In the 1960s my Aunt Kate emigrated to Alberta, Canada. Every other year she would send her daughters back to the UK to teach them what an English summer was like so they would understand why she'd left. This meant that every other year I had a playmate who was just my age - cousin Sarah - and for all that we grew up thousands of miles apart, we've always been close.
|Me and Sarah aged 5, 7, 9 and 11 with our sisters Virginia and Lucy, and Grandad|
|Aged 14. Ew.|
|Aged 17. Look! A new cousin. Helen|
|The prairies - bright, cold and flat.|
|Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad. For anyone who didn't think their early 20s was an ideal time to plough through 24 books of Homeric Greek, let's just say it ends badly for the maids and 12 nooses are about to be lowered|
The more milkybar buttons you pack in your case, the more Oh Henrys you can take home
|We overlapped for a couple of days with Sarah's boys Charlie and Joey, who were quick to learn we had jelly babies too|
|Sarah and her husband Tim enjoying a typical Canadian breakfast - coffee in the snow|
The best place to get a cup of tea in Canada is Tim Horton's, the ubiquitous doughnut store founded by a former hockey player. They do a steeped tea that is a good strength and means you don't have to faff on brewing your own tea and wondering where to put the soggy teabag. Why does NOBODY else offer this? The time saved allows you to put more effort into choosing from their massive array of doughnuts.
|You can also order a box of little doughnuts called Timbits, or "bits of Tim", which isn't very nice seeing as the poor man died in a car crash.|
|"Yeah I'll have a steeped tea and one of those things that looks like a glazed turd"|
|Look at the size of this scone, it's like a mountain!|
|Sticky cinnamon buns at the Bear Paw Cafe. This is what Canada excels at.|
|The Columbia Icefield at Jasper that feeds several glaciers. I didn't really understand how it works but I hope my small contribution helps keep them topped up|
|We got photobombed by a man on his way to mow down some former colleagues|
I was particularly pleased with my choice of the Paris-Brest cake and even more pleased to find the bakery has shared the recipe here. I swear I will make it one day.
|Smile all you like, girls. I'm not sharing.|
|An illustrated guide to our holiday eating by Helen Hancocks|