Friday, 28 December 2007

15/12/2007 - 27/12/2007 - Kaleden and Apex

Well it's been a while since I've had a chance to update our Blog - but it's 8:00am on the 27th and it's only Jesse and myself that are awake - where to start. I'm not even going to try and record everything in date order.

Let's see we have made a few trips up to Kelowna to get the Eames's and the Elfords all set-up for the slopes.

I'll just let you know a few of the stories that we have to tell about our trips up to the snow.
  • On one of the first days for the Eames's they decided to take the leisurely Grandfather trail back down the mountain (first mistake), they let Simone lead (second mistake), the Grandfather trail had just opened up and from what they tell us it was definitely premature. Half way down they made a wrong turn and ended up on the road - a couple of kilometres from their destination and Simone and the kids just couldn't walk anymore so Tony hails down a large ute and they all jump in the back (yep it's about -10) and hitch a lift back to the village.

  • Tony, Simmy, Maddy and I were sitting in the coffee shop at the bottom of the T-Bar whilst the other Eames children were out having a lesson. The instructor was about to take Billy up the T-Bar, and everyone who has hopped on a T-Bar before knows that you don't sit on it, you just let it pull / push you up. Well the first thing that Billy does is try to sit down - well he's not going down alone - so down comes the instructor.

  • Another good T-Bar story was one about Simmy trying to teach Jesse how to ride the T-Bar. The liftee puts the T-Bar under Jesse's bottom (Jesse being the youngest at 6 years of age) and of course the T-Bar ends up around Simmy's ankle's and takes her out like she has been tackled by a Front Row forward - she goes straight up in the air and lands flat on her back - with Jesse following suit. Well as if I wasn't in stitches already, Jesse then gets up and starts yelling at Simmy for not doing it right - I've just about wet myself.

  • Dave's first trip up the 3 seater chair lift is with Billy. Dave is trying to do the right thing and help Billy off the lift first (forgetting that you don't have much time to get off this lift). Well he's got Billy off nice and safely, but forgets to get off himself so starts heading back down the mountain - well he's not going down the mountain on the lift. So he jumps about 10 feet off the lift into some nice powder snow - let me say there was certainly a puff that went up.

  • The Elford's have picked it up right from where they left it last year. Lukey is really carving it up and having some great stacks. Karleigh wasn't too well for the first couple of days but has come good and is back on the snow boarding as good as usual. Louie is always the one who likes to get the technic down pat and is coming down the mountain with style. This is the first time that I've seen Dom (Luke's friend) board and he looks to be having a good time. It really is fantastic having everyone out on the mountain - laughing at every ones mishaps.

The Eames's and I went to an Ice Hockey game whilst Dave picked up the Elford's from the airport - the trip was a lot better than our last 8 hour trip from Vancouver, they got home in about 5 1/2 - much to Dave's relief the weather was a lot kinder with the snow storms happening.

My cooking skills have been put to the test with now having to cook for 13 people. Everyone is pitching in and so far no one has ended up with food poisoning. Though Tony does look like he has had Botox which has gone terribly wrong. The whole left side of his face is really swollen (he thinks it is his teeth), he went to the hospital on Boxing Day to find out it was going to cost $850 Canadian dollars just to see a doctor, he spoke to a nurse who told him which tablets to get - so he's been taking some drugs and visited the dentist at around 11:00, apparently he has an infection and it looks like he will need root canal surgery next week once all the swelling and infection has gone down.

Christmas day was fantastic, we all woke up at around 7:00 (to a white Christmas day), we opened our presents and then we had our typical ham and eggs for breakfast. Some of the family went out in the yard (filled with snow) and tossed around a football. Luke, Dom and Louise all went for a little snooze whilst the Eames kids played with their new toys and Karleigh, Simmy and I started on a late lunch / early dinner. Karleigh was the only one that had any experience with cooking a Turkey so she got the job of preparing the Turkey. I'll let the pictures tell the full story - but all I can say is that I think the Roast Turkey etc was delicious and a huge hit - thanks to Simmy and Karleigh. Our landlord Tony and Lisa came over in the afternoon for a bit of Christmas Cheer and got to meet the whole clan. And then just to top off a perfect day we received some snow in the afternoon.

