Friday, 30 November 2007

A Bridge With A View (and a Roof!)

The Kaslo pedestrian bridge has not yet officially opened but on Wednesday this past week, I crossed it with the Wednesday Walkers. We did have to pass underneath a scaffolding and there was a generator making a bit of a racket, but we could do the Kaslo River "circuit" for the first time. The picture of the roof at left was taken last Friday and the small creature you see on its top is Silvio, kind of the energy behind Kaslo Trail Blazers. He's also a baker so he gets up early, gets all the bread and buns made and then comes to work on our bridge for the rest of the day. Luckily for him, it's dark by 4 p.m. so he does get to quit early! He has done an unimaginable amount of work towards the completion of this project. The middle picture is taken from the bridge looking straight down but the most treacherous water is actually right underneath the bridge. A new friend, Catherine, took my picture this a.m. on the bridge as we did the circuit, and yes, that's sunshine in the background, messing up the exposure. Today was actually a real winter's day in the Koots - we had a temperature of minus 10 and I think there was something that might even be considered a windchill. However, the blue sky backdrop to the snow-capped mountains make it 'very heaven'.

Three Cheers for AA!

I simply have to report about my passport. I sent it away on October 15th and was told by my MP's office that they would work on it to ensure delivery in 6 weeks. It arrived in the mail today! So let's hear it for my MP, Alex Atamanenko, NDP for B.C. Southern Interior, and his staff. We had really good results by calling his staff in Ottawa, who promptly returned phone calls and told us that everything had arrived safely in the mail in the early stages. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that more passport clinics were being made available in Castlegar because of the heavy demand, but it was another case of "first come, first served". It's not every day that one's MP does something for an individual constituent but I have to say that AA is a man of his word on the passport issue.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

The Clothesline Speaks

Last week on The Current there was a bit of a debate about clotheslines. I find it odd to read about how hanging out clothes is the latest environmental fad and smile to myself every time I see it in a "going green" article. I come from a family of clothesline users. It interested me to hear how many subdivisions in North America ban the use of clotheslines. Apparently people feel that it undervalues their property if washing is on display. Of course there are plenty of clothesline users who defend its use and speak about the beauty of clothes on a line and the joy of being in nature while doing the laundry task. I haven't hooked up our clothes dryer yet (well, bugged Dave to do it) and the item pictured here is one of my indoor clotheslines. Alas, I have to move indoors this week as the temperature has not been over zero and the sun is too low to reach my outdoor clothesline. With the woodstove going in the basement the clothes dry in a reasonable amount of time. I inherited this little clothesline from my exchange partner in IOM and it works quite well. I used to love seeing clotheslines in IOM - everyone uses a clothesline over there (with the wind the clothes dry quickly) and from the vantage point of a double decker bus it was always enjoyable watching laundry showing off in the brisk breezes. If any readers are doubtful about clotheslines, I say give it a try. Hanging laundry is my favourite household task.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Dignity in Death

B.C. news media is full of the taser incident. This morning, I heard a woman from Kelowna being interviewed about how her husband had been tasered a couple of weeks ago. This was apparently done in an argument over a traffic violation. The entire interview seemed to focus on what the police had done and how distraught her husband is now. I really wish the interviewer would have taken the time to ask the woman what her husband had been doing to warrant this kind of behaviour from the police. She also reported that she could only "watch the taser video once". At this point I had to turn off my radio.

I'm not trying to defend the police in any way about the incident at Vancouver airport. However, right from the beginning I've had to question why someone would even begin taking pictures of someone in distress. Everyone that I say this to replies: "Well, I'm really glad he did." In this case, some awful truths will come out. I continue to question what prompts people to take pictures of violent incidents and people in distress. Is this for the "15 minutes of fame" that might come their way?

Another thing that is bothering me about this incident is that the police are really coming out as "bad cops" in the British Columbia media. It does seem that there are many deaths of individuals while in police custody in this province. I've read enough novels to know that there are plenty of "bad cops" out there, the same way that there are bad teachers, bad lawyers, bad professors and bad librarians. Personally, I've never met a bad cop. The police have to do a pretty thankless job and I'm glad that they are here. Most of them are doing a great job and are truly helpful. It's been a hot topic of discussion in our household and an alternate point of view can be found at:

My next concern is the viewing of the video. I have refused to watch this and so far have only met one other person who feels as I do. I think if we really want to do something "positive" in this unhappy affair is to give Mr. Dziekanski some dignity in death and refuse to watch his execution.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Bridge Over the River Kaslo

At long last the bridge was put into place over the Kaslo River on Wednesday. It was a cool and brisk day and ironically enough, I ended up working in a grade seven class all day and missed the big event. It was pretty much a non-event because it had been postponed so many times. The machine pictured here is the "yarder" and it is still hauling materials into place but it was vital to the input of two large steel beams that are the base of this bridge. This has been a massive project and the bridge was assembled on land as the painting was completed, each piece was numbered, and then the structure was disassembled. The yarder dragged the base pieces into place and now reconstruction is underway. You don't really get a sense of the depth of the chasm over the river here but it's a pretty impressive looking bridge, I must say. The uprights, painted in violet, will have large roof trusses put on them. These are also violet in colour. The plan is to have a green metal roof. Watch this blog for further updates.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Poppy Blows

This may be considered to be a bit of a brag, but it isn't really. My Icelandic poppy has really struggled through much of the year. I had a few nice flowers early in the season with some great colours. It wasn't long, however, before something was eating all the buds and later, anything that did open was pretty much insect damaged. This little guy opened four days ago. So to all my prairie readers, yes, it is pretty awesome to have a poppy blooming in the garden on Nov. 11. I also have a Japanese anenome that's in bloom and one very small heather. This just seemed like a suitable post for Nov. 11 and made me think of the poem even though I only have one lone poppy.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Bonfire Night

It's Guy Fawkes Day in the UK and I fondly remember that day while in IOM. The children were excited about it, but not in that over the top Hallowe'en way that North American kids demonstrate. I was invited to go to a bonfire night potluck at a place just outside of Douglas, the largest city in IOM. The wind was blowing fiercely (like it often did on that unprotected isle in the Irish Sea) and we'd had a pretty dry fall for the UK. I don't think anyone from the prairies would ever have contemplated starting a bonfire in these conditions. However, one was lit and no damage done. The other thing that really struck me about that night was the total blackness of it - away from the bonfire absolutely nothing was visible. So what does this picture have to do with Guy Fawkes? Well, I took this picture last week and I named it a horticultural apparition which made me think of effigies, Guy Fawkes, etc. This one is a pretty useful apparition, I must say, and here it is doing the last till of the garden for 2007. We're ready for winter, we think!