Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Year & A Day

Back again. Ok, I know it's been a while since my last blog but I do have a note from my Mum explaining my absence. Editor - (He really does, I've seen it).

As this is the special addition anniversary blog I have decided to do something different. I know a lot of you have said how much you enjoy the photos that crop up every now and then, so being an old fashioned fella I have decided to do a slide show. Luckily one of the few luxuries I brought with me was my old Kodak carousel slide projector, so if you all would like to come to our place this Saturday for 7pm you can witness the spectacle entitled 'A Year & A Day', a pictorial extravaganzor set to music depicting our first year in the Colonies. Light refreshments in the form of a selection of cheeses and a choice of not one but two dry white wines will be served at the interval, be sure to arrive promptly to secure the best seats.

Alternatively you could click here or go to sushams.com for the electronic version.

Enjoy the show and keep an eye out for the new look blog which will be transferring to it's new home on sushams.com as soon as I figure out how to do it. Take care and we miss you all.

Love J N C T xxxx

(Depending on your Internet connection you may want to let the file down load before playing, as unless you have a very quick connection you will catch it up as it streams.)

Editor - Please note that no actors were used in the making of this film and all shots of the Sushams's, family and friends are genuine, with the exception of the body doubles used for the very last shot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tom's Birthday Party.

It was Tom's 8th birthday this week. He also shares his birthday with Napoleon, 1814 (is there a height thing here?) but more importantly he shares it with the lovely Chloe, a fellow grade 2 class mate from Cove Cliff Elementary.

Here are some of the highlights.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Dad, there's a man in a red suit at the door"!

I can only apologise for the dismal lack of output over the past two months. This can only be explained by a catalogue of events beyond my control. Ed (this had better be good). Firstly, the arrival of our first guests from the old country took me completely by surprise, I had no idea how demanding they all could be. And secondly, by a ....... well, of course, that's another story.

So to recap, the last blog had both Nicola and I just about to take our driving tests. I had planned an entire blog on the whole hideous experience, which could only be compared to that of a theatrical opening night in the West End with an entire cast of Luvvies running around in emotional turmoil. However, sufficient enough time has lapsed for it all to be a distant hideous memory, needless to say we both passed. Ed(Hooray)

Is it 'Good News' that comes in three's? or is it 'Bad News'? I can never remember, but for us on this occasion it was Good News as the Postman delivered not only our BC driving licenses but also our BC medical cards and just in time, as it turned out, but more of that story later.

I had noticed recently that the "trips to the shops"and also a state of what only could be described as "Fevered Activity" had increased exponentially in frequency. When quizzed on this matter, Nicola duly pointed out that this was due to a phenomenon known as the imminent arrival of "THE GUEST'S", apparently a natural occurring phenomenon, goodness me! that must be David and Lynda popping in on their way back from Australia then.

"I've got a cunning plan my lord" someone once said. I had it all worked out, do you remember Parkgate Community Centre
(see Blog Thursday 30th) well, in the Centre, they have a room there which is full of old people playing cards, perfect, we can drop them down there in the morning, then pick them up in the afternoon after the Tea Dance is over, a quick cup of Ovaltine and then off to bed. Nicola, on the other hand didn't quite see it that way and produced a detailed schedule, complete with; movement order, a list of events and activities, times for sun rise and sun set and a fourteen day weather forecast. It was about now I was I wondering if I could get in on that card game down at the Centre?

On a more serious note, we were all looking forward to the arrival of our visitors and Charlie and Tom were almost out of control with excitement at the prospect of seeing Lolly & Papa. As to be expected, Lolly and Papa were on great form and we managed to pack in; a long weekend in Seattle, some serious retail therapy, a trip to Whistler, a small boat tour of False Creek, Up & Down two mountains, several hikes and some rather fine dining to boot and not a cup of Ovaltine in sight. I can only hope that I have a tenth of their energy and joie de la vie when I get my bus pass and we were all so sad to see them leave.

