It’s learning time

July 28, 2006

Well, we have our learners licences. We are running a little late on this one, since we should have done our full drivers exam months ago, but hey. It’s done now. It was hard. Look at this question from the practice test you can do online:
Okay, so seriously, it wasn’t hard. In fact, since I sit infront of this screen for more than half my life, my eye test was harder. Also, I think the testing lady considered failing me when I made a joke about driving past school buses or something. Sheesh. Lighten up lady.

In the spirit of learning, lets look at what wheat looks like in various stages of growth.
I was driving past another huge field, and noticed it had changed colour slightly, so I stopped to check it out. I didn’t even really know what was in that field (which I drive past every day – we are TERRIBLE at investigating out surroundings, aren’t we) but now I do. On the field on the other side of the road I got the younger stalks. I think that farmer is shitting himself because today its only 14 degrees, and the sun is going down a full hour earlier than it was three weeks ago.
I also stopped at a field full of this. It’s ….. I have no idea. I’m going to say Barley. Why? Because I don’t feel like looking it up right now. If you know, let’s all share. Sharing is caring, and learning is fun.

What’s this?

It’s called a donut peach. I think they bred this specially to try get their stupid fat kids to eat fruit. “Yeah, tommy, it’s just like donuts”. I saw a family of 4 eat a dozen donuts for breakfast when I was at Tim Hortons the other day. No comment.

These curious folks also like the birds. Well, I think they do. Maybe they like keeping their dolls outside and the birds just bully barbie and ken out of their houses.

This is just a couple. They are ALL OVER THE PLACE. I promise to keep taking pictures of them and adding them as and when I do.

That is all.


Watch the lights…

July 25, 2006

We mucked in. It’s about the only thing to do, so we try. This time it was “Thunder Days” or “Roaring weekend” or “hicks in the sun” or something. I can’t remember. It was Drag Racing. It’s been building for weeks, with flags, billboards, signs and radio ads getting everybody worked up. We even had a “Let’s all drive up and down the main street for no reason” thing on Friday evening. Okay, so Friday’s thing was pretty nice, and included a lot of really nice classic cars. But pretend I thought it was dumb as hell. It’s funnier that way :).

So, the mucking in. We decided that going to the airport at 9, when the gates opened, was a little early. Especially considering the racing only started at 12. As you can see, we were the only people in town that thought that way:

Thats only about a quarter of the track, too. It was the most packed thing we’ve seen since we went strawberry picking. Oh, didn’t tell you about that yet, did we? Later, maybe.

We definately stood out from the crowd, firstly by looking hot, as we do, and also because we were the only people not riding the bus. We thought 500 metres was a completely walk-able distance. Then again, we do try to keep fit, and like a challenge.

It was BLAZING hot. Somewhere in the region of 35 degrees, in the shade, and there – was – no – shade! Okay, so there was some, but it was far from the track. Luckily for us, the fair-skinned half of our little partnership was also less interested in the noisy fast goodies. She was also getting irritated with the “spits”.

Now this is a phenomenon I first noticed when I went “to the ball game”. I noticed a LOT of sunflower seed shells. I’m talking 4 cm deep layer in front of the “bleachers”. It wasn’t until I watched a father and son demolish an industrial sack full of seeds did I realise they weren’t laid for some secret baseball reason. They’d just been spat out and never cleaned up. Sometime after this, Claire learned that they actually call them “spits”. Gross people.

It took this lovely lady about 4 minutes to get her pile this big.

This charming young girl was even making “phtooo” sounds.

Haha – I knew I had a photo of her, but I just discovered that I CAUGHT HER IN THE ACT! Look at that shell flying gracefully grass-wards.

Oh, and there were cars.

And bikes

And Smoking tires

And even a snow-mobile.
Bloody Canadians!

Not a bad time, but surprisingly dull for something so noisy. I think someone has to crash in a spectacular ball of fire for it to really be drag racing, though.

I saw my dream car on the way out. I drooled a little.

Thanks for all the comments, by the way. I need to motivation to keep going. Really can feel like I’m talking to the wall sometimes, and we all know that walls are not the best listeners. You guys rock :).

That is all.

