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Trepid Archives

Exciteable descriptions of a new life living in "The Best Place on Earth". The new template is more basic, more classy, tidier... so totally not me! 

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Monday, May 30, 2005

4:37 p.m. - It all started with Niall's engagement

I have a dishwasher
and NOW we're allowed to wear SHORTS in the plant!

Hell really has frozen over somewhere!

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1:38 p.m. - Me not quite getting the idea of taking it easy

Let's start with my legs really hurt yesterday evening. Today my run
felt slow like I was throwing lead-weights around. Granted there was a
head wind. As last time I went along the river channel, (the poo-chute
as we locals call it) I cruised past the Tim Hortons Toasted Chicken Sub
sign and decided to extend my run to the 40 mins I did on Friday.

Problem is, when I got to 18 minutes I could see the end of the channel
pathway and the road bridge over the river and I thought, "Now I can
calibrate my pedometer because it will be easy to work out how far it is
to that bridge". SO I kept going... and going... and going. Turns out
the bridge wasn't that close after all. And what I had seen was the
carpark gate and the bridge was a whole 300 m beyond. I think cycling
has caused me to underestimate running distances.

I turned around after 23:30 mins and started back to the plant.
Fortunately the tail wind blew me back and I was at my desk with 15
minutes to get into some dry clothes before starting work again. The
pedometer said 6.33km. Multimap says 9.68km. I don't believe either.
Will measure it on the trail map tonight.

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9:02 a.m. - Domestic bliss

On Friday night I got home to find that someone had put a kitchen in the kitchen. What was a blank room is now filled with chunky wooden cabinets, an oven and OH YES a dishwasher. Nothing was bolted down though so I went about a bung-in-the-oven lasagna with vigour and did the dishes in the trailer – hopefully for the last time.

Saturday was a disappointing level of progress since parts had to be bought but Ed’s Guttering men came and built us some nice gutters. They’re aluminium and are extruded from the back of a trailer on site – so neat. I like their motto, “Our minds are in our gutters”. While they were on it I weeded the to-be-tomato-patch in the searing heat and vowed I’d get up early on Sunday.

Sunday was beautiful. I woke up at 6am and went out in to the garden to dig in the cool morning air. I crept out of the house so as not to wake Hubby but when I left the room, the power went off so the fire alarms blipped but it didn’t seem to stir him so I went about my digging on my own with just the birds, the stream and the breeze in the ponderosa pines. At 7 am, having dug the first and worst row, the power came back on so I went in to make me and hubby a cup of tea/coffee. It was really relaxing. Then pottered back outside to resume digging. By 7:45 it was time for shorts and a thinner tee.

At 9 am I’d finished digging the third row and after more tea, started planting tomatoes. By 10am I was on to Cranberry juice (tea too hot) preceeded by water so that I didn’t drink the Cranberry juice too quickly (all the excuses possible for a rest). If it seems like my digging and planting was taking a long time, it’s because it was interspersed with requests from Hubby to assist with moving furniture around the house. I never realized our couch was so heavy – and I dropped it on myself several times. It JUST squeezed up the stairs between the wall and the post like the two were built for eachother - but not for ease. We also moved the TV unit into the bedroom (which I HATE but I have no intention of carrying that up to the upper floor as that’s MY retreat area). Nor do I have any intention of ever moving that couch back downstairs. It will stay where it is until it’s knackered enough to just toss it off the balcony – or someone else is moving it.

By mid day I was trembling from too much digging in the sun and not enough to eat so I had lunch, planted two more tomato plants that desperately needed moving, then took a cool shower before the builder came back from his lunch.

In the afternoon I moved stuff upstairs from the basement – a nightstand for me to keep all my undies in until we can work out something more permanent upstairs – and finished the bathroom curtains. I did the laundry in my new washing machine and even cleaned the new toilet and shower! Then WE RAN THE DISHWASHER. We are so pleased with this new toy that hubby was wandering around the house LOOKING for things to put in the dishwasher. You know how men normally are – blind to anything that doesn’t fall into their hands with “dirty” written on it. Well, not yesterday – no man. He was finding cups that haven’t been used for weeks!

Our beautiful green room is looking somewhat like a student flat right now – a mattress on the floor, tv, gigantic speakers and that’s about it. After all that gardening and digging though, I’m feeling like my knees are too old to be a student. Pass me my cane.

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7:22 a.m. - Friday's birdie

Pretty picture

(c) © 2000, Michael D. Stubblefield, MD

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7:21 a.m. -

View that I got

© Martin Michener

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6:57 a.m. - Things I miss about the old country

Following discussion with Grump I decided to post these because every now and then I add a new good one. There are things that don’t need to be listed like friends and family because they’re a given.

Dry stone walls and ancient carvings / crucifixes / gateposts whilst out walking.

A feeling of really being away from it all. Alarmingly I haven’t achieved this yet in the Canadian back-country as there are too many quad bikers / dirt bikers around these parts.

People with strong and varied accents.

Sheep - seeing them, hearing them and eating them. That's it!


#6 Highland coo.

(c) Laurie Campbell

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Friday, May 27, 2005

12:03 p.m. - Up hill and down dale

5.43km (but probably not) in 38:11. All off-road except for 10 m from gate to footpath. Enjoying running longer distances and discovering more trails. Buildig quite a repertoire here. Found a big hill and ran half way up it but it was more hopping from foot to foot than running as not much upward progress was being made so I walked it. Saw a beautiful hawk / eagle thing that I will look-up later. It was hunting about 8 m above my head and had a very red tail. Its wingspan was about 3ft.

Knackered now.

Must run with camera in future.

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6:54 a.m. -

I was wondering, yesterday, if the builder would work on our house. Then I saw the answer right in front of me. (Take a closer look at what's sitting on the radiator grille).

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image


(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Afterwards, at home, Hubby said he'd sent him an email asking for a program to completion (it's an old Halcrow trick). He said he'd bring the kitchen cabinets around last night for Mark to varnish and he'll install them at the weekend.

