Sunday, December 31, 2017



Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

- John Lennon

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Day

We had a very quiet Christmas Day with a visit from our former neighbor Dave and his dad, Jerry, a pleasant surprise! We had not made any plans for dinner so we kept it simple with a nice batch of fish & chips in our Fry Daddy. I used some frozen New Zealand Blue Cod I had bought to experiment with and it was delicious, a sustainable species that was mild tasting and the perfect texture for deep frying.
It stayed cold all day so the snow we got on Christmas Eve stayed and we even got a nice ice display on our Rain Chain!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

We are having a White Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all our Friends and Family, far and wide! We are thinking of all of you and wishing you the very best for the coming year! - Croft & Norma

Friday, December 22, 2017

Disappointing Change Of Plans

We had intended to drive down to Shawnigan Lake to visit Brooks and LindaLee for a few days over Christmas but we have both been fighting bad colds. Yesterday I was hit really hard and was up all night sneezing, coughing and running to the bathroom. Not good conditions for visiting anyone and I certainly do not feel like driving, specially through probable snow conditions.

We are really disappointed as we had bought a couple of salmon to take with us and had been looking forward to the visit which would have been our first Christmas together in many years as we have always been down south this time of year.

We will see them soon, just not at Christmas. Like I say, disappointing.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Meanwhile In Mexico...

Our friends Brian and Sue crossed at Laredo, Texas this morning heading into Mexico and after seven hours of crawling along in in a traffic jam they are spending the night in their motorhome, pulled off on the side of the road north of Monterrey in a snowstorm. No concerns, they have lots of food, propane, blankets, Internet, rum...

They are trying to get to San Miguel de Allende but the highway south of Monterrey is closed due to snow as well. It is going to be a frustrating couple of days for them.

There is snow in Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas as well as along the Big Bend Highway in Texas. I have to say I thought this winter might get off to a cold start this year.

"Mike" The Viagra Salesman!

Somehow "Mike" knows both our first names and is relentless in his calls to our house phone trying to sell me Viagra from "USA Pharmacy". The calls start about 8:00 AM and continue three or four times every single day until about 9:00 at night. He will not take no for an answer and being rude has no effect either.

Norma's standard answer is, "He is 72 years old and doesn't need it". I have no idea what she means by that.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Time Machine

A friend found this old photo in the BC Tel / Telus Radio Shop and sent me a copy. It goes back to shortly after I transferred to Campbell River from Terrace, BC in 1989. It appears to be Dave Shaw, Gord Aikman and myself in back walking down to the helicopter pad at one of our remote VHF radio sites. Gord is the only one carrying tools. LOL. It looks like one of Okanagan Helicopters old Bell Jet Ranger 205's painted in their old colours. The 205 is the civilian version of the Huey used in the Vietnam War.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Grocery Shopping

Norma has been dropping hints that our freezer is pretty bare of seafood and Christmas is coming. So today we went down to the docks and paid a visit to Crabby Bob's Seafood. Not the cheapest in town but you know everything there is as fresh as it can be.

We bought a couple of whole 7 - 8 pound Coho Salmon and a few packages of smoked salmon. That will be a good start on the shopping. It was quite a bit less than I expected, only $144.

I think we have Christmas sorted out. We were going to have Brooks and LindaLee up here for Christmas but now it looks like we will be going down there. Jayde, our oldest granddaughter, quit her Vancouver job and her new one does not start up until January 15 so she will be visiting her dad looking for some work to pay her rent until she gets back to work. Brooks is holding a big painting contract for her, something she is good at and he hates so she should be able to make a couple of thousand doing that. LindaLee's parents might be there as well so it will be a fun Christmas.

It will be our first Christmas at home in about fifteen years!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Job Jar

The motion detector security lights at the back door quit working sometime over the past year or so. It is not something we test often, if ever, but I noticed they were not working when I went out for firewood the other night and they did not come on. I checked the local hardware stores and they do not seem to be something they stock, strangely enough. I found one online at Home Hardware for $45 and ordered it.

It arrived in a couple of days and yesterday I installed it. A pretty simple operation. Take it down, unscrew the wire nuts from the old one, connect the new one, remount it on the wall and operate the "test" switch. Success!

Now we have functioning lighting when I go for wood in the dark. Or when a burglar comes to the back door!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bloggerfest 2018. Any interest this year?

