My Canadian Experience
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Being Victoria Day in Canada (22nd May) I decided to take time out to search the antiquarian books stores on the web to find some more books for the site. I found a few...

  1. James Chalmers of New Guinea. Scottish Missionary, Pioneer, Martyr.
  2. JOHN THOMSON OF DUDDINGTON, PASTOR AND PAINTER: A MEMOIR.  This is
    apparently a famous Scottish landscape painter.
  3. The Western Isles of Scotland: Their History, Traditions and Place-Names
  4. Skye Pioneers and "The Island" which is an account of the Scottish Highlanders of the Isle of Skye who emigrated to Prince Edward Island in Canada.
  5. ''Scottish Education. School and University from Early Times to 1908''
  6. Wild Life In the West Highlands
  7. From Fox's Earth to Mountain Tarn, Days Among the Wild Animals of Scotland
  8. Sketches of the Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands
  9. BOB SON OF BATTLE
  10. 'SCOTTY' ALLAN, King of the Dog-Team Drivers

There are many reasons for purchasing books but mostly it's to try and plug gaps in knowledge. For example...

Book 1 is because I hope this will show the Scots influence in New Guinea where we really have no information at present.  I do in fact still have a book about Stewart of Lovedale who was an influential Scots missionary in South Africa and again we have little information about the Scots in South Africa.

Book 2 is to give information on Scots painters as I have nothing substantial on them and I hope this book will also refer to other Scottish artists.

Book 3 is simply that while I have some information on the Western Isles I hope this book will give a lot more information so that I can then work on other areas of Scotland. I feel that the folklore is an important aspect of the Western Isles and hence this book if of particular interest.

Book 4 is hopefully good information on the early pioneers to Prince Edward Island in Canada where the local historians all claim that 68% of the islanders have Scottish blood.

Book 5 is I hope a good book to explore Scottish education which made a big impact on the world. I have no information on Scottish education other than what might be mentioned in other publications so this fills an important gap in knowledge.

Books 6 - 8 are to try and complete a decent section on the wild life of Scotland. And as I am just about to start on a book "Harvest of the Sea" I figured by the time all these books were done we'll have a good picture of wild life in Scotland. My intention is to create a new section on "Wild Life in Scotland" for the site. Like I have done with other sections I can then draw other material together to create a new index page for this subject.

Book 9 is apparently an old Scots novel about a dog which is in the Scots popular writing and I just thought this might be fun to use on the site. Like other books I buy once I receive it I may find that it's not something I want on the site.  Buying antiquarian books online means you can't actually eyeball it to see if it is suitable.  You can ask the bookseller a question but that doesn't guarantee you get what you think you are getting :-)  Mind you of all the books I have purchased I think there have only been 3 that have turned out not to be suitable.

Book 10 is apparently the book of the Scotsman that started the famous Alaska dog sleigh race which I thought might be of interest. However this one is a gamble as it is still in copyright so if I do like it I'd have to try and trace the copyright owner.

I do from time to time take most of a day out to search for books that I feel will bring good knowledge to our visitors. Of late I have been getting the odd email in from school children that ask what wild animals there are in Scotland and so I hope in future I can point to a few books where they can learn more.

I am still looking for some decent books on Scottish agriculture and also the use of plants for crafts and medicine.

So this might give an idea of the work I am doing right now for future additions to the web site.

As I am now at the 31st of May it reminds me that I am still waiting for word on my application for Permanent Landed Status in Canada and I thought I'd email Larry at Business Immigration in Toronto to see if he could find out anything.  I mean this is now 1 year I've been waiting and it was suggested that as I was on a "Fast Track" I should have heard within 9 months.

I thus emailed Larry and he got back very quickly to tell me that my medical records had just come back to Buffalo where the application is being processed. He kind of indicated that it shouldn't be long now before I hear from them. I understand he can't tell me more although he did indicate that the medical side of things is somewhat back logged and hence the delay. And so I was much encouraged by his response so hopefully it won't be too much longer.

And I was also reminded that I should head down to the local utilities company to seek a refund of my initial 12 months deposit as I've now been in Chatham for a whole year :-)

On 1st June I also visited my accountants to get the completed forms for the returns needed for my Canadian company. I have to wait one week or so until I get a letter in confirming my Company Number and if that agrees with the completed forms I can get them posted of.

