Not on another level

We’re staying out in Woodville with my wife’s cousin, in a very big house. It seems like most Canadians don’t like houses with more than one storey: everyone out in the countryside lives in an enormous bungalow. There might be a barn attached, with a precarious set of steps to its upper floor, and the bungalow might have a basement, to store frightening power tools and big bags of stuff, but the main dwelling itself will not have anywhere to go upstairs.
Why is this? Are Canadians afraid of heights? That seems unlikely. Canadians are the kind of people unfrightened by moose, or maple syrup, or wide open spaces. If your national sport is log rolling, then being a few extra feet above the ground should hold no terrors.

Perhaps it’s all the wide open space. Coming from a crowded island where the need for more space is met by building upwards rather than outwards, I’m unused to houses that can sprawl horizontally. But I’m also nostalgic, after years of living in single-floor apartments, for somewhere that I can go upstairs to bed, rather than down the hall.

Back in Halifax we stayed in a house, with stairs and everything. I suppose then I was probably complaining about having to lug huge suitcases full of nappies up stairs, so it may just be that I’m never satisfied. But that’s surely part of what being British is all about.

This is the first time I’ve been in Canada in the autumn. Before, either everything was shrouded in snow and mist, or the sun was blazing down upon us. Finally, we get to see autumnal colours. I’m sure I would have found all the oranges and reds of the leaves attractive before, but after a year and a half in the seasonally-deprived world of Singapore, where it’s always green and warm and humid, it’s exciting and special to be somewhere that everything is fiery and bright.

Also, if I go outside for a walk in a coat and jeans, I won’t sweat to death in five minutes. Of course, with my lungs wheezing from the cold weather or the mysterious allergy I have (could I just be allergic to one-storey buildings? I don’t remember getting sick when I stayed in my brother’s garden shed in Sweden, but that was most of a decade ago), I have a whole lot of other difficulties to put up with, but all these things shall pass.


Today, we’re going to go for another drive. It will be interesting to see where Surfer Dude takes us.

2 responses to “Not on another level”

    • Nova Scotia is lovely. I’m surprised how warm it is in October – after a bit of rain yesterday, it was up to 21 degrees again today. And everyone here is so easy-going, it’s quite, quite different from the hustle and bustle of London and Singapore

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