A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I was just talking to Stacy on messenger, and asked her if she was looking forward to her trip to Ontario to stay with Tawny and Taylor, already knowing that of course the answer would be yes. But she did say however, that she was a little bit stressed over what to do about Sandra. My answer to her was this: If Sandra doesn't have a firm plan made with you that fits in with your other plans prior to your departure, then please, don't bother about it. Last summer while I was there I tried to arrange to see Sandra and it only ended in tears, plans should have been made prior to my ever arriving there. I cannot blame Tawny for not wanting to go out of her way to assist us in seeing Sandra while she goes so far out of her way to accommodate us in everyway possible, especially while Sandra is excluding her from her life at this moment. Sandra needs to start making more of an effort and down deep I'm not really sure if this will happen, we can all keep hoping but not too much so, as we might end up even more disappointed. Stace said Sandy seemed excited when told Stacy was going to TO, and I'm sure she is, and I know she was informed at short notice (she and Brad were supposed to be in NS right now), but it still remains to be seen of how 'excited' she will in fact be. I'm sorry but when Tawny will do anything to see you, 'its just easier for Brad to drop Stacy off when he takes Sandra to work' won't cut it, let's hope they realize this. Stacy is travelling all the way to Ontario, it wouldn't hurt S&B to make one special trip to bring Stacy back by lunchtime on Saturday so she can get ready for Tawn's 30th B-day party. I know when people come to visit me from away I try to accommodate them as much as possible and don't expect them to just 'fit in' to my schedule'. Yes sometimes it can't be helped i.e. work, pre-arranged events, but come on, one 30 minute journey out of your way isn't going to hurt, especially when you haven't seen that sister in over a year.

As I said a moment ago - maybe she will surprise us and be completely accommodating, but when I think about events of the past I really can't hold my breath on that one. Good Luck Stacy.

Nice Things

Today my husband rang me at work with three pieces of great news: Firstly and most importantly: Due to his being such a fantastically, brilliant Electrical Supervisor he has shown himself to be a keeper and was offered a long term contract by the company he has been working with since autumn last year on a week to week basis. This will enable us to breath easier as we know some definite money will be coming our way, especially in preparation for us hopefully buying a house next year. I think some celebrating is in order.

Secondly: We were notified today that our new SUV will be available on Thursday sometime. Considering we were told we could have up to a six week wait, its come as a welcome surprise.

Thirdly: A package has arrived from my parents that was full of my favourite things: Baked Doritos, Stove Top, Chili Mix, Cool Aid for the boys, Tim's Coffee for Andy and best of all pictures that Stacy took while she was in England - that gave me a touch of nostalgia let me tell you! Also included was the Leanne Rimes CD -and I think it's great. Tucked inside was also a little 'passenger' pewter angel to be clipped to our next car visor to give us luck in future (from mom of course - which makes it extra special).

Our Long Weekend

This past weekend was what the Brits refer to as a Bank Holiday, and us Canadians refer to as A Long Weekend. The weather wasn't that cooperative so Andy and I took advantage and did some painting. Mine part was limited of course as I'm allergic to paint fumes. The boy's room, a bright blue, looks fantastic and they are so pleased with the result. We took the spare bed down and moved a few things around so now that it only contains a wardrobe, their bunkbeds, a small shelf and their TV/PS2 - it's much roomier and very sharp looking.

When I got home tonight Andy had finished the bathroom and instead of being cream its now a nice soft pinky/brown colour that matches perfectly with the tiles.

Yesterday, Wendy and I went to see Andy's sister Claire in her group home and stopped over for lunch and a little shopping in the large Garden Center nearby. Lunch was terrific, and I was so thrilled to find a gorgeous dark brown coat suitable for dress down/dress up that will keep me warm through the English Winter. Nevermind my joy at the cash register, when it came up at 13 pounds off! Sad, but I do love a bargain. Doubt it will be warm enough for December at home, but its coming with me regardless.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Going Nowhere and seemingly getting there fast... or so it would appear

This past week has held a number of frustrations. Nothing insurmountable but slightly frustrating just the same.

