Sunday, 24 May 2009

Day 18 was Curry night

We did some heavy duty eating today, heavy duty, curry night at the Inglis household tonight and Natalie and I filled our boots. Everyone I know who goes abroad for a year or so seems to comes back emaciated. Us? I think when we get round to booking our return flights we will have to book extra seats on the plane for our fat asses.

Just incase you didnt know where we are right now!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Day 17 and Natalie baked scones

Another quiet day I suppose, Natalie had a wee dip in the pool in the afternoon and then made fruit scones and soda scones with her grampa! Apart from that we all watched the baseball on the TV and Natalie fell asleep! Again! And since there is no insights into our trip that came up today so here again is some photos!
Natalie and Anne Maries, having a wee dip in the pool

Aye, so i took the photo above but then they wanted to pose!

Now in the pool herself she still looks to have her photo taken, poser!

Before (above) and after (below) in Inglis baking 101

Check out my crap facial hair

Friday, 22 May 2009

Day 16

Nothing much happened today, nothing much at all. The grand total of our doings today would be lathering on aloe vera at regular intervals and basically dodging the sun! So instead of my usual ramblings, here are some pictures we have taken since we got here that haven‘t featured already.

These shoes have opened a few conversations which is good because i suck big time at hat particular skill!

The Marina out the front of the condo block
If this photo wasnt so small you could see that the CN is tower is visible from where we are living, since it doesnt show up so well i should just tell you that yes that is Natalie in the bottom right!

A blue and white cone, what a sucker!

A well composed shot if i dont say so myself and the model is working it also. this is as the square at Yonge and Dundas

Canadas next top supermodel

Natalie and I at the ball game, the old arm steched out and hope yer both in it photo, cany beat it!
Vera Wang for a Barbie so Natalies says

Natalie and I at the Blue Mountain

Me and THE bike

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Day 15 we spent up in the ski slopes

Today Natalie stole. She went into a shop and took something which she never paid for. When she exited the shop and told me what she had done I was shocked, and when it dawned on her the temerity of her actions she was extremely embarrassed and spoke of going back and confessing, she didn’t however and since we are now safely back in Robinson Street it would appear she has gotten away with it.

We got up today with great intentions of having a bite to eat then jumping on the bikes up to the Blue Mountain sking resort which is situated just a short cycle away from us. We both had good memories of the place as we did the very same thing five years previous and had said in the weeks before we came up north that that would be one of the things we would definitely do when we got to Collingwood, also it got warm as the afternoon was wearing on so we hoped to get up and wander around and then get back down before it got too hot. So we had a plan in place and we aimed to follow it, however pulling the bikes out of the hut at the bottom of the garden it became clear that things weren’t going to go to plan. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bikes hadn’t been ridden since we last rode them so the tires were pretty much flat, the inflator was in the car and Anne Marie had went to a piano lesson in it so we had to wait till she came back to inflate our tires and be on our merry way. While we waited I cut the grass with the motorised lawnmower, I have to say it’s a hundred miles away from the last one I used which was my dads push mower which is almost an antique. (Is should add that I am a hedge cutter in most houses, the grass cutting is other peoples jobs)

check out the calves, johnny drama would want some of those!

Team John and Natalie set out on their grueling cycle

Ok so we got the tires blown up and set out on our way, we sort of remembered the way but like Tuesday when we came up to Collingwood time has played tricks on us as regards how long travelling takes and it became clear that the wee village in the Blue Mountains skiing resort was a good bit further away than we first thought. So we were rolling along just fine till we reached the interchange of simcoe 19 and grey road 21 (not that it makes the slightest difference the exact location but I like how it sounds) on which a driving range is situated, here my bikes back end started making odd sounds as if I had picked up some sort of debris and it was hitting the frame every time the tire completed a revolution. So I jumped off and had a look, my tire was bulging, no wait, it was bulging and moving round, no, I am wrong, the tire is burst. At this there was an almighty bang (it wasn’t really that loud but because I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening I had my face a little too close when inspecting my malfunction) as the tire popped! Natalie came back and we chained the bike up against a power cable, no point wasting the day by calling to be picked up, we decided simply to take the other bike and walk into the village which surely wasn’t that far away. Again, it was. We walked into the village under the baking sun without any sort of shade or protection, by the time we arrived we were beat and right in the mood for a drink.

My bike was utter mince compared to Natalies, she was always miles ahead of me!

This is where the bike got bust, we thought we were there as the sign behind indicated so, we were wrong!

While having this drink a gust of wind got up and picked up speed across the wee lake behind our sitting position and blew our parasol down, narrowly missing Natalies head actually! Not that she knew as she had leaned over to dig something or other out her bag and the big cloth umbrella went right over her head. If she had been upright it would have given her a fair clout!

The extent of the damage to my bike, bet you thought i was exagerating!

So we walked around a little before deciding to head back to the fallen soldier also known as the bike and it was now that Natalie became public enemy number one in the eyes of this travel writer. She entered the small grocery store and disappeared while I looked at ice lollies or something, she came back to me and said time to go so we left. When she came out a mischievous grin appeared on her face and she uttered the words “I stoleded” and opened her hand to reveal she had opened a bottle of sunscreen and squeezed some into her hand. After being caught walking without shade in high heat we were both burnt pretty well in the face and forearms so this was to try combat it for the walk back to the bike. Natalie, even now, is unrepentant in her felonious behaviour but I cant stay mad forever, especially as she gave me some of her ill gotten gains to use on my weather ravaged skin. Plus she has just got me a beer from the fridge!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Day 14 and we had meatloaf

How hot it was in collingwood today!

Today we got up late, must have been all the travelling we did yesterday (!) or all the eating we did maybe. Or maybe just maybe its because we are lazy bums. Either way we got up and went downstairs around half ten eleven. Weirdly there was no one in, so we mooched from the back door through to the computer room to the front room kind of aimlessly for a bit. Unsure really of what to do.

