I hope this e-mail finds you well. The weather here is quite agreeable. Canadians, as a people, are very much like we Brits: cautiously friendly and obsessed with real estate.
You know how much I like motoring (it was me who insisted we drive away from the wedding in an Aston Martin Volante). Well, it's our first visit here and the Duchess of Cambridge and I are determined to immerse ourselves in the culture - and the best way to do that is to see the country coast-to-coast by automobile. In fact, I am writing you this from the Trans-Canada Highway.
Don't worry I'm not texting behind the wheel, Kate's driving (women's lib you know). I will report back shortly.
After two days' travel we've made our first three discoveries. 1) Timbits. 2) "Double-double" (it's a beverage, not a depraved act) 3) Canadian drivers drive on the right side of the road! God Bless the Commonwealth! Life is a highway, the Canadian poet Tom Cochrane once said. True words, dear Harry, and we shall live them.
My darling sister, if, on a future date, you find yourself a newlywed and your husband expresses an interest in "getting all Kerouac on Canada's ass" and then quotes an obscure colonial poet named Tim Cockburn - be very careful how you answer.
P.S. Now that Prime Minister Harper has put down the Canadian postal strike I will send you a box of Timbits.
What does it mean when a person slows down next to you, lowers their window, shrieks expletives and then roars away? In Canada, it means you were driving the speed limit.
We are currently motoring through Quebec and all the signs are "en Francais." Confusing. I thought Prince Philip said we conquered these people in 1759.
Kate has taken to eating a great deal of something called poutine. It's not what you think.
Have been feeling a tad strange.
The other day at Yorkton, "Saskatchewan," I stepped out of our car at a Petro-Canada in my Erdem Moralioglu form-fitting black floral lace dress and no one even noticed.
Yesterday, I told a waiter that the Edmonton Oilers were crazy for selecting defenceman David Musil in the second round. The problem? I don't know what Edmonton, the Oilers, or a defenceman is.
This morning, the Duchess of Cambridge and I participated in a time-honoured Canadian tradition. It's called yelling at farmers.
Here's how it works: one is motoring along a country road and suddenly one finds oneself stuck behind a line of 20 or 30 cars all of which are stuck behind a tractor or thrashing machine that is being driven by a sunburned farmer wearing a baseball hat. Despite the speed limit being 80 km/h, the tractor never exceeds a speed of 30 km/h and, since the roads are so windy, passing him is difficult. Hours go by and finally, when one has a chance to pass, one is so vexed one hurls abuse at the poor farmer who by this time has become inured to the verbal assault.
You would have been proud. When our turn came Kate screamed some awful things. I'm a little concerned about her. The other day she asked me to get her a "pack of Player's Light and two-four of Kokanee."
A local resident explained the preponderance of "Tim Hortons" restaurants along Canada's highways. Apparently, Tim Horton was a member of a 1920s art collective known as the Original Six. He specialized in expressing the northern landscape's terra nullius by crafting sculptures from sugar and cake dough.
Life on the road is taking its toll on Kate. Her temper is frayed. Canadians are constantly asking her about her sister. "All day long, all I hear is how great Pippa is at this or chaps banging on about how wonderful Pippa's backside looks," she said the last time she was asked. "Pippa! Pippa! Pippa!"
By the way, how is Pippa?
Some casual observations:
- Turn signals are optional in Canada. When someone wants to change lanes he just jerks his car abruptly into the desired lane and everyone makes way because Canadians are such skilled motorists.
- Canadians value their transportation infrastructure. Virtually every highway is being repaired. Ideally the same stretch of highway is repaired every summer.
This country rocks! Will and I (well, just "I" actually) got royally hammered at Kelsey's in Burnaby last night. Will was like, "I'm going to be King." And I was like, "Yeah, well you're the designated driver tonight, dawg, because Will-I-am is doing some shooters!"
I'm thinking I might spend the winter in Whistler, working at a hotel and snowboarding. You got to get out here, sis! By the way, every one in Canada wants to know how your ass is. Can you put up a status report on Facebook?
We've made Vancouver - our journey's end. It has been a memorable experience though not without its price. Experts tell us Kate suffered a mild mood swing triggered by Timbit-induced sugar levels five times the normal limit and exposure to Canadian culture. It's called being a hoser.
It's curable. She's to change outfits at least three times a day and is being given Smythe, Issa, Prada and L.K. Bennett shoes. She should be back to normal shortly.
I must say, that while we enjoyed driving across Canada, I think from now on we'll be taking air transport. Given our status, it's best to remain above things.
Follow Andrew Clark on Twitter: @aclarkcomedy