Quite impressive - he managed to make and break a program within 24 hours.

GO builder!

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

10:39 a.m. - It's a beautiful day ... hey hey

Yeah, I know that title’s been used before but sometimes it’s appropriate.


There was no sign of the builder again yesterday so we threw a wobbly in the actions speak louder than words sense.  After all he can’t complain that our mattress is in his way if he’s not there to have a “way” to be “in”. 


So last night we slept long and well in the beautiful green room and were woken before the alarm clock by the sun coming through the windows.  Slaughterpuss thought it was fab that we brought her favourite chair into her favourite room and was accordingly laid out like a big tart at 5:30 this morning with all four legs in the air.


I phoned the Polar service centre in Vancouver today to find out if they guarantee the water resistancy when they refit a battery in my heart rate monitor.  The response was, “We replace the battery then we test the water resistancy of the unit.  If it fails then we go from there…!”  So it’s in their interest to do a bad job, break my HRM and then charge me more money to fix it.  NO THANKS.  I think I’ll send it to the head office in Montreal and hope for the best.  I guess it’ll take 6 months for them to return it… groan.



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9:22 a.m. - Musical Meme

1.  What is the total volume of music files on your computer?

None.  It’s a crappy work computer with no speakers or a sound card.

2.  What was the last CD you bought?

Sheryl Crow The Globe sessions.  I AM Canadian… well, I’d like to be. Still, I can’t believe  she’s dating Lance Armstrong.  Her more country tunes seem so much more appropriate here.

3.  Song Playing Right Now?

The gentle hum of the waste wood conveyor at work and the occasional passing forklift. Sometimes the guys next door have the radio on but not today.

4.  5 Songs you listen to a lot or that mean a lot to you? (since the rest of my meme is crap, I’m doing 7)

Pink Floyd – Wish you were here – memories of sitting with hubby in the Clachaig Inn. 

Fleetwood Mac – Need your love so bad (song Emily sang at our wedding). 

The The – Love is Stronger than Death - memories of University.  

L7 – Shitlist – my angry tune.  Scares the living daylights out of anyone that’s got me mad and cares to stick around – noisy neighbours and the like.

Bjork – It’s Oh So Quiet – Such a manic song with a real classic musical feel that you can shout-sing your head off too.

Cardigans – Losing my favourite game.  Na na na.  na na na.  na na na Na Na.

Blur – dn dn dn dn dn.. Whoo hoo.  I just used to sing that a lot when I was climbing.  Do you remember that move on “God’s own crag” Adam?

5.  Which 5 people are you passing the baton to?


Adam, Becky, Tanya, Jo, Dad (don’t anyone out there hold your breath – I won’t be responsible for you turning blue!) In the comments please guys... you KNOW you can do it!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

8:28 a.m. - No pain no gain?

Last night when I got home from work I lay on the floor on the gallery
and fell asleep on my thermarest. I was so tired. All the muscles down
the outsides of my knees were very sore but that's good because they're
developing. This morning I got changed twice as I wasn't sure whether
to run or not. I have my running gear on now but I'm still not sure.
The pain has eased now that I have put my new feet on (I was wearing my
old ones yesterday) as it seems the sore muscles are being held up by my
new feet.

The cat has developed a fun game with thermarests (a camping mattress
with a honeycombed centre which can be squished into a small roll or
automatically expands to inflate when the valve is opened). Ours are
stored un-rolled in an inflated state with the valve open so they don't
go mouldy inside. The cat runs up to the thermarest, takes a flying
leap onto it so it goes "psshhhhhht" when she lands. Then she gets
excited about where the noise came from and attacks the valve.
Unfortunately sharp claws are not good for thermarests so we had to put
a quick stop to the game.

More amusing was when we were sat in the bath at the last house and the
cat was wandering up and down the side of the bath tub. Hubby breathed
in deep then suddenly and forcefully blew at the cat's a**hole. Not
surprisingly, that surprised the cat who leapt from the bath so quickly
that she didn't really have chance to fully extend her leap and kind of
jumped in a partially compressed state. Which is why we laughed so hard
when she hit the bathroom cabinet head-on.

We were reminded of this last night when he tried it again from the back
of the couch but it's never had the same effect. Could it be that ever
since that day in the bath the cat has been wary of Hubby when he's
sitting behind her? I know the feeling but are cats really that clever?

4.26km of pain in 30:22mins. 5 running 1.5 walking to go easy on my legs. The new deal with the boss is I can flex working late against a lunch break and have 1 hour lunches if I choose. So today I got to stretch after my run and I feel much better. Shame I also feel very inflexible again.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

3:31 p.m. - Jumping up and down clapping

Making girlie squealing noises.

The lovely Gillespie and his gorgeous girlfriend are engaged.

More excuses for a hooliday.

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11:42 a.m. - Our weekend

On Saturday I attacked a small area of the garden. Managed to dig an extra 6 feet of trench for my rock border then got fed up of aching legs and sore armpit where it was rubbing on my trouser leg. Embarked on next exciting job of making curtains for the bathroom downstairs since it looks out onto the neighbours’ deck. That little project basically took up all of Sunday too with a little bit of shopping thrown in – a new handle for the shovel and a seat for the aforementioned noo loo.

Today, I can hardly walk, never mind run, since we took the opportunity on the May holiday to start our hiking training for the trip to Mount English next month. We walked to a trail on the map which looks like it gives access to the creek which in turn leads up to the KVR. All this to avoid the long trudge up the road and along the KVR which, although pretty, is not very exciting. However, our little creek side path had a big sign on it saying no trespassing, trespassers will be prosecuted etc. We reluctantly continued along the road to look for other access points and found what was once a vehicle track with a chain strung across it but no signs. There were a few trees growing in the vehicle track so it obviously hadn’t been used for a while so we were essentially walking through meadows. It was lovely. We accessed the KVR hoping to find ourselves near the Rock Oven Trail. (Rock Ovens were left by the railway workers in the 30’s and remain in use today by hikers out of the fire season). The trail we found was not the Rock Oven Trail but a nice path still following the creek which wound through the woodland. The ponderosa pines native to the area smell of ice cream in the summer – well, of vanilla actually – but ice cream sounds better. Combined with the sage and the juniper bushes our senses were being truly tingled.

