on me that being ‘home’ – wherever that might be for anyone and everyone – is a vital ingredient in the recipe that offers comfort and support as we all grow older. Not to sound too maudlin’ because you’re only as old as the number on your birth certificate and, as they say, “70 is the new 40”. Not quite there yet, and I did enjoy the wind rushing past my ears as I scooted along on the back of the IKEA trolley the other day. (I’ll make sure Peter takes a photo next time.) OMG! Are those trolleys built for fun, or what? In fact, I’m now thinking of starting a seniors IKEA trolley-racing club! LOL!
Nova Scotian optimism
Another factoid that’s dawned on me since we arrived is the eternal optimism of Nova Scotians. As a Brit by birth (a Canadian by choice), we grew up preoccupied with the weather – perhaps because it’s so bloody unreliable and unpredictable in the UK. Who recalls weatherman Michael Fish declaring on BBC television that Britain was not expecting a hurricane. Famous last words that were a haunting reminder of a night in October 1987 when the people of Sussex lost the majority of Ashdown Forest during the blow of the century, and the losses experienced by many others around the country who woke up to find scenes of devastation in their towns and surrounding countryside. Who remembers the extreme heat in 1976 (that I’ll never forget as it was the summer when Peter and I first met), that had everyone melting in temperatures never previously experienced over such a prolonged period? And, what about the two inches of snow that brings the roads and transportation systems to a grinding halt! COME TO CANADA,PEOPLE, where everything and everyone simply keeps rolling even after a foot, nay, a metre of snow. Given the foregoing, it appears to be a long-standing tradition that’s been genetically implanted into the British psyche that requires everyone to bitch about the weather, regardless.
This definitely isn’t the case in NS. So far, everyone we’ve met has a casual disregard for the external elements; adjustments are made, it’s no big deal, and life goes on as normal. In fact, one of the very few, relatively disinterested expressions we’ve heard about the weather is that “this has been the coolest and wettest spring for 70 years, eh!” It was proven by someone showing us a photograph taken on May 15 last year of people splashing about in an outdoor swimming pool (not looking blue at all…), and a facsimile taken at the same place on October 28, 2018. So, in an effort to become more Nova Scotian, I’m not going to labour the point that NS waited until we arrived to delay the arrival of summer, and promise never to mention the weather again. Okay, I know: You can take a girl out of Britain, but you can’t take Britain out of the girl!
And, as a final word on NS optimism: Yesterday was the first day of the outdoor farmers’ market season in Annapolis Royal, and the morning dawned grey, cool and drizzly. But, as we only have two more Saturdays on this side of the province, we headed out, arriving at 8:30, half an hour after it opened, expecting to find very little! Not so! All the stalls were open, the place was packed, and enthusiastic vendors – albeit well wrapped up – were offering a wonderful array of produce, baked goods, spirits (yep, from legal NS distilleries – and the gin was especially good for warming your toes from the inside…), arts and crafts. Our two dogs enjoyed a word and a pat from virtually everyone there, including a lady who carried treats in her pockets for just such meetings. A good time was had by all, and we’re now going to have to rent a U-Haul trailer for all the plants – hopefully deer and rabbit resistant – I’ve already bought for the new garden.
So, we received confirmation 10 days ago that all our worldly goods have now left Mexico – apart from what we packed into the car and the top box for the journey and to keep us going until we moved into our new home (not knowing, at the time, how long that might be)…. One suitcase of clothes, a set of bedding (with duvet), a couple of totes filled with kitchen ‘stuff’ that we’ll need for camping out in the new house, plus the dogs’ beds. Assuming the scheduled 30-day delivery schedule is met, we’ll have less than two weeks to rattle around in a virtually empty house but, thankfully, the sellers – who’re moving into an apartment – were happy to leave the appliances, as well as a few other furniture items…. Although I’m not sure where Peter’s going to sit!!!
However, the indoor camping does give us a good excuse to get outside and do some much needed garden planning – confining ourselves, of course, to a much smaller area than the 50 acres – although Peter’s planning on creating dog-walking trails, and is also hoping to find a suitable depression in the landscape that might be used for a natural pond to attract birds and other wildlife. He’s really getting into landowner mode, as you might tell – but if those bloody deer and rabbits touch one solitary bud of my planned rose garden….. I’ve heard that blood, human hair, urine, etc., are all natural deterrents, so if Peter suddenly does a disappearing act…..