Archive for June, 2015

Transporting the Models.

Well we have had quite a weekend preparing for our trip to Calgary.

We are transporting a couple of ship models to our kids.

The Fubbs, which is going to James and Monique, is no big deal (although it is a model with artwork that I will never achieve again)  I am saying no big deal because there are no masts and rigging so relatively compact in packing even within its glass case.

Over the last few years I have been building a model of HMS Victory.  Even at the 1/96 scale this is a big model.  This was ordered 5 years ago by Andra and Sean.

As I was finishing the model I took measurements and thought that there would be no problem to fit it into the back of our Murano.  Problem is that I measured to the fairly small area in the complicated roof area of the back of the SUV.  It would fit in but only in a small area in the area behind the rear seats.

Problem is that we are now driving the models to Calgary with a couple of active dogs in the back seat.

While they are strapped in … I had no desire to have them  suddenly rush into the back and destroy 4 years of work.  I wanted a hard shell case around the Victory.

But the back of the Murano is not like the Windstar which we used years ago to ship a model of this size to it’s destination ( I am referring to the 74 gun Sutherland) It is relatively small.

As Pat and I tried to fit a case into the restricted space in the back of the Murano I realized I needed to build a case that would be assembled in the back.  Careful positioning of side and top pieces in place.  When we arrive I have to disassemble the case in pieces and carefully remove the model without breaking anything.

In the picture you will see the model of the Fubbs in its glass case wrapped in blankets on the left.  The case on the left has the base structured to fit the floor and the top shaped to fit the roof while protecting the masts.  A one of a kind case.

Going to be a stressful drive.  When we arrive Pat and I will have to crouch in the back seat and dismantle the case before we can remove The Victory.

The Fubbs will be easier.







After years of putting out great bird houses in my yard we finally have a tenant.  A pair of Bank swallows have taken up residence and are busy feeding something inside.


Soccer Golf

Our Crown Isle course  has added an experience called Soccer Golf  in the evening.  Later in the evening, after the golfers have gone by, they set up some flags and you can play a round of soccer golf.

Two flags are set as the tee.  There is a flag and a hole marker (a plastic ring the size of a garbage can lid) about 150 yards ahead.

The objective is to count the kicks of your soccer ball until it sits on the marker.  The markers are well off the greens so primarily on the fairway.

The 18 hole soccer play is laid out in the first 9 holes of the golf course.  Average 150 yards per soccer golf hole.

You do have to pay for a soccer golf round, but this is not a profit thing for the course, it is intended for the grand parents on the course to have something to do with the grand kids in the evening.

Not that well utilized (not a lot of grand kids visit their grandparents in Paradise these days) but you do see the kids go by in the evening.

Every now and then, I see something special.  A coach of a local kids team (mostly girls under 13)  bringing 6 to 8 of their team players for a reward round.

No real lesson except for the first kick where you try to get a long accurate punt, but thereafter just a scramble of kids trying to get to the scoring ring.  The coach walking along behind in the setting sunshine just taking in the joy of their kids.

Probably a cost for the coach, but I would have loved to been able to do this with some of the teams I coached way back when.


Having Dogs vs Having Children

Pat and I are parenting two Westies for the summer.  Sort of takes us back to when we had little children.

Walking down the street you have to tell both to stay by your side and not wander into traffic.

They both love meal time but dogs are easier, they will eat anything while kids, particularly over time, become fussy  (my french toast is not done right)

Kids learn early to dispose their poop in an orderly manner, but I still have to follow the dogs to clean up their random deposits.

Both have infinite joy of spending hugs and kisses with the parents (well the kids for awhile anyway)  I still have a problem with lip kisses from Reese.

But the fundamental difference is the cost.  Janine tells me it costs $1400 per season for a 6 year old in soccer.  Dogs are much cheaper


A Paradise Garage Band

Pat and I were walking the dogs this evening and took a short cut through the gated patio home community near us.  It may be gated but if you are walking dogs you can find the small unlocked gate at the back in the forest.

Walking down one of the narrow lanes we heard music coming from an open garage.  Two older gentlemen (older than Pat and I) sitting in the garage one on a rhythm guitar and the other on a base guitar playing oldies.  We brought the dogs into the garage and introduced ourselves and they asked for requests.  They were big on early Everly brothers and Johnny Cash.  Basically just a couple of guys fooling around but it was obvious this was a regular event for them.

