Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"Hi, did you hear about the Orca's yesterday?" She greeted me.
"No, didn't know they came through this way until January." I responded.
"I was real disappointed. Got a call from Terry who said they were in the channel, but by the time I got my binoculars they were gone."
"Could hear them blowing out in the channel. Pity we missed them."
We talked a little more about the Herring run when a whole pod of Killer whales would follow the Seals and Sea Lions feeding off the Salmon which were in turn feeding off the Herrings around February time.
"Apparently the sea round here turns red with 'em." She said enthusiastically.
"Really?" This has quite piqued my interest, and I shall be carrying a camera at all times.
Other news; we have an offer on our house in England, and hopefully a backup buyer if things go wrong. Didn't get the price we were hoping for, and Wife sounded really frazzled on the phone when we discussed it at 5am Pacific Time this morning. I shall be happy to get her back on Saturday evening. Hot chocolate, Cookies, Cuddles, and a good nights few sleep are my prescription. Everything is laid on, all she has to do is get on the right plane home.
That's funny; I'm already calling this place home.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This side of the pond is splendid,and I'm drinking it all in. Dog is spooking at every unfamiliar sight, smell and sound, but then that's nothing new. Off to see friends with a invitation for supper tonight (Taking Dog as they think he's super - if only they knew). The above photo was taken with my phone camera which has no zoom function, but it's really a phone so who cares? Just gives a flavour of the view from our apartment which is absolutely superb.
Landlady dropped by to give me the rundown on what the plumber did. Rent is due tomorrow, but that's all covered. Call from the Canadian equivalent of a Job centre, Supporting Employment Transitions. They had a message for wife, who is now okay to work over here without a work permit. Do they have a job for her? I hope so. I'd like it if they had a job for me, but then I need sponsorship to go down the 9 to 5 again. Not many people willing to do that at present. I live in hope.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Took a movie with the phone camera, only to find I haven't got a compatible format video converter loaded on my knackered old slaptop. Hi de ho, off to ZDnet I go. Got to be a format converter on their ever so helpful download site.
Another call from Royal bank of Canada to say they had a minor problem with paying the Telus bill for the land line, no account number. Went into town to run a few errands and went into the bank. I must say I'm seriously impressed with RBC's level of and speed service. The line from the 'Cheers' theme tune came into my head 'Where everybody knows your name'. Bloody hell, it feels good. I love this place. Just got to generate some income.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Maybe I need to try writing something totally different, just to break the spell. After a glass of wine. I'll try that.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
This isn't to say that there's anything calculating or cynical about what I say and do. I truly like our new neighbours. They are so refreshingly open and up front. Besides, I also like children, and look forward to the day when stepdaughters decide they want to raise the next generation. In which case I intend to be the most disreputable Grandfather figure possible, carrying them on my shoulders through the woods and frightening the wildlife. Taking them for rides on Motorbikes, hunting and fishing; stuff like that.
To enlarge; Californian neighbours were bringing small child trick or treating. We'd arranged this a couple of days ago, and I said I'd do something amusing. So a bowl filled with assorted candy was set aside by the back door with the glove puppet, and when the little girl arrived with two female bodyguards in tow, I went into the routine as follows;
Knock on door. I put on the glove puppet and poked it's head so it could be seen by the child (Who was wearing a kind of crocodile costume) into the glass pane of the rear door. Then I made it duck down before bringing it back into view, apparently shivering with fright. Then I opened the door slightly and made it look as if the puppet was answering the door. At the magic words "Trick or treat" the bowl of candy was proffered, a handful was taken and there was a little 'nk you' . I caught my neighbours eye through the part open dorway. She was obviously impressed that an Englishman had so quickly gotten into the spirit of things. Dix points I think.
Besides. I like the people round here, and such little touches are well worth the effort, even if it might look a little like a cynical and needlessly ingratiating point scoring exercise to an outsider. That little girl came to a strangers door and went away having been amused. Such things count for a lot with small children. A good friendly environment promotes good behaviour in future. Well that's the theory. It's better than locking the door and hiding with the lights out.
"Er, yes." I responded groggily as Mister Brain kicked at the inside of my skull demanding who the hell did I think I was, waking it up at this hour.
We spent the next half hour on Google chat updating each other on developments either side of the pond. Our old Saab is now sold and we have cancelled all the insurance etc. Letters requested from Insurance company to give record of clean driving licences for obtaining provincial BC driving licences. Wife's Social Insurance Number is now active and she can get a job without the tedious business of applying for a work permit at the US border. Old house has been discounted in price to see if we can attract any more potential buyers in the current flat UK housing market. The chinese water torture is over as the dribbling faucet has been replaced (Hooray!). Significant progress has been attained.
A little addition to the mornings good news exchange was that we have been invited to wander around posh Californian neighbours property during the winter (The views from their deck are superb, and there's a set of private steps to the beach) when they are back in California next week. Apparently the Sea Otters tear things up when there isn't a regular human presence. Our is dog especially welcome for that purpose. We can lunch on their deck overlooking the sea and everything. Might get cold, but we'll wrap up warm and drink lots of hot drinks.
Halloween tonight. Have been promised a 'scary' visit from a four year old. Glove puppet and bowl of candy is on standby. I'm not going to sit behind a closed door and grumble. A little old fashioned fun is in order, and if you can't do that - what's the point of living?
Friday, October 26, 2007
Any old how, lot to do today. Bills to pay, money to bank. If I can squeeze in a haircut this morning I'll be lucky.
Must get some extra candy in for Halloween. Just in case. The health fascists are saying 'no candy' and give out balloons etc instead. I think we'd be better off getting rid of these pundits rather than the trick or treat.
