Last week I shared my experiences of house sitting at Christmas, you can check it out here (A Tale of Two Christmas Housesits). So, naturally the second part of A Tale of Two House sits leads to how I spent New Years Eve. I’m not a massive fan of the evening, it often disappoints as you spend most of the night trailing around bars and pubs trying to find a place to comfortably stand. Therefore, the past few years have been spent in the company of family either playing games, messing around with glow sticks or dancing in our onesies.
As Matt and I have spent our winters in Canada pet and house sitting this has presented fresh challenges for our new years celebrations. We no longer only have ourselves to think of, we had a variety of furry friends too. I thought I’d share our stories of how we rang in the new year during our winter assignments.
There are a few things to consider when looking after pets and house sitting at new years, for example, are there going to the fireworks locally? Is the pet happy being left alone at night? Are you going to be able to get back in time, battling traffic after the celebrations? These considerations have led to two very different evenings.
I was worried about fireworks when looking after a fourteen-year dog last year in Calgary. What if the shock of the noise tipped her over the edge? Even though I was pretty sure she was at least partially deaf it was something I was worried about. However, after discussing Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night with colleagues it became apparent that fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Calgary. Excellent I thought, one worry out-of-the-way.
The next thing was leaving her at night. Again, we struck lucky, as she didn’t mind being alone for a few hours. She slept for ninety percent of day, she is 98 in human years after all! Even more of a bonus was the fact that the property was equipped with a doggy door, therefore she could freely go out for bathroom breaks without having to wait for us humans to open the door.
With these two worries out-of-the-way we got planning. Neither of us being big party-people we planned to go for food and to an ice hockey game. The Calgary Flames were playing the Arizona Coyotes at the Scotiabank Saddledome downtown so my next task was finding parking in the city. Once again luck was on our side and I found a restaurant that was not only a five-minute walk away from the Saddledome but that also provided free parking for patrons going to the game. And this is for every single game not just for New Years Eve.
The restaurant, Naina’s Kitchen, came onto my radar after finding it on a ‘You gotta eat here’ list. Guy Fieri’s suggestions are usually great Mom and Pop places filled with good hearty food smothered in cheese. Naina’s did not disappoint in the slightest. Their specialty is stuffed burgers that you could put anything inside. I went for a cheese burger stuffed with bacon, grilled onion, BBQ sauce and cheese with a side of fries. It was so good we went back again when I had a poutine stuffed burger!
The game finished before midnight so we headed back home, through the snow, to bring the new year in with the dog. It was a great way to celebrate our first few months in Canada.
Fast forward to this year and our situation is slightly different. We are located forty-minutes from downtown with no access to transit. Furthermore, we are looking after an energetic dog who requires a lot more attention. Therefore, we decided to split the day, Matt and I would spend the morning hiking and I would head downtown with a work friend to catch a local band on the evening.
What was unexpected was the cold. It was -12 degrees with a real feel of -20 degrees. So, we ventured twenty-minutes down the road to Polly’s Cove, a nice short trail with excellent coastal views. I’ll be doing another post on the trail at some point so make sure you keep an eye out for it. Needing to warm up we went to Upper Tantallon (a small community on the Lighthouse Route) to have hot chocolate at an old converted train station café, Bike and Bean. If you like to cycle this place is not only a café but also bike shop and the start of a great trail.
The hot chocolate was eagerly enjoyed and we headed back, stopping along the way to look at the ice covered sea.
Now I know it may seem unusual for a couple not to spend new year’s together, but Matt was not bothered by going out and therefore willingly agreed to stay in with the dog while I went downtown. A friend and I had a drink in a pub on Argyle Street, The Loose Cannon, as we were trying to time it just right to be able to see A Tribe Called Red (a Canadian electronic group who mix several genres with First Nations music). Unfortunately, the cold struck and we chickened out thirty minutes before midnight and headed home. Just as we were driving past the square, the band came on so we rolled down the windows and were able to catch thirty seconds of the headliners. Not a bad night at all, despite being beaten by the Canadian weather twice in one day!
Leaving early did mean when midnight struck I was driving home. However, many of the communities along the road home were setting off fireworks which I was able to enjoy from the warmth of my trusty Dodge.
Hope you all had lovely evenings. Where and how did you bring in the new year??