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Kickass Canada Girl

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birthday-clip-art“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.”

Plautus

The start of October is for us always a period for celebration, for it encompasses the joyous revels that mark the Kickass Canada Girl’s birthday. This year it has also seen the first anniversary of the purchase of our North Saanich abode, so the occasion has been especially elevated.

Some years a great deal of work can go into trying to organise a suitable programme of merrymaking; in others things just fall into place with the least possible effort. This year was one of the latter.

On Friday last one of the Girl’s favourite Canadian miserabilist bands – the Cowboy Junkies – played at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. The Girl was so delighted at the prospect (even more so when I purchased her a ticket!) that she generously decreed that I need not join her for the event. (She once took me to see the Be Good Tanyas at the Albert Hall in London – the which experience equipped me with enough melancholic ennui to last a lifetime!).

Needless to say, the Girl enjoyed the concert greatly – even though the band omitted to play her very favourite number (in spite of announcing that they would do so! I think this was just done to make everyone even more miserable!).

Scarce had twenty four hours passed than we were back at the Mary Winspear with our dear friends from Saanichton to attend yet another musical soiree – this time featuring Séan McCann – erstwhile singer and guitarist with Newfie folk/rock band – Great Big Sea. Now, Séan isn’t miserable at all. In fact he is really quite chipper, particularly since abandoning the bottle (and, indeed, Great Big Sea!) a few years back. He was in fine voice and made sure that all present had a really good time.

Sunday afternoon found us – yet again in the company of our lovely friends – back at the Belfry Theatre for the first of this year’s season ticket productions. The play – a slightly puzzling ‘contemporary’ take on Henry VIII’s last wife, Catherine Parr* – might not have been the best thing that we have seen at the Belfry (in fact it was quite some distance therefrom…) but it was none the less a nice way to round out the weekend.

All that remained was for me to whistle up on the barbecue (for the operation of which I still bear my ‘L’ plates!) a hefty but most succulent piece of rib-eye and to uncork a rather spiffing southern French red. Cheers!

A very happy birthday to the Kickass Canada Girl!

 

*Drat! I realise that in the first published version of this post I missed the opportunity to describe the production as ‘below par’! Oh well!

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Images by Rob Masefield on Flickr

To the Stoop tonight for some more rugby – in this instance the international between England and Canada’s respective representative womens’ XVs!

See what I mean about trouble?!

The Stoop for those that don’t know – is the Harlequins ground – and is in Twickenham, just across the road from the ‘cabbage patch’ itself.

This promises to be a tough, physical encounter on both sides. The English women beat close rivals – France – at the weekend by a convincing 40 points to 20. They lost – however – the last two engagements against Canada over the summer and will definitely be seeking revenge on home turf, particularly since the two sides are drawn in the same pool for the Womens’ Rugby World Cup next year in France.

The Kickass Canada Girl has dug out her maple-leaf mitts and has lent me her England scarf (dual-nationality doubtless causing some internal conflict here) – but in reality we are probably both supporting both sides.

Well – I am, anyway!

 

Addendum: On this occasion the English girls were rather too strong for their Canadian cousins – beating them 32 points to 3! They had home advantage and a partisan crowd of course.

The Girl was a bit glum afterwards, but had no complaints.

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Photo by Joey Gannon from Pittsburgh, PA…a year makes!

(With apologies for Stanley Adams for taking a liberty with his English lyrics to María Grever‘s Spanish original).

On this very day a year ago I was doing my best – by means remote – to help celebrate the Kickass Canada Girl’s birthday. She was – the gentle reader may recall – still living and working in Victoria at the time and our celebrations were thus limited to those which might be effected by the good offices of the InterWebNet – and in particular those services rendered by Skype, eCards, Amazon (CA) and the most helpful website of my favourite haven of relaxation – the Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa.

Matters have been greatly facilitated this time round by us both actually living on the same continent! Our merrymaking will – as a consequence – be unrestrained.

I do send commiserations to our dear friends in BC who sadly don’t get to share the Girl’s birthday this year. I trust that our presence at the celebrations in Canada for Christmas and the New Year will go some way to make up for that loss.