Having accessed the upper KVR we made our way around a small campsite set up RIGHT ON the trail (idiots) and proceeded to cross a streambed by way of bushwhacking and walking over a fallen log then found that the reason the people had camped in the trail was that the trail had been bypassed by a larger more convenient one. My most hated thing about hiking here – too many idiots with toys – quad bikes, dirt bikes, SUVs (with air conditioning) that many of the trails get turned into minefields of offroading playgrounds and just when you think you’re in the middle of nowhere, zoom, some idiot goes by with his stereo blaring and his cellphone, two way radio and cigarettes. That’s why I’m looking forwards to MtE. Moving on. At the next turn we found an ancient irrigation water flume made from wood and steel half-tubing. Some of it appeared to be from the 30’s some of the repairs from the 2004s. We followed it instead of the path and got lost so found ourselves bushwhacking again for 500m to access the top level of the KVR – where aforementioned idiot drove by just as we’d finished our lunch. There was even a little bit of scrambling going on – and hoping beyond hope that the rocks I was holding onto did not have any snakes underneath them. Just then we were beginning to doubt whether we’d make it to our chosen destination – Naramata lake (our water source). We’d done 8km and there were still 3.5 to go with 300m of climbing but we trudged on. We were obviously tired and watching our feet because hubby found three pyrotechnic cartridges (!) – god knows what they’re for - and an “artifact” – an old bottle opener with “TONIC” inscribed in the handle.

We got to the lake which was a big brown puddle – now we know why we buy our drinking water. It would probably have been nicer but the cloud came in and we had to sit in the lee of the damn out of the wind to eat chocolate and bananas for the long walk home. On the way down Hubby found the igniter for the pyrotechnic device so is no doubt on the internet today trying to figure out what it is, how it works and if it’s broken beyond repair.

In the end we walked for 8 hours – 23km. I had my new feet in the whole time and today muscles hurt that I didn’t know I had – one in particular in my calves which explains why my cycling legs never looked the same as anyone else’s. Although I would much like to be pinned to my desk all day, I occasionally have to get up and walk around just so my legs do not permanently cease up beneath me. Besides, I have to go run tomorrow.

I took out my slow camera yesterday so will update this blog when I finish the cartridge filmy thing and take it to the shop for them to work their magic - a copy to post to the parents and a digi copy to post to the world!

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9:00 a.m. - At last!

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
It wasn't done on Friday night but on Saturday morning under close supervision and great duress.

When he'd finished we jumped up and down and screamed, "Make the noise, make the noise" and he pressed the little silver handle and whoooosssssshhhh. Our toilet FLUSHED. We also went out and bought a cheap plastic seat (to be used eventually anyway when and if we ever fit out the basement).

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8:06 a.m. -

Recovery of the hairy cabbage

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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8:06 a.m. -

Lawn Edging - dug and laid by my own fair hands (not so fair anymore)

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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8:05 a.m. -

Closet ironing! Me!

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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Friday, May 20, 2005

3:49 p.m. - GO silver GO

Run that 10k for all the sick people avec Frontieres.

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12:42 p.m. - Swim Free Little Fish Swim Free!

At 10 am I noticed about 30 cars parked along our road and in the car park for the river pathway. Scenes of another foot chase came to mind but I realized the Environment Canada SUV suggested there was something different afoot.

I wondered about it for another hour until I went to set off on my run and realized that today is the day the city, Indian band and Environment Canada release thousands of salmon fry into our rivers and streams. This is an ongoing effort to increase the salmon populations that have, over the years, depleted due to excessive fishing, water pollution, increased fertilizer run-off and general bad care in pervious generations. I like eating fish and I also like to watch fish. We have a salmon viewing area on the creek in the village where you can stand in September / October and watch huge big salmon on their way to lay their eggs then die, being returned to nature's food store. The creek is only 6 inches deep and the salmon are about 4 inches around so they're easy to spot as the teem in the water.

For anyone who doesn't know much about fish, the salmon return upstream to the place where they were born to lay their eggs. This is the pig-out time of year for bears, osprey, eagles and anything else that fancies a bit of fish. The ageing salmon are exhausted and battered from their journey upstream. There are parts of BC where trees shouldn't grow in the poor soils of high mountain ranges but they do because there's a high concentration of nutrients around the base of the trees. Scientists have discovered that this is due largely to the bears who sometimes move to the cover of the trees to eat their salmon and leave the blood, bones and spilt meat at the base of the trees. If it's a good year the bears only eat salmon brains with most fat in it (yum yum)and leave the rest of the fish to return to nature.

Science lesson over.

I left the Indian Band to their ceremonies to the North of the bridge. I didn't want to go jogging through their ritual. Instead I ran South towards the airport - just like the river. I don't know if it was the release of fresh salmon fry that did it but the wildlife experience was wonderful today. First an osprey flew past me really close along the river. I didn't realize how white they are underneath. That made me notice a totem pole at the log homes place I've not seen before. I will photograph some day. Next I noticed a little critter building a nest over the end of a drainage outlet. It was building a stick-pile over the drain - probably a mistake as it will get washed away in the next big storm. I don't think it was a marmot as it was awful skinny. It wasn't a beaver either though. Probably a rat.

I ran on by the Tim Hortons toasted chicken sub sign today before turning round to run back. On the way back I ran past a beautiful colourful bird. Well it was like a blackbird but it was wearing very 1980s dayglo orange shoulder pads. It was a male red-winged black bird. I hoped it had a more impressive name but apparently not.