On boxing day Louise and Ashley caught the bus to Kelowna to hit the boxing day sales whilst the rest of us hit the slopes. Dave and I are just loving being out on the slopes and we love the fact that we have the families here to enjoy it with us. Bobbie, Brant, Karin, Mike, Hayden, Lisa and Peter all came over for Chili and a Bun and a few drinks - we had a really great night.

Today I'm staying home and doing a bit of housework and getting myself organised - Simmy has taken Tony to the Dentist and is doing the grocery shopping - whilst the Eames kids stay home with me.

So far no one has been able to build a decent snowman and the woodpeckers are going into hiding.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

08/12/2007 - 14/12/2007 Kaleden Eames's arrival

08/12/2007 - Today Bobbie and Brant took us Christmas Tree Hunting (I'm finally going to get my real Christmas Tree) so off we went. We drove up some beaten up old dirt track for miles and miles (Deliverance Country) to Brant's secret hiding place looking for our Christmas Trees, we were out in the middle of no where, it was freezing cold and not from lack of trying we didn't find one. We were surrounded by "Charlie Brown Christmas Trees". As usual Bobbie came through for us and served us up some Hot Chocolate for our trip down to the Christmas Tree Farm at Summerland. Here you pay $40, pick us your saw and off you go. It took Dave and I a little bit longer to pick out our tree, okay it was probably me Dave was Happy to cut down any old Charlie Brown looking tree. So after we'd picked our tree out we then had to get it into the car, get it home and get it out of the car - maybe I should of picked a bit smaller tree. It was really another great adventure.

09/12/2007 - Dave is out in the yard with Tony and crew splitting the last of the Fir trees (and yep for the first time since they were last out there, it's snowing again) it really is quite hard labour. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) I'm unable to get out there, I've been ordered to stay inside (bugger), so I'll get the lunch. After the crew had finished and cleaned up Tony came in for a drink or two.

You wont believe how wonderful the people over here are. Tony has offered us his Ford Explorer (7 seater) to use while we have the Elford and Eames visitors. This will save us hiring another car for that period of time. - we can't believe how generous Lisa and Tony have been. They are truly wonderful people.

10/12/2007 - We headed up the mountain so Dave could get some more practice in before the families arrive. My shoulder is still not right, so I'm left to wander around and drink coffee (it's early in the day). The Canadian Aerial team were practicing so I walked up one the runs and watched for about an hour or so to see what skills I could incorporate into my snow boarding - it really is amazing they get so high and are so skillful. When we got home we decided to set the Christmas Tree up inside, so that I can start decorating it. Well it certainly was a lot easier said than done, Dave really did have a bit of a struggle on his hand to get the tree up straight. So when he said I could decorate off I went, he then decided that he needed to make it more secure (it was leaning a bit forward) well he struggled for a while and during the struggle he managed to remove about half the decorations. Well after a couple of hours the tree was up and all decorated.

11/12/2007 - 13/12/2007 - Not much has been happening for the last couple of days - Dave has been trying to get up the mountain each morning to get some boarding in (I'm hoping to be back on the slopes soon - it's really frustrating me not being able to board) and we've just been trying to get things in order for when all our guests arrive - we are so looking forward to seeing all the family.