A few emergencies I got to see on my last call

July 23, 2006

Claire : Hi, I’m Dr Rawson, what can I do for you today?
Girl : I’ve been here thousands of times, I just need something for pain
C : For what? Where’s the pain
G : I had my tooth pulled a few days ago, but its still sore
examined, etc – just a red gum
C : Have you taken anything? Ibprofen?
G : No. Give me something for pain
C : Okay. I’ll give you a shot of an anti-inflamatory but go to the chemist and buy some Ibprofen.

4 hours later
Girl : I’m back, my tooth is still sore
Claire : Did you buy any Ibprofen?
G: No, I need a subscription for it
C : No you don’t, its an over the counter drug, you can even buy it in supermarkets
G : But you said I need to take 600mg and the ones you buy without subscription are 200mg
C : (stop saying subscription!! prescrition, prescription) deep breath…….. Yes, but 200 times 3 is 600 isn’t it?
G : No, give me a subscription!!! I NEED A SUBSCRIPTION!!!

So, to get rid of her I wrote a prescription for ibprofen.

10 minutes later she comes storming in waving her prescription – ” If this doesn’t work I’ll sue!!”

Later a 16 year old, worried for a year about a lump in his throat. It was his adams apple.

A middle aged man who waited 2 hours to see me because he’d knelt on a pine needle.

A middle aged woman who had had one sip of rum after taking her pills and thought she was going to die.

And best of all a phone call from an old dear wanting to know what to do about the dust on her husband’s oxygen tubing.

Ahhhh, the drama of the ER.

Small Town Doctor

July 23, 2006

Oh the joys of working in a small town! Well, to start there aren’t so many doctors around, and now with it being summer, most of them are away – so now it feels like its just me. We have a teeny hospital, 40 odd beds, 20 of which are filled by patients I’m looking after and instead of the usual 3 24 hour calls a month I’m doing 2 a week. Anyway, I’m okay with that, its the other intrusions that I’m sick of. On thursday we decided to watch Superman at our one screen, one show a week, kind of crap cinema. Quite an excursion considering how little there is to do here. So half an hour in, beeeeeeeeeeep, beeeeeeeeeeeep. So I phone, can I come assist in a C section? I said no, I’m watching superman, to which I got cackles of laughter and then an order to come, apparently I am the only Dr left in town who can help. So I went and joined the nurses that had been pulled from a farewell party and the gynae who had been called off his tractor. On my wayout of the hospital I bumped into another patient having a smoke and had to stop and hear her most recent complaints. Eventually I got back to the movie, even though I was gone over an hour I don’t think I missed much.

Anyway, am on the tail end of yet another call, nurses have just phoned to say they need me. Another 96 year old with chest pain I’m guessing.


July 9, 2006

Well well. If there is a more “North American” thing, I can’t think of it. Homecoming Queen, Homecoming Dance, Homecoming Fair, and Homecoming Parade. We probably had all of them, but we only got to “take part” in the last two. That is of course if laughing ourselves silly at the people is considered “taking part”. Lets just get you in the right mood.

But lets be slightly cronological. We went to the fair first. It cost us a full $9 each, so we made sure we looked at (and laughed at) everything. Its like we stepped into a movie (again). Forgive us for the image quality and composition. We forgot to take the camera, so had to take the pictures from outside. We were NOT going to pay and $9 each, despite the priceless characters inside.

But you get the idea. There were also a million (okay, twenty) of those “pop the balloon/shoot the ducks/dunk the ball – and win a teddy” things. And its the first time I’ve had to use my “get away from me! I’m serious” voice I usually reserve for dodgy car-guards. They all shout at you to try it and win “your lady” a prize. They also had trotting races on the track. What a silly race. Its like watching competative human walking races. Except the people don’t have their legs tied together so they can’t run (although, THAT would be fun). We spent most of the time, yes, you guessed it, laughing. At the spectators as much as the jockies-who-couldnt-cut-it. Three words: Mullets, Stetsons and Bellies. Men and woman. Apparently during homecoming, everyone is a cow-person.

On to the parade. Now, the plan was to take enough pictures that I could stick the whole parade together, one float/car/horse at a time and put it up here. Impossible. I have all the pictures, but its about sixty-thousand, so I’ll just give you the highlights reel.

