Bridges, beer, boats and blue skies!

We took a short trip to Victoria last weekend, hoping the forecast for sunshine and blue skies might actually be accurate, and would you believe it, it was!

Blues skies, big breeze, and a boat!

The days weren’t the warmest, but they were certainly the driest we’ve experienced in a little while, so it was all good. Almost forgotten how great it can be to tilt your head up and feel a touch of warm sunshine (ignoring the chilly breeze!) on your face. Almost smiled…

Dark skies, bright lights and a blue lit bridge!

For various reasons, January this year has been a real drag, grey and gloomy, and not always just the weather. What a relief then to finish the month on a bit of an uptick.

I’ll give this one an uptick

I’ll keep it brief this week, and end by sharing a couple more photographs showing a highlight or two or three from the past weekend. Farewell January and hello February – you’ll give us a sunny day or two, won’t you?!

Bright blue and brisk…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Definitely brisk out there – time to stop for a coffee?!
It’s off white in daylight!

Adventurous types…

A shortish piece for a week where we’ve been worried about friends and family not doing so well, medically speaking. That said, it doesn’t have to be all gloom (although, the January weather here – please, weather gods, just a few hours of blue sky! Is that too much to ask?!) Right, on with the story:

Blue sky! Not much, admittedly, but there’s a patch!

L, a good friend, was taken unwell recently and rushed off to a local hospital. Alright, we’ll go see how he’s doing. Nope, not there, he was transported to a larger hospital the next big town up. No worries, we’re heading there Tuesday, we can drop in. Ten minutes before arrival, I picked up a voicemail. “Hey, L here, I’m not in Port, I’m in Victoria!” We can do that, had plans to be in Victoria at the weekend, so called back and left a message saying we’d track him down… By the time we got home from Port, a new voicemail. “Don’t go to Victoria, I’ll be heading to Tofino by the time you hear this!” Sure, that’s an easy reach from home.

Older and wiser heads

We finally caught up with L in Tofino. I thought he might be a touch miffed what with all the travel. Nope, not a bit of it! Instead, a model of grace and calm. He’s been hither and thither, up and down and over and across the island in the past week. Prodded and poked, weighed and measured, yet still in pretty good humour given the circumstances.

On the way to Port – or was it on the way back? Losing track!

Smiling as he recounted his travels, he whispered he doesn’t need but would quite like an air ambulance to the mainland, just to grow his recent medical transportation collection, you know, to complete the set.

As we’re here…

Over the years, L has been a logger, a fisherman and a trucker, loving aspects of each – particularly the travel – the more difficult and remote the better. So being bumped around in an ambulance on roads that have seen better days wasn’t too bad. “The medics couldn’t understand why I was so happy! I didn’t mind, seen worse, felt worse!”

Blue skies! Really! Short-lived, but it happened…

I left L with a pile of sports and outdoor adventure-type books he’s keen to read. “Yeah, you can go now. Let’s see what we’ve got here. Hockey? I dunno, not any more, not at my age. Hold on! Mountain climbing, eh? Haven’t done much of that, could be good…”

Adventurous? Yessir! Busy right now, so how about tomorrow?

Yes, mountain climbing, eh! Well, why not? Curiosity and being an adventurous type can keep one going. L has about 25 years on me, and I wouldn’t put it past him to be out in front again soon, with me struggling to keep up.

Mountains? Let’s start with a low one!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a pleasant weekend!

A walk on the quiet side…

Exhilarating though it is to be (safely, and from a distance) facing into the teeth of powerful storms, or pretending to do so just after they pass, it is also quite exhausting. Nature’s noise and frenzy is exciting for sure, but sometimes it’s nice to wander on the quiet side.

Still

This is what we did last week, heading out in a different direction for our morning walk, on an almost dry day, stepping away from the coastal trails and across town to the inlet side.

