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Swimming and Making New Friends

Swimming by the lake, and as usual, some Canadian strikes up a conversation about something trivial, my camera. (Yesterday it was my sunglasses!) Morry, the Viking, in his own words, has lived all over the world, and still travels it working. Now he has found Kelowna, he has found in his and his wife’s words, God’s Paradise. I’m inclined to agree. The lake is a magnet for kids, leaping from whatever they can find into the clear waters of Lake Okanagan is fun, like digging a hole at the beach.

Grown men are leaping from the pier, or the “Tower”, springing from the boards like their kids. And the life guards, friendly? What is that about? Engaging a conversation with the people they are watching? It’s odd. (Sorry if you are offended at this, but that’s what I have seen, and it’s my blog, so I’m gonna tell you what I see.) I’m sure there are good friendly life guards in the UK, I just haven’t found or seen them at the pools I have been to. Always blowing their whistles, shouting the minute anyone steps over the line. I know they are maintaining safety, I know. But they do it in such a miserable way compared to the people I have witnessed today.
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That’s a week gone then! We have been living the Canadian way, if you can call it that, for 7 days. We had a wobbily moment a couple of days in, when it looked like fast internet was a no go, got that sorted, the food seemed expensive, got that sorted (We were going to the wrong place! Organic food out here is bought at the market, not Safeways!), but things seem to have calmed down now, and we are begining to enjoy it again. The school that the kids are going to attend is nothing short of superb. The receptionist was about as friendly as you can get, and made us feel at home straight away. Kids are looking forward to it. The oddest thing, although it makes a lot of sense, is that they come to school each day, with 2 pairs of shoes. One for indoors one for outdoors, to keep the place clean. And it is clean, spotless! Light and airy, the kids are gonna enjoy it.

Apart from the lessons. They are a little behind for their age, in terms of what they should have learnt at their age out here. The UK seems so far behind it really is not a joke. Things I was trying to get kids to learn in maths (Math out here!) they do as routine out here. In the UK some of the ways maths is taught is apalling. The school teachers try to convinve the students that the “new” way of doing things in maths is much better, mainly due to the fact that half the time, their maths teachers were barely qualified to do so themselves and didn’t really understand it themselves (Don’t email me moaning about what I write, it’s my opinion, based on expeiernces in tutoring and having to confront some of the teachers. You are not all like that, I know, and you are the best of bad bunch!). It is without a doubt getting easier. When we left the A level results were out, and surprise surprise, best ever results! How? I showed a student of mine the paper I sat, and she was floundering to see the least. I don’t claim that the students are not working they hard. They are. Bloody hard in most cases. The amount of work dropped on them is astounding, and my hat goes off to them coping with it all. It is the system that is letting them down badly. It puts the whole education system to shame. I’ll be writing a full article on the education system soon, and putting on the website. (

I remember now one of the reasons for coming out. To give the kids a better chance. I think we may be able to do just that.

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OK, no posts for a bit. I have been without internet access for a while, through the move, and emigration to Canada. I am here now, so the blog can really get under way!

So we made it. After many a setback, and still no real idea of what the hell we are gonna do here, Leigh the kids and me, are in Canada. And what a difference. Friendly, pleasant, helpful, no feelings of being ripped off, space, clean habitats and kids cycling around after dark with no fear of being attacked. Can I recommend this place? Without a doubt. If you wanna go somewhere better, I think I’ve found it.

Cards, pots of flowers and an apple pie! Our new neighbours, from over the road (the house to the right in most of the pictures of the view), are Bill and Darleen. My goodness are they friendly, but I guess that goes without saying. They have helped us get a doctor, check out about a car, given us endless advice, and been great company. I never got that in Richmond! Nor did I get it Eastbourne. (In fact, on the last day there, I had words with a neighbour because we had overloaded the bins with our rubbish. I thought I paid council tax for a service known as refuse collection? Oh well, I am out of it for the time being.)

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Destination: Vancouver

First stop Kelowna, but just reading some more about Vancouver, our destination, eventually.

Vancouver is located in the southwest corner of Canada in the province of British Columbia, next to the Pacific Ocean. With a present population of about 560,000, Vancouver lies in a region of more than 2 million people. Vancouver is the largest city in the province and the third largest in Canada.

Vancouver is surrounded by water on three sides and overlooked by the Coast Range – mountains that rise abruptly to more than 1,500 m. Its climate is one of the mildest in Canada. Temperatures average 3°C in January and 18°C in July. Vancouver’s average annual precipitation is 1,219 mm. Most rainfall occurs in the winter months.

Vancouver is a major tourist destination. In addition to the city’s scenic location, visitors enjoy beautiful gardens and world-famous Stanley Park, (one of more than 180 city parks) and a combination of natural forest and parklands near the city centre.

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You’re Doing the Right Thing Mate!

At the Eastbourne Airshow, I have been told the right thing to do is to take the kids out of this nuthouse! A couple of old timers, from World War 2 have put me to right, and set my mind at rest. One of them, Brian, has lived all over the world, and put it simply. “Young man, I have lived in Austrailia, New Zealand, the US many other places on my travels. Canada is the only one I’d rather live in. Make it work.”

I think I’ve been told.

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Kids are at home for the summer. The days are moving quickly towards the departure date.

The sea is the thing I wil miss about the UK. Having left the “horrible” London, to returning to the sea, as I always longed to do, I now face the prospect of leaving it again. “You can swim in the lake” say my folks, but it isn’t going to be the same. There is a mystery when you stand on the shore, and look out towards the horizon.

“I always like to think there are possibilities”