1) This morning I spent nearly an hour on the phone between two different agencies (DVLA & DSA) trying to figure out what getting my manual transmission driving license would entail. Some thought I needed to pass a theory test. Now why, I asked, would I need to pass a theory test when I have a full and proper UK driving license in my position that allows me to drive on real roads with actual traffic? It doesn't make sense. Naturally after 40 minutes of getting nowhere, I got my answer. And I was right. So I am now booked in to take my manual driving test on September the 26th, which happens to be the day my mother-in-law goes into the hospital for hip replacement surgery. Nice one... annoying but nothing that can't be sorted out. Only trouble is it will be the first week or two of October before I am actually driving again (not counting the few hours I will be spending with a driving instructor just to ensure I am driving up to UK standards).

2) Received a letter from the ex-Mrs. after two years of trying to get her to correspond to us in this manner firmly stating that as the contact order states we are to pick the children up from her place she will no longer be able to 'assist' us by dropping them off and picking them up (since we don't have a car due to the crash). Well this is a detrimental affair for the children as I will no longer be able to have them down on a Wednesday as Wendy (their Grandma) has a standing date on Wednesdays and taxi's down and back are just too expensive. We will have to tell them this when they come for their visit this weekend. Fortunately Wendy is able to help us out with the weekend visits. Funny, when it comes to the court order in relation to contact the ex-Mrs. wants to follow the order in regard to picking up the kids, but doesn't care that she is in violation of the order by not allowing Andy to have telephone access with the boys on Monday and Friday evenings... owell nevermind, been down this road before and won't bore you with it all... long and short of it is, we will handle her correspondence in exactly the same manner she handled ours (minus calling the police), by ignoring it.

3) I'm working in the Ghetto. For weeks now we have been having trouble with 'youths' coming into the clinic and reeking havok. Today was the worst scenario yet as it took three of us woman to try and hold the outer door shut and get it locked as five of them (2 large) were pulling then kicking and smashing at it trying to get back in... my arm got banged in the process. Let's just say I'm not looking forward to working solo next week. They are bringing in a security guard on a trial basis as its taking security too long to run across from the main hospital site. Either way, something tells me I won't be working at the clinic much longer. Its just not turning out to be my scene.

4) I miss my husband - a lot. Homesickness has been hitting a little hard this week. I've always loved summers in Nova Scotia and am missing that almost as much as friends and family. It's also been nearly a year now since I was last home and I'm already beginning to count down the days till I get back there... a little sad considering I have four months to go. I think I'm just a bit lonely due to the fact that for most of the summer Andy has been around, due in part to vacation and working locally and is now back to working away through the week.

5) Trying Times at Home. Also, its been a bit of a stressful time as my cousin Wayne was rushed to hospital last Thursday for emergency surgery. He is on the mend at the moment, but things like this scare me as I'm very far away and can't see for myself that he is fine. Wayne as some of you know is much more like a brother to me than a cousin. This has all been compounded by the fact that his grandmother, Nanny P as we all called her, passed away last week and was buried the day after Wayne's b-day. A sad time for those back home. I feel for Wayne and his sister Denise - they loved Nanny very much - she helped raise them. It'd be nice to be there to just hug them, you know...

So inspite of all this I am feeling much better tonight (I began writing this blog earlier in the day). I had a long talk with Andy about it all, especially the good things in our ife and it just reaffirmed how much I love him and why. For some of the things that get me down sometimes, I have to be very grateful for all the good things in my life that I am blessed with. No, I don't have my family and friends from home around me, but they are only a phone call/email away. I have a loving husband and two wonderful young boys in my life... I've made friends here and I have great in-laws. And I have Molly - she is by my side every day making me laugh with her crazy antics and boy does she give me reason to smile...

My Beautiful Girl

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Day of Accomplishments? Maybe

Well. I'm now hold one of these in my possession. Only trouble is, it allows me to only drive an automatic transmission so now begins the quest to pass a manual driving test. (I figure its pretty much in the bag as I've only been driving a stick for 13 years.) The biggest reason I have for wanting to get this done:

Today Andy and I went and purchased one of these: The Kia Sportage XS. It's fully loaded and absolutely gorgeous. We could have went for an automatic - something Andy was in fact leaning toward, however as it doesn't come in the XS edition (fully loaded with extras such as cruise, sun-roof, air control vs air con, heated seats, etc.) Sweet - or so we think!

