Friday, 26 December 2008

New News

Incoming tomorrow more news from us, we are well and happy and have rocked out once in our dressing gowns. We're living the dream!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Bad News and Human Kindness

So yesterday we're preparing to have dinner and I get called down to turn the oven on as it's a bugger to get going. Guess what happens? Indeed, the damn thing won't start at all (the start button's broken) and even rebooting the cooker under the instructions of some repair guy had no effect.

Now the rest of it works, but no oven, and the first opportunity to get it year! So initial thoughts were unsafe for human consumption, like the turkey would have been I guess. So we review our options:

1: Buy new cooker, the cooker we have is a good one, if a bit old, so I was talked out of purchasing a shiny new toy.
2: Get the thing fixed in the New Year and live with it until then. Happy bloody Christmas :P
3: Go to the mountains and forget about it until after Christmas, this may not be possible depending on my job.
4: Ask ze Germans fur ze help. Bingo!!!!!!!!

So I rang our neighbours, John and Sonja (it's -25 and I ain't walking over) to ask for any help they could provide. And so we have the use of their entire kitchen for Christmas Day as they're off to John's brother's for the day. Believe it or not, I'm a sucker for the generosity of some people and it's really cool that we have people like this around us. To be honest, their whole family are really generous - her brother Tony has given me a lift from the bus station a number of times, very nice of him, especially when you consider he's the main bus inspector :)

So while I'm sure we will be posting again before Christmas we wish you all well, and hope you enjoy the Christms shopping. Finished mine today woohoo!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

2009 will be a social year.............

So we are now takings bookings for visitors for next year and it's looking good already. We have My brother Paul interested in an early one with some skiing probably.

Then most of Jacqui`s nearest and dearest interested in the spring and summer, probably squeeze them in between May and August. That`s between two and four visits with 1-2 Braby`s per visit.

The rest of you should get your orders in pdq, I`m looking at you Miss E Miller :)

So a lot of lovely visitors to look forward to in our near future.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Finally it's started. Here's the current view out my office window.

By the way I forgot to say that they had a reorganisation of office space in September and I was finally given an office with a window. Ok, the view's not all that but at least there's daylight. Also the building opposite is something military, so occasionally there's lots of young men in uniform to watch.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

No snow

We'll, we've had a little bit - some yesterday and some a week ago but nothing to get excited about as it disappeared pretty quickly. It's been fairly cold, but is still getting above zero during the day. On the plus side, Richard's delighted, as now he's achieved part time status, he'll once again be on snow clearing duty throughout the winter. Also, we're not getting our tyres changed to winter ones until next Wednesday so if it can just hold out a little longer, that'll be great.

A step nearer

This week we completed the first stage of our bid for residency. The Govenment of Alberta has granted me 'Provincial Nominee' status which means that our residency application to the Government of Canada will fast track our applecation when we submit it so it should take only 6-18 months instead of 4-5 years. We've just sent off to Norfolk Constabulary for our police checks and then when they come back we can send off the application. Residency means we can stay here indefinitely without needing work permits, but we won't be able to vote. We'll have to apply for citizenship for that.

And yet another birthday

To celebrate 36 years of me being on this fair planet, we went for afternoon tea to the Fairmont MacDonald last Saturday. This hotel is one of the poshest and oldest in Edmonton but in the 80s was within a whisker of getting knocked down and replaced by a multi-storey car park. Luckily, the local historical group got into action and saved it and so it is still here to serve us afternoon tea on this historic day.

After various savouries, pastries, scones and an excellent cup of tea, we got a tour of the hotel including the penthouse suite where Elisabeth II stayed in 19??. It had a lot of stairs - I doubt she could stay there now. However, apparently they have quite a lot of movie stars staying there now. Presumably ones who are more agile than an octogenarion monarch.

...und Herzlichen Gluckwunsch zum dienen Geburtstag, Tanja

I just wanted to wish my great friend Tanja, from Cologne, a very happy birthday too. I'm sorry I'm a month late, but I hope you had a great day and I'm glad you had a good trip to England and were able to meet up with Carolyn.