I feel sure that all those who are regular readers – as well as those who are only occasionally so – would want to join me in in wishing the Girl a very happy birthday!

Hip, hip hurrah!!

 

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Photo by KTSquareFor a blog that carries – as the tagline on its masthead – the apothegm “Coming to Canada” – this site has been of late remarkably free of any content actually relating to that fair country. Well – that’s about to change!

The Imperceptible Immigrant and the Kickass Canada Girl are proud to announce the details of their Winter 2013/14 Canadian Tour – featuring appearances in Vancouver (briefly!), Kamloops, Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan (to be confirmed!) and Tofino (for the Big Birthday Bash!).

The intrepid duo will be bringing their particular brand of charm to the beautiful province of British Columbia from December 18th this year – determined not to leave until Christmas, the New Year and the Big Birthday itself have been well and truly celebrated. And if that means staying until the 6th January 2014 – then so be it!

The flights have been booked – the fan club alerted – the Girl has started planning her packing and the days, hours and minutes are being counted.

We can’t wait!

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Image by Rama on WikimediaIt is half a year now since the Kickass Canada Girl’s (purportedly) splendid job in Victoria went – to appropriate the vernacular – ‘tits-up’. She was – as a result – obliged to leave our dear friends in Saanichton and to return – jobless – to the UK, just in time for Christmas and for us to wave an un-fond farewell to the tenant in our Buckinghamshire apartment (and, of course, to his rent cheque!).

All in all, not the best of times!

In line with the seasons, however, that winter has finally turned to spring and all indicators are that summer will – as it ever does – eventually arrive.

The Girl’s new job in London was always really considered a positioning exercise with a view to a more appropriate opening rapidly becoming available in the organisation’s head office in Reading – a stone’s throw from our Berkshire home. Sure enough, she has duly been awarded a suitably interesting management post which she takes up today. Congratulations KACG! We celebrated appropriately last Sunday with a really rather splendid lunch at a beautiful hostelry in Oxfordshire.

I made reference at the top of the year to the Girl’s quest to source a ‘new’ car, to replace the sexy Civic that she so generously sold to my nephew before leaving for BC last year. This search has taken longer than anticipated for a number of reasons – not least of which are those related to the difficulty that we encountered (and which I will document in a future post) transferring monies back to the UK from Canada. No matter! She finally found what she wanted and parted with her principal.

The Girl’s choice of motor fully meets my approval. She has – on past occasions when in the market for ‘wheels’ – flirted with the idea of acquiring something ‘interesting’ – but has ultimately ignored my blandishments and settled for the ‘sensible’ option instead. This has always struck me as being slightly surprising since – in many ways – she’s not that kind of girl! Not so this time, anyway. She has finally bitten the bullet and invested her hard-earned moolah in… (drum roll!)… a convertible!!! Not – in her case – a Merc (we can barely afford to run one of those!) but instead the best ‘British’ sports car never made – the Mazda MX-5 Roadster.

Hoorah!

What with new tenants in our Bucks apartment and spring finally bursting out all over we are both feeling positively perky…

…and who knows where that might lead!

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theI was perusing some old posts on this blog… Yes – I know! – I know! – but I wanted to revisit some of the thoughts I had this time last year – at the point at which the Kickass Canada Girl departed for Victoria. One of the many benefits of maintaining a blog – of course – is that I can do so.

An idle comparison of my posts at that time with those more recent revealed something that I hadn’t anticipated – something regarding the way that I address my (considerably) better half. In early posts she is addressed directly as ‘Kickass Canada Girl’. In more recent posts she has become ‘The Kickass Canada Girl’.

Intrigued, I was moved to wonder at what point – and indeed as to why – this change had come about. Closer examination of archived posts revealed that it had happened over a fairly short period at the end of last year – in late November and December. This was – of course – around the time that the Girl returned to the UK.

The pursuit of the ‘why’ led me to consider more closely the ‘article’ itself. The British Council website includes the following in its helpful definition:

definite article: the

The definite article ‘the’ is the most frequent word in English.

