Today’s soup is…

Beer?! No! Not yet…

Soup, of course! More about the soup below. I know, you want to bail out now – but then you’ll never know about the soup. It’ll eat away at you…

Did you really think it was beer? It’s not like this blog posts a seemingly endless stream of beer photos.

Oh. Erm, a hop forward soup?

We walk past this chalkboard at least once a day, and if the current specials aren’t too inspiring, I find the soup of the day makes me smile.

Why not?

At PlaidCamper Towers, yesterday’s soup was a rather good homemade tomato and lentil, cooked from scratch with love and care, and the need to do anything except read another online article about how to improve oneself during the enforced sabbatical. I mean, if I read one more thing about how making your own soup from scratch with love and care will help you cope with hours indoors, and help me reach my potential, why, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll start writing about how making soup can help while away hours spent indoors. Is it too early for beer yet?

This blog is meant to be about the adventures of an almost outdoorsman, but given the current situation, I may have to rename it. Ooh, rebranding, isn’t that a thing, like conservatives suddenly loving public health, and finding the magic money tree is actually a magic money forest?! Time to start over, a new identity. Maybe, the adventures of a confirmed indoorsman? Indoorsman – is that a word? Adventures in dusting behind the books, vacuuming the baseboards twice a week, sweeping the little deck, and some updates on how the paint is drying where we’ve fixed a couple of drywall dings. I might even start some deliberate dinging of drywall just so I can fix it, and then write about it. Did I mention yesterday’s soup already?

A brief escape for the indoorsman

Anyway, I’ll leave it for this week, as I’ve got to go and find the hammer, plaster, paint and brushes Mrs. PC hid while I was writing this.

I do hope you’re keeping well. The current crisis is very serious, and frightening for so many. I admire and thank all the people who are doing all they can to keep what is necessary going. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend.

City tails

I was walking down our local high street the other day, aware of the need to have space between myself and any other person out and about. It was early in the morning, but still, it was so quiet. Scout and I saw barely a handful of other pedestrians throughout our walk, and very few cars were on the road. It has to be said, well done, people, for taking the distancing seriously. From what I’ve read, that isn’t the case in all places.

A near empty bus did go past, and the destination lit up on the front was “North Haven”. I’m not sure where exactly that is in the city, but it made me think. I hope wherever you happen to be, it resembles something of a haven, north, south, east or west.

Well, this is new…

Being back in Alberta, we’ve switched to winter, at least compared to the coast. Toques and coats, and hold on tight as Scout leaps into snow banks, tail wagging furiously. I slip and slide and smile as she reacquaints herself with the delights of snow…

Yeah, snow!

Being back in the city means that (an appropriately socially distant) visit to the beer store offers the chance to catch up on the Alberta craft beer scene. I’ve over two years worth of developments to discover!

Yeah, beer!

I was drawn by the name “Hawk Tail Brewery” and hoped the beer was a match for the packaging – I can say I’ll be drinking another glass or two of this when the weather warms up. Clean and crisp.

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

Flights of fancy

I was going to call this one “Taking Flight” but Walt over at Rivertop Rambles got there first earlier this week. Do go over and read his blog, and if your reading tastes run to fine writing on matters outdoors, I can highly recommend any of his books – he’s just published a new one…

Back to not taking flight, and flights of fancy. The new brewery in Ucluelet opened a couple of weeks ago, and we were delighted to pop in and sample the beer, see if the extended (and extended) wait was worth it.

Wings over water…

Of course it was! The converted and repurposed church premises are lovely looking, inside and out. Pale walls and big beams up to a vaulted ceiling, all just right in a small temple dedicated to hops. It’s an intimate space, and it was great they resisted the temptation to squeeze in too many tables and chairs. You’ve got elbow room, space to hoist a glass without jolting your neighbours and new beery best friends.

We were all beaming

Yeah, yeah, thanks for the architecture and interior design reports – what about the beer?

Ucluelet Brewing Company – hop stuff!

