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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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Thursday, July 28, 2005

3:48 p.m. - Jumping up and down clapping... again.

I am excited. This weekend is the village August Fayre. OK. It’s in July, but I’m proud to live in a village that so dispenses with formality and rules that it holds its August Fayre in July. Besides, it’s a long weekend so “Pardy-on” as they say in these parts.

Hubby and I will again be selflessly dedicating our valuable time and unbounding energy to the very generous and painstaking task of serving in the beer tent, along with our neighbours who will be collecting the cash that goes towards the Village Community Fund.

You should see us (the village) on Fayre day. We’re a sight to behold. See, normally, our little beach doesn’t get that full. It gets busy, but not FULL. On Fayre day, the sand is invisible. The umbrellas and beach towels resemble something from a Costa Del Sol nightmare and the marriner looks like a parking lot for all the pleasure craft that come to enjoy the stalls, the music, the climbing wall, bouncy castle, ugly-bug competition, dressed zucchini competition, the lapping waves and the beer (though skippers are supposed to keep to the OJ, I’m not sure how many really do).

Us, we do a round of the stalls then retreat to the beer tent – the only shady spot for the day - to serve alco-pops to villagers, neighbours and visitors alike. In the space of our two hour shift we gradually witness the deterioration of hand-eye co-ordination and clarity of speech as we see the same patrons returning time after time. Stuck in my memories from last year is a big biker dude complete with leathers & ZZ-top beard that took a particular fancy for peach cider. I certainly hope he had left his bike at a mate’s house and was planning to sleep off his excesses under a tree before tackling the twisty village road on his Harley.

We usually manage to swiff a few local beers from the owner of the Cannery Brewing Company, based in Penticton, it’s man-in-chief does live in Naramata and named his best ale, “Naramata Nut Brown” after the village. Not being skilled bartenders, we get to serve the alco-pops and water refreshments. I had to laugh at hubby last year who served the drinks for 30 minutes before realizing they were alcoholic. As for the water, the only people to ask for any were the band and they were told, “No” because they wanted it free and in a village where you can’t drink the stuff that comes out of the tap, water is more pricey to a man who spends his life brewing beer. What kind of a band asks for water before their performance anyway? One that performs at 2pm and has small children dressed in bathing suits and pink dresses dancing before them, I guess.

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12:05 p.m. - Plantation X











Tomato plantation














Perennial Sunflowers

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11:58 a.m. - Clowder Stand-off


For Grumpy and his word of the day

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

12:12 p.m. - My secret is out

Paparazzi snaps.

It was me all along!

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Monday, July 25, 2005

10:58 a.m. - Slogans and A Glorious Weekend

A week on and I’m still talking about the race. Two slogans caught my attention.

I don’t like Lance Armstrong but I think I’ll make this my life slogan:
“Pain is only temporary, quitting is forever”.
It was written on the road at the start of the run.

On a guy’s teeshirt at the pre-race meeting:
“Because I’m older, I’m wiser and I train whilst you sleep”.
Good psych-out teeshirt.

It was a constuctive weekend this weekend. When you’re building a house, the only gardening you get done is of the construction variety and it really helps when you get a guy to turn up with a cheesy great big excavator. Bring it on!

The back of the lot has turned from an undulating patch of weedy rubble that collects a pond, big enough for ducks when it rains, into a gently sloping weed-free pile of dirt and stones. THAT’s the weeder I want.

The front has been freed of the pile of dirt that’s been sitting at the entrance to the driveway since last October. That and other eyesores have been moved and spread out across the front of the house so that we now have a reasonable step down onto the earth from the deck, instead of having to risk an ancle every time you make the 3’ leap of death. It is nice to have the earth brought up to your own level for once.

Hubby spent Sunday building a stone wall with natural rocks from the dirt pile. He had occasional help from me to roll a really big boulder that he couldn’t manage alone. The neighbours popped by and told us they sell natural stone at the garden centre for 10c per lb. So our wall is, by now, worth about $600.