14/12/2007 - The day started off really well, Dave and I left Kaleden (in separate cars) at about 10:30am, it was snowing quiet heavily so we took it really easy - the scenery was once again absolutely breathtaking - it was a really beautiful drive. First stop was to have a bite to eat so about 1:30pm we stopped at Hope. Second stop at Port Coquitlam was to drop off a table and a chair for Tony W (the least we could do after he has lent us his car). The traffic was really heavy, but we thought that we had left plenty of time to get to the airport at 6:00pm (the crew were due to land at 5:45pm) - WRONG. So at about 4:30pm we set the navigation system for the airport and headed off. The navigation system was telling us that it would take approx. 1 hour 20 minutes - perfect. Mmm - well the traffic didn't get any better, than we heard on the radio why - there was an emergency landing at the airport so they had closed 3 bridges. It was also raining heavily and there were accidents everywhere - so after running through the car park etc. we arrived at the airport at around 7:00pm - thank goodness the Eames's hadn't walked through customs - so we were very relieved. Well we all piled into the cars and off we went, it was raining quiet heavily but we travelling pretty well. We stopped off at Chilliwack for a feed and then set off again for home at around 9:00pm - expecting about a 4 1/2 hour drive - WRONG again. It had and was still snowing very heavily, so not only could we not see very well the roads were really treacherous and in some places was about a foot deep - needless to say we were all getting very tired but the kids were really well behaved. Well after the Eames's had been travelling for 39 hours and Dave and I driving for 16 1/2 hours we arrived home at around 3:30am (I don't think Dave has ever been the driver after midnight -that's the shift that I tend to get). So after the bags etc were unloaded from the car and it's 4:00am what do you do - of course you start the fire, open up some Kokanees, relax and let the kids run around in the snow... The kids and Simmy and I went to bed not soon after - I think Dave and Tony finished at around 5:30am.
It's now 10:30am on 15/12/2007 - I've been awake since 7:30 and still no one up to play with - I'm giving them until 11:00 and then that's it..... The good thing about all the snow last night is that we have a couple of good inches of snow cover all over the yard - so it's looking really beautiful.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

30/11/2007 - 06/12/2007

30/11/2007 - Today we went into town and did a bit of shopping. After arriving home and having a hot tub we drove up to Westbank (about a 45 min drive) with Peter and Lisa to watch the Vees play. The game went in to extra time and unfortunately we lost, but it was a great game and a good night out. Lisa told us that they are expecting their coldest winter in 15 years (which is great if we get snow).

01/12/2007 - We are heading up the mountain. We had some more snow overnight so we are really looking forward to the snow boarding. The drive up the mountain with the snow in the trees is just breath taking I don't think we will ever get sick of this scenery. When we get up the top we look at the temperature gauge on the car it is reading -17 degrees and that's at the bottom of the mountain in the car park (okay some of the enthusiasm is starting to dwindle). We get out of the car and get all our gear on and head on over, to our disappointment it's only the T-Bar and the magic carpet that are open. We were hoping that the lifts would be open - oh well. So up the T-Bar we go and we have a good run down (there are a few more people here than last week) and it really is cold up the top. We decided that after one run we needed coffee, so off to the Last Tracks Coffee Shop. After enjoying our coffee we went to the Beginners Slope with the magic carpet where we practiced our switch riding for an hour or so and then decided we needed more coffee. After that we called it quits and headed home.

After arriving home we headed of to another Ice Hockey game between two old rivals - The Vees and the Vernon Vipers. Well what a game, there were more fights than .......... at one stage every one of the 5 players on the Ice were involved in a one on one fight. All players were sent to one side whilst the referees tried to make a few decisions. The only things left on the ice were the players gloves, sticks and the goalies. It really is amazing how all the spectators and players on the bench encourage the fighting. Also, at the beginning of the evening our program number was also called out (with about another 14) so down to the rink I went, the prize this time was a bit more enticing than my 72 fruit bars it was a diamond ring valued at around $600.00. This time they put 15 jewellery boxes around the rink and each contestant had to go onto the ice and stand behind a box, then they played some music whilst the contestants went around the rink, when the music stopped you had to stand next to the box nearest to you, they did this about 3 times before they told all contestants to open the box in front of them - unfortunately I wasn't the winner, but it is all a great experience.

02/12/2007 - Sunday is a working day for The Big Fella and I - we have offered to help Tony and a couple of his friends splinter the wood, they have purchased to sell. They bought $1,500 of Fir Tree Logs, they've been cut into small logs and now need to be splintered. The temperature is around -9 and snowing (probably not the best conditions but hey we have already agreed to help and the splitter has been hired). The work is quiet strenuous but also rewarding we work until about 4:30pm and then decide to call it quits. To start the day we had Tony, Mike, Don , Dave and myself all at it. They finally let me in control of some machinery, I got the job of controlling the splitting machine whilst the others took turns in stacking, handling and splitting the wood. Dan (Tony's housemate) arrives after lunch and gets straight into helping with the work - after about 1/2 hour Dan is now working with a T-Shirt on - remember it's snowing and about -9 degrees. We have got through about 2/3 of the wood so it looks like we might be at it again next Sunday, the yard and the house is looking really beautiful with all the snow around the yard etc it is covered in about 15cm of snow. After cleaning up we went over to Bobbie and Brants for another wonderful dinner - they really are the hostesses with the mostess. We had another beautiful 3 course meal and got to meet a lovely couple Rusty and Heather who are both skiers.