Herzlichen Gluckwunsch zum dienen Geburtstag, Horst

We're still getting on well with our neighbours over the road - John and Sonja. So much so that we got invited to Sonja's dad's birthday party - same place we went to for New Year. Once again, lots of beer, loompah music, dancing, bratwust and sauerkraut. Richard was even persuaded to join in with the greek dance, but sat the rest of them out. Happy birthday Horst.

It has finally happened

Don't expect to get much out of Richard for the next few months. He's finally got his big TV. He also bought a blue ray player, so we're getting the full cinematic experience in our basement these days. We just need to drob a bit more popcorn and soda on the floor to make it really sticky and authentic.

Moving House, Alberta Style

Got stuck behind this on the way to Drayton Valley...

England Week 2

The second week was spent with my family, and Mum and Dad generously chauffered us around that week. First a trip to Kent to see my Grandparents and then a day with Carolyn in London. Richard met up with Elaine, while Carolyn and I went to Kew Gardens after a delicious but rather garlicky lunch in Carluccio's. We all then met up in the evening and went to see 'The 39 Steps' in the West End. Highly recommend it - it was hilarious.

After that, it was off to Coventry for a couple of days with Elisabeth and Paul. As North Americans visiting the old country, we decided to get some history and had a great day out at War-wick (be sure to pronounce both w's) Castle. Now Taussauds runs it, it seems much more commercialised that when I was last there about twelve years ago, but still a great day out. On our last evening we went out for a proper pub meal - pie and chips. Mmm.

First week in England

Although it was a couple of month's back, I feel I need to write a bit more about our trip to England with a few photographs. We had a wonderful vacation, travelling round seeing as many people as possible and many thanks to all those who gave us a bed, cooked meals for us, chauffered us round etc.

We had our first day in High Wycombe with Jacqui and Duncan et al, who kindly met us at the airport and gave us a bed for the night. Arriving at 10am which was 3am for us, we've now established that the best cure for jet lag is to spend the day with four under ten-year olds as they will keep you awake until late in the day. You then go to sleep and wake up in English time.

From there we spent the week in Carleton Rode with Richard's parents and caught up with most of our friends in Naarch. I spent an afternoon at good old Norfolk County Council catching up with ex-colleagues and telling them how great it is in Canada (before I knew about the Drayton Valley Disaster, ironically). I also spent a day with Ann - a visit to the newly created Cromer Zoo and then fish and chips from Mary Jane's on Cromer Pier. And it didn't rain. Perfect. Richard and I even managed a day out on our own, with no socializing. We went to Wells and then worked our way round the coast to west Norfolk and wandered round Sandringham gardens as we've never been there before.

Cromer and Ann. Note no rain

Sandring-ham. Rain.

The weekend was then spent in Suffolk for Richard's Dad's 60th birthday. Alan thought he was going away for a romantic weekend with Sue. Little did he know that the whole family was coming along too. Still, he didn't seem too disappointed. Well done to Jacqui and Elaine for all their hard work organising it, keeping it a surprise, and even tracing a couple of Alan's old school friends to join him for dinner on the Saturday night.

The birthday boy holding court to his entourage at lunch on Saturday

The cake, made by Julie, of Alan's market stall.

Reason 2: Play

In a bid by Richard to get us to do more stuff together, and resignation by me on the principal of "if you can't beat 'em join 'em", Richard has introduced me to the wonderful World of Warcraft. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is a fantasy computer game where you take on a character such as a warrior or a paladin or a hunter, and go around completing quests. You play it online, so there are thousands of other people playing at the same time and it turns out to be great fun and highly addictive. I have two, suprisingly busty, characters (and as you can see, I've mastered the intricacies of the 'print screen' command):

Tiramisoo, my level 28 human rogue. She's a good girl.

Zalida, my level 61 undead mage. She's a bad girl with big shoulders and no knees.

I never thought I'd see the day when it would be Richard telling me to get off the %$?&@*# computer and do the washing up/go shopping/come to bed. Revenge is sweet!