I continued edging the garden and started expanding the long edge into a path. When the sun got to much I retreated to the shade of the tree to pull the clover out of the lawn since it’s now 70% clover, 30% grass. It’s quite therapeutic really, like searching through dog fur for tics.
When the outside really got to me I picked half a tree of cherries off next doors tree in exchange for packing boxes and paper and boiled them down to make cherry crumble. This is after a sizeable chunk of time spent picking out the maggoty ones.

In amongst all this Percy Thrower / Delia Smith activity, I also managed a very nice run along the North shoreline of the village – to places I haven’t been yet. There are some really cute little “properties” along there where someone’s bought 20 ft of shoreline. There’s no room for a building – just a garage or a caravan with a garbage can, a boat, a kayak, a dock, a few plant pots and a “private property” sign. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of open beach too but it makes me wonder just what a waterfront property with garage would sell for now. I never have run with an I pod or other musical appendage because I don’t listen to that much music but I was glad I didn’t have it on Saturday because I could listen to the grasshoppers singing and the kids laughing and screaming in the water and the distant humm of motorboats and people enjoying their holidays and it made me very happy to live here.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

4:22 p.m. - Pictures from the Triathlon

Want to check out my photos go to:

https://www.tpssportsphotos.bc.ca/eventselectorpage.php

In the triathlons section, select Peach Classic Triathlon 2005 (and hit GO)

Type 130 for my bib number and hit GO. I will begrudgingly respect their right to copyright, even though they put the cheap people out to photograph us at the back.

Reading like a book:
1. Setting off on the bike ride.
2. At the end of the first km on a bike
3. On the way out on the run – happy to be alive
4. Heading out at the start of run (still in transition area) getting rid of all the things jiggling in my back pocket.
5. Crossing the finishing line, looking for some air. Guy behind me looks good so I must’ve looked even better (yeah right!)
6. Heading out on the run (again) before I ditched my bottle
7. The buggers caught my illegal bike mount on camera! Leaving the transition area.

Sorry, no wetsuit photos but there should be some general race day photos on the way, in which you can get the general river snake image.

Off to ride home now.

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9:10 a.m. - Being tall and nearly from Whythenshaw

I saw a "purse" or "handbag" lying on the ground outside the office window today. Being from a ruff area, I recognised the sure signs of a bag-snatching and figured I'd go take a look see if there was anything in the purse. People who have their purses snatched are generally pretty grateful to get back their keys / drivers license / empty wallet / favourite lippy, even if the money from their purse has been stollen. I made sure the ladies in the office knew what I was doing so they didn't think I was just being cheap, picking up some dirty old purse.

Unfortunately there was no ID in the purse, just a spliff and a loonie (Canadian for their dollar coin). I gratefully accepted the loonie to add to my piggy bank and tossed the purse into the can, much to the amusement of the secretaries to whom I was explaining that us English peope know a thing or two about dealing with crime.

They're not totally green behind the ears though because I kind of liked the suggestion that I take the spliff and try and sell it in the plant for another loonie. Wouldn't be becoming of a safety officer now though would it?

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

4:20 p.m. - A girl at my school

Shie was a snooty little madam at an early age. Shie’d probably admit it herself. I remember at primary school she looked over my shoulder and said, “Honestly Andrea. Are you still drawing people with no necks? Look their heads are attached straight onto their bodies”. I never was very good at art. Then Shie went on to tell me that I used my pencil too hard – “how was I to rub out those heavy lines on the page see – they’re still there even though you rubbed them out. Now your picture is a mess”. I was drawing a picture of me and my mum at a bike race with Dad and Alan. We had our big winter coats on so I figured we didn’t need any necks anyway and our arms were just brackets (( )) because we had our hands in our pockets. Shie was a ballerina and an actress. Shie was petite and small featured and made me feel tiny.

I can’t remember if it was 5th form or upper 6th (god-knows what that is in modern terms – GCSE’s and A’levels anyway – do they still have those? – I digress) but for some reason I had been drafted onto the athletics team for sports day. They didn’t have bike races so I dropped athletics as soon as I could – couldn’t run see? I volunteered to take on the high jump just because they couldn’t get anyone else and I was tall.

The games progressed and gradually girls dropped out one by one. The bar got higher and higher - a half a centimeter each time. It came down to the last three. We were competing for the medal places. There was me, a girl called Anna (?) who was big into athletics and Shie.

