For readers who follow this narrative on an irregular basis (or those who have stumbled across the site playing internet hopscotch), here’s an update. Thanks to a semester break, my “partner” and I are currently hanging out in our old, family home in Nova Scotia. You can read all about it by going back a couple posts.

When we are not here, which is most of time, we rent it out on a weekly basis during the summer months, which is the only time tourists actually come to Nova Scotia. Sometimes circumstances conspire to drive us away even when we are here. It happened the week before last.

Several months ago, a nice couple from British Columbia inquired about renting the Stewart House for their daughter’s wedding. They had family coming from Europe and Australia, as well as Canada. Since she was getting married at the winery in our village, they needed a home base.

I thought it would provide us with the impetus to get out of the house and actually have a vacation, which never seems to happen when we are here. The reality was more work than I had counted on, but the idea was sound.

Our first stop was Antigonish, where we caught up with Eric and Clare just before they headed off to Ireland to sail their boat. I wrote about that last summer. Then we nosed the old Volvo up toward Cape Breton. If you have an active imagination and can picture Nova Scotia as a lobster, Cape Breton would form the claws. It is the only part of the province I have seen with rugged grandeur.

The claws are divided by a huge, inland estuary, called the Bras d’Or Lake. One beautiful island near Baddeck held the summer home and lab of Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and dabbled with many other inventions, such as the hydrofoil and a precursor of the iron lung. When Ann Sullivan and Helen Keller went up to see him, they stayed at the Inn directly across the road from where I’m sitting now.

Cape Breton came to be dominated by Scottish settlers as a result of the highland clearances. It houses one of the only colleges in North America dedicated to preserving Scottish traditions and the Gaelic tongue. Thanks to the Island’s geography, locals had to entertain themselves long after most Canadians had settled in front of the box for their popular entertainment. Their music scene is still vibrant.

The main draws for tourists are the golf, the music, the Bell Museum, whale watching, the spectacular Cabot trail, and Louisbourg, the largest historical reconstruction of an 18th Century French fortress town anywhere in North America.

Our last tour of Cape Breton was many, many years ago. We went mountain biking in September and it got so cold it could have snowed. This time around, we went for the hospitality, scenery and kayaking. We didn’t count on good weather, but we were blessed with sunshine on all but one day. What more could one ask for? Maybe it’s just luck, maybe it’s an effect of global warming. I hate to say it, but Canada just may benefit from something that is going to be very hard on Australia.

Two weeks ago we had the longest day of the year here in Nova Scotia and missed the shortest day back in Melbourne. I’m sure I’ll pay for that, somehow.  In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the second summer.

P.S. For those of you who have been waiting patiently for the results of the unicycle race, your time has arrived. The intrepid team of unicyclists from New Zealand acquitted themselves admirably, with a total time just 18 minutes behind the the German Speeders. Next year, bring on the Aussies!