03/12/2007 - Well as the weather channel advised the unusual warm rain has appeared. It's gone from -9 degrees yesterday to a plus 9 today. All the snow has melted, and sadly our snowman is melting. This weather is expected to continue until Wednesday. It doesn't look like the Big Fella is going to get out of bed for to long today - he really is struggling to walk, the manual labour really took it out of his body yesterday - he was really putting in the hard work.
04/12/2007 - Today we headed up the mountain, a bit unsure of what to expect, we had a lot of rain overnight. To our relief the mountain really hadn't suffered, they had lost a little amount of snow but not much at all. The T-Bar and the carpet were going, so up we went to the T-Bar. It was just like having your own private mountain - at one stage on the T-Bar run there was only 1 person and when we did go over to the carpet there wasn't anyone else there except for Dave and I - it was great.
05/12/2007 - Once again we headed up to Apex. The snow on the T-Bar was still in good shape. Unfortunately I wasn't, I was practicing my switch and I caught an edge and landed on the point of my shoulder (ouch). So to Dave's disappointment we had to leave, he was really getting into, we both wanted to get as much practice in as we could before our families arrive. Dave thinks he has got Luke and Tony covered. Lisa was doing very well she probably only has Billy and Jesse covered now.
06/12/2007 - After a very restless night's sleep we decided to have a day at home. I was pretty useless as my right arm and shoulder is still pretty painful and I don't have much movement. So Dave is the nurse /cook for the day - I don't think he is having a lot of fun, he keeps talking about going up the mountain tomorrow, and that I should go up with him and watch the Canadian Ski Team doing their Aerials (I think the real reason is there is a coffee shop there which means he wont have to prepare my meals / coffee - it's only been one day.)

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.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

20/10/07 - 28/10/07 - Kaleden, Keremeos

19/10/07 - I can't believe I forgot to write about out trip to the Casino. I finally got the Big Fella to take me to the Penticton Casino (a place I feel that I might frequent on the odd occasion). It is really a cute little Casino - it has about 7 tables and around 100 Pokies. So of course I had to try out the pokies and then the tables. Well I was off to a flying start I put $20 in the Pokies and took out $50 (yes I took it out). I then headed over to a table called Texas Shoot Em - a bit different to Texas Hold Em. It's a version of Poker, you, the other players and the dealer all get dealt 4 cards, you keep 2 of your best cards (everyone turns them over, so all can see) and throw the other 2 out (unless they also are 2 good cards then you can play 2 hands (twice the bet though)). The dealer than deals 5 cards face up on the table, with these cards and your 2 cards you make the best poker hand you can - you can get 5 of a kind . If you beat the dealer you get paid, if not the dealer takes your money. Anyway I turned my $50 into $150 - all in all a great night.

20/10/07 - 22/10/07 - Dave and I have been laying low and relaxing for the last couple of days, we went and visited May on Sunday afternoon for cocktail hour, she is such an inspiration. Other than that we've hardly left the house, we've been enjoying the fireplaces, jacuzzi and practising our shooting - the woodpeckers are still looking very safe. We have ordered 4 winter tyres for our car and are waiting for these to be delivered before we do anymore road trips. I've also found a good Liquor Store - they sell both Australian and New Zealand wines and they are only about an extra $1 (looney) or $2 (tooney) - so I'm very happy, and so is Dave he can buy a carton of Corona for less than $40. I've also been trying a few of the local wines and I've found a few that I do enjoy - so it's looking up. I'm not saying my beer drinking days are over, because when we go out and they only have the House Wine or Beer - I'm taking the Beer.