Shie cleared the bar just. Then the teacher, Mrs Ellis (I don’t think she’d got divorced and married Mr Finch at that point) told us that we were within a half centimeter of the Cheshire record (I’m guessing for junior athletics or something). Anna went next and Shie stood beside me waiting her turn. Anna cleared the bar again.

I was up. I was psyched out by this whole record thing. Excited and suddenly aware that I shouldn’t be able to do this. “Jees”, I said, or something like it. Shie just turned to me and said “Come on Andrea”, she whispered, “you can do it, you’re a strong cyclist, I’m just a whimpy ballerina”. I kind of liked Shie after that.

Just so you don’t ask (I can see you’re on the edge of your seat). Anna won and matched the record and I was second, 0.5cm below the Cheshire record. It’s my third biggest sporting achievement, though I didn't put that on my form for Sunday.

This whole thought process came around because I had to draw a picture. I have no scanner so I did it on the computer - hence there's no face, just the top of my pink swim cap. I realised I still draw people the same way I did when I was 6. I had to change this picture (with a bit of cutting and pasting) because the hands were in the pockets and as far as I remember the wetsuit doesn't have pockets. I also had no neck so I had to cut my head off and paste it back in with space for a neck. If you're going to psychoanalyse my picture of a pig I'd say I have a fairly positive body image which comes with being tall.


I guess I will never learn to draw though. (and I reduced the size of my feet)

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11:15 a.m. - And on last night's news...

A Canadian teenager was cleared of Anti-American Terrorist crimes after threatening to blow up classmates at his new school. The prosecutors tried to lay new terrorist laws on him... Did it not occurr to any of these people that he might JUST be a screwed up kid that's pissed because his parents forced him to leave Canada?

For his troubles he gets "time" in a wilderness camp. Sounds like a good deal to me.

America is considering changing thte dates of daylight saving time to get more sunlight through the year. Canadians are asking if we will consider / be forced to change too, to avoid confusion at border crossing and in business transactions. I'm sorry, we're talking about a country with 7 different time zones - one of which is a half-hour out from the others. So where's the problem with us being out of sync with the US? Southern areas of the US have plenty of daylight to play with but at the extremes, the new hours would put some canadian cities in the dark till 9:15 am. Daylight saving time is decided by the provinces which could really result in problems as different provinces decide to change over to daylight savings time on different days.

Watching the sunrise from your office? It's not a good thing for us early birds.

Security services found an underground secret tunnel yesterday from a greenhouse in Canada under the border to a disused house in the US. They have arrested several people in relation to the tunnel and are investigating further. Police think it has been dug by bad people smuggling drugs over the border.

I think it has been dug by Americans trying to escape the Bush regime.

Say the following words with a broad texan accent: "Terrorist", "Tourist". If you get it right, both are pronounced, "trr/rrst".

And you wonder where the problems arrise?

Disclaimer: I am not anti-American. So far I have enjoyed the company of all American individuals I have had the pleasure to meet and I suspect they all would see eye to eye with me on the issues discussed above, except maybe the time thing because if I lived in California, I'd want to enjoy more daylight hours too.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

4:09 p.m. - Today I learned something.

I had to be last in something.
Of the 26 women in my age group I was 26th.
I was 121st woman of 132 women.
I did a 34 minute swim (PB) putting me in 321st place and the rest went downhill.
I beat everyone else who raced from my village - but then that other guy was in the 60-64 age category.

This only spurs me on to do better next time and boy do I need it because I am BORED of resting - bored I tell you.

Sorry, no gimp photos yet, they've not been published.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

9:55 a.m. - Hello! My name is...


130 was what people called me all day.

I feel like a proper athlete for I still have numbers written on both arms and both legs.

I look a little gormless in this picture. I was. I was tired. I went to bed shortly after for a nap. It was 2pm.