One day every January there is a gathering of Bloggers near Quartzsite, Arizona on the afternoon of the last weekend of the "Big Tent" in Quartzsite. It is a very informal gathering of Bloggers and Blog readers. Everyone brings a snack to be shared, whatever you want to drink and a chair. It is a wonderful chance to meet all the folks we have been reading for years.

This year a host has been slow to volunteer but the initial organization has been started by our Mesa friend Shadowmoss. There will be more details later but here is a link to Shadowmoss's Blog and her post on Bloggerfest.

If you are near Quartzsite on January 27, try to make it, you will enjoy it! You do not have to park in the desert if you do not want to, I have driven over from Mesa twice now just for the day.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Friday, November 3, 2017


Since we are staying home this year, it was in the back of my mind that the motorhome had to be winterized at some point. Last night made up my mind as it dropped to below freezing and stayed there. I ran the water and it worked but today was obviously the day!

I opened the drain on the fresh water tank and opened the "low point drains" on both the hot and cols water lines after turning on both hot and cold water taps inside. I will give it a couple of hours to drain and then run downtown for a few gallons of RV plumbing anti-freeze.

That should do the trick.


Further to the "It's bloody cold out there", I am noticing the gas furnace is running more than I am comfortable with. I have decided we will use the airtight heater in the fireplace this year. Searching Craigslist, I see dry, split firewood if $200 per cord this year so I will invest in a cord.

My firewood bin at the back is about a quarter full of old wood from several years ago when we last used it and is not really burnable unless I am starting from a very hot bed of coals. I will remove all that old wood to be burned in the outdoor fireplace to make way for the dry wood. The bin will not hold a full cord but will take at least half of it and the rest will stack beside it, maybe under a tarp.

It will keep us as warm as possible this winter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fats Domino

Antoine "Fats" Domino, February 26, 1928 to October 24, 2017. Fats died today at the great old age of 89. A New Orleans musician who remained true to his roots, Fats was a great asset to his city. He lived in the Lower Ninth Ward where Hurricane Katrina did her most damage, sweeping whole blocks of houses right off their foundations in the middle of the night of August 23. 2005. Fats' house survived the blast of water bur remained partially submerged and he had to be rescued by firemen who cut through the roof to rescue him from his attic. Fats helped out his fellow New Orleans musicians by starting a fund to replace the musical instruments lost in the hurricane. 

Here is a quote from my Blog on the day we visited the Lower Ninth Ward:

Fats Domino’s House
Here is Fats Domino’s house and studio. It is right in the Lower Ninth Ward district as Fats wanted to live with the people who put him into stardom. The first floor of the house was submerged by Katrina and Fats, who wanted to stay in his house and studio and “ride out” the storm, had to be rescued through the roof of the house. He intends to move back into the house after repairs are completed. Fats started a fund to replace instruments of New Orleans musicians that were lost in the hurricane. His fund has generated over $300,000. Here is his house with his studio attached. It looks almost ready for the big guy to move back in. Ironically, one of Fats’ big hits was Blue Monday and it was on a Monday that Katrina struck his house!


Friday, October 20, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How Much Does An (our) RV Cost?

Aside from gas, parking costs and the purchase price, how much does it cost to use and maintain an RV? A few years ago our friends George and Suzi told us to count on $2,000 per year for maintenance and repairs. Our costs have been slightly higher but I include everything to do with the motorhome in my "RV Maintenance & Repairs" Quicken account. This includes updating equipment like GPS's. inverters, adding solar panels, kitchen appliances, TV's, satellite receivers, car washes, even flashlight batteries. Everything to do with the RV.

Over ten years I have paid out $28,600 in this category. This is $2,860 per year. We use our RV a lot. We do not fulltime but when we travel, we travel hard. Mexico is hard on RV's once you get off the toll roads and even the toll roads leading down to the Yucatan are just a series of connected potholes. Things are always falling and banging around. We travel on lots of secondary roads down there where topes hide around every corner and the jungle reaches out onto the road to scratch the paint and sweep the roof.

The above costs include the costs of one accident that required a new roof. Insurance paid most of this but our costs were still around $1,000 with the deductible and upgrading the broken solar panel. Last year was a specially expensive year with all the electrical problems we had driving south in November. This pulled the average up a bit. These years occur fairly often when we have to replace tires (+/- $1,500) and four six volt batteries (+/- $400) This occurs every four or five years.

