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!)

Log? Dog? Soup?

Check, check, and check!

Other than a brief snowy interlude, the past two months have seen rain, rain, and rain. So much rain! Then, the other day, there was a hint of sun, a short glimpse of spring, so we made the most of a lunchtime trip to the beach.

Logs

Although the temperature was actually colder than the norm – according to the reading on the Jeep, it was 2C – it felt warm as we drove off, sun streaming in through the windows. I had to blow dust and cobwebs off the sunglasses. This was sunshine!

Dog!

Scout was very happy, nose at the small gap in the rear window, enjoying the warmed up damp scents wafting in as we headed to the beach.

Soup and log

The beach! It looked like a water colour painting, where an enthusiastic artist had loaded the brush and said “this is going to look wet!” It did, with the sun slightly hidden behind an offshore haze and the tide in retreat. The blue skies were behind us and above the trees as we sat on just the right log, and enjoyed just the right soup. Homemade tomato and lentil, if you were wondering. Not Scout’s favourite, so perfect for a beach outing, where the dog can dig under the log, and you enjoy your soup dog nose free…

Water colour

What a break, what a delight, and how it seems a distant memory already. As I write this, the rain has returned, but the promise of a few sunnier days is in the two week forecast. We have our checklist – log, dog, and soup! I’d best start cooking…

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

Apocalyptic!

An attention-grabbing heading, even if the reality was somewhat less exciting.

How about Ukeepocalypse? Or the UkeeVeggieFamine? We survived both, you know…

If you’ve read along for the past couple of years, you might remember that just up the road from us a road construction project is ongoing. A small project in many other places perhaps, but actually quite a big deal here, and quite an impactful one at that.

Rainfall? Here?

The twisting highway really narrows at Kennedy Lake, and in poor weather with low visibility, it is a dangerous spot for drivers. Sadly, there have been fatalities in the past. The Kennedy Hill project will eventually result in a wider and safer road. For almost two years, construction has caused many planned and unplanned highway closures. Rock blasting has sometimes taken out the power lines to the coast, rainfall has caused mudslides, and just over a week ago, blasting caused a fall that took too much rock and ended with a part of the road collapsing and falling into the lake below. Oops.

Questions started to fly. Will the road reopen today? Tomorrow? Before the weekend? After the weekend? Ever? What about emergency services if needed? Deliveries of food and gas to the stores? That essential gadget from Amazon? Will we be abandoned? Cut off from civilization? (One can hope…) Wasn’t the snow last week enough? Was that an earthquake? Yes it was. What next? Locusts?

Snowmageddon?! Hardly

Locusts? Some did get a little overexcited, and shopped like it really was the apocalypse. Although, if it really is the apocalypse, isn’t the deal one goes looting, rather than lining up to pay for dwindling goods and services? So not completely out of control then.

Living out here, there is an expectation households can manage for themselves for 72 hours should there be a tsunami evacuation or power outage. This allows emergency services to focus on priorities. The local store really was emptied out of fresh produce rather too quickly. Why panic buy? Do you love broccoli that much? Really? Maybe events will have prompted some to be a bit better prepared for the future…

There were some amusing posts on the community pages

In the end, a temporary bridge was put in place over the yawning chasm, and I’m looking forward to driving over it once some heavier vehicles have made it through safely. The road reopened – as much as it has ever been open in recent times – before the end of the weekend, and what passes for normal service has been resumed. Broccoli is once more in store, and the local deer population looks much relieved. Yawning chasm?! Dramatic, just like the apocalypse should be.

Yawning chasm? Well, I wouldn’t get too close to the edge – and there is not much underneath

I survived the Ukeepocalypse…phew! I hope there’s a t shirt coming.

Calmer days ahead?

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend.

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

“I want it to snow and snow…”

“It’s snowing! It’s snowing!”

Really? I waited for a few seconds, and looked very, very carefully. There! On my sleeve, was that a snowflake? Yes! And then another and another. Snowing? Maybe.

“See? It’s snowing! It’s snowing!”

“Well, there are some flakes falling from the sky, so, yes, it’s snowing!”

“Yes! Can we build a snowman?”

“Erm, let’s wait, see how much snow falls…”

“I want it to snow and snow and snow!”

Several hours later.

“When will it actually begin to, you know, pile up?”