I have tried to save you the intense detail from my journal and document the day as highlights thus:





  1. Managing a good night’s sleep the night before
  2. Getting there early – the best parking space and plenty of time to faff, phone the parents and tell them what I’m up to, chat to other racers and generally accumulate Karma. This kind of early start can only be achieved alone.
  3. Having my arms and legs written on by complete strangers.
  4. Rubbing suncream into my legs instead of muscle warm-up lotion
  5. Encouragement from other athletes
  6. Putting my wetsuit on for the first time since the store, getting it wet and finding out the water’s not so bad after all.
  7. Wearing a bright pink swim cap (for girlie)
  8. Recovering from the blind panic that set in after 100m when I decided I couldn’t possibly swim 1.5km in a wetsuit.
  9. Finding that I could keep up with crawl swimmers whilst still doing breast stroke.
  10. Seeing a fish swimming along the bottom.
  11. Hearing a kayak marshall telling me, "Not far". I'm glad because the sun was in my eyes and I was just following the splashing I could see in front through the water sloshing inside my goggles.
  12. Getting out of the lake running to cheers from faithful onlookers who didn’t even know me.
  13. Finding out I still did the swim in 40 minutes despite it being in the lake in a wetsuit
  14. Smooth transition to cycling gear.
  15. Getting told-off for getting on my bike to early but my genuine mistake being ignored by officials.
  16. Then being cheered by my work mate who helps the commentator.
  17. Finding it quite easy to ride a bike after a swim and not to uncomfortable wearing cycling shorts with wet bikini bottoms underneath (no nakedness allowed).
  18. Getting to “painted rock” (20km) in an hour.
  19. Getting back again in 40 minutes
  20. Cursing myself for having too low gears but being glad of them on the hills.
  21. A less organized transition into running gear because I’d not visualized it as much.
  22. Being cheered by same workmate again.
  23. Getting through the first km of persuading my legs to run, not cycle.
  24. Knowing I didn’t need my water bottle because there were already sufficient volunteers with paper cups on the course.
  25. Seeing the company accountant and her dog at just the point I needed spurring on.
  26. Finding I could run up the hill and didn’t need my walk-breaks (I think this was something to do with starting warm)
  27. Running through a sprinkler that an elderly couple had carefully placed in their garden close to the road for the use of hot athletes.
  28. Being spurred on by ladies and men running back the other way, “GO 130, looking good” etc. etc..
  29. Getting a high-five from the man who told me I’d better not pass him later on (I didn’t he was running the other way).
  30. Watching volunteers emptying buckets of ice water over eachother in the most entertaining wet-teeshirt competition I’ve seen in a while.
  31. Reaching the 5km turnaround point knowing its all downhill from there.
  32. Passing people as I went down the hill too fast (sore hips today)
  33. Finding someone willing to have a sprint finish for the fun of it, hence knowing that I tried my hardest.
  34. Being spurred on by the commentator who actually knew what cyclo-cross was (I put the Three Peaks down as a previous achievement!)
  35. Stopping and lying on the ground in the sun.
  36. Finding I’d finished in under 3.5 hours
  37. Finding I wasn’t last. There were more people behind me than there are starting your average cyclo cross race.
  38. Finding out the lady who gave me all the support before the start was the womens 55 – 60 age category winner (and she wooped my ass).
  39. Eating at a free picnic with other athletes through the prize presentation.
  40. Finding out that there’s another local race in a month’s time.

I completed the course in 3:26:13 and finished 338th from 380 starters. Still to find out where I came in my age group. I'm just pleased I finished 1 hour before cutoff time and wasn't last. Considering I only really trained for the run, I know where I can gain time next.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

1:09 p.m. - The Gimp

I'm now a proud owner of a wetsuit.

I look like a river snake that's eaten a small pig and two large rats.

No wonder hubby wants to come to the start line.

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9:28 a.m. - Oh GOD. Now I've gone and done it...

I am doing something I have been meaning to get around to for years. I am registered for the Peach City Triathlon on Sunday morning.

I am committed.

I have to go buy a wetsuit.

I have to do pain.

OK OK it's what I'm good at and this is all voluntary so I can't complain...

but I'm just a little scared.

Trying to follow my own advice and channel nervous energy inward.

I have done all of the individual disciplines on their own but Sunday will be the first time I've put everything together and I fully expect to be a jibbering wreck by the end. Hubby said he might come and see the start but he might lie in and come and watch me ride by near home at a more sociable hour (9am). He's coming to the buffet lunch afterwards which is nice.