Reason 1: Work

While we were back in the UK, one of my work projects went south. Items were missed from the Drayton Valley contract which meant that it was going to cost the client more money, and which he was understandably unhappy. This was partly my fault and partly due to a lack of input from others. I therefore spent a long few weeks sorting it all out, appeasing the client and making sure there were no more surprises. Work-wise, the Canadian honeymoon is definitely over! However, it's just about all sorted now and I'm moving on to other projects so I'm starting to enjoy work again.

One of the new projects I'm working on is the North West Anthony Henday Drive which is a section of the northern ring road around Edmonton which goes from the Yellowhead Trail at 9 o'clock to Manning Drive at about 1 o'clock. Unlike the Norwich Northern Distributor Road which is still in the paper stage, this is being built over the next three years. It's a DBFO (Design, build, finance, operate) project which means that the Contractor is designing it as well as building it. ISL is representing the client (Alberta Transportation) and doing all the checking of the designs to make sure they are compatible with its technical standards. This means that we are receiving vast amounts of documentation each week and have to turn it around in three days. M y role is the document controller - I have to log everything in and out and for this I am in the process of building a database.

Not sound very technical and worthy of a PEng? Well I'm also doing some of the reviewing, the cost control and for the last couple of weeks I've been replacing the site inspector who is away on vacation. This means I got to off road! I was given a truck (this is redneck Alberta after all - no landrovers here) and I drove around the site, observing what was going on. As it's all still at the earthworks stage it makes fun driving, although it's quite hairaising as there's a lot of big plant around so you have to keep your eyes open. Unfortunately, Dennis back now from Mexico so I've had to give the truck back. It's back to the office for me.

I'm not dead either

Contrary to rumours about patios and quick lime, I am very much still alive. I've just been very lax about updating the blog recently and for that I apologise but plead two excuses....

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Oww Poor Richard

So I've played my first football match of the year, this momentous event happened last week and true to form I proceeded to remove the skin from my elbow and knee and leave it spread liberally across the floor. I was helped by Steve the Irish guy with a judicious shove in the back, or maybe I'm just clumsy and old, who can tell :)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Go Ian!!

As a bloke I would like to congratulate Ian on getting Lorna pregnant, and wish him well with all the complaining and whining he's going to get over the following years. Just remember ladies pregnancy not easy on blokes either.



Dirty slacker husband

And the date of the 20th of October was chosen as a feast day and there was much rejoicing and the world was a better place.
BF 1v2-12

Ok so I've been in work for all of 4 months now and now I'm going down to 20 hours per week.So let's try and answer some of the big questions here.
1: What's all that about
1a: How did I wangle that.
2: When's the divorce

1: I've recently come to the end of my probation period with Focus and they have said they're happy with me and want me to stay on. While we were on holiday Jacqui and I talked a lot about what we wanted and what would be good for us. We agreed that it was better for us when I wasn't working and that we would like to go back to that situation where I was doing all the stuff that made our lives better when we were both at home.

So I went to Focus when I got back and said all this to my boss, fully expecting to be leaving work that week or very soon after. Then the buggers go and offer me a part-time role!!! This suits us really well, an ideal situation we think, so we've sorted out the details and we're both really positive about what this means for us.

1a: It's Jacqui who has the work permit and if she leaves work we get deported.

2: Hopefully never he says, shamelessly fishing for brownie points.

So there you have it I am now both working and a slacker and we'll see how it all works out.



So if we're not dead what have we been doing?

Okay we may have slipped a smidgen in updating the blog but we're both still functioning and we saw a large chunk of you on our fairly recent trip across the pond. And a very nice trip back to blighty it was, very cool seeing friends and family and my dad's 60th birthday was a really nice focal point for the whole thing.

So in summary since the end of August we have:

Finished planning our trip to England
Been to England
Travelled Back to Canada
Recovered from exhausting trip to England.

