I was born in England near the sea, and when I was eleven, I crossed the Atlantic on the Ivernia with my family. My family was seasick on the voyage, but I was fine and while they were trying to feel better, I roamed the ship, ducked under the barrier into 1st class and entered the 1st class library. I curled up in a comfortable armchair and read some of the books, there. We travelled up the St. Lawrence to Montreal, then by train to Thunder Bay where I spent the rest of my childhood. That first winter in Canada was a fun time. I learned all about snow – about tobogganing, skating, and skiing. We had never seen such snow – it rarely snowed in England. When I finished university I lived in Athens, Greece for a year, just teaching English, enjoying the ancient ruins and the blue Mediterranean. I came back to Canada and began to teach in schools, but I was always on the move, interested in exploring. I lived in Victoria, Fort McMurray, Meander River, Fort Vermilion, Edmonton and La Crete; and on the lower north shore of the St. Lawrence River – in tiny fishing and hunting villages that were snowed in most of the year – La Tabatiere, Mutton Bay, and Harrington Harbour. My way of getting around was always by ski-do, helicopter, or boat and I enjoyed the north skies and the northern lights. Once, my ski-do went over a cliff while I was driving it, we were separated as I tumbled down, but at the bottom I met up with it again, in a bumpy way. I wasn’t injured because the snow was so soft. And once I ski-doed over a fence into a skating rink! The snow was piled so high and there was a blizzard so I couldn’t really see. I had to leave my ski-do there and walk home during the “white-out.” It was very hard to know which direction I was headed – everything was swirling whiteness. I had to feel for the track with my hands at some parts of my trek, but I made it home. The next morning, my ski-do mysteriously appeared outside my back door. I don’t know who brought it back. Maybe it found its own way! I also went through the ice on the river, but that’s another story. Now I live on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. The sea was always a part of my life when I was growing up in England, and I have found it again. I’m very happy to be here. My research and writing have led me to very interesting people and places and books. I love to read and my favourite books when I was growing up were “The Wind in the Willows,” “Oliver Twist,” and scary comic books about monsters and aliens. I sometimes revisit my favourite childhood books, and I still enjoy them, today.
Here’s a riddle one of my young readers made up and sent to me. Do you know the answer? I bore and amuse. I can be big or small, skinny or tall. I can be scary, funny, sad or mysterious. Look inside me and gain some knowledge. What am I?