Well the first week of August saw me
paying a $676 bill for my prescription medicines which is the steepest
price yet. Having said that the pharmacist made me aware of the
Ontario Trillium Drug Plan which can mitigate some of these costs and so
have sent in an application to see if I'm eligible.
You can get more information on this at
On 11th August they started to fix the
woodwork and lattice on my porch...
And this card shows that he is a time served carpenter - T. M. McLean
As you can see they are making good progress on the porch. I must
say the carpenter has done a very high quality of work in my opinion.
You can see their web site at www.strone.ca
and these final pictures show the work done in more detail along with the
mulch and flowers and so all that remains is to get it all painted.
On August 20th the painter
arrived and has started to do the prep work. I'm told this is
scheduled to take six days to complete. Bill has been doing
painting for some 30 years and so I'm looking forward to seeing his
One thing I've already
noticed is the attention to detail which so far looks to be a standard
that the company are working to using time served experienced craftsmen.
Some of the siding was coming away from the woodwork so that's been
dealt with and he's smoothing out some of the older woodwork so that all
will match up with the new wood. He's also sealed up some of the cracks
in the pillars so that they'll have a uniform appearance once they are
all painted. I guess that's the problem when you have an old porch
that the new woodwork ends up looking rather different from the old.
I might add that Bill the
painter is also the organiser of the local dart team and he's promised
to send me in a copy of his weekly newsletter :-)
I note that all the local
supermarkets are now charging for plastic bags so I've bit the bullet
and bought some permanent bags. Now all I need to do is remember
to take them with me when I got shopping.
Was in Toronto on the 18th
attending a Scottish Studies meeting. Took the opportunity to get
a few Butchers Steak pies and potato scones while there to fill up my
Also been developing the
forums in our Aois Community. I'm trying to get a handle on why
more people don't join their clan or family society. As I
understand it the cost is usually between $20-$35 a year so not exactly
expensive. It looks to me as if most societies do not issue out
membership cards or membership pins so there doesn't see to be any way
you can advertise you are a member.
On 2nd September I found a
rather interesting article in the local paper about agriculture in the
Chatham This Week
Early last Monday morning, the Heinz plant in
Leamington started to receive tomatoes as the 2009 harvest began in
earnest. The same thing started to happen at the CanGro plant in
Dresden, but a few days later, on Thursday. Between now and
Thanksgiving, give or take a few days, hundreds of thousands of tons of
tomatoes will be processed at the two plants, which collectively make up
almost all of Canada's tomato production.
In fact, few people may realize it, but Chatham-Kent
actually grows more tomatoes than Essex County, although the Heinz plant
processes more tomatoes. And so while Leamington calls itself the
Tomato Capital of Canada, Chatham-Kent deserves similar if not equal
recognition. The tomato harvest here is a reminder of the tremendous
agricultural storehouse that exists in Chatham-Kent, and one that is
frequently overlooked by residents who find little in common with
agriculture — other than the fact they like to eat at least three times
We're always amazed with
the lack of recognition that agriculture receives
in this municipality, given the fact that Chatham-Kent leads
Canada in the production of tomatoes and seed corn, and remains a
Canadian leader in the production of soybeans, vegetable crops,
commercial corn, Ontario winter wheat and sugar beets.
We're also home to a thriving black tobacco industry,
as well as a greenhouse industry that has only in recent years begun to
show the depth of economic potential that exists in that sector. These
agricultural products have in the past been translated into large
commercial enterprises. The most obvious are the Leamington and Dresden
tomato processing plants, but there is also Pioneer Hi-Bred's Canadian
headquarters outside of Chatham, the University of Guelph's campus at
Ridgetown, and Thompson's in Blenheim, which (and few people out of that
company may realize this) is a major procurer of dry beans to the Heinz
operation in Britain.
Heinz baked beans have been a British tradition for
the better part of a century, and it's a Chatham-Kent firm that helps
make that possible. Thompson's, of course, is better know for its
long-standing seed enterprise.
All of this, however, underscores the importance of
agriculture to Chatham-Kent and its relative permanence in the economic
landscape. Earlier this year, it was forecast at the annual Southwest
Agricultural Conference at Ridgetown that agriculture, and not the
automotive sector, would be the engine that pulls Ontario out of the
recession. If so, Chatham-Kent finds itself in a highly favourable
And on 5th September the porch was finally painted
and I also got some electrical work done.
The Electrical work included getting a
better sensor for my outside light and an extension socket added to
kitchen as well as better undershelf lights in my office.
There is now just one small job to do which
is to add more mulch to the garden and spread a bit more to the side
gardens so that it is all colour coded :-)
And then on 9th September it was onto the
back garden. It was time to sew some grass seed and get my back
These pictures were from day one as the
ground was prepared for the rotar machine.
And this was at the end of day 2 with the
seed, fertilizer all done and the ground rolled and just a light raking
and final watering to do.
Sunday 13th September I at long last put up
the Saltire Flag that the Scots Independent Newspaper gave me when I
Grass in now appearing on my back lawn on
Some bare spots for sure so not sure if it's
just taking more time or if indeed we need to spread more seed.
I also got my back porch painted
Got in Steve's Pest Management to get rid of
some bugs hanging around the house.
