Boats in the snow!

Boats! Snow! Boats in the snow! And there you have it, I’ve revealed my process. It’s taken years…

We were so happy to see the snow still coming down last Saturday morning. The first few flakes were floating about Friday night, and at first it looked like it might be disappointing. A previously promised snow day didn’t come to pass, so we weren’t too hopeful. But this time, it was great! The total was about 20cm, or 19 better than the last “snow event” and it stuck around all of Saturday and into Sunday, although it was getting more than a bit slushy by Sunday afternoon.

Boats! Snow! A floatplane!

Children of all ages were out and about, building snowmen, sliding down hills and making the most of it. There weren’t too many cars on the roads after the first few attempts by drivers to get up the local hills. Lots of shrugs and happy realizations that it might as well be a snow day – they don’t happen too often around here. Errands can wait!

It was fun to take in the inner and outer harbour, seeing the boats blanketed in snow, and a thin skin of cracked ice broken where a brave paddler had been out in a kayak.

Kayaking?! Not today

One guy was atop his fishing boat, shovelling the snow and laughing, happy enough, but also pretty happy he didn’t have to deal with it too often. The snowy boats were a pleasant sight, something familiar given a visual twist. The comforting muffled stillness found after a heavy snowfall was certainly strange to experience close to the water. Barely a splash or a ripple, although the steady Sunday thaw brought the water sounds back, with dripping from trees and rooftops, and trickles becoming streams down the sides of the road.

Shovelling snow – on a boat

I almost forgot to mention how Scout loved it – the husky part of her was in the zone, nosing and jumping through the deepest snow banks and patches she could find. Even slushy Sunday didn’t dampen her delight! Mrs PC took this one:

In her snow zone!

By Monday morning the snow was gone, but it had made an impact over the weekend – students were buzzing, happy to share their snow stories, and excited they’d had a taste of winter.

Boats in the snow or snow in the boats?

I was snap happy with the camera, so will post some more photos next week. Perhaps one or two more boats in the snow photos, and some snowy images of the beach and forest.

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

Damp daze

I received a WP notification the other day stating I’ve been blogging here for six years. Six years?! Who knew I’d be able to write a weekly post about going for a walk and keep that up for so long? Admittedly padded with the appearance of a beer photo or two along the way…

Damp

Well, here’s another one about going for a walk. We went to Florencia Bay earlier this week, a planned day off from work when the forecast noted it would be a sunny day. The forecast was wrong, and instead, we had a rainy walk, negotiating muddy puddles from the parking lot to the rickety wooden stairs leading down to the bay. Scout helpfully ignored my pleas to slow down as we descended the slippery rickety wooden stairs. When we got to the bottom, I looked back up, thinking how much I was looking forward to ascending the wobbly, slippery, rickety wooden stairs. No padding this week.

“You can’t get up here, can you, OldPlaidCamper?” Nope.

The rain didn’t ease. If anything, it fell more heavily and at just the right wind blown angle to get under a jacket hood and top up our coffee. From a hot espresso to a lukewarm Americano.

There was a (fool?) hardy surfer pretty far out, enjoying the pretty big waves. They had a companion spotter on the shore, but still. Braver than me. These were the only people present, and the wind and rain seemed to have dampened the enthusiasm of the eagles we often see there. No sightings. A few buffeted gulls were skimming the surf, performing admirable manoeuvres.

Still damp

A day off being a day off, wet or not, we weren’t going to let a morning go to waste. We trundled up the beach for a bit, keeping a close eye on the turning tide, and happy that the rain couldn’t water down a decent bar of chocolate. So it was a touch chilly, and a little damp, but overall a good wander along a beach in any weather is bracing, and we felt better for it. Until we got back to the stairs leading off the beach. Did I mention those already?

A testing day…(thanks, Lynn!)

Thanks for reading, this week, and for some, any, or all of the previous six years. Let’s see if we can manage another six… I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

End of miles

I was staring out to sea the other day, with a partial lyric running through my head. I kept reaching for the song, and the performer, but it stayed just beyond my grasp. It wasn’t a particularly poetical piece, in fact, it was literal to my circumstances:

“You stare out at the ocean
Mountains at your back…”

Yup, that was what I was doing, and that was the fragment. Although, the first day, I wasn’t standing with mountains at my back, they were in front of me:

The other day, and it was sunny!