So instead of doing the “3 Peaks” this year, I’ll be doing the “3 sports” and no doubt I will:

Still find the first leg the most invigorating
dipping into cold water instead of getting blown about on Ingleborough
Still find the middle leg the most enjoyable
riding along the country lane towards Naramata through the vineyards instead of peering over the dry-stone wall towards the lake district beyond.
still find the last leg the most gruelling
dragging my legs around a 10km run instead of hauling them up Pen-y-Ghent
and yes it does still go up a big steep hill – JOY!.
Pass the Kendal Mint Cake.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

3:47 p.m. - Social Diva me.

I got home from work, slept for half an hour to quell the exhaustion then ironed a dress!

In the normal world I wouldn’t have bothered but as most of my dresses have been crumpled up in a box for a year, I thought I’d better make an effort. Especially since this do was in honour of our American clients visiting their great neighbour.

Hubby introduced me to a seemingly nice couple but I spent the rest of the evening wondering how I could stand to listen any more to someone who complained about living in one of Canada’s most beautiful regions and classed herself as an “exiled Scot”. In my opinion, if you don’t like it, go home. (Don't get me wrong... I get on with most Scots).

We’re off out tonight in better company and with people from Hubby’s last employ in the old country.

Yesterday I “had an exchange” with a guy who was driving out of the gate at two minutes to lunch break.

Today:

Me: Would you go and do this job
Worker: I’m not doing that job the dust makes me sick.
Me: Fine. Returns later… here’s a dust mask. Now go do this job.
Worker: Those don’t work, I’m not doing that job.
Me: Fine… Returns later… Here’s a fine particulates NIOSH approved dust mask now go do this job.
Worker: You’re not hearing me, I’m not doing it and that’s that.

I should’ve suspended him at that point. I could’ve since we’d given him all the tools but now I have to go to the board and get them to say that.

Me: Why are you doing this? What are you trying to achieve? I don’t care if you win or not, I just want to have someone working for me who will do what I ask you to without arguing.
Worker: I don’t go for anything I know I can’t win…
I shall spare you more details…

The funny part is:-
a) I got him to do another shitty job he doesn’t enjoy just to stop me from having to suspend him. So I basically saved his own ass for him.
b) He came and parked outside my office at 9:03 to prove to me that he wasn’t leaving the site early. Only problem is, 9:00 isn’t lunchtime, it’s coffee time. I got the guy so mad he actually left the site, drove to MacD’s to get a burger, went home, put the TV on… then wondered why a different program was on TV.

Hello… Mister… It’s only your coffee break. He returned to work 15 minutes late.

I didn’t have the energy to rake him over the coals for it. I hope he just feels sufficiently dumbass to think twice before making a fool of himself next time!

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2:26 p.m. - Shout, "YEAH" and laugh till your sides hurt.

Last night's party had an interesting twist.

Today has been tiring and funny.

And I ran 9.3km in 50 minutes around our massive airport.

I want to go home and sleep.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

4:32 p.m. - Par-T

Going to drink with some academics and discuss the universe tonight. What fun! Claps hands, clicks heels, sips from glass.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

5:01 p.m. - MOVIE! Frida

Last night’s movie actually made me add one to my bloglist. Frida, 2002, Miramax. It’s a fascinating, colourful, powerful, portrayal of the life of Mexican artiste Frida Kahlo which keeps the emotional fury at a minimum for such an emotionally loaded subject. It stars Alfred Molina (you’d know him if you saw him), Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek (as Frida). She was in Spanglish that I blogged about last week. Oh yeah… and Antonio Banderas is in it too (and if that don’t make you watch it…)


Me, “You should watch this hon, it says it has.scenes of nudity and coarse language”.
Hubby, “It’ll just be men’s bare bottoms, I don’t think I’ll bother”
Cut to naked woman, “Or maybe I will”.

Eventually he left because he wanted a bath (recognized a chick-flick when he saw one).