Since we've been back we've been to our first Canadian Football game (free executive tickets woohoo:), I've been working down in Calgary for a bit and Jacqui's been working her hands raw catching up with the surprise mountain of work at ISL.

Last Friday was a welcome rest for both of us, Jacqui and a dozen or so other harpies went to see Canadians with questionable English accents assault Pride and Prejudice. And she said it was good fun and well worth doing. While I made my excuses and went out with John and Ian for drinks and the most expensive steak meal I've ever had, and it was truly wonderful. The restaurant's in an old bank in downtown Edmonton, we were in the normal seats but we did see a group of people eating in the privacy of the vault, pretty cool!

And that brings us neatly up to Thanksgiving weekend here in Canadia. Jacqui and I have been cleaning the house up as we have friends coming over tomorrow (Monday, it's a Bank Holiday here) for a turkey meal and quite probably one or two drinks, it's the Canadian way we feel obliged :)

Anyway Thanks for reading the fairly long post and we hope you're all lovely.


BF&WBF xxxxx

We're not dead yet

This is just a quick post and it's been seperated from the main post to make sure you guys see it.

We had a really nice time back in England and it was really great to see you all again.

Thankyou soo much for those of you we stayed with and special thanks to Jacky and Duncan and Jacqui's parents for ferrying us about, it made it all possible.

Friday, 29 August 2008

The wonderful world of work

So what does a PEng do all day? At the moment I'm very busy with tendering and projectmanging construction projects. Edmonton has four seasons: Nearly winter, winter, winter nearly over and construction season. During all but the latter, the gound is frozen and covered in snow so no work can be done in the field. Therefore, once summer comes it is all systems go. Designs need to be finalized and contracts let. I am currently working on three main projects:

Drayton Valley - 2008 Street Improvements

Drayton Valley is a town of 7,000 people located 2 hour's drive south west of Edmonton. I am project managing the design and construction of various improvements including a couple of junction improvements, regrading and surfacing a car park and a couple of road realignments. It is under construction at the moment and will stretch over this year and next year.

Highway 22/50 Avenue. The junction is being realigned as it is at a skew angle and is hard for large trucks to negotiate.

Leduc - Black Gold Drive

The City of Leduc is a bit closer to home. It is located half an hours drive south of Edmonton, just beyond the airport. Black Gold Drive is one of the residential arterial routes and is currently a two lane road. I am project managing the design and construction to widen it to 4 lanes. It is currently out to tender, and there will be some construction work this year, but most of it is next year. Fortunately, over here there is the opportunity to plan ahead so when the original road was built, enough land was set aside to widen it at a future date. Also the crriageway was built so that it falls to just one side instead of being a balanced road, so the new lanes can butt up to the old ones, without the need for regrading the existing road. Smart.

Black Gold Drive

City of Edmonton Rail Crossings

Last summer I carried out a study of all 37 level crossings on arterial routes within the city to determine which are most in need of bridges. Factors such as numbers of trains, volume of traffic, physical layout of the crossing, importance of the railway line etc. played a part in coming up with a list of priorities. I am currently working on a concept plan for the highest ranking crossing, doing a preliminary design and assessing the impact and issues.

50th Street Rail Crossing

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

It's hot, hot, hot

Having coped with -40 in the winter, summer came with a vengeance this week. It's been over 30 most days, and yesterday it officially reached 36 degrees C which is a bit warm. However in the little sun trap outside the back door, temperatures have reached +40. That's an 80 degree difference within the year. It also means we're getting some pretty spectacular storms each night.

Camping in Jasper

Had a fabulous weekend just gone. We brushed the dust off our tent and went camping at the Wapiti Campsite in Jasper with Ian and Lorna and Lorna's mum Linda who was over from England. We arrived Friday evening, and Ian had very kindly put our tent up for us as they arrived Thursday night. So all we had to do was unpack and work out how to get the double lilo, which had to be pumped up with an electric pump powered from the car, into the tent through the small tent door. With difficulty, that's how. We sat up chatting until midnight, toasting marshmallows over the firepit which is a present on almost every camping pitch in Canada.