Pretty anyway. Then I saw the critter again - swimming in the river this time. No doubt catching fry. Then the Osprey passed with a claw-full of something for the littl'uns back home. I wonder what that was then?

So all I can say is "swim little fish swim" and "I hope you last long enough to make it to the lake and come back to visit me in our creek later in life". That is, unless they end up on my BBQ.

31 minutes, 4.32km, 6 mins running, 1.5 mins walking. Switched my pedometer over to kms because they pass quicker and I can do more of them. I find miles depressing but as an American product, that was the default setting.

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8:41 a.m. - Real Tenable Progress

Neil wasn’t working on our house when Mark got home.  Builder was!  Gasps of shock from around the world.


Mark’s comments to Neil on how we’re 3 months behind schedule, fed up of not having a toilet, basement’s cold and depressing, not impressed that Builder’s never here, really don’t want to hear about the progress on his next house must have filtered back to Builder and he was all sweetness and light and mopping the grout off the kitchen floor.  I even followed him upstairs for the joy of actually watching a man clean the bathroom floor.


He tells us we are going to have a working toilet for the long weekend.  I am done believing him and trying not to be excited about this.  It’s not too difficult because of course the nice toilet seats have not been delivered yet so my first pee will be a cold-porcelain experience anyway.


The electricians had also been in and fitted covers over the light switches and sockets and connected all the circuits that weren’t connected before.  This is where I find out I’m fat – when I suddenly take a shower under a light for the first time in 3 months.  The downstairs bedrooms have lights and the door bell works.  We have two bell pushes and two different rings so you know which door your visitor is at!  Aren’t we posh?  One goes “bing-bong” and the other just goes “bing” and sounds a bit freaky.  The upstairs bathroom needs more light but that’s OK.  On the negative side they’d rewired all the 220V sockets especially installed for our English appliances that they had carefully wired in when they did the initial installation – must’ve thought they’d done it wrong or something. So the fridge was off part of the day and Mark had to rewire it all before I could do dinner.


When Simon left we stood on the verandah and watched an amazing rainstorm that only lasted about 10 minutes but the rain fell so hard it was bouncing back up about 18 inches off the road and we had a bit of thunder & lightening which Slaughterpuss didn’t like one bit.  I bravely went out in it to rescue my lupins from drowning but the tomato plants seemed to be lapping it up.  At least that’s how it looked through the bedroom window anyway – so brave.  We had lamb roast for dinner (I got home early from work) and then put our feet up to watch Stargate SG-1.  Altogether a most satisfying evening.

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7:18 a.m. - Fathers day

I had a dream this morning – in about 10 minutes I managed to snooze-dream the following:

I was driving in a car with Susannah wearing my pyjamas when I suddenly realized it was Dan and Becky’s wedding day. We drove to the venue and I rummaged around in the suitcase in the back of the car and found two dresses. I wasn’t sure which one would fit so I took them both inside to get changed. (For some reason I was already wearing strappy shoes with my pyjamas). We went upstairs and found the toilets. There were plenty of people milling around downstairs so we figured we had plenty of time. Susannah held the door closed as there was no lock. The toilets were the ones at our local pub in the village here. I put on the black dress and proceeded to untangle about 30 necklaces that I was wearing so that I could just wear my simple bell necklace that I wore for my wedding day.

The dress seemed to fit OK but when I got out of the cubicle my boobs grew and were showing too much at the neck line to be appropriate for a wedding then the button popped off so I had to change into a pale green dress (which went better with the shoes anyway).

We then had to pick our way down a wrought iron spiral staircase in heels! When we got downstairs everyone had gone and we had missed the wedding.

We went outside into the garden and only Becky’s Greek (!) family were left so we sat down with them to play cards and smoke cigars in the moonlight.

I have no idea where this came from but with the paranoia of missing celebrations I thought that I should probably look up when UK fathers day is and found this amusing article.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

2:49 p.m. - Excitement in Sleepy Little Town

As I walked across to the office yesterday I noticed a lot of sirens and
looked to the traffic lights to see a jumble of cars and flashing
One in particular car was a gold MPV, mounted on the central reservation
with a roadsign imbedded in the hood. Then I saw the men running.
Two of them came running in my direction then thankfully turned off to
head along the side of the river. Moments later, one came back and I
noticed he was a policeman wearing a flack jacket. An unmarked car
arrived and headed off down the river channel pathway (it's a bit like
the Mersey through Didsbury) then the guy who'd gone off down the
riverbed on the East side reappeared on the West side and continued
running (along my jogging path!). The loony must have swum across the
river. Next a great big black SUV appeared with flashing lights and
three grinning coppers in it as they wildly flung the SUV down the bank
and onto the river trail. TOYYYYY!
I heard this morning on the radio that the crim' jumped back in the
river and tried to get away by swimming on the current. They had to
"rescue" him using police dogs - and no doubt a loaded gun or two.
He might've been a drug dealer but I feel sorry for him that he's too
dense to notice that the river was full of spring meltwater the first
time he jumped in. Maybe he was too high to think it was cold?

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9:23 a.m. - Household Saga

I really didn’t feel like running again this morning when I got up but now I’m in my nice warm jeans, I do feel like running.  But I’m not going to, I’m going to hang off and be refreshed tomorrow.  Instead I will completely ruin my Karma and hardened focus by returning a bent ironing board to Zellers (our Woolworths equivalent).


A change is in the air at the building site.  Neil (the builder’s rather nice employee – ex masseur) seems to have been given free reign in completing some of the aesthetics of our house.  He’s perfectly OK with us moving our bed into the lovely green room and our desk (plus sewing machine for me to make curtains) and couch onto the gallery where they have more or less finished skirting boards and window trim.


He is also listening to us and agreed to leave the woodwork for now and grout the floor tiles in the bathrooms today so that the toilet can go in next.  Won’t that be nice?


