October, November, December 2011
Well the month started of
with me spending a bit more money.
I purchased a couple of
internal oak doors with glass panes which are for the kitchen and
sitting room as these doors were missing when I purchased the house. I
figured it would make these rooms a little cozier in the Winter time.
While the doors have arrived they now need to be stained and hung.
I also purchased a sofa
as right now I just have 4 individual arm chairs in my sitting room and
decided it was time to get a sofa. I was quite pleased with my
find and here are some pictures from there web site.
It's a double recliner
sofa and in the last picture you'll note the centre can fold down to
provide a wee table with drink holders. And here is the sofa in situ...
And the final spend is to
get my window shutters painted and the brick work on the front of the
house cleaned and re-pointed. This is possible now as we've got an
entire week of sun and fine weather.
I also reorganised things
a bit inside by moving a chest from the library to my bedroom. Then I
moved a single bed from the guest bedroom to the library where the trunk
was. And then I was able to move one of the arm chairs from the
sitting room into the guest bedroom. So this way I can have two rooms
with single beds being a bit more flexible for guests staying overnight.
The guest bedroom is large enough to actually add a Queen sized bed in
addition to the single bed should that ever be needed. It's quite rare
that I actually have anyone staying over so I'm not inclined to add a
Queen bed at this time.
This is how the guest bedroom looks like now
And the above two pictures shows the
conversion to the library to add another bedroom
And this is the master bedroom with the
chest now under the window
All of this just means I
have two jobs left to do on the house. I want to put in double
glazing and get the siding under the porch repaired. And the other
job is still to put in an external door into my garage.
So it's now down to
working on my new
ElectricCanadian.com web site which I must say I'm having fun doing.
I do note however that getting a new web site up and running and getting
decent visitor traffic is a lot more work these days. When I launched my
ElectricScotland.com site it was probably one of the first 100,000 sites
on the web so at that time it was easy to get it well known. Today with
millions of web sites it's a whole other story.
I also visited the
in London, Ontario for the first time. As I don't go into Toronto
as much these days it was getting harder to get my haggis, fruit pudding
and black pudding not to mention my bridies, sliced sausage and steak
pies. They have opened up a second outlet in London and it's now
very easy to get to them. It's a straight run from Chatham of around 1
hr 15 mins and the store is on the main road in so not even one turn of
Route 2 making it dead easy to get to. Friendly staff and they also have
things like British Heinz Baked Beans, HP Fruity sauce and other
Today, 6th October, I got
in a wee present from the University of Guelph. As you may know the
Scottish Studies Foundation completed their $1 million pledge to create
a permanent chair of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.
It was to thank me for my time on the board of the Scottish Studies
Foundation and also as board members and President of the Scottish
Studies Society. The present was a Highland Quaich.
So completely unexpected
and a nice touch by the University.
As my last cleaning lady
decided to quit I was left yet again with having to find a replacement.
That's six I've had since arriving in Chatham. I thus decided time
to get a professional so I hired Molly Maids. The arrangement is that
they come every other week for 1.5 hours and there are two of them. The
cost is $98.00 each visit.
On the left is the franchise owner for
Chatham, Janet and the other two are her cleaners who will be coming on
a regular basis/
The maids are well
trained and bonded so this gives me some security. They started on
Friday 21st October and I must say they did an excellent job and you
noticed the difference. The first two visits they give me 2 hours
for the price of 1.5 hours just to bring the home up to scratch as they
say. The first visit they concentrated on the upstairs and next
they'll focus on downstairs.
I've continued to do some
work with Savannah on getting her web site up and running which you can
http://www.savannahjohnston.com. I'm now finished with that side of
things as Savannah can take it from there. I did help a wee bit
with the brochure she's getting printed which will be hand delivered to
all the business owners in the areas of Leslieville and Riverdale in
I've decided to take down
the chimney as it's been pointed out to me that it is in dangerous
condition and could blow down in a strong wind. That led to me
getting a new water heater as mine is over 20 years old. I've
decided to rent one at $21.00 a month. This gets me free
installation and the old tank removed within that price. I also
have the option to purchase it down the road if I wish. It comes with a
power vent as I need to get the tank vented through the outside wall of
the house as with taking the chimney down that's now my only option.
