All posts by canadianmamainlondon

I am a French Canadian mama of two living in London, UK. I am here with my husband and while he works all day I get to go and explore this wonderful city that is London. My husband and I also do a lot of traveling in the UK and Europe. While we are here, we are trying to take advantage of everything. Ours kids study in Canada so I also find myself visiting them as much as I can. Basically, I don't have time to get a job, I'm a Mama!

Gig vs. Scull

I have been rowing a lot lately.

First, I started ”Gigging” with my friend Lorrie back in May. Definition of a Gig boat is as follows;

In general, during the era of wooden ships, it was smaller and lighter than the longboat, barge or pinnace. It was usually crewed by four oarsmen, and a cox. Generally the oarsmen sat one to a seat, but each only rowed a single oar on alternating sides. The gig was not as sea kindly as the longboat, but was used mostly in harbors.

The Gig boats we used comprise of 6 rowers and a cox man. The seats are stationary, the oars are wood and heavy and it’s a good workout.

I row either out of St. George or Spanish point. Here are some photos of the boats in St. George and what a boat looks like when its being rowed.

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I gig about once a week, weather permitting of course.

Then, at the beginning of July, I started the rowing camp out of White’s Island with my Sole Sistah, Summer. TOTALLY different rig. Light boat, sliding seat and VERY TIPY on the Hamilton Harbour waters.

This is what the ”Scull or Shell” boats look like.

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The row is very different from the Gig row but it’s also a great workout and I love it.

Question is, which one do I prefer at this point? I don’t know, ask me again in a couple months, and I may have a better idea. For now, I just like the way the oars go into the water and when it catches properly, either in the Gig or the Scull, you can feel the boat responding in a certain way. And, when I am on the water sometimes it gets very ”Zen like”. It’s mesmerizing and I love it.

Asbestos = No Criminal Background Checks

There are times when living in Bermuda is a bit frustrating and funny and all you can do is shake your head. Yesterday was one of those days.

A Little Background

My friend Maria is a substitute teacher on the island. Couple months ago she was talking about it and I thought, that doesn’t seem so bad. This could be a way for me to spend a few hours out of the house during the fall and winter months. I asked her how do you become a substitute teacher in Bermuda? She told me it was really easy and explained the process about filling out the paperwork, getting a criminal background check, getting all your personal id papers notarized and applying. We met, she even showed me her papers. Didn’t seem too complicated, but I forgot I was in Bermuda…

Sunday I was by myself on the island, Daddy Cool was still in New York with Thing 1 so I started to put all my paperwork together. Made copies of everything that will have to get notarized by a local attorney: my passport, my Visa, my birth certificate, my college transcripts and my marriage license. I even sent an email to Thing 1, to ask her to look in Montreal for my diploma. It would seem I will need a copy of my University Diploma. I don’t even know where that is? In a box somewhere in Montreal???

Yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to start with the criminal background check that is required. Maria had told me where to go request it and she said it would take about a week. Since everything has to be handed by August 1st, I thought I better get this process started. I went to the police headquarters by Cedar Bridge Academy only to find this sign:

 

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Hum! Okay, what the heck? I went in to find out what was going on. All they told me was, “We stopped doing criminal checks on July 2nd. We won’t be doing them until further notice.” But they really wouldn’t say why.

I was wondering what to do so I phone the Board of Educators of Bermuda who processes all teachers and substitute teachers applications. I’m the one who broke the news to them that criminal checks were not being done. Since July 2nd! We are July 20th. She asked me if I knew why? (Really? How The F! Would I know.) I did not say that, all I said was “I have no idea and they told me that they wouldn’t do anymore criminal checks until further notice.” Then I asked, “Does this mean you can apply without one?”

Her answer was, ”No this is unacceptable. I will phone them and find out what is going on. In the meantime, you can file the paperwork but nothing will get looked at until we have a criminal background check and your file will get rejected if you don’t get one.”

Ahhhh Bermuda, you never change. I thanked her and left it at that.

I called her back about 20 minutes later since I had another question about the paperwork and it’s at that moment that I found out that the reason why the police is not performing criminal checks is because they found Asbestos in their offices and they had to move. My question then was, “they cannot perform criminal checks where ever they are?” Well, it would seem that they are simply not working or doing any checks whatsoever at the moment was her answer. She also told me to just drive by every so often to see if the sign is gone or if there’s a new sign indicating where they have moved and are back at doing criminal checks. But until I get one, no substitute teaching.

