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An English Woman in a Canadian Winter

October 10, 2019
mandyevebarnett


car in winter

When we first came to Canada it was a trial run over Christmas – not the time you would think is best to get an idea of the country. However, we were thinking of moving to Alberta, where the winter’s are harsh and temperatures drop to ridiculous lows -40 at times. Yes you read that right!

So why come in winter? Because we thought if we came in the most harrowing season and liked it then the rest of the year would be a breeze. Little did we know. The decision was made and we immigrated – there were many obstacles to overcome, too many to go through here that’s for sure – but we arrived in September 2007.

My first morning the sun was shining, the leaves were golden and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. If you have ever been to England we always have clouds. Then the next day it was the same, and the next. It was unusual to me but also pleasing. By the beginning of October we saw our first snow and it was a novelty. Big piles of snow (at that time) were rare in England so we took advantage of all the winter themed activities available. It was fun but as the years passed and the snow came early and stayed, the novelty soon wore off. Vacationing in a winter wonderland is very different to living in one – that was our lesson learned.

There are so few green trees during the greyness of winter and that is what I miss the most. The green lushness year round of England. Albertan seasons are not like ‘home’ – spring is almost an overnight experience – a faint green flush one morning and then the grey sticks of winter suddenly become vibrant emerald and lime green. Summer creeps in and heats up the land in some cases +40 (yes it is a land of extremes). Then fall (autumn to my English friends) comes turning gold and red but only staying for a brief while before the leaves drop.

The snow arrives normally before Halloween and leaves sometime in April or even May – it is a winter gripped land for a long time and we have to live with it. There are many devices that make the winter’s easier – winter tires (tyres), auto-start for the vehicles, so you can warm it up before getting in, in-door shopping malls, winter sports and events, fire pits and Jacuzzi’s.

It has been an adjustment for us all and over time we have found ways of coping but we all wish for one more day without snow! We know it is coming and cherish the time without.

twink

 

 

Canada Day 1st July 2019

July 2, 2019
mandyevebarnett


canada-day

I enjoy celebrating Canada Day as it is my new homeland. We are lucky to have a deck overlooking part of the parade route so can sit in comfort and watch it drive past. Canada is a young country, becoming the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. This is in direct contrast to my former homeland, Britain which was founded a lot earlier.

United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Kingdom of England was founded in 927 AD and The Kingdom of Wales was founded in 1283. They joined together in 1536 so Britain was founded in 1536. The Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 843 AD.

I do miss the history and pageantry as well as the ancient sites, historical houses and castles but have been fortunate to have traveled quite a lot of the province’s of Alberta and British Columbia by way of road trips. When I first came to Canada, I had no real sense of the vastness of the continent until someone showed me this view of the whole of Britain easily fitting into Alberta. This is just one province of ten!

Capture

I have seen wildlife and plants I would never have observed, spectacular scenery and many objects purportedly to be the largest! Here are some of them.

I also ‘discovered’ a passion for writing in Canada, which may never have been part of my life elsewhere. It was a happy accident walking into that first sharing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in 2009. Not only do I have something that interests and absorbs me but it has also given me some incredible friendships. I am making up for ‘lost’ time publishing (to date) seven books, with several in the pipeline but it is the process of creating that engages me and having the opportunity to share my stories.

Here’s to many more years discovering this country, writing stories and enjoying family and friends.

 

 

Another Albertan Road Trip…Jasper

November 22, 2016
mandyevebarnett


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Our road trip this weekend actually started early on Thursday morning, 7 am to be precise. We stopped to grab breakfast and made our way to Jasper in the Rocky mountains. A place we have visited before but still has the ability to inspire awe at the magnificence of the mountains. Their ever changing faces in sunshine, cloud, rain or snow make each visit unique.On the road through Jasper National Park we saw these sheep in the middle of the road licking salt, they were not deterred by large trucks honking horns, driving so close we thought they might hit them or these huge vehicles driving around them.

Arriving just after 12.30 pm we set up our table to promote and sell books published by Dream Write Publishing. With so many books already published we could only bring a selection and hoped our choices were relevant for the venue and time of year. Our first sale came only minutes after we had completed our display. A good start to the day! Which concluded with several books being purchased for the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts gift shop.

habitat-for-the-arts-nov-2016

Once everything was packed up at 5 pm, we went for supper and to check into our hotel. An added bonus was an upgrade to a beautifully appointed and cozy room.

