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Kelowna Hospital……

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” ~ Irish Proverb

So, there was I thinking it would have to be one of the kids who experienced the local hospital, only to find myself, on Friday morning, whilst preparing to go to work at 5am, flat on my back, on the kitchen floor. Dad, apparently saw me come around the side of the fridge, and then keel over, my head, or more precisely the part just above my eye, coming in direct contact with the sofa! I came around about a minute later, after they had tried to bring me round, to find Leigh and the kids standing over me, trying to wake me up. What happened I have no idea, but as usual, the old man although calm was in a bit of heightened state of stress you may say, and was getting ready to take to hospital.

We got there around 6.15am, after he drove as fast as he could, as you can imagine, and within about 30mins, I found myself, in a bed, hooked up to a heart monitor and getting ready for x-rays of my lungs, blood tests and more heart monitors. Strange! (The lady who took the blood tests, I have to say, was THE best I have yet had to encounter. I did not feel a thing and as the day wore on, no bruise appeared, and no sign of anything could be seen.)

I grabbed a couple of hours kip, whilst we awaited the blood tests results, but by 11.15am, I was discharged. The doctor could find nothing at all, in the x-rays, the tests or the monitoring of my heart gave up no indication of what had caused me to pass out like I did.

So, I left the hospital, took Leigh, and the folks to the Grateful Fed for a full on meat sandwich, (to improve my red blood count of course!) and popped in to see the people at work, and then was told to come out for a beer. I was English I was told, I probably passed out ’cause I had run out of beer! Nice to know what your colleagues think of you!

A word to anyone thinking of emmigrating; make sure you have your medical insurance with you. You can never be sure when you are going to need it.

“They claim red meat is bad for you. But I never saw a sick-looking tiger.” ~Chi Chi Rodriguez
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Finding My Way Back to the Path…….

The kids and me have been training in aikido. It’s been a number of years since I did it last, the bruises and aching limbs I have each morning are a testament to this. However, I can’t help feeling like I should have followed this more instead of going to University, and this is something I should have done more of, something I now intend to rectify.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that focuses on working in harmony to resolve conflict. The name Aikido means: The Way to Harmonize Energy. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (referred to as “O’Sensei”), developed the art based on his vast experience in and knowledge of other martial arts, including aiki-jutsu, sword and staff arts. O’Sensei’s unique realization was that the study of a martial art can be a path to peace.

The philosphy of aikido teaches students how to harmonize their energy. While practicing how to blend with an opponent’s force, or discovering how to extend energy, or developing the flexibility to work well with a partner, an Aikido student is always learning how to restore harmony both internally and externally.

Anyway, for the un-enlightened amongst you, a short history of aikido now follows;

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (known as O-Sensei) developed his martial art from a number of ancient martial systems, including Jujutsu (Art of Suppleness), Kenjutsu (Art of the Sword) and Jojutsu (Art of the Staff).

The resultant art of Aikido was revealed to the public in 1946 and become one of the fastest growing martial arts to date. O-Sensei’s Aikido is based not only upon Taijutsu (body arts) but also the use of weapons, namely the Aiki Ken (wooden sword) and Aiki Jo (wooden quarter staff).

O-Sensei regarded an understanding of the use of these weapons as fundamental to the proper execution of open-handed techniques, but would seldom teach them at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo. He wished for those looking for his Aikido to learn the Aiki weapons at the birth place of Aikido in Iwama.

Morihiro Saito Sensei 9th Dan began studying under O-Sensei in 1946. His shift work on the Japanese railways enabled Saito Sensei, who also lived in Iwama, to learn O-Sensei’s Aikido first hand and allowed him the privilege of having only one teacher, the founder of Aikido.

Saito Sensei’s loyalty and devotion (he also cared for the Founder and his wife) was repaid by O-Sensei with the gift of a plot of land next to the Iwama dojo and by O-Sensei bequeathing him the Aiki weapons’ legacy. Under the supervision of O-Sensei, Saito Sensei organised the teachings of Aikido into a more structured format.

Before his death O-Sensei passed on the responsibility of the Aiki Jinga (Shrine), the Iwama Dojo and the teaching of O-Sensei’s Aikido to Saito Sensei. Saito Sensei calls this Iwama Aikido (Aikido according to the tradition of Iwama), and can be recognised by its strong basics, accuracy of technique and posture and its use of the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo.

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Welcome to the Snow…..



Originally uploaded by Mr Vertigo.

We’ve got the snow here now!

When Samuel got back from Vancouver, we took a drive, testing the Jeep to the limit, off-roading along mountain dirt tracks about 20 mins drive from our house. We discovered a little spot for our snow ball fight, got the gear on and got out.

And it was damn cold! (You can see just how cold, the snow isn’t melting on Samuel’s face!)

The snow has been falling gradually, on the mountains across the lake, the level at which the snow stops, becoming lower and lower down the side as the weekend progressed.

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Answering the mail…….

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Mark,

We’ve been reading the blog for the last couple of months and were wondering what you would advise as the best course of action, when you first land in your new country? We are emmigrating to Canada, in the early part of next year, but my husband is a little nervous of stepping into the unknown.

Keep up the news from distant shores, give us more info and pics.

All the best,

Michelle

PS. Bad news about the hard drive, we were hoping for more pics, hope you get it going soon!

I have had a couple of these type of messages from people, wanting to know how we set about getting settled in so quickly. So here we go, I’ll see what I can do.

1. The library is a good source of things that are going on as well as local information. Notice boards are usually to be found there, as well as resources for all kinds of things.

2. Go for coffee. We have found a number of local newsletters and flyers on notice boards and lying around on tables with stuff happening in the area. Make sure you read the local newspapers as well. They will tend to have events pages as to what is going on in your area.

3. Make sure you introduce yourself to the neighbours, of course, if they haven’t already done so! We have found them here in Canada, to be friendly above and beyond what we could possbily have expected or hoped for. If you’re not used to having people round for dinner, get used to it. You may find you are invited out quite a lot, so keep the momentum going, and return the favour as soon as you can.

4 What can I say….have kids! When you have kids, it makes the whole process of meeting people that much easier. You then have a common interest with other parents.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you all go out and start a family just to get going!

5. If you don’t have them, as well as if you do, join clubs, groups and any other forms of social events and activities you can find. Before you land, if you haven’t done so, try and discover what is going on in the area you are moving to. The internet is probably the best place for this. (Before we came to Kelowna, I searched out an aikido club, a dive club, sports clubs and so on, ready for when we got here. That also meant I knew some of the things I wanted to do were in the area.)

But in the end be postive, stay positive. It’s your new life, your break from what you used to do. Leave your old routines and way of life at home and embrace the adventure you are about to embark upon.

Hope this helps.

Mark.

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Halloween…..


A couple of days late, I know, but we have just experienced our first Halloween, Canadian style.

Everyone has been out getting their front doors decorated up, as if it was Xmas! The people opposite us, even went so far as to rig up some speakers, with eerie noises playing from lunchtime, the occasional scream drifting across setting the tone for the day.

Most of the houses were decorated in some ghoulish fashion, and most of the households get involved, with kids being shipped in, via van to the better areas!

Needless to say, the pair of them came back with bagfulls of sweets and treats.



One of Leigh’s concoctions, a jello hand for Sam’s class;