By Saturday lunchtime I got it the right way round, with ocean in front, but I still couldn’t remember the song. A Teenage Fanclub tune? Nope. Sad to say, I know their songs inside out, and it wasn’t them. Being a person capable of holding on to deep thoughts, and always prepared to grapple with a problem, I completely forgot the lyric for a couple of days and got on with whatever it is I’m supposed to do.

Ocean in front

On Wednesday, I received an email from an old friend. We’ve been plotting and postponing an old guy road trip, with stops at baseball places (for him), musical references in songs (for both of us), and craft breweries yet to be tried by either of us (for him!) The latest plan involved parts of California, a favourite for a road trip, and it had me humming “California Bound” by Black Francis/Frank Black or however he refers to himself. As well as being buddies in beer, my friend and I share the same dubious musical tastes, so Frank Black, the Pixies etc. would make it onto a road trip mix tape. Can you call a digital playlist a mix tape?

“You planning on getting to a point here?”

Much like a canceled road trip, you might be finding this post isn’t really going anywhere. Anyway, prompted by the postponed plans, I played “California Bound” and then let the album (Black Letter Days) run, because I’d forgotten how hugely enjoyable this rambling country tinged guitar and reedy/basso and sometimes falsetto voiced album is. He writes and performs as if, well, why not? So listen I did. And there it was! The song with the partial lyric that had wormed its way into my musical mind. “End of Miles” by Frank Black. Phew! Mystery solved, and a fine song if you like that kind of thing. The more complete lyric is:

“At the end of miles
You stare out at the ocean
Mountains at your back you think you’ve tamed”

Well, I haven’t tamed any mountains – at best, I think it is safe to say I’m always happy to head up and then make it back. Hiking, or on a snowboard, and especially on skis, getting home is the thing. I don’t tame mountains, but I do love them.

Yes, happy to be here

I haven’t reached my end of miles just yet. Very happy to be residing on the coast, between the mountains and the sea, but also looking forward to the “grumpy old git road trip“ and being California bound, likely now scheduled for 2022 or beyond…

I’ll leave it for this week, with a post almost as meandering as a Frank Black album, full of detours, and incomplete stories, but written because, well, why not?

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

Bonus track: “1826” by Frank Black Oh yes! Turn it up to 11 – if Mrs. PC is out. Probably not for everyone, but this should go on a road trip mix tape.

Interesting – stormy – times

I was sort of hoping 2021 would be a teensy bit boring. Having a pandemic to see out, and a change for the better, politically speaking, for our friends and neighbours to the south seemed like quite enough. Oh well…

Sheltering

Yesterday, I was visiting a classroom of 6 and 7 year olds. Well, aren’t they funny?! They are younger than most students I’ve ever taught, not exactly my school comfort zone, yet it turns out couldn’t they teach some adults a thing or two?

Their teacher asked if they would consider breaking a window to gain entry uninvited? Nope. Would they do something they knew to be wrong, even if the person inciting them was the principal? Nope. Is it ok to break things? Nope. Or fight? Nope.

Hmm

One or two had seen the dreadful images from DC on television the previous day, and they were genuinely confused that “grown ups” could act in such a way. They aren’t sheltered kids, and they’ve no doubt seen movies and TV shows they shouldn’t, but they were quite capable of understanding what they saw was not fiction and very, very wrong. Thank you, Grade 1 students, you provide hope…

Slightly damp out

The storms for us this week weren’t just political. We seem to be in the middle – near the end?! – of a lengthy stormy spell. Tuesday afternoon, the rain was blowing sideways on 100+km/h wind gusts, and very exciting it was too. According to one weather forecast, we were due to have rainfall at 15-20mm per hour, and I was tempted, briefly, to don rain gear and head out, just for the experience. Then the power went out, and I looked at Scout, and Scout looked at me, then out the window, and she shook her head. Yup, it’s the young ones with common sense I tell you!

Happy New Beer!

Brighter and better days are ahead, they really are.

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

Small bubbles

A short one today, as we enjoy the season in our small social bubble, and safe harbour, perhaps with a glass containing small bubbles.

Frothy on top – a mild wintry west coast day

We hope you stay safe and well, physically if not socially distant, with small bubbles of your own to see you through.

Always in our social bubble!

Cheers, thanks for reading, and enjoy the long weekend!

Safe harbour and small bubbles – cheers!

Space dragons

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite happy this year is drawing to a close. We’ve had to wait many months for positive news, and from early November on, it has felt like things have been slowly improving.

“What are we waiting for?”

The wait for reliable vaccines has been long, and it is good to see and hear there are options on the horizon, and an end to the pandemic is growing closer. A weight lifted – or is it? Brace yourselves, here come the space dragons…

Oh those conspiracy theorists are having a fine old time telling us that Bill Gates will be able to track us post-vaccine, with the aid of 5G unicorns, mini-robots, and space dragons. Bear with me, I’m warming up and a little hazy on the specifics.

Hazy? Space dragon brain beams will do that…

Don’t worry, we all know space dragon brain beams can’t penetrate your tinfoil hat to read your thoughts. Actually, I imagine that the thoughts of conspiracy minded folks aren’t worth the attention of most space dragons, but then I’ve been brainwashed by and under the mind control of the nurse who administered the measles jab I received many years ago. Remember the inoculations you got at school? And pre-school? Well, due to those, I am, like you (if you’ve had your vaccinations and choose to believe the anti-science conspiracy nut bars) an unwitting biddable agent of evil, presumably being forced against my will to be do bad things, all because the school nurse gave me booster jabs forty-something years ago. That nurse, and her malevolent hench nurses, are part of a giant plot to, to, well, I don’t know what the plot is exactly, but it is bad. Are you saying I’ve lost the plot here? Hold on. Gathering thoughts. Adjusting tin foil hat. Vaccinations! Developed by evil medical people to rig life against you. You don’t believe me? That you don’t believe me is obvious proof you’ve been got at by vaccine wielding deep state operatives. Is that clear?!

Phew! That’s a long time, long term conspiracy to be worried about – can a tin foil hat get rusty? I’ve enjoyed writing these last few paragraphs. There’s a strange freedom in not having to stick to annoyingly inconvenient stuff like science, facts, details, evidence, responsibility or common sense.

Keep your balance!

Back to reality! We enjoyed a long beach hike the other day. Sea air and salt water will rust things, but we felt quite the opposite of that last week. Buoyed by positive vaccine news, and feeling lighter with each passing day as January 20th approaches, we almost skipped down an empty beach. Scout was going full steam ahead, determined to get to a favourite spot of hers. Sticks, snacks, logs and rocks? That’s her kind of morning, and ours too. A second breakfast and extra coffee? Yes please!

For the time we were out, the weather got brighter as the morning wore on, with low cloud and grey skies clearing, and patches of blue appearing. I wouldn’t say it was warm, but it was warm enough. Shoulders back, deep breaths, longer strides, and goodness, can’t you just feel some of the mental weight drop away for a while?

Deep breaths!

Thanks for reading. Remember, there be space dragons, so stay safe, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A hint of change

Something different? Positive change, one hopes…

We’re still processing the results of the election for our southern neighbours. It takes time to come to terms with change, and clearly the present occupant of the White House is struggling with his loss. We’re hoping the tantrum will soon be over, acceptance will follow, and bags will be packed. Ready to go! No need to share updates, just quietly disappear…

Ready to go!

We’re in a very autumnal phase, with quite a bit of wind and rain, and that’s blowing away the mental cobwebs, as well as many leaves. It’s exhilarating, and hugely preferable to what felt like endless mental exhaustion. For now, the stormy days, grey skies and heavy winds don’t seem so bad when there is some positive change blowing in!

I sense a change…

We’ve enjoyed hints of sunshine and a few warm hours, both on the beach and in the woods. Scout is always light of heart and bouncy in step, and we’ve felt more like that ourselves the past few days. We’re almost keeping up with her!

Yum

We have celebrated, and hasn’t that felt better than all the recent commiserating? Four challenging years are almost behind us. This year has been particularly miserable, and as 2020 draws to a close, it’s pleasant to be able to look ahead and hope for better days. No, we’re not thinking the next four years will be all unicorns and rainbows – we realize all the unicorns have been taken by those pro-Brexit types and are being readied for release onto the sunlit uplands – but some return to slightly better will be just fine.