On that subject, the sinks turned up with the wrong number of holes in them and the ones with the right number of holes will take 6 weeks to procure in the right colour (I think they hand-grind the stones to make the porcelain or something).  SO we went out at the weekend and chose a different sink in the right colour with the right number of holes which was in stock – we took it away and saved builder $50 each so he’s all happy now because the fancy toilet seats are covered.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

4:05 p.m. - Things I am looking forwards to doing in our new house.

Eating breakfast before work - something I have put off so I don't cause
unnecessary stress to sleeping husband.

Getting woken up by the sunshine streaming through the bedroom windows.

Running the dishwasher for the first time and coming home to clean
dishes in the evening.

Doing something without having to spend 1 hour looking for the necessary
tools / fixtures / parts / materials... because OF COURSE they will be
tidied away somewhere neatly. (OK this might be one of my less
achievable goals)

Having a poo without taking a drive (OK uncalled for but true).

More to come.

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11:36 a.m. - Well it *felt* good...

3.65km! on the new-fangled pedometer with the new fangled feet on. Not much is it? Maybe it didn't feel my feet hit the ground as I ran through the cut grass by the river-side.

Half an hour - 5 mins running, 1.5 mins walking breaks, except for the last stint was a sprint back to the mill because I heard the buzzer go. Then got barked at by a husky dog that had picked a fight with a marmot. At least it would have if the dog could've squeezed through the window of the truck.

I don't seem to have been crippled by the chronic hayfever I suffered last year. Accustomised to Canadian pollen I guess. It's quite surprising I haven't suffered since there's so much pollen. It looks like a sulphur plant has had a spill. It's floating in puddles and blowing across roads in drifts.

I'm clutching for excuses for my run here but shall face it - it's early days (again)and I'm just starting out.

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9:43 a.m. - Work work work work... work work work work

I was going to try and run yesterday to make it two days on the run but I was just Soooo busy hiring a guy who quit at lunchtime – big ponce.

Then today, my brain is playing tricks on me. It’s a bit cooler outside and threatening to drizzle and my brain is just-about operating this computer in some small way, but mostly it’s saying,



But I know I shouldn’t eat now or I’ll get stitch and besides, I’m not really hungry – just bored and there’s nothing exciting to eat anyway.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations is SOOOO boring and you know what? It’s just so a guy can drive the tanks across the road and fill them up at the gas station. You think a training certificate is going to save him if he gets broadsided by a truck going up the road?

But as long as I am safety guy,
I know I will comply.

Go on now go,
walk out the door,
don’t turn around now,
cos I need to do some work.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

6:48 a.m. -

This guy was in the running shop yesterday. If there's an engine in there anywhere, I think he's cheating.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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6:31 a.m. - Flight of the Bumblebug

I drove to work quite quick today. The roads were empty and dry and so I let rip in the bug. I was going too fast to stop and back up when I passed two deer eating pink campions in a field so from now on I will drive slower.

I caught up to some slow people further along though and stopped to take this.


(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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Monday, May 16, 2005

12:22 p.m. -

30 minutes and all the way up into the hills on the KVR. Bring it on. I will buy the pedometer tonight as I’d really like to know how much further I’m going with these super strong legs. 6 minute runs, 2 minute walks and a nice Indian lady with some very cute pooches that kept me company for a while.

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9:43 a.m. - The end of the race.

I thought I’d share my end of the race story from the Run for Life to disperse advice.

My dad started racing bikes at the age of 14 and still is today. It might have taken him 40 years to get around to SPDs but he’s taught me most of what I know about bike handling and racing. Some of it applies to running. For instance – draughting - if its windy, you can get a lot of shelter off another person. It can be worthwhile increasing your pace that little bit to suit theirs rather than battling against the wind alone. However, don’t burn yourself out as I did in the 3 peaks in 1999 and ended up quitting because a banana just wasn’t enough to replace the energy I spent trying to keep up with Sue Young. If they really are tiring you out, drop off and let someone else come and be your windbreak.

In the final km it’s really easy for the adrenaline to take over but use your visualization to channel the energy inwards. 1km is still a long way. Wait for the crowd factor to set in. I came around a bend in trees and all of a sudden, all I could hear was cheering. It’s amazing. Really picks you up. About that moment a girl passed me going pretty quick and I jumped in behind her. I knew she’d started her final kick too soon and second is the best place to be in a sprint for the line because you can see everything that’s going on. I stuck with her passing 1…2…3…7 other people all plodding at the speed I had been doing. Then we were on the finishing straight and the trees were replaced by people 7 deep. All cheering. The commentator was trying desperately to call out names but then he saw us coming like a couple of ice breaker steamships, chuffing down the road, runners flying left and right to either side of us (OK not quite). The clock was getting precariously close to my 25 min target. The commentator stopped calling names and all I heard him say was, “And look at this… it’s not just about winning this race, there’s the personal battles too…” To be honest we must have looked silly, battling for 73rd and 74th place…

Then my little friend slowed up ever so slightly and that was my cue to dig. It’s a good word “dig”. Dig-in, dig-deep and it’s short so you can say it when you’re out of breath. I must’ve looked a sight, all arms and gangly legs digging. But pass her I did. She tried her hardest to keep with me but because I came from behind her, she reacted just that little bit later than I did and I crossed the line in front of her in 24:59.6! Someone thrust a bag of goodies in my hand and I walked to warm down for as long as I could before slopping onto the floor to spit and look for some breath down there. Then I looked around and caught my new friend’s eye and she came and shook my hand and said, “I just couldn’t catch you in the end”. But she had the last work because I couldn’t really talk. I just smiled and murmoured “well done” and tried to stem the coughing. What I actually meant was “Thanks for dragging me in in my target time”.

Afterwards I went to find the perpetrator of the madness - the Beckster – who also finished within her target time and probably raised a damn sight more money for Imperial Cancer Research than my measly 70 quid. And she’s doing it again this year after having a baby in August last year. SO Go Becky GO.