BF making fire

Saturday morning we woke up early and there was a whole herd of (well, about 8) wapiti (elk) wandering round the site within feet of the tent. Close to, it's surprising how large they are - about the size of a cow. They hung around for ages, and didn't seem to mind the waking campers.

Early morning visitor

After breakfast we went for a marathan hike from Malign Lake to the Bald Hills. The walk was only 12km but the increase in elevation was 600m over the 6km there. However, as always, the view from the top was worth it and we all just about survived, although I am paying for it today.

All energized for the start of the walk. Yes, we were headed up those distance mountains.

The weary travellers make it to the top...

...and the view is fantastic

Saturday evening was a well earned shower, chilli for supper and then an early night due to exhaustion. Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then drove back to Edmonton, arriving abut 3pm.

Rock n August

Richard wandered down to the annual car show in St Albert with John. Here's a few pics but if you want to know more, he'll have to get off (or even onto) his backside and do a post for once (hinted Jacqueline).

A red car

A cream car

A silver car

An orange car

A blue car

Heritage Day

We went along to Heritage Day again this year where the numerous countries that contribute to Canada's population are represented by their cuisine, crafts and dance. We bought several tickets and exchanged them for various food items including my first cornish pastie in 16 months. One surprising thing is how many countries claim the kebab as a national dish. It may be spelt various different ways, but almost all the tents had some version of meat on a stick.

Bearded fool enjoying something that isn't a kebab.

Morris dancing at the England stand

The England stand also had a 'country garden' area for partaking of one's cream tea.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Flying Cows and Killer White Rabbits

A couple of weeks ago King Arthur started his quest for the holy grail in the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton and we went to see Spamalot. We'd seen the show in London a couple of years back with the excellent Tim Curry playing King Arthur, but unfortunately Richard was recovering from a bad cold so couldn't really get into it. This version was directed by Mike Nichols (of The Graduate, Primary Colours and Charlie Wilson's War fame) and starred an American cast. The dodgy English accents were hilarious with sentences generally starting in Somerset or London but racing across the Atlantic by the end of them. Richard was 100% fit this time so we had a great time.

On a rather bizarre note I got sent a reminder a few days before the show from Ticketmaster. It also had an 'if you enjoy this show you may also like...' section. However, as its recommendations for me were Swan Lake and Alice Cooper, it appears that they were based on venue rather than genre.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Work Work Glorious Work

I have come to the conclusion that work as a pastime is highly overated. Little does Jacqui know that every day I'm actually wandering off to complete my new hobby of bridge collecting. Admittedly the basement is getting full so she may notice sooner or later. Got a nice wooden one yesterday from down Leduc way....

And in other news I have now been employed for almost 2 months and not been fired yet. I have not been able to unleash what I loosely call my 'sense of humour' so that's probably why. They have enough trouble understanding me normally. I've managed the team for three weeks and that's been okay, now I may do something else, wish me luck on that. Look forward to seeing those of you who read this and even some of you that don't. Bye bye.

I'm now a Proper Engineer

I received a letter on Thursday from the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (equivalent of the Institution of Civil Engineers) to tell me that I can use the letters PEng after my name. It means that I am now licensed to practise engineering in Alberta, signing my own drawings and reports (and that I can now be sued if anything goes wrong). So with the letters CEng, MEng and PEng after my name, I'm going to need wider business cards.

Don't mention the war

At the start of July we had our neighbours John (Dutch), Sonja (German), Sonja's brother Tony (German too, suprisingly) and his partner Angie (also German). To make them feel at home, we fed them roast beef and yorkshire pudding.

After dinner we all went down to the basement to play with the wii. It's fantastic having the space for four people to play, and it's more fun watching them than the animation on the TV.
Tony, Sonja, Angie and Richard competing at Raging Rabids

Tony and Sonja going head to head in the tennis. Sonja to serve.


...we haven't been keeping the blog up to date. I blame the fact that Richard is now in full time employment. However, our news for July shall follow...