Nataslies Grampa had ran Anne marie to a meeting of some sort and that’s why we were home alone, when Natalie’s grampa came back it was more or less lunchtime so he said he would make us a sandwich. What he had for the sandwich was leftovers from a dinner they had a few nights ago. Something he had made himself but they hadn’t finished and actually, like Christmas turkey, tasted good in a piece in the next few days.

What I am talking about is meatloaf, something I had heard about in movies and tv shows and the like but never actually tried. I think its pretty popular over here or maybe it once was but if im honest I don’t like meatloaf, I tried it itself and didn’t think much but bit the bullet and put it in a sandwich, its just not for me. If Natalie is honest, she doesn’t like meatloaf either, in fact we both put sweet corn relish on it and it effectively covered the taste. But at least we tried it, you know in a year where we are supposed to try new things and that meatloaf was just one such new thing and our opinion seems to be if were offered it again; we will politely decline. After our lunch we went a stroll down Collingwood town, its such a lovely place to go a walk the main street Hurontario Street has great looking buildings and it seems most places you stand for a photograph you are going to end up with a nice background because it really is so picturesque. But the changes from when we were here last are everywhere, the amount of houses being put up is incredible, down the front where the large disused granary is soon going to be surrounded with houses, there is also houses going up on the outskirts as you enter Collingwood, its strange to think where all the new home owners are coming form and also what they are going to do when they are here, its not exactly a hive of business activity after all. It may be that it will fill up with retirees and end up like florida, or rather they come up north in the summer when florida and and Arizona and the likes are too hot and then go back to the hot places in the cooler winters. I should say that I am writing this with absolutely no proof whatsoever and merely musing, but considering most who will read this will have precisely no idea of the places I am writing about then I should maybe shut up and simply pass off my opinion and ramblings as fact.

shirt sleeves rolled up and beer in hand it must be me in this photo!

Some grub thats on sale in the supermarket

natalie in the hot hot sun!

back to work Natalie! stop skiving and smiling for the camera, scrub scrub wash wash!

After dinner we went a wee walk, Natalie and I like going walks especially as the weather up here has been rather nice, today was hot but not too hot and although its cooler at night when we stepped out it was comfortable in short sleeves. We don’t walk too far however, around the block sometimes does, just a wee chance to get away from the tv or the internet and let our dinner go down. Tonight we went out and turned left and walked up Robinson Street, we turned left and wlaked a bit till we reached the back of the YMCA which as I found out when we walked back home is just along from the bottom of Robinson Street. The back of the YMCA has three baseball diamonds and fields and also what I imagine is an outdoor ice rink in the winter. The diamonds were busy with some sort of local league type thing, kind of like a power league five a sides type thing I have played so we sat and watched a game for a bit. The team we watched get smacked all over the place were called diamond dawgs, a clever play on words I suppose what with them implying they are all dawgs and also the fact baseball is played on a diamond and all wrapped up in a cracking Bowie track title pun, they were playing a team from Stayner which is a town near Collingwood. I should mention that they weren’t exactly playing baseball, they were playing slow pitch baseball in which the strike zone is a big plastic square on the ground and you pitch under arm and high and slow to land on this square to record a strike, it looks a good bit easier than full speed baseball anyway. So were watching this and the Stayner team is giving the Dawgs a roasting and up steps a fella who looks confident, he lets the first one drop for a strkie but its clear he is waiting on a good one to try for a home run, he looks as if he is built well enough to hit it hard enough, he takes the next pitch and whacks it toward the fences, he misses but it was a good go and he got as far as third base off it so that was impressive anyway. So this was in the first inning but the Dawgs let ins o many runs they went through the whole line up and by the second inning this guy steps up again, he is only trying to do one thing, homer! This time he does it, its well impressive as he hits out the park. Then as he runs round the bases his team mates call to him to congratulate him; “way to go Dewey!” the guys name was Dewey, he was a grown man and quite a big well built fella and his name was Dewey. My respect disappeared almost instantly and we went home. I mean Dewey? Really?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Day 13 we went oop north

I write tonight from Collingwood where we travelled to today to visit Natalie’s Grampa and his wife Anne Marie. I make out like we actually did some travelling, we didn’t, what we did was get picked up around threeish by them in their shiny new(ish) Ford Explorer and were driven up in the lap of luxury. Now its been five years since we were last up in there and time can play funny tricks on your mind as the journey seemed to take much longer than I really remember. As we drove up it dawned on Anne Marie that she had a sore head and the reason was that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast, she decided that we would go for dinner before going to their house. This as you can imagine was music to Natalie and I’s ears as were generally always hungry! We went to a place called Eastside Mario’s which is like a Tapas bar, no just kidding, its an Italian pizza pasta type place. Can I just say it was fan bloody tastic. I had a burny burny pizza and Natalie had some chicken pasta type dish which looked good too, not to mention they had a never ending garlic bread and salad type thing going on which Natalie lapped up!

When we got there we got our bearings about the house which seemed to be exactly the same as it was those years ago, well except for the fact the now have a swanky swimming pool out the back. Its not filled yet however, depending when were heading back to the city though it may be filled while were here. Stuffed to the gills we sat in the den and watched the tv before bed. Do I need to mention that it was sport we watched on tv? This country is well good.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Day 12 take me out to the ball game....

Today was a day off the booze, thank god, its been a long weekend, with me working weekends pretty much the whole of my adult life such long weekends on the sauce aren’t any sort of norm for me, it was planned that I would maybe have a wee beer today but I decided against it.

Natalie and I kitted out ready to go out in our Monday best.

