Monster Trucks – The Stills

We went along to the Stampede Grandstand today to watch the Monster Trucks (and more). We had never been along to such an event before and it turned out to be good fun. Noisy as hell, as you might expect – but that will become more apparent in the follow up post to this (which we’ll put up whenever we get a chance to process the video footage that we took). Anyway, enjoy…This guy was from Lethbridge, Alberta…Deerfoot Trail on a Monday morning???It wasn’t all trucks. Incredible skills were displayed by these guys, this being just one sequence of many that we took…J&E.

Changing Seasons at Heritage Park

Jan’s Mum and Dad are back with us at present. They only went home on May 2nd so this place can’t be all that bad, eh! It’s lovely to have them back and to anyone moving over from the UK, we can say that it is a real help to the settling process to have a family/friend visit or two booked in for the months ahead, not necessarily right at the off (you need to get yourselves sorted first) but a way down the line. In our experience, in those times when homesickness kicks in (and it is entirely normal to miss something big or small, or someone, at some point) then knowing it is only a certain number of weeks until a family member of friend is going to come bouncing excitedly out of the airport, is a real boost. Of course, we know that financial, health or other constraints may prevent this for the families and friends of some people that move over but where that is not so, we would certainly recommend it.

Moving on, with Jan’s mum and dad here, we took them along to one of our favourite spots in Calgary, which as regular readers will know, is Heritage Park. From two different vantage points in Heritage Point, first, looking towards the Prince House and second, looking west across the Glenmore Reservoir, it is fascinating to watch the contrasts that come with the changing seasons. In these sequences, the first picture is taken in the middle of winter in December 07, the second in the height of summer in August 08 and the third, just 5 weeks later, on a very autumnal September 27th, 08.Here’s one or two more pics from today’s visit…we don’t believe we have covered too much of this before…For those of you who know us from British Expats, maybe we feel a new avatar coming on!You break left, I’ll break right, that’ll throw ’em!…Fabulous, fabulous place.


Banff – Lower Bankhead

On our past visits to Banff, we have driven the quite lovely Minnewanka Loop past the lake of that name and Eamonn’s favourite, Two Jack Lake. The loop also takes you past the site of the former coal mining town, Bankhead, and we have always promised ourselves that on a future visit, we’d have a proper investigation of the remnants of the place. We finally did this on the way back from Kelowna (see next post down). As well as some pictures of the town as it is now, we took some shots of the supporting informational plaques…so we’ll let the pictures tell their own story. To read some of the plaques, you may have to click on the pictures to enlarge them.J&E

Trip to Kelowna

Jan’s boss at ReMax, recently sent Jan on an Office Manager’s course – that’s Jan’s role. The course took us to Kelowna, British Columbia, some 450 miles from our home here in Okotoks, Alberta. Our first thought was to fly but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss to drive up and over the Rockies and so that was what we did.

From a blog perspective, we don’t want to inundate you with too many shots you have already seen here before but as you’d expect, as you drive through the Rockies, you can’t help but stop from time to time to take in the view. This selection of pictures are all from the British Columbia side of the BC/Alberta provincial border, this being the first time we have crossed that line in our time here. As you will see, sometimes it’s the smallest things which are beautiful.The view of Lake Okanagan from our hotel room was better than we dared hope…And the views of Lake Okanagan from atop Knox Mountain were spectacular…On what was a tight schedule, we managed to sneak in a very quick visit to the pristine Mission Hill Winery… on the drive home, we had to stop at this equally impressive and classy establishment. We’ll leave you to figure out what they were selling…But hey, it MADE us stop and look…is that not the epitome of effective advertising?


Diamonds Are Forever

We recently had the opportunity to go see Neil Diamond in concert at the Pengrowth Saddledome.As the write up about him on Wikipedia indicates…
…he has now been in the business for 50 years. It showed in the best possible way. He was a superb performer. He connected really well with the audience, who quite clearly, loved the guy to bits.Jan said “listening to him makes me feel like a little girl at home with Mum and Dad and my sisters, listening to him on the radio” and that was spot on.We were delighted to see a crowd that ranged in age from teen to what must have been seventy plus and the advanced years were absolutely no bar to the latter group jumping up and dancing to tunes they loved from their youth. However, it was the rendition of Sweet Caroline that brought the house down. Everyone and we mean ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE joined in, either dancing and singing or just singing along. Have a look and listen for yourselves. The thunder type noise you hear during the applause at the end of the first rendition was the stamping of feet (we hear that frequently at the Pengrowth Saddledome but have never encountered it at another concert arena to date). Whether it was the stamping or not that persuaded him, we don’t know, but he sang the song a second time (also, we think, a first for us at the many, many concerts we have been to over the years). Enjoy.J&E

Autumn is Here

As we come towards the first anniversary of our emigration to Canada, autumn (or fall) is here. In fact, it only officially started this Monday gone but we think the trees had decided for themselves some little while back that the game was up for another season. Here’s a few pics to capture the beauty of the season. The first three are taken in High River, the next in De Winton and the last in Okotoks.Finally, although absolutely nothing to do with autumn, when taking shots in the rural lands around High River, we often find ourselves compelled to check on the progress of this little fellow…who we feel is rather sweet!J&E

High River Highland Games

After our visitors returned to the UK, we had a scan of the local paper to look for other activities of interest that we might go along to and we saw that the High River Highland Games were on. This was August 23rd.