On the contrary, today, I went out in my morning break and failed to buy a Pedometer as City Runners doesn’t open till 9:30 – I guess the staff run a marathon every day before work. With the Polar HRM going in the post to Quebec to get its new battery and being short of one of those very advanced digital watches from HHGTTG, it’s another lunchtime run squinting at the minutes hand of my very small wristwatch and trying to read it accurately through the jiggling… maybe I’ll run to Canadian Tire and get a digital watch instead of a pedometer. With all Silver's frustration at the little electronic gadgets I’m beginning to wonder if the map method doesn’t suit me better.

Wellness vibes. (oh and don’t take a drink from any strange men on the day).

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Friday, May 13, 2005

4:54 p.m. -

Going back to the plant

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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4:54 p.m. -

And looking the other way

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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4:53 p.m. -

Walkin' up to the main office

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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12:59 p.m. - Free Mocha Iced Cap

When you come back sweaty from a run and flirt with the truck drivers. Didn’t put that in my job description.

Half an hour run with 4 two minute walks in there. I got upto the Tim Hortons Chicken sub sign and I can’t see that on a map so I don’t know how far I went.

Got a battery for Mark’s old pedometer last night but it didn’t work – must have a loose connection so I might have to buy a new one next week. I have been putting it off before I confirmed that the relic was dead.

Running well is still something I have to work hard on – keeping a good posture, eating at the right time before and breathing right so I don’t end up with a stitch. I had my new feet installed last night but I’m only supposed to wear them a few hours a day to break them in (or break my knees in to working in the right direction) and I’m not supposed to run in them yet. I’m being good and living by their rules so I wore the new feet this morning, had a break from 9-11 then ran in my Superfeet ® insoles (highly recommended running ladies who like to buy gear) and they’re pretty good at stopping me pronating anyway. This afternoon I decided my legs are aching without my new feet in so they’re back on again. For a Friday the 13th it’s bloody quiet so I’ll be sitting down for the rest of the day anyway.

Early on in the year I bought some joggers for going to the gym whilst I was getting fit for the ski season. They turned out to be naff. They have press-tuds all the way down the leg so they can be removed quickly after warm-up. In the store, they were cheap and looked OK so I bought. At home I realized they were cheap because when I sat down in them they gaped like mad. Two weeks ago I stitched up the press tuds almost all the way down the leg so no more gaping. I thought they’d be good to wear at work so I can just put on my running shoes at lunch and go then change into clean trousers after my run. Now, though, they’re too hot. So last night I got the scissors out and cut the cotton lining out of them so I’m left with pure shell pants. Worked really well! They’re so cool I can run in them and work in them and it’s like I’m wearing shorts (which isn’t allowed at work and doesn’t look too hot with safety boots anyway). Only prob is, the elasticated belt loop gives way when I clip my radio to it, causing much hilarity in the plant as my trousers gradually make their way down my bum as I walk. SO I moved the radio to my hip and now it bounces along with me as I walk – wiggle wiggle hop! Wiggle wiggle hop! Wiggle wiggle hop! Still hilarity, but not quite so much as my red knickers showing. Maybe therein lies the key to the free iced cappuchino.

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10:14 a.m. - From the Abyss to the Zenith

The toilets have arrived. Correct me if I am wrong but when you see a Toyo Toilet in a showroom with a Toyo bogseet on it, you expect the Toyo toilet to come with a Toyo bogseet – No?

You might think a bogseet is no big deal, but for men who lift (and dutifully close – my husband ROCKS) the toilet seet all the time, the Toyo bogseet is the best.

It’s a gadget, it’s a TOY. It does not slam. It’s like the doors on Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It doesn’t quite shisshhh but it (and its lid) certainly close slowly, in a controlled manner as if to say, “thank you for sitting on me today”. We have been looking forwards to receiving our non-slam lids for quite some time. Well, OK, hubby has.

Only the Toyo seet costs $50 more than the standard ones… guess what? Yes, you got it, the builder cheaped-out and bought us Chinese plastic plain white seats made by Butoyi (or other such name). Not the nice Canadian Toyo ones. Hubby sent him an email, he came round, they talked, he agreed to change them. And THAT was all that happened at the house yesterday. No more progress, nil, nada, nicho jackety toiletseet. I am guessing that the builder will spend ALL of today driving into town to change the toiletseet. Or maybe he will spend all day smoking pot in his hot tub.

Whilst hubby was sending his email, a new one arrived. From his friend at work. Who’s in the Alpine Club of BC. Wanting to know if we were interested in a weekend trip to Mount English.


(c) Steve Sproule Bivouac.com - Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia


I can’t believe this turnaround.

This is such a step in the right direction.

Canada is turning out to be everything I wished for.

I am walking faster at work today. I am going running at lunchtime. I *will* be in shape by June 18th. I love the ACBC. When I go home tonight I will have to brush the dust off my ice axe and find my crampons. They're probably in a suitcase with some dresses somewhere.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

8:25 a.m. - Feet and the surfaces they walk upon

Number of tiles laid in our house yesterday: 0
Number of square feet of wood flooring laid: 0
Number of promises broken by builder: 2

We’ve decided he’s still doing dope so just forgets what he’s said. Note to self – must check the house for squareness.

I enjoyed my run so much yesterday I have decided to go for the Ironman in 2006. 2005 was never going to work out – what with not having a house to live in. It’s not really decided 100% until I pay up the cash in August this year – and it’s a lot of money. What with an entire field hospital on site for the race, it’s kinda costly.

I also have to get past the barrier of the completely disinterested husband and I think that might be just as much of a struggle as doing the race itself. First though, I think I’ll work on convincing myself (and him) that I’m a long distance runner before I commit any money. Effort only for now. Then there is the Peach City Triathlon in July

Which why it’s a good job my new feet are arriving today.