So George and Suzi's $2,000 figure has proven to be pretty accurate for "normal" wear and tear. Costs have gone up since he gave me this advice and we are probably a little harder on our equipment than they are.

Costs I did not include include RV Parks at $35,100 or $3,500 per year and gas at $38,500 or $3,850 per year. Adding everything together to get the full cost comes to $102,200 over the ten years or $10,220 per year. This has provided us with a six month long "vacation" every year, not bad value for for the money. because the last couple of friends who have taken short European Vacations have faced costs of close to $1,000 PER DAY including air fares, hotels and restaurants. I know this is extreme and are admittedly short 2 - 3 week trips but still... There is no more "Europe On $15 Per Day".

The actual cost of the RV is an interesting discussion as well. We were very lucky. We found a three year old but unused Class C in El Paso, Texas for $54,000 in 2008 when the Canadian dollar was at par. Repossessed from a bankrupt dealer, it had 4000 miles on it from the delivery to Texas and the factory stickers were still on the appliances. This has had a huge effect on keeping the value of this investment. I have kept an eye of the current value of this rig over the years and feel confident that I could sell it for around $38 - $40K Canadian now so my ownership cost has been only about $1,500 per year!

This is a drawing one of the guys at work did of me when I retired.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sitting Ducks

Well, sitting pigeons anyway. The most peaceful feeders around our bird feeders are the pigeons. They do not hang onto the sides of the feeders, spilling seed all over but rather just hang around on the ground under them waiting for the Blue Jays to attack the feeders and cause spills.

That is what they were doing yesterday. One of them was calmly feeding off the ground when WOOSH a hawk came down out of the sky and killed it in about five seconds! The hawk then proceeded to eat it's kill right there! I got the camera and took a few shots through the kitchen window and then tried to open the front door to get a clearer shot. The hawk heard me, grabbed the dead pigeon and took off, leaving no evidence of the carnage except a few feathers which soon blew away.

Life is fleeting but hawks have to survive as well I guess. Here is Mr (or Ms) Hawk's version of Pigeon Pie

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vents R Us

One of the problems that was revealed when we had the roof vents added was that the dormer over the porch had no way for outside air to get in and the soffits we had installed did not reach up there. It needed some gable end venting. I ordered these a week ago from Windsor plywood and they came in on Friday. Not cheap at $65 each but nothing is cheap anymore. One would have provided sufficient airflow but it needed two to look balanced.

I climbed up, cut a couple of one foot square holes in the aluminum siding and screwed them on. It was not as simple as it looked and ended up taking most of the afternoon but what the heck, I am retired and my time is worth nothing. 😀

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Well, my vow to stop spending on the house lasted until the under cabinet light bar over the stove fell and broke. It was held on with double face tape and failed after twenty some years. Who would have expected that? Canadian Tire had some nice LED units on sale, $40 marked down from $60 so I bought two, one for over the sink as well to replace the dim one that was there. They were not simple to install, being designed to replace wired in units and me not being as agile as I once was. I had to sacrifice two short extension cords and add a couple of small switches I bought on a whim from eBay a while ago. I drilled a few holes and hid the wires inside the cupboards. They work great and give out way more light than I expected (900 lumens - whatever they are). They say they will last 32 years. Not sure I will! :)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

An Expensive Summer!

Wow, that was an expensive summer! We had the porch put on, the roof re-done and a new front door! Even with the HUGE "Brooks Discount" it still came to over $16,000 total. We managed to do it without dipping into the "Rainy Day Fund" but it was tough and I got a few glares from Norma when I told her we could not afford a few unnecessary expenses right now. But everything is done now and the house will last a few more years. The only things still outstanding is a new back door which will cost about $300 and I will install myself with the confidence I gained by closely watching what the front door installer did. We also have to add two gable end vents to the dormer above the porch. another DIY project.

So the decision to stay home this winter has several parts. One is certainly financial but that is not the most important factor. We could easily afford it if we dipped into the "Fund" for a few thousand. And yes, I agree that we are not getting any younger and should travel while we can.

The second reason is that we have not really been home for a winter or perhaps even more important, for a Christmas since 2002 when Norma retired. It is time to get together with family for the holidays.