The new tank is due to go in on Thursday 27th October. It was meant to
be installed on the previous Monday but they phoned to say they couldn't
make that date so rescheduled to the Thursday.
The person I am using to
take down the chimney will also seal the gap and re-lay the shingles and
will also install a roof vent. This also includes taking down the
chimney in the Attic which means it will be one huge room which I can do
something with if I want to. It is large enough to be a games room
with a full pool table and large enough so the cues won't hit the wall.
That means it's also large enough to make it a good sized double bedroom
with it's own bathroom. However at this time I don't plan to do anything
with it as I have plenty of room as it is.
Here is a video of the
Water Tank company...
On Saturday 22nd October
the new oak doors were hung and this Monday saw that completed and
the oak stained to try and match with the wood surrounds. As the wood in
this house are over 100 years old it's been a bit of a challenge to find
an appropriate stain. I picked
Early American as the closest match we could find. As it dried on the
Monday it did come up a touch lighter so will be doing another coat on
the Tuesday and then it's just a matter of removing the plastic covering
from the glass panes and fitting the door handles.
This week I also decided
to move this journal from electricscotland.net to my new web site
ElectricCanadian.com as being a more appropriate place for it.
I've actually also been busy on moving over some of my other Canadian
material as well so all it all it's been quite a lot of work.
I've just heard that the
chimney will be removed on Saturday so have ordered a dumpster to be
delivered on Friday so that the bricks can be removed. Once the chimney
is down it will just be a matter cleaning the attic of debris and
filling in the hole where the chimney went through the floor. That all
might a bit of Sunday to complete all this. I do as it happens
have some shingles left over from when the roof was done so hoping there
Went out today, 25th
October, to get some Halloween chocolates in preparation for giving out
to all the children that make an appearance. We did as it happens
have around a 1 hour electricity outage this evening. Apparently a
car ran into the transformer but they were quick to deal with the
Here is a picture of
one of the doors showing the matching stain. Still a day to go to
let the stain dry and then take off the plastic glass protection and add
the door handles which in fact got done on the Saturday.
And here is a picture
of my new water heater with the power vent.
Luckily enough I had my
camera out so as they left I thought I'd take a quick picture and thus
found out that they had tied the electric to my light socket so when
switching off the light the power to the tank went of. So I managed to
catch them before they left and they are going to get an electrician out
to fix that problem. And I might add the electrician came at 8am on the
Saturday and fixed the problem. He also noted an issue with the wiring
which could have caused a fire so he kindly fixed that at the same time.
I had expected the
roofing guy to come on Saturday 29th and had the dumpster delivered on
the Friday so they could take the bricks away. However the roofer came
down with some illness and couldn't come so looks like it might be next
weekend but that will depend on the weather.
On the Sunday when
winding up the 8 day grandfather clock I noted the wood support for it
was still the bare wood colour so I took the opportunity of applying
some stain to that as well to get it batching with the rest of the wood.
On Sunday I decided to
try and resolve an issue I am having playing YouTube videos. Sometimes
they work fine but sometimes they just lock up my computer. I'd
tried to resolve this issue with iYogi but that hadn't worked. So
I thought I'd try them again and we spent a good hour trying various
things and certainly the one that kept locking up each time I tried to
play not worked fine. So... hopefully they've fixed the issue but
time will tell.
I might add that on the
whole I find the iYogo service to be well worth while. I have a 3 year
contract with them and if you have a software issue you just phone them
and they take remote control of your computer and resolve the issue.
It's like having your own tech support department in your own home. They
are based in India but they offer full 24 hours support 24/7.
