As we approach the end of October, our Albertan autumn has been stuttering into a frozen winter. Temperatures continue to fluctuate wildly as though the two seasons are having a tug of war. It was -13c this morning, but +20c is forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday.
In Ralston Halloween is seen as the traditional seasonal watershed. In 2006 there was snow on the ground when the children went out trick or treating, and last year our first dump arrived not long into November.
As the 31st approaches, all around the village Halloween decorations have been appearing in gardens. Even the tedious task of clearing up the leaves has been livened up with these jolly bin bags which have popped up outside a few houses.
Of course, the best part about the Canadians love affair with Halloween is that it delays the arrival of Christmas stock in the stores. Until November there is an all out sales push for costumes, inflatable ghosts, pumpkins and ghoulish trinkets and we are spared being bombarded with Christmas songs for a little longer than we would in the UK!
Away from the festive preparations in the village I am continuing to make discoveries in Medicine Hat. Last weekend I went on a girlie shopping trip and at lunchtime I was introduced to the fantastic Damon Lane's Tea Room.
Tucked away on a side street in town and occupying what used to be a house, it is a little gem! Inside you can feast on a wonderful homemade lunch and behind the tea room is a maze of inter-connecting rooms which house the gift shop. Yet another great spot I've found for lunch which Jim will have to be introduced to!
On that subject I might be forced to have a few more girlie lunches in the next couple of months. Jim is on standby to be detached to the British Army Training Unit in Kenya. He is likely to be heading there in early November and returning for Christmas and we are anticipating no more than 7 days notice for his departure.
However an extended African winter holiday really does not compare to the six month detachment to Afghanistan that a lot of army wives are having to cope with at the moment, so I can't complain.