As we had one or two other commitments that day, we weren’t able to stay as long as might otherwise have done but what we saw, we wouldn’t have missed as it was all quite good fun. The dancing was excellent.Bag pipes aren’t our thing but bands of various ages and levels of experience were in evidence. Here’s one small group getting in a little pre-display practice.The combat demonstration was fierce…a display given by two ladies who, you just know, are in charge in their respective homes!The sheep dog demonstration was very amusing – we were walking towards where this was being held when we were passed by a sheep running at some speed in the other direction, followed by an elderly gent (very quick on his feet for his age) and his dog, both in hot pursuit! It all happened too quick so this is the best shot we could get…Anyway, said gent returned some little while later, with dog…but no sheep which, apparently, was not seen again all afternoon! The remaining two sheep were trouble though…you could sense the devilment in them!The highlight for us though was watching these guys hurling heavy rocks and other objects very impressive distances…they were not to be argued with.And to the age old question……well, now you know!


Heritage Park – Summer

In the run up to last Christmas we went along to one of our favourite places in Calgary, Heritage Park, to enjoy their “12 Days of Christmas” winter opening.

At that time, not all the “historic” properties were open and so, to return to Heritage Park in their peak summer season was a “must do” activity for us. Having Linda, Andrew, Sarah and Katie visiting from the UK provided us with the perfect excuse!

As you’d expect, there is quite a contrast between what follows and the pictures on the earlier post, above. There was certainly no sailing going on the last time we were here!It was an absolutely glorious day…And the steam train was busy doing it’s circuit of the park…Look back at the earlier post again – at the first picture it features (one of Eamonn’s favourite photos that we have taken while living in Canada). Here’s the same scene in a summer setting…This is The Prince House, which was somehow split into 3 horizontal sections to be transported to Heritage Park, before being reassembled on site!It is number 83 on the park map, here…

…a map that has just made us realise there is a whole section of the park we have yet to see!…which is all the excuse we need to go back again.

Inside the Prince House, there was this early example of a refrigerator…Outside The Prince House, there was a “period” children’s picnic in progress…Next door to The Prince House is The Sandstone House (number 85 on the map).Readers who know of us via the British Expats website might recognise this shot – it is the original of the avatar that we use on that excellent website…as Jan explained to Eamonn…”this is how I see a horse!” (Note that Jan is 5ft 1″ tall and Eamonn is 6ft 5″ tall – as a result, we perceive the world around us differently!)This was taken at the Nanton Livery Stables, number 52 on the map. Later, we took a trip on the SS Moyie……Before scrambling to catch the steam train……Which brings you to parts of the park you might otherwise miss…Many of the properties have informative guides on duty, always dressed in appropriate costume…here’s the chap at the Strathmore & Bow Valley Standard Newspaper Office (number 48 on the map)…It is a quite fabulous place to while away a day and also to relax at, as the late afternoon begins to think about calling on the evening…We’re quite sure we will return here, time and again, over the years ahead.



One beautifully sunny afternoon during his stay with us, Andrew felt the urge for a round of golf and his chosen spot for this adventure was our local 9 hole course here in Okotoks, the Crystal Ridge Golf Course…

To get that 18 hole experience he was after, Andrew completed the circuit twice, while Eamonn came along for the ride in the buggy, Eamonn’s hand-eye co-ordination being such that if he actually attempted to swing a club, these unsuspecting little fellows would probably have been transited to the great pond in the sky!Andrew looked every inch the professional and soon got into his stride, here, putting for yet another par on this hole (a phrase Eamonn could not have uttered with any understanding at the start of the round!)And here he is waiting to tee off, buggy in the background, houses a safe distance further back (as long as Eamonn didn’t play!)Andrew felt it was a decent challenge and a very attractive course.


Frank Slide

After visiting Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump (see post below), we drove on to the town of Frank, site of a devastating rock slide in 1903.

82 million tonnes of limestone crashed down from Turtle Mountain and buried a portion of the town. The whole thing was over in 100 seconds and it is estimated that 70 of the town’s 600 inhabitants died. The rock mass is some 500 feet deep, 1,400 feet high and one kilometre (3,280 feet) wide. Unfortunately, the interpretive centre at the site was closed for renovations but a walk among the debris quickly gives you a sense of how horrific an event this was.J&E