23/10/07 - Well we finally got the winter tyres fitted. We have had a heat wave since. (Got up to 8 C) The tyre compound is very soft so it needs the cold. Not much to tell just laying low and getting everything organised for the winter. It really is quiet amazing - people think that we are a bit weird coming to stay for 6 months for the winter, probably about 1/3 of the residents pack up their house and toys (boats, jet ski etc) and head off to find some warmer weather. We are surprised that there are quiet a number of locals that don't ski or board, apparently you either play Ice Hockey or do the skiing thing. We were out shopping today and we now understand it could be the cost factor - the goal keeper pads alone were around $1,200 and that was a second hand pair. Also the Ice Hockey takes up a lot of time, the Penticton Vees play at least 2 or 3 times a week.

24/10/07 - Went to another Ice Hockey game - yep in the corporate box and drank the beer.

25/10/07 - The Big Fella wasn't happy this morning - I finally got him out of bed at around 8:30 to go for our morning walk (sometimes it's closer to midday) anyway he thought we wouldn't have to go once it got down to -3 degrees - I got news for him wear more clothes. We are starting to look like 2 Michelin Men roaming the streets.

26/10/07 -Well this morning we woke up to the temperature at -3 degrees. I decided to not even bother to get the Big Fella to go for a walk as it was we were going shopping at Kelowna. Kelowna is approx. 1 hours drive from Kaleden. The drive is very enjoyable, as the scenery is very picturesque. Shopping went well we crossed nearly everything off our list - Dave got some new boots and I purchased a new jacket plus many other things.

27/10/07 - I thought yesterday was bad -3 today was -4. I tried to get Dave up for a walk - well you can imagine the response I got - needless to say I put on nearly all the clothes I have and went by myself. May, Bobbie, Brant, Lisa and Peter (Bobbie and Brant's daughter and son in-law) went to the Lost Moose for dinner it is up the top of one of the mountains and looks down onto Penticton and both lakes Okanagan and Skaha - magnificent views. They really know how to cook good ribs mmm.

28/10/07 - Today Bobbie and Brant picked us up and we went for a drive to Keremeos to pick up all our pumpkins for decorations for Halloween on the 31st - well the Big Fella (is so excited about the festivities - as you can imagine -). Of course we had to spend hours shopping for a pumpkin that Dave could carve for Halloween night. (Pumpkin shopping for Halloween is a big family affair over here.) We drove through a few towns Osoyoos and Oliver - they are really into the wineries over here now - they seem to be everywhere - this place just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

14/10/2007 - 19/10/2007 - Kaleden

14/10/07 - We woke up this morning to another beautiful sunny day and headed off on our walk - the wildlife and scenery still amazes us, we saw the deer (this is just the norm over here but to us it's still a novelty), a beaver in the lake and many birds and ducks. We then went to our first Ice Hockey game with Brant (thanks to Brant for providing us the tickets to his corporate box). The game is just so fast you really have to see it live to believe it. We had a great night as the Penticton Vees won 5 - 2, so we were all very happy - and yes I was drinking beer again. You wouldn't believe it they have a lucky seat were the occupant wins a free pizza - and yep it was the Big Fella. After the game we picked up Grandma May, (she is just fantastic, she is 90 years old still driving, playing cards, having a drink - cocktail hour starts at 5:0pm as usual), and went back to Bobbie and Brant's for a home cooked meal (the first one since we left home) and it was delightful. Bobbie and Brant are just the most wonderful people they are so welcoming and have really made us feel welcome.

15/10/07 - Yet again I got the big fella out for our walk and as well as seeing all the wildlife we also got to see ummm a Hawk, maybe an Eagle or was it an Osprey - I don't know it was just a bloody big majestic looking Bird (at least I knew it wasn't a woodpecker - I could have got that sucker he was the size of a barn door...!!). Today we made our first trip up to Apex Ski Resort - the drive is still the same, although it was a bit longer than we remembered it, it took us about 45 minutes from home. There wasn't a lot of snow around just on the top of the mountains - but it was still very cold. Apparently over the last two days we had a heat wave that got rid of all the snow. (We don't remember it...) We are keeping our fingers crossed that it's going to be a good year - the season opens on 23 November. The good thing is even a bad year here for the snow season is a better year than back home.