PS. If you look at the Ironman website, don't forget to look at the scenery alongside the lovely bodies and when you're looking at the finishing line shots, don't forget that those times are in hours.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

5:24 p.m. - Christmas is a comin’, Christmas is a comin’

Yesterday I sat down with one of my bosses and told him what I do. Then he went to talk to the big boss about what I do. Then I sat on the bench outside the office with the big boss and he said first of all:

“You can’t be missing your mum anymore Andrea, because you work with her”. It’s almost true, my office-mate and colleague Dave is like everyone’s mother. Except my mother’s cooler than most mothers so it doesn’t really wash here. Dave’s OK though and I seem to get on with him better than most people. Maybe its because I’m a snob just like him or maybe I just rise above him when he’s being mother-hen.

Second big boss said:

“Has little boss spoken with you?” (yes) “We are going to re-evaluate your job and we’ll let you know what the change to your salary will be”. He did threaten that it would go down but I hope he was joking.

Today, little boss (who’s not so little but is not the big boss) asked me to add more to my workload, managing the resaw and trim lines that feed all the wood into the plant. It’s a bit scary really. I never should have proposed the change as part of the ISO process but I didn’t think it would land on my desk! Still, I am hoping that this results in a big boost to my already reasonably satisfactory salary. Not bad for sitting blogging, watching the forklifts drive in formation around my rather pretty yard here and going for nice short runs at lunchtime.

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1:14 p.m. - Babies!

The marmots have had babies. They're SOOOO cute - about the size of my fist (I have big hands). Unfortunately they're too fast on their feet for me to get a picture. They obviously haven't discovered hazelnuts and the art of begging yet.

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7:03 a.m. - Good day sunshine.

I need to laugh.
And when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about

I feel good
In a special way
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.

That’s better. The sun is shining. The cat gave me 7.5 hours of sleep last night before starting to gallivant around at 5:15 am.

I also gave up coffee again yesterday. Wonder if that has anything to do with my improved mood? Determined to run today. Off to eat breakfast.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

11:47 a.m. - If you need a bit of Karma...

Check out the Dali Lama (dot com)

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8:15 a.m. -

Wanna take a ride???

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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Monday, May 09, 2005

4:52 p.m. - Most hated thing about being a woman in a man's world

When other WOMEN ignore you because you're a woman. Come on - get with it!

When I tell you my staff worked overtime I expect them to be paid for it. Makes it easier for me to ask them next time.

And if you don't believe me then ask me or ask my boss on the day - not two weeks later when the employee suddenly notices.

Do us all a favour luv.

Oh yeah, and that's why they didn't make YOU a supervisor.

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7:16 a.m. - It wouldn't work in England

Today, at 6:30 am (and it's not just me that's driving to work at that time) the city closed half of the road in 4 places so that they could re-paint the pedestrian crossings.

At first I looked at the line of cones across my half of the road from the traffic lights and wondered if the road was closed completely but there were no signs telling me so. So I continued through on my green light and stopped at the cones to let oncoming traffic through. Then I was allowed through by the next oncoming driver, drove around the cones and stopped to return the favour for the next oncoming vehicle who waved to me as he passed.

Four way stops: The rules are, you stop and if you're there first you go. Otherwise, you wait your turn. This would not work in England because: a) Boy-racers would go through without stopping; b) people who went out of turn would get run into by people whose turn it is just to prove that the person who went was wrong; c) old ladies would sit and wait for eachother to go regardless of whether it's their turn or not; d) pedestrians who have over-all right of way would never get a look-in.

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

8:38 a.m. - Hairy Cabbage

On Saturday I lived up to this promise and began to lay the stones into the trench I dug around the edge of the garden (for non gardeners - this is to stop the weeds spreading into the garden and the grass spreading into the flower beds). You can buy plastic edging that you bash into the ground but it looks Kr@p and there’s too many rocks in our garden so I trenched a 4” deep hole around the lawn, put weed prevention carpet down and am now backfilling with the rocks that I dug out of the lawn in the winter because I really can’t face filling it with bought-stuff when the river rocks from the garden are free. This whole process involved carrying bags of rocks around all day and in the searing 25 degree heat had me bushed by 4pm. However, it was nice, listening to the burbling creek and fussing the cat who was being extraordinarily affectionate.

I also moved the hairy cabbage (I hope I don’t get any freaky hits like Silver here). I don’t know what the plant is but it looks like a cabbage and it’s hairy so that’s its name now.

Lets say Latin: Croutus Fluffus.

Anyway, it’s been growing on top of a mound of earth that was the original topsoil of the lot and we have been gradually undermining it as we return the earth to its proper place. The time came for me to move the hairy cabbage or lose it so I carefully dug a big hole and then gently loosened the long roots of the hairy cabbage. The cabbage was delicately put in its new hole, pushing the soil in with it to back fill. I left a shallow pit around its base and poured fresh village water into the hole, letting it soalk into the new location. I went for lunch and the cabbage flopped over and died. Like that. Dead. Gone. Caput.

Maybe it’s a good job I didn’t go into the family business. What did I do wrong!!! OK, it could be the desert plant did not like my watering. Or it could be the water - they say it does strange things to the people who drink it so maybe the cabage couldn't hack it. Oh well, hoping for a speedy recovery today.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

4:01 p.m. - Feeling artistic.

Maybe its the engineer draining away. Last night I got out my tenor recorder and some music I downloaded off the internet. To my delight I can still read music. Although a little slowly and rustily and I still learn by repetition rather than actually reading the music. However, the piece of music still sounds something like a tune. Even though its no tune I have heard before so I suppose that's a start.

Now that I'm "into" it I downloaded and printed some more. There's a lot of free music on the internet.

And this weekend I might write. So eventually, at some time, there might be a close encounter of our Canadian travels coming to a website near you. Illustrated of course - but that would mean finding the photos hidden away in cardboard boxes. Ahem.

Oh and now I know what's happening to my body I daren't run without my new insoles in and I really can't get up early enough to get on the bike right now.

Hopefully tonight, all our floors will be down. I need to go home, sit cross legged on the deck and play some more music.

Poor hubby. Poor cat.

