It’s Different in Canada….How they Celebrate the Festive Season – Part 2

Last week I entranced you with my holiday photos from Vancouver.  This week you can shiver at the cold in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia and Alberta.

Going over Revelstoke Pass on the way to Alberta
Hardy Canadian and Canadian icon
Less Hardy Canadians indulge indoors 
Tim Hortons a great Canadian tradition
Highway sign – Back on the road
Another hardy Canadian
Taken just outside my brother’s condo
New Year’s Eve in Canmore, Alberta
But we went to Party on the Pond anyway!
Canmore, Alberta
Me getting ready to go out
Even the family dog has to wear booties!

It’s Different in Canada….How they Celebrate the Festive Season – Part 1

Yes, I’ve been away, thus the articles on Cloud Computing and semi successful Location Independence.  Now I have my Mac back and I’ve started sorted through a few of the 1400 photos I took.
Don’t recoil in horror, I won’t make you look at them all!!!
I spent the festive season with my friends and family in British Columbia and Alberta and I thought you like to know how they celebrate in the Great White North.
So for your visual delectation, Christmas in Vancouver, BC
Disclaimer – These are snaps!  Not up to my usual standards are photographic excellence %-)
Jingle Dog!!
 They take pride in their work

Ocean Cement Co., Granville Island
The Gingerbread House at VanDusen Botanical Gardens
Even more lights at VanDusen Botanical Gardens
Decorating the Tree
Kidsbooks – not just books for Kids!
Happy Santa?
Peking Lounge, Chinatown
Even the family vehicle isn’t left out
Next week I’ll regale you with New Year’s in Alberta.  Just 900 more photos to sift through…..

Digital Experiment 2 – Location Independence – Does it Really Work?

Never one to keep life simple, I’m currently running two opposing experiments.

     1.  I’m still trying to wean myself off my intensely digital life and have one digital free day week 
     2.  I’m 4,500 miles away from my usual work place and will continue to manage my business with my clients with my usual efficiency

    Tricky ? Perhaps.  Impossible? Never!

 Radcliffe Camera, Oxford, UK – Nov 2010

Experiment No. 1’s update –   The last two weeks have been a success.  I have had two days off.  Weekends are best and so far no adverse hardships.  The first day off was at home so a bit tough because all my electronic toys beckoned.  I was strong!  I went running, read a book, met up with friends and carved a pumpkin for Hallowe’en.  It wasn’t really a question of strength of character; I think my relationship with all things digital is more habit than anything.

The second day off was also pretty easy.  I went away for the weekend and I went toyless, so no temptation.

Two gold stars then!

Fireworks  – Oxford, UK – Nov 2010
Now for experiment number two.  Geographically I’m generally located in a small, bucolic, English village.  But being a bit of a yoyo (from Britain, raised in Canada, went back to Britain, now back in Canada – are you keeping up here?), I’m a bit farther away from my office than usual.

As I’m self employed it’s essential I stay in contact with my clients so I can manage their projects, respond to their enquires and participate as much as possible in the usual running of things.  Also it’s important that I stay in the loop with local businesses and my other colleagues.  I need to ensure they don’t ever think they can do without me (because they can’t).

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford, UK – Nov 2010
Some of my clients were quite apprehensive about this location independent idea, but as I explained to them (repeatedly), 95% of what I do for them is on a computer and most of our communication is via email – so what’s the difference between 2 miles and a few thousand.

And after 6 days, the answer is – nothing!

Currently my location independent toolkit consists of:

Yahoo Mail
16 GB memory stick
2 X4 GB and 2X1 GB memory cards (for my camera)

For an extra challenge I didn’t bring my laptop as I really, really couldn’t be bothered to carry it.  Idiot, I hear you say.  Nope, in this case it’s not the stupid decision it sounds.  I know where and who I’m staying with on this trip.  There are a lot of computers I can use.  And yes, ones I can trust. Only trick so far is I need to remember to delete my existence once in a while.

If the situation was any different I would have brought the beast.

So now I will have to keep you updated on two experiments.
  1.   To reduce my digital use (dependency?)
  2.   To extend my working environment by increased digital use

I’ll let you know what strategies I come up with!