Monday, 30 June 2008

Going West

On Friday, I took my grandparents to Jasper – Richard wasn’t sure if he could get the afternoon off so suggested we go without him to ensure maximum time in the mountains. We got there for lunch – nice rolls from the Bear Paw Bakery – and then checked into our hotel.

In the afternoon I took them up Jasper Tramway (cable car) to admire the view. This is the third time I’ve been up there, but the first time on such a sunny day, so the view was amazing.

Supper was fish and chips, served in buckets at Evil Dave’s Grill, a great place to eat if you find yourself in Jasper.

On Saturday morning, I drove back then to Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake. We saw some wildlife on the way in the form of an elk/caribou/stag (big thing with antlers) and a couple of does. I also got stung on the neck by a @^%$!*# wasp. Canadian wildlife really is dangerous. Luckily no anaphylactic shock, but it really hurt.

The scenery was fantastic and Grandma and Grandad stayed awake for the whole journey – quite an achievements considering they generally keep nodding off at random times and even fell asleep in the middle of Live Free and Die Hard one of the evenings they were with us.

Maligne Lake

Maligne Canyon

I then left them there early afternoon to drive back to Edmonton. They phoned last night from Kamloops in BC to say that they had caught the Rocky Mountaineer Train fine Sunday morning and that it was fantastic. They then arrive in Vancouver tonight.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Weather is here, wish you were lovely...

We’re having a great time so far with my grandparents. Thursday I took the afternoon off and we had a stroll round St Albert (after Grandad had watched the Euro 2008 match at lunchtime). We then took them out for a genuine Alberta steak in the evening.

Friday I was also off work and it was a glorious day, so in the morning I took them for a drive around Edmonton, showing them where Richard and I work. We then went on the tourist historic street car which travels across High Level Bridge from Old Strathcona on the south side of the river to downtown on the north side of the river. It was a really nice trip with about 20 minutes of travel at a sedate pace in each direction. Here’s a few of photos.

In the afternoon, while Grandad was watching yet another football match, Grandma and I went shopping for plants for the garden, so that we could put her green fingers to use over the next few days.

Saturday was also beautiful weather. In the morning we took them for an all Canadian breakfast at Socrates Diner in St Albert and then strolled round the farmers market, sampling everything there was to sample. In the evening, Richard had to work, but the three of us went round our neighbours over the road, John and Sonja, for drinks. John comes from a Dutch family, so there was much commiserating/teasing about Holland’s earlier defeat to Russia (in Euro 2008 that is, in case those of you who don’t follow the football are trying to recall when Russia last invaded the Netherlands). Sonja, who is German, remained smug, but that may end later today or on Sunday. I left the grandparents with them and picked Richard up from work at 10pm. Then we went back for more drinks and stayed until 12.30am, sitting out in the garden.

Unfortunately the nice weather didn’t last and Sunday it poured all day, so we didn’t get out and about. However, our next door neighbours, Alf and Nel, came round for a cup of tea in the afternoon and got on well enough with my grandparents to invite them over for coffee yesterday morning.

Monday I was working all day, so Grandma and Grandad took the bus into Edmonton and strolled round downtown. They even got interviewed by a woman from the CBC (the equivalent of the BBC) about the issue of pan handlers. However, at point they hadn’t seen any, which was probably the wrong answer, so I’m not sure if they actually made it into the final cut on TV.

Yesterday evening we went out for an Italian meal to celebrate Grandma and Grandad’s 59th (wow 59 years!) wedding anniversary, and a belated celebration of our paltry two years of marriage (NB, the word paltry refers to the quantity and any implication that it refers to the quality is entirely coincidental).

Today and tomorrow I’m also working, but on Friday, I (and Richard if he can finish early) will be taking them to Jasper to see the Rockies. We’ll stay overnight there and show them round on Saturday. On Sunday, Grandma and Grandad then catch the Rocky Mountaineer Train for a spectacular two day trip through the Rockies to Vancouver. They then stay there three nights before flying back home.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

G Day

Well, my grandparents arrived ok although they gave me a few moments of panic at the airport. I got to the arrivals gate in good time, and eventually everyone from their plane started coming through and so I waited...and waited...and finally I was the only person left and there was no sign of them.