I am still waiting for my US company accounts to be completed and I do need certain information from them for the Canadian accountants so I can complete my first personal tax return. It needs to be in by June 15th so we're getting rather near that deadline. My accountant did a rough calculation for me and didn't feel that I would have much tax to pay for the 2005 tax year but she does need formal figures from the US before she can complete the returns.

I am also trying to get in contact with people in Bruce County where a lot of Scots settled which is on Lake Huron.  I would like to spend a few days up there doing some research and doing a bit of a story board like I did with Elliot Lake and Cape Breton, etc.

And I am also still making contacts to sell my micro button adverts on the site.  I am actually amazed about how many companies have voice mail.  Thing is if I want to buy something I would expect a phone call back but as I am trying to sell something to them I wouldn't actually expect them to phone me back. That said from a customer point of view I'm a touch concerned about advertising a company where all you seem to ever get is an answering machine.

Mind you... when I think about it the problem seems to be usual in both the U.K. and Canada.  I haven't actually had that problem phoning companies in the USA. I am trying to get interesting companies advertising, ones that I would use myself.  In this way I hope our visitors won't just see these as advertising but also as a useful resource.  Currently I am trying to get companies that sell British food, that sell clan rings and Celtic jewelry, Scottish sweets, etc. I think we have enough advertisers selling kilts and tartan so trying to find other good products and services.

Google sent me an email in which they provided a link to new webmaster resources. So when I explored this I discovered that I now have over 150,000 web pages indexed by them.  Quite impressive considering I was only claiming 30,000 web pages :-) 

I have spent a fair bit of time trying to get flash files to play on my system.  TV Scots got in touch to say they now had really excellent half hour videos they'd like me to host in the new flash .flv file formats. The benefit of this format they tell me is that they don't need a streaming server as they are "progressive" downloads so even someone on dial up should be able to enjoy these videos.

Problem is that despite phoning the Macromedia and Adobe people I still can't get them to play either on my own notebook or on the web.  This is a total pain.  I've given up and passed it back to TV Scots to find out what I need to do to play them.

On a personal basis we hit over 80 degrees here in Chatham this last week and I found my work gradually slowing down as it was getting a bit warm and humid.  I then thought... Ah!  air conditioning!  I need to switch that on!  And so I did but nothing happened and it climbed to 86 degrees!  So I started to think it wasn't working and I'd need to get a repair man in to look at it.

Anyway... as it started to cool down again I thought what I'd do is switch it all off and then the next morning I'll switch it on and see if that will kick start it into action.  Well I did that and at the time it was recording 80 degrees.  After around a couple of hours I wasn't sure I felt much different but when I went to check on the thermostat it was showing 78 degrees.  I then thought to myself... well is that because it is 78 degrees or is the air conditioning working now?  Anyway later that day I put my hand over the air vents and detected cold air... I went back and found I was now recording 74 degrees. I had set it for 72 degrees and it is in fact now holding at 72 degrees so I guess it must be working after all.

Of course just to complicate things we've had several cloudy days so I'm still not really sure if it is working properly or not.  Such is life... looks like I need to get a thermometer to check things out :-)

I had a longish chat with a mother this week who doesn't live too far away from where I live.  Amongst other things she was saying how concerned she was for her son who I think is now 18.  He hasn't been able to pass his 12 standard (I think this is the leaving pass from school) and so he will find it difficult to get a job. It turned out the one thing he is really good at is fishing.  I thus suggested that if he got a web site and a little training he could like create a knock out web site all about fishing in the area.  Once he'd built the content he could add loads of pictures of great fishing spots in the area and advice on what fish you could catch and where and tips on the best way to catch them etc.  Having done all that he could offer to rent himself out to give fishing lessons, fishing tours, etc.  The fact that some of these will also mean paddling in a canoe I figured anyone liking fishing would probably be happy to hire his services.

And so... I hope this will bring a new employment opportunity to a young man in the area :-)

And finally I'm still having to contend with moving my /alastair directory on ElectricScotland to a new domain of www.electricscotland.net as despite working hard on this I am still finding broken links.  I went to view one of the storyboard I did on a day out in Chatham only to find all the pictures were missing. And of course they were meant to be in my /alastair directory which no longer exists. So off I went once more to correct the path to the pictures.  My thanks to the various folk that phone or email me to tell me of other broken links and so hopefully I've now found the last of them :-)


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