So after shopping for a new rig and buying Gregg's for lunch (only the best sandwiches ever) we came home and began a good clean up of the house. Andy has just finished wiping up all the stuff off the carpet with a cloth that refuses to come up with the vacuum cleaner. (What a man.)

I was cleaning the bathroom earlier when Andy came upstairs from washing the windows. His face was absolutely running rivulets of sweat. I stopped washing the shower curtain and looked at him, and thus began this conversation:

Me: "Is that sweat all over your face???" (it's not overly hot today and he was outside)

Andy "Yup - Sweat"

Me: "Yuck... Gawd, I haven't seen you sweat that much before - you know, I used to have a boyfriend who'd sweat that much when we were having sex' (I can say these things to Andy, he's a cool husband ;)

Andy "Is that right? Well I can sweat that much if you like next time we have sex".

Me: "Nah, I'm sure you could, but you'd have to work unnecessarily hard. Ronnie used to just sweat like that during normal. It was gross. (Maybe it was the height of summer in NS, but who cares, it was still gross)

Andy(Laughs) Ok

and back to the cleaning went we.

I've just finished cleaning the fridge and decided that was enough for one day. While Andy hooks his surround sound up, I'll make dinner and then its off to the pictures we go. I want to see Unleashed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Better Days

The sun is finally shining and the temperature seems to have finally risen to above 10-12 degrees. The past three weeks have been a dreary state of cloud, rain and wind. Occasionally we were given the odd glimpse of the sun, but these were only crude and hope crushing incidents. This weather was of course made worse with the added fact of our bodies and minds whirling in shock from our car crash. Add to the fact that at home in Canada the sun and and temperature has been up more days than not. Sorry, but I will not be giving sympathy to those who winge about it being 'too hot'. To see and feel the heat of the sun would be like a healing balm. And get this - so it is.

Yesterday morning I awoke to the glorious sunshine and could feel the heat through the windows! Hallelujah! As I went out into the back garden to throw a ball to Molly it hit me that I wouldn't be bothering with the bus today, that dammit, I would ride my bike. Sick of feeling low, and realizing that my body is healing with each day (all visible bruises are gone) I thought it would be the best thing for me - besides, I hadn't properly exercised in weeks and once you've been doing to for years, its not that easy a habit to break.

And I was right. Biking to work left me with such a feeling of exhilaration... I don't think I stopped smiling as I peddled on. Not too far from our main road I had to bike up a small but long hill that I was a bit worried about as my chest is still a little sore, but I breezed up it thinking to myself 'this is no sweat', and smiling at the little bunnies I passed on the way. This is what life is about - the sweeter things in life.

When I got to work and was changing in the bathroom I was a reminded of the old days back at SV when Rena and I would have to change and freshen up after our luncheon workout and momentarily felt a little homesick, but again, I wasn't letting anything dampen my good spirits.

It was with a full heart that I picked up the phone yesterday evening to call Dawn - we hadn't spoken on the phone yet this year and it was just as satisfying as the rest of my day. To spend nearly an hour reminiscing about good times, chatting about the things we love about 'home' and making 'little' plans for the day when she indeed comes to England was better than any little pink pill the Doc could have prescribed...

So this morning I wake up and again, there is the sun! I'm told today is going to be even warmer (shame I switched my morning for the afternoon shift) and I fully intend to get my bike out for the trip to work. But before that there is a little yellow lab looking mournfully at me for her morning walk.

Its good to be feeling good again.

The Name Game

It seems wherever I go, or whatever I read, at least once a fortnight I'm hit with someone talking about the pro's and con's of taking someone else's name. I have no issue with anyone else doing what they want upon marriage (or divorce for that matter). I kept my own name for my own reasons but wanted to share this funny conversation with you.

It actually happened the night of our crash. Andy and I were both laid out side by side on stretchers in a cubicle in A&E. We were being interviewed by two policemen, one who was really nice and a younger more abrupt fellow (could be due to the fact he and his wife had a newborn at home, could be due to the fact that he's fed up with all the BS his job entails.... who knows, but he was a bit attitudy).