Inner harbour

It’s rarely entirely calm, being so maritime, but on the inlet side it can get close to almost quiet. The rain had stopped, and the wind was barely there, as reflected in the still water. We saw a few ducks – my eyesight and identification skills aren’t up to positive naming – but they were fun to spot. One flew below us, past where we stood overlooking the inlet, a long graceful swoop and glide along the top of the water, a slight skimming wake created before setting down. Nice landing!

Touches of colour!

Although the day was muted and grey, we enjoyed the pops of colour from the floats on boats and the bright paintwork on the wooden and metal harbour railings.

Almost calm

We’ll head back out on the wild side for sure, but it was very pleasant to have the option of a walk on the quiet side!

The quiet side

Thanks for reading, and we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Log, rock, wind and rain…

Could be a nursery rhyme, could be what we chant as we head along the shore, and it could sum up our recent outings.

Yesterday morning had the sort of weather that could ruin your hair do, but with a toque and rain hood protecting my hair don’t, and Scout happy enough as a high shedding short hair, we didn’t let the start of a storm stop us from looking great as we headed out.

Straggly and flattened, as the barber often tells me

Definitely a high energy nature turning up the power kind of a morning. Gulls were wheeling and swooping, seemingly just for the fun of it. Waves rushed in, sporting wind blown crests and crowns, and the noise was almost overwhelming – rain on hood, wind through trees, screeching gulls, the lighthouse foghorn, and the scrunch/crunch gravel sounds of the tide running up and then down. What a blast!

A blast!

Earlier in the week, we’d trotted back up the trail to see if our favourite little cove was accessible, knowing full well it wouldn’t be even after the bulk of the storm had passed. We could hear the thump and thud of logs in the surf before we got there, and when we reached our little viewpoint just off the trail, we were met with quite the sight. I even took a short video:

A short video

Anyway, we’ll keep it fairly brief this week as we need some time to towel dry our hair, see if we can’t get ourselves halfway presentable. Although, why bother, as rumour has it there’s another big one rolling in this weekend! Ready? Log, rock, wind and rain…

“No, no, not this one, I’m not ready – look at my hair!”

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“Yes, this one!”

Incoming

The turn of the year has brought a fair number of blustery days, and these have been good for blowing away any cobwebs and waking us up.

A day to be above and not on the beach

We’ve stuck to the coastal trails after each storm, excited to see the waves and admire the churning waters. One of our favourite little beaches has been off limits due to high tides and strong surges. On a calm day you can sit beneath the rocks and look up at the enormous logs, marvelling at how big the weather must have been to wash them up there.

That’ll do it

We’re looking forward to calm day so we can scramble down to the beach, see what’s been washed up – Scout is convinced there must be a decent chew twig or two – and we wouldn’t mind a few quiet minutes with a cup of coffee and waving at the resident bald eagles drying their feathers out (the two wet blobs in a couple of the photos this week are the said eagles – they are stoic!)

Churning

Looking at the forecast for the next couple of weeks, those calmer days are still a little while off, but it’s been pleasant to notice and enjoy an extra daylight minute or two as the days slowly lengthen…

Here comes another one!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Very big matchsticks
January 2022 Down on that beach, on a calm day!

Happy New Year!

Power on, power off, power back on, snow, wind, freezing rain, heavy rain, and more rain. We’ve been enjoying some big and breezy weather the past few days, but haven’t been hammered as hard as other places. We hope all is well with you, wherever you might be. Keeping it brief, and wishing you all the best for the year ahead!

Here it comes!

Hopefully a less turbulent year, perhaps drama free and a little more calm, be that politically, economically, environmentally and in all our interactions. I know, but it doesn’t hurt to hope…

Choppy, off kilter…oh no!

Thanks for reading, always appreciated, and we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Winter light

We’re just past the solstice and enjoying the winter light and the promise of more daylight hours. Hello winter!

Low winter sun

We’ve had rainy days, snowy days, grey days and a few golden days the past little while, all pleasant enough, and illustrated here in the accompanying photographs.