Number three is our pending trip to Dublin, Ireland in July for our great nieces wedding. This has two parts. One is obviously financial as it only makes sense to stay in Europe for a while before or after the wedding and that will add to the bill. Maybe we will fly to one of the Greek Islands or to Malta and relax in the Mediterranean sun for a few weeks. Norma's dad is from the Isle Of Man which is just a ferry trip from Dublin so we will visit there as well. The other reason is Canada's rules about only being allowed to be away for seven months out of any twelve month period. If we are away longer than seven months we would lose our government subsidized health insurance.

Reason number four is TRUMP. I simply do not want to spend any money in the USA right now. I so disagree with everything this asshole does that I will not encourage him by adding to the US economy. US citizens, come to your senses!

So, there you have it. We will shiver in the cold this winter while giving Trump "the finger" from afar!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Door Done!

Norma finally got her new front door! She ordered it about a month ago and after several delays at the Windsor Plywood shop and trouble coordinating an installer, everything came together yesterday.

The installer picked it up and was here by about ten, expressing surprise that I had not taken the old door out already. I could have done that but to be honest, I expected another delay and did not want a hole in the house while we waited. As it turned out, everything came together!

He did a good job dealing with the old house where a level surface or square corner are very hard to find. It took him about four hours and his cost, including taking the old door to the dump was $320.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

It's Happening!

Work got started at 9 AM and it is now 6 PM and they are still on the roof. They have about 2/3 of the roof done. Brooks says it is going faster than expected and will cost less than they estimated! That is great news.

I just got back from a dump run where I paid $180 to dump about one ton of old shingles. I will have another smaller load tomorrow. Juneau the Husky went with me and got a treat from the nice lady because he did not bark! She says most dogs go nuts from the bear smells up there but not Juneau so he got a treat! Good dog! Now if he could only stop shedding on Norma's floors!

Off With The Old
On With The New

Angie Taking A Well Deserved Break

Even Juneau Needed A Break

CJ The Roofer At Work

How Is The Footing There CJ?

Brooks Protecting His Inheritance

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's A Go!

The guys will be here sometime tonight and they are bringing the shingles with them. I rented an equipment lift to get the shingles up to the roof. It was delivered and set up a little while ago and I was given lessons in it's use. Much easier than carrying them up the ladder a bundle at a timed

The weather looks good with no rain scheduled until Sunday night but we will have a brand new roof by then!

The Gods are smiling on our little project!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


For the first time is several years, I am sick! Sore throat, headache, sore eyes and just feeling weak and "Blah".

I better smarten up quick or I will be of very limited help on the roofing job.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Roof On The Weekend!!??

Brooks and the roofer have scheduled the new roof for Saturday and Sunday. I checked four weather sites and three of them are calling for rain while one of them (and the local news) is calling for clear.

This just sucks! If they come up and can't work I still have to pay for gas and some compensation for all the travel time. If we cancel and it turns out nice then that will suck just as much! Maybe more!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


We spent a couple of days "Down Island". Norma's brother lives in Victoria and suffered a stroke a few months ago. He is now in a new nursing home and was having a small birthday party. Norma and I headed down, picking up our youngest granddaughter, Sierrah, along the way. We bought a couple of cakes, one regular and one ice cream, got to the residence and found Willea's room. It is a nice place if you have to be in such a place. His totally separate wing or "house" as they call it has twelve residents, each with their own room and a dining room. There are two male nurses dedicated to the wing and more support staff available when needed.

A bunch of Willea's friends as well as Norma's cousins, Al and Colleen from Nanaimo showed up for a piece of cake and some catching up. The leftover cake was taken by the nurses to the next wing to be shared. Happy 73rd, Willea!

We then went with Sierrah to the "Green Cuisine" vegan restaurant she works in on weekends for lunch. It was my first venture into a vegan sanctuary and was about as I expected. I had nut loaf, a couple of salads, kale, veggies and some other stuff I can't spell. It is "buffet style" where you take whatever you want, they weigh it and you pay by the weight. All three plates weighed $33, a good deal. Sierrah wanted to treat but Norma and I successfully wrestled the bill from the struggling part time working student!

