Thursday, July 29, 2010

Civic Holidays and Sailing

Last night Rob and I met up with the usual suspects for a little outing to watch some sailing in the Bedford Basin and take a few photos. A very social evening, obviously we went to Tim's afterwards for donuts and coffee (in my case tea). This weekend marks Natal Day (civic holiday on Monday)...The weekend is a bit like Canada Day and marks the birthday of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. There are loads of events on over the weekend and on Monday there is a parade. Fireworks are of course also on the agenda on Saturday evening, so we my well attempt to hook up again with the gang and take some more shots in front of the bridge.

Having just read up on Natal Day I found out that it is not an official Bank Holiday but many people do take the day off. The reason it came about was purely down to the fact that they wanted to add in another holiday between Canada Day and Labour Day as the gap was too long between holidays, which of course made me laugh! I reckon the UK should take note of this!

Yesterday I had a call back from Pete's and they told me they have narrowed the position down to 2 candidates, myself and one other and want me to attend a second interview on Tuesday next week. Of course I am pleased by this news, as it means I did get the interview right, which should stand me in good stead for any others, but with regards a second interview, I have no clue what to expect. I have a 50/50 chance now, if I don't get it I shall be straight on to Drake Employment next week and hopefully they should be able to get me temping somewhere. I really want a job again now. It's funny but I never though I would say that!

Rob started his learning days with Metro Burners today, he will be out again with them tomorrow. He said he found it much the same as the UK, the pipes maybe different but the problems are still the same!

Wind and Power :o)

Click to view larger!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Deer Stalker

So I was settled in this evening watching Big Brother (UK version...I mention this as I am watching the USA version as well right now) and out of the corner of my eye I saw something out of the window, and sure enough there was a deer strolling about and chewing on the grass at the end of my neighbours house. I grabbed my camera and started sneaking about all know I am not good at sneaking, my body size tends to make it a tad difficult! It wasn't dark, but getting dark, I had the wrong lens on the camera, and had to hand hold it which proved useless, so I had to resort to the auto setting and the flash, which is why the image looks darker than it was. I got closer and closer and it wasn't the slightest bit bothered! I cannot wait until Fall now when they all come round the estate. Tammy (another neighbour) told me that you quite often see about 13 of them on the grass right outside here and they can be hand fed :o)) Talk about wildlife on your doorstep!

I noticed at the weekend that the other hosta's that had been munched had been replaced...a pointless exercise as today they were cut down in their prime again!

...hmm, who's that weirdo stalker, I haven't seen her before!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Photo Walk

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Rob and I participated in the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in down town Halifax. Nancy picked us up and we met up with a few other familiar faces from the camera club as well as new faces along for the experience.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from the event or what I would find along the way to capture my imagination, but I need not have worried, there was plenty going on. We started in the Brewery Market which was extremely busy and way too hot for my liking, and ended up on Spring Garden Road, which is a very lively and vibrant part of the city. It was also the location of the Gay Pride Parade, which started at around 1 pm.

Gay Pride was a whole new experience for myself and Rob, it made for some interesting and colourful photos and it had a wonderful atmosphere. It definitely had a carnival vibe and I especially liked the way the Police actively took part and got involved, this is something that I imagine differs from the UK.

An Audience with Churchill

Peacock Man!

Rob relaxing whilst I was off photographing a fountain

Some of my other shots from the parade

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Interview

Having been to my interview today I thought I would update you on how it went.

I think I should first mention that I believe that the interview process here is a lot more rigorous than in the UK (from my past experiences anyway). This interview was quite informal, but on the same hand professional and in-depth. Having read up on interviews here, I knew roughly what to expect, so had answers readily available and I had also genned up on the company before hand, which I think helped.

I was interviewed by two young ladies, Holly (the manager) and Olivia (not sure what her role is). They were both charming and younger than me! I personally thought the interview went well, but I know there are other applicants, and I also know that the one after me was younger. I am wondering if being older may go against me. Not sure if they are looking for someone with experience or would rather have a blank canvas. One thing that does possibly go in my favour would be the design side as part of the role would be signage around the store. Anyway I should know one way or another next week. It would be nice to get it, but if not it was all good experience.

In other news I had a chat with a lady called Annaka today, she is the daughter of Suzaane who is a member of the Camera Club, Annaka works for a design and marketing firm who hire in freelancers. She liked the work in my portfolio and could possibly have some work for me from Next April.