“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.”  
Minot J. Savage

Thought for Remembrance Day – November 11, 2010

The Festival Goers’ Essential Top 10 List

Breezy Flags at the Festivals
Besides a relaxed attitude, your mates and the completely obvious eg, tent, tickets, wellies, first aid kit:
 Wellies – Too essential to list!
1.  Lots of wet wipes. More than you think you need.  Why?  Because loo cleanliness may get a bit dodgy.  Also running water may be scarce/too far away/non existence or you might  just want to freshen up.  There is no stigma to being clean at a festival.  There is no stigma to being filthy either.  Its a personal choice and I know which one I opt for.
2.  A real pillow, an air mattress and earplugs.  Why?  Sleep will inevitably vary in quality and quantity but you can at least be comfortable.  I go all the way and have proper sheets too.  I have camped all over the world.  I can rough it.  At festivals I don’t have to!
Temporary Town
3.  A full sized towel.  Why?  Showers may be available so the obvious use, and towels can double up as blankets, pillows and preserve your modesty.  Douglas Adams knew what he was on about when he elevated the lowly  Towel to heroic status.
4.  A second camera and extra SD (memory) card.  Why?  This might just be essential for me.  Photography is my thing so I always have backup equipment.
5.  Umbrella!  Why?  Relief from the sun (essential if you are as ridiculously pale and interesting as me) and respite from the rain (its gonna fall somewhere at some time).
Happy Festival Goers
6.  Folding camp chair (not to carry around, leave at base camp, probably in the tent when you’re out and about) and a sitting mat.  Why?   It is sooooooooo comfortable to sit down properly after standing, dancing and such a pleasant change from the ground.  Also chairs and mats are generally drier than the ground and contain considerably fewer cow pats.
7.  A book/magazine Why?  They don’t need batteries and 4 days is a long time.  You may need a time out here and there.  Festivals are to be enjoyed, not endured.
8.  Bring some food and water. Why?  Are you Rockefeller?!  It costs a lot to eat out for 3-4 days.
9.  Two water/drink bottles.  Why?  One for water and one for  the beverage of your choice.  Extravagant ?  No.   I always think its nice to have a choice.
10.  An extra extra pair of pants/underwear and socks.  Why?  Just in case.  Your mother would be proud
There you go.  The first truly useful practical advice you have received from this site.  Hope it helps 🙂
Have a great festival!
WOMAD 2009

The Music Issue – Sort of

Remember my early warning? I did say this blog would aimlessly (or should that be eclectically?) wander. 

I’ve covered duck racing for charity (don’t worry you’re safe until next year), books (lovin’ Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys if your interested, v v good), some environmental stuff, a bit about photography so now we’ll go on to my next big passion


I can’t play a thing!  Not even the triangle.  I did try very hard. I bought myself a guitar, got books, took lessons, (tried) to read music and practised and practiced and, well, you get it.  Sadly I am not destine to become a rock legend 😦  (but I could be their photographer)

Oh I can amend one of my previous statements.  I can play the radio (Ha ha!)

I’m off to my first of three festivals (so far contemplating a fourth) very soon, a folk festival (not quite my top genre but I’m open minded).  Looking forward to the Original Steamchicken Jazz Band if for the name only!  However, they look superbly fun.  I’m going with non-festival going friends but everyone has to be a newbie sometime.  Its only for a day so a great time will be had by all and we will not be part of the unwashed.  And then next time, we’ll go for real!

The Night Before (no it didn’t rain this time :-))

My next festival is five days long (they do have nice warm showers) and my last festival (Reading, I’m seeing Guns ‘n Roses on my birthday, this is very deeply odd if you know me)  is house camping (amiable mates with linen and plumbing).  The one I’m contemplating (The Big Chill) probably has showers but I haven’t been before so can’t comment…yet.

Hmm, this episode isn’t so much about music as about festivals and shower facilities.  Well music reviews next time then…..maybe.

The One We Endured

So why am I such a festival addict.  Now, here is where I turn five.  BECAUSE THEY ARE SO GREAT!  I’m in my native habitat with the other off-kilter inmates and there is live music and wild abandon on tap.  Days of being surrounded in a wonderfully noisy world, slightly away from reality and being in the enviable position of not having to strictly behave yourself.  You can wearing multi-coloured, sparkly butterfly wings if you want to and I’ve seen more than one young gentleman running around in a wedding gown.  

 The evidence >-) I think its the flash sun glasses that really make the ensemble

 Indeed sometimes if you aren’t suitably kitted-out you stand out as an oddity.

All Dressed Up and Going Dancing

Lovely break from reality.  I’ll revel in the chaos and then be all refreshed to return to sorting out and organising my people. Pepper Potts eat your heart out!

So, I’m off to the fair, are you coming?  🙂

Oh, as this blog is supposed to be loosely work related, I can happily profess that I‘m a star at sorting music collections!

Gotan Project – WOMAD 2006