Back Under the Water

Today was my first dive since 13th March 2004. It was only a practice dive, in the impressive 15m deep dive pool at the Stade Olympique in Montreal, but it was wonderful to be back under the water again.

After so long away I was worried about all the things I’d forget or whether my ears would play up – or explode. All sensible concerns. Thankfully none of them were realised and I got to float around, watching the other divers play whilst finding that my neutral buoyancy control is as crap as it ever was. Keep level using only breathing and no hand/feet movements? Hah. Can’t wait to go play in the sea now.

Thanks to Robin from Total Diving for working me through the kinks, and to M for the early Christmas present. I just hope you could join me down there one day…

Snowfall #1

Well I’m back up in Montreal, having finally let go of my lovely little New York apartment. Sniff, sniff. Ah well, change is good – plus not having to spend money on rent is good as well. I will miss that sunset view of Manhattan though…

The positive news is that the apartment has gone to a good home, so I know it will be cared for and fed properly.

So now I’m back up in Montreal after a drive through New York’s first snowfall of the year and freezing rain in the dark Adirondacks. Thankfully this was on Sunday, the day before Montreal had it’s first big snowfall of the season – currently we have a good foot and a half of snow sitting on the balcony waiting to fall on some poor innocent, unsuspecting passer by. Or Max. Hee hee. Time to get the snow shoes on…

Toilet Roll Trauma

Having flown back in to Montreal last night from England I was feeling a bit dis-orientated, as is usual from all those hours in a plane with no in flight entertainment system (come on Air Canada – get your beautiful IFE onto every plane now!). Our lovely house-sitters had left the place in good shape, thanks to Malcolm & Max. Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing – somewhere in the mix we’d run out of loo roll, which didn’t sit at all well with my post-flight stomach.

So, braving the torrential rain, I set out to our local dep, stocked up on useful sundries such as sparkling mineral water, picked up some lovely Polish food from Stash and headed home. Happily only slightly damp I reached the front door where that nagging doubt from the dep kicked in fully, as I realised I’d forgotten to get loo roll… the whole reason for the trip. Splendid.

One big Polish meal later the rain subsided, so I wandered back to the dep and picked up some loo roll where I declined a plastic bag in the cause of the environment. Walking back past home past the upmarket resto-bars I realised there was was no way to look cool holding a pack of loo paper… Do you casually hang it from your hand? Tuck it under your arm? Balance it on your head and pretend to be from Cirque do Soleil? I guess celebrities like George Clooney et al don’t suffer this existential crisis having people to do this sort of thing for them, but I’d imagine that even they would find it hard to maintain their usual ‘effortless’ cool at this point and the paparazzi from have a field day. Luckily for me it was obviously too rainy for the paps to track me down, so I reached home safe and anonymous in my angst ready for a session of deep meditation.

John Hannah (& The Mummy 3) in Montreal

Another usual morning in the Old Port, Montreal. While waiting for our usual morning coffees at the splendid Olive et Gourmando, M noticed John Hannah checking her out from the corner. His hair was pretty long so we weren’t 100% sure at first, but it turns out he’s in town for the filming of The Mummy 3, along with Brandon Fraser, Jet Li & Michelle Yoeh, but unfortunately not with the ever stunning Rachel Weisz. Ah well.

And no, yet again I did not take a photo, but suspect John Hannah pics ain’t quite as valuable as one of Brad. Sorry John, I prefer you to Brad but somehow I don’t think posters of you adorn as many walls as his do.

Oh, and Rowan Atkinson is floating around town somewhere today prior to presenting his latest Mr Bean flick this evening. Not to mention the other assorted global comedy stars for this years Just for Laughs festival.

To Sleep, Perchance to Sleep

Much though I love living in the Old Port in Montreal, there are times when I really could do with being elsewhere. Last night was a classic example, as are most weekend nights in summer. The bar down the road had some loud bass music going till 3am, combined with drunken folk wandering outside to have a cigarette or head home Generally while shouting at their friends at what they think is a reasonable volume. This with eardrums happily ignorant of the true quiet they are disturbing due to aforementioned loud bass. The old port streets are narrow, surrounded by tall buildings and no trees – so noise travels a long way and echoes – possibly even amplifies. You can probably imagine the range of noises this projects.

I’ve come to expect not getting to sleep till 4am on weekends now, this normally being the time that the last of the drunken revelers happily shout themselves home or to their cars with much slamming of doors. Last week it was members of one of the under-21 football teams celebrating their victory with an impromptu game of footie on the street. Normally at 4am I can finally sink into a few blissful hours of sleep. I say ‘few’ as this morning my brief downtime was bookended by some bright sparks from the road works department digging up the road at 8am. On a frikkin’ Saturday! I think the mentality is; well we have to be up early on a Saturday, so let’s share the love. Argh!

So now it’s 10am. The drilling has stopped – all work finished (so surely they could have waited a few hours?) – but I’m wide awake and the tourists are now here enjoying the over-priced coach rides and blocking cars with loudly pumping bass coming from their open windows.

Ah, summer.