Snowy days!
Morning light

I’ll keep it very brief this week, as we send warm wishes to you for the season if you choose to celebrate, and hope you have a great time with family and friends, perhaps close to a forest, lake, beach, mountain or other preferred natural environment!

Brisk on the beach
Green days

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Good morning? I think so…

Almost home

Scout and I enjoyed a couple of almost warm and mostly sunny walks one day earlier this week. We rounded the last bend of the street just before home and found we liked the way the smoke from a nearby chimney was wafting through and across the treetops.

Almost home (and two Narnia streetlights)

The second of our two walks that day took us along the coastal path to a sunny little spot that is often warm in the sun even if the overall air temperature is low. It proved to be so that afternoon, and we enjoyed a pleasant few minutes in the sun. Never one to be still too long, Scout was soon pushing for us to move on.

“Let’s go!” (I like how Scout almost matches the diagonal lines in this one – but as far as Scout is concerned, it’s about her, not the lines…)

I was surprised by how low the sun was, although I shouldn’t have been given we’re approaching the shortest daylight hours very soon. The next photograph was taken before 2pm but seems later:

1:37 PM

We hurried along the path for a few more minutes, wanting to enjoy more of the sun and sparkling water before darkness fell and winter returned. Yes, the rumour is that we’ll be experiencing a little more snow sometime next week. I’m trying not to get too excited, but please let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, as somebody once sang. Not me.

1:35 PM (I couldn’t think of a caption)

Almost home! Not too bad. I’ll leave it here this week, and wish you a wonderful weekend ahead!

PS For anyone excited by the baking adventures I’ve been having as prompted by Nigel Slater, I had a go at his banana and cardamom cake, and it was pretty good. Banana and cardamom cake

A pinch, a dash, a dollop…

I was happily engrossed in making mincemeat for festive pies the other day, noodling away in the kitchen, mostly adhering to Nigel Slater’s instructions as written in “The Christmas Chronicles” and letting my mind wander in between the more precise measurements. At this point, I should say a huge thank you to Mrs. PC. She knows I’m not overly fond of the Christmas season, although I do like an excuse to cook something seasonal, and she knows I’m often most contented in the kitchen. On top of my usual lack of enthusiasm for “all that tinsel and other shiny stuff” – I don’t know who said that – I’ve also been moping more than normal for the time of year. Mrs PC’s excellent solution was to give me a copy of the aforementioned Slater collection.

Highly recommended

Aside from the off putting (to me) title, this is a wonderful book. I love Nigel Slater’s descriptive writing, meticulous, maybe even overly fussy and fastidious approach to cooking and life, as well as his dry British wit. Oh, and his recipes are always interesting. Mr. Slater says he’s not so much a Christmas enthusiast as a winter enthusiast, his favourite season, and all this is explored throughout the pages of the book. Christmas is in it, but it’s more a wholehearted embrace of the colder months and how to enjoy them from a kitchen and cooking perspective. (I have to say, as he gets older, it’s clear he enjoys Christmas rather more than he might want you to think, and I suspect it is all to do with the rituals. Having the “right” tree, bringing the box(es) of tree ornaments down from the attic, taking the time to send individually chosen and handwritten – with a fountain pen – cards, making the cake several weeks before, and preparing homemade mincemeat for mince pies. Is he right? Hmm…)

All the right trees

Mrs. PC says of course you like Nigel Slater, you share some of his traits. Do I? I’m not so sure that’s true. I’m a little obsessed by certain rituals. I mean, there is the delight I take in properly preparing coffee, a beer needs to be poured a certain way and in a certain glass, the left sock is always before the right, and doesn’t everyone weigh pasta precisely before cooking it? I think we’ll leave this paragraph here, and move on.

