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My Canadian Experience
July/August 2007


In July I took in the local Chatham Highland Games and thought I'd take some pictures of the park as it was well in bloom...

Should you wish you can view more of these flower pictures here!

I also took in the Haggis throwing content...

I also have a small video of the Haggis Throwing competition

and here are a couple of pictures of historic houses...

On the following day (Saturday) I took some pictures at the Games...

The games were great with loads of pipe bands and a larger number of clan tents this year. The weather was cooler with a hint of rain and a bit of a wind but I think that just made it all the easier to spend time at them.  I'm told they may change the venue for next year as the ground is really packed and it's hard to fit in all the pipe bands.


This picture will give you some idea of the number of bands attending

Should you wish to view pictures and videos of the Highland Games click here!

On Sunday 15th I spend an afternoon with James Shields helping him out on getting his web site running and was treated to a very good beef curry for my efforts :-)

On Wednesday 18th July I met up with John Henderson who does the doggerls on the site.  He had flown over from Cyprus to spend some time seeing family in Canada and the USA and seeing as he was in Toronto he took the train to Chatham to meet me.


We went for a fish and chip lunch at the Rovers Pub just outside Wallaceburg on the way to Walpole Island and as you can see from the decorations lots of English and Scottish stuff up on the walls. I got John to pose alongside the Scottish scarfs :-)


Didn't catch his name but the barman was a Scot who came to Canada some 40 years ago.

On Thursday 19th I got my laser eye treatment done at the local hospital.

On Saturday 21st the balance of the house painting was done and the loose bricks re-mortared and some pointing being done...


And you can see my railings are now up on the steps


And the back steps have also been painted. The wee extension here will also be fixed in the next few days.


Frank is busy painting the side fence


Now that the back has been cleaned up you can see I have a wee patio at the back. I plan to bring the garage (car port) back two feet and then put up new latice work. I'll build a new door from the house into the garage and then also get a roof extension to the garage so I have a wee covered area where I can put my BBQ.


And here is Claud doing the pointing at the back of the house and the fence is now painted.


A few loose bricks under the porch are also being fixed and then the space will be cleaned up and a wee lattice work gate will be put up to complete the work and allow for easy access.  Will likely store the odd bit of lumber and the spare bricks under there.


This is me getting the door entrance to my basement fixed and re-roofed.


And also the wee hallway down into the basement.


Three new sheets of siding go up to tidy things up


This is the small roof over my extension and they had to take off cedar shingles and two layers of other shingles.  Then it was back to the bare boards.


Then it was on with the ply board and then...


Tar paper went on and finally...


The 40 year shingles went down.


And then it was just to seal the exhaust pipe down and put the gutter back up.


I visited the Smith and Wilson winery on Saturday 28th July which is down on the road that leads to Mrs Pardoes.  They do a wee wine tasting which I much enjoyed and purchased some of their raspberry and apply wine and also their blackberry wine. I did take more pictures but when I got back I noted that the camera lens had misted up so all the pictures were a bit fussy.


Well worth a visit!


And these were the three wines I purchased.

On August 1st the basement entrance way was being painted and the steps down fixed.


Family members keep visiting :-)


Frank starting and finishing the painting.

And while this was going on Claude was getting down to the tree trimming...


And so that's the branches taken off my roof and a bit of clearance giving them room to grow. Likely will last three or four years until they need to be trimmed again.