I was just in the process of looking for someone to ask if
a. they were actually on that plane, or
b. had fallen asleep and carried on to Vancouver
when they came out the doors. One of their bags had been misplaced, although fortunately they found it the minute Grandma had filled in the lost baggage form.

So I got them back to the house ok and they managed to stay awake until about 10pm (5am) and then went to bed. I've left them asleep this morning while I come into work, but I'll be back at lunchtime and I've got tomorrow off too to show them around.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Work, Grandparents and Flooding

I'm feeling the burn, I've been here for a week now and apart from minor headaches due to the amount of info I'm trying to assimilate and my bosses assertions that he'll fire me if it doesn't work out, I'm starting to get into it. Ironically the stuff I used to hate most (documentation) is pretty much all I'm doing and I'm quite enjoying it. Jacqui's grandparents come over today and we have them for 10 days, it'll be nice to have visitors again. And hopefully I'll get to go across to the mountains with them next Friday, work permitting.

Oh and by the way we had big rain yesterday, flooding up to 1 metre in some bits of St Albert, an inch INSIDE Superstore which was funny and the water up to peoples door handles in the carpark. Took me two and a half hours to get home compared to the normal 40 min.... Soo many Albertans with dead cars, I think a mixture of bad maintenance ( they don't have MOTs out here if it moves they can drive it on the roads) and no experience driving in water did not help. Made me smile though :)

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Blow That for a Game of Monkeys

Well if that's what that Canadian work's like I'm off to hide under my bed until it goes away.

I'll be going back tomorrow to make sure of course, it really can't be that bad :)

First day at work

Well, I dropped Richard off this morning, gave him his packed lunch, wiped his nose and told him to play nicely with the other children, so we'll see how he gets on.

Hi Ho Hi Ho

and indeed off to work I go. Bad night's sleep, feeling surly and it's like being back at NU.

Monday, 9 June 2008

We have achieved a social life and it only took a year.

Well that was a good weekend. Late last week we went and whacked some golf balls around at the local driving range with John the neighbour which was good stress relief. Had a social with John and Sonia and a couple of their friends, all very civilised. Then a meal with Ian and Lorna on Saturday which was also groovy, just sitting and chatting with English people and with English points of reference is a requirement.

Then on Sunday Jacqui had a full day of church and concerts while I went to watch some football with ze Germans, and I have to say it was good fun, watching football with other people is soo much better whatever their ancestry I guess. Now it's time to continue reading up in preparation for work, my Time Management is improving daily........this may be untrue.

Signing off with only one and a half days of freedom remaining, BF.

P.S. We saw Indiana Jones last Tuesday......shudder.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Hello England!

Hi you crazy Englanders, greetings from Canadia.

Today is our second wedding anniversary, a momentous day indeed, and what are we doing to celebrate it........we're off to see Indiana Jones. We know how to live!

I have also accepted the job I was offered, so now I'm doing all the required reading, and there's lots of it. One thing this does mean, the wages for Big TV scandal is back on the table, and negotiations now continue apace. Wish me luck, we need an 80 inch tv :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Crapsticks and Burglary

The worst has happened, I've been offered worthwhile and probably acceptable employment. Any ideas on how to escape this most horrid of predicaments should be sent to me on the back of a one-way plane ticket.

On a more stable note the job looks challenging and uses some different as well as other more familiar chunks of technology, and my prospective manager wants me to be certified within the year. Insert joke as required.

I will almost certainly accept this role, barring anything unnatural in the offer docs. Farewell freedom, I knew you only too well.

Friday, 23 May 2008

One year gone by

It's exactly one year, give or take an hour or two, since we landed at Edmonton International Airport to begin our Canadian Adventure. And I have to say that we are still having a great time. There are the odd moments of homesickness, and missing friends and family, but generally the time has flown by as we enjoy life out here. It has been all we hoped it would be and more. Here's to the next year.