Firstly, it’s the highlight of the year, aparently. EVERYONE was there.
Lining the streets. Literally.

It started with a BANG! A float. A float with old dudes. Old dudes with pipes. A bird.

Another float. A motorised red-wagon. A Camel. Old dudes on trikes. The wa-wa t-bird patrol (which induced more laughter than can possibly be possible. I nearly wet myself)

A spattering of animals.
Classics. Okay, I actually quite liked these.

And finally, they pulled out all the stops. Mr Deere wanted to showcase the latest and greatest wares before the Harvesting season begins. Thanks John.

Look – its Frank! Okay, go watch ‘Cars’, then come back here.

A terrific experience. The best small farming town homecoming parade I’ve EVER been to. I even had a lolly thrown at me. It’s been a dull week in the wake of such excitement. We hope to find more to show soon.

Also, is anyone still reading this rubbish? I get the feeling I’m writing for Lindie and me. Anyone?

That is all.


July 8, 2006

Well, I think I’ve worked out what you want/like. Its not the “we did this and then that and blah…” stuff, is it? Its the “this is why Canada is weird and stuff” stuff. I’m right, no? You don’t want the travel channel, do you? So lets get the travel channel out the way:

We went out to “great spirit lake” last weekend. It was nice. I took this picture.
Yorkton’s main road, Broadway.
Taken from outside the liquor store (don’t ask), but look, a sign…

See, that wasn’t so hard?

So, on with the random shit.

We had slurpies. I was tempted to go for a “big gulp”, which is only the second biggest (the mammoth is called something like the gulpiest-gulp-a-licious or something equally stupid), but I really didn’t need 2 litres of flavoured ice. So we just got semi-small. I think there were seven different sizes. Seriously.

I don’t think I’ve had anything quite as “toxic-blue” pass my lips since I was 6 and actually WANTED bubblegum icecreams. I miss those days – I’m going to eat more things that hurt my eyes.

ILM (for Lindie and people too afraid to ask)

We went looking for somewhere on the lake to have a little picnic. No luck, but look what we did find. Two of them. There is hope for this place yet.

Can anyone explain why this sign needs this much detail? Perhaps they mean “Look out for little boys wearing shorts running across the street” and they have yet to add a sign for little girls, dogs, boys playing tennis, kids on bikes, etc.

Thats suburbia in the BG. Look at how “cookie cutter ville” this place is. Complete with ornaments.

One road over is where they sell the harvesters. And seeders. And threshers. Its scary that I know what those are. And which the good brands are. Oi!

The Prairies arent all bad. We are surrounded by enourmous fields of this. I think its Canola.

And when was the last time you saw such an awesome sky?

For simplicity, I’m going to finish this post and get on with the “WTF?” in a new one. Love you guys.

Canada day weekend

July 2, 2006

Today we were, for the very first time since we’ve been here, invited to someone’s house. Well their “beach house” (half an hour out of yorkton on the edge of a lake) and it was really nice, we chatted, swam, played with their kids, barbequed some hamburgers – all in all a truely north american afternoon. Then at 9pm we drove home along farm roads in our massive 5.7l red jeep. (well ours for the next month). Most of the time its easy to forget where we are, I do my work, we eat, we sleep, but some days it hits me. Today was one of them. We are here. People fly massive canadian flags in their back yards, and lots of them an equally sized saskatchewan one. No one has a fence. We leave our door open. It gets dark late, dinner is lunch, washroom is the loo, fanny is your bum and I know the selling price of barley.

I miss samp and beans
I miss the mealie lady with her huge welcoming toothy smile at the taxi rank in atteridgeville
I miss gareth cliff on my drive home
I miss the enthusiastic, but useless guard at our gate
I miss biltong
I miss the chocolate babies SO much

I miss lots about South Africa, often, and unlike the majority of South Africans here, I still think it rocks. I do so much promoting here. But this is also cool, I can’t rollerblade everyday in Jo’burg. And the sky, well you have to see it to believe it. I’m over it, but the sky is so endless and the ground so flat that you can see the curvature of the earth.