So, for the time being, I will get my paperwork in order. Drive by police headquarters every so often, but not too often, I don’t want the police to think I am a stalker. That may go on my record…

As I have told my friend Maria, I will just wait until the Asbestos has settled.

 

I Am CDN!

10 years ago when we lived on De Rock we had an ”IAMCDN” vanity plate on our Suzuki Liana.

New Hampshire 563

 

I was off island when Daddy Cool sold the car and wasn’t able to keep the plates as a memento.

I swore to myself that if and when we would come back, I would go to TCD and see if the plates were still available and if so, I would  order them.

Six weeks ago I made my way to TCD, got a number and waited almost an hour before being able to order the plates. First they had to verify that IAMCDN was no longer in the system. Upon verification, I got confirmation that it was indeed available. The lady that bought our car in 2012 got rid of her plates! Woohoo!!! So I filled out the paperwork, paid the required $139.00 and was told it would take 4 to 6 weeks.

Well, I think it took more like 7 weeks but it was worth the wait. This morning I picked up my new plates, went to Auto Solutions (the car dealership because they have a ”special tool” to put the vanity plates on,) and voila, 15 minutes later, I drove out of there telling the world IAMCDN!

I said once, I will say it again, ”It’s as if we never left!”

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Devil’s Mile Swim

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While I was coaching swimming a couple weeks ago, someone mentioned that there was this new open water race called the Devil’s Hole Mile. Basically, you swim from Devil’s Hole all across to Trunk Island. I thought, it’s only a mile, why not do it?

Also, my Floatie(Lorrie) and I, have started swimming open water in the last two weeks.  We are slowly getting ready to possibly swim the Round The Sound this October.

Going from the pool to the sea takes getting used to. Yes you are more buoyant because of salt water, but on the other hand, your tongue swells up almost double in size! Well, that’s if you bring with your mouth open, (which I do), so I have to train and adjust that little part of my swimming.

Anyways, when I heard about this race, I thought it would be a good race for Floatie and I to sign up and do. Sunday morning, start at 11 am,  swim 1 mile to an island where they offer you beer and burgers and then you get on a boat provided by the aquarium that brings you back to shore. Easy right?

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The goal, Trunk Island in the middle of Harrington Sound.

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This morning the Sound looked quiet….

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After signing my waiver and getting lucky number 13, I was set to go.

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We were instructed to swim left of the buoys all the way to the island.

When the start signal went off, Floatie and I just let everyone go out fast. We knew we could swim the distance, that was not a problem, we just wanted to get some open water swimming experience. I did not care how long it would take us. Just swimming in a relatively straight line by peaking in front of you every 4 arm strokes is challenging enough! At one point I turned around and Floatie was swimming along the shore taking the long way to the finish line. I called her out and after she saw me, she made a beeline for me and we never looked back. The last 400 meters were choppy and you could swallow a gallon of water every time you took a breath but it was a gorgeous day, the water was warm and when we finished, the beer was REALLY GOOD! I mean come on, there are worst places to be on a Sunday morning.

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Two happy Floaties on the way back to shore. Look at that water! (Not at my hair!)

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The crew on the aquarium boat. Of course, Floatie knew all of them.

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Thing 3 was waiting for us at the Harrington Primary school dock. He drove me up to Harrissii and Peter was in the pool cooling down from his squash training session. I jumped in with him! You know, to get rid of the sea salt….

When we were driving off he asked if I was hungry. I replied that I only had a beer, so yeah, I was hungry! He instructed me to get dry and dressed and he took me to the beach club for some lunch a mojitos. Island life is good!

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Meet Shimmer!

Now that I am back on The Rock I can take a step back, ponder and tell you the story behind Shimmer.

Back in January…I asked Daddy Cool if he wanted to do anything special to celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday, which is in August of this year.  He kept on saying no, that his 50th year on earth was no big deal. But I kept on pressing (or nagging, depending on how you look at it). So he came up with, ”Maybe we can look into getting me a car built in 1968. I really like the Ford Mustangs from that year”.