A fairly brief post this week as we look forward to a quiet weekend. Some beach time, some forest time, and perhaps we’ll explore another 33 Acres of Ocean!

Sunlit (the unicorns pranced away and out of shot)

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

Evidence! Do you think this will stand up in court? (Thanks to DJT for sending me this)

A tangle

A tangle? A muddle? The Gordian knot? I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping this coming Tuesday reveals the beginning of the end of the current mess we’re in. No speedy solutions are available, but a few steps on the path to some sort of recovery would be nice.

A tangle

We spent last weekend far, far away from being able to access news coverage. We bobbed about on the (mercifully calm) water. Part of the weekend was designed as an opportunity for me to be at the helm, getting some wheel time, and remembering some of the things we were taught on our boat course last year. It was good to finally have a chance to put things into practice. If docking is a controlled crash, emphasis on crash, then I’ve mastered it. It was an aluminum boat, all good.

“Who’s steering in there?” Note the glum PlaidCamper expression, as he contemplates the worst for next Tuesday. No, surely not?

We pulled up to an old US Army barge, and leapt aboard to examine the piled up treasures. An abandoned boat, fishing nets, old tarps, holed floats, assorted girders and planks, a wood burning stove, and rope. So much rope. Bear scat too, so an inquisitive bruin must have decided to swim out and see if there was anything good to eat? Didn’t seem to be anything obviously tasty. Nothing left over by the bears. Waste not.

Abandoned

A short piece this week as I gird myself for Tuesday evening – I’m planning on watching/reading/listening to as many reports as possible (I know, I know, not good, but I won’t be able to resist), hoping and hoping that this particular political nightmare is coming to an end. Even though it will be a school night, and way past my bedtime, I’m going to have a beer, either in celebration or commiseration. Fingers crossed the four year uncontrolled crash is almost over, and we can pick ourselves up, mentally speaking, untangle the confusion, and look forward to better days ahead.

Well, this needs sorting! (Nicely docked aluminum boat to the side there. Controlled, I’d say…)

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

A medical history

Things of a medical nature have been all over the news cycle the past few months, and particularly the last week or two. A helicopter for an ambulance? A healthy glow?! Immunity! Don’t worry, this won’t be a PlaidCamper rant about miracle cures and inequalities in health care as personified by mango-hued tax dodging toddlers. Although it might have been, had the last sentence run on any longer.

No. No ranting. This is a post full of true and nearly true stories. Almost cinematic, full of visual poetry, and likely requiring a Terence Malick, Jane Campion, or Peter Weir to capture the moving intensity and subtle dreamy drama. A tale of a man at a crossroads in life. Cue voiceover: In a world…

Dreamy – one of the recent Planet of the Apes was filmed near here

Cut! Too much? Ok. Cut. Take two. This will be a post full of the brave exploits of a young-to-early middle-aged PlaidCamper, a potential boon to the medical world if only he would consider yet another mid-to-very-early life crisis, and switch careers. Montage! A white coat? Nice. A stethoscope? Yes please. Rugged calmness in the face of death and disease? Oh, yes doctor. Cut! Stop! Enough of this.

Sorry, I don’t know what came over me. I almost swooned, understandably enough, at the thought of me in a white coat. Imagine a cross between George Clooney and Dr. Fauci, only many decades younger, and you’d be close. No? Assisted by soft lighting, and no close ups? And a wig? Not even? Where were we? Poor scriptwriting on this one. This is like Apocalypse Now, but medical. Let’s start with basic training.

Ongoing basic training, almost essential

Did I mention I participated in a Wilderness First Aid course? A week of skills and scenarios, designed to replicate real life situations, complete with all too convincing fake broken bones, buckets of blood, and stick on wounds and injuries too disgusting for The Walking Dead. All in a rainforest setting, and directed by a first aid trainer who looked nothing like Francis Ford Coppola. I think a young Martin Sheen, slightly too old for the part, yet fortunate enough to bear a certain resemblance to an OldPlaidCamper, will play me in the following scenes.

Cut, cut, cut! Sorry, Martin, we won’t be needing you. Haven’t you heard, PlaidCamper? Cinema is another victim of the virus. And Martin at any age looks nothing like you.