Had a laugh last night with some of the photo gang, we went for a drink in Bedford before heading out to the lake (where we go swimming), got a few decent shots as the sun was disappearing, and then it pelted down with rain. Today it has been raining on and off, and to be honest I was pleased to have a change in the temperature. I think this is the first day in a while I have actually felt like doing some housework in our hot house! Hamish actually moved off the stairs, so he has now become a fury barometer...Stairs meaning it's way too hot...No Stairs, just right!

Last Light at the Lake

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bits and Bobs

A quiet week thus far!
Monday Nancy phoned and I ended up spending all afternoon at the lake swimming, with her and her friend Patty. Patty is great fun and definitely shares a love of banter and humor.

Tuesday I applied for yet another job, and Wednesday to my surprise they called me back, I have an interview tomorrow. The job is an admin position in a market style supermarket that specialises in hard to find imported goods...Like Marmite and Heinz Baked Beans!! (no surprises that the company was started by an Englishman!) Anyway, the job would suit me as it's in Bedford and just down the road from Nancy's place. It would be 30 hours a week, Mon - Fri 10 am - 4 pm (I like the sound of that!) I would have to work one Sunday in four, but that's really no big deal, so fingers crossed it goes well. I am not going to get my hopes up, but it would be nice if I did get it, as it would mean that I could still fit in the car lot maybe one day a week after work.

Tonight I am off out, meeting Nancy and a couple of others from the camera club in Bedford for a catch up and maybe head off somewhere at sunset (if there is one) to take a few snaps.

Rob is working hard at UHaul, although the system there is pretty non existent and a complete muddle by all accounts which makes learning the ropes pretty hard. The turnover of staff there is pretty high so no one really knows what they are doing! He doesn't get back home usually until around 7.45 pm, so he won't be able to come along tonight unfortunately...As he is a fully paid up member of the camera club too!

On Saturday we are going on the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk...Now I know that probably none of you have even heard or know what that's about, well lucky for you I have embedded a video!

The weather continues to be hot and humid, as I believe it is in England too. I swear our house is the hottest place on earth. It was so bad last night I actually slept on a cool pack from the freezer! Poor Hamish is struggling too, he tries to keep cool the best way he can, which as you can see from the image below is sprawled out on one of the stairs.

Too hot for fur!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Fun!

What started off as an overcast day yesterday turned into one of the hottest days yet.

Having got the ferry across from Dartmouth to Halifax (we wanted to try it out and there was free parking on the Dartmouth side), Rob and I met up with Tom and Marg to catch the boat for our trip to McNabs Island. The island itself seemed bigger than I imagined it. It was a lovely day we had a wander round and had a picnic lunch. It was really far too hot to do much else. We returned back Halifax at around 5.30 pm and went to a cafe for afternoon tea, then we we kindly invited back to Tom and Marg's for dinner. It was a late night night and plenty of chatting.
We got home around 2.45 am!!!

Tom and Marg belong to (what we would call) a country club, that has sailing, swimming and tennis. There is a dance coming up at the club in August and we have been invited along, so looking forward to that. We have also made tentative arrangements to meet up with then at the end of August/beginning of September for a night out at the Lower Deck to go and see Signal Hill play again.

Today Rob and I were pretty tired as you can imagine, so we haven't done much all day, but decided to head out about 4 pm for a swim at the lake as it is around 82 degrees again today. I know that doesn't sound massively hot, but when you factor in the humidity it feels more like 90 plus!

Thank you for all you kind words of congratulation on the message board and via e-mail regarding the driving test!!

Tom and Marg

George's Island Lighthouse, on route to McNabs Island

Nice day for a swim! Our local pool!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Driving Test!

This morning was the dreaded driving test, and I couldn't have picked a hotter day to do it! My nerves started late last night, several trips to the loo and a restless night, meant I was pretty tired this morning and the heat didn't help.

I was so nervous I felt sick. Anyhow got to the DMV early, parked the car and waited for the instructor to come out, lovely lady called Cindy. For those of you reading this in the UK, let me tell you the test here is nothing like the test in the UK. The most noticeable difference is the fact that the instructor chats away and you have relaxed conversation thoughout the entire exam. So while I am panic stricken to my very core Cindy and I chatted about how she wants to get this blue star (big thing here on houses you see them a lot) to decorate her new shed which her hubby is doing up. I got so engrossed in home decor conversation I forgot to check my blind spots and turned through a junction from one lane to another (which was wrong). The total test was about 15 minutes long and there were no hill starts, no reversing round a corner, no parallel parking, no emergency stopping...Pretty basic, drive, turn and park. I had to reverse back into the allotted driver test space, which was not a problem.