So we had a plan and we started looking, meaning, Daddy Cool looked on-line while I called Customs Canada and the SAAQ( La Société d’Assurances Automobile du Québec, a.k.a. the DMV), to see if we could put plates on a 1968 car and what was the procedure. The SAAQ explained that the car needed to be in pristine condition, no rust and that I would have to get it inspected by a SAAQ garage, and if the vehicle was imported from the States, I needed the title, signed by previous owner, the customs form which is called a Formulaire 1, or F1 and Daddy Cool’s passport and driver’s license. Customs Canada instructed me to ensure there was NO RUST on the car and that I needed to get inspected by an American inspector to make sure the car was okay and that I would need to use a Customs broker. Equipped with all that info, we started to look at the end of March.

We looked in Canada but could not find one that we liked and that was in ”Pristine” condition so we went South of the border and zoned in on the Southern states of Texas, Arizona and California in order to ensure the car had NO RUST, since that seems to be a big issue with both provincial and federal level of governments in Canada.

At the end of April, we found this one in Dallas, Texas at http://www.streetsideclassics.com and started negotiating the purchase.

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After some back and forth on the price we agreed on a number we could live with and started the process of sending it North.

Street Side Classics was very helpful. They recommended a local independent car inspector and a transport company. Due to some storms and a sick wife (so many stories there that I will not bore you with), it took a couple weeks for the car to get inspected and for us to get a report for insurance purposes. When we finally obtained the report, I sent it to our insurer in Montreal who then informed me that he also needed the car to be evaluated by a GAA (Groupement des Assureurs Automobiles) approved evaluator in Quebec, but I will get back to them later.

The shipment company put me in touch with the customs broker and after a lot of emails, phone calls, paper exchange via more emails AND payment, car was being shipped from Dallas. I requested many times to have the car arrive on Monday May 28th, so I could deal with it AFTER Thing 1’s marathon but of course, Thing 1 received a phone call on May 23rd saying the car was in a truck in Ottawa and en route for Montreal and could she be there for reception. They even brought it into the garage at their condo and Thing 1 covered it with one of the special covers I had made to order and had shipped to her.

I arrived in Montreal Thursday May 24th, looked at the car but did no deal with it until Monday, the day of the CAA inspection and this is when this car put my patience to the test.

The guy who brought the car into the garage the previous Wednesday night had told Thing 1 that the battery was not holding the charge and that I would have to get a boost and drive for an hour to charge up the battery. With that info in mind and my inspection appointment at 1:15 pm, Monday morning I had the car boosted by CAA and off  I went for a joy ride through the streets of Montreal. Let me tell you, you get a lot of looks, thumbs up and whistles when you are driving this car with the window down. After an hour I stopped to fill up because I was running low on gas. After I filled up the car wouldn’t start again. Some guys who were admiring it helped me push it into a parking bay and I met another car enthusiast who helped me start it so I could take it to the inspection center. When I got there and I could not start the car on my own, Bob the inspector said, ”I won’t waste your time inspecting this. First you need to go get a new battery. I know a guy in ville LaSalle, Roger, he can do this for you.” So we called, Roger had a battery for a 1968 Ford Mustang and off I went with the car on a CAA flatbed to get a new battery. When I arrived at Roger’s shop more car enthusiast came out of the woodwork to look at the car. The bodyshop guys couldn’t believe the condition of it. They were under the hood, took video and pictures and asked me if I was going to show it at some car shows. I’m like, ”First I need it to pass inspection and then get license plates for it!”

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Everybody was taking pictures.

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and video.

 

I got a new battery and was able to drive back to our condo and get a parking tag for our new “old” car to sit in our underground garage.

The next morning I had the GAA guy show up and look at the car. Remember, I need his report in order to get insurance in Quebec. He took pictures, went gaga over the car and 15 minutes later I paid him $225 (cash only), and he told me he would send me a report overnight. So now we are Tuesday lunch time and Thing 2 and I drive to CAA inspection garage in order to get this car inspected. Bob who sent me the day before to see Roger about a battery said  I could go back for an inspection at 1 pm. Thing 2 and I we’re leaving for the cottage after this inspection.

About 20 minutes in the inspection, Bob comes out and says, “we have to stop because there is a problem.” My thoughts in my head, What NOW?”

