Darlington Family Website   top_right.gif (10247 bytes)

Click on the Moose to navigate into our wildlife page
2010 - 2012 Alberta, Canada

8 Sep - House handed over, Jeep sold, suitcases packed, dogs incoculated, 4 passports/4 tickets and were off to Sunny Yorkshire!


Sep - Final parties, leaving lunches and time out with colleagues to say thanks and farewell. Pic was with Russ's Canadian Work gang who in their spare time, have an impressive armoury of period hand guns, semi-automatics and shotguns. A great day out, my favourite was the .38 revolver from the turn of the last century. 


Aug - GT is gone, 109 boxes on their way to Catterick, 110volt gear all sold on Facebook, dogs flight booked, our flight booked, house sorted in the UK, storage warned to deliver, Medical docs sorted, four weeks to go ..................OMG. 


Aug - Dogs have a new toy in the Garden. Not enough to have Gary the Ghopher and Roger the Rabbit out the front of the house. But now we have Sammy Snake living under the Hut. Molly looks at it, Chloe paws it. 


29 Jun - 7 Jul - A holiday in the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, fully packed, with sushi, Gordon Ramsays, Pool time, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, M&M Factory,The Grand Canyon, Shows: Phantom, 'O' by Cirque de Soleil, Piano Bar, Zumanity, a bit of gambling, shopping including Bead shopping, Fairmont Experience, Vegas Strip entertainment and an IMAX Film. Full holiday album  here

Sushi mmm Bellagio Pool Gordon's Gaff Hoover Dam Vegas Strip Bellagio Phantom Grand Canyon

25 May - 2 Jun - Karl popped over for a short break, relaxed at home with a spring trip to the Rockies.

Come on, lets go Bow River Our Lodge We've Boarded here !! Lake Louise Chair Lift Amazing views Cold Icemelt Pools Three Sisters peak

2 years to date - Dis-assembled, repaired, re-painted, re-rigged and 2 years later, I have finally finished this 19th Century model of a Chinese Barque, used to carry Oil and Linen around the South China Sea all the way to the Persian Gulf. Now I can parcel it up and send it back to its rightful owner ..... Karl


28 Apr - 12 May - Sue and Jen paid us a visit and headed to the Rockies for a week+ of activities with Elli.

Spring in Ralston Banff TAXI Bow river now running Girls and Mounties Fairmont Chateau Ski slopes still open On Thin Ice at Lake Louise Storm Mountain

23-25 Mar - Easter weekend away in the Rockies included the highline trek on the 3 sister peaks, the amazing Sage Bistro ... again, the new Chinese in Canmore which is awesome and of course a dip in the Hot Springs.


13 Mar - Grand Downhill Slalom skiing competition winners....how awesome is that! Not bad considering I'm really a snowboarder.


26 Feb - 5 Mar - Aloha, an amazing time in Hawaii, the island of Oahu hosts the bristling city of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and the infamous Pearl Harbour ........

Whale dinner trip Elli managed to find Beads Waikiki Beach Our Personal Chef night USS Missouri The Girls Amazing Island 13th on the
US Marine Base

12 Feb - Three Ghurkha colleagues took over our kitchen for the day to provide us all and a couple of friend with an amazing spread of authentic Nepalese cuisine. Tip'n'Tap with Alidam Potatoes, Pork Bart,


19 Feb - While Elli was ice walking in the Rockies, she missed the spectacular Northern Lights back in Ralston. Another night maybe


18 Feb - Elli popped off to the 1980 Olympic Park to ride the bobsled at over 120kmph round 16 turns, pulling 5G and more. Good girl. 


8-12 Jan - Russ and Karl, back to the Rockies for some Boarding dude! Forecast for Banff is Sunday Clear; Monday 2cm in the Day, 4cm at night, Tues 10cm more of fresh powder, bring it on and lets hit the slopes...........awesome.


19 Dec - 4 Jan - K & K over for Christmas in the Rockies ..... Lots of fun in the white stuff. We hired a condo in Canmore and spent Christmas and New Year in the Mountains. Lots of Skiing, boarding, ice climbing and a 2 year old bottle of Sloe Gin ........

Christmas Morning Mystic Springs Hot Tub M&D present Ice Climbing Lake Louise Ice Bar Ice Castle Boarder Dudes Getting Air Sunshine Skiing Resort 

Nov - Were getting ready for winter, car: winter tyres, emergency clothes, food, spade, engine heater! Garden: hose pipes drained, BBQ away, furniture stored.....boring ..... WAX THE SKIS, GET THE SNOWBOARD, BUY THE SKI PASSES, BUY A CONDO AND GET SOME LEAVE IN
                                                          H A P P Y       D A Y S


31 Oct - Happy Halloween, note to self, Next year buy enough sweets and so we don't have to use our reserve stock. Next year prepare enough for 100kids.


12 Sep - 2 Oct - Two Birthdays, one Wedding and a Baby. Pat and Allen followed by Chris and Rachel with an unexpected; slightly early appearance from Alex.

1st October 2011 24 September 2011, 5lb10oz Alex Luke Hutchinson Karl  won! The Wedding Group 21 September 2011, Allan 65 Centre Parcs The Bride and Groom

1 - 10 Sep - Karl came out for a while, just in time for our RV weekend in Waterton National Park.

Top of Bears Hump Trail Into the USofA Top of Bears Hump Trail Half way up! Brilliant view Elli Driving the RV At the RV Park Waterton Lake

28 - Aug - Riding across the Prairie with a posse. Rode south down past the old pump house into the South Saskatchewan River before returning back to the Ranch just after sunset to the sound of Casey Jones' Train and Coyotes. Other critters we encountered were deer, shame I left my Winchester back at the Fort.

28 Aug - Trip down to the South Saskatchewan river with the dogs. This amazing river starts in the Rockies from a Glacier, which we have stood on, it travels 1930km into Lake Winnipeg and then onto the Atlantic.

18 - Aug - Saw the most strange creature crossing the road in the village after a downpour, further investigation revealed it was a 'Tiger Salamander'. How do they survive the -37oC and +35oC extreme temperatures in Suffield.


14 - Aug - Elli had the opportunity to go up in an Army Helicopter.


13 - Aug - Ralston Rodeo arrives in the Village, Elli looking the part with a can of root beer..yuk.


31  Jul - Went to sunshine ski resort just to see what it looked like in the summer. Surreal walking on the ski runs, normally covered by 2m of snow

Off Piste! found some snow Sunshine Village !! Sulphur Mountain
28 Jul - The Rodeo came to town, town had a police post and a very small church.

27 Jul - Took a drive on the Prairie and came across 200 head of Deer, no more than 20 mature stags - a magnificent site.


9 Jul - Took Molly and Chloe down to the car wash ....... why you ask ... they have just opened a pet wash section, so funny, especially with the blow dry !!!!


18 Jun - Fathers day, Call of Duty for the Wii with substance provided by Boiled egg in a suitable cup holder and soldier shaped toast ..... gone to heaven.

June - Pat came over for a few weeks spending time with Elli in the Rockies. Luck would have it that two bears were seen, they bravely went up Sulphur Mountain on the Gondola and when back in Medicine Hat, Pat and Russ went riding on the Prairie. All in all; 250 photos and a very busy time which ended too quickly.......Its pronounced Miniwalker and they are the names of the HORSES thankyou
Lake  Minnewanka! Prince and Duchess

4 Jun - To Celebrate our 28th Anniversary, enjoy the sunshine and to watch the final of Britain's Got Talent, we threw a BBQ party for friends. The mosquitoes stayed away and the Dogs enjoyed some of their friends coming to play for the afternoon. Great food, Great company.


28 May - Seafood night and of course fancy dress - yep pirates, picture is blurred for 2 reasons, my phone camera and too much Rum ..... well what else.


25 May - Spring is here, our Gopher wakes from his 7 month sleep, didn't seem impressed with the snow covering. Meanwhile the Grizzlies also wake with a roll and a play. Sadly this was also the time to say farewell to our winter visitors, the Mule Deer head north for pastures new. See you guys in November !

Our Gopher wakes up Bit Bright ! Chloe does this Last sighting, see you next year
15 May - Spring Skiing in Sunshine. Spent the weekend in the Rockies, Red Lobster Dinner, Banff Springs and lots of Skiing. Back to Med Hat for a BBQ before back to work tomorrow.

24 - 30 Apr - Road trip from Medicine Hat to Vancouver Island on the Pacific West Coast. 2,935 kilometres, 7 Hotels, 2 Ferries, Mountains, Red Indians, Snow, Vineyards, Sunshine, Wolves, Bald Eagles, a Seal, Grizzly Bear and One Time zone ! Check out our Photos and Route Here


17 Apr - River dance visited Medicine Hat, a pile of us dined in Town followed by an amazing show

26 Mar - Hoe Down Cowboy and Cow Girl Party, Baked Beans, Beef, Beer with a bucking bronco and country music (No we didn't dance) yeehaaa !!!

5 - 19 Mar - Karl over for a couple of weeks. First week, skiing in the Rockies, where Karl master the slopes as a skier dude before returning to Med Hat were he became a Snowboarder dude on the slopes of Hidden Valley. Other stuff; Watching Ice Hockey, Johnston Canyon, Hot Springs, Fondue Banff, Lake Louise Skating and chilling in Med Hat.

karl_trip_1.jpg (607294 bytes) karl_trip_2.jpg (2285746 bytes) karl_trip_3.jpg (698561 bytes) karl_trip_4.jpg (890032 bytes) karl_boarder.jpg (356714 bytes) karl_trip_6.jpg (442344 bytes) karl_trip_7.jpg (120679 bytes) mov_icon.jpg (32108 bytes)
A Cold Johnston Canyon From Russia with love Skiing dude Yep, snow Boarder dude Where's Elli New Pow Dude Black Diamond

25 Feb - Mule Deer pay us their daily visit

mule_deer1.JPG (630363 bytes) mule_deer2.JPG (592184 bytes) mule_deer3.JPG (387975 bytes) mule_deer_chloe_deer.jpg (336560 bytes)
Dad and family
Not a TV Dad looking great Chloe v Doe

31 Jan - OMG, -34 degrees, someone said to me that there was not much difference between -20 and -30 …… completely rubbish, it’s impossible to walk more than 50metres. I was also told that at -30 you can throw boiling water into the air and it turns instantly into snow, so we tried…..and it DOES …. Rubbish picture but it did turn instantly from boiling water into snow…. -34.jpg (40707 bytes) home_made_snow.JPG (140957 bytes)
-34 Snow !!

25 Jan - We took the summer picture of Johnston Canyon Reception in the Rockies in June when Mum was over. Such a contrast to the picture we took this week, although the sky seems pretty similar. The Porsche has gone !


JCSumme.jpg (98894 bytes) JCWinter.jpg (75648 bytes)
Summer Winter

24 Jan - Skiing and fun in the Rockies for another week. Drive up was scary with Route 1 resembling an off road track not a 2 lane highway. Ice sculpting festival in Lake Louise where the snow was so deep Chloe nearly disappeared. Took a visit to Johnston Canyon where we stayed in the summer and after a bit more skiing, Russ spent the day on a Ski-doo in the mountains of the British Columbian Rockies, complete with Avalanche transmitter which was slightly worrying, A great Birthday pressie from Elli. Apparently Husky dogs don't drink water just snow, so the Brown Sisters are in Training. A view from Waha Chair lift in Sunshine Ski Resort and yes another amazing picture in the Rockies while SKIDin ....

ski1.jpg (127872 bytes) ski2.JPG (98202 bytes) ski3.JPG (28875 bytes) ski4.JPG (70038 bytes) ski5.jpg (76230 bytes) ski6.JPG (78922 bytes) ski7.jpg (183189 bytes) ski8.JPG (50499 bytes)
Route 1 West Ice Sculpting This aint funny bin there ski-dooin Snow lunch New Pow Dude I want one !

17 Jan - Dogs have a new Bed. Molly doesn't like sharing it !

dogs_new_bed.JPG (218549 bytes)

15 Jan - A very snowy covered Village and Prairie, the paths and roads are now dug into valleys about waist high, the gardens have a few feet of snow and the picket fences have almost disappeared, each day another few inches fall and compact into a couple of centimeters.

snowy_house.JPG (55979 bytes)

7-15 Jan - Ski and Wolves. Nope, still not a pub, this time a break in the Rockies .... Sunshine Ski resort near Banff is without question the best place to ski in the Rocky Mountains. Temperatures plummeted to -25, but 29cm of fresh snow made powder skiing outstanding. We took a break from the slopes and went on a dog sledding trip, ice skating on Lake Louise before hitting the slopes again, where Elli cracked chair lifts to the high mountain ski runs before driving back in horrendous conditions to Ralston where we had to dig our way into our home.......A great week.......

Rockies1.jpg (388583 bytes) Rockies2.jpg (206612 bytes) Rockies3.JPG (68450 bytes) Rockies4.JPG (204516 bytes) Rockies5.JPG (193146 bytes) Rockies6.JPG (1263688 bytes) Rockies7.jpg (303653 bytes) Rockies8.JPG (115248 bytes)
Sunshine -21 Degrees Dog Sledding Pimms Please Our Castle M & C Scary OMG
Happy New Year 2011. More Deer and really really bad weather, Jet lag played havoc on our body clocks, so we lit a Chinese Lantern and went to bed at midnight (well midnight probably somewhere in the Atlantic) 2011_weather.jpg (91839 bytes) 2011_deer.jpg (163075 bytes)

15-30 Dec - Christmas in England. Flew from Medicine Hat to Calgary in a Toy Airplane. Then a big one took us to Heathrow. Stayed in London for a couple of days, first meal was Steak n Kidney Pudding Chips, mushy peas and a pint of London Pride Ale in the Sun and Moon Pub, Westminster aaaahhhh. Saw Kirsty and Karl and Lady GaGa in London, then to Lyneham, Meppershall, Harrogate, Ramsbottom, Blackpool, back for a last night in London and Sheesha in Bayswater  before flying back to Canada to see the pups who had Happy Holidays next door. A great trip and a great Christmas.

uk1.jpg (98030 bytes) uk2.jpg (97625 bytes) uk3.jpg (148112 bytes) uk5.jpg (417059 bytes)
Very Small Oh Yes Xmas Day Sheesha

5 Dec - Dog n Deer. No not a Pub but the best of so many encounters between Chloe and the wildlife. Chloe was sat with her nose against the Lounge window when a young Doe walked right up and they were only inches apart (and a pane of glass) staring into each others eyes.

dog_n_deer.jpg (62726 bytes)

29 Nov - 4 Dec - Skiing in the Rocky Mountains. A week Skiing in the Rockies was brilliant. Skiing by day and out with our house mates at night. After a hard day on the slopes, our weary legs were treated to the outdoor jacuzzi at Banff Springs before heading into town for great food including of course the traditional fondue.

ski_1.jpg (276623 bytes)

18 Nov - Booties, Beards and Baltic conditions - Temperatures plummeted to minus 26C. The Dogs needed booties on to protect their pads from the extreme temperatures. We really didn't appreciate how bad they suffered until we saw them limping, so booties are now in use at -15 and below. Chloe stills rolls in the snow and both seem to go crazy as soon as they are released off the leads,  snow madness !!

snow_1.jpg (376504 bytes) snow_2.jpg (159549 bytes) snow_3.jpg (389695 bytes) snow_4.jpg (457159 bytes)
More Snow -26 Degrees Snow Beard Booties

10 Nov - Snow if forecast and its -8. Dogs wear booties to protect their pads from the  ALL the superstores were selling them next to the dog biscuits, so we bought four pairs and laughed so much as the dogs ran around in a strange moon walk, needless to say, they were NOT impressed as the picture shows.

were_not_happy.jpg (331435 bytes)

11 Nov  - Winter Driver Training.  In preparation for the winter Elli attended a winter driver training day. The highlight was the Skid Car training where a GMC Envoy was converted to simulate instructor controlled skids to train drivers for over and under steer when losing control in ice and snow conditions. This video is brilliant, didn't she do well.

3GP.png (14657 bytes)

Nov - sticks. Strange sticks have been appearing round the village, about 1.5 m tall with reflective card sandwiched on the top, they seem to be growing on street corners and near fire hydrants. Apparently its so when the deep snow comes, you can still see where the edge of the road is ..... OMG

snow_sticks.jpg (398599 bytes)

Oct -   Sports Month. We have taken on a few sports to see us over the winter. Helmets, goggles, salopetts, thermals, socks, roof rack, sticks and two long planks of wood and were off on the white stuff SKIING. Elbow pads, a thick coat and boots; we're at the ice rink regularly ICE SKATING. Elli scored a personal best of 145 at our Wednesday league at Ralston 10 PIN BOWLING. Its going to be a great winter .................................................

Icemen.gif (33980 bytes)

Sep - Kirsty and Karl's visit.   A bit of a rainy start around Med Hat followed by a Rockies Road Trip starting in the Hat, then onto Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Edmonton and Back, 2,090 kms. Highlight was most certainly seeing a Grizzly Bear in the wild and then Elli coming face to face with a Black bear whilst out with the dogs, Chloe woofed and we all scarpered, as did the bear.

1_coulee.JPG (651896 bytes) 2_road_trip.JPG (363407 bytes) 3_road_trip_doggies.JPG (623188 bytes) 3_calgary_tower_restaurant.jpg (158350 bytes) 4_johnson_canyon_cabin.JPG (409033 bytes) 5_johnson_canyon_falls.JPG (724188 bytes) 6_cabin_banff.JPG (525177 bytes) 7_diner.JPG (562259 bytes)
Coulee All Packed Dogs Packed Calgary Tower Banff Cabin Johnston Log Cabin Diner B'fast
8_riding_bikes.JPG (485282 bytes) 9_banff_fondue.JPG (578791 bytes) 91_bow_river.JPG (625943 bytes) 92_rockies_hot_springs.JPG (580186 bytes) 93_columbia_glacier.JPG (471152 bytes) 94_fairmont_chateau.JPG (485056 bytes) 95_jacuzzi_jasper.JPG (920242 bytes) 96_4_amigos.JPG (906294 bytes)
Rockies Biking Fondue Bow River Banff Springs Cold Glacier Lake Louise Jasper Four Amigos

Aug - Stallion and a Mare. Like something out of a cowboy film, off we went across the prairie on our new mode of transport, namely Prince and Tickles. The ride into the expanse of the wilderness was both fun and exhilarating! To envisage the size of the prairie, it is twice.. not once but TWICE as big as Yorkshire and all the Ridings put together. Those who visit, bring your riding boots.

riding2.jpg (368507 bytes)

31 July - Oktober Fest! Yes even over here, traditions do not expire, so it was Oktober Fest in JULY. Why, simply because its faaar to cold in October to celebrate this marvelous event. Ian, Andy, Me and a new bloke with antlers growing from his back arrived at Fort Whoop-up with the Fraus and other than the food disappearing a few hundred miles south, a good night was had by all.

oktober_fest.jpg (739201 bytes)

July - Stampede. Medicine Hat Stampede is a celebration of Cowboys bringing in the new herd of cattle from the Prairies. Gone are the days of branding, but collection of Prairie Oysters still continues out of necessity. In the town, a cowboy rodeo demonstrating the age old skills of bull riding/lassoing continues. Some would say cruel as it's a repetitive show, distant from any modern farming purpose involving show animals. Opinions not required but Elli and I decided not to see the Rodeo Show. The festival additions included cowboy stalls and fairground rides, brilliant.

med_hat_stampede.jpg (55100 bytes)

Jun - Mosquito Season. A wet June and July has developed into a pretty horrible extended Mosquito period. Not helped by the Tree Huggers banning DDT Swing Fog spraying around the village, the numbers and aggressiveness are remarkable. Now an expert on Mosi extermination, with 1/2 acre clearing device in the Garden, potions and house checks to ensure no (or minimal bites) are received. Fact Sheet: Mosi's are territorial, they live about 2-3 weeks and eat plant nectar, only the females take a blood meal in order to lay eggs, which they do every 4-5 days. Over 1000 eggs laid by each female in their life.....unless they live in Russ's Garden in which case watch out !

mosquito.jpg (27997 bytes)

27 Jun - 18 Jul - Mum on Holiday. Trips to Medicine Hat, unpacking the main consignment and then unpacking the final consignment which was bizarre as Mum helped pack it in England! Bowling, a weekend in the Rockies, Hair do and lots of shopping.

mum_visit_Jul_10.jpg (659724 bytes)

24 Jun 10 - Kit arrives and Elli's Car. Picked up and got Elli's car registered and our Kit arrived on Saturday with Mum arriving on Sunday. What a hectic week. Two boxes were water logged from the crossing, thankfully, it was not irreplaceable items. Still haven't quite managed to get the Jeep's voice recognition system tuned to a Northern English Accent, but if you remove all the 'T's and 'S's from your voice and elongate the vowels, it works most of the time.

jeep.jpg (12198 bytes)
10 Jun 10 - Where's our kit?
Mississauga  Express
left Liverpool on the 27 May and arrived in Montreal on the 6 Jun. The container is now hopefully on the Trans Canadian Railway on route to Calgary before arriving here in Ralston on or about the 16th courtesy of an in country removal company.
Mississauga_Express.jpg (38555 bytes) Mississauga_Express_posn.JPG (196170 bytes)
OOCL Belgium container ship, with our 2nd consignment left Manchester Docks on the 12 Jun and is in the Scotia Sea, about 800 NMiles off the East coast of Canada, due to arrive via Montreal on the 27 Jun. OOCL_Belgium.jpg (38003 bytes) OOCL Belgium_posn.JPG (135420 bytes)

6 Jun 10 - Echo Dale Regional Park. EDRP in Medicine Hat, great walks along the South Saskatchewan river. Just checking out Dog Walking areas. See Google Earth Link here

PolicePointPark.JPG (870035 bytes)

31 May 10 - Karl's 21st Birthday. Karl arrived the day after we landed in Country to spend time in our new home and celebrate his 21st. Helping us to set-up, getting around, a massive steak on his birthday and a visit to Medicine Hat NASCAR racetrack.

NASCAR4.JPG (85943 bytes) NASCAR3.JPG (267110 bytes) NASCAR2.JPG (346165 bytes) NASCAR1.JPG (335354 bytes)
Panoramic view at the Redcliffe Race Track The Race On the Track Muscle Car

30 May 10 - Russ's turn for the Sports Car. Pontiac Coupe GT, 2.4 L injected engine with Traction control, cruise, AirCon and engine heater block -  which is where you PLUG your car into the mains in the winter to stop the engine block freezing. The car park at work has posts with sockets on so you can Plug your car in, how mad is that. Essentially, a motor in the engine circulates the coolant through a heat exchanger powered by the mains supply. Failure to do this in the winter most certainly results in your car not starting.....until the sun comes out!

Pontiac.JPG (691714 bytes)

26 May 10 - Little House on the Prairie. Very much like a tardis with a second floor equal to the area above ground.... underground. 1 Double and 1 Twin Bedroom, Dining Room, Lounge, large brand new kitchen, 2 Wash(!) Rooms, utility/furnace room (just like you see on the US murder movies!!) and a recreational room (Poss Wii Fit room). Environmentally controlled producing air heating, air cooling and humidifier (Not de-humidifier like Oman!) to condition the dry summer air. Not too big and not too small. The main feature is the Menagerie of wildlife regularly visiting the house, 10 Gophers, 6 rabbits, 2 cats, 20 birds and 6 bats on a DAILY occurrence. Chloe is going bonkers!!! Weather; in the first week we have had snow, rain, wind and Glorious blue skies with 28° Sunshine...Marvelous.

ABCD0005a.JPG (808633 bytes)
ABCD0006a.JPG (861086 bytes)
21-26 May 10 - The Long Way West. A night at mums, 4 Hotels,a Barge!, 1 aircraft, another Hotel and a road trip on the prairie to our new home. After a night at mums we stayed at Aynsham Hall in Oxford (Amazing) to see Karl (also amazing). Then off to Milton Keynes to celebrate Jennie's 30th Birthday with Lunch on a barge and a P-A-R-T-Y. Two nights in London with our last night spent with  K&K. A final picnic at Windsor before we jetted off to the wild west. To prepare us for the onward journey, we hotel'd in Calgary before our road trip East to our little house on the prairie! The jet lag took 4 days to shake but all 4 of us have now adjusted to our new surrounding. Google Earth location here. ABCD0008.JPG (338221 bytes) ABCD0007.JPG (359275 bytes)
036.JPG (59589 bytes) ABCD0006.JPG (249214 bytes)
074.JPG (61137 bytes) ABCD0005.JPG (259732 bytes)

7 May 10 - Were Ready. We re-assembled the dog boxes in Leconfield so M&C could get used to them. As soon as the door was opened they were in like lightening as though they knew that another great adventure was upon them .............

ABCD0009.JPG (242136 bytes)