“Maybe overnight. We’ll check it out tomorrow, ok?”

“And build a snowman?”

“And build a snowman!”

It snowed and snowed! A bit.

The following day.

We built snow caves for our toy wolves. We re-enacted the plane crash from “Hatchet” (yes, the story takes place in high summer, but if you’re pretending to be a small bush plane crashing in the northern wilderness, snow is ideal for a soft landing – I mean, crash) and we built a snowman.

We also created a scene showing Brian being bitten by a swarm of mosquitoes, and this seemed a very strange thing to be doing in swirling snow. The results looked like something from a Nordic noir crime scene:

A boy covered in mosquitoes? If you squint…

The next day.

“Can we go inside now? I’m cold. We could stay indoors, read some more of the book. I don’t like snow that much. Is it going to rain tomorrow? I like the rain!”

“Would you like it to rain and rain and rain?”

“I like the snow!”

It has rained. Rain. Rainy-sleet. Sleety-rain. Snow. Snow-rain. Rain-snow. Back to rain. Then more rain. Brian washed away.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Sunshine and snow

Shelter

In between work locations last Friday, I opted to take my coffee down to the lighthouse and check out the waves.

Wave check

It was a wild and windy day, with the rain blowing in sideways, and I had to shelter under a sturdy tree to steady myself and snap a few pictures before giving up and simply enjoying it all.

A good place

Above, two tough gulls were braving the elements. One swooped down below the rocks and out of sight, and the other seemed to be hanging still in the face of the wind. I think it was testing itself, like a kayaker riding a wave crest and appearing to be fixed in place. What a sight, what a gull!

We did finally get a dry day yesterday, and it was good to step outside and feel some sun on our faces. It was also nice to get home after a walk with Scout and not have to find a towel from our dwindling supply to dry her off. Looking ahead, it seems we’re in for a cold snap – cold for the coast, anyway – so we’ll be hoping for a dusting of snow on the hilltops, and to do some brisk hiking before heading home for a well deserved glass of something good…

Hoppy to see you

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

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!

Fading…

The year, the decade – but not us!

A brief post to wish you all a very happy winter festive season, if you choose to celebrate.

The season? I dig it!

I was put in mind of the fading of the year a week or so back when we were on the beach mid-afternoon on a relatively sunny day, only to find the light went pretty quickly as the afternoon marched on and some clouds marched in. Shirtsleeves to toque and jacket in little more than an hour.

I’ll save looking ahead to the next decade for when it gets under way, save to say here’s hoping it isn’t as rabidly populist, negative and xenophobic as the end of this decade. As a couple of comments left here recently suggested, it’s worth holding on to the notion the pendulum will swing back, bad political times do pass, and common sense and decency, kindness and caring might even become the norm.

With that, all the best to all who’ve chosen to stop by, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Fog

Fog. A very brief post this week, written mere minutes after seeing the exit poll prediction following the close of voting back in the UK. People there are waking up on Friday the 13th, and it’s like it is Friday the 13th. Hmm. So, does this result show a nation seeking to be kinder, caring and more compassionate after the last ten years? Seems like a turkey really would vote for Christmas…

I have a few photographs from last weekend, when we went for a foggy and calm stroll along the coastal paths. It was quiet out and about, muffled, with most noise coming from the lighthouse siren, and it was pleasant to have the trails pretty much to ourselves. Wandering along, mind bouncing around from topic to topic, and continually coming back to asking would UK voters really vote in large numbers for a party that inflicted a decade of austerity? No, surely not…

Looks like they did, and I feel for for all the citizens not fooled by Brexit lies and promises of unicorns frolicking in the sunny uplands of a bright Brexity British future. With apologies to genuine circus clowns, the apparent electoral “success” of various political clowns in many places around the globe leaves me bemused, and quite convinced that some clowns are scarier than even Stephen King’s imaginings.

“Unicorns? Really? No, you’re just messing – right?”

Solace will be taken in remembering we’re so very fortunate to be living in western Canada – acknowledging the faults and all to be found here – and we will be setting out on our coming weekend hikes feeling slightly despondent, but sending good vibes to friends and families back in Blighty who were hoping for something better. Fog. Fog it. Fogging unbelievable.

A glimmer of light on a very (very) distant horizon…

Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!