Visitors from the UK – Part 1

Jan’s sister Linda and her partner, Andrew and his two girls, Sarah and Katie, are our latest visitors from the UK. They arrived on the 25th July and stayed with us for 5 days before heading off on a tour of the Rockies (where, we hear, they have seen a multitude of bears (both adults and cubs). Jan and I have only ever sighted one bear in the Rockies and so we are delighted for them (or insanely jealous…one of the two!)

Here’s the family group, in front of the Okotoks Big Rock that we have featured on previous posts.We took a trip over to Saskatoon Farm…
…but you know by now what the traffic is like around here. We were caught for, ooh, it must have been seconds, in a horrific traffic jam!…The entrance to Saskatoon Farm……and these are the buildings that form the store and restaurant – they are quite individual……they have some beautiful floral displays……and a very sweet dog (we think he is called Pedro).Later, we whizzed past the local RCMP office…no, seriously, that IS a police station!…We also went and met Jan for lunch down in High River (as Jan has had to continue working while our visitors have been here). We took a little drive down to where we had previously seen Eagles (see prior posts) and this time we got to see an Osprey.High River has a number of painted murals on local walls. The Glass family are based in the town and they have a long association with Chuckwagon Racing, as celebrated on this particular illustration…
Later, we had some lunch in a local park by the Highwood River……where they do a rather large Dandelion!On one of the evenings, the dart board in our basement came into use. The competition was fierce…Katie, Jan and Eamonn versus Sarah, Linda and Andrew. Despite Katie’s fine efforts here (well, if you excuse the dart embedded in the wall a couple of feet beneath the dart-board), victory went to Sarah and co.However, when they return from the Rockies this Friday, (they then stay with us for another week), there will undoubtedly be an opportunity for revenge!

Part 2 to follow in due course.


Jan’s Taurus – Few More Pics

We had previously promised a few more pics of Jan’s Ford Taurus. A couple of months into ownership, it seems to be running very well and as you might imagine, it’s a tad more economical than our other car! We used the Taurus for our day trip to Kananaskis, where these shots were taken. Busy, eh!So much for the “camera never lies”…the car is in need of a clean but in the sunlight, it looks rather smart…A leather interior (rather than cloth) helps to keep the static electricity shocks to a minimum. Jan, being just a little-un at 5ft 1″, particularly likes the fact that the car has pedals that can be raised or lowered to a comfortable position at the touch of a button. It also has bluetooth connectivity with her cell phone so that Jan can freak out when the car starts talking to her as she drives, reading her text messages and the like! Also, it has a snazzy little USB port hidden away in a compartment so that you can hook up your Ipod and notionally at least, use voice controls to choose tracks, etc. However, to date, this fool-proof Microsoft technology seems to be being unhinged by the Lancastrian tones in Jan’s accent!And here’s the owner, looking very proud!J&E.

Day Trip To Kananaskis

In the UK, we wouldn’t normally entertain going out for a day trip on a Bank Holiday Monday but over here, it is a totally different prospect. The first Monday in August is a public holiday here in Alberta and after spending the morning finishing up work in the back yard, we headed out for an afternoon drive to Kananaskis Country, which lies between Okotoks and the Rockies. Given the level of traffic……progress was swift and in no time at all, we had reached our destination, where we saw lots of samples of the Albertan provinicial flower, the Wild Rose…The Bellflower’s also looked very pretty…Alberta’s Provinicial Animal is the Big Horn Sheep. No big horn’s on this sweet little young’un though…Having heard about our love of Alberta Beef this Cow was looking a smidge nervous!…Here’s a couple of other locals…The scenery, less than a hour’s drive from home, wasn’t too shabby either!…It was only a short trip but very relaxing and very enjoyable.


Garden Progress

It was May 4th, 2008 that we decided we had had enough of a plain lawn for a back garden (or back yard as they call it here). This was our starting point that day…no deck, no patio, no borders and a whole bunch of all but dead grass!

Some three months later, we are all but complete in the back yard…at least for this summer season. The deck and patio are done(bar a couple of minor jobs that need finishing), our BBQ gas line has been hooked up and new turf (Canadian’s call it “sod”) has been laid around the patio. Our personal contribution has been to spend countless hours making the borders, which has involved digging out the existing turf, demarcating each border with bricks, planting, matting and mulching. It has been very hard work, especially when the temperatures have sometimes been in the 90’s as we “toiled”.

The latest and final borders to complete are the long border down the right hand side of the yard as you look from the house……and this comparatively small border running in front of the deck, both of which we completed during the long weekend just gone. The grass continues to improve although it is still some way from the lush carpet of green that we wish it to be. Still, there’s always next year to tackle that! For the remainder of this summer season, we think we’re going to sit back with a bottle or two of beer and/or a glass of wine and enjoy all we have achieved thus far.


BBQ Bliss

Having recently had our gas BBQ hooked up (see earlier posts) we have been putting it through its paces.We were concerned that the absence of charcoal that we were used to with our little BBQ in the UK might undermine the taste, but after 3 or 4 uses now, that concern has been set aside. Thus far, good results have been produced with good old Alberta beef……as well as salmon, sweetcorn, mushrooms and potatoes.

On this occasion, a small smidgeon of steak, sweetcorn and Janet’s “world famous” potato salad (well, OK, it’s famous in our household, does that count?!) all went down very well!