The reason I was going to have one was because today we went to our first Blue Jays game since we got here and so I thought a beer to commemorate that event would be good but a combination of things led me to stay off it for the day. 1. On Saturday I forgot my id and didn’t get served at the TFC game, I never had any id again today and didn’t want to risk embarrassment by asking and then getting hunted. 2. It cost 10 bucks for a beer! that’s more than six quid if you don’t know all of which leads me to 3. I didn’t want one! So the upshot is that I didn’t have one. Enough boring crap about my decisions to have a beer, here’s how the baseball went. We took the street car into town and got off at John Street (oddly enough) which looks right down onto the CN Tower and since the Skydome is right beside it, it seemed like a decent enough place to get off. We walked down John Street and passed a Hooters restaurant, Natalie commented that she would love to go there at some point in the future, this may seem like wishful thinking on my part but she actually did say it and hopefully we will get to go!
The view from our seats. Objects may seem further away than they really are due to the power of the camera!

We queued up for our tickets after blanking the touts and got ourselves seats in the outfield low down but far away form the pitchers, cheap seats but not the cheapest. we took out tickets, bought near gate three and saw that it was gate eleven. Assuming the Skydome has loads of gates as it is a massive stadium we walked clockwise around the stadium following the numbers upward to get to our gate, turns out there isn’t that many gates, in fact there is only 15 and the 25 minutes it took us to walk all the way round could easily have been cut to around five if we had went the other way. Easy mistake to make though. So we got in but missed the national anthems, we saw first pitch and also our first win! We actually won a slice of pizza each too! This is because the jays starting pitcher struck out 7 guys from the other team (Chicago White Sox) and so our ticket stub entitled us to a slice of either cheese or pepperoni pizza from the nearest Pizza Pizza outlet tomorrow. What if Brownings did a similar offer at Rugby Park, free roll and sausage for everyone if say five different players score for Killie on any given Saturday, crowds would go up I guarantee. So we watched the game from our actually pretty decent spot, Natalie disappeared away to the toilet at some point in the fifth inning and came back with a wee pot of ice cream, except this was no ordinary pot, more a upturned plastic baseball helmet, anyone who knows me will realise this may be the best thing I have ever seen, in fact it could become a a staple of our baseball experience, ice cream in a baseball helmet, collect them all! Hey, and it was a decent amount of ice cream too, five bucks well spent!

This is a view in the other direction, i suppose it also shows where gate 3 is which would be roughly centre of the picture and thus show what a long way we took for a short cut today!

After the game we walked round the concourse toward the exit, there was speed guns set up and guys taking a few bucks for three shots at throwing a pitch to see how fast they could sling it. I personally never tried it but we watched for a bit. We saw a guy throw 66 which was pretty impressive, then saw another guy throw 33 which was pants, we and the guy that threw 33 then saw a kid around eleven throw 35 at which mr 33 walked away in embarrassment. I shouldn’t talk mind you, I am pretty confident I would suck as bad as mr 33. Natalie doesn’t think she could trouble the gun much either. For the record, MLB pitchers generally throw between 90 and 100mph.

Check out baseball Barbie! and if you look closely check out me!

Ok, ball game over and its not even four. So we decided to walk back along the Queen Street West the route in which our Street car takes to and from the city centre from our bit. Generally we just look at it on our way in and out and we could see some ads in the windows for potential jobs so we spend a good few hours wandering along and taking up email addresses and websites. When we got to University avenue a cop stopped his car and asked us the score, it was kinda obvious where we had been as we were bedecked in Blue Jays attire, we told him and our eyes followed the car up the street, it was then we noticed loads and loads of police cars lined up the length of that block of University Avenue, the reason was that the Tamil Tigers were out again protesting! So far we have only seen these guys and gals on the news doing there thing, but today we saw it live and in colour. temptation was there to maybe get a bit closer and possibly take a photo or something but them, why give their cause any sort of interest and add to anything going on. At the very least it was kind of cool to see in person what has been dominating the news over here basically since we arrived.

Then we got back on the street car and headed home.

Day 11 was a Sunday and it was Domintated by Sports and Squibs

Yesterday we woke up pretty late and tried to pull ourselves together, it is game one of the Ice Hockey conference final and we were going to watch our new sporting idol in his families home of all places! So we moseyed up and arrived, rather unusually for us, before it started! They got beat but took an early lead, its strange being in such close proximity to the Bollands when there son is playing on the tv on a major stage. For us, were kind of getting into it, I can follow the game pretty well but frankly I need to concentrate when watching it, the puck flies around really quickly and the rules sometimes evade me, I like to hear the commentary as I can pick things out of what they say too, however today it really wasn’t possible, it was basically pandemonium. I don’t know if this is the biggest game that David has ever played but it may be the biggest one his family have only watched on tv rather than in the flesh. His team took an early lead and when the goal went in all their phones went wild, Drew and Seans received text after text, the house phone too started ringing all the while the game raged on on the tv. I assume it was family and friends texting and phoning to say something about what had just happened, all in all I kind of felt for them a little because they couldn’t really concentrate on the game, also I have been guilty of sending the odd wee text when I saw something so if I hadn’t been there with them I may have added to the telecom traffic! All in all it was actually quite an honour watching the game in that company pity the team went down in the end and was ultimately quite deflating after the excitement early on but alas, it was only game one, only two days to go to they could try and pull it back.

Sean's kid Liam being more of a door than a window while me and him watched his uncle dave on the telly!