We use the definite article in front of a noun when we believe the hearer/reader knows exactly what we are referring to:

  • because there is only one – as in “The moon is very bright tonight”

…or…

  • because we have already mentioned it – as in “A woman who fell 10 metres from High Peak was lifted to safety by a helicopter. The woman fell while climbing.”

I hardly need say more. Kickass Canada Girl has become The Kickass Canada Girl because she is definitely the only one – and because I believe that I have mentioned her previously… at least once or twice!

I like it – and thus so it shall remain. The Girl is the definite – and definitive- article!

 

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luckenbooth‘Tis the feast of St. Valentine – a day that can apparently trigger a wide range of responses. I am – as you have probably gathered by now – a romantic, but on this occasion I will do my very best to avoid inducing a surfeit of nausea.

In historical terms the ever resourceful Wikipedia reveals the following:

“The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

(For this was Saint Valentine’s day, when every bird of every kind comes to this place to choose his mate.)”

Whilst on the InterWebNet I couldn’t resist getting just a tiny bit self-referential. I was deeply gratified – and not a little humbled – to discover that a Google search for “Kickass Canada Girl – Valentine” returns links to this unassuming blog as the top three items. The second such is for a post that I added at this time last year entitled – ‘My Canadian Valentine’. The subject of this particular missive will come as no surprise to anyone, and those who just have to (re-)read it will find it here.

Those who attended our wedding or blessing ceremonies back in the summer of 2010 will doubtless recognise the image that accompanies this post as being that of the Luckenbooth, which featured extensively on both of those occasions. The Luckenbooth – in the form of a brooch – originated in 16th Century Edinburgh. They were given as love tokens or as lucky charms to ward off witches and were purchased from the locked – or ‘lucken’ – booths near St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile. These booths housed mainly silversmiths and goldsmiths and were amongst the city’s first permanent shops. The Luckenbooth has since gained a reputation as the traditional Scottish love token and is often given as a betrothal or wedding brooch.

Last year’s Valentine’s day was tinged with a touch of sadness at the impending departure of the Girl for Canadian shores. This year’s is a celebration (if for economic reasons a slightly low-key one) of her restoration to my side. For this – and for so much else – I am most eternally grateful.

I will – naturally – keep private the true expression of my feelings for the Girl – but would like to take this opportunity to wish lovers everywhere:

…Happy Seynt Volantynys Day!

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There are signs – here at the top of the year – that the tough times of the concluding quantum of 2012 are perhaps now behind us and that things are starting to move forward again. Thank goodness for that, we say!

Though forced to kick her heels at home for the best part of a month waiting for the normally reasonably alacritous Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to produce the required ‘all-clear’ documentation, the Kickass Canada Girl should now be starting her new job in about a week’s time. She experienced a brief moment of apoplexy when she was informed – on the day that the CRB paperwork arrived – that she would also need to obtain the Canadian equivalent – a process considerably more complex than that operated in the UK, requiring one’s fingerprints to be taken and sent to Canada for processing! Fortunately the Girl’s enquiry as to whether she could start work contemporaneously with the check being carried out (subtext – “could you not have asked me for this a month ago?!”) was answered in the affirmative.

There are also indications that we might have located someone with an interest in letting our apartment in Buckinghamshire, which is clearly also good news. We must keep our fingers firmly crossed on this one for the moment, but the omens seem propitious.

The Girl thinks that she may have a purchaser for her Canadian car – the bargain of the century – and is now looking for a replacement in the UK. Having seen her in action purchasing a vehicle in the past I feel slightly sorry for the fervid factotums (sadly not ‘factota’!) of the motor trade. The Girl spent a period in sales herself – and she knows how it is done!

At the School our new science building has finally been handed over. Though the building work has taken a mere 18 months the project as a whole has been in the planning for more than a decade.That this phase is now at last complete feels a little – strange.

Finally – and a cause in my mind for a mild celebration (above and beyond the fact that it is Burn’s Night!) – this blog is now a year old. Unbelievable! In that year I have published 130 posts and around 400 images. I am strangely proud of the fact that I have maintained a reasonably consistent rate of posting, and I just hope that I have on occasion been able to contribute odd item of interest.