So did I pass or fail? To my utter relief, I passed! I now have my official licence as it is all done on the spot inside the DMV. Terrible photo, I look drained, with my crappy haircut and have the standard 2 chins on display! Not an image I will be sharing readily!

I cannot describe the sense of joy at passing and knowing that I don't have to do it again. Rob thought I had failed as I had been gone so long, when in fact I was still chatting with Cindy about shopping and where the best places to live are.

My shirt and back I might mention was soaked through literally from the ordeal.

Whilst at Access Canada I took the opportunity to queue up and ask about registering the name of a business. I have now paid for a search and have to phone back Monday to see if the name is reserved for me. If it has been then I pay to register and can then set up a bank account etc. Still have loads to research on this. But step one now taken.

I have an interview tomorrow morning with an employment agency regarding a job I applied for. In all honesty, I think the job is a little out of my league, but Erica (the agency girl who called) said if this one isn't right then they can most likely fix me up with something else, so I am hopeful.

I also had a very nice chat with a man called Sid who owns a print place in Halifax. My friend Marg put me on to him. Although he doesn't have anything for me right now he wants me to pop in and meet him as he said he is always looking ahead as due to the economy right now he is two people down and thinks there maybe something in the future. Sid is very down to earth and from Vancouver, as an outsider to the area himself he knows it can be difficult here to break into the job market, but he employs largely outsiders, not a conscious decision but more of a coincidence I think.

In other news, remember that door art installation? I had a lovely e-mail from the artist, she loved my photo of her work and said it was the best she had seen. She said if passing by to drop her a line and meet up. How nice is that!?

Squeaked through on a wing and a prayer with 3 major faults.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mustangs & Earwigs

Back on the lot today taking snaps of some more cars and trucks. Very humid and I sweated heaps. I can now officially reveal that my most hated vehicle to drive is the Ford Mustang. They are not designed for short, fat birds! I have trouble getting in and out of the buggers and I can barely see over the 'hood'(as they call it here). They are noisy and the manual type have the heaviest clutches you can imagine, just perfect for me to stall several times on the trot and look like a complete numpty! Lest we forget I have to get in the back seat and photograph the view from back there towards the dash. Now that really is trying to squeeze a pint into a quart pot!

I ordered up some new business cards for my photography site, my portfolio site and my soon to be (hopefully), new business site. They took forever to arrive as the post is, shall I say, on the slow side here. I will never bad mouth Royal Mail again! We only get post Mon-Fri, no weekend delivery at all.

That said I was very pleased with the results. If any of you do need business cards, Moo is definitely the place to go! Everyone has a business card here as it's all about networking.

Regarding Earwig Watch, what can I say, they are still lodging with us. The numbers seem down since the rain, but they are still marching about. I am definitely leaning more towards complaining and trying to get something done about it. My neighbour said she doesn't have any in her house, but said the warm winter last year failed to kill them off as normal.
I think I may have worked out where they are coming from, there is a slight gap at the end of some skirting downstairs where they seem to be emerging from. Until I decide what to do I am still spraying and stamping.

The hot and clammy weather has also brought an unwelcome smell. God only knows what it is. I thought it was the bins, but they are all cleaned out and then I thought it was the cat littler tray but we keep that clean, so I am baffled. It could be cat food. So Hamish may well have to poke up with dry food until this hot spell subsides. I bet you all can't wait to come and stay now eh?

Rob had a another call from Metro Burners and they were keen to find out how he was getting on with regards the college (the college are assessing what Rob did and can do in the UK, then they let him know what level he starts on here and how to proceed with regards the exams to qualify here). He is, I think still waiting on the assessment, but Metro Burners want him to start part time with them next week or the week after. He will then try and juggle UHaul with that. He doesn't start at UHaul until 12 midday so mornings with Metro could be an option.

I have a lot of stuff going on this week, so should have some more updates at the weekend, if not before.

Mustang...Must Don't! Definitely not a car I will be purchasing any
time soon!