On 26th September I attend the
Colloquium at the University of Guelph and enjoyed the day. I
did a page about the event with pictures and a video of the Fallbrook
On the following Monday I took my car into
John Gibbons, the Buick dealers in Chatham. to get a service done on my
car. While they were checking the car out the brake line broke and
thus left me without brakes. Just thinking it was great that it
didn't break on my way back from Guelph and as I'm heading to Toronto on
Wednesday it seems someone was looking out for me. Mind you I don't know
what it is about service shops but you can't help but be a bit
suspicious on how these things happen.
They then completed their diagnostics of the
car and got into some techie detail but the entire cost was going to be
around $1200 + taxes. The car engine was mis-firing so a plug
needed to be replaced and coolant was leaking in somewhere and on it
went <gulp>. I am now certain I won't be buying a Buick again as
this is the most expensive car I've ever owned. In fact I'm pretty
sure the Mazda I owned back in Scotland for 10 years didn't exceed this
price for it's entire life of maintenance.
This car has already had it's complete
wiring replaced and brakes replaced and so on and I guess I must now
have spent over $4,000 on this car. So... no way will I be buying
another Buick. I think the next time around I'll go back to Mazda!
My grass has grown well and here are a
couple of pictures taken on 8th October...
But wait... as I was taking these pictures I
noticed a load of bugs and so that Pest Spray hasn't worked as it
On Tuesday 14th October the Pest control
folk came back and did another treatment free of charge...
You can see some of the slaughter in the
As you will know I joined the Knights
Templars a few years ago. Today I got in a Fedex delivery giving
me copies of court documents and other correspondence about the battle
between OSMTH Inc in the USA and the original Knights Templars. It does
make fascinating reading. I am not at this stage certain if all this is
in the public domain so am checking on this and might post it up for all
to read but we'll have to see.
Today, 15th October, I got in my "Notice to
Appear - To Take the Oath of Citizenship"...
It's for 28th October 2009 so will be able
to report on this by the end of this diary entry :-)
I got a visit from the ADT folk to add a remote control
to my alarm system.
On Saturday 17th attended the Knights Templar's St. James
Priory Investiture in Toronto at St James Cathedral. After we went to
the Babimton & Racquet Club for the banquet. At this event my friend,
Nola Crewe, was made the Prior of St. James Priory.
is me on the right with a new Knight and his wife
sitting at the banquet beside Nola Crewe who became our new Prior and on
the right is Noal's son Derby with his wife Vicky.
here is a close up of our new Prior
The following Tuesday attended the board meetings of the Scottish
Studies Foundation and Society. I have to say I'm getting quite
concerned about the direction we are heading in both. It seems to
me that we've achieved our goals of raising the $1m to establish a
permanent chair of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.
This is of course a huge achievement and everyone involved has to be
congratularted. That said we seem to spend more and more time on
minor matters that might raise $10,000 in a given year and reach at best
a couple of thousand people. One of the aims of the Foundation was to
educate Canadians at all levels on the Scottish heritage in Canada.
Apart from Guelph we seem to be entirely focussed on Toronto and even
then in very small numbers.
I feel we have lost the plot and right now it would seem that once the
balance of monies has been paid to Guelph there is little point in the
Foundation continuing. Most of the members are retired and so no
longer have the connections they once had. We are not bringing in
new blood and we just don't seem to be going anywhere.
As to the Scot of the Year and Tartan Day it seems to me that in the
last 5 years only one event actually make us decent money but each of
the other four seem to have done little more than break even. All
of this means we are not raising enough funds to do anything important.
I thus think it is time to review what the Foundation is all about and
where it should go in the future.
On October 22nd I downloaded and installed Windows 7 and had a terrible
time with viruses, products not working at all or in an indifferent
fashion. Took many hours of work over several days to recitfy all
On 28th October I was made a Canadian Citizen and here are a few pics
from that event...
Both without and with my customary cigarette waiting for the door to
Jim was kind enough to drop in to see me take my oath.
Being taken to my seat and me sitting waiting for everything to start. I
took my Bible that I got in Ahmadi in Kuwait and as it happens the
person sitting to my left was from Kuwait!. Entering the room we were
given a Canadian Flag lapel pin and later a wee Canadian Flag.
This is the Clerk of the Court giving us a talk about what we could
expect when things for started.
Here is the Judge and I am standing in the queue to get my citizenship
The Judge giving us a wee talk. I might add that she told us 68 people
got their citizenship and they came from 32 countries. Her mother
is in fact a Scot!
Pictures with myself, Police Officer, Judge and Clerk of the Court. The
second one is with Nola who kindly took most of these pictures.
Jim couldn't be found for the official shot so we took one of us
outside the court room.
These are the two letters I got from the Judge
I also received my citizenship card which you need if you are applying
for a passport.
Nola sent me in a wee email on what it means to be a Canadian so I
thought I'd copy it in here in celebration :-)
An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what
a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.
Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish,
Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian,
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani
A Canadian may also be a Cree, M?tis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one
of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian's
religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu
or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in
Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to
worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no
religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the
government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and
A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in
the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
A Canadian is generous and
Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in
their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome
the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best
music, the best food, the best services and the best minds.
But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the
These are the people who built Canada. You can try to
kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world
have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a
neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a
particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of
freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a
And so this pretty well sums up my activities this quarter.
I did get in a letter from my local MP...