In truth, my never entirely realistic dream of becoming a doctor soon evaporated in the heat of simulated medical battle. I’m not a particularly good first aider, certainly not compared with how well our young participants coped in testing situations. They’d be elbow deep, or at least, gloved hands on, treating the injuries while I was still reciting lessons and trying to remember how to tie a sling. Fluffing my lines. Let’s just say I won’t be in any reboot of ER…

…unless it is in the patient role. I excelled! Lie down and grumble about aches and pains? Check! Fake a heart attack? I’ll do it! Food poisoning due to mushroom picking stupidity? I can fake that! Make up a medical history to confuse trainees? No problem! Wander off, pretend to pee in the woods, be startled by a bear and shoot myself with bear spray? I did that! Pretending, not for real. I was meant to do this! I’m a natural.

No bears in this scene

I really have had a near miss with bear spray, and know what it feels like. Method actor, that’s me. I search for the truth in stories and inhabit the characters I portray. I have to get under the skin of a role. Or under the skin of anyone nearby.

You’d like to hear my bear spray true story? One of Nature, red in tooth and claw? A terrifying tale of one man alone in the wilderness? Nope, it was none of that. I was in a supermarket parking lot, and walked round to the passenger side of the car to get my wallet out of a backpack. The pack was in the passenger footwell. I pulled on it to pick it up, when a strap got caught under the seat. Instead of slowing down and releasing the pack gently, I simply pulled harder, somehow breaking the trigger guard on the bear spray attached to the pack, delivering a dose all over the car radio and hand brake. Customers in the parking lot were treated to my first performance of man almost shoots himself with bear spray and scrambles backwards on all fours. If you’ve seen The Exorcist spider scene, you know how it went. Like that, but faster and with more swearing. It made my head spin, and some of the onlookers too.

I love the smell of bear spray in the morning

It took weeks to clean and remove the remnants. I’d be driving along, sipping a cup of coffee and changing the radio station, and a few moments later get a bad burning sensation around my mouth. It wasn’t how I made the coffee. A few particles of weeks-old bear spray really pack a punch…

Fascinating insight into the craft, don’t you think?

Yes, I brought all my experience to the patient role. I certainly tested the patience of fellow first aid participants. I drew the line at letting them volunteer me for staging a drowning recovery after falling off a dock incident, although it was kind of them to think of me. It’s an honour just to be nominated.

Under the dock

I got an email from Francis, our first aid trainer, just the other day. Imagine my surprise that it contained confirmation I passed the course! It was like winning an Oscar. If I had them, I’d like to thank my manager, my agent, the producers, my personal trainer, personal chef, accountant, my personal trainer’s personal trainer, the wig maker, George Clooney, Dr. Fauci, and the bald one in ER. Also, commiserations to Martin, but come on, only I could play me in this movie…

Oh, the monstrous ego. Cut! That’s a wrap. I’ve got to wait by the phone, be ready to take the calls from Hollywood. Fade to black.

Monstrous ego indeed. Enough of that guy. I’ll finish by acknowledging how well our young participants did in the WFA course, and how safe we’ll all be out on the land in the future. They learned so much in a relatively short time, and showed real leadership and an ability to act and think clearly in stressful situations. Nothing fazed them!

A screen presence! Planet of the Dog

Well, thankfully none of the plotless nonsense you’ve just read will ever get a theatrical release. Are you still here?! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Canadian Thanksgiving

We’re thankful to be living in Canada. As a nation, it’s far from perfect, but in this most troubling of years, we’re delighted to be here.

Delighted to be here

Looking ahead, I really, really hope I’ll be writing a thanksgiving post next year that includes giving thanks for a calmer, kinder and gentler post-COVID world, where a vaccine has proved successful, and we’ll be laughing at how ridiculous it was that “alternate facts” was ever a thing. You have to hope…

Calmer

We’re always thankful for our family and friends; near or far, wherever you are, we know we’re lucky to have you.

Lucky

If you’re celebrating (a safe, socially distant and bittersweet) Thanksgiving, I hope it’s a good one! If you’re not celebrating, I hope you’re safe and well, and you have a wonderful weekend!

Celebrating