09 July 2007

Canada we love you

So I'm standing at the top of the Baltic at the enormous glass window with the panoramic view across Newcastle, surrounded by assorted small children under the age of two, when a North American accent suddenly booms out "Nova Scotia?".

I look round. There's a fairly nondescript middle-aged lady with a blue neckerchief standing in the middle of the room, and rather worryingly, she's making straight for me. "Nova Scotia?" she trills again. "Are you from there? I'm Canadian, you see."

I try to look like a friendly ambassador for our country, rather than a bemused and harrassed 30-something mother who has no clue what the hell is going on. General tourist enquiries about Newcastle I can deal with. I have informed opinions on all sorts of things ranging from the delectability of Julian Rhind-Tutt's hair, the perennial argument about the Oxford comma or the merits of sippy cups for toddlers. Canada, however, isn't one of my specialist subjects.

And then I look down at my t-shirt.

In 2-inch high letters it says NOVA SCOTIA 9907.


I then spend the next five minutes explaining that this is in fact a very ancient t-shirt, purchased in H&M when I was a student, and still being worn for reasons of (a) sloth and (b) not enough money to buy a nice new one in Top Shop. I add that I have sadly never been to Nova Scotia, although I did once go to Vancouver and had a fabulous time.

Homesick Canada woman nods politely, and decides that the giant skeleton of a cat on the other side of the room is remarkably interesting and must be investigated forthwith.

I go back to pointing out the buses and trains to overexcited toddlers.

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