Looking forward, looking back…

For many involved in education, this time of year is about beginnings; a new school year and all the excitement and promise that goes with having a new set of students. Fall is fast approaching, and summer is fading. It’s all about planning for the fresh academic year, being ready with spruced up lessons and wonderful ideas to activate learning. Something like that, anyway.


The other day, I found myself sitting at my desk, in my empty classroom (the students were due to arrive in another couple of days), making a few final adjustments to some “start the year” type activities. Jotted down some hoary old bits and pieces to share with the new arrivals, along the lines of making a good first impression (but give your teacher, Mr PC, some slack – he is happy to see you, but he smiles on the inside…), make a good second impression if the first one didn’t go so well, and it’ll all be fine as the year progresses. The steady drip, drip, drip of encouragement. So, very much in looking forward mode. Yet, I’m not quite ready to let go of summer…

Drip, drip, drip

Don’t tell the principal, but I ended up using a few minutes of that planning time to make a note or two about our summer adventures. We had a splendid summer, fortunate to be able to visit the UK, and spend time with family and friends – this was an absolute highlight. Still, banging on about close friends and family that other people don’t know isn’t necessarily a recipe for an enthralling blog post. So I’ll spare you those details and, over the next couple of posts, share one or two other highlights instead. Not that these will necessarily be enthralling, but I’ll do my best (as I like to say to students) and these are what came to mind, what I scribbled down in the quiet of the classroom:

dscf3068Let’s start with sitting outside the Tofino Botanical Gardens Darwin Cafe, taking shelter from a heavier period of rain, and drinking an excellent cup of coffee whilst leafing through old editions of The New Yorker magazine. Really, PlaidCamper? Yes, really! It’s not always all action outdoor pursuits for the PlaidCampers, you know! Who am I kidding? If you’ve read even only one or two of the posts here, you’re already very aware that it’s rarely all action outdoor pursuits for the PlaidCampers. I imagine high octane all action adventure must be exhausting. It certainly seems it. Hence the coffee, gentle rain, beautiful plants, and magazines.

dscf2759I must admit, I’d never read a copy of The New Yorker before picking one at random from the pile. Talk about a lucky dip! This particular edition had a new short story by Ian McEwan, and I’ve always enjoyed his novels. The short story, My Purple Scented Novel, was an absolute gem. In his tale of rivalry, professional jealousy, and betrayal between two writers, McEwan constructs a devious, gripping, and (suspend your disbelief) plausible account of a relationship that twists and turns from the first to the last paragraph. I loved it, and loved it again when I reread it prior to writing this post.

The Tofino Botanical Gardens, a cup of great coffee, and an enjoyable short story. All these elements combined on that damp Tuesday afternoon to produce a happy summer highlight. I think back to that, and I smile (on the inside…)

dscf2755I can’t transport you to Tofino, and I can’t share a cup of coffee with you, although I’d love to, but I can give you the link to McEwan’s story:

My Purple Scented Novel


Boats, floating

If nothing else, this was a great excuse to look back at some West Coast photographs from the summer! If this didn’t float your boat, be warned, because I’ll write about some other highlights in the next post or two.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to leave a comment or share a story, and have a wonderful weekend!

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

26 thoughts on “Looking forward, looking back…”

  1. I was impressed all summer long, pc, with your numerous adventures all around the world. Hikes and adventures in Wales, England, Canadian Rockies come to mind. And your photos here are delightful. Best wishes for a grand new school year~~


  2. Love that photo at the edge of the body of water with all the wood debris.Nice leading lines.I am sitting here with my morning coffee as I read your blog. Not familiar with MacEwan but will keep my eyes open. I have been reading “Empire of Sin”” by Gary Krist, a historical account of New Orleans due next week for my book club.It is quite a full read that is taking some discipline to spend the time necessary to get through all the detail.Looking over your blogs from summer, I would say you had a good one. I am sure some of the memories can be shared with your students which(that) they will appreciate. The photos are a little gray, sigh, they match my mood as summer comes to an end but there is autumn yet to come with all of her fabulous colours.


  3. You mean summer is over? I loved your summer excursion posts and felt a longing for Vancouver Island. I had no idea that you are a teacher! my painting hat is off to you, whew, a difficult job. Love your photos, looking forward to your upcoming posts as usual.


    1. I imagine your summer lasts a bit longer than up here! We’ve been camping out at Lake Louise this weekend, with a fair bit of rain, and snow a little higher up – looks pretty, but we wouldn’t mind some sunshine and warmth for September…
      Being a teacher, like most work, can have a challenge or two, but I enjoy it. I’ve mostly taught Junior High, then got a position teaching grade 6 and found I liked it far more than I thought I would.
      Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your summer adventures and the coastal trips were my favorite. Prior to this post Cornwall had a slight edge over Tofino, but, as an armchair adventurer, thoughts of a great cup of coffee and reading an enjoyable short story with this scenery has moved Tofino to the top of the list. Enjoyed your photos and the short story and I hope you managed a few smiles for the new students!


    1. I think a couple of grimaces passed for a smile!
      If I had to choose, I’d opt for Tofino and surrounds over Cornwall, but they’re both pleasant places to be. The clincher would be that we had great coffee all over Vancouver Island, not to much in the UK!
      Thanks, and have a wonderful week!


  5. A wonderful stop-time post, PC, with a Janus-like ability to look forward as well as to reflect on the beauties of a season past. Wonderful! As a fellow educator, I can say that the new academic year is looking hopeful, and I wish you all the best.


    1. Thanks, Walt! Quick heads up, one highlight to come will feature a collection of poetry I kept returning to all summer – written by a fly fishing, rambling naturalist and educator.
      Glad to hear your new academic year is off to a hopeful start, and all the best to you as it unfolds.


  6. Ah, PC, we loved this post of recounting all the grand adventures of the free summer and the quiet time at a coffeehouse reading Ian McEwan. Precious time and wonderful memories. And now, for the new beginning. Enjoy!


  7. Hello Plaid Camper – thank you for the post, the photos and the link. I love Ian McEwan.

    I hope you have a happy semester with happy students. I also hope there will be some happy hiking and camping days ahead.

    Have a great week-end and a wonderful week.


    1. Hello Pandora – thank you for your good wishes! The new academic year has started well.
      Ian McEwan is always worth reading, he is so good at creating characters and twisty plots that still seem plausible, however unexpected.
      I hope your weekend went well, and that you have a great week!


    1. Yup, and I imagine it’s not pretty to watch! From summer relaxed to September crazy in too short a time. Partners of teachers are sometimes long-suffering…(I bet your husband never comes home and rants about the students!)
      Thanks for your visits today, and I hope your week is going well!


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