I’m very happy to say the beer is good! We had a flight of four, ranging from light to dark, and each was perfectly drinkable. A Kolsch style, a Belgian wit style, an IPA, and a porter. Of the four, the Kolsch and IPA were particularly good, the Tragically Wit (yup, they did) was fine but not my favourite style unless brewed in Belgium (yes, I’m a beer princess, guilty as charged) and the porter seemed closer to a nut brown than a true dark beer along the lines of Fuller’s London Porter. Given that London Porter might be my all time favourite and the one I’d pick if I could only drink one for the rest of eternity, the porter at Ukee Brewing had no chance. The St. Aiden’s Porter was Mrs PC’s favourite, just ahead of the South Swell IPA for her. I fancy that a pint of the Seventh Day Kolsch will be very enjoyable after a warm and sunny day of hiking/paddling, particularly if you’ve snagged an outdoor seat overlooking the bay.

Obviously, to make sure our recollections are clear and correct, we’ll have to go back at least once (!) more, to be absolutely certain this report is accurate. There’s so much fake news out there these days, it’s important I get the facts right. Discipline and dedication. Thanks for your concern I might be putting too much time into the research, but surely someone has to win a Pulitzer for beer reporting?

A flight of fancy…beer

Cheers all, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers!

Piling on! (Don’t panic, it’s a love fest…)

Uh oh, is this a rant?! It is primary season, and it does seem there has been plenty of political piling on, in New England, around DC, in post-Brexit Britain (where Brexit “got done!” – Really?! Oh please…) and elsewhere in the infernal news cycles. No, no rant, if I stop this paragraph now.

Love is in the air! How about a list of loves? Yes? OK!

Canada (a small corner – the piling on the right is a kingfisher hunting spot)

Friends and family, Canada, camping, the natural world, beer, camping with beer, coffee, camping with coffee, books, movies, Scout! I could go on, but we’d all grow tired.

Beer (good for camping)

This week, I have loved seeing a belted kingfisher ruling the inner harbour here. I spy him on gangway railings, perched on a hemlock bough, and best of all, up on a piling and ready to dive. He truly is a king fisher, an absolute champion, and a regular delight on recent harbour walks.

Kingfisher (old photo, but it’s the same bird – I can tell by the hair!)

I’ll keep it brief, only adding I love that you’ve taken the time to stop by and read this. That is always appreciated! Alright, it’s getting awkward now. All far too warm and fuzzy this week – I’ll aim for a tougher stance next time. Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend!

Scout! (Good and ready for any adventure!)

A hazy shade of pale

A self indulgent musical interlude this week, brought on by the weather. Well, the weather, spending last weekend painting the entryway into our little apartment and listening to the rain hammering down outside. Watching paint dry, the walls closing in, I needed musical distractions.

Not raining, almost bright

There are so many songs about the rain, and so many rain-connected OldPlaidCamper musical memory moments. Musical memory moments?! I sound like a DJ on a golden oldies radio station. (Smashie and Nicey!) You might want to spin the dial, find another channel. I won’t mind, and you know how it is – we all think our musical taste is simply great. Although I’ve read ahead, and I’m not too convinced about mine. Anyway, here it is, a rain-inspired mix tape. Oh no…

Rain! (The blur in front of the wheelhouse is a belted kingfisher, photobombing and about to dive in!)

Press Play

Ongoing rain had me humming “Rain” by Status Quo. Not my favourite Quo song, but still a good one. My favourite Quo album? “Hello!” Even as a child, I thought “Hello!” – that sounds pretty friendly, much like how the band came across. Some music critics have said that if you’ve heard one Quo song, you’ve heard all Quo songs. Bit harsh, that. I love the album closer on Hello! Forty-Five Hundred Times – I’ve probably heard it 4500 times, and it doesn’t get old. I recall a very happy evening in 1982 at the Hammermith Odeon, leaving with slightly damaged eardrums after the one and only time I saw Status Quo live. It was fabulous. Oh, and I expect it was raining that night.

Light rain

Fast Forward (FFWD)

When we were in France, I’d very occasionally go out to a local bar, talked into it after heavy persuasion from a friend. This was usually on a rainy night in winter. Rain in southern France in the winter? Yup! The musical connection was we’d sometimes run into Vince Clarke. If you liked mid 80s and into the 90s and beyond synth pop and EDM, then you’ll know all about him. He’s an electro pop giant in small human form. A quiet man with a very dry sense of humour.