We left Sierrah to meet up with her friends downtown and fled Victoria to face the "Calwood Crawl", the horrible, snail paced traffic mass leaving Victoria each day. An hour or two later we arrived at Brooks' home in Shawnigan Lake where we had a fun evening of pizza and couple of scotch.

We left early as they were getting ready for work and after I raided Brooks' burn pile, stopped at the Pioneer House for a delicious breakfast and got home before noon, exhausted!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Roof Scheduled

When Brooks and his roofer friend CJ were up to build the new porch CJ reported that we needed a new roof. This is not the first time we had been told this as Mike, Norma' s grass cutter is a former roofer and told us the same thing when he went up there to install the roof vents. It is not an emergency but both said we would be lucky to get another year out of it.

Deciding to replace it when we had some control rather than in an emergency, we let Brooks and CJ schedule the job. CJ is bringing his worker up with him and Brooks and I will be here to help out where required. CJ is sure he can do it in two days which is good because he has a regular job to get back to.

CJ is driving up from Shawnigan Lake on Saturday to measure everything. He will order the material at his reduced rate and will arrange for rooftop delivery. They will be up on the weekend of Sept 23 to do the job. We are anxiously watching weather reports as there is rain forecast off and on for the next couple of weeks. So far it looks "OK" with light showers showing for the Saturday morning. We will hope for the best and hopefully the guys will have a "Plan B"

Saturday, September 9, 2017

All's Well In Cuba!

Our son Brooks just got a phone call from our mutual friends Roly and Christy in Cuba! The Internet is not working but the phones are back up. They are fine. The eye passed close to them but offshore and the effects of the storm were much less than they had been told to expect. There was little damage in their area near Cardenas (near Veradero).

It was just a quick international call to report in, I am sure there will be more details from them in the next few days but it is a great relief to hear they are well!

On to Florida!

Gritting Our Teeth For Irma!

We have friends in Cuba, friends in Florida and friends in South Carolina. All are in the path of Irma and are keeping us on our toes watching the hurricane's progress.

Roly and Christy live near Varadero, Cuba in a single story house. We are concerned for them but Roly is a very resourceful guy and I am sure they will be OK. The hurricane is rght over them as we speak. We have not heard from them since the day before yesterday.

Cherie and Chris (Technomadia Blog) have left their live aboard boat to it's fate in Marathon, FL (on the Keys) and drove a borrowed truck up to north Florida where they picked up their bus and are safely heading west out of Irma's path.

Our deceased friends Paul and Dodi lived in Lakeland, FL where their family and grandchildren still live. We got to know them all during the couple of months we have spent parked at our friends full hookup in their yard. We hope everyone is OK! If any of you are reading this, let us know.

In South Carolina we have our friends Dee and Beach who live just outside Charleston and are planning on riding out whatever is left of the storm by the time it hits them. Their RV is standing by in case they have to find higher ground. Also in Charleston are Sean and Louise (Our Odyssey Blog) who are trapped in Charleston Harbour in their 60 foot trawler "Vector". They are carefully watching Irma's path and will either stay put or head up the Cooper River depending on forecasts.

So, we have a vested interest in this storm and are glued to the TV watching it's progress. It does not look good!

[Image of probabilities of 34-kt winds]

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Early Morning Solar Musings

So I was laying in bed yesterday morning watching the sun come up and thinking how nice it was to have solar panels charging the motorhome batteries. And then I thought, "Wait a minute, it is plugged into the 30 amp outlet on the workshop. Does that mean the solar charging is bypassed by the 110 volt converter? Am I getting any benefit at all from the solar while I am plugged into shore power?".

I didn't know. So I went onto the Facebook RV Solar page and asked the experts and as usual, the answer is "It depends". It depends on how good a solar controller I have - mine is a lower end Pulse Width Modulated model and if it is programmable - no it is not. The consensus from the experts was that I was getting very little (if any) charging from the panels while I was plugged in. Well, that's not why I invested several hundred dollars into the 325 watt system of three panels, four batteries and a controller.

I was advised to turn off the breaker powering the converter. This would turn the charging duties over to the solar converter while still leaving the rig plugged in and the wall outlets powered. The best of both worlds.

I opened up the breaker panel and there it was, breaker #2 clearly labeled, "Converter". I turned it off and watched my battery voltage drop from 13.7 volts to 13.6 as the solar accepted the load. A few minutes it was at 13.8! It was working even in the overcast condition we then had. Now I just have to monitor the voltage to make sure it keeps up.

