String and Paper

Well, we’ve been here almost a week, long enough to know what I miss from the Canadian house; what I should have brought or need to buy here.

This is a very well equipped holiday cottage, and as we’ve lived here many times before I was fairly sure I knew what to bring (an apron, my Aeropress coffee-maker, a thermos for coffee to take on our day trips) and what I would choose to buy here (a slow-cooker, bread pans, a small birdfeeder for the garden.) I was right about all that, except this time there was an apron hanging in the kitchen. The bread pans are heavy-duty disposables: they’ll go into the recycling when we leave at the end of February; the inexpensive slow-cooker will go to a charity shop, as will the bird feeder. Here’s what I didn’t foresee.

Twist-ties or bag clips, for the bags of lentils and peas, pasta and rice. There are a few bag clips here, some of which I bought in the spring, but not enough. String or skewers, for holding together stuffed chicken thighs. Or perhaps I can just buy a ball of food-quality string, and use it for both purposes…that would be the simplest solution. So far, that’s it. Except, perhaps, paper.

At home we both have printers, and printers generate paper that’s usually good on one side. We use it for printing again, anything that doesn’t need to be pristine, or for writing lists and notes. Here there is no printer (that in itself will be an interesting experiment, for someone whose work revolves around the written word) and therefore no paper generated. So paper – for grocery lists, freezer inventories, schedules and menus – is in short supply. I could, of course, go out and buy an inexpensive pad of paper. But we’re going to try to manage with what we have, just to see if we can.

There is no comparison between our two months here and the six-to-eight week camping road trips we made in the past, where everything had to fit in the back of a compact car. But it’s still an opportunity to see what we really use, versus what we use because we have it – or even more importantly, what we have and don’t use.

So what do I miss from the Canadian house? (Other than the cats?) Nothing. So far, nothing at all. My guess is the lack of a printer will eventually be an issue…but we’ll see.

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