After this odd, British like afternoon sport extravaganza we headed back home for tea. Natalie cooked up some spaghetti bolognaise which was cracking, so we ate that and collapsed on the settee and fell asleep, we awoke groggy when the mobile went off with a invite to go a walk and watch the Victoria Day weekend fireworks go off. The squibs were being set off on the lake up toward the tower but we could see them pretty well form our place further down the lakeshore not far from the condo. In all truth the fireworks sucked and hardly lasted any time at all, and it was baltic. However, the four of us, Natalie, Minotah, Sean and myself had a laugh and their dog had a wrestle with a rottweiler, oh and Sean brought a couple of cans of lager so it was ok.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Season Diary

Season Diary # : Sunday 17th May 2009

Well our Killie boys have done it themselves, no need for help from the rest of the strugglers, we did it ourselves, or rather, King Kevin Kyle did it for us meant two wins and a draw and four KKK goals (what an unfortunate abbreviation for King Kevin Kyle that is) in the bag since i left the British shores. I do however disagree with some of the correspondance i have had since leaving which left the upturn in fortunes at my door, deeming me a jinx on the team. I firmly beleive it merely a coincidence that we have went three unbeaten in the short time i have been in Canada!
With Killie safe, and me on the other side of the world where the only people who care that Killie have stayed up are basically, me and well just me i suppose. i have however embraced this nations national sport in the hope that come August when they are all my new bestest pals i can ingratiate Killie on them to return my embracement of ice Hockey (does that make sense? it probably doenst, i cant even be sure if embracement is a word, it probably isnt, it should be though) or Hockey as it is simply known over here.
I have chosen to follow the hockey because i love my sport and at this time of the year with the playoffs in full swing its the main focus of sporting attention. however my decision to, in the great hockey nation of canada, to follow an American team may not go down to well to some. I have my reasons and it all links into Killie would you believe.

My current location in Canada is a place called Mimico, just outside Toronto, a small village though not small as in Symington you understand, and that place is the hometown of a young chap called David Bolland (guy below in number 36 jersey). He is a local hero and from what i can gather he has the whole of Mimico rooting for him and his American hockey team the Chicago Blackhawks.

Thats not my only link however, the more important link would be that David is actually a half cousin of my good lady Natalie and we are currently enjoying the terrific hopsitality of the Bolland family and their friends, and to bring the whole thing full circle, David father is a Killie man and Killie fan who went around the country following the blue and white galacticos in his youth before moving over here permanantly quarter of a centry ago, and not only that he has brought up his family the right way, as Killie fans so hopefully come mid June the Stanley Cup (the major prize in the National Hockey League) could be in the hands (or rather arms because it is fucking huge) of a Killie fan!
So because of all that, i emplore all Killie fans to get behind this guy and his team, the Chicago Blackhawks when they take part in the Conference final game one v the Detroit Red Wings tonight 8pm british time on the American channel Setanta provide, if they can overcome the Red Wings in a best of seven games series then they go to another best of seven series versus either Pittsburh or Carolina and that series would be for the big prize, the Stanley Cup!

And hey, Killie could actually take something from this Chicago team, they are young and hungry, the youngest average in the league actually who have proved that its not always experince that wins out, youth has its benifits. Wouldnt that be great if we could reproduce some unexpected magic like that next season? Another wee gem of information is that they were also one of if not THE dirtiest team in the league last season and what with our disciplinary indiscretions this year I can see some omens ther or there abouts, i mean, if people can read into the fact im away being the catalyst for Killies upsurge in results i am going to read into unbefore seen parralels between us and an ice hockey team in the hope that we could get ourselves a young team (with a few old heads naturally) and forge some of Chicagos success next year.

I am nothing if i am not optimistic! And also a bit of a dreamer too i suppose.

So anyway, David Bolland and the Chicago Blackhawks on behalf of myself and hopefully all the Killie fans who i now (unofficially) proffess to speak for; good luck.

and to Killie for saving themselves this season a week before the seasons end; well done.

and Kevin Kyle, one man Killie keeper upper; this blog salutes you!

Day 10 when we did a whole lot of things

Yesterday was marked out as soon as we got up as John’s turn to get drunk and by the time bedtime came that was the case but our day in-between was pretty eventful….

Sean, at least I think it was Sean, had managed to get his hands on some free tickets for the Toronto FC game that afternoon and we got a phone call to pick them up from him at the game where he was working. All well and good however it was a four o’clock kick off and we needed to get the GO train to get there and so far we haven’t used this particular arm of the TTC (Toronto Transport Company) and actually at that point in time our sum knowledge of the Go train was that it left Mimico station at five to the hour every hour and also the general direction of the station, and that basically it. Also in the early afternoon we had to go see our new landlord and lady about paying our first and last month rent so we planned to go round there and then make our way for the five to two train to Exhibition Place where the BMO Field is situated. We set out at roughly one o’clock and started walking toward Wheatfield Ave our future home, we were well wrapped up as it was still as windy as it had been the last few days, jeans and jackets weather. In our supreme confidence of where we were going we went a slightly different way than normal and this was actually our undoing as we took a little longer than expected to find Wheatfield, by this time it had started spitting, big spits.

We got round to our new place and the couple were in cleaning, this was a happy sight as I never really described much about our place, I suppose we weren’t really in it long enough to really talk about it and I can go into more detail when we get there proper but one thing Natalie did say she was going to do when she moved in was to disinfect the place top to bottom so the fact that when we came around they were pulling everything out and wiping and dusting and cleaning behind was pretty good, well I thought so anyway, I think Natalie has her shopping list written already for the cleaning gear were going to need as of June! To be fair the last person to move out only did the day we saw or the day before at the earliest so they never had the chance to gut the place before showing it. Benefit of the doubt and all that.

So we paid our dues and left to catch the train, it was roughly about quarter to and we had zero chance of making the five to train, the rain at this point was very heavy and we decided that we would just get up to the Goose which is beside the station and have a beer and get the next one at five to three. In hindsight I have no idea why we thought that getting the five to two train was a good idea, the place wasn’t that far away and if we had got the earlier train we would have been at the football about 90 minutes before kick off! So anyway, we went for a wee beer and actually to dry off as by the time we made the front (actually the back) door of the pub it was absolutely tipping it down and we were soaked! We went in and ordered up a beer while I went into the bathroom and stripped to the waist and dried my tshirt in my hands with the hand dryer! Sitting in that pub that Saturday afternoon was unlike the Friday nights and also the Wednesday night we had been in previous, it wasn’t too busy and the only people in were auld codgers who must have requested the music selections. It was like the enchantment under the sea dance from Back to the Future, fifties classics! Well, they weren’t all classics, some were utter garbage.

