|Our new home is on the Nicomekl River in Surrey. There are paths along the river and two parks next door, with lots of opportunity for exercise.|
Last summer, Deborah and I moved from our condominium in Richmond to a townhouse in Surrey. We were having some problems with our unit at the old place, and had trouble with the building management trying to get it addressed. Once we got everything sorted (we actually had to go to court over it, several times) we thought it best to leave as we were just not happy with the whole situation. Our new home is in South Surrey, about a half hour's drive south of our old place and almost at the Canada/U.S. border.
We are much happier here, our unit is very nice and the entire complex is great. We have a two-story townhome, called a "quad" as it's one of four corner units in the building. There are three other quads in our little area, and in the whole complex there is another set of quads, four apartment-style buildings and a number of three-story townhouse units. The entire property is 75 acres, and includes a golf course, an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and a clubhouse. It's all beautifully maintained and our neighbours are very nice.
|There are paths along the river that have great views of the mountains. The paths are all hard-packed gravel and not too difficult for wheeling, although there are a few hilly spots. I try to do a loop of five kilometres at least once a week.|
So far, I have not even been upstairs, but at some point we may look into a lift; there is really no need for me to go up, the ground floor has everything I need and is actually bigger in size than our entire unit in Richmond was.
We have started to use the pool once a week, it's indoor and the water temperature is kept quite warm, which is great for me. I have steadily increased how far I swim, and currently I do 36 lengths with a mix of front crawl, back crawl and elementary backstroke (also called reverse breast stroke). Several people have asked me about how I get in and out of the pool, and how I manage the various strokes. To get in the pool, I transfer out of my chair to the deck (by dropping down from the front of the chair in a dip) and then shuffle down the steps into the pool. When I swim my legs just float along behind as I go; as I've mentioned before, for some reason I float very easily now and my legs are usually right at the surface behind me. To get out of the pool I shuffle up the steps to the deck, and up into my chair with a dip onto the front.
If you remember from my rehab the floor transfers were the hardest part, and I struggled with them for a long time. I have been continuing with yoga once a week, and as part of the class there is always a floor transfer as we everything on the floor. Now there is an additional floor transfer every week when we go to the pool, so I am getting lots of practice and can do them on my own fairly easily now. When we are at the pool I still have Deborah spot me as the consequences of falling on the hard pool deck would be pretty severe.
|I have been taking lots of pictures and my photography is getting better; this is a spotted towhee. Deborah bought me a nice Sigma lens, which makes a big difference for bird pictures.|
Our complex is right on a river, and - like our previous place - there are paths along the river in both directions. In one direction I can do a five-kilometre (three-mile) loop through two parks, following the river. It's about the same distance I did before, but more challenging as there is more gravel surface as opposed to paved, and there are some hilly areas. I try to do this wheel once a week, it takes me about an hour and 15 minutes depending on the exact route I take. There are several options, and I am working up to one that takes me up a very steep hill to return to our unit.
In the other direction, the path follows the river for a short way and then turns south toward the border. This section is interesting, it's call the Semiahmoo Trail and dates back to 1873; it was the original wagon trail between New Westminster (just north of us) and the U.S. border. I have not been this way yet for a couple of reasons: The trail crosses a very busy road, and they only recently installed a crosswalk; and once across the road the trail is very steep for a long way. It would be a big challenge, but now that the crosswalk is installed I hope to attempt it soon.
|At work at the racetrack last summer. I looked after data acquisition and electronics for Canadian Superbike rider Jodi Christie and the Accelerated Technologies team.|
Last summer I helped out one of the race teams in the Canadian Superbike series, doing data acquisition and looking after all the electronics on the bikes. For the races in Ontario and Quebec I flew to London and stayed with my brother Peter and his family, and Peter and I drove to the races from there. There was a round in Edmonton and another in Halifax, and Peter met me there for those. I managed pretty much everything on my own, all the flying was no problem and the overnight hotel stays are routine now. I think I'm at the point that I could travel somewhere on my own if I had to now, but it's still nice to have someone there to help if I need it.
There are a couple of sticking points with travelling on my own that I can see. The first is that, because of all the "stuff" I have to take, I end up with quite a bit of luggage. Carting it around by myself is difficult, but not impossible. The second and more difficult is transportation when I am away from home. Car rental companies do offer hand controls in most cities, but the controls are portable/temporary and Velcro around the steering column. It sounds dodgy, and when I went through rehab the therapists did recommend against it. I definitely don't want to risk something like that., and if I was to go somewhere that is not accessible with public transportation I would need someone to drive me around.
|There is an eagle's nest on the property, so I am getting lots of eagle pictures. The last couple of weeks it has looked like there are babies in the nest.|
That covers all the major happenings over the past year, I will try and post more frequently with regular updates in the future!