It might be a controversial stance amongst chin-stroking muso-journo types, but I much prefer Erasure to Depeche Mode. If an Erasure tune doesn’t (at the very least) get your toe tapping, you probably need to see your doctor about the lack of a pulse. If forced to choose, and how difficult it is, my favourite Erasure album is “The Innocents”, and favourite track is Yahoo! If all that upbeat gospel-sounding camp doesn’t make you smile, then what will? Even if you’re repainting white walls, you’ll smile.

It rained shortly after

Rewind (RWND)

Thank you, Vince Clarke! His public demeanour is somewhat similar to that of another pokerfaced keyboard whiz, Christopher Lowe. He’s a Pet Shop Boy, the quiet man to Neil Tennant’s deadpan, half-singing but mostly spoken delivery. You’ll be fascinated to read that if I’ve played some Erasure tunes, I’ll often then play some Pet Shop Boys, happily lost in the synth-pop bleeps and blurps. Is blurps a word? Is there a Pet Shop Boys song about rain? Not sure. There is one where it stops raining! Miracles! Pretty good, but not my favourite PSB tune – that’s revealed below.

As we’re here, and I’m sharing not so interesting stories, here’s another. My very slight connection to these chaps is an (unintentional) appearance in the original video of West End Girls. I happened to be walking by when they were filming around Waterloo Station back in 1985, and I have a blink and you’ll miss it moment. (I’m the pretty one – you’ll know if you’ve seen it.) Personal fame and international stardom aside, even this isn’t my favourite PSB tune. Hmm, hard to choose, but I’ll plump for either Being Boring or Vocal. Surprisingly, and to the disappointment of many, I wasn’t called back to feature in either of the videos, A sad loss for the MTV and YouTube generation…

So there you go, an unnecessary, indulgent, and overlong musical interlude brought on by the rain. If you’ve read this far, thank you, and you’ve probably spent more time on this than I did doing the decorating last weekend!

Oh, raining? Might as well repaint the hallway…

Press Stop

All this being boring was fun for me. I promise you I won’t be writing another music related piece for quite a while. Perhaps next time I’m doing some repainting, and hopefully no sooner than next decade. Thanks for listening to a terrible mix tape, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A hazy shade of pale

Fifteen minutes…

…of fame? Goodness, no – the very thought makes me shudder.

No, fifteen minutes is about the amount of sunshine we’ve seen here in the last few weeks. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not by much!

I can’t stop, it’s going to rain in fifteen minutes!

We went for a wander on New Year’s Day, somewhat surprised, and pleasantly so, that the rain had stopped for the afternoon. Well, for an hour or two. We threw on raincoats and Wellington boots, and took a turn about Ucluelet.

Is that blue sky over there?

By the time this is posted, the rain will have returned – as much as another 200mm since Wednesday, so we will be looking back at this brief walk and remembering our fifteen minutes!

Rain in those clouds? Surely not…

A speedy piece this week, but not as speedy as our dashing out and about through the showers will be the next few days, weeks and months, if the forecast is to be believed! Indoor time, beer and books it is.

If I must

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

Looking ahead…

…to a new year, and a new decade – goodness, the century is racing by, isn’t it? Doesn’t seem like 20 years have passed – a quick glance back, and remember when reading and writing about Y2K fears and predictions of gloom was all the rage? Well, the internet didn’t crash, stoplights kept working, and wasn’t the internet called the World Wide Web? A time before Twitter. How old fashioned and lovely…

Incoming…

I thought this post was looking ahead, not back, OldPlaidCamper?

You’re quite right. Looking ahead, I think people will remember to be kind and compassionate, seek to embrace and value difference, and wear plaid at least once a week because it never goes out of fashion.

Also, 2020 will be the year the Ucluelet Brewing Company brewers throw open their doors, if only to stop me pressing my nose up against the window almost daily. Nearly twenty months later than first promised, the next opening day is slated for January 31st – here’s hoping it happens, and the beer is good!

Something good

I hope your coming year is full of outdoor time and adventures in nature – be it hiking, skiing, paddling, fishing, photography or camping, either alone or with friends and family. And of course, your outdoor day should finish with a glass of something good when you get back indoors or back to the campfire.

Looks pretty bright

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend and a wonderful start to the new year and decade. Looking forward to 2020!