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Normally I would have posted this blog entry on Canada Day but the story wasn’t finished. I hasten to add that this wasn’t my fault! Blame it on England and the unavailability of a certain cheese product. Ha, I’ve got you hooked now, haven’t I?

It all began with Canadian patriotism. Since Gill has been living in England, her feelings for Canada have intensified. She is, as many ex pats find themselves, emotional when Canada Day rolls around. In years past, she has organized celebrations herself or gone to ‘officially sanctioned ‘ events in London. These included Canadian flags, Canadian beer, maple syrup poured on anything that stands still and/or begs to be licked. (Minds out of the gutter, people!) And there was probably enough music from such Canadian greats as Justin Beiber and/or Celine Dion to offend  two generations.

This year Gill is visiting friends in London and celebrating on July 3. Well, since nobody around here seems to be celebrating on the 1st either, she’s in good company. What genius decided that Wednesday is a fine day for Canada Day? It should permanently be on a Friday or Monday so people could actually benefit. Not to mention the confusion over which government services, if any, will be working on the actual day.

Case in point: Wednesday is my normal garbage pickup day. Tuesday night, being a good citizen and making sure everything is curbside promptly for 7 a.m. pickup, I took the bins out. Just as I dropped the final one, I realized in a panic that Wednesday was Canada Day and thus the garbagemen would not be working. So in I schlepped all the bins.

I was enjoying a leisurely soak in the tub Wednesday morning. Suddenly I heard a noise. “What the hell is that?” I asked myself, knowing full well what the answer was.  “Oh, no!” I yelled and jumped out of the tub, scaring Mrs. Beeton from the latest terror attack on CNN. (She likes to be up on the day’s news.)

It was the unmistakeable rumble of the garbage truck as it rounded the corner. Taking appropriate time to swear a blue streak, I pulled on clothes and went flying down the stairs, wet hair askew and no makeup on. You know this was a crisis because I never let myself be seen on the street in such disarray.

L’il Sis heard my swearing and raced out to help. She dragged a bag of yard waste that Crazy D had filled and as she did so, it burst open. Apparently Crazy D hadn’t received the dictum about 50 pounds being the limit on garden waste bags. We grabbed a fresh bag and attempted to put the old in the new. We made it just in time to see the truck coming…at which point we hightailed it inside to escape the wrath of the garbage men and their sassy, “Hop on, ladies!”. Happy Canada Day!!

Gill received a frantic call from her Canadian friends in London last week. They were planning the menu for the celebration and became apoplectic when no cheese curds were to be found anywhere in London –cheese curds for that Canadian delicacy, Poutine…or as I call it, ‘Barf In Gravy Medley’ . It is a loathsome dish and I cringe when I think other nations see it as our national food. Gill promised to find some. She began calling local dairies and at last news flash, hadn’t found any. So, as far as I understand, the success or failure of the day depended on the dreadful cheese product. OMG.

Gill herself had promised to make Nanaimo Bars for the occasion. Gill is a wonderful baker — but she should have checked the recipe before she made such a rash promise. I got an urgent email: ‘Ma, what is a double boiler? Do I have one? What is custard powder? HELP!’

Using my super duper telepathic and psychic mother powers, I deduced that she did not have a double boiler (how would I know since I’ve never been in her British apartment?) and explained to her, as best I could, what it is and its purpose. As for custard powder, I hadn’t a clue. I suspect it’s a British shortcut to making your own custard from scratch. But anyone who has tasted British pastries can see a disaster in the making.

I had done my bit to ensure Gill’s day was a success…by mailing her tiny Canadian flags for her cupcakes, candies in the shape of maple leaves and, wait for it, a tea towel with maple leaves and beavers inside the leaves.

My own day was highlighted by a swim at the pool (during a downpour that began to feel like hail) and climaxed with The Pig (the beagle) walking/dancing on the kitchen table in an attempt to reach the pizza that was lying in its box!

I can hardly wait to see what next year’s celebration holds…although I bet it won’t top The Dancing Pig.