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Someone in Texas was dyslexic and had inverted the 01 on the VIN # to read 8F10C139239. Bob said, for all we know, this car is hot and we can’t proceed. You need to get a new title from Texas and a new F1 because you have the same VIN # on your customs form so you will have to go to Canadian customs in Old Montreal and ask for a new  F1 form before you can come back and we proceed. Oh and by the way, there is a new Disc break kit and I will have to send pictures to a CAA engineer and he will have to look at this and give me his okay to move forward.”

I went back home, called Dallas, explained my situation. They were very apologetic and said they would send a new title with the correct VIN # overnight by FEDEX. I had to leave for the cottage, I was meeting all bunch of people to do things so I just put a cover on the car in or parking bay and left it there to deal with it on Friday.

We received the new title on Wednesday night and Friday morning I went back to customs and after telling my sad story to the customs agent, she went into an office and made me a new F1 form. In the meantime, the car got insured and we could drive it legally in Quebec even though it had Texas plates until June 26th. Bob at CAA could not inspect the car until Monday morning at 8:30 am. Peter arrived Friday night and Saturday morning, he and Thing 2 drove the car to the cottage and had a blast. This is when the name Shimmer came about. With its gold color, these two readers of some fantasy series came up with ”Shimmer”. The car is named after some woman who is a hero in one of the many book series Daddy Cool and Thing 2 discuss all the time.

Monday morning we left Shimmer at CAA and they kept her overnight. Tuesday, I had to take Shimmer back to my new favorite mechanic, Roger, for some minor adjustments. While Daddy Cool and Thing 2 were watching Deadpool 2, I got the minor adjustments done  and the car was finally approved. WOOHOO!!!! ( I got excited too quickly)

Wednesday morning we were at the SAAQ bright and early and the mission was getting Shimmer plated! After they found Daddy Cool’s file in their system, the SAAQ reactivated his file. They looked at all the paperwork, we had everything, well, we thought we did.

The license plate was sitting there, the SAAQ attendant is typing away and then she looks up and asks us, “How much does the car weigh?” Thoughts in my head, “WTF!!!” Polite response, ”Don’t know, it’s not on the inspection papers?” Nope. While she phoned her supervisor, Daddy Cool looked for the weight on Google. The head office of the SAAQ will not accept something from the internet. We have to go get the car weighed. Thoughts in my head ”ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” Polite response (with fake smile), ”Where do we go for this?” She did not know. Nobody knew. So I phoned Roger who was not there since it was his birthday. So now I know that Roger my favorite mechanic celebrates his birthday on June 6th (DDay). I then phoned Bob at CAA and he said,”Really they need that info? We don’t have a scale here but you can go to DJL construction on St. Patrick street”.

I am going to finish this post by saying we went and got it weighed, paid another $20 and went back to the SAAQ with the weight certificate and finally got Shimmer some plates. Thank goodness she is in Pristine condition.

That night we were at U2 concert and I kid you not, who walks in to sit right in front of us with is wife, ROGER THE MECHANIC! He was there for his birthday. I introduced him to Daddy Cool, we discussed Shimmer and now on top of having a fun car to drive around the country and get thumbs up and whistled at, we have a GREAT MECHANIC.

And now that I have gone through this process, Daddy Cool and I are even for the Marathon Du Médoc!

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Daddy Cool driving Shimmer inn Bromont.

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Thing 1 looking great when going out for dinner in Westmount.

Loving the New GDRP Law

What is the GDRP Law?

 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.

Why is this important at the moment?

On May 25th it will be updated and if you ever lived in the EU (Including the UK, they are after all still part of the EU at the moment) and have bought anything by credit card, you are now getting multiple emails by every institution asking you to stay with them by sending an email and saying yes you would like to stay on their mailing list.

 

I’m loving this because it is allowing me to say NO and to forever unsubscribe from groups or places that I never really wanted to hear from in the first place. My old NHS clinic in London, GONE! City Council of Chelsea that keeps sending me emails on crap, GONE! Emma Bridgewater, No I don’t want to buy more pottery. GONE!  Just Eat, how many times do I have to tell you we have moved and I want to unsubscribe? GONE! Same with Ocado, Hello Fresh and a multitude of others. When you receive all those emails from all these organizations, apps and stores asking you to stay with them by clicking yes and agreeing to stay with them and don’t worry, They Will not Share Your Personal Data, is when you realize your email is really out there in Cyberspace and it’s hard to leave them. Well, now there’s a law and hopefully my mailbox will get less crowded with junk!