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Getting started

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Image by David Bellot - Berkeley, CA, USAWell – who would have thought it?

It is to be hoped that the gentle reader might indulge me just a little if – with not the slightest intention of sounding my own shophar –  I express my astonishment at the relative longevity of this enterprise…

…by which I refer, of course, to this attractively eccentric almanac!

Yes – since I took my first faltering footsteps into the anarchic world of blogging on January 26th 2012 I have contrived to make additions to this agglomeration of arbitrary articles at roughly bi-weekly intervals. The end result of all of that tapping and scratching is (and I know that you have been keeping score!) that this is the five hundredth post since the imperceptibility of the immigrant was first imparted.

Very many humble thanks to all of those die-hards who have stuck with it.

I think a small celebration might be in order – and as that is something that is decidedly better done in the ‘real’ world rather than in the ‘virtual’, the Kickass Canada Girl and I will just have to do something appropriate here in BC! The reader may choose to take the opportunity to raise a glass for this (or indeed any other) reason at his or her own whim or fancy!

Cheers to all!


PS – Serious kudos to anyone who can glean the relevance to this post of the image thereto attached!

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the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll


I am aware of having turned a corner – of having reached a milestone – of having crossed the Rubicon… and – quite possibly – of other ‘travel’ related metaphors! Kickass Canada Girl is in Victoria and life has changed. It is time to emerge, blinking, into the light of a new day, to sniff the air and to take a first look around – though perhaps mixing Lewis Carroll and Kenneth Grahame is a step too far (on second thoughts, maybe not – I recommend to you Jackie Wullschlager’s excellent ‘Inventing Wonderland’).

It is six weeks now since I started this blog with no clear idea as to where it might lead or as to what it might include. The experience thus far has – for me at any rate – been most interesting and instructive. I thought it might be a good idea at this point to sit back and consider some of the topics that I intend to cover in the near future.

The Girl and I are currently having to jump through all of the usual administrative hoops associated with moving from one continent to another. The InterWebNet is a hugely valuable resource and I really do wonder how these things were done before its existence. I am currently watching Jeremy Paxman’s excellent (note: there are critics who disagree!) BBC documentary study of the age of Empire and I am struck by just how difficult it must then have been to perigrinate the globe the way we do now. It is quite extraordinary how much could be achieved with such rudimentary tools, and I can’t help thinking that we have lost vital skills whilst at the same time gaining much that is ephemeral. I sometimes wonder if the torrent of information through which we now wade is in fact more of a hindrance than a help. That might seem unlikely, but it has taken considerable effort on occasion to find answers relevant to my own questions. Having said that, if anything that I write should ever prove to be the slightest use to anyone following a similar path then I will be reassured that I am not simply adding to some gargantuan information landfill.

The Girl and I will be henceforth be engaged in what I believe is dysphemistically called a ‘long distance relationship’, the TLA for which is, of course, LDR. I have been reading up on LDRs (the InterWebNet is particularly fruitful on the subject, though much of it seems to be aimed at students who are separated academically) and I intend to pass on some of what I have gleaned. More pertinently I hope to discover whether any of the received wisdom actually works in practice.

I shall certainly at some point touch on retirement since I am aware that this too represents a major sea change and that there is much to be learned. My gut feeling is that retiring and moving continent at the same time will actually prove somewhat easier than doing so separately, but this of course remains to be seen.

I shall doubtless also engage in – and subsequently discourse upon – various displacement activities. Kickass Canada Girl – who is endlessly thoughtful and wise – gave me a Cajon kit before she departed. This – along with the new camera – will doubtless keep me out of trouble for a while at least.

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photo by Brooks Elliott on Flickr

I recently turned 58. Not a major milestone in itself, you might think, but this particular year – 2012 – carries the promise of significant change – and not just for those with an interest in the Long Count calendar.

I have not blogged before. I am not on Facebook. I don’t tweet. I don’t own an iAnything…

This might give a misleading impression. I should own up to having worked in IT for over three and a half decades and to being an IT Director (amongst other things) – though the story of how an arts student came to be so is vaguely interesting in its own right. I write… sometimes for reward – mostly through the need to create. You are probably familiar with this.

This blog will be the record of the latter part of a journey that started 7 years ago, and which will – if all goes to plan (ha!) – culminate in my retirement and move to Canada during 2014. A journey that takes getting on for a decade to complete may appear for much of the time to be making no progress at all but, like the sands in an hourglass though little movement may be manifest my presence here is slowly slipping away even as it grows in Canada.

This journey started in London early in 2005 when I met Kickass Canada Girl. Yes – I know that all Canadian girls kick ass (though I didn’t know that at the time) but even by Canadian standards – this girl kicks ass! She had come to London for a job with the intention of staying maybe a year or two, or perhaps even of moving on to New Zealand. So much for that plan…

At the point at which things turned serious – or turned more serious – and we started talking about moving in together, she asked of me just one thing:

“Will you promise – at some point in the future – to consider… just consider… moving to Canada?”

“Of course”, I said – in the way that chaps do when they perceive a thing to be so far in the future as to not really require consideration at all. After all, I was going to die before I got old!

Then we went to Canada and I fell in love with BC and met all of Kickass Canada Girl’s friends and relations and fell in love with them as well and in 2010 we got married – in Victoria, naturally – and now… we are planning to move our home there.

So why start writing a blog now?

Well – in just over a month from now Kickass Canada Girl goes back to BC to take up her new post as Executive Director of a charity in Victoria. For a number of reasons (in-feasibly decent pension scheme – way too old to get a job in Canada) I will have to stay in the UK until I am at least 60… to be precise, until the end of the academic year in June 2014. The prospect of living on different continents for nearly two and a half years – even taking account of frequent visits in either direction – does not fill either of us with joy, though the goal will, of course, make it all worthwhile.

As I say – a significant change… and one that I want – somehow – to document.

Hence this blog…

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