Well in the end we’ve decided just to host the thing on wordpress 🙂 Makes much more sense as it makes my life easy and don’t we all want an easy life? So I better bring you up to speed on what’s been going on since April… (and it’s a lot).

Bang! Jump!First off Tasha came to visit! Yay! Go Princess Tash. Tash whilst being our second visitor still has the honour of being first to commit to come – for that we think she’s great.

In the style of Berty Bassett, we did all sorts of really cool stuff whilst Tash was here. Went ice hiking up a frozen river, shot guns, the girls went to the Royal Tyrell dinosaur museum , went to the zoo (again) and of course watched cheesy films. I’ll say no more, except click the picture for the very large gallery.

Snow angels will they ever grow old?

DSC00019First, apologies to anyone who has experienced issues with killertime.  The Database it’s on is just too busy and my ISP is taking some convincing to recognise this fact.  It will work if you hit refresh when you get a failed page load so please persevere for now, meanwhile I will continue to trying to convince them or find another ISP.

Well a lots happened since I last wrote, least of which is my computer has arrived making this task easier.  What that does mean is a further 66 crates also arrived which is a very serious unpacking job!  More on that later though, first come with us now on a journey through time and space… To the world of the Martin Boosh! Our very first UK visitor!DSC00021

As you can see from the picture, either Martin has been shrinking in the two months since we left the UK, or the sense of scale here is doing him no favours.  Everything is "bigger" here, not just trucks, space isn’t a premium so it’s just the way it is; the concept of scale, or lack of it, tickled him no end. 

We went down to the Calgary military museum, which fuelled Martin’s love of all things "tank".  His little face lit up when he saw they had a Sherman or two.  Wandering round the museum I learnt that Canadian’s are pretty active in the UN and have deployed all over.  In the museum we met a vet who was in Dieppe during WW-two, so one of the few to make it out.  Martin’s making friends and influencing people skills came to the fore with him telling him what a disaster it was.

DSC00017The second day of Martin’s visit saw us pick up our very own tank! Our lovely AWD (All-Wheel-Drive, kind of like 4WD but better (so I’m told)) Nissan Rogue.  She’s a beauty, chosen for her fuel economy (best in class and as good as our old 206, this did get some laughs as a criteria here though), sleek lines, mountain stability, and looking like a Polar Bear about to pounce feature!  Our new baby served us well taking Martin up to Sunshine a couple of times.DSC00011 

Quote of the trip? "This is where we live!"

DSC00575 Well we’ve been here in the home of the stampede for 3 weeks today and the time has just flown by.  Since finding a house we have been on numerous furniture missions and have a couple of fully kitted out guest rooms, that’s a BIG hint to all our friends – need I mention that the ski season runs to mid May?  Talking of which, we’ve made it up the mountains a couple of times so far. 

DSC00578Our first trip saw us visit Norquay, the smallest of the three Banff resorts.  A drive across the plains west of Calgary saw us in Norquay in about an hour and a half.  Emily immediately struck a catalogue pose and we headed up the mountain.  Norquay (I think it’s pronounced Nor-kway not Nor-key but I am usually wrong on these things), as I’ve said is a pretty small resort making it exactly 17 trillion times bigger than Milton Keynes snow dome and it has fully fitted sunshine and built in pine fresh smell to boot.  DSC00581

We foolishly headed up the "advanced terrain only" lift hoping to drop down the back of the mountain to find the way out closed.  This left us trapped at the top of an extremely steep mogul field (non snow people read bumpy, evil, shouldn’t be allowed, snowboard unfriendly terrain).  So after taking in some stunning vistas we headed down.  Emily utilising her bottom a fair amount whilst I headed down on my back, star shaped, head down the mountain, trying to get any kind of purchase to slow my decent.

DSC00601 Following our first mountain foray, it was back to the real world, and more furniture procurement and building.  IKEA is the same the world over it seems, oh how I wish I still had my electric screwdriver!  So after more house-elfing, the Friday night saw a welcome break.  We went to Jean-Paul and Emily’s house warming party which was fantastic.  Meeting J-P again, I couldn’t believe it was seven years since I last saw him, for those that know him he hasn’t changed a bit, it was great to meet Emily (his truly better half) and his fab big sister, Lara, too(Lara pictured right with JP).

DSC00637 The second of our mountain trips was to a place even closer, Nakiska at Kananaskis.  Built for the 88 winter olympics this place is about 45 minutes from our house door to lift.  We had another top notch day out, will the novelty go away? We will do our best trying to wear it out… Another beautiful sunny day, snow, trees, and big hills, need I say more?  A great resort for us to take Martin to when he’s out to visit in a couple of weeks, although I fear the lack of Gondolas will be an initial disappointment, it could of course be worse, there’s not a button or t-bar in sight.