16/10/07 - We went and had our first game of golf today with Bobbie and Brant. We played at Inkameep (translation - flat bottom land at the mouth of the creek or river) Canyon Desert Golf Course. It was a great course. After our last few months of playing golf at home it was really good to play on some really green lush grass. The course was tight and challenging and at times very long. Index One was a Par 4 / 485yards (437 metres).

17/10/07 - Well, I woke up to find the deer in our front yard - yep I still get excited seeing them. The novelty is obviously wearing off for Dave he wouldn't get out of bed to have a look. We went for our morning walk and met a few of the friendly Kaledens, Sue asked us back to here house to provide us with the names of a few restaurants and local wineries which she highly recommended (I don't know how she knew this would interest us - we had only been talking to her for 5 minutes). It is really unbelievable how friendly the people really are here. We ended up having coffee with Sue her large poodle and 3 cats, we left Sue's place armed with a lot of new places to visit. Sue had also just returned from an Alaskan Cruise and was upgraded to the Penthouse. Anyway when we got back home (2 1/2 hours later) I was looking at the calendar trying to work out which Ice Hockey game we would go and see in Kelowna and Dave had a very blonde moment - he asked me if it was a Canadian Calendar I was looking at. I think Dave is really starting to relax and enjoy retirement.

18/10/07 - We ventured into Penticton today to do another grocery shop (the fridge broke down over night so we need to replace a few items). Anyway on our way we decided to go to the bank to get some cash - well we found a drive through ATM - this is my type of bank. I am surprised that it didn't offer fries with that....

19/10/07 -This afternoon there were about 10 deer in the front yard. We went to our second Ice Hockey game - the Vees lost 4 -3, but what a tough game - there was fights galore with claret. Nothing like throwing the gloves on the ice and going the biff. The officials just stop the game and just let the fighters fight it out until they've either run out of puff or they fall over, then (from what we've seen) both players are sent of for 5 minutes (they can be replaced). The remainder of the players just go to their respective benches and cheer the fighters on.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

10/10/2007 - 13/10/2007 Whistler to Kaleden

10/10/07 - Today we headed for Kamloops to chase some sun - The drive from Whistler to Kamloops was absolutely breathtaking. We had a great dinner - and I tried the wine again (you can't say that I'm not persistent) Well I think I discovered the secret of drinking the wine - you just need to drink alot more - 4 glasses later it really did start to taste a lot better. We indulged ourselves at a great restaurant that had a dish called "Prawn and Crab Kisses". By far this has been the best dish we have eaten since being in Canada.

11/10/07 - After getting a new key for the car and a wheel balance for the back wheels we left Kamloops and drove to Kelowna. Dave is really getting the hang of this driving - he even let me have a drive, whilst he had a little nap. (I was so scared I just closed my eyes....) We went to dinner at a small pub / restaurant that looked like "Cheers". I wasn't up to trying the local wine again - so I asked for a Kokanee (local beer)- well the stubbie came out without a glass - so when in Rome. So now not am only drinking beer, I'm drinking out of the stubbie and to Dave's amazement I downed another 4 stubbies, 20 chicken wings and 15 buffalo prawns.

12/10/07 - Today we headed for Penticton (the major city outside Kaleden). We phoned the owners of our house to see what time we could meet them on Saturday and they advised us that the house was ready so we could stay there on the Friday night, if we wanted to - what a bonus. (They left the key in the side door with the rest of the house open.) So after going to the ski swap meet in Penticton we headed off to find our home for the next 6 months. I must admit I was getting a bit nervous (not having seen the house before - you just don't know what to expect) only seeing the house on the Net and conversing with the owner via email or phone. We turned a corner and it was obvious from the photos on the net that we had found our new home - so far so good. Well as you could imagine my heart was pounding but as soon as I opened the door I knew that we had made the right choice. The house is better and bigger than what was on the Net. It sleeps 16 people and has 3 levels - Dave and I keep getting lost (they even have walkie talkies in for us to use in the house.) I suppose it will take us a while in getting used to the quiet - we seem to follow each other around. The surrounds are just beautiful and there is an abundance of wildlife. There are a number of Deer resting in the paddocks waiting to be picked to lead Santa's sleigh at Christmas.

