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Time To Ditch Your Cell Phone?….

One of the peeves here in Canada, for me and a few others by the sound of it, are cell phones and their ludicrously high costs. I may have a solution….

I’ve looked on the web and seen a few people doing it, so it may be a go-er. If so, it’s going to make telephone calls a doddle, even when we’re out and about or traveling, (also, thinking about it, instead of needing tri-band, or quad band phones when you go abroad, expensive roaming charges and so on, you simply take your Skype number and iPod Touch wherever you go!), not to mention, and this is the best bit, virtually free….

The iPod Touch, you know, the full screen one, has the ability to run Skype and other VOIP applications. So, with this in mind, I think it is may be possible, to use this as a phone, as long as you have access to WiFi when you’re out and about and, I assume when you are at home by plugging into the computer, or your router. Although, when at home, I use the computer for all my calls anyway. (If you want to do away with your home phone line, you’ll need to access a WiFi signal from somewhere, which may be tricky. Or simply let your calls go to voicemail, again provided by Skype and check them the next time you are in your favourite coffee shop or library, or WiFi hotspot.)

So, in a nutshell, here’s what I’m thinking of doing….

  1. Get an iPod Touch. As large a memory as you can afford may be wise, but it has to be one of the new ones.
  2. Download the Skype App for it.
  3. Get a Skype In number. (If your country isn’t one of the ones on the list, either pick another country, or do a search on the Internet for other providers. As to be expected, Canada isn’t one of the ones provided for, the telecommunications here is nuts. But then, I’ve always wanted an office in New York…)
  4. Get some Skype Out credit, or sign up for a Skype Out subscription, allowing you on some plans, unlimited calls to certain countries.
  5. Use this for all my calls.

Anyone got any thoughts on this? If not, I’m off to get an iPod Touch, no one tell the missus though, eh. She want’s a puppy….

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West Kelowna Glenrosa & Rose Valley Fire, Day 3…

We’re heading into the 3rd afternoon….

I may have to eat my words. There was a calm over West Kelowna earlier this morning, as I said, things ticking over as normal, well, as normal as can be expected. People were heading off to work, if they’d been evacuated, in the clothes they were evacuated in and things looked promising. As the radio lady just said, “one thing that’s great about the people here is there relative calmness right now.” I agree. It felt like that this morning!

As the morning has gone on though, what started out as a fairly clear morning, blue sky and so on, has become a hazy smoky afternoon. From my viewpoint, I can’t see much, other than smoke right now, but I just got this from one reader, who lives, almost between the 2 fires…

The Glenrosa fire seems to be stronger on this side in the last 1/2 hour, it was predominately on the other side of the mountain last night and this morning. It is at the top and not close to any homes that I can see. I can see glowing orange and at times black smoke. They are working hard and fast with the helicopters and buckets, sometimes flying over our house.

I think they may have a direct view between the 2 hills, straight along the highway almost, so can see a lot more than me from their angle.

The helicopters are aggressively water bombing the Rose Valley fire right now, and evacuation orders have been extended for another 72 hours, I think for areas around there. It’s holding at 150 hectares they say, although due to the steeps sides of the valley, it’s still too dangerous to attack the fire fromthe ground

Also, on the radio, I just heard that the fire is moving up over towards Peachland, with no containment of the fire on it’s southern flank, about 400 hectares. Nothing to worry about just yet though. I’ll keep listening….

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Early Evening Update…

Here’s what I’m seeing right now….

6pm Shot...

Not a huge difference to this afternoons shot, but it is clearing slightly, although through the afternoon it has been see sawing backwards and forwards. If you look carefully, of click on the photo to get over to Flickr and see a larger version, smoke is starting to billow up from behind Goats Peak Mountain, heading over to Peachland. And if you look really close, you can see the 3 helicopters hovering above the smoke.

I’m still trying to get some shots of the Fintry fire. If anyone know a good site I can link to or recommend, it would be much appreciated. From what we’re hearing, it’s really got bad this afternoon, doubling in size in a matter of hours and expected to get much worse.

A reader has asked me about sorting out a Google map of the area, which I’m going to have a crack at. Any advice, greatly appreciated!

I hope everyone is OK. We’re getting there, slowly, but it’s not over yet.

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This Afternoon’s Update….

Currently, 1.30pm, this is what I am seeing, over West Kelowna….

ThisAfternoon

Haven’t been able to see much, so the pictures aren’t changing a whole lot at the moment, which is no bad thing… Rose Valley sounds like it is getting bigger, half of West Kelowna has been evacuated and smoke is in the air, we’ve been told to stay inside and not do anything to strenuous outside. You can smell the smoke, obviously, everywhere. Eyes are starting to sting, ever so slightly, throats are drying out a little, but we’re hanging in there.

Thanks for the comments and emails I am getting. It seems hardly anything to keep adding the odd picture and write a bit here and there, but from the feedback you’re sending me, you’re finding it useful just to see what’s going on as you are finding it hard to get in touch with families and friends here. So I’ll keep going!

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The Next Experiment….

Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

And what, I hear you ask, is the “next experiment”?…

Well, after much discussion, arguing, soul searching and agonising over what to do next, the NoGoingBack entourage are moving on. We’ve thought about it for ages, but things have been coming to a head over the last few months and the time has come to “jump” again…

The adventure continues, dear readers. Stay tuned….

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The Tomat Talent Show ’09….

