Wednesday, 28 November 2007

27/11/2007 - 29/11/2007 Kaleden

27/11/2007 - Today we woke up to a winter wonderland - we had received about 5 cm of snow - it is just beautiful and is exactly what we had been dreaming of since we started organising this holiday a couple of years ago. We then drove Peter up to Kelowna and watched him play Ice Hockey, it really is a great spectator sport. Peter plays with a group of friends who have made up two teams and play on Tuesday's and Thursday's - it looks like great exercise.

28/11/2007 - It's my birthday. And what a fantastic day I had, as much as I missed having my great family and friends from home around to help me celebrate. My lovely friends from Canada (oh and my husband) sure made my day very special and certainly very memorable. The day started off with a beautiful card from the Big Fella and a coffee in bed. Dave's mum bought me a gorgeous brown jumper. Dave then took me to the Casino for a couple of hours, unfortunately I lost but Dave had a win - so all in all not too bad. After that we then went over to Bobbie and Brant's house. Mike the fisherman (Karin's husband) owns a crabbing licence and had been crabbing the previous night and had come down to Kaleden with a bucketful of Dungeness Crabs and all I can say is they were absolutely delicious. For dinner there was Dave and I, Bobbie and Brant, Lisa and Peter, Karin, Mike and Hayden, Louise and Tom (Peter's parents) and May. Dave had organised a couple of delicious cakes (Cappuccino Mouse and a Chocolate Orange Brandy) I think they are both sitting on my hips. I also received some wonderful presents from the Howards; a bird feeder and feed, which is proudly hanging up outside my kitchen window, some feet and hand warmers (which I'm sure will be used very shortly) and a beautiful arrangement which is now sitting at the front door for all visitors to admire. Tom and Louise gave me a lovely presented bottle of wine and May bought me some wooden cloths - so I was definitely spoilt. Ohh I better add that the big fella had previously purchased me a fantastic new jacket. Then when we arrived home I found another wonderful surprise - two bottles of one of my favourite wines Oyster Bay from Tony and Lisa (our landlords). So a huge thank you to all my Canadian friends who really made my day very very special, Dave, my family at home for their phone calls and cards. I also received some great emails from my friends back at home and a great surprise from Mrs Mullet who phoned me. To top the day off, it started snowing again in the evening. What a perfect day.....

29/11/2007 - The morning after - We received another couple of centimetres of snow overnight so the Big Fella and I decided it was time to make a snowman (you may not recognise it as a snowman, it looks more like an alien - but hey we had a lot of fun). Dave decided that he should try and remove some of the snow from the driveway, I think because there was a couple of days build up that some of the compact snow had turned a bit icy - so he really had to put his back into it.
Dave now knows why all Canadian boys skate so well. They are all given a shovel at an early age and told to go and clean the driveway. Dave spent 3 hours slipping and sliding on the driveway. (And he still falls like a bag of.....).

Thursday, 22 November 2007

17/11/2007 - 25/11/2007

17/11/2007 - 20/11/2007 - Over the last couple of days, we have been preparing for the start of the ski season. (Like squirrels gathering their nuts for winter...) We went to another Ice Hockey game (not a good one the Vees lost 4-1) and we won a lucky door prize. We have been shopping up at Kelowna and Dave had to buy another snow boarding jacket, he just happened to try one on whilst we were looking at prices for snowboards and skis for the the Eames's and Elford's and lo and behold he just had to have it (and the Big Fella is the one that keeps telling me if we keep spending like this - we will be home a lot sooner). One of the other tasks which we have finally completed was to get our application in for our extension of our Visa whilst we are here in Canada, so fingers are crossed. The other option is to go to Mexico for a couple of weeks...

21/11/2007 - The temperature is really starting to drop, I woke up today to go for my walk and looked at the temperature with the wind chill factor -10 degrees Celsius so I put my slippers on and made myself a cup of coffee. For the next 5 days the maximum temperature is going to be -1, I think my walking days are over. We just need to get some rain and we will definitely have snow. There is snow expected to fall here on Sunday and Monday, but we don't hold our breath anymore, unfortunately their weather forecasts are about as accurate as ours back home. We took may to lunch at Theo's, a Greek Restaurant that we went to back in 1999 with May, Tony and Simmy and Scott and Lisa Miller - the restaurant hasn't changed at bit.

