One of the favourite descriptions of the UK, especially amongst it’s inhabitants, is Rip-Off Britain, indeed there is even an entire website devoted to the subject. Whilst there are loads of things that cost more in this country, hence why we quite often go shopping when we visit Canada, it is not everything that is cheaper abroad.
Thanks to the massive competition in our domestic mobile phone market, the deal we are being offered on the 3G iPhone seems to be one of the best around, indeed it seems positively generous compared to the deals in in Canada where there is no competition at all in the market, and New Zealand where there are only two players.
In the UK, on the higher cost plans we’re getting the phone for free, down in New Zealand users of every plan have to cough up for the phone. Both the operators in Canada and New Zealand are applying hard limits to data – over here we have unlimited data usage.
Not surprisingly it doesn’t take much to find potential purchasers in the two countries who are less than happy. About the only complaint I’ve heard over here is that users are tied to O2…
Both Beth and myself have now got all of our pictures uploaded to Flickr, and in my case some of the videos. You can find my set of pictures here and the pictures Beth took are here.
There are more videos to come, but amongst the interesting stuff so far are a bit of a modern day cattle round-up – Beth getting the quad bike is here, then clips of the actual round up are here and here.
Following on from the round up, is some video of the auction at which the cattle that were rounded up were actually sold. Quite how anybody follows what the auctioneer is actually saying I don’t know, as it all sounds like gibberish to me – aside from the point when one of the bidders queries something, and then the final price (which is not the price for the complete lot – cattle is sold by weight).
Here are slideshows for both mine and Beth’s pictures:
So we’ve been back on British soil for about a day after taking advantage of the early Easter to spend the school holidays in Canada. I’m slowly working through the pictures – delights to come include a bit of a cattle round-up, a cattle sale, plus a little bit of Canadian winter driving courtesy of their very own late season snowfall that we drove through on our way back to the airport.
By way of a taster, here is a slightly different drivers eye view to the one we took in the UK a couple of weeks ago. This one is a sample of the Canadian Gravel Road experience. Some of the lesser used roads are maintained with a gravel surface, although in some cases they could be regarded as fairly important, for example the most direct route from Buffalo to Oyen in south-east Alberta is gravel.
Anyway, this is the last seven or so miles of the drive to Beth’s parents ranch, so also gives an idea of the kind of countryside around where Beth grew up, and also shows that despite what one or two of Beth’s classes might have thought, she wasn’t taking pictures to avoid the trees. The prairie landscape is pretty typical of what you see around the area, with the only significantly treed areas being the river valleys. You also get somewhat of an idea of what Beth means when she talks about the “big sky” out on the prairie.
Slightly atypically we do actually pass another vehicle on the road, as the fuel truck had just made a delivery. It’s also worth pointing out that the prairie isn’t always this colour – on other occasions the same views will be green or white as far as the eye can see, depending on the time of year. This being the early spring view, currently the new green grass growth is hidden by last years dried grass – subject to the right amount of rain the same trip would look rather different.
A couple of other notes, the beeping part way down is the sat-nav deciding to reset itself for no apparent reason, and the vehicle we’re using is a second generation Toyota Highlander. Camera was my normal Fujifilm F50d.
Although by making use of internet search tools I can track some usage of my pictures on Flickr – for example I have a saved technorati search that looks for sites referencing my Flickr URL that is common across all public pictures – compared to the level of statistics I can get for visits to any of my websites, information in the past has been rather limited.
What you might have missed though, is that Flickr now has a stats feature of it’s own – see this blog posting for the announcement – which was added to the site at the tail end of last year. It takes a few hours to get the information generated once the feature is turned on, but after that you get all sorts of interesting stuff about which pictures are popular, when and from where.
What the stats have now allowed me to find out is that a staggering 3070 viewings, that’s 79% of the total have come from the Canadian Yahoo Weather site – looking at the page it has a little boxout with weather pictures taken from Flickr. The picture isn’t in the current set – it’s only been viewed 4 times in the past month, but at least I now know where all the viewings came from!
Talking to our friend Meli on the phone earlier in the week, I happened to mention the first place that Beth taught in Canada where they had a horse drawn school bus, because the temperature often got cold enough that the diesel in the normal bus would freeze.