Just about anything can set me off ranting about the difference between Canada and England. Buying a pair of running shoes on a rainy night in Montreal is no exception. It's about 6.30pm and the young guy who had the misfortune of assisting me in the sports store had every reason to be fed up. Middle-aged woman who doesn't know her own mind or her Canadian shoe size is not likely to be your most interesting customer of the day. In England you are just waiting for the bored 20-something to give you the sullen service you have come to expect. That's when they've stopped talking to their mate long enough to pay you any attention. But this is Canada and even though I've been here for over two years I cannot get used to how good the service industry is. Nothing could have been too much trouble for this assistant as he disappeared into the store and returned with a half-price pair of running shoes which he had searched out in their specials section. In England you would be lucky if the assistant made eye contact. Why does it happen? I cannot believe all the stores in Canada have boot-camps where they drill into their young staff that they must be polite. They just are. I think it is something to do with Canadians being more comfortable in their own skin. They genuinely want to help you. Even young people who work in sports stores in the women's shoe section in the evenings.
"There are two things I love in life - travel and opera. Which is probably why I write a blog on each of those subjects. I'm a filmmaker, former BBC journalist, cottage dweller, gardener and cat lover. I make documentaries, profile videos of individuals and companies as well as trailers for productions and festivals. Check out my other blog Diva Films: My life as an operatic filmmaker and my website annekostalas.com. Follow @viewfromalake on instagram and twitter."