It was only a matter of hours before our next guest arrived, as we eagerly awaited the arrival of Sally Edna O'Brien, time enough though to get up to some mischief. So, forever on the lookout for adventure, Charlie and I headed off to the skate park to hang with the homies for a few hours. Now armed with the knowledge that we were now in the possession of genuine BC medical cards, Charlie was determined to overcome all his fears and anxieties that had been building up from the very first day he laid his eyes on the skate park and today was the day he would finally 'DROP IN' to the 8.'0" concrete skate bowl on his bike. Now, on the one hand, as a parent, I was consumed with worry that he might hurt himself and on the other hand as a Father, I was filled with a sense of pride that he was finally going to conquer his demons and raise his levels of self belief and in turn open up a whole new world of adventure for himself. Luckily, the normal pack of undesirables that frequent the skate park were absent for some reason, leaving the entire park for ourselves. I watched in agony as Charlie hovered on the rim of the big bowl, you could see the utter turmoil he was going through, maybe a quiet word of encouragement was all that was needed, "GO ON THEN YOU BIG HANDBAG",
I said sympathetically, words I would live to regret....

Meanwhile, Sally Edna O'Brien had now arrived at the house and was being warmly welcomed when Charlie and I returned home. Now you can imagine Nicola's reaction when we now needed to rush to the hospital to get treatment for a broken shoulder and a concussion, I was not a popular man, this was going to be a long, cold, lonely winter I thought to myself. "How the ******* **** did that happen" I think she said, it was hard to tell as the concussion was playing havoc with the my brain, "Dad was showing me how to drop in" Charlie said "and he didn't make it!" Ed (X-Ray included for the medically inclined out there)
12 weeks for the shoulder and the brain is OK although Nicola might contest that.

We only had Sally for 5 days but it was really good to see her and we had a great time. I felt terribly guilty just sitting there with my broken shoulder but it meant the girls spent lots of time together doing the things that girls do. Highlights included, shopping, drinking wine, going to the shops for more wine. Going to a place where they make wine, tasting the wine at the place they make it and buying some of the wine they tasted from the place that made the wine. Come back soon Sal.

Well that only leaves me with the joyous task of wishing you all A Very Merry Christmas and A Happy and peaceful New Year.

Love J N C & T.

Ed (Stay tuned to the Blog as the Skiing season in now well and truly in full swing, a rich vein for copy if ever there was one! Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year from all the staff here at 'Endover' Press)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Week 4: Bravo Two Zero, + Tax.

This week our heroes venture across the boarder for a shopping extravaganza in the form of a day trip to the US and take the infamous BC driving test, the ultimate test of man's courage; skill, wit and determination, a feat only surpassed in difficulty by a day's shopping in the United States.

With the Canadian dollar now at parity with the US dollar; but with Canadian retail prices 25% higher than those in the US, we decided to participate in the much loved Canadian pass time of cross-boarder shopping. Having listened to and noted down all the advice given to us by seasoned campaigners about organising such a cross boarder raid; a plan was duly drawn up and team of specialists assembled.

It soon became obvious that there was only one man/women who could pull off a job like this and it was decided that the team should be lead by the very experienced and veteran retail commando Corporal Jones. Also selected for the mission, was Unit scrounger Private, (1st class) Dingus and Unit Whinger, Private (1st class) Wingus. Ed (pronounced Wing-gus and Ding-gus). At the last minute, it was also decided to take along someone from the motor pool to deal with all the transportation issues and so, the team was joined by Private (definitely 2nd class) Sushams. So with the team assembled, it now became a waiting game ... wating for the green light.

Mission: Assault as many US retail installations as possible and liberate with extreme prejudice targeted goods ... also, have a spot of lunch.

Date: Sunday, September 23rd.

Time: Dawn.

As the sun rose, the unit assembled with Private Wingus leading the dawn chorus with a barrage of whinges worthy of his lofty rank. Private Dingus also chipped in with an "it's far too early to go on a mission Dad" and that a full cook up was in order before he would even consider getting his kit on. So to quash this mutinous rebellion I turned to our illustrious leader for support, but it was to no avail, as she was upstairs drying her hair. So we broke out our mess tins had some scoff and made a brew. Ed (They had breakfast). The dawn came and went and it was 0830 hours before the team started to load the specially prepared vehicle that Private (2nd class) Sushams had spent all night working on and with the co-ordinates now loaded into the state of the art GPS navigation equipment, the team headed for the boarder.