The tap still leaks by the way.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
If it isn't a real person - the call gets trashed. I'm sorry if this is uncommercial of me, but I don't buy stuff over the phone unless it's me dialling out to a recognised service. I think while wife is not here, I'll cut the ring numbers down to two and let whatever system it is talk to my answerphone instead, while I smirk quietly to myself.
The rate of return on this method of marketing must be so low that this is the only way it can be made to pay. Problem is, the only people who fall for this are the elderly and . The rest of us tell them to sod off.
It's the wrong project of course, but the 'funny' I'm supposed to be working on just isn't amusing right now. I need Wife to look at it and hear her laughing to be sure I'm wired in to the humorous thread, otherwise I tend to lose track.
To cap it all that blasted faucet is still dripping. Stuff it, I'm off out to pay some bills and get my hair cut. I can't hang around for others all day.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
A double rainbow of such vivid quality it could have been painted on the clouds. Pity my camera doesn't have the widescreen option and then I could have gotten the whole lot in a picture. Regrettably it was only a fleeting phenomenon, and I was so busy going 'wow' that I missed the best part of it.
Neighbours came over to help deal with our leaky faucet, but to no avail. The valve is on the way out and it needs a replacement. With the roto-rooter mans current performance it'll be past Christmas before it's fixed.
At the moment it's unseasonably warm. 14 to 16 Celsius. In Canada? In late October?
Minor problem with Internet connection. Shaw cable (Whose customer service is quite good over here) are coming out to check the signal strength. They are billing me for a 5meg connection, and are quite keen that I should stay their cusotmer. I'm good with that.
House price in UK has been cut by another 10K to see if it will sell at that price. Wife is currently up in Leeds with stepdaughters. I'm missing her and counting the days. Roll on a week on Sunday.
Have updated the blog to include a few newsfeeds from the UK broadsheet dailies and some interesting wildlife movies off YouTube. It will stop me getting bored while things are slowly rolling into place.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I am showered, clean, the bills have come in and they are half of what I anticipated. If only the dog would lick his arse a bit more quietly. Well, you can't have everything.
Monday, October 22, 2007
E-mail from pompous elder brother suggesting I get a 'McJob'. My response to that ends in 'off'. Those jobs never look good on your CV, and we aren't that desperate. The work I do for the Canadian Red Cross is opening doors, and people are much more open to newcomers out here. The cost of living is much lower than in the UK, so our money is going further, and we are living far better than we could back in soggy old England.
Talking of which, I have to book a flight to the UK for Mothers birthday. I'm looking forward to seeing her, but not pompous brother. If he doesn't come down off his high horse soon there's going to be an argument; one of those that estranges families. I don't particularly want that, but he is becoming a nuisance. I strongly suspect the influence of evil sister in law, who has her head so far up herself she only has to blink to do an instant colonoscopy.
Any old how, Wife is going to talk to estate agents about how best to sell our house in England and release the capital therein. We have a conference call booked for first thing tomorrow morning Pacific time, so it's an early night with a book and mug of hot chocolate for me. Got to be fresh for decision making.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
As we watched the plane take off, Wife saw me on the runways edge. She waved, I waved back with tears that she couldn't see. Yes, that's right, big tough looking curmudgeonly old me had tears in his eyes. "There goes my heart." I said as the wheels went up, my voice creaking a little with the emotion. The dog pulled me back to our minivan and we went back to our new home. Wife phoned from Vancouver International airport to say all was well less than fifteen minutes after we returned.
I'm not sure what the truth of the matter is; maybe Wife and I have been in such close proximity here in what is to this Englishman, a strange land, that I felt the parting more than I should. We've handled a lot in the past few weeks and rarely got on each others nerves, even though we've been virtually joined at the hip for all that time. An hour later I am feeling calmer, but will feel better when I get the phone call to say she is back at our old place in England in the company of our two reprobates.
It's funny, of late I've felt like I'm a puppet whose strings have been cut. Now here I am, metaphorically speaking, slumped in a corner, staring at my clumsy wooden body wondering what to do next, willing the splints and pins to move like they used to at the behest of my controlling strings. Perhaps I will go out and get some cookies to have with a mug of tea and read Bruce Cooks novel "Young Will" until I feel better. Then I will go fishing down in the cove to calm my spirit tomorrow. You never know, maybe I'll catch something.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Tomorrow my beloved wife flies back to England to see the kids, but tonight I am cooking an old family favourite - Beef stew. Recipe as follows;
A couple of pounds of stewing or marinading beef cubed
Bisto gravy powder (Do not use any other kind - tastes awful if you do)
Two cooking onions
You will need a large wok and large stewing pan
Slice carrots, dice onions and cut your beef into half inch cubes.
Coat beef cubes in gravy powder until lightly dusted.
Dry fry beef cubes in wok, constantly stirring until lightly browned (Don't use cooking oil or any other pan lubricant - ruins the flavour).
Dump carrots and onions into stewing pan.
When beef cubes are lightly browned (A little charring is permissible), add water to make a thin gravy. This will reduce, so don't worry if you think it's too 'wet'. Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
Take off heat and add carrots and onions.
Dump the lot into the stewing pan put on heat and bring to gentle boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat so that stew is barely simmering.
Leave on heat, stirring every five minutes or so as you read a book.
Continue for over an hour or so, or at least until gravy has become thickened and beef tender.
Take off heat.
Wait five minutes.
This is good old fashioned 'stick to your ribs' cooking which can be left to cool, portioned off into freezer containers, and reheated or stuck in a pie, used as a baked potato filling, whatever.
Enjoy, and thank God you are not a vegetarian.