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8:32 a.m. - Went out for dinner last night

To celebrate the fact that we won. The WWE has been called to heel again by our lovely public service employees of Canada.

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6:58 a.m. - For Silver and Phoenix

Check out the website of Terry fox. For a bit of inspiration and to feel just a little smaller. He is a Canadian Hero and was recently voted #2 in the Greatest Canadians poll (it takes a while to catch up to what you've been doing back in the old country). On losing the lower part of one leg to bone cancer he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. You have to read the site for the rest of the story.

Just for info, the top man was Tommy Douglas, the politician who made healthcare in Canada public (making the country forever distinct from the US). Not surprising when at 10 years old his parents were told that they'd have to cut his leg off if they couldn't find the money for the surgery he needed to prevent a bone infection in his knee spreading to the rest of his body. Thankfully a specialist offered to do the surgery for free if his students could sit in.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

10:30 a.m. - My right foot is Kr@p

Yesterday I walked about 10 miles, running all over the plant sending our employees for their anual hearing test and about 26 of them, including me, had an orthotics examination to see if we would benefit from orthopedic insoles. I felt good for putting in the mileage for my employees even if some of them were less than grateful. I felt good that, despite having to admit to my father's childhood hearing loss (bike cr@sh I think), my hearing is damn near perfect, with top scores in every tone except 2. Which only dropped a point.

My feet on the other hand, I have definately inherited from my dad. My right foot pronates, it rolls inwards, which causes my knee problems and hip problems in the right leg. Also, the big toe knuckle does not seem to be connected to anything so it flops out of the way when I walk and leaves me to walk on my second toe, explaining why the "ball" of my foot is in the wrong place. Apparently these new insoles I will get will stop me getting arthritis in my knees and hips. Hurragh. I hope they work - they should do for $350. I also get it all free on my company health plan. Hurragh for work!

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7:51 a.m. - Thank you to Pottsy for sending us some rain.

Spring showers and orchards

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Spring showers and orchards 2

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

5:06 p.m. - Crazy day

Yup that's it. I'm going home now. .. After I've done these POs.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

9:24 a.m. - You can take the daughter out of the farm but you can't take the farm out of the daughter.

I am in work for a rest today. We had a WWE attack on Friday so doing anything constructive on Saturday was a write-off. To make up for it we went for a 5 hour walk on the KVR and it was so nice to do nothing other than putting one foot in front of the other. Lots of pretty flowers and the cliff swallows were out catching flies at the little tunnel.

When we got home we had a solid cherry floor in the living room which was nice. Perfect for skidding on in sock-feet.

On Sunday I spent all day cleaning the trailer – a large portion of it with my hands submerged in bleach washing parts of the stove. I can’t wait to see the back of that thing. We also moved it out of the middle of the back lawn and out to the side of the house. It’s also armed with mousetraps. It’s really nice to have a view over the whole garden without a big white box sitting in the middle.

Finally we stops at 4pm for a break and, says I, “It’s feeling a bit muggy, like it’s gonna rain”. Hubby looks at me like I’m trying to be all farmer-like again till I turns and looks over my shoulder and sees that it’s raining over in the next valley quite spectacularly. “Hmph”, says I. “It’s raining over there”. Never made it to us though. Well, a couple of spots but really that IS it.

Talking of farmers, my Uncle Wilf passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was my dad’s uncle really but I always used to see him driving around the country lanes in his Vauxhall Nova and he’d wave and call out to me as I passed on my bike. He was always at Grandads, borrowing something, lending something or just getting help with putting this tool or that tool onto his tractor. He had a way better tractor than us and as he grew older and had hip failures and surgeries, his big red tractor became like a wheelchair for him. He’d arrive on it, sit in it while he talked then leave on it. He had a loud booming voice so if you were in the house you’d always know who it was that just arrived. On Friday I received my mum’s letter complete with the service sheet from his funeral at the same old place – Dunham Crem. There was a beautiful old picture on the front cover of Wilf in his flat cap standing proudly by his shiny truck, complete with his name in fancy letters. It looked remarkably like the old photographs of the pioneers you see around here. I also received this poem:

I thought about this hard and long
The tuneful notes, the little song
A little ditty you would sing
The rhyme around the yard would ring

Wellies for wet, boots for dry
Jobs for today, a little sigh
200 caulis and 160 bub!
All before it rains with a bit of luck

Tractors out and trailers hitched
Boxes all loaded without a glitch
Down in the field ‘till baggin’ time
Butties all ready and the flasks all primed

Chopping, packing, carting out
All mucking in, no lazing about
Waggon loaded and off we go
To market to put our stall on show

Down on the ”crib” all set out
Best on show without a doubt
There, big and white and huge you see…
It’s Wilf, the cauliflower king of Timperley.

(Now I know there’s some terminology in there that some of my less regionalized friends might not understand and most of my Cheshire friends won’t either. Bub = rhubarb; baggin’ time = breaktime; butties = sandwiches… and for passing North Americans wagon = truck).

By all accounts, the funeral was a classic affair. When a farmer passes away in Cheshire, there’s a turn out something akin to the Dali Lama passing away in Lhasa. Dunham Crem ain’t that big so it was standing room only at the back, spilling out into the foyer. If a projection TV were appropriate they should get one. There’s the suppliers, the buyers, the fellow growers, the friends and of course the family – brothers, sisters, in-laws, sons and daughters, grand children, cousins, second cousins. They now come from all walks of life – travel agents, flight attendants, production workers, florists, surveyors and if I’d been in the country, engineers. So on Friday afternoon I had a little cry. Partly because there’s a character and a huge pile of stories all gone and partly (one always feels sorry for oneself on these occasions) because it’s such a shame that so many of us have had to go off in different directions to make a crust of a living because growing food for the nation doesn’t make a man money anymore. It feeds his heart but not his pocket. I’m glad my parents had the ambition for me to go off and get an education in another field and make the money I scrape together here but I think I’ll spend a little more time in my garden from now on.

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