It was decided that we would cross the heavily guarded boarder, at grid reference (911-999), a little know town called xxxxxxx and from our intel we were lead to believe that this was a very quiet crossing. Our plan was to masquerade as a British family, with Canadian residency status visiting the US for the day, this would surely be enough to confuse any suspecting boarder guard, as it still confuses me on occasions. This crossing was also to be our agreed extraction point, unless the team got split up and if that was the case, we would go to plan B, which was to meet outside 'Build A Bear' in the Bellingham Shopping Mall.

The journey to the boarder was uneventful, with clear roads and good weather and with the GPS navigation equipment functioning perfectly, the team made good progress. Private Wingus, who it turns out is a distant cousin of Robert Albert Einstein Oppenheimer, inquired on repeated occasions, as to the ETA of the unit at the target area and also suggested several technical modifications that could be made to the unit vehicle, which would speed up our journey, (many of which involved the fitting of rocket motors and nuclear particle accelerators). Private (2nd class) Sushams from the motor pool acknowledged the suggested modifications and said that he would get back to him on that one.

With less than a mile to go to the target area, the vehicle rounded a corner only to be confronted with a stationary queue of traffic and there we stayed, inching our way forward, until finally two hours later we arrived at the boarder. By now troop morale was at an all time low. Private (1st class) Wingus was ready to abort the mission with one of his nuclear bombs and Private (1st class) Dingus even offered to give a hand and when our illustrious leader started talking about aborting the mission, I knew we were in trouble. However, with the boarder now in sight, discipline was restored and the mission was now back on.

At the check point, Private (2nd class) Sushams from the motor pool drew in a deep breath, wound down the window, smiled and calmly presented to the US boarder guard, four British passports. "What's the purpose of your visit to the Untied States?" inquired the humourless man in a stern, approaching rude, turn of phrase. "Pleasure" came the reply from Private (2nd class) Sushams from the motor pool, still managing to hold his nerve. The humourless boarder guard looked the private straight in the eyes and parried back with a testing, probing question, designed to crack the toughest of adversaries; "And how long do you intend to stay in the United States?" The atmosphere in the unit vehicle was electric, it was make or break, would the private from the motor pool hold his composure, or would the relentless interrogation from the surly boarder guard finally break the metal of Private (2nd class) Sushams? ... "At this rate, about 5 minutes" replied the Private with a nervous laugh. The unit simultaneously gasped for breathe. What was the Private from the motor pool thinking, did he honestly think that now was an appropriate time for at best, suspect humour? The pause that followed lasted a lifetime and was then shattered in an instant, when Private (1st class) Dingus, decided to break-wind with all the gusto of an Asian Sirocco ...
The Humorless boarder guard had seen right through our facade; "Park your vehicle in Bay 23 and proceed to the Boarder Control Office. You're not going anywhere, until we get fingerprints and photo ID's" he said. Surely, now with our cover blown, the mission was over, but we had one last chance ...

In the Boarder Control Office, Privates (1st class) Wingus and Dingus decided that they would check-out a possible back door exit strategy and went to the toilet. While Private (2nd class) Sushams from the motor pool, was instructed to stand behind Corporal Jones and say nothing. Now, up and till now, the Corporal had been keeping a very low profile; even pretending to sleep in the unit vehicle on the way to the boarder. But this wasn't fooling anybody, as nobody snores like that in real life, therefore, she must have been faking it. Private (1st class) Wingus likened it to a moose with a heavy cold, but 'cometh the hour, cometh the Women' and the Corporal stepped up to save the mission. Inside the boarder control office, we were asked to present our passports and as calmly as you like, the Corporal handed over the documents, along with (tucked inside the top passport), a wedge of US dollar bills. Genius, thought the Private from the motor pool; the old bribe the boarder guard trick, ... risky, but worth a chance. Well, it seemed to do the trick, as the entire unit was duly finger printed, photographed and processed and sent on our merry way, the mission was back on!