The next morning after breakfast we set up in a most unusual venue, a laundromat and cafe. A first for us. The SnowDome cafe’s friendly staff and customers made our time there enjoyable, connecting, answering questions and a potential client.

snowdome-jasper-nov-18-2016

A celebratory supper at the hotel’s restaurant followed and an added bonus a herd of elk laying on the lawn of the hotel as we walked back to our room. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good when it comes to taking photos at night. Can you see the bull, his antlers were spectacular and two of the doe’s had tracking collars on them.

The rest of our weekend was ours to do with as we wished. Saturday morning was a leisurely start, takeaway breakfast and a drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. A walk onto the island at Pyramid where the dusting of overnight snow glistened and the water lapped gently. There was ice forming in thin layers on the shore edges and the air was still. Silence prevailed and we stood reveling in the peace of the mountain air as large snowflakes began to fall. It was Christmas card perfect.

Back into Jasper and a browse around a clothing store and then purchases for supper. Then seven hours of writing – a writer’s joy! I edited, revised and added 1000 words to my WIP, The Twesome Loop. With a brief excursion to refresh body and mind mid-afternoon. Once supper was consumed back to writing for a few more hours.

Sunday morning was begun with a leisurely brunch, then a trip to Athabasca Falls. The roar of water, the ice blue of the flow and the cavern walls decorated with huge icicles made this visit a wonderful experience.

It was difficult to leave but leave we did. Back to Jasper for a local crafts fair and then on the road home. We encountered several herds of elk & mountain sheep.

Our trip was successful on so many levels – books sold, connections made, extensive writing completed and nature enjoyed. Can’t wait for the next one!

Another Road Trip in Alberta…

September 5, 2016
mandyevebarnett


road-trip

We are taking advantage of another long weekend and traveling west to Wildwood, then stopping over in Drayton Valley. Then an early start to take in the sights via the Brazeau Dam, Lodgepole, Yoho National Park, Kicking Horse Pass, Abraham Lake, Crescent Falls and onto Golden in British Columbia.

We were not so lucky this trip with wildlife – only spotted a herd of elk, a couple of deer, and several wild turkeys as well as a few osprey nests with chicks and one bald eagle – but the scenery is absolutely speculator. Alpine like valleys bordered with massive mountains and pine covered foothills.Stops at some wonderful places like Crescent Falls as I love water!

Sunday’s trip was to Radium Hot Springs and through to Invermere, a lake side town with a large arts and culture presence.

As I am scheduling this on Sunday night, I have no idea which route our trip home will take but as always there will be plenty of stops for photographs and to drink in the beauty around us. Possibly toward Banff but who knows as long as we are on the road enjoying the splendor, who cares?

 

What has been your favorite road trip?

Where did you go?

Another Road Trip in Alberta – Edmonton to Medicine Hat…

August 1, 2016
mandyevebarnett


road-trip

As always I am excited to explore my ‘new’ home – Alberta, Canada. My good friend, Linda and I decide on a direction and go. This last long weekend saw us head south and end up in Medicine Hat. Along the way we stopped to marvel at the landscape, animals and sights.

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Rochon Sands – http://www.albertaparks.ca/rochon-sands.aspx

Drumheller – http://traveldrumheller.com/

Hotel in Medicine Hat as our base. Largest tepee.

IMAG0694

Medicine Hat – http://www.canadianbadlands.com/

We were fortunate to travel the back roads thereby encountering a great deal of wildlife – several herds of pronghorns, three golden eagles, prairie hawks by the dozen, gophers, deer, rabbits, a turkey vulture, seagulls, pelicans, ducks and prairie chickens not to mention – horses, cattle, and goats.

The geology of the Badlands is the result of ice age glaciers, sedimentary layers of rocks, such as shale, coal, and silt. Erosion gives rise to hoodoos and distinctive horizontal coloured bands on the faces of hills. The movement of the ice and its formation and receding also make the area interesting. Driving through we saw large undulating hills for miles and then suddenly completely flat plains and then forested hills.

Our furthest point was Wild Horse on the Alberta/Montana border. We will continue our trip today heading north again traveling new roads.

Our last stop on Monday was Writing on Stone – an apt visit for two authors don’t you think?

http://www.albertaparks.ca/writing-on-stone.aspx

We continue today making our way back home on new roads.

Happy Trails.

Which road trip have you liked best?

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