Thursday morning EDIT: This morning under a bright sky it was equalizing at 14.8 volts! I am a happy camper!!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

45 Years Ago Today

It was 45 years ago today (in 1972) that the New Democratic Party, led by Dave Barrett, first swept into power in BC. "The Socialists Are At The Gates" was the cry from the right. Dave responded by cracking a joke and wearing a button saying, "I wear red shorts".

That was the day I decided I would never be left standing on the sidelines of BC politics again. We worked in some capacity on every election since then for the NDP, Federal and Provincial. My favorite gig was Official Agent, handling the campaign finances, Norma's thing was Campaign Manager. We have only gotten out of it since we retired because we are out of the country so much. It was quite a ride and I do miss it. We have many friends from those days, Dave and Shirley Barrett among them.

Definition Of An "Asshat"

Trump appears in Houston to supposedly reassure hurricane victims but really is using the occasion to sell his stupid $40 hats that are conveniently available from the Trump/Pence website. He had many other choices, like maybe a Red Cross hat? Like my Blogging friend Margaret of Margaret and Helen's Blog says, "I would pay $45 just to shove it up his ass". And don't get me started on Melania's FM pumps she wore in the storm! You wanted a businessman for President? Well, suck it up. That's exactly what you got. These people are completely out of touch.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fridge Fan

A couple of weeks ago I checked the condition of the RV fridge vent fan that helps keep the fridge cooler by moving hot air from the rear of the fridge up the vent. I discovered that it was not working. I ordered a new one from Ebay for a whole $2 shipping included and installed it today.

It has some cool blue LED lights that will show through the outside door. I will take photos after dark.

This is looking up the vent at the fan with it's blue LEDs

I found a convenient place on the back of the fridge to pick up battery and ground

Then I mounted this tiny switch so I can turn it on and off

Two or three dollars worth of parts and an hour or so and it is done.

These are cheap fans, intended for use in desktop computer cases, and wear out quickly in outside weather. I get between one and three years out of them but they are easy to replace. I also use one to replace the very noisy bathroom vent fan where the blue LEDs provide a nice night light.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Why I Am Supporting Charlie Angus For NDP Leadership

I'm with Charlie because he is a gutsy fighter for NDP values and the needs of the millions of Canadian women and men who are not, and will never be, in "the 1%" or even "the 10%".
He has a track record of "doing" not just talking - that's meant effective action for First Nations, for working class needs, for the environment, and for social justice.
Leadership is more than just planning tactics and organizing. Now, more than ever, our party and our country need a leader who is tough, principled and lives our values. That's Charlie Angus and I know that with Charlie as leader we will be back in the thick of it.
Charlie has the vision and the plan to grow our party and to bring us success. And he has the experience to turn NDP values into government policy. He's our best hope to become the next Prime Minister. 

Charlie and I share a concern for Canada's treatment of it's indigenous people, especially children and I know he will be a strong advocate for these marginalized people.

Friday, August 25, 2017


Norma's roses just love the sprinkle of rain we got yesterday!

And going back a couple of days, here is the Camera Obscura (pinhole camera) I made out of a cereal box to view the eclipse. It worked great, we would have seen nothing without it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Where I Worked Map

I had a lot of fun working (35 years total) for Canadian Telephones and Supplies (a BC Tel subsidiary) and later for BC Tel. As you can see on the map, I got around, even to Alberta where I was on loan to Alberta Government Telephones for a few months. I had some great jobs and never really had a boss as I never worked in one spot for long. My periodic evaluations called me a "Self Starter" and they just sort of let me figure out what needed to be done and let me do it. I had it made. They paid me to have fun and to work with some really great people.

I did everything from the boring (installing an Ericsson Crossbar switch in Edmonton) to hanging off the side of a helicopter refueling a VHF radio site on the BC coast to digging a SnoCat out of the side of a mountain in the middle of the night (more than once). Probably the most interesting was watching the first data (ones and zeros) being received after working to install the first Earth Station on Vancouver Island for Telsat Canada back in the early 70's. The most satisfying was the work I did as a representative for the Telecommunications Workers Union and as an instructor for the Canadian Labour Congress giving workers the tools to make things better for their members. Oh yes, and working full time on many elections for the New Democratic Party.