The Editor: I apologise to you the reader, but I have decided to pull this story from the blog as it is quite apparent that there is NO story here. The Andy McNab wanna be, is getting carried away with this self indulgent twaddle. To summarise, they went to Bellingham, had a very average Thai lunch, bought a screwdriver, two Teddy bears from 'Build a Bear' and a cheese grater. Then they had to come home, as they had run out of time. Oh and as for the bribe, it costs $6 per person for a temporary visa for the USA. However, please continue to subscribe to the blog, as our usual columnist returns next week from his holidays, to report on our heroes and the dreaded BC driving test.

Take care and Love to all.

J N C & T.

Bravo Two Zero + Tax.

(L to R) -
Private (2nd class) Sushams: Motor Pool.
Private (1st class) Dingus: Unit Scrounger.
Corporal Jones: Patrol Leader.
Private (1st class) Wingus: Unit Whinger.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week 3: A Visit from The Pope

Week 3 started well with the arrival of 8 cardboard boxes from the old country. They had been 'on the road' for 12 weeks now and to be honest I had forgotten what we had packed in them, so there was an air of excitement and expectation as we tore into them with all the passion of a child on Christmas morning. The first 7 boxes contained Nix's entire shoe collection from the last 14 years, Ed (Those poor sniffer dogs at the Vancouver docks), however buried at the bottom of box 8, under 14 handbags and a set of curling tongs, lay a small container, harbouring a carefully selected and highly treasured consignment of tools, ah 'the precious'. Monday was also blessed with a ridge of high pressure and what perfect opportunity to try out our latest purchase, none other than The Weber Q220 BBQ with Stand. Our celebrity guest chef, (all the way from the Vatican) kindly agreed to do the honors and a fine meal was enjoyed by all.

Tuesday saw the boy's kayak lessons cut short by a thunder storm, "it's not so much the rain, as the lightning" explained the instructor. Ed (Big Girls Blouse) With an incredible visual and audible show, the storm signaled the arrival of autumn and overnight the temperature dropped drastically and by morning the trees displayed the beginnings of what was to be a beautiful transformation into autumn. The walk to school of a morning is now breathtaking at times, the low autumn sun shining through a forest on the turn, sun rays filtered by an early morning mist, this visual cornucopia, this assault on everyone of the senses is only marred by the odd interruption from Albert Robert Einstein Oppenheimer.....
"Daddy, how long would it take me to get to Mars if I stuck 9 nuclear missiles on a Kona Stinky and..............." I'm hoping this is a passing phase.

As we descend into autumn our thoughts are instantly turning to Winter and the prospect of skiing on our door step. Now the locals let slip that the Mount Seymour organisation ,relies heavily on an unpaid volunteer work force in exchange for FREE lift passes for the family. So a quick e-mail, followed by an application form and I'm now officially a Tot's Ski Instructors Assistant. All they require in return is 90 hours of my time over the entire season, if fact they want 90 hours from us as a family, so Nix and I can work it off between us. I can picture it now, me on the slopes, decked out in the latest kit, bronzed and hanging with the instructors, while Nix is in the car park on traffic duty............. Well!

So as the week draws to an end, I find myself, having been inspired by the boys, down at The Deep Cove Kayak school, enrolling for a level 1 and 2 trip preparation course. "have you got a wet suit" asked the nice man, "no, why" I enquired "well, you will spend most of the day in the water" he replied, "oh." But that is another story.

That's all for now but 'tune in' next week as our heroes learn to 'swim with the fishes', take a trip across the boarder to the USA and take the written part of the BC driving test, in an experiment to see if old dogs can indeed learn new tricks.

Take care and Love to all.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Saturday 8th. "Albert Robert Einstein Oppenheimer"

Today was the last day for the hire car. Now we had a choice, in theory our 24 hour period meant we had until 8pm to return the car, but the office down town closed at 5pm. So we could either come back early to do the sensible thing and drop the car at the office or we could do an "automated drop off" in a dodgy down town multistory car park, great let's do that.

