Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas, dogs and such

Yesterday evening we drove out to my fiancee's aunt's place, which comes with seven large dogs, one Alsatian puppy that's already the size of a medium-sized dog, and twelve cats.

I'm not terriby enthusiastic about dogs, particularly not ones that weigh about as much as I do and that could easily savage me. I tend to prefer cats, which are quiet, tidy, and would probably eat you after you expire. The cats here don't quite conform to this archetype: when Boots, one of the larger ones, sits on you, it's just a prelude to him clambering up your body and chewing at your neck. I kept telling him that I was alive and therefore not a suitable food source, but perhaps my strong English accent confused him because he wouldn't stop. Even when I tried crawling under the bedclothes to avoid him, he carried on, changing to clawing my scalp instead of my flesh.

So that's the Christmas spirit for you - surrounded by animals that you suspect might eat you very soon. In England, we don't do this, but I suppose Canadians have different traditions. In return, I'm going to introduce them to Christmas pudding, and possibly in revenge burn the whole place down. I don't think they have any brandy here though, so we may have to go in search of other flammable, undrinkable liquids.

The other disconcerting thing about this part of the world is how few people there are; we drove through huge forests on the way down, with no buildings, hardly any signs of human beings at all. I suggest this is because they're all misanthropes, trying to live as far away from one another as possible. It's odd, because all the Canadians I've met so far have been very friendly, but possibly that's because all the ones that hate humanity are still tucked away in their wooden sheds, miles from every other member of the human race. Perhaps they're scared of crowds (after all, the malls were absolutely packed with people on Christmas Eve - why, there must have been at least fifty people per square kilometre at some points.)

For Christmas, I got lots of presents, including socks. I've now reached the point in life where I look forward to receiving socks, because they keep my feet warm, and because I'm too lazy to go and buy my own. I wonder what other stereotypical Christmas presents I'll be looking forward to next year - bottles of Old Spice? Fruitcake? Such mysteries.

The other wonderful thing about Canada is the availability of doughnuts. Ever since Krispy Kreme closed down (klosed down?) its operations in Hong Kong, I've been deprived of those delicious and perfectly healthy discs of fried dough, and even before Krispy Kreme's Hong Kong business model was found to be full of holes, there was no way for me to obtain maple syrup doughnuts. But at Tim Horton's there's not one but two different maple syrup doughnuts (one including custard, the other not) so I'm in doughnut heaven right now. Tim Horton's coffee is a different story entirely, but one I'll return to at another date.


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