Mr Beckham does his 75 minutes exactly

Last week we went with Ian and Steve to a football match at the Commonwealth Stadium. LA Galaxy were playing the Vancouver Whitecaps at an exhibition match. The big hype was that David Beckham was playing for LA Galaxy and because of that (or despite of it) 39,000 people turned up.

The crowd banter/abuse of an english match was missing. In the first half there was polite clapping, interspersed with two drunk Canadian lads loudly singing the praises of Man United (I think they'd turned up at the wrong match) but by the second half the crowd had mastered the art of the mexican wave and so things improved a bit.

The football itself wasn't all that, and I have to say that LA Galaxy were pretty poor despite having Mr Beckham, and Ruud Gullit (without the dreadlocks) as coach, and they lost 1-2. David Beckham was contracted to play at least 75 minutes, and was substituted at 75:01. He could have shown willing and stayed on for a few more seconds.

I realise the above all sounds very negative, but it was actually a fun evening out. In this desert of ice hockey, baseball and Canadian 'football', it provided some sustenance to the followers of the real thing. I quite enjoyed it too, and even spotted when one of the players was off side. Richard was quite proud of me.

As you can see clearly, David Beckham is no. 23, the left most one in blue.

Richard, Steve and Ian and a few thousand other people

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Wii Fool

Today I was up bright and early to be at the local supermarket to purchase one of the two Wii Fit thingies they got in. I did not know they were only getting two and I get the feeling that they have a bunch of them out back saved for staff, but either way I have one!

So after unpacking and attaching said wii balance thing to the console I proceeded to have a 30 min workout trying out all the exercises, some were harder that others and one I just could not complete. And I have to say it seems pretty cool, it can handle my weight and I think that Jacqui and I will get a chunk of use out of it.

By the way BEWARE, it gives you a fitness age compared to your actual age, this can be traumatic, you have been warned :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Too much walking

I had a brilliant idea today, Jacqui dropped me at the gym, I did gym stuff then I decided to walk home instead of catching the bus. This is a great idea for exercise, not soo good for my feet, now I have blisters and a need for a damn good shower.

Hot fool signing off.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Lovely May Bank Holiday

It's lovely here at the moment and Jacqui's been out clearing up the garden in time for the summer. In the space of a week everything's gone green, shockingly amazingly green in no time at all. Both of us were surprised by the speed at which the green appeared is the point you should take away from this paragraph.

So Jacqui raked and I helped bag up the leaves from last autumn, 9 bags in total, not a bad haul. And now the push has begun to varnish up our garden furniture (second coat) so we have summit to sit upon.

And my new addiction to homemade smoothies is fitting nicely into the upturn in the weather, the blender's getting a regular workout.

Anyway I better get off the computer and do something else, a domestic god's work is never done after all.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

And now we wait

So I've had my interviews for all three jobs and now I'm waiting for the results. I should find out by the end of next week if I'm going to get any of them. If not then I need to make some more decisions regarding my future.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Snapshot of a Fools Life

Hi guys, just a quick update on my life at the moment.

At the moment I are been mostly looking for gainful employment. Now getting any job is not difficult, getting one that I think I'll like and who likes me is. So the last couple of weeks I've had interviews for 3 companies, and 1 second interview. As I write this I am still in the frame for all three and should hear about two of them this week.

If I manage to avoid all three then I want to start out on my own, either contracting or doing some basic PC fixing around St. Albert, and if that's slow to begin with I am considering doing some volunteer work.

On a more social note we're off to watch the LA Galaxy (Beckham's Team) at the Commonwealth stadium tonight, so that should be fun.

P.S. We seem to be infested by baby squirrels, remind me to pick up some rat poison from the shop, can't have Jacqui slacking off oohing and ahhing :)

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Little Baby Squirrels

I went outside this afternoon to do some clearing of the back garden and got absolutely nothing done because we have three unbelievably cute baby squirrels camped out there. Here are some pics:

Ah, so sweet!