The Talent Show arrived today. A few weeks of practice, all came down to this morning….

The Talent Show Gig #2....

The Talent Show Gig #2....

A little nervous as she started, it was her first time singing on her own, in front of a crowd. It’s always been with the choir, or on the stage with the whole group. So today, she had to put her nerves aside…

The Talent Show Gig #1....

The level of concentration was intense, as you can tell!…. it was first time in front of a crowd for me, in nearly 5 years. I was hoping not to fluff it too, and hence put her off….

The Talent Show Gig #4....

In the end though, the practice paid off. As we played, I noticed a few teachers and parents in tears! Even the principle came over at the end and said he was “welling up with tears” as we played. And he’s a big guy!

The Talent Show Gig #5....

A “job well done!”, as they say. We wanted her to shine and she did. One mum came over at the end to say, “We didn’t know Holly had such a great voice. We do now!”

That’s it then, I’m off to get a new mixing desk this weekend. “The Star” has a bunch of her own songs she wants to record now and make her own CD. What Pandora’s Box have we opened, I wonder….

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Wow!!!….

Sitting on the beach, last weekend, in the Okanagan Campsite, just past Peachland….

South Campsite...

There’s 2 parts to this site, a north and a south. Both a great little sites, but the north part is terraced down to the lake, although the beach is beautiful. The south is all flat and the beach ain’t too bad either. Take your pick, the sites in both parts were excellent in my book, all with tables, fire pit/BBQ’s, some secluded, some open allowing you to meet your “neighbours”.

In true Canadian fashion, as we walked round the bay, back to our bench, we got talking to a couple of guys, a pilot and his old man, down on the dog part of the beach, with a couple of labradors. It didn’t take long before we were offered a beer and we stayed chatting for an hour, as the kids joined in keeping the dogs entertained. They were regulars, on this stretch of beach every weekend, hurling huge sticks into the lake for their dogs to fetch, whilst drinking a few cans and chatting, even apparently in the depths of winter.

We walked back along the beach with them and got the campstove crank’d up and fried some organic smokies, that we have discovered at the Farmers Market, homemade by a German couple. (They make a great breakfast roll, which has now become part of the whole Saturday morning market experience, forgoing the usual toast and cereal. A bit of a habit now actually….)

Organic Smokies...

Sam took this one, as I was handed mine….

Wow!

…. they were bloody tasty though! Wrapped up with tomatos, lettuce and cucumber, a definite hit.

And as we ate them, we had this view, from the camp table, as the sun went down behind us….

South Campsite Beach...

With sites like this, the tent is great, but I’m considering a caravan. Nothing fancy, just with 4 beds is enough. All we need is somewhere to sleep and store the food. Just being able to pull in to sites like this one, for $12 a night, (6 quid, in the UK, roughly….) is tempting. Think about it, a lakefront property for $12! All summer holiday long. Some of these sites even have wifi now, which means I can get some work done as well, whilst the kids play on the beach….

…. I’m off up the caravan showroom tomorrow.

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A Jetty @ Peachland…

We pulled over, hopped out, got the rod and tried our luck….

Peachland Jetty

…. nothing taking though. We were hoping for at least one kokanee salmon to take, being the first day of the salmon season and all. But, it wasn’t to be. I’ve got a couple in the freezer now, so that’ll keep us going for a couple of weeks.

Other news? The temperature out here is now in the high 20’s, predicted 31C tomorrow, so we’re hoping for the lake to hurry up and warm up. A few hardy souls have been seen jumping in, not us though, not yet.

School has a couple of weeks left and Sam is off on the school camping trip next week, his mum going with him, which should be good. Kayaking, swimming in the lake, if it’s not too cold, zip lines and so on.

The plants are coming on, the tomatos starting to appear and the strawberries too. They seem to like the organic compost we’ve used this year, so that’s good.

Looking forward to seeing my uncle this Friday, who I haven’t seen since coming out to Canada, nearly 4 years ago. Not sure what we’re going to be doing, although rumour has it he’s going to be off on my mountain bike, so I guess we’ll be going to some “runs”….

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The Tank Turns 12!….

Where do the years go? 12 of them to be precise…

In Richmond Park, '98

No longer our little man, he’s becoming a giant which might explain why there’s no food in the house, the day after the weekly shop! We went for a walk the other night and when he tried to put me in some kind of “grab”, I was almost under his armpit! Someone said he was going to hit 6′ 4″ and I’m inclined to agree with them at this juncture.

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First, It Was Baked Beans….

Then came the chips/fries, whatever you want to call them….

Homemade Fries/Chips...

What can I say? I find myself getting more and more fed up with the food you get from the shops. (… that’s the store, not the farmers market or the independent stores we go to….)

Bag’s of McCains fries…. tasteless. Sorry, they are. Straight from the oven, they seem to be OK, but is that ‘cos they’re hot? I had some the other day, after coming in, that had cooled a little and to be honest, I couldn’t finish ’em. They were simply tasteless. So, “why not make them like my gran used to?“, he thought. “from spuds, after washing and using a wavy chopping thing…. and then I’ve got my own organic chips/fries as opposed to these manky things!“….

They were so much better. Tossed and coated in oil and then baked in the oven. Simple. Had them with a nice salad and chicken kabobs. Only problem? Didn’t make enough. It won’t happen again.

In fact they were so much better, we’re having them for Sunday lunch too, with homemade/handpressed burgers….in