Plain and simple, one of my new cards.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Earwig Watch Update

As promised, an update on my pest problem. I laid my first trap which consisted of a dish of olive oil with a piece of apple in it (supposedly it really attracts them and they drown)...Well it sort of worked, after 2 nights I have around 12 dead in the oil, not brilliant results considering the number of them marching around, so I have now switched to spraying them with washing up liquid and water...which does actually kill them pretty much on the spot. however, they still keep coming, so it could definitely be a case of getting in pest control. I am waiting to see if the heavy rain we have had this evening might draw them back outside.

Took a brief trip downtown tonight to try out some motion shots of car lights. Not a great success, but one or two were okay. Humidity here has been awful today, so hot and sticky. No storm as yet! Lazy day planned for tomorrow!

Next weekend we are going on a little trip to McNabs Island in the harbour with out new friends Tom and Marg who we met on Canada Day, the island is only open certain days of the year and I think it will be a fun day out, picnic plus a history and nature trail.

Where all the lights are bright...Down Town!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Solo Flight and a New Watch!

Got a call from Nancy yesterday morning wondering what I was up to and if I wanted to come over to hers and go out somewhere.

So as Rob was at work I finally braved up enough courage to venture out on my first solo trip in the car... Thank god for air con! It was so hot and my nerves were compounding the sweating as usual! Anyway I made it over to her place without incident. We spent ages sat on the deck chatting bout anything and everything before heading out mid afternoon to a local lake nearby where we went swimming (my first time swim in a Canadian Lake). It was superb! Not too cold and such a welcome break from the heat. Brilliant way to spend a day and I cannot wait to do it again!

Rob returned back from work just before 8 pm last night and we jumped in the car and sped over to Peggy's Cove as I wanted to get some evening shots. We headed back around 10 pm and as we approached the turning to our estate guess what we saw...I am guessing it could be my Hosta Eater...Yep a deer crossing the main and busy road followed by baby deer. They were so adorable I completely forgot about the mangled Hosta...But I was shocked and concerned at about them just wandering across the road. I heard that so many of them get hit by cars, now I see why.

In a (sort of) related incident, before we left I had slung my damp beach towel over the stair rail on the first level of the house with a view to taking it downstairs to the basement for washing, at around midnight last night I was on my way upstairs and noticed earwigs all over the towel (we have been getting the odd one in the house lately). I shook out the towel to find about 20 which I promptly killed (ruthless I know). Anyway I took the towel downstairs and found myself in what can only be described as a horror film....Earwigs everywhere, I am talking at least 300 or more, just outside the basement door, it seems they only come out at night.

So today (besides applying for jobs) I have been researching getting rid of these unwanted pests! I shall be laying my first trap tonight on Earwig Watch and will keep you posted!!!

Evening Quiet at Peggy's

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hosta Watch

Now you remember way back a day or two after we moved in, I reported that I had done of bit of gardening to brighten the place up outside. The only thing that existed there before I got busy was a rather large Hosta. It looked well established and although they are not my favourite plant, I was growing to like it especially as in the last few days it was just starting to flower.

Well, we came home from beach at the weekend to find the Hosta in tatters, most of the leaves were gone and it looked as if some sod had hacked all the stems off. I was most annoyed and thought it was the work of a vicious neighbour jealous of my gardening jest of course... not about the neighbour, just about my gardening skills.

I started Hosta Watch! as many of the other houses in our little area have Hosta's and bugger me if the next day I didn't see two others viciously cut down in their prime. Up until this point I was all ready to go and complain at the office...But having now done a bit of research on the inter-web, it turns out I have found my culprit. Yes it's a deer...Apparently they love Hosta's, one of their favourite snacks. He's obviously a bit sheepish for a deer as he comes and goes and can never be seen!

I think it's fair to say I shall not be replanting any Hosta's again in the future! Come October there will be masses of deer roaming around the front and back yards. Deb from the camera club noted the other day, when I told her where we were living - 'oh, you live with the deer' :o)

In other news, Rob had a productive afternoon at UHaul learning the ropes, lot to learn apparently, but they all seemed friendly and easy going.

The temperature remains high and humidity was 94% today. Making a hot day pretty much unbearable. Hamish is not happy with the heat, I think he wishes he could shed more of his fur coat than he already does! He keeps flopping out on the floor down on the basement level to try and keep cool...Bless him! Toronto temperatures are even worse, but I think we are due some rain and some storms to clear it out...So that's to look forward to...NOT! Oh how I hate storms! Spiders and storms the two things in life guaranteed to send me into total meltdown!

