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  • Helen Row Toews

Prairie Wool

A place in the sun

When gale-force winds wind themselves around the granaries, and temperatures dip below what any sensible person would go out in, more and more people think of escaping to the south. And there are so many possible destinations. In the past, such a pursuit was something only the prosperous could afford and these affluent people enjoyed the privilege of being a seasonal resident. Still, this isn’t a new phenomenon. During the Victorian era, wealthy Europeans and residents of the UK would also flee the winter cold of the north as they journeyed toward the Mediterranean where the climate was milder.

Of course, owning or renting a home in a warm climate is only one way to escape frigid temperatures. Almost everyone you talk to these days has been somewhere tropical. The allure of an all-inclusive vacation creates a compelling reason to make exit plans forthwith. Sadly, I’ve never gone anywhere warm during the winter. Unless making a trip to the sofa with an electric heater and a blanket would count? No? I didn’t think so.

Along this line of thought, I often indulge myself in a little pipe dream – fade to black. As the curtain rises I see myself basking in the bright sunshine of a January morning on the French Riviera. At my back is a small, rustic dwelling, nothing too ostentatious, you understand. Just a simple six-bedroom home facing the Cote d’Azur. As I gaze over the gently lapping waves of the Mediterranean, a small, almost scornful smile lights my face, and several questions are pondered. Is there a snowdrift in sight? Frost in the air? Ice underfoot?

“NO!” I cry with a joyous fist pump, accidentally dropping the keys to my red Porsche into the infinity pool.

Usually, at this point, a humble pot of potatoes boils over on the stove, or the cat claws my leg wanting kibble, and I’m jolted back to reality. Sigh.

In any case, I’ve taken certain steps to be ready on the off chance this is my true destiny. Spending the last number of years learning to speak French with the help of a couple of online courses, I now feel equipped to handle any situation that may surface whilst living abroad. It’s hard to envision when I might need to say, “A lion is among the crowd” or “This white hat does not suit my grandmother,” but if, while in France, circumstances require me to warn the masses of a zoo escape led by a group of attacking lions, or my grandmother is found alive and poorly dressed in a women’s accessory shop—I’ve got it covered.

With all of this in mind, I congratulate those of you fortunate enough to jet off through the snowstorm and land elsewhere in a greener pasture far, far away. Enjoy your moments of pleasure under the radiant sun in some exotic land while the rest of us poor slobs grimly advance into another glacial morning, yanking open the squealing doors of our vehicles to huddle miserably inside.

We’ll be fine – enjoy yourselves.

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