BTW, I missed his name when he began questioning us about our account. So, he takes Andy's details and then turns to me.

Cop - Your name is McDonald - but you two are married yeah?'

Me - (knowing what was coming) 'Yup'

Cop - (breaking away from the formal interview) Why'd you keep your own name?

Me - Cause I wanted to

Cop - Yeah, my wife didn't want to take mine either, but I soon let her know there wasn't an option.

Me (with raised eyebrows) - Yeah? What's your name?

Cop - All(then something I can't make out)

Me - Can you repeat that?

Cop - Allsocks

Me - All socks??????


Me - All Cocks??????

Cop - That's right

Me - What was your wife's name before?

Cop - Ford

Me - Man, sorry but I would have kept Ford.

Andy's Dad was wearing such an silly expression of 'oh boy, here she goes again', but Andy was just laughing.

Call me forward, rude, whatever, but I had just survived a head on collision and had felt obliged to say what I thought (guess its no different from any other time really), especially to this 'my wife had no choice' guy. Sorry, but I wouldn't take the reasonable name of Allenby, pronounced 'Allen bye' by my funny and newfie cousin, I sure as hell wouldn't be walking around with the name of Jody Alcox... I could never, ever live that one down.

Friday, August 12, 2005

You Can Dress Me Up Like A Lady, but that's as far as it goes I'm afraid!

Last weekend Andy and I made the journey to the (are you ready for this?) Kingdom of Fyfe to stay in a castle and see his brother Adrian get married. We stayed in a small hotel on Tuesday evening when we arrived and it was very nice - we had a room with a big four-poster bed. The colours in the room were very dark and Scottish. It was good to be on a break, even if our bodies were still sore and aching.

Adrian (who had picked us up from the train) then took us up to the Castle for a look around. The grounds were fantastic and the castle itself, although not overly large made for a pretty sight. I have another view of the castle with some other fairly interesting photos here

I have to say, I was just a little disappointed with the inside of the castle though, as it was pretty much like a hotel. I thought that the walls in the corridors and the main reception would be really authentic and stone, however the only place like that was the bar aptly named 'the dungeon'. I suppose they had their priorities right in that aspect.

The next day when we checked in we were again a bit disappointed to see our 'Kings and Queen' Suite, however I grew to like it very much in the end. Our bed, although a four poster, wasn't as fancy as the previous night's, however the room itself was done in brighter, nicer colours and it had two big windows overlooking the front gardens so that was pretty impressive.

The wedding itself was lovely and I must say, I had been rather looking forward to the chance to wear my pink dress and matching hat. I've always looked good in hats but come on, where in NS society have I ever had the opportunity to wear one? So, now that I am in Britain and was going to a wedding in a castle, I figured why not? I managed to get a pink hat that had a piece of floral material around it that matched my dress perfectly - and the dress was bought in NS (but never worn) - it was meant to be.

So we got dressed up, enjoyed the ceremony and the meal (choice between salmon, lamb and vegetble crepe). I have to say, the meal was the best I've ever enjoyed at anyone's wedding, including my own. The party had begun long before the dinner, however we were only too happy to have it continue as we retired to the dungeon and then onto the Green Room. I won't go much further than to say this much - although I was dressed up to the nines, I had began drinking wine before the ceremony even started and by 10 p.m. that night I was legless. Somewhere in between Andy and I snuck up to the room for a little bit of 'our own celebration' and that's no easy feat with the aching condition we are both in, but that's what booze does to ya... So, in all fairness, lets just say that after the events of the previous week I think both Andy and I didn't need a reason to drink to the point of 'feeling no pain'. Problem was, I went to the point where I drank so much I got the hiccups began feeling massive pain what with my bruised sternum. And that's were my memory comes to an abrupt halt.

The next morning saw us up and down at breakfast by 8:40. I was prepared to take a ribbing for my drunken stupor the night before, however the attention was given to my 12 year old nephew (son of the groom) who just happened to be hungover. He and another young fellow ran around behind us throughout the evening pouring the remainder of wine into their cokes... needless to say, I can happily admit I didn't contribute to the little drunk's party because as we all know, I never leave a drop of booze in my glass!