On October 31st I had a
real slow down on my Internet service. I phoned Cogeco business support
and they said I was losing packets on my incoming connection. They said
they'd send a technician out to fix the problem. That was fine but
it was going to take them a week to send the tech out which for a
business class service is terrible. I can only assume that they
must be having problems with their network if it's going to take them a
week to fix this issue. I have said that I've been very pleased with
their support but looks like I'm going to have to revise my opinion.
On Friday 4th November
Nola came down to stay overnight so she could attend the Knights Templar
meeting and investiture on the Saturday in Windsor. Savannah and
Jessica also popped in so we all had dinner together.
On the Saturday we
headed of at 9.15 in the morning for Windsor and got there in good time
for the meeting. The investiture went well and everyone enjoyed
the banquet in the evening. We had quite a heavy meeting
discussing the progress of the St James Priory in Toronto and some
decisions were made as to the way forward. Essentially the Priory
has had problems with the first chancellor having business problems and
thus wasn't able to do the work he should have done. The the next
chancellor who showed great promise up and died on us. As a result
of this the organisation in the Priory has suffered and so we are going
to put systems in place to get us back on course and also ensure we have
a backup position available. Our last chancellor had done a great
job in sorting out the membership and had developed mailing lists for
various activities. However when he died no-one knew the passwords
on his computer so all that information was lost.
I thought it might be
interesting to include here the investiture program so you can see how
these are done...
Each Priory has a mix
of charitable works that they pursue. Normally three different aims in
that one is usually to do with the Holy Land, another is to do with
National Country charities and the third is local to the Priory. This
can vary of course but usually the Holy and and local are common to all.
In St James's Priory instead of National we chose to drill wells for
I did get my
certificate at the Investiture. The one I got in Toronto they'd mis-spelled
my name so this was the corrected one.
And Savannah and
Jessica popped in for a wee visit before heading back to Toronto...
Savannah left and Jessica on the right on
my new sofa.
While I was away in
Windsor the folk came over to take down my chimney and fix the roof.
They also added a roof vent so now I'm good for the winter storms. They
then came back on Tuesday to take down the rest of the chimney in the
So now that I have this
huge space it's been suggested that I at least make it a room by adding
a proper floor, plug points, lights, etc. I'm in no hurry to do
this but it would make sense. I'm told that adding insulation,
vapour barrier and then using pine board painted white or off white
should make it look good to go. I'll also need to add a handrail for the
On November 14th I had
an eye exam with Dr McCabe and he confirmed that I had the beginnings of
Cataracts which they did warn about when I had my surgery a couple of
years ago. So now have an appointment to see Dr Anjema for the
following Monday. I did get a communication from him confirming the
appointment but along with that got various brochures in about all the
treatments I can get at a variety of prices. I confess my initial
reaction was that here is a chap that loves money and he'll do the best
he can to sell the most expensive treatment he can. He's also the
chap that gave me laser treatment a few years ago but never bothered to
do a follow up examination. I can't say I have a great deal of
confidence in him but will see what he says.
And on 21st November I
had my exam at the Anjema Institute in Chatham. I will say it's a very
plush building so obviously lots of money in the eye industry.
I thought I'd scan in
some of the material I got from them...
The health care
industry is very good in Canada but in this case they only provide the
very basic service for cataract surgery. Reading the literature
it's pretty obvious that when it comes to our eyes you want them to be
the best they can be and thus the most expensive option is clearly the
one you want to go for. In my case this is going to cost $6,000
which is a chunk of money and I'm quite sure a high percentage would be
challenged to find the money to pay for it.
While I was there I got
an injection in one eye and laser treatment in both of them. I'm
booked in during December for eye surgery on one eye and in January for
the second eye. That injection and laser treatment cost $260.00. I did
have a wee problem driving back as my eyes were quite blurry but I made
it home safely. While they will remove the cataracts they will also
implant a multi-focal lens in the eye to improve my eyesight and that
should mean I won't need glasses as it will deal with both long and
On St Andrews Days,
30th November, we got our first wee fall of snow.
