Ten years in Canada

A decade ago today, Catherine and I landed in our adopted home. There was snow on the ground. Late in the day, we checked into the Holiday Inn at Martin Grove and Dixon. We hadn’t brought clothes for snow.

The next day we went to stay at the meeting house. The day after I braved slush and the Warden bus for a job interview at Warden and Alden in Markham. There were still farms at Warden and Steeles.

Until we moved in here in late June, we house sat, couch-surfed, whatever you want to call it. We relied so much upon the kindness of then-strangers. So thank you to: Don and all the Bowyers, Jane Orion, Brett & Nancy, Lynn & Tam, Brydon & René; to Les for the first job at Gandalf, to Dave and the TREC crew for being there at the start of a new industry.

I didn’t blog back then, kept no journal, and took few photographs. The first few years were tough — early 2003 might be a special low point, with a bitter winter, a dreadful job and a flooded basement. Every tiny detail of the immigration process seemed so important at the time, but now barely registers. Getting a SIN card up on St Clair? Biggest deal ever, then.

So, thanks to everyone, here’s home now. I think it was the right move.

take yourself to Guelph!

We spent our anniversary weekend in Guelph, which is a nicer town than most Torontonians give it credit for.

(the title is Catherine‘s tourism slogan for the city.)

anniversaries

Today is:

• the 12th anniversary of Catherine and I meeting (on a boat from Aberdeen to Lerwick).

• the 9th anniversary of my first post to fegmaniax, the only-vaguely-Robyn Hitchcock-related mailing list.

the nearly-new immigrants

Two years ago today, Catherine and I were huddled somewhat apprehensively in the immigration lobby of Toronto’s Pearson airport. After a couple of hours of waiting, paperwork and customs clearance (and several “Welcome to Canada!”s), we stepped out into the evening sleet, and headed straight for a Holiday Inn to crash.

We’ve done okay. There have been difficult times, but on the whole, we’re glad we came.

WindShare has been grid-connected for a year!

Today last year, the WindShare wind turbine was grid-connected, and exported its first kWh. We broke the 1,000,000 kWh barrier late last year, with hopes of many millions to come!

frailing miserably

A year ago today, I started playing banjo. None of that “Duelling Banjos” picking style, either — this is old-time 5-string clawhammer, or frailing. I can play a few tunes, given the best efforts of my teacher Chris Coole.

If you’re in Toronto on January 31st or February 1st, it’s worth seeing Chris play at the Flying Cloud Folk Club as part of the annual Banjo Special event. Last year was amazing; this year can only be better.

I also owe a lot to approximately 50% of the Holy Modal Rounders, Peter Stampfel. When he heard that I was taking up the banjo, called me from New York with tips on getting started. This quite unnecessary act of kindness seems typical of the banjo community.