I was amazed – for Canada. They took all the F* words out but the nudity was… well, she had revolutionary sexual tendancies for her era and they managed not to cut them. She also had an affair with Trotsky before he was murdered (and if that doesn’t get me some hits on American Government agency investigative beaureaus I don’t know what will).

The basics are, as a girl she is in a crash which crushes her foot and damages her spine. She’s committed to bed for years of her teenage life where she starts to paint. She seeks the opinion of a womanizing artist who she eventually marries and becomes embroiled in his Communist politics. He sleeps around to stupid extremes. Sleeping with her sister finally breaks up their relationship at which point she gets her own back when her family puts up Trotsky during his exile and she sleeps with him under her ex-husband’s nose.

Eventually the love of her life returns, after one year seeking her forgiveness. She continues working from her bed as her back gives in to life. I won’t ruin the ending but it’s happy. Though everybody dies in the end, her death isn’t a sad ending that will leave you in tears. Just proud to be human.

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11:18 a.m. -


You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

The World's Shortest Personality Test


Well. There you go then

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10:34 a.m. - Did you just see what I just saw?

In June 2003 I went to my first girls-only hen night. I was part-conspirator, having organized a surprise Ann Summers party at the bride’s house. Her idea was to go ice skating – her sister and I had other plans (incase you’re wondering, yes that’s where the picture of me in underwear and a gorilla suit came from).

At the party I bought a two piece swim suit which looked good in the catalogue but once I received it, I realised I wouldn’t dare wear it anywhere other than in private. It’s beige, has a halterneck top, kept closed by leather laces at the front. The bottoms are hot pants with similar leather lacing down the side. The leather laces are decorated with beads on the ends. It’s very amazon woman (which I suppose I am) but I’m just not hot enough to wear it in public. Sorry.

I did intend to return it, not having a need to wear a swimsuit in private, but with the move to Canada in full-swing at the time, it never happened and the bottoms and top got separated and stored in boxes for some time – until Friday.

On Friday, I couldn’t find the old green cozy – the one with the threadbare ass and the failing stitching - so I decided to wear the amazon woman outfit into the hot tub for a Friday night soalk.

As we wallowed and bubbled in the fizzy water we could hear a helicopter flying close, so close. It’s not an unusual thing to hear a helicopter here. It took us a while to get used to it. Where we came from in England, the sound of a chopper was usually the police helicopter following another stolen vehicle, another escaping convict, another drug dealer. Here though, they have a crop of cherries which tend to explode when they get rained on. Hence, after every heavy rainstorm, there’s the sound of helicopter blades cutting the damp air – blow drying the cherries with the down-draft! Yes, you heard me. The crop IS worth a lot more money than a helicopter ride so I guess it can’t be too extravagant a luxury.

This particular helicopter seemed to be upto something different though. Mainly, it sounded like it was hovering over our neighbours place. All a bit intriguing and enough to make an inquisitive young woman stand up in her hot tub to take a look over her house roof too see what’s up.

Unfortunately the pilot had, at that moment just started flying our way, past the house and just as Hubby pointed out that I was probably looking pretty naked in my beige swimsuit with my beige (not totally bronze yet) skin.

Sure enough the rude little pilot, on seeing me, banked hard left, dodging the odd pinetree and did another pass just to check me out.

Ack Ackackack. At 32 I’m still turning heads – and tail rudders.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

12:28 p.m. - Customers Notice:



Customers of Freeride must only use the carpark whilst patronizing KFC. Seems reasonable to me.

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8:31 a.m. - The writing's on the table

(Chris & Tracy)

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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8:30 a.m. - What's the Story?

Morning Glory

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

Back in March, a lady scattered some seeds on some soil in a pot, applied water and fertilizer and left them in the sun - and look what happened! I am so pleased.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

7:46 a.m. - Just a quickie

Having spoken to a trucker this morning (because they know everything and I don't have a radio on my bike) I have just heard of the terrrorist attacks in London.

Words don't do it

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7:21 a.m. - Stereotypes

The Okanagan is filled with orchards growing cherries, applies, pears, peaches and plums. From the end of May through July it is also filled with little Glastonbury-esque tent communities of hippies - mostly from Quebec - coming to pick the fruit from the trees for the farmers. The pay is OK and the lifestyle is certainly excellent with all the sunshine, start time of 5:30 am and quittin' time of 2pm at the latest. The rest of the day is traditionally spent smoking pot at the beach and eating the days rejects.

