Blog by Chloe Cartwright, BSW, RSW, ABR

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Chapter 7

Canada Story So Far – Chapter Seven

 

Has it really been June since our last update?!  Where has the time gone?!

Well, we have thankfully avoided further altercations with Grizzly’s, their offspring and Police Check Stops; although we have seen a few more bears along the roadside[1] over the last few months.  I too have completely failed to leave any pans on overnight and since I was declared as a missing person I have not left Lauren’s side.

Perhaps the most humbling news I have is that I am now a member of Cochrane Mountain Search & Rescue and that my training begins next Thursday.  The reason why this news is so humbling is the fact that, unbeknownst to me, Kevin (Lauren’s dad) organized a sponsored walk to raise money for me to buy the necessary equipment to join[2]  Without Kevin doing this and without the following people sponsoring him I would have had to wait for the next intake in autumn 2012 while I bought the kit piecemeal each month.  So without further ado, I would like to genuinely thank the following people (in no particular order):

Kevin & Marion Hoines, James & Carole Rash, Nunkie Dunny & Auntie Fi, Jude Turner, Joan Roquet-Jalmar, Maria Hoines, Pat Hulbert, Diane Buchanan & family, Steve & Graham Hudson-Ellis, Neil Oldfield, Duncan & Karen Smith, Adam Simpson, Kath & Dennis Simpson, Craig & Liene Armstrong, Ulla Holmer & Neil, Ma Harriet & Mr Gwill, Steve Hulbert & Amanda, Sandra Potton & Dave, Norbert Sluzalek, Maureen & Steve, Richard (377), Audrey & Derek and Grandma & Grandpa Heathcote.

Guys, it means the world to me to be able to join a search and rescue organization.  If I had of stayed in the UK then I would be volunteering with the RNLI by now and, given that Alberta is landlocked, Mountain Search & Rescue is the next best thing.  I will be part of a team that has the capability to bring home loved ones – what more could I ask to be a part of?  Hopefully, when I am out in the mountains Dad will be there to help should I need it.  Furthermore, Boomer will also be trained and hopefully he and I will pass the search dog[3] criteria; Cochrane Search & Rescue don’t have a search dog team so this would also be great and double the chances of finding people alive.

The money that Kevin has raised will enable me to buy some great kit and our friends over here have heard of this story and are also chipping in and/or lending me their spare kit too. 

So… thank you Kevin for your hard work and efforts - and thank you so much to everyone for your support.

September 14th saw mine and Lauren’s 1st Canniversary and given that I was the only one of the two of us to buy a card to commemorate the occasion I did feel particularly smug.  Although Lauren did say that she has already put up with a lot from me and so I should have bought her flowers too.  I did point out that I had bought her the Ford F150 several months prior… but this didn’t fly either.  Tsk, tsk.  Always ungrateful… 

I am still enjoying work but the commute is beginning to wear me down; yet when I drive home, I see those Rocky Mountains and think ‘bloody hell – I’m in Canada!’  Lauren is still working at the old people’s home in Cochrane and while it may not be the best job in the world she does get to fart around the elderly and blame them[4]

Marion and Thelma (Lauren’s Mum & Grandmum) came out to visit us for Lauren’s birthday week, they also brought the weather from the UK for their stay and so our trip into the Rockies was somewhat moist.  We did, however, get to see a Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Bald Eagle, Lady Moose and Coyote Pup during our travels.  Lauren unfortunately couldn’t get all of the time off of work while I did.  I physically aged…

With the exception of the smuggled crap weather from the UK, the rest of the summer was hot, hot, hot.  In the year that we have been here we have had about 10-12 days of solid rain[5] and so there has been a fair amount of dust and brown grass.  Autumn hit a few weeks ago - the colours are spectacular - and we are all awaiting the first snowfall[6]

Adam was visiting this past week and proved to be something of an Animal Repellent...  We managed to snatch a glimpse of a Moose and watched a Coyote leg-it across a field.  With this in mind, I took Adam up to the rescue centre we know and we were able to go into the Swift Fox[7] pen (20 acres) at feeding time and had them running all around us (only because of the food).  We also managed to see a few Great Grey Owls the same evening and I had the perfect camera shot of the massive owl swallowing a rodent whole – and then the battery ran out… 

Just as Adam arrived our credit card got cloned and the bar-stewards wiped us out.  It was interesting to see that I had bought Arctic Monkey’s tickets and then tried to sell them online afterwards.  I tried to pass of several other ‘purchases’ but unfortunately the credit card company wouldn’t have it!

I have now also finally started to begin to organize my photographs and put them online.  Actually, there is only one photo online at the moment as I spent tonight typing this update instead.  However, keep checking for me on www.redbubble.com as I add more pictures and build up the profile.

Our friends Barry & Sue and their kids finally got Permanent Residency[8] (they’d been here on a working visa) and so we are heading up to their acreage for a PR party this weekend, followed by a Thanksgiving[9] Dinner[10] round at our previous landlords on Monday.

So, this is a short and sweet update.  But no less important given Kevin’s efforts and your support. 

Take care and hope to hear from you soon. 

All the best

Andy & Lauren



[1] They’re buggers for trying to hitch a ride…
[2] Volunteers have to provide their own equipment – most of which I sold or gave away back in the UK before coming over.
[3] Boomer that is, I know I am hairy but I don’t need a certificate J
[4] It’s the dogs who are blamed at home.  Poor boys.
[5] Mind you, 20 feet of snow in five months does wear a bit thin come the Spring…
[6] Bizarrely, Canadian’s like a snow fall in September as this means a milder winter!
[7] Very, very rare.
[8] I told them that Lauren and I were heading to Australia as they’d let any bugger in the country.
[9] Canadian’s always ask me “do you guys not have thanksgiving?” and my response is generally that the Brit’s are an ungrateful lot J
[10] Not like the American Thanksgiving where they celebrate the rape & pillage of the Native Americans.  This is more like a harvest festival/celebration - without the passing on of smallpox.

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