What’s it all about eh? No, not the meaning of life, this blog. Once upon a time (that seems hazy and distant now despite being only three short summers ago) my wife and I were crazy young upstarts with oats to sow and agendas to make. At some point in our twenties we realised there was more to existence than the brief endorphin rush of buying the latest xbox game or pouring various colours of alcohol down your throat until you were kicked out onto the rubbish strewn streets where you’d smear something nasty and kebab shaped all over your face before falling asleep on the sofa, in the doorway or, occasionally in your bed.
I realised then that we were mere consumers in a society set up to milk us, to keep the fat cats fat and the megalomaniacs at the helm. I knew there was another way, a better life outside the consumer parlour that didn’t demand cheaper meat or perfect apples at the cost of nature and peoples livelihood. I could even see other people that had stepped off the mega-super-highway and started clearing a path of their own but for us to do the same it would take decades of being rinsed through the machine just to pay our student debts off let alone save enough for a bit of land over here, so we started looking abroad. Being wooed by the history, climate, culture, food & wine Italy was our first choice of destination but having to learn a different language as well as a different culture and way of life as we tried to scratch out an idyl on what is still a comparatively expensive patch of land was just stacking the risks too high for us.
Then I took a call from my sister who was living in the middle east and looking to come back but wanted to come back to a bit of tranquility. We both left Canada in 1985 and followed very different paths but I found myself on the net looking for a house for her and another nearby for ourselves too. My eye wandered eastwards from our native Ontario to the maritimes, where I found a 102-acre farm with two houses, barns, pasture and woodland. I mentioned it on the offchance as neither of us had been much further than Quebec when we lived there before but was surprised when the idea was taken up enthusiastically. Plans were made and between us we managed to sell, beg, borrow and, well, we stopped short of stealing but we scraped together enough to buy it outright between us.
Then the adventure began… Laura was by this time pregnant with our first child but together we formed a spearhead to go out and put the farm in order before coming back to Wales to give birth in the bosom of her family. We booked our flights to Hamilton, arranged to buy a camper from Niagara, rented out our flat in Brighton and with a mix of nerves and excitement headed off for a roadtrip to Cape Breton.
The next part of the story can best be told in a series of emails we sent back to our friends and family to let them know we were still alive…