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July 2014

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The Fuji x10 understandably gets more use in the summer months than at other times of the year and I try to ensure that it is always to hand whenever I am out and about.

I find myself looking out for interesting shapes and textures, or for the interplay of light and shade on different surfaces. Here are some snaps taken both in and out of town.

Hammersmith Bridge makes a constantly fascinating subject, even on an overcast day:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid…as do the ‘Canadians’ that live nearby:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidWhilst at the opposite end of the spectrum lies this rural idyll – observed on the occasion of a most pleasant Sunday lunch with good friends whom we have not seen for a while:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid


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Photo by Andy Dawson ReidThis tickled my fancy!

Discovered on the wall of a building in Hammersmith – West London.


I hope there is no ‘barrier’ to my entry into Canada!

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Image by chrishoefliger on PixabayMy previous post turned out to be a somewhat generic disquisition on the nature and uses of the ubiquitous shipping container. This one really should contain (see what I did there?) rather more in the way of specifics.

If moving one’s existence to another continent can ever be considered straightforward, then the engagement of an international removals company to bring a container to the door (along with a team of experts to pack it) prior to waving goodbye to it for however many weeks it takes to circumnavigate the globe for delivery to the new door – is probably about as simple as it gets.

For the Kickass Canada Girl and I – you will be unsurprised to hear – things are likely to be rather more complex.

Whilst waiting for the new owner of our splendid Buckinghamshire apartment to put in an appearance (to be followed shortly by a mutually agreeable offer and a grateful exchange of contracts) we have been occupying our energies with the consideration of a variety of alternate scenarios by which means our migration might yet be effected.

The simplest of these entails attracting a purchaser in short order and selling the apartment before the end of the year. We would then look to acquire a property in Saanich as quickly as possible before retiring and emigrating at a point of our choosing between January next and the summer of 2015.

Should Plan A not work out as intended we now have a full set of plans bearing alternate majuscules. These variously involve one or both of us retiring in advance of our being able to move to Canada – either staying where we are in Berkshire or moving back to our erstwhile apartment in Buckinghamshire. Some of these options are affordable; some – frankly – are not.

Were we to pursue any of the options that involved moving back to Buckinghamshire the business of shipping would inevitably become considerably more complex. To be able to present the apartment in its best possible light – ‘staging’ as I believe it is known – we would needs place some of our possessions in storage until we were ready to move to BC. The optimal way so to do would probably involve the acquisition of a container – the which would be part-filled and stored it until the time came to emigrate. This option would have the additional benefit of providing some flexibility at the Canadian end should we not have a house lined up ready for us when we got there.

This course of action would require either the purchase a container or the location of one that could be hired for an extended period at a reasonable cost. We would further need to find somewhere to store said container and contents securely once acquired. Again – the best solution would probably be to find a company that could deal with all aspects of the operation.

There is an abundance of information on the InterWebNet regarding such matters. I have found the MoveHub website to be particularly helpful – their site containing a useful shipping guide. Matters are not helped at this stage – however – by the uncertainly as to which course of action we may eventually follow. To gain a reasonably accurate quote for shipping it seems that we would need to get a company involved to a level that we would prefer to avoid at this stage – not least because we cannot at the moment give chapter and verse as to our requirements.

As with so much of this project just now it seems we must wait and see…

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Image from de.wikipedia.orgDeciding that I should direct my thoughts to more positive substance than has perhaps been the case over the past few weeks I have begun again to contemplate the complexities of moving our existence to a different continent.

When the Kickass Canada Girl arrived on these shores a little more than a decade ago she did so accompanied by nothing more than a couple of suitcases and thirteen cardboard boxes containing her personal effects. When she returns to BC, with the Immigrant in tow, at some point in the next year she will undoubtedly be closely (hopefully!) followed by a shipping container of some as yet indeterminate size. I rather hope that she will consider this to be a good result for all her endeavours here!

The shipping container – or Intermodal Freight Container as it is perhaps more properly known – is a wonderful thing. Based on designs that evolved during the 1960s and were codified in ISO standards at the turn of that decade, the intention was – of course – to provide a consistent and reliable means of transporting goods throughout the world without the need to unload and reload cargoes.

Constructed from corrugated weathering steel (developed to eliminate the need for painting and forming a stable rust-like patina after extended exposure to weather) the standard container is 8ft high by 8ft wide and comes in nominal 20ft or 40 ft lengths. They are designed to be stacked up to 7 containers high and the corners consist of castings with openings for twistlock fasteners by which means they can be fixed together. The containers are – when new and appropriately certified – both wind and water-tight.

There are – it is thought – now something in excess of 17 million shipping containers in the world!

