A quiet day on my own in the apartment gave me loads of time to get my stuff washed from the last week or so. I got up early in order to get in done, but was surprised to meet one of the neighbours in the laundry room as I went in. His name is Tommy and unbelievably he is from Liverpool, England and used to live in Manchester!! Its a small world. He promised to give a knock on the door when his washing was done and did so half an hour later so that I could put mine into the machine. Its nice to make friends with the local neighbours, even though he isn't local.
In the evening Buffy was singing in a concert in one of the theatres in town and had got me a ticket so that I could go along and watch. I didn't have a clue what to expect. I know she sings in a choir, so I though a night of Christmas Carols, with maybe a modern song here and there thrown in. But as it turns out she was part of the backing choir for two of the local well known Winnipeg bands - 'House of Doc' and 'Quinzy', who for the last 8 years or so have held a special Christmas celebration concert called 'Quinzmas', which is what I was seeing tonight.
I have never been one for going to big musical events or concerts but I enjoyed JP Hoes one last week, so it would be good. It turned out to be a good night – even if it wasn't totally my kind of thing. The two bands were completely different – Quinzy being a rock band of sorts and House of Doc were a bit more mellow. Add in the cool light show and bit of humour, a couple of people dressed up as dancing Yulebots and a baby dressed as a Hippo and you had a pretty good night overall. I also ran into Buffys mum and dad and spent the evening sat next to them, so at least I wasn't all on my own either. I'm still not a big concert goer – its just not my thing and you could probably tell as the audience around us whooped and cheered for an encore – I politely clapped and waited for the bands to come back on. I cant help it, music makes some people go absolutely mad. I do like music, but it very rarely makes me go wild like some people do. The show was fun and the bands were good, plus it was great to see Buffy singing and enjoying herself with the choir, but I guess I'm just more of a sport watcher or cinema goer than a concert person. Have a look on YouTube though and you can see the bands that were playing - including House of Doc playing the Olympics!
|The Yulebots were similar to this - but better and squarer, plus more christmassy|
|My artists impression of the concert -(this is the actual Quinzmas concert from 2007)......with ADDED BUFFY.|
After the concert, Buffy and the choir were invited to am after show party at the house of one of the band members, so we grabbed a lift with one of Buffys friends and after picking up Joel and completing more U-turns in one night than I have ever done before, we arrived at the party on the outskirts of the city just before midnight. At first we didn't know if we were in the right place as the house was quiet and there seemed to be no-one at home, but after looking around the back, we saw people sitting in the big lovely lounge-diner and were let inside. We were some of the first people there (I suspect that everyone else from Winnipeg also gets lost on their drives around town!) so grabbed some seats and a beer as everyone else arrived.
It was a nice relaxed couple of hours and we sat, chatted and met a few of the members of the choir and the bands as everyone ate the Canadian version of pigs in blankets (Sausage rolls) and then pizzas when they arrived. The evening flew by and just after 2am, Buffy, who had been working all day and gone straight to the concert from work, decided it was time to go home as she was knackered. So we said our goodbyes and grabbed a lift home.
|Real pigs in blankets - Yum!|
|Poor American/Canadian pigs in blankets -Ok, but similar to poor sausage rolls.|
Saturday was a lazy day. After a lie in till lunch, I sat watching videos in the afternoon with Buff and drinking tea. In the evening we had yet another night planned. This time it was an invite for the annual Christmas dinner at Buffys aunt and uncles house.
We arrived about 6pm and after a few beers and a few good chats we sat around the table for dinner with everyone Aunts, Uncles, Buffys mum, dad and brother. The food was amazing – really really tasty and the night was great – even the beer with the spices, which left a lovely warm feeling in the back of the throat. The whole night was great and I really enjoyed myself – even though I probably talked far too much.
Sunday came around and I had yet another lie in. I'm not used to all these concerts and dinners and have been well out of my comfort zone doing them all in the space of one week. I have been travelling for 15 months and for the last 2 months have been mostly on my own - making friends along the way but choosing to do what I want to do whenever I want, so this last week, meeting friends down the pub, 2 different concerts one with an after party and 2 really great family dinners, I have been feeling overawed but also very welcomed to Winnipeg. But it is something I am not used to. It has been a great 10 days or so and I have loved it, but I am also worn out. I am more used to sitting down at night, relaxing on my own with a video and a beer. It has been great though. One strange thing though is that for the last year I have taken my camera everywhere and have photos of every day, but form some reason here, I forgot my camera on the last two nights and therefore have no photos of the Christmas concert of the last family dinner. Its a shame as I would love to have taken some pics of them both. (I have provided my artists impressions here though)
|The dinner was much more colourful than this......|
In the afternoon me and Buffy headed out to go to the cinema and see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. It was a lovely warm afternoon – about minus 2 or 3 degrees C, with really nice fluffy snow falling as we waited for the bus. We did a little bit of Buffys Christmas shopping before settling down and watching the movie, which was pretty good. Then a really quiet lazy evening followed sat on the sofa, just us two watching TV – more what I am used to! Buffy made pirogis for dinner, which turned out to be similar to a small pastie, with potato and cheese filling and really quite tasty – especially in a butty.
Today is Monday and my last day here in Winnipeg. It has been an unusual but fun week. Cold and wintry outside has been mixed with a warm and friendly welcome from everywhere and everyone I have met. Tomorrow I leave at 6am and fly back to the USA and New York for Christmas. I'm excited about New York and getting back on the road, but have made a lot of new friends here, so will be coming back to see a bit more of Winnipeg and may use it as a base of sorts later in the year when I return to Canada and plan to see a lot more of the country in the summertime.