Highly recommended – just the right tasting glass

Where were we? What’s with “a pinch, a dash, a dollop”? I was coming to that. Remember ages ago, at the start of this piece, I mentioned I was letting my mind wander? A few years ago I was chatting with a friend about various chefs, and we agreed Jamie Oliver was a personable chap and had many great recipes. I like his approach – he is quite happy to add a glug, dollop, pinch or dash of an ingredient to his dishes. There are measures given, especially and quite rightly for baking, but there is a freedom with some additions. Our friend said she found that infuriating, and could not get her head around it. How much is a glug or splash? How big of a pinch, and what size is a dollop? What even is a dollop?! She is way more meticulous than me, with a mathematical and scientific mind, and she could not get a handle on Jamie Oliver’s approach. Her frustration makes me appear super-chilled (because I am, of course) and as I added a pinch or two of nutmeg this week, her laughing disbelief at a lack of precise measurement came back to me. I smiled, then added another dash of nutmeg and a glug or two of brandy.

A light frosting

I’ll end with a mince pie story. Or a missed pie story. It’s not terribly exciting – feel free to jump off or head out now if you’re still here.

As a child I absolutely loved mince pies, particularly the ones my mother made. She’d bake a batch and then fend off her four greedy boys with a spatula, telling us to wait until they were cool enough to eat, and eventually letting us try one, even though they were far too hot. Serves us right, and let that be a lesson, laughing at us all teary-eyed and trying to hide how we should have waited a few more minutes. Anyway, too hot, just right or even slightly stale (not that many sat around long enough for that to happen back then) I adored mince pies. One year, early January, aged 11 and about to turn 12, I was draped across the sofa feeling sorry for myself (some things never change – Mrs.PC) and saying I was feeling sick. My mum wanted to use up the rest of the mincemeat, and asked if I’d like a batch of pies for my birthday. Unbelievably, I said “no thanks” and that’s when my mother knew I was truly unwell. To this day I often think about those missed pies, and I’ve made every effort since to eat an extra one or two to make up for the lost ones. I never seem to catch up… Anyway, isn’t this where we came in? Me, in the kitchen, making a few mince pies…

Super chilled

Gosh, is that the time? I’ll finish up now, get this posted, and then settle down with a cup of coffee and perhaps, I don’t know, a mince pie? Coffee first. Start by measuring the beans…

Super chilled! Might as well if he’s started on the coffee and pies. Not going anywhere too soon…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

PS The Slater pies are good, but not as good as the ones my mother makes!

“Let’s go out, let’s go out!”

OK, Scout, keep your hair on!

“How can you resist? Let’s go out!”

Why the big hurry from Scout? I think because she’s a snow dog, and the weather gods had heard my pathetic whining last week, so we were rewarded with a day of snow. I believe that’s how these things work? Snow? Hooray! First thing in the morning, it wasn’t all that much to get excited about – don’t tell Scout I said that – but we went down to the beach anyway. Light flurries, and the start of a biting wind, but that was it. Pretty enough.

Almost snowing…

As the day progressed, the wind got wilder and the snow got heavier, to the point where we got home and off the roads before other travellers also got off the road by sliding into verges and walking the rest of the way. Yes, there were a number of abandoned vehicles scattered at various points along the road the next day, but no serious incidents.

It turned into the sort of day best enjoyed from home – it really wasn’t a strolling in a winter wonderland kind of day due to the very blustery conditions. Scout indicated she wasn’t too happy about that, so I opened the front door for her to confirm that perhaps she didn’t really want to go out? She took one step – maybe not even as many as that – and promptly turned back indoors. Yes she’s a snow dog, but also a wise dog.

“This is ok…”
“…but I’m not going out in that!”
“Let’s stay in, let’s stay in! You’re going to the lighthouse? I’ll pass…”

Well, we did go down to the lighthouse, without Scout, to see how it looked in the snow, but it was so sideways and gusty, the snow wasn’t sticking and details were hard to find. We beat a tactical retreat and told Scout it was great…

No sign of the ocean

I’ll leave it here for this week, happy enough that we had a pretty cool snow day or two, and wondering if the call for more snow before the weekend is accurate…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

From the kitchen window