New beginnings

Well, it’s been a while folks, and the last few months have flown by.

November saw me briefly returning to the Motherland to see family and friends, and to collect a pretty blue biscuit tin containing the last of the ashes from my poor old dad.

In true Spencer O’Rourke style, he’s ended up scattered here there and everywhere (at last count, it was the TT course in the Isle of Man, two different places in Ireland, Hatfield in the UK, and eventually somewhere in Canada).

I’m not sure where I’m going to put him yet but a couple of places spring to mind, and I might even do both. I would share, however I understand it’s not entirely legal to just go dispersing cremated relatives wherever you want, but suffice to say it will be somewhere peaceful and picturesque.

In life, my dad was a modern day Caine who spent much of his adult life just walking the earth (albeit designing cars and without the spiritual outlook and Kung Fu skills… but you catch my drift?), so it feels appropriate not to confine Grasshopper to one place in the afterlife.

Old chums

But that was two months ago, and now it’s January, and after a hectic family Christmas and a wonderful visit from old Brit friends, 2013 feels like it’s going to be a good one.

17 months after we moved here, living in Canada still feels like we’ve arrived in the Promised Land. I actually can’t think of a time of year here that I don’t enjoy (except Black Friday in Walmart, which is hell on earth). And this month is going to herald our inaugural trip to the ski slopes, en famille!

I’ve decked out the children with the appropriate attire, and after much nagging, the old man finally took himself off to Ripcurl and invested in a bright and trendy outfit that will ensure he never gets lost in a blizzard.

We are now very much a family with all the gear, and no idea!

Actually that’s not strictly true since I can ski and have done sporadically since I was a child, but Rob hasn’t put on a pair of skis in 30 odd years so it’ll be particularly interesting to see how his 42 year old carcass holds up on the slopes…

Bad news

But if one thing does cheese me off about Canada, it’s the boring news coverage and restrictive access to online newspapers.

As an online news junkie I now find myself in limbo-land with regards to current affairs, feeling very much stuck half way between English and Canadian newspapers.

While no longer interested in much of the daily news in the UK, at least stories are written in an engaging (often tongue-in-cheek) style that makes you want to read more – even if it is complete dross about the latest p*rn star Charlie Sheen’s been seen snogging in Mexico.

But I just can’t get excited about the content and layout of the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail.

Case in point, the lead story in today’s Sun was about Canada losing to Russia in the World Junior Hockey Championships.

I mean, really? I know Canadians pride themselves on being hockey-mad, but shouldn’t the massive earthquake in Alaska that sparked tsunami warnings along a lengthy part of the BC coastline today, come before a story about a bunch of feisty young men who chase a little back dot around the ice before frequently stopping to punch each other?!

As a Brit I clearly don’t quite get it yet, but just sayin…

Amateur film critic

But it has meant that I’ve started spending a bit less time in front of the computer, and more time catching up on some good movies, now that I’ve finally worked out how Netflix works using the Wii.

So I’ll finish with some recommendations (and a few self-indulgent opinions):

Smokin’ Aces – Uber violent but very stylish gangster flick, with some big names. Not for kids, and don’t eat while you watch it, it’ll put you off your dinner.

Dear John – Romantic tosh with the lovely Channing Tatum. Forget what it’s about, just watch it to oggle the eye candy before he became Magic Mike.

Hunger Games – I thought this was going to be about something else entirely but it’s Running Man vs Lord of the Flies – for kids? Good. But I’m not entirely sure it’s suitable for children…

The Notebook - How on earth did I only hear about this film recently? A fantastic romp (literally) about star-crossed lovers. Bittersweet and fabulous, with the swoonsome Ryan Gosling.