23/11/2007 - The slopes are open - let the fun begin. We set the alarm for 7:30am a bit of a shock for the big fella. We packed up our toys and headed up the mountain. The temperature was dropping as we were driving up the mountain, the lowest it got to was -13, I'm starting to wonder if 3 layers is going to be warm enough. When we arrived at the top the sun was shining and it had warmed up to a nice -8. As many of the people who have been skiing with me would know I hate the T Bars when I'm on the board - unfortunately for me it was the only lift that was open - and hey I'm not walking. So off we headed to the T-Bar and for some reason it wasn't as hard on my knees as I remember - probably because I wasn't fighting it - and I didn't fall off which meant I didn't need to make several attempts to get to the top. Well Dave certainly hadn't forgot how to snow board off he went, we did agree that the run was definitely in a lot better shape than what we thought it would be, it was certainly better than what when we went to Mount Hotham last year. After 5 runs we decided to head for a coffee (not that we are out of shape at all). After a light snack and some coffee we headed back up the mountain. After another couple of runs, and on our way back up, I turned around to see the Big Fella....fall off the T-Bar, but you know me I didn't really say much. Well after that run I decided I needed a break, you really don't get a lot of time to rest - the most amount of people in front of us for the T Bar was 4 people. After 12.5 runs for Dave and 11 runs for me - we decided to call it quits, no need to ruin ourselves on our first time out. Soon as we got home and unloaded we jumped into the outside Hot Tub taking with us a couple of drinks. I don't think I'll be doing that again - we hadn't had enough water to rehydrate and we were very thirsty so the drinks went down way to quick and combined with the heat of the hot tub it was a recipe for a headache. We both got out of the Hot Tub and needed a little party nap - well about an hour later we both woke up with what I would call a hangover. Then at about 5:00am Dave woke up with a splitting headache.

24/11/2007 - We had great intentions of getting up early again this morning to go up the mountain for another couple of hours, but hey sometimes the best made plans go bust. We both got out of bed and we were surprised at how well our bodies actually felt- I was feeling really good until I sat down on the kitchen chair and then I knew that I fell on my buttocks yesterday, I went and had a look in the mirror (I know too much information) and there is this great big bruise right in the middle of my right cheek. The Big Fella is still recovering from his headache last night and the central heating decided to stop working - lucky we have 2 fireplaces to keep us nice and warm. I got excited this afternoon to see our first snow flurries.

25/11/2007 - Today is the Grey Cup Final. (This is the grand final of Canada's football. It's a big event in Canada and everybody gathers around the TV for 4 hours so that you can watch total of 60 mins of football.) We spent the day at Bobbie and Brant's with a number of their friends.

We finally got to meet Karin and Hayden, Karin is Bobbie and Brant's youngest daughter and Hayden is Karin's beautiful baby.

The Woodpeckers are still in hiding. (Or they have finally got into the roof and are nesting...)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

12/11/2007 - 16/11/2007

12/11/2007 - Today the clean-up began. It was amazing how destructive the wind was, we were lucky and only lost the big Christmas tree and a bit of guttering. The two houses up the back from us weren't so lucky, they both lost parts of their roofs. Parts of Penticton lost power for up until about 4:30pm. Dave and Tony (the landlord) decided they couldn't save the big pine tree (which I wasn't very happy about). They spent the most of the day cutting the tree up and removing it from the front yard - of course they had to remove all the lights first. Whilst they were doing the clean up they came across some Bear poop right in our front yard - how exciting, I've been keeping a look out but as yet I've not been able to spot one. (Probably to much wine...)

13/11/2007 - This morning the clean-up continued we needed to rake all the leaves up (Which were knee deep around the yard) - and believe me this was not a small task, it took Dave and I a couple of hours and a couple of trailer loads to remove most of the leaves. Tony came over again and bought with him 2 cartons of Kokanee and 1 carton of Corona (I think he appreciates the help the Big Fella has been given him - he did make a comment today, that we've worked harder than all the paid workers he has hired). Tony also bough some more wire for the winery (so Dave and I had our afternoon task planned), meanwhile Tony and Dave needed to remove and replant a smaller tree in the side, this was partly due to the fact that we had picked out another Christmas tree to be lit outside. So whilst they were doing the removal etc, I had the task of going through all the Christmas lights (something like 50ft) and checking all the bulbs. Once this was all done and the new tree was successfully lit up, Dave and I headed off to the vineyard for some more wire hanging, Tony headed down the front to do some more chain sawing on some huge logs for fire wood. When Dave and I finished in the vineyard we went down to help Tony out, Dave has now learnt how to use a Chain-Saw they still wont let me near it, they think the guns enough for now. Farmer Dave also got a lesson on how to drive the bigger tractor, I'm yet to be given mine (I think they are trying to tell me something - this maybe due to the fact that they watched me try to reverse the smaller tractor and trailer down the side of the vineyard - let me say it took a little while and I did think I was going to run out of gas.) Dave and I are really enjoying the manual work during the day, not so much in the morning when we feel like we need a fork lift to get us out of bed. I suppose the one good thing is that the day light hours are fairly short - the sun rises around 7:30am and sets around 4:30pm.

