England’s history of witches

England’s a bewitching place, where fairies live and Canadian money quickly disappears

England is a magical place of witches, elves, goblins and fairies; no, I didn’t see any.

Sitting here trying to write this column jet-lagged and sleep deprived. I just got back from England on the 10:45 p.m. ferry, drove through the night and got home in good old Port Alberni at 2:30 a.m.

Reg (Les’s father) lived in England and was one week shy of 101 years old when he passed on, leaving a dirty, messy house and even messier English red tape. Two weeks was my limited stay in Yorkshire because we left the house, dog, and cat in Lil’s care and I have an operation in Nanaimo (yuck) to look forward to. Les, however, has to stay there for three to four months for the will and probate.

England is a magical place of witches, elves, goblins and fairies; no, I didn’t see any. They seem to emanate from the very ground that I walked on though.

The scenery is magnificent: lone stone houses on windswept moors, miles of green fields with natural stone walls, narrow roads that are more used to having horse and carriage. Made me wonder, where are the 52 million people hiding?

We rented a small Vauxhall car (cost us 400 pounds or $800 in our money for the two weeks) so that we could make trips to the local garbage dump and do some grocery shopping. It was a bit difficult getting used to driving on the left side of the road.

There were a few narrow escapes when I was driving where Les would say “ No, no stay on the left”.

England is very expensive, not a country to be poor in, especially since every time that I spent one English pound I was spending two Canadian dollars. Gasoline is one pound and 8 pence per litre or $2.16 per litre in Canadian funds.

I found it very easy to forget the $2 = 1 pound rule when I was in the stores shopping around. The Pound Store is a wonderful place to shop, they have everything for the house that one would want for a pound; it makes our Loonie stores look like a corner shop.

One day we had breakfast at the British Home Store (BHS) where you could get four items for one pound 99 ($4.00) so I had two pieces of bacon, one fried egg, one serving of beans, I also ordered two pieces of toast for an extra 30 pence. The coffee is dispensed through a coffee machine.

Knowing that the English like to have more milk than coffee in their cups, I pressed the button for black coffee, the machine dispensed hot water until the cup was 7/8ths full then some very black coffee filled the cup to the top. I sat down and tasted the coffee….uchhh, it tasted like sewage sludge.

I brought it back and ordered a very milky latte instead.

Once again forgetting that the pound is worth two dollars I ordered some cigars at the duty-free shop at Heathrow. The clerk said “would you like to pay in Canadian dollars”?

Since I was paying with Visa, I said yes. What a shock when I found that the package of five Havana 39£ cigars cost $78 in Canadian funds.

Any questions?  E-mail me at nsilverstone@telus.net or see me online at www.silverstonephotos.com.

 

Norman Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege in Port Alberni.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City approves $10M to finish Port Alberni’s wastewater treatment plant

Money won’t come from taxation, but will affect sewer user fees, says city CAO

Women assaulted in pair of weekend attacks in Port Alberni

RCMP say no reason to suspect attacks are related, but suspects still at large

Coulson Aviation CEO walks Australian crash site, pays tribute to fallen flight crew

Company’s 737 tanker crews back in the air fighting Australian bushfires

Port Alberni drag racers turn attention back to Stamp Avenue for 2020, 2021

AVDRA to ask city council for permission, road closures to run Thunder in the Valley Aug. 7-9, 2020

Port Alberni packs 500 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in 2019

Worldwide distribution begins for annual humanitarian aid campaign

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

Most Read