Dear family and friends,
I usually write a general letter once or twice a year, often at summer and again at Christmas. This year I've decided to write just one, a Thanksgiving letter. I've freely "borrowed" some photos from the web to illustrate this one, to supplement our own snapshots. We didn't do any video this year.
Deborah and I have had a very good year, definitely one to be thankful for. In the spring I completed my PADI Rescue Diver course. This goal kept me swimming and working out through the winter - it was a good incentive to get, and stay, in shape.
|We had a spectacular summer. We began by going to the Shuswap to spend a week on a houseboat with my family. Actually we had two houseboats. We were in this boat called "Jakl" - named by a grade 1 phonetic speller, no doubt. This is a good shot of the boat, but with someone else's family aboard.|
It was like living in the middle of a swimming pool for a week.
And here are Peter and Heather doing a little hiking in the woods on shore.
When we got home Deborah and I did some
on our new old boat. Click
here to see some photos of it. I really love this boat, and
never regret becoming a sailor. I've sailed a lot this spring,
and fall. Next year I'll be a member at a neighbouring club,
Yacht Club, because the water level in Lake Ontario has dropped so low
that I can't get my boat out with the trailer anymore. I will
to keep it in the water all the time from now on, in its own
This isn't such a bad deal - costs more, but I get to sail the boat
easily because I don't have to put it in the water each time I want to
This is the beach where we were - perfectly soft sand that never gets hot underfoot - something to do with how the sand was created.
Wading out to the boats - always less than a five minute boat ride to the reef destination, and great snorkelling on the inside of the reef.
which made it perfect for Deborah, whose dive experience was still in the single digits.
|This is Yalku, a lagoon where fresh water meets salt water. It was within bicycle riding distance of our resort, and was a very pretty place to spend a few hours. The halocline (where the saltwater meets the fresh water) distorts the visibility when you're snorkelling, but it is still quite a pleasant experience.|
We also went out one evening and helped some baby
it to the water. Somewhere there is a turtle who lives because
had a pair of scissors that could cut chicken wire...
| When we got home again, we decided to do a
of cottage country, visiting many of our friends who have cottages. We
took the little Boler trailer - "the egg", as I call it - so that we
take Maxie with us. One of the places we visited is Kim
and Richard's pony farm - click on the coloured text to see Kim's
on her own website.
I went to Scotland for that week, to do some
research and to experience first hand the locale where my ancestors
I probably enjoyed the best week of weather they'd had all
Lesmahagow, where Alexander
Muir came from (he wrote The Maple Leaf Forever), and where my family
to church every Sunday in the middle of the 19th Century; the Royal
amazing social experiment), and villages in the Clyde valley, where my
ancestors would have run with William Wallace the Braveheart, and
their kilts at the enemy; Edinburgh
castle and the Royal
Mile; the Royal
Brittania, a scotch distillery, and many other interesting sites.
I learned some interesting new details about my ancestors which you can read at 7lesmahagow.htm, if it interests you. Basically the story is that they were weavers as far back as we know (into the mists of time...), then suddenly stone and concrete masons for three generations starting with the Industrial Revolution, then teachers, doctors, lawyers, ministers, pharmacists, nurses, musicians, actors, managers and a few other assorted occupations for the last three generations during the last century - that's it in a nutshell, and it's a fascinating reflection of how the world has changed in the last two hundred years.
What will this century bring?
Now I'm teaching what will probably be my last year of "shop". The program is going very well, but the school board can't afford to keep paying for bussing, so kids from other schools won't be able to come to my technology centre after this year. The Board says it wouldn't be "equitable" for kids at my own school to have a shop class if kids from outside can't have one, even though the facility is in-house for our kids, so I'll probably have to teach something else. I'm taking two three-part additional qualification courses online all winter, one in ESL and one in Computers in the Classroom. These courses may lead into administration, or they may take me to a school overseas, which would be a nice new adventure.
My tennis season is still on until the end of October, I'm still sailing, and my concert band has been rehearsing for a couple of weeks already, so I'm awfully busy. When things ease up a little, I'll go back to Variety Village to renew my winter fitness routine. I hope to get a little downhill skiing in this winter, as well. We frequently go down to the lakeshore to do cross-country skiing, which is a good warm workout in fresh winter air.
It's been a good life, this year. I'll be 49 soon. Thanksgiving comes easily in a year like this.
All the best, everyone.
Steve (and Deborah) Gilchrist
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