DSC00615 Well almost time to wrap up, Calgary is great fun so far, the next few months will truly be an adventure.  I mistakenly said to my colleague I thought the winter was almost at an end only to wake up the next day to a white city, something I have since been told can and likely will happen every month of the year even though the summer will see temperatures soar well into the 30’s.  DSC00617 Besides a legal obligation to clear your path and "sidewalk" before you leave for work, the postman won’t deliver if you don’t and you can be sued should someone fall outside your house, it made for an eye opening journey to work.  Walking across this bridge into downtown was fantastic, it bounces up and down in the style of the pre-fixed millenium bridge, over here though they recognise that as a feature! 

DSC00618The bridge crosses the Bow River which divides north and south Calgary.  The river is still part frozen, in some places all the way across although I’m not going to try walking it, I’ll stick to the bouncy bridge. 

One last thing but very important thing; we’ve found an aikido club.  The people, the atmosphere and just as importantly the aikido are all top notch.  So thanks to all those at Bozankan for making us welcome and thoroughly exhausting us, we’re currently blaming the altitude for our fitness levels but I think that excuse won’t hold out much longer. 

Will write more soon but until then, kind regards and our thoughts go out to one and all. And no Emily has yet to get a pet bear, squirrel or critter but this is not for lack of trying…

Well we arrived last Wednesday to Calgary "Cowtown", Alberta, after a traumatic time packing up and leaving a very happy home.  Jetlagged to hell we were really disappointed with our accommodation – it wasn’t well cleaned, although the bedding was fresh fortunately and the lighting scheme just seemed to highlight the dingy colours.  This had the fortunate effect to push us DSC00564in our house quest, more on that later…

Day 1 saw us visit one of the malls contending with a load of idiots who insist on driving on the wrong side of the road, in the end and after much trying to drive on the left we gave in and decided we’d drive wrong too.   The mall was pretty cool, we ended up playing with puppies at the pet shop and befriending Canadian guinea pigs.

DSC00557Shortly after we made the find of the day.  I can’t emphasise how unimaginably cool this shop is, with boots the Mighty Boosh would kill for. True Cowboy styling available for the well to do man about town.  I needn’t say anymore, just check out the piccy.  Stampede is around the first week of July and apparently everyone goes to work in Cowboy attire.  We are yet to find out if this a cunning practical joke played on the new immigrants.  

DSC00567 So back to the house hunt, we had a choice between some dream houses (and we are talking pretty unbelievable) but way out of town or a lovely place 15 minutes from work for the rental price of a garden shed in Camden.  We went for a 70’s retro, 3 bedroom house in Rosemount which is just fab, I think the black squirrels playing in the garden swung it for Em.  We should move in later in the week with any luck (thanks to Chris Swales, the very helpful agent who sorted us out on a public holiday) .  It has an open fire too so I’m going to buy an axe (maybe 3%-5% bigger than Pete’s) to go with my lumberjack shirt.

We miss you all crazily already so we are going to head to the mountains to alleviate our sadness. Hope to see you all soon in our lovely new home!

Rob and Emily.

Mark and MartinSeptember 1st saw Walthamstow YMCA Aikido Club return to the Walthamstow Festival, 2 years after our last appearance. On one of the nicest days of the year (not hard I know) we did 2×20 minute demos sandwiched between Shaolin GongFu and Hadri Taekwondo.

Thanks to all who took part in the demo and those that turned up to support. Thanks also to Guillaume Vernay for letting us put up his photos which can be found here.  And finally special thanks to Estie, Chris and all those who organised the whole thing, turning up and throwing each other around was easy in comparison.

Mimuro SenseiOnce again, we were lucky enough to have Atsushi Mimuro Sensei, 6th Dan Yokohama International Aikido Club visit us.  And once again, he taught us solid basic aikido mixed with his own unique style of softness and magic developed from his 20 years training under Seigo Yamaguchi Shihan.

After a thoroughly enjoyable and baffling class, we headed to the pub for a swift half and then on Dan’s recommendation for a greek meal.

Special thanks to Sensei and Cathy and all those who attended who made it such a top evening.  Photos are here.

Kobayashi SenseiWe had a course this weekend where Gordon Jones took us through the style and teaching of Kobayashi Sensei in preparation for Summer School. Here’s my musings on what we covered, we do all these techniques regularly so rather than describe the technique, I will bullet point my interpretation of Gordon’s interpretation of Kobayashi’s focus!! It was all very progressive, the same themes ran throughout the class, so explanations get shorter towards the end – don’t forget everything that came before… Caveat: I didn’t take notes on the day, so all this is from my, most likely flawed, memory.

(Note to non-aikidoka, aikidoka not on the course and possibly those who were: You will find this dull and incomprehensible.) Continue Reading »