[Bit of background here. I’m Scottish, but I live in Toronto. Canada is big, Scotland isn’t.]
There’s this thing I like to call The East Dunbartonshire Conspiracy. I used to live in Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire. It’s a small central Scotland town, rapidly becoming another suburb of Glasgow.
Since coming to Canada, most of the expat Scots I have met are from East Dunbartonshire:
The LCBO guy in Toronto Union Station is from Kirkintilloch, about 100m from where we used to live.
Another LCBO guy on the Danforth is from Bishopbriggs, where I used to work.
The GO Train customer relations person who called me about the new proposed train station at the end of our street (yay!) grew up in Bishopbriggs, and has relatives I think I worked with when I was at Collins, the publishers.
So what’s this all about? Why are so many people leaving East Dunbartonshire for Toronto? Is it the horror of living at 56°N, with dark, windy wet winters? Who can say?
I heard today that my old HP DeskJet 500 printer is still going strong. This thing must be about 13 years old (I bought it to go with an Amiga 500), and it had some pretty heavy use in the four years I had it. This included printing Catherine’s and my theses — long nights with a spare cartridge and a brutally expensive ream of Mellotex paper.
I’ll bet that no manufacturer makes printers with that kind of staying power these days.
I would have told you about my success with pinhole photography last night, but Toronto Hydro decided we didn’t need electricity. Here’s our backyard during a thunderstorm, taken on a 8×10″ paper negative in a modified mailing box. Effective aperture is f/75, exposure time 24’45”. Photo paper makes slow film!
We sampled Len Duckworth’s Fish & Chips (2638 Danforth Ave, just east of Main) tonight. Mmm. Though the halibut was not the Scottish customary haddock, it was really good. The chips were the best. I haven’t had ones this good since frequenting The Unique in Glasgow. All it needs is mushy peas, and it’d be perfect.
I was pleased to hear a few Scottish voices in the crowds. We know good food when we see it.
Norvin just lent me a great CD; Welcome to McCALand, by Mayor McCA. It’s exactly my kind of music — quirky, folky, trippy, witty. Think Robyn Hitchcock sings Of Montreal.
What’s sad is that Christian Anderson Smith (aka Mayor McCA) doesn’t have a major recording contract. I had to go direct to the distributor, Sonic Unyon (phone 905-777-1223) to get his CDs. There’s no justice.
Since this is my first entry in my first blog, I think I’m supposed to quote something clever:
For imperial Britain, rapid expansion overseas was a sign not of economic strength but of underlying weaknesses at home. An empire that looked impressive and invincible on the map later proved to be remarkably fragile, shrinking much faster than it had grown. — Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Afterword.
I’ve just re-read FFN, this time in the extended edition. It’s better the second time around. And he’s right about Conway’s burgers in Colorado Springs — they’re that good.