This month I also decided to go for a security system for the house.  I was going to sign up with Apex Direct with an ADT system but as I don't have a credit history they were unable to accept my order. I was going to get a good deal due to using the CCA membership benefits but without the credit history I couldn't progress with that.  So... I ended up going to ADT direct but had to pay a $396.00 install and activation fee.  Mind you I would have had to pay for a heat detector which came free with the ADT system so that somewhat helped the price a bit.  I will yet again comment on the Canadian need for credit histories... this is really quite a pain.  It seems the only way to get a credit history is to get a credit card and use it which I really have no need of, nor want to do. It actually doesn't matter even if you are a millionaire.. no credit history and your dead! [sheesh]

This month I also ordered up a new Dell notebook computer.  My old Dell Latitude was now just over 5 years old and for the last year has been out of warranty.  I was also finding it getting very slow and taking ages to shut down and boot up.  Noted more and more swapping to disk so all in all it was definitely time to get a new one. I was going to order it from Dell Canada with my company debit card but turns out they couldn't accept it as it was drawn on an American bank. I found that very weird but there was no way around it so just ordered it from Dell in the USA for delivery to my US address. 

I've been very happy with the Dell notebook having purchased it in the UK then having it re-registered in the USA and then finally re-registering it in Canada. Considering all the travels I've done in the past five years the only problem I ever had with it was the DVD drive failing.  Dell just sent me a new one and provided a return pre-paid address label to ship the old one back.

Here is the spec...

Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795230849 Estimated Ship Date: 09/11/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
222-9588 Vostro 1700, Intel Core 2 Duo T7100, 1.8GHz, 800Mhz FSB 2M L2 Cache 1 $1,708.00
320-5551 17.0 inch Wide Screen XGA+ LCDVostro 1700 1  
311-7276 2GB, DDR2, 667MHz 2 DIMM 1  
320-5556 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS 1  
341-4891 160G 5400RPM SATA hard drive 1  
420-7041 Genuine Windows Vista Business 1  
412-1032 Dell Exclusive MediaDirect Instant Play Software Application 1  
420-7291 Google Small Biz Home Page Internet Portal 1  
430-0493 Integrated 10/100 Network Cardand Modem, for Inspiron 1  
410-0932 Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.08 Vostro 1  
313-5530 8X DVD+/-RW with double-layer DVD+R write capability, w/o Roxio Creator 1  
313-4783 Integrated High Definition Audio 2.0 1  
430-2423 Intel 3945 WLAN (802.11a/g) Mini Card 1  
320-5554 Integrated 2.0 mega pixel webcam 1700 1  
410-0924 Network Associates McAfee 8.0 English, 3 Year Subscription 1  
312-0550 56 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery, Vostro 1700 1  
410-0966 Microsoft Office 2007 Basic Edition 1  
982-9042 CompleteCare Accidental DamageService, Vostro Notebook, 3 Y ear 1  
412-0357 Soft Contracts - Business Complete Care 1  
412-0359 Soft Contracts - Qualxserve 1  
982-9072 Warranty Support,2 Year Extended 1  
983-3920 Warranty Support,Initial Year 1  
987-6858 Dell Hardware Warranty PlusOnsite Service, Extended Year 1  
982-9092 Type 3 Contract - Next Business Day Parts and Labor On-Site Response, 2YR Extended 1  
987-6857 Dell Hardware Warranty PlusOnsite Service, Initial Year 1  
983-3940 Type 3 Contract - Next Business Day Parts and Labor On-Site Response, Initial Year 1  
900-9987 Standard On-Site Installation Declined 1  
987-7479 VOSTRO,Datasafe 10GB,1YR(Incl w/price) 1  
420-7368 Dell DataSafe 2.0 Online, 10GBfor 1 Year Free (for ABU only) 1  
960-8851 1YR AUT. PC TUNE UP,VOSTRO, Included in Price 1  
420-7367 PC Tune-up, 1 Year (For English OS only) 1  
430-2432 Dell Wirless 355 Bluetooth Module (2.0+EDR) 1  
310-8628 You have chosen a Windows Vista Premium System 1  
310-9348 Intel Centrino Core Duo Processor 1  
466-8874 Thank you for choosing Dell 1  
312-0552 56 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Additional Battery, Vostro 1700 1  
420-7189 DellNetwork Assistant 1.7 1  
462-4506 Purchase is NOT intended for resell 1  
310-8977 S and P Drop-in-Box Marcom forBSD Systems Boxes 1  
Subtotal: $1,787.00
Shipping and Handling: $0.00
 