I found out more today about starting up my own company. I know what I have to do now, but have to cost it up. It is something I would like to do, but would rather wait just a bit until we have some more money coming in.

Spent the afternoon turning my CV into a resume! Took me hours!



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Art and Life

Good news on the job front for Rob! Yesterday he got a call back from UHaul and they have offered him 30 hours a week working for them. UHaul has a huge depot pretty much at the end of our road, so it's very convenient. Not really sure what the job entails yet, but he starts tomorrow afternoon. They do all sorts of van and trailer rentals, with a specialised hook up service. Could come in pretty handy for a discount next time we move (assuming he is still there of course). He is still waiting to hear on the night shift work in the printers. Meanwhile he has now got all the books he needs to start the exam process for the heating qualifications.

I too am still applying for jobs, but as yet no luck. I am waiting to hear back from one at Sears in the portrait photography section, which would be pretty nifty if I were to get that. I have also applied for a trainee manager position with Enterprise Cars. Tomorrow we are popping over to see Mike who is the relocation chap who might have some helpful connections on the job front.
At least now Rob has secured something it takes the pressure of me a little.

Night before last we headed down to the harbour front and I introduced myself to the Artisan Lady who sells local arts down there, she seemed quite interested in selling my Atlantic Provinces Book, although having looked into it further on my part, I don't think there will be enough profit in this for me especially once they have taken their cut. Also met another lady photographer (Shelley Nickerson) down there who sells her work independently, beautiful work we talked for ages and she gave me one of her mounted prints as a gift, which I thought was so incredibly nice of her.

Yesterday I worked at the car lot in the morning, and sweat so much you wouldn't believe! It was incredibly hot and I had a big truck to move in a tight space, which added to my flop sweating!

In the afternoon we headed to the Annapolis Valley...Such a gorgeous region. I specifically wanted to photograph an art installation (literally in the middle of nowhere). It looks very surreal as you can see from the image here, but so clever with the mirrored plinth underneath which makes it looks like it's floating. There are so many beautiful houses in this region, that it is now on my list of places to live!

"Door 17" Art Installation at Grand Pré

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beach Life

The weather brought us another scorcher of a day today, Rob and I decided to head for the beach.

Now I am not sure how all of you in the UK reading this imagine Nova Scotia in your mind, but I suspect it not number one on your hit list for a beach destination. That said there are some lovely beaches here, we spent most of the day at Clam Harbour Beach, and then drove along further to Taylor Head Beach, as you can see from the images you don't tend to get the over crowding like Weymouth!

It was a lovely and relaxing day but I have to confess that both Rob and myself are slightly lobster-like right now, that'll teach us to dose off in the breeze!

Clam Harbour Beach

Little Harbour (on route between the two beaches)

Taylor Head Beach

Friday, July 2, 2010

Canada Day!

Yesterday was Canada Day and how refreshing it was to see patriotism out in full force for something other than football and a bunch of overpaid losers, which seems to be about the only time England gets fired up and flies the flag over anything, it wouldn't be so bad, but they never win!

Anyway I digress, it was a fantastic day here, plenty of things going on, Rob and I took an historic walk round Bedford at Scott Manor House, we ambled around the beautiful and historic houses of the neighbourhood before returning to the Manor House for refreshments and the entertainment which was a barber shop quartet, who were very good.

On route we met a lovely couple (Tom and Marg) and ended up spending hours chatting with them in the tea room. By the time we got going again it was around 5 pm, we then headed down to Alderney Landing for the live music, which again I have to say was very good, a nice selection of bands and different styles of music. The weather was beautiful.

I think that my dad would have been impressed with the number of mobile catering vans on site there selling fish and chips, hot dogs and burgers. There was even a mobile cup cake van. Best of all there was free Canada Day cake for everyone.

Later we met up with some of the camera club a little further down the harbour for a field trip to capture the Canada Day Fireworks. I met some new faces and with some tips from Dave managed to get some half decent shots. Of course no camera club meet up would be complete without a trip to Tim Hortons afterwards to round off the evening.

No news on that job that Rob went for yet, they said they would let people know towards the end of next week. The weather looks set to be nice all weekend, so we hope to get out and about again somewhere.

Whoosh, Bang Pop, Happy Canada Day...Click to view larger

Alderney Landing - Live music and a sea of red & white

Scott Manor House, Bedford

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