Please drink responsibly

For the British traveller, Canada offers relatively good value. At first, prices seem high – but then you look at the exchange rate and they’re comparable to most UK charges. I’ve found eating out here a little cheaper than the US, and while tipping is expected, it’s not forced upon you with every bill, bar…

Water and Guinness

“Toronto’s a bit limited for stuff to do,” says the bar tender at. The Town Crier pub on John Street. And while that may be true in terms of the number of options, there are some big ticket items you have to do while you’re here. And one of them involves a heck of a…

Welcome to the neighbourhoods 

Many Canadian place names are named after places in England, which makes watching the local TV weather forecast a bit confusing. London, for instance, is around 110 miles west of Toronto, sits along the River Thames and has a population of a third of a million people. Brighton, Peterborough and Cambridge all get a mention….

A view, some weed and all that jazz

“So, whaddya think of Chicago traffic, huh?”  There’s silence from the passengers to this and every other comment from our shuttle van driver, Shawn. Personally, I don’t mind a chatty driver – it gives you a chance to get the flavour of what the locals really think about a place. Shawn hates Uber – they undercut…

A pig of a day

It’s Brexit Day. Or rather, the day that was meant to be Brexit Day for the UK but turned out not to be Brexit Day. It may still have not happened by the time you read this – which, given that the Internet is a permanent record lasting for all time is a long time…

A living legend (and the Fonz) 

With a few days to spend in Chicago, it seems like a good idea to explore a little further afield. And about 90 minutes to the north is Milwaukee, affectionately known by some Chicagoans as the “second city’s second  city” – perhaps a reference to “yeah, we know it’s there, we just don’t quite rate…

Towers, cats and chewing gum

American cities are fiercely proud of their skyscrapers. Symbols of wealth and power and – notoriously in New York – prime targets for terrorists. However, it wasn’t New York, but Chicago, which for a long time held the record for the world’s tallest. At 1,450 feet the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) was higher…

Some unexpected extras…

There probably aren’t too many people in here who’d know what a ‘mardy bum’. So it’s fairly easy to work out – from the British, northern accent, who put the Arctic Monkeys on the jukebox at The Lodge – an English-cum-ski-chalet-cum-almost-anything bar on West Division Street. Gary is from Bury (pronounced properly, as in Buree not…

A date, a song and black snot

It’s Monday night, and at the Thornhill Arms on Caledonian Road, it’s Open Mic night. These events can often be disappointing, in that the only customers in the pub are direct friends of the performers. But in North London, there’s a surprisingly good variety. Jack and Iona have arrived together, but sang individually – each…

Leave means leave!

I’m leaving the EU. Not in the Brexit sense, but in the holiday sense. And in the holiday sense I will have left the EU before the UK has. Probably. To my readers outside the UK, all of this is likely to be highly confusing. To those readers in the UK is is unlikely to be…