Here is the map. Some places were too small to find on the map but this gives you an idea.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cooling Down

It is cooling down in BC! I hope it is just temporary but I just barely managed to stay on the porch late enough to watch the end of the Blue Jars game this afternoon (they won!), I also see there was snow on the highway near 100 Mile House in central BC. Come on, give us a break! Snow? It's August!

I also saw a poll showing Trump still enjoys the support of 76% of Republican Voters. Tell me again that Republicans are not racists (at least the vast majority of them). His approval rating among all voters is at 45%. A Facebook reader sent me another poll that confirmed the 76% figure but gave him only 35% among all voters.

We have to remember that Trump was elected with the votes of only 31% of eligible voters  (62 million out of 200 million). By pretty well all polls, he is holding at least that number (35% by my reader's poll, 45% by mine). He just has to get them to the polls and apathetic voters will put him in again. Lets hope he gets impeached or resigns before my theory is put to the test.

Winter Expenses 2016 - 2017

I just noticed I never posted our expenses for the winter of 2016-17. I know many people are interested in this so here it is.

It cost us about $1000 more this year due to increased costs everywhere and a higher rate for our Travel Medical Insurance. "Entertainment" includes gambling and I am happy to report Norma actually made a profit of $20 even after paying for my failed slot machine efforts.

These figures are for just under six months. They do not include RV and car repairs or personal shopping. Also please remember some of these expenses (Fuel Honda, Groceries, Dining out) would have occurred even if we stayed at  home. Our groceries tend to be a lot higher when we travel because of the type of eating we do and the fact that we entertain a lot more often. Bottom line was just under $100 Canadian per day. Speaking of which, the exchange rate was not kind to us.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thinking, Maybe Too Much

I was talking to Norma over coffee this morning and told her I was having trouble getting into the travelling mood this year. She asked If I was having second thoughts and I said yes, I was.

We spent a few thousand on the porch, we are in need of a new roof on the rest of the house which is "sort of" scheduled for September and we are going on a trip to Ireland next July. Adding around $4000 for medical insurance for the winter plus all the gas and RV parks added to the equation is taking me a bit out of my financial comfort zone.

We could do it. We could take the money out of our savings but I don't really want to do that. It is a "Rainy Day" fund and it is not raining.

Norma says if I want to take a year off our winter travels this year it would be fine with her. I think Brooks and LindaLee want to fly back to Cabo San Lucas this winter for a couple of weeks and we could tag along with them to get some sunshine. Norma also says she would like to take a trip in BC before Fall.

Nothing is cast in stone, we are just thinking.

Plus there is this "Trump" thing going on and I hate supporting him in any way and keeping some of my money in my pocket would be one way to express my disgust with him and those who support him.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Yet Another New Router

Telus is coming out this morning to replace the router they just replaced with a "Fibre Ready" model. I don't know how close we are to getting fibre but this is a promising step.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Porch Improvements

I added a 750/1500 watt Infra Red heater. It will be on a thirty minute spring loaded countdown timer to keep power costs under control. 1.5 KWh @ $0.12 / KWh X 1/2 hour = nine cents per half hour. Manageable.

The other thing I added is simply self-indulgent! Morning news and afternoon Blue Jays games! This is the old TV from the bedroom of our first motorhome and has not been used in a decade. If it works out I may change it out for a larger flat screen and mount it up higher in the roof area. It is a work in progress.

Monday, August 7, 2017


Campbell River is under severe watering restrictions but Norma is still allowed to hand water her flowers. They are not doing as well as in previous years but not bad under the circumstances. Here is a lily bush (tree?) that she was particularly proud of this morning.

She has an alternate source of water. We have a 365 day a year stream on the back slope that we could easily use to fill buckets. It would be a little more work but her flowers will survive any drought. :)

Current restrictions:
Days permitted:
  • Even numbered address: Monday only
  • Odd numbered address: Thursday only
Times permitted:  5:00 a.m – 9:00 a.m and 7:00 p.m – 10:00 p.m
Watering gardens, trees, shrubs and community gardens by hand or spring-loaded type nozzles with automatic shut-off connected to hose is allowed at any time during the day in all stages of watering restrictions.