With all the sunshine around here, people who have a good tan are not rare. Just because your skin is dark, it does not mean you are mexican, though they also make up a large contingent of the fruit-picking population. Your dark skin might mean you're a part of the large Singaporean(?) community or just someone who likes to spend a lot of time on their garden.

Last night as I picked up the empty recycling bin to take it to the house for refilling, a very bronzed couple came and asked me for directions to "zee store". English was obviously not their first language so I tried not to speak too quickly - especially since my not-totally-Canadian-yet accent is unfamilliar to most. My speach was accompanied by many hand gestures to point out the significance of left, right and small store. I think they'd been walking for a while in the wrong direction and relieved that they were happily heading the right way, they wished me an eager "Graçias", to which I was able to respond in my best Spanish accent, "De nada". Whoo hoo get me.

This morning, as I rode up the hill from the village I passed people loading food chillers into a car. They were all wearing colourful baggy pants, scruffy tees, dreds, multicoloured bandanas. I caught the girl's eye and said "Good morning", it not at all occurring to me that they might be French. She, almost grumpily, said, "Bonjour" back. Now think about it. Take yourself back to the grueling classroom exchanges. What's the next thing that logically follows Bonjour? Of all the years of studying and living in France, the only thing that would pop into my head at 5:30 am? "Ca va?"

How COOL am I?

Well, she was impressed anyway that I acknowledged the fact she was a Francophone and all her friends kind of started and turned around in the car as she called, "Bien, merci, Good morning" after me as I rode up the hill. After her exchange she probably got in the car and thought.

How COOL am I?

I realised how nice it is if you can make the slightest exchange with people in their own language on your own turf. Off to learn some chinese.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

3:20 p.m. - Hot in the city

The cat woke me at 4am, trying to crawl into a very crackly plastic carrier bag, which I took away and put in the drawer. Then the birds were keeping me awake so I shut the window. I woke at 4:30 with the cat standing in my eye as she had fallen off the bed head because she's too fat to walk along it - though not really fat at all, it's just a narrow bed head. At 4:32 the cat went outside. At 5:30 I woke up too hot. At 6am the cat was meowing to be let back in and hubby went to make tea and oblige the cat who promptly went to sleep on the bed.

I packed all my cycling stuff for this morning but really didn't expect to ride in. I was, as I expected, too tired from cycling, running and swimming three days in a row so I got ready for work slowly. Our auditor was popping in on the way home from another job and he was supposed to be here at 4:30, hence I wasn't in first thing. He just came by now so I suppose this is going to be a nice, short day. I deserve it after achieving great things yesterday and today.

I didn't even eat my salad.

Last night I felt inspired to read a new book. I went into the basement (too late for the library) and searched our boxes. I returned sur terre with:
Tuesday, July 05, 2005

12:48 p.m. -

Search / rescue plane / fire engine.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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12:48 p.m. -

Tourists on the river - or "floaters" as we call them.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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12:47 p.m. -

Buy a vineyard anyone?

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

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11:48 a.m. - Happy Birthday

To my daddy. The best daddy a girl could wish for.

One day, when my daddy's retired, I'm going to go and spend the day doing something really cool with him on his birthday. Today though, he was at market at 3am and in bed when I phoned earlier. So I went for a run for him and managed to top the 8km mark and find a new circular route and right now, I'm waiting to call him again after he's finished watching the Tour de France.

They bought a digi box! I nearly fell off my chair!

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Monday, July 04, 2005

9:07 a.m. - Nu Shoes



On Thursday I bought new sandals with a heel piece so I can wear my new feet with them. The cat was sooooo bored by the whole thing.