14/11/2007 - Well after we could finally get out of bed - we decided it was time to have the day off. We headed into town to buy some more decorations (an 8 foot blow-up Snowman) and accessories for our Christmas lights etc.
We then went to another Ice Hockey Game with Bobbie, Brant and Peter. When you go through the door they are selling the programs so the Big Fella bought two for us all. You wouldn't believe it but Brants lucky program number got called out, to be part of the end of the 1st period fun. We tried to convince him to have a go, but I think he just knew to many people there and wasn't about to make a goose of himself. Peter, Bobbie and Dave all had the same reaction. So yep you guessed it, I couldn't let the opportunity go pass. What you had to do was to go out on to the middle of the ice rink with a Hockey stick (I had no idea even how to hold it) and shoot pieces of fruit into the net from different parts of the rink. Mmm first of all I tripped going down the stairs to the rink, then it took them a couple of attempts to find me a kids helmet that would fit me then it was onto the ice. Well the first three were from halfway the orange, apple and grapefruit, the next two a banana and a pear were abut 5 metres closer and then the last one was the pineapple only about 5 metres out from the net. I was up against a local named Mike, but at least I was the crowd favourite (when they found out I'd never been on ice before and I was Australian). When the compere announced my name and details the crowd cheered and started blowing their horns and ringing their cow bells (I think I even got part of a standing ovation from some of the crowd). Well after the first line it was 1 nil to me -the apple was my lucky piece of fruit. After the second line it was 2-1 to me. believe it or not the banana went in. (Of course it would being a banana bender...) Off to the pineapple, well I must admit my attempt was very weak, it didn't even make it to the line (it was a lot harder to hit than I thought) so still 2-1 to me then Mike stepped up to the pineapple, the crowd was on the edge of their seats, I was standing nervously in the middle, he hit the pineapple and it missed, 2-1 to the Aussie girl and the crowd went wild. After getting off the ice and heading back to my seat, I had high fives and hugs from the crowd. Ohh and my prize a 72 packet of fruit bars - but hey I had great fun.

15/11/2007 - For the last couple of days we haven't seen or heard a woodpecker, now we've got them scared, but don't worry I'm still out there looking, I just have to get one - I hate to lose. It was Bobbie's birthday today and she invited us over for yet another lovely roast beef dinner with Peter and Lisa (and Buck the dog), May, Jack and Norma (Brant's brother and sister-in-law), Tom and Louise (Peter's mother and father), Dave and I and of course Bobbie and Brant.

16/11/2007 - Today I wrapped the Christmas presents and Dave put up some more lights, he wont let me put up my 8 foot Snowman until 1 December (bugger) I can't wait to see it blown up and lit up. I think if I had my way our house would look something like the Griswalds, but the Big Fella (the spoil sport) is keeping me under control. Off to another Ice Hockey Game, the clash of the two top teams, the Penticton Vees and the Salmon Arm Silver Backs. What a great game at full time it was 3 all, they then went to 4 on 4 for 5 minutes still 3 all, then 3 on 3 for minutes still 3 all - Tied Game.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

06/11/2007 - 12/11/2007 - Spokane (Washington), Kaleden

06/11/2007 - We packed up our bags and headed off to Spokane, (Washington State in the USA) for a bit of shopping and a look around. The drive took about 5 hours, we checked into our hotel and set off to find the nearest shopping centre. The first couple of stops were to check out the price of the snow skis and snowboards etc. Well the prices over here certainly are a lot cheaper than at home.

07/11/2007 - Today we just hit one of the major shopping centres. Dave came with me for the first hour or two whilst we purchased some clothes for him - a couple of pair of jeans, jacket, jumper, belts and few other things and then he decided he was done. So he left me in the shopping centre whilst he went and got the brakes checked on the car and went though the process of trying to buy fuel in the USA when your rego plates say you are from Canada and your visa says you are from Australia. Well after a couple of hours, and most of my Christmas Shopping done I'd had enough so I just sat down drank coffee and watched the other shoppers go pass. We went to dinner at Anthony's. The special was Australian Lobster, ($19US) it was cheaper to purchase than back at home - and Dave said it tasted pretty good - I was hoping to get a taste but it was gone just way too quick - good old boarding school.

08/11/2007 - Well we eventually got the car packed (with all our extra shopping bags etc), checked out of the hotel and headed off on foot to do a bit of exploring around the city. Spokane held the World Expo Fair in 1974, they have done a fantastic job at keeping the park etc so beautiful. From the park to downtown (city) there are numerous pedestrian and vehicle bridges to get from one side to the other side. After a couple of hours of wandering the park and the city streets we thought we better start to head home. We stopped at one of the RV yards on the way home. In typical Dave and Lisa fashion we started off looking at our options at under $50k well by the time we left we were looking at a 39ft Winnebago with two slides outs, leather chairs, 3 TV's and double the price. Well at the point we knew it was time to go - we wanted to get back home before it got too dark - forgetting of course that it starts to get dark over here at 4:30pm. The drive home was an experience that we won't forget coming down over one of the mountain ranges the fog was as thick as pea and ham soup. We had to slow down to drive between 10 - 15 km's and I was doing most of the navigation from our navigation system - we finally made it home safe and sound. There have been a number of accidents reported on the passes through the mountains so we have decided that the night driving should be kept to a minimum.