We headed off to the train station for 10 a.m. and our journey home. The trip was uneventful, but long and we were glad to make it home to our pup.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Said to Andy when he went to enquire about our car being released for Insurance purposes...

Andy: I've come to see about the Rover 25 that was involved in the crash last week.

Repo Guy: We don't have a Rover 25 here.

Andy: Yes you do, it was involved in a crash last week and was brought here...

Repo Guy: No, you have a coke can.

Here's a couple of pictures of my little hole digger:

I knew I left those clothes piled on that chair for a reason!

What a way for a gal to sit, eh?

I'm in the process of downloading some pics to my yahoo site of the wedding last week. I should get around to posting about that tomorrow - still can't do too much at once and I'm getting pretty fed-up with it to tell you the truth! Thanks to everyone for all the love and support you've been sending! Andy is off to an area just outside of London at 3 a.m. this morning - God love him, its a long drive but he's promised to stay away from London itself for the time being. I don't envy him the drive with his whiplash - I'm going to take one more day off before heading back to work on Tuesday.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Greece - Part 2

(Luckily I had most of this drafted last week!)

Day 4 - Thursday

On Thursday morning I woke with a bit of a foggy head but nothing that rendedered me incapable of moving ahead with the day. I probably should have had the hangover from hell, but that's mostly my problem with drink I think - I never get good and hungover - even when I mix my drinks. Go figure.

We'd decided on a boat trip out of Argistoli Harbour the previous evening and I was pretty excited for this as I'd been told that the chances of once again seeing dolphins was pretty high. Friends we'd met earlier in the week had informed us that the dolphins actually chase along side the boat.

We decided to get to Argistoli early on and have breakfast.
We ended up in a little place on the main drag. They took a bit longer than we would have liked to bring us our breakfast but I was well entertained by the cutest little beagle mix dog. Andy kept telling me not to fuss it, due to it being a dog outside of Britain, however I couldn't help myself... he was way too cute, besides I know enough to wash my hands thoroughly after 'fussing' a strange dog. Besides, as you can see for yourself, my husband couldn't resist him after a few forlorn looks.

After a hastily consumed breakfast I quickly made my way back to the boat and Andy... he had gotten a little anxious and went on ahead to ensure our spot on board. After I had finished eating I waved good-bye to the two old gents sitting nearby and smiling, and with a 'kalamera' (goodmorning) made my way back to the boat.

The gal working the 'bar' was a woman from Doncaster who had been living and working in Greece for three years. I can't say I blamed her for giving up life in the rat race to go live on such a peaceful gorgeous island.

We slowly made our way out of port and it was just as we were reaching a bouy in the harbour (not even a mile out from shore) that Andy spotted some dolphin fins! Next thing you know, there is an enormously loud siren going off and the captain is at the front of the boat with us yelling at us to clap and shout. All of a sudden there they were, swimming right along side the boat, every now and then turning to look up at us! Amazing - absolutely amazing. The captain kept telling us to shout 'Come up' 'Come up' as they sometimes break the water - but only if encouraged enough. Unfortunately that day was a day when the crowd weren't encouraging enough, but hey, seeing them race along beside the boat just beneath the ssurface was reward enough!

After messing about with the dolphins for a half our or so the boat finally made its way out of the harbour and the captain proceeded to show off the many gorgeous sites of the island. We eventually docked at a little island where most people opted to snorkel around. It was pretty fun to just jump of the boat and go for it. After 45 minutes or so we piled back on board and made our way back to Argistoli Harbour. As you can see from this photo Andy opted to stay on board!

After docking back at port we went for some lunch and shopped around for souviers, etc. Again that night we found ourselves back in yet another taverna eating and drinking!

Day 5 - Friday

It was a bit cloudy out again the morning so instead of heading for the beach we decided to make use of our jeep and head into the mountains, something we had been planning on doing, we just weren't sure when.

The mountains rose up behind our villa and we had a lovely view of them face on whenever we drove along the coastline, however once we made the turn that would take us up into them, and down into the valleys, it was like we were on another island.