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8:32 a.m. - My Canada-Weekend

There was a frightening event on Thursday. Click the link it's an amazing picture. The ferry from Tsawwassen near Vancouver to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island lost power to her reverse thrust engines on her approach to the harbour. We have taken this ferry about 12 times since we’ve been in Canada so this is a place that is familiar to us. The captain of the “Queen of Oak Bay” did everything he could – not a lot – but it was ALL he could do. He cut the drive engines, sent his crew to scream “get off the peir” to the public, sounded the horn in a series of long, deaffening monotones and drifted straight into the moorings of small boats in the mariner. The 7000T ferry crushed 12 little boats beneath it as it ran aground. In the worst case he could’ve hit the gigantic terminal structure doing untold damage to gantries, walkways and the people on them, not to mention the potential damage to the ferry and what that would’ve meant for the passengers on board.

It didn’t seem to me though, watching the footage, that there was much choice in where the ferry impacted. There seemed to be little steering involved. Things just happened to go wrong at a point in the manouvre where the damage would be least. What’s more, with the Canada day weekend it’s a complete miracle that no-one was aboard any of the vessels that were crushed. The only inconvenience – a few stranded passengers and some big backlogs for travelers. Like 911, the whole sickening scene has been played over and over on the news and it’s good fascination fodder. You can’t help feel sorry for the folks whose weekends are messed up and the business owners whose summer income is hooped, but watching that massive floating parking-lot drift helplessly into tiny matchbox-by-comparison boats, desperately sounding its haunting note is like staring at a thousand cars in ditches, a million kittens being rescued from a tree, a hundred domestic arguments played out in the street. What is it about the human psychy that makes us need to look?

After watching the news on Thursday night I went to the pub and gave my future neighbour and her foetus(es) a hug. Yes, she thinks she’s having two at the rate she’s growing.

On Friday I did some more edging around the lawn lying on the grass in my bikini for it was hot, so hot. After lunch I gave up and came inside with the deck doors wide open to do some more curtain-making but we had beer with lunch at 3pm so I didn’t really get much done before we went to bubble in the hot tub on-cool. Who needs a pool?

This time last year we went to pick up The Boy from the airport. Whilst we were killing an hour before his flight came in we ended up at Pier 1 Imports which is a bit like a small Ikea but more… ethnic. There we managed to get a stripey rug to brighten up our future living room at some exceptional deal. For some reason I suggested on Saturday morning that we take a trip to our nearest Big City to look for curtain poles and bathroom mirrors for this Big City has a number of stores that our local city does not, including Pier 1 imports. Much to our joy it was again the once a year sale and we picked up two large, moderately expensive pewter mirrors for the price of one – RESULT.

In the afternoon I spent time in the basement putting my best racing bike, “Red” together for the first time since July last year.

On Sunday I had a wonderful bonding session with Red and realised my best friends have nicknamed their daughter the same as my best bike. It obviously wasn’t on purpose since she has flaming red hair like her mum but I’ll always think of them now when I’m out on Red. We rode up to Indian Rock where Gravy lives, from whom we bought our land. I have never been before. It’s an amazing little community on the cliff-side which looks south down the lake to the city in the distance. There’s a torrent of a creek that passes through Indian Rock which actually passes as one long waterfall it’s so steep. It was amazing. The air was blue, the sky was so bright.
On the way back I was caught up by a honey on an ultra-light bike, out riding from the village holiday centre where he’s on hols with his family. He tolerated my gasped sentences and hung back for a chat which was nice but I burned my legs off trying not to slow him down too much, my lungs being like the bag of mucus they are.

Red held together well for all my tinkering on Saturday afternoon. The wheels stayed properly attached to the frame and the gears and brakes worked which was a relief on Indian Rock hill. Still, I didn’t have the nerve to ride the Canadian cattle grids which are 4” round steel tubes on 10” centres. Still I wouldn’t have done Red proud if I didn’t have to jump off and run across something.

Back chez nous, hubby was playing with the toad and had hardly missed me. I cleaned up around the house, satisfied with my little soujourn into the outdoors and even cleaned BOTH bathrooms! By 3pm though we were both craving something different again so we walked to the beach and I had my first swim of the year. It was remarkably easy to get into the cold water for the first time. Once I was in upto my shorts I kinda went for it with a few sharp, breathy strokes before I got used to the water temperature. Summer really is here and she’s watching the swallows catching flies from the surface of the water before her eyes and seeing the osprey finish their nest ready for the hatchlings.

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