13/10/07 - After breakfast Dave and I thought that there was someone at our front door, there was a knocking sound - but when we went and opened the door there was no one there - we thought there must of been some work happening on the block above us up the mountain. The owners arrived at 9:00am to show us how to operate a few things like the fire place, hot tub (Ohh did I mention it also has an eight seater hot tub just outside looking over the mountains). Anyway after a bit of a briefing we got talking to Tony and Lisa (the owners) about a few things and we mentioned the noise we heard in the morning, Tony advised us that it was the woodpeckers. He also asked Dave if he felt comfortable with a gun (now I'm getting worried) because if he did he would like him to shoot the woodpeckers - well I told him I was certainly up for it if Dave wasn't. Tony then took us to his shed and showed us how to use the gun and the fact that there was two types of pellets one for practicing and one for the actual shooting. Well tomorrow morning I'm going to have the cans (that we drink tonight in the hot tub) out on the fence and start practicing. I don't know what a woodpecker looks like but if its got wings and it is on the house LOOK OUT. Tony and Lisa are really lovely people and have invited us over their place for dinner - I have also offered for Dave to help out on the vineyard etc. so I think it's really going to work out well.

After lunch, we went for a walk around the lake well it is just like we remember, stunning scenery and totally relaxing. We then went for a drive in to town to get some groceries (well that is a totally new experience) whilst cars etc are really cheap their meat is very, very expensive. The drive into town was about 12 minutes and the airport about 6 minutes so whilst we are out in the country we are not to far away from everything (oh and the Casino about 15 minutes away). On our drive back home we meet our new neighbours again - about 20 meters in front of us 6 deer came bouncing across the road (they didn't care that we were bigger than them) well you should of seen Dave's face it was priceless. They certainly need to learn some road sense if they want to drive Santa's sleigh.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

07/10/2007 - 09/10/2007 Vancouver Island

07/10/2007 - Today we said goodbye to our hotel and Vancouver and headed off to catch the vehicle ferry over to Vancouver Island. The ferries carry over at least 200 vehicles, plus passengers and leave approx. ever hour. The ferry ride over was a nice little treat, just to relax and let someone else worry about the driving and the directions. We caught our first sightings of a number of seals. Once we docked on the Island we headed straight to the Butchart Gardens, well I must admit Dave and I weren't too excited about going there, but after a few comments that we heard from Tony and Sim and locals around Vancouver Island we decided that we better not miss them. Well we were definitely glad that we didn't miss them they really are beautiful.

After visiting the gardens we headed of to Victoria and checked into our accommodation. We then headed off to have a dinner at a well recommended (by locals) Italian Restaurant. When we first arrived we needed to wait in line outside the front door (at this stage I'm cold and hungry and thinking that this meal better be worth it), once inside the door we were offered some red wine (in a coffee cup) but hey I didn't care. Well we finally got seated and as advised the meals were large in size but we managed to finish them off and wipe the plates clean - the pasta was definitely worth the wait - and I only had to pay $6.50 for a glass of cheap Australian wine - I am trying the local wine at different establishments, but this is definitely going to be an acquired taste.

08/07/2007 - Today the weather wasn't too bad - cold but only the odd light shower. We headed down to the wharves and boarded the "Zodiac" for our trip out to visit the Killer Whales. Well this was an experience that neither Dave or I will ever forget, they truly are magnificent animals. They currently have about 3 pods totalling 87 whales around the area and we were lucky enough to see all 3 pods together. The highlight was when one of the large males surfaced about 5 metres away from out boat and then swam just underneath the water right beside our boat. What a memorable day!!!

09/07/07 - Well the weather was back to cold, colder, rain and more rain. We drove up the coast of Vancouver Island to Mt Washington (the only ski resort on the island). The scenery on the way (for the 2 hours, anyway) was absolutely breathtaking. The ski resort was a lot bigger than either Dave or I expected, but it was about 3 degrees outside, raining very heavily and very very windy so our sight seeing was only from our car. We then headed to Nanimo (Departure Bay) and caught the ferry back to the mainland (Horseshoe Bay), from there we headed off to Whistler to stay in the log cabins that we stayed in when we were here in 2001 - they haven't changed a bit and bought back a lot of wonderful memories.