A GO train, in fact THE GO train we were on

Anyway, I am probably going into too much detail and since this day goes on for another 12 hours I will skip over some details, we wnet and caught the next train which was a pretty straight forward deal, the rain had gone off by now thankfully as the BMO field is completely open and when we arrived we picked up our tickets, we were half an hour early so took in some of the entertainment outside, ball jugglers are always good fun.
I could type away countless differences between the football on show when the game kicked off and what I have watched all my life back home but I will keep that stuff for when I talk to my dad who may be the only person who would actually care! The thing I would point out is that it is a family orientated day out, lots of kids and even babies in our area of the ground and the songs sung weren’t the same sweary word filled (filth is what Natalie is whispering in my ear as I type) dittys I am used to back home. One song had piss in it, the rest were more kid friendly. Noone takes it up the arse and the referee at no point was refered to as a self abuser, in that I found the whole experience somewhat lacking! Natalie on the other hand liked that aspect and wants to go back! She may have a tought ime of that, the game we were at wasn’t capacity but I think that was due to weather, TFC (as the affectionately call themselves) sell out most matches and the tickets are expensive. Fingers crossed for more freebies! Tee hee.
Me at BMO, thats the away fans in the background
Natalie at the game

After the game we went round to the entrance to wait on Sean and his girlfriend Minotah who were both working at the game and would run us home. After everything calmed down and the crowds thinned Sean took us out onto the pitch which is just like the power league ones I strut my stuff on back home, sadly there was no balls around and I didn’t have the balls to ask for one so I never got to shoot into the nets and be like TFC god Danny Dichio (!) but Natalie got her picture taken on the pitch so that was an ok substitute. I wouldn’t have wanted to do a Diana Ross anyway.

Natalie on the hallowed turf of TFC!

Fast forward to night time, we were in the Goose, again! Drews brother John and his wife Rachael and their friends from Mississagua were coming down so we were in there. Pubs over here arent like pubs back home, we thought they were going to be but actually they arent, it may have been that because it was Victoria day weekend everyone was away but even still, it was dull. I should mention that at this point we were with Drew and Carol plus the Mississagua mob and Carols sister Jackie and her man Bill joined us too. We had a few drinks in the Goose then the night took a step on the wild side.

Drew and Carols friends were having a karaoke 40th birthday type house party thing and had invited us round, this seemed pretty cool to Natalie and I, it would be a laugh if nothing else, nothing could have prepared us for what we went too. First I should say that the people were actually really nice folks and I don’t have anything bad to say about them but they were seriously steaming! Having been pretty open to what we were going to and fully prepared to rip into my repertoire of karaoke hits but as soon as we stepped inside I bottled it and found myself pretty much trying to soak into wallpaper, the only problem was….there wasn’t any! They had been putting another level onto their house (an extension over here) and for whatever reason the work seemed to have came to a halt so the walls were bare, the floors too and in the corner of the room was a crackit uncle who thought he was Johnny Cash! We weren’t there long, had a few beers and headed.

From there we went onto Bills condo but I am yapping on a bit now so I will simply finish it up as it is and fill it up with photos, got back bout three though, and sent a text home, 8o‘clock in Killie after all so there must be someone up, unfortunately I was sleeping before a reply came in, I did only give approx 6 seconds though!

Check out my wee tiny bikers hat!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Day 9 was a Friday adn the official beginning of our 2nd weekend!

Yesterday was a bit of a easy day for us, I am sure anyone who is reading probably feels like every day has been a easy day but this one in particular we really just went with the flow. Well it wasn’t all that easy, we did have some stuff to take care of first. In order to get jobs in the city it would seem we need hard copies of our C.V’s to hand in to prospective places of work if that is how they do things, so Natalie tells me anyway. So our day was going to take the form of a trip on the street car (tram) into the city to get our C.V’s printed out to be doled out as and when we see fit. Before that however our C.V’s need a bit of work, you se C.V. isn’t the common term over here, it’s résumé and our C.V.’s have C.V. plastered all over them so we needed to alter them slightly to fit in with our new surroundings, also we put our new address, well our current address, at the top. I, in an act of genuine cunning, also edited my interests part to include hockey and baseball into my list of sporting pastimes.

So we took these résumés with us on a wee flash drive to staples and got the fella to print us up a bunch of them. We also bought a wee stapler too. After this job was done the afternoon was our own and instead of scuttling back home we took the day to do a bit of shopping. Up at the sports shop we picked up a blue jays t-shirt each, we both wanted Roy Halladay ones but they never had a blue one with his name on it in my size so I ended up with a Rios one, a decent replacement all things considered. Natalie was lucky though she got herself a black t-shirt with Toronto’s ace pitcher, number 32, Roy “doc” Halladay emblazoned on the back. It is with pangs of jealousy I write this. don’t get me wrong I could have got a t-shirt to fit the bill elsewhere but this particular shop was doing buy one get the second half price and so was a deal that couldn’t go begging.

Natalie also picked up a hat and scarf today, mainly because it is bitter cold over here. We haven’t really mentioned the weather but I suppose now is as good a time as any, its actually quite chilly over here. I was exaggerating a bit saying it was bitter cold, its not but in no way has the last few days been warm. In fact the shorts and t-shirts have been put back in the case for the moment and replaced by the jeans and jackets. We are living for now lakeside also which means we get all the wind and its that which catches us out. When we get up and look out the window its sunny and really lovely looking days, however when you get downstairs and out then you remember that today is like the past few and the view from the condo is deceiving as its still chilly.

Natalie in this picture is sporting her new hat and scarf ensemble, look out for this pairing showing up on John at some point in the coming year!

Anyway, we finished up our we shopping day and jumped back on the street car back home. We were both hungry plus we were going to go round to the lacrosse game again at the Mimico arena. Needless to say we were late for the game. When left to our own devices and knowing that we would be walking time changes from eastern seaboard time to John and Natalie time and everyone knows that that clock runs five or ten minutes behind. The game was ok and afterwards we headed round to the Blue Goose again though not for as big a night as we experienced a week ago! Well not for me, I took it easy, Natalie on the other hand ended up pretty gassed! We walked home no problem having remembered the way from Wednesday night but the jackets zipped up to the neck and Natalie’s hat and scarf was pulled like bhirka. Did I mention it was cold?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Day 8 when we got some digs!