09/11/2007 - This morning our landlord came over to do some work around the vineyard etc, so Farmers Dave and Lisa put on our working clothes and gloves and off we went. Our first job was to hang the wire between the vineyard posts for the vines to grow on. W ell after our initial instructions on how to drive the tractor and how to hang the wire we were off and running - we both had a great morning and it was a really good workout. The best part was at the end of the morning when we had both been driving the tractor and Farmer Dave had to ask how to start the Tractor and I could and did tell him how - you need to put your foot on the brake to start it. I am looking forward to the wine we will get in three years time.

Tony also set up the lights to our big Christmas tree out the front and they look great.

We headed off to another Ice Hockey game - in the corporate box again - Unfortunately our team lost 5-3. "We'll get em next time...."

10/11/2007 - WOODY WOODPECKER COUNT - Dave 1 -- Lsa 0. Dave is starting to frighten me he is really getting into the lifestyle. This morning we heard one of the woodpeckers and before I had a chance the Big Fella jumped up and got the gun and we got our first woodpecker. Dave seems to think that with me doing the shooting we have more woodpeckers living here then ever as the word has got out that it is a safe place to live. Unfortunately the woodpeckers are making a mess of the eaves. Within a day they are able to make a hole big enough to get inside the eaves.

We headed off into town to do a bit of grocery shopping - and would you believe it Dave bought a golf club (a Lovett), which of course he has had to practice with - in the lounge room it's too cold outside. Lucky the roof is so high here - Dave can actually get a full swing in. Ooh and I bought a few Christmas decorations.

12/11/2007 - Last night we had our first windy experience which Tony had warned us about. (Up to 90k per hour.) The house has a very high front and acts as a big sail for an old galleon pirate ship. The double glazed glass flexed in the wind and the house creaked and groaned as the sides flexed from the wind. Unfortunately we woke up this morning to find the wind had taken its toll and our Christmas tree was resting in the driveway- don't think we will be going anywhere today.

Friday, 2 November 2007

30/10/2007 - 03/11/2007 - Kaleden

30/10/2007 - We decided that we didn't have many opportunities for golfing left. So we packed up our clubs and headed to St Andrews Lake Course (a shortish nine hole golf course). It's amazing how Dave couldn't possibly get out of bed to go for a walk in this weather, but he is able to get up to play golf. We arrived at the golf course around 11:00 and we were told that as yet they hadn't been given the go ahead from the green keepers to play (the frost still hadn't cleared). At about 11:45 we got the go ahead. This was to be there last day that they were opened - they spray the greens and then they all pack up and leave until 1 April. So out we went and all I can say was it was very cold, we hired an electric cart without a windscreen in the front - so you could imagine the wind hurtling through the cart - I was freezing, I had on a long sleeve thermal shirt, a woollen golf vest, a jumper and then a wind / rain coat and this didn't help. We had a great nine holes, but decided that was enough. Dave and I both played reasonable golf even with our frozen hands.

31/10/2007 - Halloween has arrived. Dave's first and only job for the day was to carve the pumpkin and surprised as I was he attacked it with real enthusiasm, he did his research on the net and stenciled his drawing first. Well all I can say was I was very impressed he really did do a great job and I think he even enjoyed doing it. I was told that we probably wouldn't get any trick or treaters because all the families went to the community hall and only trick or treated in the more populated streets - well we got one, I was so excited I gave him lots and lots of Candy.

01/11/2007 - I couldn't help myself but feed the deer in the front yard, I know I'm not supposed to but hey I couldn't resist (and yes it was something like -2). They are still frightened and wont let me get too close but I'm working on it. We took May to lunch today at Salty's on the Lake (Okanagan) it was pretty good food, I'm sure we will frequent this place again.

02/11/2007 - We picked up Bobbie and Brant tonight to go to another Ice Hockey game, as you can see they also enjoy getting into the spirit of Halloween.

03/11/2007 - We went over to our Landlords (Tony and Lisa) place for a few drinks tonight. We had a really good night - as I was the DD so I didn't over indulge but the other Lisa took over. They are both lovely people and I'm sure we will be inviting them over to our place to replay the favour. One thing we were a bit surprised about was how well they dressed for us to come over for a few drinks. Lets just say they were both dressed up more than Dave and I. I haven't been able to get Dave out for a walk lately, but I must say he has been doing a lot more manual labour work than what he has been used to. He's been working in the vineyard drilling holes, moving firewood and also helping out with some dry walling (gyprocking) - Farmer Dave.