I raise a glass, therefore, to all good and gentle readers – and sign off with this apposite toast:

May the best you’ve ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever see;
May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal
Wi’ a teardrop in his e’e.
May ye aye keep hale and hearty
Till ye’re auld enough tae dee,
May ye aye be just as happy
As I wish ye aye tae be.

 

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“A criminal is a person with predatory instincts without sufficient capital to form a corporation.”

Howard Scott

In a new departure for ‘The Imperceptible Immigrant’, today sees the first post by a guest writer – in this case none other than the Kickass Canada Girl herself! Her recent passage back to Canada did not go as smoothly as she might have hoped. Read on…

 

“Arrested for a roast beef sandwich…!”

Well – okay, not quite, but I did have to account to Canada Customs in Calgary – and they take their ‘beef’ seriously in Cowtown.

I had the misfortune of having the very LAST bag to come off the plane from London, and had as a result already missed my connecting flight to Victoria. Whilst waiting for the offending item to appear the Canada Customs food sniffer dog (yes – really!) – which was operating in the baggage hall – sniffed out, in my hand luggage, the one lone leftover sandwich that I had, in all honesty, forgotten about. My boarding pass and passport were confiscated and – once Customs had located my missing case – I joined a few ‘serious’ criminals and foreigners flaunting lots of loot from abroad in the ‘special area’. Unlike the guy from Africa I wasn’t put up against the wall and bodily searched, though my bags were (well – not put up against the wall, of course…). They were presumably looking for further contraband food and other items… because once you have f***ed with Canada Customs they take their job seriously!

I was asked for receipts for various items that I had purchased in the UK. Fortunately I had pocketed the one for the necklace that I had bought for my niece. The Customs dude was well impressed that I had accumulated the £120 worth of Tesco vouchers that I had used for this purchase – or maybe he was just incredulous at my 3 for 1 offer explanation.

He then went away for several minutes with my passport and when he returned commented suspiciously that I ‘travel quite a lot’.  Believing that too much explaining usually indicates lying, I kept my justification short. I wanted to leave the ‘special area’ as soon as possible – and not in the direction of Guantanamo!

Customs man then commented that I had a lot of paper and stuff.  My explanation that I always pack this way clearly impressed him further – or perhaps just left him incredulous again. Something in the tone of his voice…

He filled out an extensive document called an ‘abandonment’ form (basically a receipt for my beef sandwich – that’s what the form says – ‘beef sandwich’ – really!). I was bricking it as there is a $800 fine for not declaring MEAT on your customs form, and trying to sneak through a roast beef sandwich can, apparently, single-handedly cause a nationwide outbreak of mad cow disease…  or so I was told – with a very serious face and tone.  I was informed that I am now in their system in case they have any further trouble with me. I asked if this would ‘flag’ me for all time and was told ‘no’ – but if I do it again then they would have a real ‘beef’ with me! (Okay – sadly, I made that last bit up – Canada Customs have absolutely NO SENSE OF HUMOUR!).

When I was finally released I had to rebook with Air Canada and then sat alone in Departures eating a crap chicken burger (without the bun) waiting for my 19:40 flight and hoping to be home in Saanich by 21:00 BC time.  It had been a long day… Sigh!

 

Oh – and they kept the tupperware container… Apparently it had been ‘infected’ with the foreign beef! This makes me wonder about all those other ‘law breakers’ out there who get away with it – because they didn’t forget to eat their food.

I didn’t get a receipt for the container either…

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  • Goat butter
  • Apple rice cakes
  • ‘Free From’ mayonnaise
  • Gluten-free ciabatta buns
  • Gluten-free lemon biscuits
  • Sesame seed rice cakes
  • 2 x Little Gem lettuce
  • Makeup remover pads
  • 2 x bags crisps

 

 

Just some of the items that I no longer need to purchase at the store…

 

Sometimes it is the little things that are missed (almost) the most!

 

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