This condo block has a garbage chute! Like all the American movies and shows like Friends where you take your rubbish to a room and open a door type thing (?) and throw it down. These things have fascinated me for years and I have always wanted a shot, can I just say I am disappointed, they suck. Today was my first go and to be honest I will do all in my power to avoid doing it again, such was my disappointment. Natalie had did it earlier in the week but I don’t thin she had quite the level of expectation I did. I don’t know what I expected but the crushing level of disappointment I encountered on first go is hard to explain. Natalie has just told me that I over exaggerate the importance of some things and belittle other, basically she thinks I write a total load of crap most of the time, I disagree and I feel this is an excellent example of this, she sees it as rubbish, I see it as an examination of the minutiae of our cultural experiences over here and hence worthy of going in. Im sure though when I read it back next week, I will agree whole heartedly with her.

As far as the day was going that was proving to be the highlight, we had received a call about a apartment in the afternoon while I called home over the internet, the apartment, which was furnished was a step in the right direction but after the condo we went to see previously we weren’t hopeful, actually we were kinda dreading it and as the time clicked round to half six and it loomed large it got to a point where we really weren’t keen to go at all, this was coupled by the fact we hadn’t had any dinner. We tried to have dinner but failed miserably, we couldn’t get the communal bbq lit and trudged away hungry after 30 minutes using all our best efforts. Carol and Drew picked us up and ran us round to Wheatfield Road where the apartment was and on the way Natalie whispered in my ear that she had forgotten the paper on which the info was scribbled and the exact location of the apartment wasn’t known exactly it was either 42 or 44 in her mind. So we tried them, 42 and 44 to no avail, noone about. So we decided, late or not to go back to the condo and dig out this piece of paper with the info and know for definite, I jogged up the stairs (actually I jogged to the lift) and found the scrap. 43! It was number 43! Across the road. Rage. So we headed back over and the couple were waiting on the porch for us. We introduced ourselves and they led us around the back to their place for rent. At this point we were wholly expecting a basement apartment and were actually pleasantly surprised to find it was on the main level and actually had decking outside the front door looking out to the back garden. it’s a bachelor apartment in the same vane as the one I left behind in Preswick, not exactly the same as I had a separate kitchen but if you know what I lived in in Prestwick you will know where I am coming from. it’s a room with a double bed, a couch and a kichenette and a bathroom off it, I mean its not luxury but for the time we need it for, June till September I suppose it will do fine. The couple who will be our landlords were a pair of characters as well, the wife I feel will be a bit hard work but her Austrian husband seems a cracker! In fact it was him who brokered the deal for us. We took Carol in with us as sometimes our conversation skills are kind of lacking, not on our part, we follow everything but sometimes people don’t follow our particular phrasing of things, my rant yesterday on the lottery is an example of this (another came later tonight after we saw the apartment where Carol told us about Drew describing a parking lot as a car park and the Canadians he spoke to seeming not to put the two together, I digress) so Carol in some part acted as a translator and negotiator. Here is how it went down, the wife wanted us to tie ourselves down to a year, she didn’t want a short term deal. We were there knowing we wanted a short term deal as we are pretty certain to go back to the condo come October so carol fabricated a half truth out of us just having arrived and unsure of jobs and locations of jobs and maybe we might have jobs far away and a long term deal wouldn’t suit. It didn’t look good as the wife wanted long term, till the Austrian husband piped up and said that if we let them know if we weren’t staying on if we let them know before the college goes back they could advertise for a student to take over from us, the wife gave him mega daggers but he never seen them and so we jumped in and sealed the deal! We will let them know if were not staying on beyond September (we wont) and all is good to stay from june 1st!

We went on to a Irish bar called the Galway arms to celebrate our new place before going home to have the dinner we never got before going out!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Day 7 was when Natalie felt unwell

The internet is proving a large part of our weekdays right now, it’s a necessity for finding accommodation and hopefully some jobs, so we have been spending large chunks of our days over in the marina club communal area using their wifi. The other thing about being on the net at these parts of the day is that all our Scottish friends and family, the people reading this I suppose, are either just finishing work or finished and online so we spend time sending emails and the like. However, more important matters were at hand come 2.45 pm our time on Wednesday. Killie were playing St Mirren in a relegation dog fight and I was going to miss it, British radio isn’t accessible over here due to some sort of laws so I had the wonderful idea that if I could get someone to pick up a skype call I could ask them to hang the headset with microphone over the radio, a brace from King Kevin Kyle, joy. While I sat straining to hear anything about the Killie game from Derek Johnstone and the rest of those Clyde 2 dicks who spent the majority of their time blabbering on about rangers and man united Natalie played on Bebo. We both went a wee swim in the morning and when we went the messages mid afternoon Natalie greatly exaggerated her length count in her morning dip. She claims she did 24 lengths of the pool, that’s up and down so she did 48 in all, its not a big pool but still im not sure whether I believe her, I shall have to pay attention next time out instead if daydreaming.

Our evening was supposed to be spent at the BMO Filed watching FC Toronto but Natalie’s ears are sore and she was feeling a bit sorry for herself, she did say she would have went but I being the considerate boyfriend I am said I would stay in and support her while she was poorly, she seemed genuinely pleased by this terrific act of kindness. All that is quite clearly bollocks by the way, the tickets were actually a bit late notice and Natalie ears were sore so we politely declined and stayed in. so an evening in with the finale of Americas Next Supermodel is how Wednesday came to a close. We did however have a delicious dinner which Natalie crafted using pasta, leftover hotdogs and pasta sauce. Oh and I went out to get ice cream for the invalid and picked us up a 6 49 lottery ticket, we got a quick pick which is quite easy for anyone to understand must work in a similar way to a lucky dip. Me, as a Scotsman would read quick pick and think “oh that must be there version of lucky dip” sadly that intuition doesn’t relate over her, I couldn’t think of the right word (quick pick) so I used lucky dip, the woman looked at me as if I was stupid, I said it again then frantically scoured the lottery form for the right phrase, little things like that do my head in. I am speaking English, its heavily accented yes but its is full blown English, not some pidgin English but even still its intelligible. Quick pick and lucky dip should be easily synonymous with each other. Other things that should be mentioned is that Ricardo from the forum prices Canadian ice cream (quite dear!) and Two and a Half Men is me and Natalie’s new favourite show.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Day 6 when we were so close to a cracking pad but then dashed at the last kick!

Its was this morning (Tuesday) that i lost my jet lag sort of thing, I was the only one. Natalie is still getting up rather early, its like hanging about with a Natalie circa 2005 when she wouldn’t sleep on and was really rather irritating in the mornings. So anyway, she got up and went swimming while I had an extra half hour sleep. When she came back we went over and used the communal room for their wifi in order to look up prospective living quarters, and we hit pay dirt it seemed with a shared luxury condo showing on the horizon which, while it was right at the top end of our budget scale, was completely doable. The necessary phone call was made but the chap, John, never answered, we searched some more and then John called back. So we wandered along to see this place which it turns out was only a short walk up the lakeside.

It was beautiful and the situ was that his sister owned it but she was a flight attendant and only stayed in it occasionally, her brother was a yoga teacher and was over simply to allow viewing for his sister, we were instantly taken by the lovely place and arranged to come back later in the day to sort everything out. We spoke it over and text and emailed the chap back saying we were very keen and would see him later. He never replied but this never deterred us, no news was good news or so we thought, if he was against our idea of meeting later he would simply say. The upshot of this whole situation is that we called back later and he eventually answered (in moments of terror during the day we called, only to have John not answer) and said that his sister had sorted out a tenant herself and he was sorry, he couldn’t answer his phone as he had forgot it in the condo while he went out and taught a class.

Let me just put it to you that were not stupid and see all this as total bullshit. The phone thing isn’t believable as his phone was in his hand the whole time we were shown around the condo and the building, not in his pocket, in his hand. Also, he was keen to get back to Vancouver where he lives so why would he take a class? Also, his sister sorted out something herself just as we were looking at it, it all seems to much, the fact she had her brother dealing with it and taking him away from home to let people view and she goes and ties it up without the party looking at it all seems a bit too much to be truly believeable. Having said all that, I actually found the guy john to be a right nice guy and my only regret is that he wasn’t forthright in the real reasons. Those being a viewer after us took it straight away for example instead of fudging a really crap excuse.

Anyway, while all this was no doubt going on Natalie and I had a rather hilarious online chat with her dad using the skype thing, the halfwit didn’t set his earphones right or something so he couldn’t hear us but we could hear him, we could both see each other though. He asked questions and we wrote back, watching him read our messages was priceless plus he felt the need to have the cat say hello, also priceless. The evening saw us mosey on up to the Blue Goose Tavern we were at on Friday so I could watch the baseball (it was Halliday v AJ Burnett which no doubt means nothing to you but was a big deal for me), we followed Natalie’s keen nose for direction an ended up going the wrong direction, we were redirected though before we went too far though and didn’t get there too late into the game. Afterwards we walked back home, it was dark however and the streets don’t look the same in the dark, also its worth noting that Natalie’s directions not only took us the wrong way but also the long way and from where the pub is situated it became clear that another direction would get us home far quicker than the route we took to get there, but as I say, it was dark and unravelled terrain for us at that point so suffice to say Natalie was bricking it. Me? I was big and brave and we got home quickly and easily.

Ok I was kinda bricking it too.

Day 5 is the day we became proper legal

Up early yesterday morning because Monday was the day we embarked on the arduous task of acquiring our social insurance numbers and bank accounts. When we stopped by the swap office on Friday the fella in there said that if we hussled up to city hall then there would be a queue and we might get in before the day was out, frankly we never had the time for it then so we set out on Monday quite apprehensive about waiting all day in a queue with asylum seekers or something like that. Nothing was further from the truth, it was all relatively simple, relatively. We got the street car (tram) into the city from the stop outside the condo were living in and rode it almost till the city centre, or the city centre as far as were concerned; Yonge Street (pronounced young incidentally) we got off at city hall, a lovely big building so it, and went through their airport security type thing only to be told we were in the old city hall and the new one is about 100 yards down the road.

The old City Hall

The new city hall is a modern horrible looking thing but we went in regardless and there was only a couple of people waiting which was good. This though this led us to think that we were in the wrong place, but we weren’t, it was just there was only one person working. When we were eventually taken, one at a time, it was all relatively painless and quick too. While we were there Natalie had to phone a guy Gord back about a job she was maybe going to get interview for that was sorted out at the alchol hazed lacrosse game Friday night soiree, he asked her to come in for an interview that afternoon and she agreed. Now this maybe wasn’t the greatest of ideas as we were about due to be taken in to get grilled on our intentions in the great province of Ontario and what if it took ages and we had to get back to the condo and get changed and then find a way to Missisagua which we didn’t know where that was and it was the back of ten and the interview was three and what if and what if. But as I said the whole social insurance number thing was a pure breeze so we moved onto the business getting bank accounts.

Frankly the subject of getting bank accounts was just as simple as getting the SIN’s (I have no idea if this is an actual acronym but I will use it anyway) so I wont bore you, the chap that dealt with me, a guy called Wei was a stand up fella and dealt with us quickly and informatively, explaining every step and left me in no way confused about what I was signing up for. Natalie says her woman was the same though she cant remember the girls name. let me say this about Canada, we struggled to get in and heard so much about how the didn’t accept people of different nationalites in, well in this particular branch of TD Canada Trust we were issued accounts by people of all different nationalites, I would maybe guess Wei was born over here but with asian parents but the guy who deposited natalies money was called Vitaly and he had a cool eastern bloc haircut and came from Russia! The girl who deposited my money was south american, i imagine anyway.

