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I've never had a blog before... nor have I ever felt the need for one. In fact I've always felt it to be a bit like the talking heads one hears on AM radio chat shows. I would never want to listen to anyone conceited enough to think that they have something that I would want to hear. But anyway here I am and I now have my very own blog. Maybe we can make it a place for discussion and to improve our knowledge of the arts... or at the very least it's somewhere just to have a rant.

Learning to Fly

Posted 4/10/2016

The main reason we emigrated to Canada was to fulfill a dream of mine to learn to fly. I attended Professional Flight Training Centre in Boundary Bay, which is a small airfield in Delta, south of Vancouver. We enjoyed Vancouver and British Columbia so much that it didn't take us long to decide to do what we could to stay. Sue was quickly offered work as a legal secretary for a law firm in Vancouver but of course couldn't accept it without a work permit. Fortunately for us the immigration lawyer freely offered his advice and following that we rented a Cessna aircraft for the day and flew down to Seattle. In Seattle I applied for and received my student visa, which would then allow Sue to apply for a work permit on the basis of being a dependent of a student.

Funnily enough, as the agent handed me the student visa in Seattle, without being asked, stated that we wouldn't qualify for a work permit based on this. None the less we thanked her and flew back to Vancouver. Explaining the situation to the immigration lawyer in Vancouver he raised an eyebrow and gave Sue a letter to give to Employment Canada. I think it took about a week to get the work permit.

I don't know how many times over the years people have asked me how to go about emigrating to Canada and really the best advice I can give is be persistent, not give up, and most of all don't believe everything that immigration officers tell you.

Anyway, armed with her permit, Sue started working in Vancouver and I would fly several times a week as well as taking evening classes to learn the theory of flight in order to get my private pilot's license or PPL.

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Emigrating to Canada

Posted 4/5/2016

I met Sue while she was traveling on Canberra as a passenger: we kept in touch following the cruise and got married in Barbados less than a couple of years later. In May of this year we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  At the time we met, Sue was working as a legal secretary in London while I was living in Prestwick, Scotland. It meant a bit of a long distance relationship for a while but this was also at the time of the first Gulf War, which meant fewer people flying and thus reduced ticket prices. I remember being able to fly round trip Glasgow to London for something like 25 UK pounds. (Less than $50 Canadian)

After agreeing to marry me (or maybe before) Sue said she didn't want to live in Scotland, and I knew I didn't want to live in London, so we got the globe out and narrowed our choices down to either Sydney or Vancouver. I had been to Sydney several times and loved the city and the Aussies, but I knew Vancouver also from when we used to spend the summer season cruising from there to Alaska.

In the end it came down to a seminar we attended in London for an up and coming flying school which was based in Boundary Bay (ZBB), just South of Vancouver. I had been taking flying lessons in Prestwick but being at sea and then having to wait out the weather for the odd suitable flying day, the whole pilot's license thing was taking forever. I did have fun though, especially the day of my first solo, when I was flying the downwind leg, doing my landing checks and the only other aircraft in the circuit requested clearance to take off.  He was told to hold short of the active and wait as there was a student on his first solo. Nothing adds a bit of pressure to a first solo like knowing that as you putt putt round in your Cessna 150, there is Concorde sitting waiting for you to land and get out of the way.

So after getting married in Barbados and having a honeymoon in Antigua, it was off to Vancouver and the start of a new life together.

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Welcome to my blog.

Posted 3/29/2016

Since this is the first blog on this site, not to mention my first one ever, I thought I should maybe introduce myself a bit. I was born in Scotland way back in 1961 and while we lived just south of Ayr I started primary school in Minishant. As I remember it we had a total of 40 students, in the whole school. Primary 1 had 8 of us, mind you we did have to share a classroom with Primary 2 so that added another 4 or 5 students. At 7  my parents were given a council house in Prestwick so we moved and I joined a much bigger class at Glenburn Primary. My secondary school years were at Prestwick Academy, which is when I started to get interested in art.

My art teachers did try to persuade me to art college but I'd had enough of school by then and also I'm not good at being told how to paint or draw. In the end I decided to go to sea with P&O as a cadet, a career which took me all over and around the world, many times over. My last trip with P&O was on Sea Princess in 1989, when I was sailing as Second Officer.

At the time I was still living in Prestwick, Scotland... but that was about to change.

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