Sales Tax: $107.22
Total: $1,894.22
 
 
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795230864 Estimated Ship Date: 09/04/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0631863 2 GB Cruzer Micro U3 USB Flash Drive 1 $24.00
Subtotal: $24.00
Shipping and Handling: $4.99
 
Sales Tax: $1.74
Total: $30.73
 
   
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795230880 Estimated Ship Date: 08/21/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0194187 XL ROLLING NOTEBOOK CASE Fits Notebooks of Screen Sizes Up to 17-inch 1 $80.10
Subtotal: $80.10
Shipping and Handling: $7.99
 
Sales Tax: $5.29
Total: $93.38
 
   
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795230898 Estimated Ship Date: 09/04/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0401257 4.7 GB DVD+RW with Jewel Cases - 10-Pack 1 $16.00
Subtotal: $16.00
Shipping and Handling: $4.99
 
Sales Tax: $1.26
Total: $22.25
 
   
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795230948 Estimated Ship Date: 08/21/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0650397 World Power Travel Adapter 1 $21.00
Subtotal: $21.00
Shipping and Handling: $4.99
 
Sales Tax: $1.56
Total: $27.55
 
   
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795230989 Estimated Ship Date: 08/21/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0725107 MX 3200 Cordless Laser Desktop Bundle 1 $79.00
Subtotal: $79.00
Shipping and Handling: $4.99
 
Sales Tax: $5.04
Total: $89.03
 
   
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795231011 Estimated Ship Date: 08/21/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0369337 70 Watt Mobile 70 Universal Auto Air Power Adapter 1 $79.00
Subtotal: $79.00
Shipping and Handling: $4.99
 
Sales Tax: $5.04
Total: $89.03
 
   
 
 
 
Order Details
 
 
   
Order Number: 795231037 Estimated Ship Date: 08/21/2007
Item Number Item Description Quantity Total Price
 
A0457578 Universal Notebook Docking Station with Video 1 $107.10
Subtotal: $107.10
Shipping and Handling: $4.99
 
Sales Tax: $6.73
Total: $118.82
 
   
 

So hopefully this will do as well as my last one.

I visited Jim Shields this month to help him with his new web site at www.aircraftworlddirectory.com and in return for all my work Jim is going to do me a painting :-)

When visiting this time I decided to take some pictures of his work which he had up in his studio. 

Click here to see his work

On the last Sunday of the month I got my home security system installed...


Here is the installer and the keypad for the alarm system


As you can see the doors and windows are hard wired and smoke detectors installed


A heat detector is installed and a master wiring box for the system


And finally these stickers are put on all the doors

In all it took him around 6 hours to do all the work. As he said... these old houses can be tough to get all the wiring hidden and installed correctly.

My next door neighbour appeared at my door to tell me of grants available for insulating my home. He was getting a quote and suggested I might get one as well and so I did...

Essentially, you get an inspector to come around to give you a rating for your home and he then suggests improvements that you can make and will also apply for your grant and approve the job contract. Once the work is complete you get a post inspection and if that's ok you're grant is then approved for payment. As you can see the above work totals $6,129.00 and I'm informed that I would recover 100% of that through the grant. There is a one off fee for the inspection of around $300 - $400.

I might add there are additional grants and as an example you get a grant for installing a low flush toilet. That's one that uses less water to flush the toilet. There are also grants for upgrading air conditioner units and other items.

There is a web site where you can check all this out at:
http://www.homeperformance.com/en/library/grants_rebates.html

To be frank it sounds daft not to go ahead with this so I will do so :-)

I should add that you do need to pay for this work at the time it is done and it does take around 60 days to get your grant money. As the job is obviously expensive it could be funded by getting a loan from your bank as in theory you just need a maximum of a 90 day loan. As it's against a grant I would have thought most banks would be prepared to offer this.


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