Monday, May 12, 2008


It's sunny and warm again here today, not as hot as last week but still quite nice.

It hasn't been that busy a morning today. Yesterday, we had 170 people checking out, which made for a busy morning of check-outs for me and trying to get laundry done. I was wading through sheets. This morning, there was only 26 check-outs. I was able to take time to feed the ducks - there's 3 mallard ducks, 2 males and 1 female, that have been coming by the hostel everyday for the past couple of weeks. I'm told they come every year. They usually stop out at the back door of the kitchen (they come in shifts lately - only one or two at a time, but several times a day) where Gail, our chef, will give them some bits of bread. When Gail's not in, they wander up toward the main doors, where I can spy them. The other day they got muesli, today it was cornflakes. The female's quite accustomed to people; she had no fear of waddling right up to me.

The nationality of our guests goes in phases. For a few weeks, the coach groups were either French or German people. Then we got some Swedish groups, and another French. In the last week, the Americans and Canadians have started to appear, first as a trickle and now in droves. We had a Haggis Tours group of them the other night - a nicely behaved group, I should mention, if you remember my previous experiences with those groups.

The odd thing to me is how few of the Americans and Canadians realize that I'm from Canada. I don't think my pronounciation has changed that much - it's more intonation of speech, changing to the rhythm that people speak with in the UK, and using the vocabulary. It's enough of a difference that most North Americans don't pick up on my accent unless they talk to me for a while - longer than the usual check-in conversation. I have my work voice, I guess, just like I have a telephone voice, and it's those voices that have changed. If the conversation gets more informal, then I slip back into my old speech and the guests start to clue in to my origins.

Of course, no one Scottish ever mistakes me for Scottish - they might wonder where I'm from, but they usually peg it down to me being a native English speaker, so from a former British colony.

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