'8.30am wheels up', was agreed by all and would you believe we were all in the car and on our way to Whistler by 8.25am, I think everyone was looking forward to this trip. By 8.32am the first of many mind boggling questions from Charlie was delivered without mercy, "Daddy, if you were doing full speed down Whistler on a Kona Stinky how big would the ramp have to be for you to crash into our house in North Vancouver?" Errrrrrr......... "Daddy, if you have 7 nuclear bombs strapped to a Banshee Scream and you were doing the speed of light down Whistler, and your bombs exploded as you hit a ramp that was like em, the size of say, em, Mount Seymore, would you be able to reach England? This continued all the way to Whistler, which is a 2 hour drive.

Whistler was bathed in sunshine, 28 degrees said the large digital read out at the welcome centre and every where you went you were reminded that the Olympics were arriving in 2010.
Mountain bikers amassed at the bottom of the chair lift by the Longhorn and it would seem you were either biking or shopping. We spent our day wandering through the many shops looking and dreaming, often commenting on what a cool place this would be to live if only it wasn't so busy. Albert Robert Einstein Oppenheimer, would every now and then pitch in a doozy, "Daddy, if you had the front end of a Kona Stinky and the middle triangle of a Big Hit and a Fox 5.1 shok packed with dynamite, how far......... etc etc etc, still the day flew by, a grand time was had by all and sadly we departed, heading for the bright lights of down town Vacouver and some dodgy multistory car park but having vowed to return at the earliest possible opportunity.

The 99, or the "Sea to Sky Highway" to give it it's full and glamorous title is a tricky road at the best of times, but the on going expansion, turning a 'one up and one back' into a dual carriage way can cause for delays but when we completely ground to a halt half way back and everybody turned off their engines, got out of their cars, set up the BBQ's and put the music on, I began to worry, "This happens all the time" said one bloke I spoke to, "they're either blasting or some idiot has driven off the mountain". Great I thought, the hire car is due back in 90 mins. We soon resided ourselves to the fact that we were going to be late and enjoyed the moment, nowhere else would you get a party like this with a view like this.

We eventually arrived down town an hour or so late and I successfully managed to abandon the car and post the paper work and keys in to wooden box nailed to a car park wall, only then releasing that I had left all the remote controls for the gates and garage inside the car, where was Albert Robert Einstein Oppenheimer now when I needed him, we could have nuked the box off the wall!

And so ends our second week in Canada. It has been a fantastic journey so far and I hope you have enjoyed only a few of the many stories. As life settles down and not wishing to subject you all to the tedium of day to day living, I have decided to do a weekly blog from now. Please keep reading and please post your comments as we look forward to reading them. So I leave you with this thought........." If I had 17 nuclear missiles and I strapped them to some roller blades and Tom was on a Kona Stinky, riding flat out down Whistler ,how big would the ramp have to be..........

Friday 7th. What's wrong with an air bed?

As our second week in the promised land draws to an end you can tell life has begun to settle down as the Blog entry's get shorter and all I can find to talk about is shopping, so with that in mind we turned or attention's to the imminent arrival of our first visitor from the the old country, who was due in a week. Nix decided that the purchase of a sofa bed was the mission of the day, "What's wrong with an air bed?" I exclaimed, after all Phil is my old camping buddy and he loves sleeping on the ground! It was then that Nix pointed out to me that all guests would be afforded every luxury our humble home could offer and that included the use of our bed and that the sofa bed was for us! So with orders given we set off to trawl all the stores in furniture land and my goodness is there some quality tat out there, but a sofa bed was duly purchased and delivery was arranged for the day before Phil arrived, perfect.

Now shopping fatigue is something I had never suffered from before (mainly because I never go shopping) so I failed to recognise the symptoms:- The constant yearn to sit down at any given opportunity, the willingness to part with huge sums of money for something I could see no practical use for, but was happy to do so as long as it meant we could move on, I would find myself nodding enthusiastically in agreement with Nix half way a conversation that I knew nothing about but the most disturbing symptom of all was the overwhelming desire to be assembling flat pack furniture rather than endure the pain known as shopping. What I needed was a trip to Whistler.