Friday, August 4, 2017

My Extension Ladder

I have very little use for an extension ladder. Maybe two or three times a year when I change the flag for a new one or have to adjust the satellite dish after a storm. Not often. I inherited Norma's dad's ladder several years ago and have been happy with it. It's not perfect. It won't extend because it is bent or something but I never have to extend it, nothing around here is that high. It has one bent step and one step missing. Well, not really "missing", it was just designed that way. There is a gap where the step should be. But I know it is missing and just remember, "the second step from the ground in missing". No problem.

Well, last year I had the lawn mowing guy, a former roofer, go up on the roof and install three vents. He did not like my ladder and it's missing and bent step (one of each) and made a fuss of it. "I won't climb that ladder again", he said. Fair enough.

Then Brooks and CJ came up to build the porch and CJ had to use the ladder to build the roof and he didn't like the ladder either. Same reason(s). One bent step and one missing step. But he used it anyway.

The lawn guys came by while the ladder was leaning against the house. "You still using that killer ladder?", he asked. As a matter of fact, yes I am.

He told me one of his customers had given him a new extension ladder and that he would bring it over for me. He would rather give it to me than see someone break something on the "Killer Ladder". Today he fulfilled his promise and brought the ladder over. Now I had two.

So I wrote a cardboard sign saying, "FREE LADDER" and put the ladder and the sign down at the end of the driveway on the highway. I knew it wouldn't last long and it didn't. Twenty minutes later a pickup stopped and made off with my ladder. I left no fine print about the minor defects.

Image result for dangerous ladder cartoon

Through The Smoke!

This was the sun at about 6:30 this morning bravely trying to burn through the smoke from the forest fires!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Happy Birthday Norma!

Norma's Birthday Today!
75 today she swims and works in the garden. Goodness knows how good a shape she would be in if she had have actually taken care of herself! :Happy Birthday Norma! Photo later. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Skirting The Porch

I raided Brooks' burn pile when we were down there and scored about a hundred short (2 - 3 foot) ends of nice 1X4 fir. They weighted down the trunk a bit but I got them home and today I skirted the new porch with them. Hmm.. 20 feet times three per foot = 60 two foot pieces or 120 feet = 12 ten foot boards. Wow! Saved me a few dollars! Thanks Brooks, you are still my favorite son! Love that burn pile!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Not So Friendly Skies

When our friends Roly and Cristy flew from their home in Cuba to Victoria, BC they were anxious to try "First World" cuisine as soon as possible. To this end, they boarded their Air Canada flight on empty stomachs, knowing they could buy food on board. Well, they perused the menu, made their selections and ordered only to discover they could not be served!

Why? Because Air Canada accepts only credit cards for payment of food and drink, not lowly cash! And like most or all good Cubans, our friends do not have a credit card. Cuba being a "cash society" and all.

So here they were starving on a plane not scheduled to land for another nine hours! What to do? Well, they found a seatmate willing to pay for their food with his capitalist inspired credit card and they would reimburse him with their nice fresh Canadian cash! Problem solved and they had met the first helpful Canadian of their trip!

Roly and Cristy!

It was a short but quality visit but we did get to see our Cuban friends for a few hours! They have been on the Island for three weeks and have a couple more days in Victoria before catching the plane from Victoria to Calgary, to Toronto and then finally, Havana.

They are shell shocked by their first visit to a decadent first world country. Roly has been to Equator and Cristy, when she worked in the Cuban government went on a diplomatic visit to several Socialist / Communist European countries but this was their first time in the "West".

They had just spent a few days in Port Alberni and those people dropped them off here at about noon. Norma and Brooks prepared a series of snacks featuring our local shrimp and smoked Sockeye salmon which was well received!

We had to get them to the Brentwood Bay Ferry by 5:30 and LindaLee was working in the local pub so Brooks and I took them there to say goodbye. Roly and Cristy loved the friendly atmosphere and confessed it was their first visit to a Canadian pub! Their other friends did not take them to one.

Cristy was sporting a broken arm, the result of a fall at the beginning of their visit! A souvenir from Canada!

We dropped them off at the ferry, said our goodbye's and promised to see each other again. Here are some photos.

Important Discussions:

Cristy and Norma:

Cristy and Croft:

"We love this bar!"

Two Amigos:

Two Amigas: