Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Some pics...

My Canadian coming through... BBQ

Lukas and I playing a little stick and puck!

My first home in England (Harwell) Me in front of Blenheim Palace

My long lost cousin Jamie and me out on the town!

PS - not very good at this business of putting pics on here... bear with me and I will figure it out!

Friday, May 25, 2007

After a bit of a hiatus... the Blog is back!

Greetings and Salutations my family, friends and compatriots,

I thought it was due time that that I get back on the BBB (Baker Blog Bandwagon)... Lots has happened since the last time I wrote. The job is in full swing! Ben (former Director of Coaching) has been patient enough to let me shadow him for the month and show me the ropes. We have been visiting franchisee's a couple times a week to assess the coaching and quality of the sessions. This has brought me to Fullham, Chiswick, Islington, and Fleet. I have also been doing my first bit of coaching on the weekends doing three sessions and on Wednesdays doing a Little Kicks class of tots aged one and a half to two years and three months!! I am working on putting a program together for kids visiting Lego Land on June 6th, which is the big amusement park around in Windsor. I am loving the job so far and I feel like I am getting more confident with each session/visit.

I've managed to get a couple touristy things accomplished since I have been here. I made it to Oxford for a day of visiting free museums. Among them was the Museum of the history of science which displayed, among many other historically scientific artifacts, a chalkboard full of Einsteins work from a lecture performed at Oxford University. I also went up a big tower in an old church and did a little shopping... I hit up the Blenheim Palace today. This was pretty cool to see. It had a big section honouring the late Winston Churchill including letters to his dad, Lord Randolph. The letters were written when he was a child with topics ranging from him asking his dad to bring him home some stamps from Africa, to asking for daddy to send him money when he was away at school. He also wrote a letter apologizing for losing his dads watch in some pond, and wrote of how he payed 23 men from the infantry to dig a trench and empty the pond so he could get it back!! The palace was amazing and the tour took us through the room where past dukes and kings and queens had stayed, as well as through a massive Dining Room with the most amazing paintings I have ever seen. If I can figure out how to post pictures on here I will show the photographic evidence.

Last weekend was great fun. I met up with my long lost cousin Jamie whom I hadn't seen in about 10 years! We met up to watch the FA Cup final and then got together with my buddy Andrew Baker's friend Erin from Montreal and her boyfriend and then another friend of a friend that night. When I went to see Oksana she was sitting in a restaurant with Loren Duhaime. (A girl who also played soccer at Laurentian) I must say it was great to see somebody from back home!

The most recent develoment would have to be that I found myself a place to stay in London! After weeks of planning out trips to check out different neighbourhoods, flats, and houses... and cancelling each of these trips for one reason or another, I ended up taking the first place that I looked at. It is a huge house with six bedrooms, a large kitchen/ dining room and a fairly large back yard. My room is quite large with my own frenchish doors leading to the back garden and a fireplace. It's in a borough called Herne Hill which seems to have everything I am looking for! I will have plenty of room to put up any friends or family that would like to hang their hat for a night or two! (Let me know if you are planning to come to England anytime soon, there are still some nights available for this summer and I will be booking for next fall in the near future)

Some people were asking about how they could leave a message. Wellll it's simple. At the bottom of each posting it will say: 4 messages (or however many people have made)... click on that and then send a message using your google account. If you don't have one, sign up for one, its right there! It's great to hear from you all so don't be shy... show me some love!

I have to go now, tea and biscuits are calling my name! Oh, and I forgot to mention that it is a long weekend here and Harwell has its summer feast going on!! Woohoo... I am going to hit that up for sure, and might even cap it all off by attending the highly anticipated 'barn dance'! Brings me back to the Jr. Farmers Dances in Elmvale.

Peace out y'all... Bakes

Friday, May 11, 2007

Top 3's

Deals -
3) £0.99 Fosters twist promo at some Pub in London
2) £0.99 for 500g of shaved turkey... 2/3 off!
1) 20 pack of Budweiser for... wait for it... £7.49...
Sidenote: Lets break down this top deal... £7.49 my dear friends is about $16 CDN! Allow me to retype that... $16 CDN! I may end up paying an arm a leg, and my first born for rent over here, but you won't find a deal like that on beer in Canada! Cheers anyways...

Meals -
1) BBQ at Frank and Christines - Ribs, Pork, Hamburgers, Salad, Roasted Taters, Asparagus...
1) BBQ at Kate's - Lamb with allllll the fixins
1) The First Supper - Bill and Hill treated me to a fine meal on my first night!
Sidenote: I decided to sit on the rating fence on this one as each meal could have easily stood alone at the top of the list... High five to each host!

Embarassments -
3) Music Trivia - I didn't represent well at the music trivia night in Harwell... but I did step up to the plate and come through on a Sheryl Crow song!
2) Walking into the girls washroom at the local pub... this one was averted due to the fact there were no girls in the Loo at the time... and in my defense, everything is backwards in the UK!
1) Stick and Puck - Don't ever play hockey in figure skates... 'nuff said.
Sidenote: Honourable Mention to the time I went for a run with the dog and gave some kids the two finger salute! Apparently holding the middle and index fingers directly in the air is not considered a wave in the UK, actually its just like holding up just the middle finger back home... Ladies and Gentlemen, your new football coach for children under 5!

British Words -
3) rubbish... has a nicer ring than garbage and can be used in so many different ways... Could you bring the rubbish to the curb? What a rubbish football match... can you rubbish a little lotion onto my back??
2) loo... as in "Can you please point me in the direction of the loo? AKA - Toilet, Bathroom, Restroom...
1) cheers... what a feel good word... not to mention its easier to write or type than thank you... It flows off the tongue so eloquently...
Sidenote: mince = ground beef... frankfurter = hot dog... tube = subway... high street = main street... flat = apartment... motorway = highway... football = soccer... juicy bits = pulp...

Canadian sport through the eyes of the most popular radio station in England -
3) Oil wrestling
2) Pillow fighting
1) Man vs. Animal fighting
Sidenote: If I'm lying I'm dying, there was about a week of morning show radio outlining the top sports in Canada... They even played audio clips with commentary! It was riveting really. I can't wait to come home on vacation for a little game of pick up pillow fighting...

I have put off laundry for long enough... time to get my cleaning face on!

Time to make like a 747 at Gatwick and take off...

Stay classy Canada

Monday, May 7, 2007

Ryan joins the Quarter Century Club in style...

What a weekend... brief synopsis: SATURDAY was golf and a big BBQ with alllll the fixin's... after the BBQ the lads watched match of the day (football highlights) and the ladies sang their hearts out while playing Karaoke hero on the Playstation... It didn't take long until we all joined in and sang til the wee hours... got my first game of golf in, if you call slicing drives into the next fairway and three-putting from 10 feet golf!! SUNDAY I played some mean stick and puck with Lucas... Lucas was brilliant and scored the first goal in the scrimmage! But the real battle was the wipe-out tally which I won convincingly 6 - 4! Thats right I spent most of the time on the ice... I looked something fierce out there with my red figure skates, boys hockey helmet, and a chunk of lumber fit for a man twice my size! If I never have to wear figure skates again, I will be a happy, happy man!

Last night we had another BBQ at a neighbours place and celebrated my birthday with some cake and a couple gifts. Among them were a couple travel books and some excellent English chocolates. Cheers to all for a great night. My apologies to KATE for referring to you as ANNE the other day in my blog... Kate, this could be seen as a compliment as everyone I know with the name Anne I hold in very high regard! (My nanny for example) Kate was our gracious host last night. She cooks the meanest lamb this side of London and that is NOT an understatement...

On another note I am thinking about living in London reather than Reading... much more going on and the price difference is minimal from what I understand.

Big up for my boy Steve Nash holding it down in Phoenix... anybody see the battle wound he ended up with last night in the first game of the second round?? What a trooper! Raps are toast... what a disappointment. They certainly did not play to their potential in the first round...

Hope all is well with everyone...



Saturday, May 5, 2007

First night at the Pub!

I just arrived home from my first night at the Pub. We had a trivia night which was mostly musically based... I did lousy and my fellow team did slightly better and got us 4th place out of 7. It was a great time with Christine, Frank and Anne... I had a Fosters, Kronenburg, and some Cider drink which was spot on!

I am a little sad that I will be missing the Raps game tonight but I am there in spirit and have full faith that they will win and then take the Nets at home! VC sucks, VC sucks...

This weekend I am getting my first golf game in and I am going to play Stick and Puck (unorganized hockey) with my good friend Lucas who is 6 years old and just starting to play the game. There is a BBQ on Sunday where we will be eating some mean lamb and maybe a few things going on in between.

Much love to all... Ry

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Finally made it to England... safe and sound

After weeks of anticipation, a number of going away parties and a few goodbyes I have made it to England. So for those of you who thought that I was never going to leave, I have in fact accepted a job in the UK and have made the move! That means that my weekly going away parties must end...

My flight was interesting to say the least. My parents and little bro and sis saw me off at the airport after a nice meal with my sisters family. My flight that was originally supposed to leave at 10:50pm from Hamilton didn't leave until about 1:30am. Once we got on the flight we all realized that they had combined two direct flights, one which was to go directly to Glasgow and one that was to head directly to London. Well we got on the flight and were told that the flight would go to London and then to Glasgow!! I've never seen such a large group of mad Scotsman!! There was yelling and screaming and carrying on which basically fell on deaf ears because our flight crew was Icelandic. Their english left a lot to be desired but these Icelandic ladies were not hard to look at so it made the flight slightly more bearable.

I arrived at Gatwick airport around 2pm in the afternoon local time where I was met by a good friend of the family. Bill and Hillary, or the Hillbillies as they are often referred to as were very welcoming and fed me well. It was a bit of a trade actually as they left today to head to Canada to visit my grandparents. They live in a town called Crawley which is quite nice. I went out for a little adventure on a purple raleigh bike to tour around the town. Among other things I saw a Lambourghini... a game of netball (much like basketball)... a few football matches (soccer of course)... and checked out a local golf course. Luckily the golf is about the same price as in Canada, £14 for a round so it is pretty reasonable.

I am now at the Stanschus household which is in Harwell (about an hour from London). BIG THANKS to Christine who drove about three hours round-trip to pick me up from Bill and Hill's. Her and her family have been kind enough to allow me to stay here for a little while until I get myself organized and find my own flat. They live in a beautiful house which is about 550 years old!!! I am starting work tomorrow and will be shadowing the current director of coaching for the next month as part of my training for this role. I found out today that my franchise visits will bring me not only around England but also to Ireland, Greece and Africa!

That brings you up to date... cheers to all my family and friends for all your support over the last few weeks and I look forward to seeing you all soon... when you come to visit me!

On a side note, I am going for blog of the year and in order to get this prestigious award I will need the support of you! Leave a message to let me know how you are doing, comment on my blog, or whatever else your heart desires... I think as of right now, Gilbert Arena's blog on is tops and I look forward to joining such an elite rank soon! (wait are there blog awards?) Oh and check out this article: