For Brit expats or anglophiles, check out the British Shop – amazing how time, distance and non-accessibility can wildly exaggerate the allure of what were every day British supermarket products. The shop was jam-packed with seemingly normal people drooling over Fruit Pastilles in a box; Hula hoops, Monster munch;raspberry ruffle bars; MacVities dark chocolate biscuits and of course love it or hate it, Marmite. And they had strawberry, lemon and toffee bonbons. A quick aside about the hazards of these delicious chewy flavoured toffee coated in various flavoured powders. I adored – in particuar – toffee bonbons but since experiencing a “near-death” experience in a cinema a few years ago whilst stuffing my face with these. I never touch em these days. I was cramming these into my mouth – two at a time and doing the usual incisoring/sucking off the powder before I chewed them – NICE eh!, when I must have sniffed and ended up “inhaling” the powder. Oh God, I literally ran down the aisle retching/gasping for breath, like a drowning person coming up for air. I think I did it a couple of times driving too; again cramming lemon bonbons like a woman possessed. However one of the great pieces of advice given to me by my Mother was “Don’t panic (ha ha); breathe in through your nose and push the breath out through your mouth”. Now I don’t know that the Red Cross Society would necessarily support these actions, but with me (cos I’m a drama queen), this is probably more about calming down and relaxing than clearing any blockages!! So back to Niagara-on-The-Lake , we stayed again at the “Oban Inn and Spa” – Jesus, this will set you back a bit especially if like me – Stoopid – you let them arrange the theatre for you as part of a package. We stayed there with friends four years ago and it was amazing then with a wonderful and unexpectedly “arty” breakfast. We didn’t use the Spa facilities but liked the spa ambience of the place – wall to wall scented oil smell, the ubiquitos whale and bird-song “musak” and the incessant badder-teasing sound of water fountains. The bedroom was as luxurious as I remembered but the breakfast I’d been looking forward to so much sucked. To say it was a “Best Western/Comfort Hotel style d.i.y affair – a very poor continental buffet with the only protein being a bowl full of rather sad looking boiled eggs – would be an insult to these hotel chains! Next time we are staying at a bed and breakfast at a third of the cost. If you are “into” British style pubs, “The Olde Angel Inn” – http://www.angel-inn.com/ is the business; every imaginable ale served including to my husband’s delight “old speckled hen”; live music, and a wonderful old world charm, with the ceiling beams; slightly scruffy “pub furniture’ and spackled ceiling effect I felt like I was at home in the UK. And finally, Shawfest itself: This festival was started in 1962: QUOTE ” by Niagara-area lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty. During the summer, Mr Doherty organized eight weekend performances of Don Juan in Hell and Candida by Bernard Shaw under the title “Salute to Shaw“. For this event, the Assembly Room in the historic Court House on Queen Street was converted into a small theatre” It has evolved over the years as a non-profit organization producing and show-casing the work of George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) and his contemporary playwrights. Hence us choosing “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde. I didn’t realise that Oscar Wilde had been SO persecuted for his homosexuality and that he had died (age 46) of cerebral meningitis in 1900 penniless and in a cheap Paris hotel. Accused of homosexuality in 1895 he was arrested and tried for gross indecency. He was sentenced to two years hard labor for the crime of sodomy. Upon his release in 1897, he wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. He spent the rest of his life wandering Europe, staying with friends and living in cheap hotels. WOW! The play itself which has twice been made into a film. First in 1947, starring Paulette Goddard and Michael Wilding, and then in 1999 – starring Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver. Absolutely faultless; Timeless, clever and witty! Over and Out Terracotta Warriors hit the ROM Food and Wine Pairing Niagara-on-the-Lake The PATH to New York .