Further on that point there is a huge Polish influx over here, so much so a good few pubs have signs outside them with Zywiek and Tyskie on them, polish beers to the uninitiated, good polish beer to anyone seeking a recommendation.

And to go off on a even further tangent i have been enjoying the Canadian beer and so far I have tasted Labbatts blue, Molson candian, Coors light and something called Moosehead which is a local micro brewerys pilsner lager type stuff. I actually showed my ignorance by asking for a Canadian by saying can I have a Molson which got the guy behind the bar looking at me funny.

Right so, bank accounts and SIN’s dealt with we got the street car home and had a quick bite while Natalie got the power suit on for her interview, with half an hour before she was to be picked up, Drew called and said he would run her up which was great, we went over to the communal area of the condo complex to use their wifi so Natalie could do some research on the company. She needn’t have bothered, the interview went well but its kinda felt that natalies experience of being interviewed may be more indepth than the experience of the interviewers actually doing interviews might of meant she may have overpowered them with her hunger and prioffessional intensity. Or maybe that wasn’t actually how it happened, I am merely surmising, while all this was going on I was out in the car talking about sport and current affairs stuff with Drew.

Here is a rotten picture of the wee puppy that we went to see, for people who like thats sort of thing

We then went and picked up drews brorther John from his holiday abode in Mississagua and headed back to Mimico for tea. Carol made our tea and from there we went to their friends house out of town to see their new dog, a cracking wee thing half lab half collie I think which was pretty small and playful now but im sure if I see it again it will be the size of a horse and sharp as a tack. This whistle stop tour of different places and peoples houses came to an abrupt end around sevenish as game six of the Blackhawks series was due to start and the Bolland family wanted settled to watch it. Natalie and I watched it too, 7-5 they won eventually and now they are through and that means, I think, that we could be on our way to a wee road trip to the states to see game 1 of the next round! Which would be cool. I made it through the whole game, it was touch and go at bits though I had to walk about the condo a bit when adverts were on, Natalie? well did and she didn’t, she watched the first period with me then went through to the bedroom and answered every time I shouted something had happened, generally its just goals I shouted for, im not that clued up in the sport (though I am trying, its almost religion here) so that’s good enough for me. The horn blew and I text drew, just so he knew we watched it and then went straight to sleep.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Day 4 saw a comment made to us that walking from where we were to the city centre would take 45 mins. It didnt

So we got up on the Sunday and knew nothing about the score, I text drew who never told me so we spent most of the day searching out the score. Natalie and I went over to the common room above the condos shared gym/swimming pool to use the internet. Or rather Natalie went to talk to her mum over the net and I read, we then embarked on a wee walk.

All these yachts are parked at the front of where were staying but more importantly, this is the hat i bought yesterday!

This wee walk saw us walk for two hours in the one direction, and meant we had to walk the same distance back so a four hour round trip. As I sit here typing this natalies legs are feeling sore but so far im ok. Our walk took us in the direction of downtown Toronto, we wanted to see how far we could make it, we got as far as the exhibition place which was a fair achievement, on one side of the highway was the bmo field where FC Toronto play and the other the Molson Ampitheatre which actually is on a island over a small stretch of water.

The Molson Amphitheatre, Kinda on an island and roughly halfway between where were staying and the city!

I am pretty sure the Killers are playing there later in the year and Sean works security on all those type things so if he cant get me a job beside him ill be making sure to beg him to upgrade whatever cheap tickets I can get if I get them! Sean worked a Shania Twain gig before and actually carried her into the gig.

If you look really close you can see the CN Tower in the backgound, if you also look close you can see if have Natalies scarf on because it was absolutely freezing on the walk back, the wind would have cut you!

When we got back from our leisurely stroll we had drew and Carol pop round with Drews brother John who is from Prestwick and over for a holiday, first time we had met, and also for him the first time he had met Natalie though Natalie insists they have met before! They left a wee bit ago so we had out dinner and are now sat and yawning at each other so il finish this up before retiring to bed.

Day 3 was a quiet affair

Right so we woke up in the condo on Saturday morning nice and early because we were getting picked up at 9am to go back downtown and pick up our bags from the hotel, it wasn’t the greatest hurl back as we were both feeling slightly liverish due to overindulgence the night before, but we survived, nipped in, grabbed our bags, stuck on some clean clothes and back out to the car. We got run to the condo, where we dumped our bags and pulled ourselves together because we were getting picked up again, this time to go the messages.

The view of the tennis courts from the condo window

Except we never just went the messages, we got taken to a shopping mall to pick up a mobile, or cell as they are more commonly known over here. We got it as it happens, it’s an absolute shitter. A Samsung flip phone piece of crap. Its red, its mince, it basically sucks. Also Canadian tariffs are garbage, gone are my easy to operate 600 minutes and 1000 texts which the good people at o2 offered me, no here its costing us big bucks. Were getting free local calls evenings and weekends unlimited texts which is fine though whether they are free if not local remains to be seen. What else, oh, that’s right, I havent a clue who is calling me as it cost extra a month for caller id! They need to have a good look at their phone system stuff really, apart from that its all cool I suppose. When in rome then do what the romans do so when in Canada get pumped stupid by the mobile companies like the Canadians do. I should probably add that we may have got a better deal had we taken a longer contract than the mere year we took, most companies push three years, im sure more perks would have been available had we taken longer deal.

Natalie has a wee seat while doing the messages, in what looks like the perfect TITP chair!

So anyway, the messages were bought and taken home. From there me and Natalie had a quiet night in, we had a pizza for tea which was delicious and settled down to watch oor dave on the tv, a late face off(!?) at 10.30 coupled with our late night the night before meant we succumbed and pretty much missed the lot.