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My Canadian Experience
November/December/January 2009/2010

November started with me having to get a plumber in to fix my downstairs toilet and I took the opportunity to get a water filter installed. This water filter cost me $600 and I admit to hesitating a bit on that cost.  That said I feel it's the best $600 I've spent.

The problem is that most of my life I've been used to superb Scottish water and so I've always felt my Chatham water had a peculiar taste to it.  Now that the unit has been installed I'm enjoying really good tasting water and my coffee and tea also taste a lot better as well. So I now have a separate spout coming out of my kitchen sink for my drinking water supply. That actually reminds me of my time in Kuwait as there also we used to have a separate drinking water supply and is quite similar to what I have now.  I also have three large bottles of Rye which I am using to fill up with my new water supply and keep in the fridge for a drink of nice cold water.

This month I also attended the Knights Templar investiture in Windsor which as always is an excellent event and dinner afterwards was also excellent.  A very friendly lot down in Windsor.

I also attended the Ballinafad Oral History meeting late in the month.  The University of Guelph has been working with the locals there to record their memories (Oral History).  In conjunction with this they are also supporting the Fallbrook Heritage site where they are trying to stop the destruction of the last remaining farm house that the Scottish settlers built.  I have been helping with this project by posting up information and updates on my Electric Scotland site.

As it happens this is an excellent project to support as some 10,000 children go right past this farm to visit another building only 100 yards away and so by preserving the home and turning it into an educational project it should do lots to educate our young people about the Scottish influence in the area.  I am going to see if the Scottish Studies Foundation might not help to fund some of the cost to do this and thus preserve the building.

You can learn more about their efforts to preserve the building on the Fallbrook Farm Heritage Project page.

At this time of year all the leaves have come down from the trees that surround my house so lots of work to both get them raked up and some mulched into the grass.  My new back lawn has made excellent progress and am looking forward to having a great lawn next year.

And as Christmas has now come and gone I can report I stayed with Nola and Harold in Toronto and of course met with all their children and grand-children.  Here is a picture taken at their home...

Crewe-Nelson Family

Clear blue sky when I headed home to Chatham on the Monday but ran into some snow after London on the way home.  Mind you I wasn't in any great hurry so just took it easy and got home safely.

During January we did get a bit of snow but as always in Canada it seems to hang around for a fair time as we seem to stay below freezing. 

I am delighted to report that at the last Board meeting of the Scottish Studies Society we have managed to turn a significant amount of cash into useable money towards our $1m pledge towards establishing a permanent chair of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.  When we make this next payment which will be pretty soon we will only have $35,000 left to raise and we're hopeful we'll make that by the end of the year.

I also managed to persuade the Board towards funding $2,000 toward hiring a business student at the University of Guelph to come up with a business plan for the Fallbrook Heritage project.

Have been considering building some new book shelves into both my library and bedroom and move the utility bookcases that are in the library into the Guest bedroom.  As I now have tons of books stacked up in the floor of the library I figured it was time to get them all sorted out.

I also attended the Knights Templar meeting in Toronto this month which we hold at the Royal Canadian Military Institute. Seems to be a lot of moving around these days when it comes to the Private clubs in Toronto.  The Ontario club is to amalgamate with the National Club in the next month.  I'm told the RCMI is doing a deal to sell their club premises so a large condo can be built and then they get two floors in that building when it's complete.  That means they will have to get temporary accommodation at another private club while that is going on. I'm reviewing my options here.  I'm not sure I'd use the National Club personally so am wondering if I should re-join the RCMI as I seem to attend a lot of meeting there.

Here is Canada we were all shocked at the earthquake in Haiti.  Our Governor-General is from Haiti so it brought things a little closer to home...

Canadian Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean pauses during a statement on the situation in Haiti at the department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. Haitian-born Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean offered an emotional thank you to Canada today for moving so quickly to help her earthquake-ravaged homeland. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand.

This final week in January sees the Beech Tree on my front lawn being cut down by the local Hydro board for free!  Actually, it is because it's now growing over the power lines but instead of just cutting it back they have offered to remove it completely which I've gratefully accepted.  It is actually in poor health and would likely have come down in the next high wind. I am looking to replace it with a Rowan Tree to help ward off evil :-)  In actual fact we used to have a Rowan tree growing at my home in Scotland right at the front of the driveway into the house.

This quarter has seen lots of work on my web site and have been working hard on ocr'ing in more books for the weeks ahead.  Next quarter should see us moving to a new 64bit web server with lots of backup facilities. We also plan to do a big upgrade on our social networking site and add a new comments facility to our web site.  This has all been worked on this quarter but we wanted to wait until after January as Robert Burns season is big for the site and in Burns Supper week we usually see a doubling of our visitor traffic.  That usually means we also get onward growth in visitor traffic as a number of these visitors will be new so hopefully they'll also come back to see all our other content.

This quarter also saw me trying to get in touch with high flyers in Scotland's business network but regretfully to no avail as they simply won't return phone calls.  I and others believe that billions could be made by Scottish firms if they'd only ditch their old ways and really adopt the web as their communication tool instead of putting up web sites that most of us can't find.

The same situation is also similar in my own area of Chatham Kent in Canada.  They have lost a seriously large number of jobs here due to one of the large manufacturers deciding to move their operation to Mexico. I just wish organisations had more vision and were more willing to try new things,

 It's obvious to me at least that media is all moving to the web but they just won't embrace this as a way of promoting themselves.  Newspapers and magazines are dropping circulation all the time. The committee looking into the local newspaper industry in Scotland has revealed how serious this is and I'm assuming this applies all round the world. I was amazed to find that the Sunday Post has lost 32% of their circulation in the past 5 years and The Herald is down to just selling some 58,000 copies of their newspaper.

I have also tried to interest Canada on doing some Educational advertising on my site. Still having real problems in finding someone to speak to on this as it seems each person I do speak to is not authorised to deal with this.  I did write to both my local MP's asking if they could suggest someone I could talk to but so far no reply.  And so it isn't just Scotland that has communication problems! 

And so this completes this quarters Canadian journal.

I noted with interest when I put this issue up on the site and went to my journal index page to check it that a large advert came up for the US Immigration Service!


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