Canada ’08: New Years in Saint John
Well things are going very nicely here in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada – thanks for asking. The family welcome for our Christmas and New Year break has been marvellously warm and kind – a complete contrast thankfully to the Canadian winter that we face here.
I run every day – it’s a given. That applies to wherever in the world I am and whatever other commitments I have, I alwaysrun – at least a short distance, every day. Through the cold, fog, rain, snow and icy sidewalks, being here in the Atlantic Canada city of Saint John presents no exception to that rule.
I have to say it’s been difficult.
In fact I can honestly say that all told, its the most difficult place I’ve ever run in.
Not only do the climatic conditions provide their own serious health and safety problems – just staying upright is sometimes problematic – but the city hardly appears to possess a single flat street within it. It’s a slight exaggeration but it surely feels like that when out on a run and struggling up (Mount) King Street for the second time that evening whilst avoiding black ice and frozen snow banks.
I’d a small fall a few nights back when the lights under my hat went out for a few seconds and I swore I heard the sound of twittering birdsong in my head as I lay prostrate on yet another icey patch of sidewalk. Shaking myself down I carried on with only my pride slightly hurt.
I actually managed to fall over again two nights ago, this time due to an errant pavement ridge sticking up in the darkness on a city street. This time I managed to perform a triple loop however and land on my knees – ideal for the next few grovelling moments on all fours whilst I came round.
It was a real Sport Billy day yesterday as we went to the juniors game in the city arena in the afternoon. We were the fortunate recipients of free tickets in the ‘Blue Room’ somehow which was pretty good – a bar behind us, free popcorn and munchies laid on. Unfortunately the hosts, Saint John Sea Dogs lost again, this time to fellow New Brunswickers, Moncton . It was a fun afternoon though.
Last night was a New Year celebration with a difference. It started to snow quite a bit during the evening as the temperatures dropped to around -16c and the wind started to blow. We ended our sun bathing at this point as the snow was getting in our eyes. For much of the evening we watched the Canadian hockey juniors kick their USA counterparts’ ass. The good guys were rapidly 3-0 down but fought back hard to record a 7-4 victory – huzzah! Go Canada.
After two periods my partner and I decided to strike out for the city, about a mile away. There are a couple of drinking places in the downtown mall and we tried the first one, ‘Rockeys’ for a couple of pints before moving on the ‘Saint John Alehouse.’ The latter may have been a bad choice as, whilst being a very nice place with no less than 27 different beers on tap, there were only two customers in there. By this time it was 11.15pm and precipitating it down heavily with snow outside so we just stayed. Thank goodness for that heavenly elixir Molson Canadian which went down a treat. My memory is not clear but I feel as though I had a pint in each hand at one stage
It was curious. The TV was switched on the celebrations in Times Square with the curious site of Lionel Ritchie prancing around in a woolly hat like a (very) poor man’s Marvin Gaye. The Pussycat Dolls followed and by this time I was so mesmerised by them and the pints of Molson that I completely missed the clock striking twelve.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find a taxi home in the driving snow so began walking. It was so cold we had to wrap our scarves around our heads to stay warm. I managed to treat half of the city to a good few Hibs songs on the way home. What the heck are they doing in bed at New Years anyway? Wake up and listen to my song!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I’ve never had such a huge dose of hockey in a long time. It’s preposterously cold outside today so we have the Detroit – Chicago game on which is being played outside at Wrigley Field Baseball Stadium. Quite novel. As I write this, the temperature is effectively -30c outside the window and over the bay and I still have to run today. If I’m gone more than an hour I’ll be the one with my tongue frozen to a lamppost in the Market Square.