The first thing we noticed was that when we passed as sign that signalled falling rocks, it meant just that. We could actually see pieces of the mountain crumbling as we approached certain areas. We were pleasantly surprised when we came across a heard of mountain goats in the road. The were actually coming down off a very steep part of the mountain, thus causing even more rock slides. I scrabbled for my camera but of course as we had to keep moving (due to falling rocks) the pictures didn't turn out that great.

We headed down into a valley that had a gorgeous winery smack dab in the middle. Shame we had so much to see or we could have stopped in for a sample. As Andy isn't a big wine conossier I decided to leave it - plus it was only about 10 in the morning! We decided to drive East through the mountains and ended up near Skala to visit two very amazing caves.

I didn't know what to expect when we reached Drograti Cave. We had to go through a little shop to purchase our tickets at the ridiculously low price of 3 Euro and continued on down a very long, twisting flight of stairs built into the mountainous walls. We had to stop a number of times to let the group of people ascending pass by. I've never heard so many out of breath people in one area! I was worried about how far down we had to go... turns out it wasn't that bad and boy were we meet with an amazing sight. A huge cavern with thousands of staligmites. Apparently this cave is a popular one for holding music concerts in!

Although it wasn't overly large, it took us about 15 minutes to walk round, it was such an amazing sight - I kept thinking that my old high school geology teacher Mr. Spidell, would have been in heaven. We made our ascent without half the aggro of the previous group and after purchasing a drink in the shop we were ready to move on to the next cave.

(I also couldn't help buy buy this cute little kerchief that a lot of the locals wear...)

We just made it to the next cave Melissini as a large coach trip was leaving. The entry into the cave was much the same, except this time we had to walk down a long ramp into the mouth of the cave. I was very eager to see this cave as its an underground lake with 50 foot deep water. The ceiling of the cave has collapsed in one area allowing the sun and nature to be let in.

Once we reached the bottom of the ramp we were sorted into groups of approximately 10 each and herded into a gondola avec driver. He then proceeded to tell us about the 'lake' as well as kindly take photos of the couples in the boat. It was amazing to watch the birds sweep down into the cave and I was very excited when I realized that we would be taken into the cave where the roof hadn't collapsed. It was absolutely one of the best experiences of my travels to date.

After visiting the caves we decided to drive on to a little town called Agia Efimia -it just so happens that this picturesqe village was where most of the filming of Captain Correlli's Mandolin was filmed.

We stopped and ate at Captain Correlli's Taverna before heading back into the mountains to cross over to the West coast to visit a beach Andy had heard was one of the most beautiful on the island.

We crossed some pretty curvy roads and a few small villages before reaching the west side of the island. I couldn't get a close up glimpse of the water at this point and was very curious to see how 'amazing' this beach really was. It was then that we ended up on the most narrow and winding road we had been on to date. We had to practically crawl down this 'road' because if we encountered another car at any speed, it would have spelt disaster. It wasn't until we'd gone around 7 bends that the most breathtaking scenery came into sight. I could not believe my eyes and that we were actually on our way down to the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen - Myrtos Beach.

Nestled between the mountains was this fantastic cove with white sand and pebbled beach. We had to stop for a few photo ops and thankfully there were a few layby's nearer the bottom... as overjoyed as I was to be in this picture, believe it or not I was quite 'anxious' to be standing this close to the cliff's edge!

The beach itself was fantastic and we spent quite awhile messing around taking pictures in the caves before settling down to sun ourselves - the sun had finally come out and it was scorching. Every 20 minutes or so we were up and diving into those gloriously cool waves.

It was with reluctance that we left that evening and we vowed that it was indeed the most beautiful place we'd been to on the lsland.

It is at this point that I'm ending my travel blog to Greece. Luckily enough I had drafted most of this on Thursday (yes accident day) so I just had to add the last paragraph or so. The rest of our trip was spent on the beach, soaking up as much sun as we could get. Saturday night was Andy's turn to get drunk but I won't tell you what he dared shout out loud to me in the taverna as I don't want you to think my husband is a pervert, lol.

Honestly, it was a brilliant Honeymoon and now even more so I am grateful for the lovely memories we have. Thanks for bearing with me throughout this long entry!