On 1st December we were
having a real battle with Verizon the telecom people. I have to say that
for a huge corporate they are totally pathetic when it comes to
resolving technical issues and disputes. It's now been three
months since we had all that downtime on our bandwidth and they are
still nowhere near resolving the issues. Our contract states that for
every 1 hour we are down they will credit 1 days billing. I should state
here that as soon as this is resolved we will move to another Telco as
their service is unacceptable.
On the web side of the
business I am having a hard time keeping things moving between my main
Scottish site and the new Canadian one. While building content for
the Canadian site I made use of my reserves of content on the Scottish
one but of course that could only last so long. That means I am now down
to just a weeks work in reserve so need to get back to my Scottish site
to build more content so I can get back to work on the Canadian side of
The key to this is that
I get pretty well all my revenue from the Scottish site and get around
180,000 visitors each month from there. As the Canadian site is
still very new it is only getting around 1,000 visits a month so a long
way to go for it to serve up any kind of income. My intention is to
build up a decent base of information on the Canadian side of things
then leave it alone for a wee bit to focus back on the Scottish side.
Right now I've got decent histories up for all provinces in Canada but
still need to do a bit more. I also have some decent information on the
First Nations, am making good progress on the Makers of Canada. Have
good information up on Pioneering and have started to make progress with
a few accounts up for the armed forces including both the RCMP and the
NWMP along with a couple accounts of army regiments. I have also found a
collection of pdf files on various Canadian regiments which I've also
I do also have some
accounts up on transport and have made a small start on Transport,
Industry and Commerce and some work on Religion. Also have a few
other pages up under the Lifestyle section. So all in all already a
decent body or work but tons more to do.
On 15th December I got
surgery done on my right eye to remove the cataracts and to implant the
new multi-focal lens. They say it can take around 4 weeks for these to
settle in and so I'm not really seeing any improvement at 19th December
but I go for an eye checkup on the 20th so will see what they find.
I did at last get a few
pictures in from the KT Investiture in Toronto so I include them here...
This is a picture of my table at the
banquet. On Savannah's left, looking at the picture, is Nola's son Derby
with his wife Vicky on his left.
This is a picture of the Grand Prior of Canada, Ron Matthewman with
Prior Nola Crewe and her grand daughter Savannah Johnston getting her
certificate on becoming a Dame of the Order.
And this is me getting my certificate for becoming a Grand Officier
I would also note here
that I am very disappointed with Savannah as she has made no progress at
all with her web site. Having got her all setup with her web site and
getting a brochure organized to take the next step of getting the local
businesses onboard she's done nothing at all. I will acknowledge
there is a great deal of work to do but to have made no progress
whatsoever is incomprehensible to me. I can only conclude that her lack
of work ethic is the main reason she is not being successful. I
think the saying... you can take a horse to water but you can't make it
drink... is most relevant.
On Friday 16th I signed
an agreement to move our T1 leased lines to Comcast. We're hoping this
might get the new lines installed before the end of this year.
It's now some four months since we had the dispute with Verizon and it
still isn't resolved. I simply can't understand how such a large
organization can be so useless in resoling technical and customer
support issues. I certainly would not recommend that company to
anyone. I just hope that Comcast will be better.
A further note to the
above just to say that the lines were installed on 22nd December so
hopefully by the end of this month we'll have our servers moved over to
the new Telco.
On 20th December I went
to have my right eye checked and the eye specialist said he was pleased
with the implant but told me the eye was still swollen from the
operation. He said it was likely to take another week or two for the eye
to stabalise and to keep putting in the eye drops. He also said
that I was rather in between things as the left eye would be
contributing to the lack of crispness of vision but that should be
solved when I get the operation for that in January. So at least
he's pleased so we'll see what next month brings.
As we're now virtually
at the end of this quarter I think it's a good place to complete this
quarters journal. Should anything of note happen prior to the end
of the end of the year I will add it later but other than that this will
bring this journal entry to a close.
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