It is a testament both to the enduring efficacy of a classic design and to human inventiveness that the humble shipping container – designed but with a single purpose in mind – has proved to be a fantastically flexible and useful resource. Aside from the obvious uses – for the actual shipment or storage of goods – I have personally seen containers used for the following:

  • as a cricket club sitesafe – for the storage of mowers, rollers and other groundwork equipment.
  • as an office. Our dear friends in Saanichton have converted a 40ft container into the site office at their smallholding.
  • as a ‘green screen’. Pinewood Studios constructs enormous exterior ‘green screens’ using walls of shipping containers.

Indeed – shipping container architecture has evolved into quite a field in its own right – as can be seen from this Wikipedia article.

I had not – needless to say – actually intended to post here a general piece on the admirable container, thinking rather that I would go into some detail regarding the complexities of using such to facilitate our emigration.

A second post is clearly called for…

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Some studies of the north bank of the Thames in West London – basking in the July sun. I thought these were quite… funky!

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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Photo by Andy Dawson ReidI have – as I did at this time last year – taken a week off work to recuperate from the rigours of the academic year which has just recently run its course.

Thus far – apart from running a few errands – I have done little of note… some barely consequential musical doodling and a pleasant walk when the gaps in the showery weather permitted. This is not a problem – however – the aim not being to achieve much beyond catching up on some sleep and getting myself back into my normal positive frame of mind.

I’m still working on that!

On one of my walks I took some snaps, none of which I particularly cared for with the exception of that appended here – an old tractor put out to pasture in the corner of a bosky meadow.

No need – I think – to dwell too heavily on the symbolism therein.

Work has – of late – been particularly bloody for us both. In my case there are things going on at the School that I do not much care for. I am all too aware that my disgruntlement is in no small part because I now long to be gone over the hills and far away – and that were it not so I would probably embrace the changes in a considerably more positive manner. It is nearly two years now since I first wrote on this blog – “I’m done“… Well – I am even more done now!

This is the waiting game – the hiatus in our onward march of progress – the lacuna in our strategic thinking.

My request for Canadian PR has been submitted – now we wait…

Our Buckinghamshire apartment hangs on the property market like a ripe fruit, waiting to be plucked – and now we wait…

Our pension projections – courtesy of the Kickass Canada Girl’s financial advisor cousin – glitter temptingly just out of reach – and we wait…

The girl and I both feel that we have achieved in our careers all that we wish or need to do. Nothing left to prove.

And now we await…

…the starting gun…

…the breaking of the storm…

…the moon on a stick!

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admittance-98620_640I have been fortunate enough – for the past several years now – to have been the recipient of a kind invitation to spend a day as a guest at the Henley Royal Regatta.

The Stewards Enclosure at Henley is the most extensive of the spectator areas along the course and also encompasses the finishing line – which naturally makes it the most desirable spot on the river bank. The enclosure is – unsurprisingly – open only to members and to their guests. Such membership is primarily available to those who have at some point in their lives actually competed at the regatta – which encompasses a surprisingly large number of former boatmen (and occasional women). Fortunately my host – an old boy of the School – is one such.

The Stewards Enclosure enforces a strict dress code which – you may be surprised to learn – troubles me not at all. It also – however – apparently adheres to other codes concerning which I am less acquiescent.

My progress was arrested at the entrance to the enclosure by the now ubiquitous security operative. He invitedĀ  me to don my blazer, which garment – since the day was already agreeably temperate – I was carrying over my arm. I agreed so to do as I moved to enter – reluctant to hold up the queue. He stopped me…

Before you go in…” – he instructed.

I raised an eyebrow but – being English – acceded politely. I had – however – by this point clearly irritated the man. I was carrying – amongst other items – the reporter bag concerning which I have posted previously. He scented an opportunity.

“What’s in the bag?”

I offered him a guided tour. He took a cursory look.

“Sorry” (he obviously wasn’t!) – “You can’t bring that in”.

I enquired as to why not. His eyes lit triumphantly.

“It’s the policy!”

To this there was no profitable answer. He pointing out the Left Luggage tent adjacent to the entrance. I sighed. Smirking a not inconsiderably unpleasantly smirk he applied the coup de grace…

“Of course – if you were a woman – I would have let you take it in”.

Now – I sense it likely that some readers of the gentler sex – and I include Canadian girls amongst this number – might consider this rank discrimination to be merely a much overdue rebalancing of the books when it comes to the treatment of the sexes.

Fair point!

Needless to say – I was far from amused!




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For me nature is not landscape, but the dynamism of visual forces.

Bridget Riley

High time for some piccies…

Here are some random summer shots from the garden:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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