The older guy on the rhythm guitar was blind with sun glasses so I told him he must know Roy Orbison.  They did not know the chords to Pretty Woman immediately but when we sang a bit they remembered and picked up on the song.  They promised to be better the next time we walked by as they play many evenings in the garage in the summer.  We bade them good night and brought the dogs home.

This is just another part of living in paradise.

Supplies for an Elder Party

This last Sunday we hosted a party for about 18 of our friends to celebrate the completion of the model of the Victory.  We had told them to be prepared for wine, beer, cheese and desserts,  ie not a meal but an after dinner party.

We went back to our youth and purchased our supplies accordingly.  Two cases of wine, one red one white… and 2 cases of assorted beer.  A variety of cheeses and a selection of desserts.

The party started indoors and moved out until dark on the patio.  Warm evening.

Back in our youth (mid thirties) these supplies would have just sufficed but with our age group everyone pooped out by 10 pm so we ended up with massive amounts of beer and wine, but a serious hit on the desserts and cheese.

Pat and I are left with lots of bottles of wine and beer, well I expect the beer will be mostly mine.

Great party, everyone had fun, but aside from us, I expect everyone was asleep by 11 (we had clean up duty)

Apparently we will have to adjust our consumption parameters for future parties.

Our Music in Munich

We are back from our trip through Europe.  Dozens of ideas about how I should share my memories of this wonderful holiday.

But I want to start with one memory. After our visits to many historical towns in Germany we ended our vacation with a couple of days in Munich.  Everyone loves to visit the old town in Munich, with the beer garden and the town center.  After 3 weeks of visiting medieval towns and cities, the town centre of Munich, while magnificent, was a bit of ho-hum been there.

However there was one thing that  made this different.

Most of the town centers we visited had busker musicians playing for donations.  Violins and guitars and the innumerable gypsies playing 3 chords on an accordion seeking donations.   At least they were earning their keep.

When we walked down the Kaufinger Strasse to the Munich center we heard something different.  Ivan Hajek was playing an accordion at one end of the 2 acre center court and when he plays, even without amplification, his music fills the area with music that you would never attribute to this instrument.  Powerful music that makes all the other buskers in the center pause until he is finished.

I seldom give money to buskers but for his music I donated.  Go on-line and listen to Ivan Hajek’s aggressive accordion music.  The crowds around him were so dense I was not able to buy one of his CDs.  Apparently he has been doing this in Munich for years.

This is not accordion Polka music.

Big bike

Years ago I signed on for several fund raising events for Heart and Stroke that involved a 29 people riding a big bike around a circuit.  This was back in the days when I actually rode a bike every night.   I did not enjoy the experience on the Big bike because the all the pedals were locked in and if your foot slipped off the pedals they kept turning so you bashed the back of your ankle trying to match on.  I remember lots of fun but painful.

So our good friend Marie was organizing a group from our alumni group (basically friends that have moved into the valley in the last few years) for the Big Bike Ride.  As I said, I did not have good memories of when I did this 25 years ago so Pat and I agreed to be emergency members of the crew.   We had just arrived back from Europe (a future blog) and we were told that one of us had to ride to complete the team.  I sacrificed myself.

The theme for the team was to dress as pirates.  I searched out a striped shirt, purchased a baggy white pair of pants that I could make into culottes, and high stockings.  With the bandanna head dress, a sash and sword, I was ready.  Apparently everyone else went to the Dollar store and bought a paper hat.  I was the most authentic pirate dressed but there was no prize for best costume.

Fortunately the new big bikes have pedals that coast i e if you stop pedaling like on a real bike, the pedals stop turning.  Much better than I remember.

So we set off with a crew that has an average age of 65.  A very heavy bike so not a lot of acceleration but  lots of enthusiasm.  Turns out the first part of the route was slightly uphill so by the time we made the Comox Hospital half the crew felt they needed to drop off for oxygen and heart operations.  The ride back to the start was much easier and everyone arrived alive.

This was a fund raiser where all the riders were supposed to solicit sponsors from their family and friends to complete the ride.  As I was a last minute addition to the crew we did not have time to hit on our family and friends for support.  Next year will be different as I will make sure Pat is also on the crew and I expect support from the family.

A good experience.  In the picture I am in the middle of the row with my buddy Harry on my right.