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!

Light and dark

Day and night, morning and evening, good and bad, lager and stout.

I could almost leave it there (I know, but I won’t!) as this about describes our trip to Victoria last weekend.

Distant (somewhat hidden) mountains

If you’re going to spend some time in a city, then Victoria is a pretty good one. Much is made of the relatively warm and dry climate, and we were lucky enough to have a mostly dry weekend. Not sunny, but dry. Other Victoria plus points? Waterside location, distant mountains, not too big, a mostly walkable downtown, many coffee shops and microbreweries, and the rather lovely Royal BC Museum.

BC Parliament building, Victoria

We stayed at Spinnakers over in Esquimault because it is only a short waterside walk from the downtown. At night, the lights reflecting on the water was a sparkly sight, and by day there’s always a floatplane taking off or landing, as well as various marine craft large and small. Spinnakers claims to be the oldest craft brewery in Canada, producing decent beer since 1984. I believe Mrs PC suggested we stay there, and after much protest, I agreed.

Oh alright, if I have to…(but not the cider or sours)

The beer menu is quite substantial, although once I’d ruled out sours and ciders, it all became manageable. Mrs PC enjoyed their Pilsner, I preferred the Original Pale Ale. And the Scottish ale. And the PNW ale. And the imperial stout. And the nut brown. Anyway, enough about breakfast.

Really?! Looks chilly.

Should you find yourself in Victoria, can I recommend the First Peoples gallery at the museum? Excellent displays depicting life pre and post European contact, with thoughtful and thought-provoking exhibits. Many items included original language as well as English explanations, and it was a joy to hear the language out loud. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the connection to – and respect for – land and sea came over as common sense time and again. We’ve lost so much, yet could still look back to find a model to help us move forward, environmentally speaking. Oh, and while we’re using common sense, let’s include total respect for ancestors and elders. Who’d have thought?

Taxi!

Enough of the preaching, because you’re probably desperate to know which beer was my favourite? Being a decisive sort, and after much consideration, I think it was the Original Pale Ale. No, the PNW ale. No, the stout, or was it the nut brown? The Scottish? My memory is failing me here, so I’ll have to go back for another visit, put in some proper research time. I think Mrs PC will insist on staying there again. Oh well…

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

Royal BC Museum

Spinnakers

Dawn Patrol

I have to say, we are very happy to fall back for a little while! It means we have an early morning walk during the week where we will see a few more sunrises.

Dawn patrol!

Yes, we’re on dawn patrol, and it’s been chilly enough to warrant a toque, and it’s a sure sign of shorter days and longer nights when a baseball cap just doesn’t cut it early in the day. I do don the cap in time for work though. I didn’t wear one the other day, and a student nearly fell off his chair, amazed that the little amount of hair on display was a touch grey.

“Oh, you’re quite old!”

I wasn’t too sure what this meant. Surprise? Disappointment? Disbelief? I wore a baseball cap the next day, as clearly the youth are convinced I’m young and vital, and the grey hair(s) remains hidden.

The fog is lifting

Speaking of youth, we had a fine evening earlier this week, when the older warriors taught the new young warriors some archery skills. Seeing the youth teach the children, and the young ones looking up to their older brothers and sisters with respect and a touch of awe was wonderful to see. Us really old youth – each mentor just happened to be wearing a baseball cap – had relatively little to do except take our turn and deliver arrows with unerring accuracy. I was deliberately aiming left, and anyway it was getting dark. And some of us young’uns don’t see so well as we used to.

Another good morning

Getting back to the dawn patrol, I’ll end by saying I can declare Tofino Brewing Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter worthy of five eagles and a salmon. Yes, it’s that good! I thought it would be, but since Wayne suggested the beer rating system I’ve had to wait for this particular beer to reappear on shelves, and it is as good as I remembered. If you like a porter, then this is very highly recommended. A fall/winter fireside sipper.

Did I mention I quite like this one?

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

PS Apologies for the “Leave a reply” section not working last week. No idea why it didn’t appear, and here’s hoping there are no glitches this week…

Five eagles and a fresh salmon

A big thank you to Wayne over at Welcome To Tofino Photography for the post title and theme this week. I thought it’s time for a more frivolous than usual piece, particularly as the entire news cycle of late appears devoid of any frivolity – rightly so, but still…

A little while back, Wayne suggested I rate the beers I occasionally (!) mention or include. His idea was to use a rating scale going from one eagle (poor) to five eagles in flight with a fresh salmon (excellent) – I’m not sure if each of the five eagles has to have a salmon, or if it is one salmon underneath a five eagle fly by?

One eagle (in a good way)

In case you’re concerned about the state of my liver, you needn’t be. Although there are quite a number of beer photos posted on here, the reality is I rarely drink more than a bottle or two each week. Honest! Unlike in my youth, I aim for quality over quantity when it comes to a beer. If I have a second, it’s a racing certainty I’ll be asleep not long after.

Location matters – beer tastes good here

I’ll indulge in a little autobeerography here. The most (I can remember) I’ve ever consumed in a single sitting was over a long evening in Dublin, drinking Guinness with my brother. Did I exceed my usual two beers? Yup! In our defence, and according to the old school advertising, Guinness is good for you. I mean, it’s practically a foodstuff isn’t it? More of a meal than a drink. Actually, I was the one drinking Guinness that evening, and my brother was drinking anything but. He doesn’t like Guinness?! I know! Impossible. Bar tenders up and down Grafton Street were bemused… I can confirm his hangover was much much worse than mine. That’s because Guinness is good for you.

Mostly true? (image courtesy Smithsonian.com)

Getting back to Wayne’s ratings, I’d have to say a properly poured pint of Guinness in Dublin – they are built rather than poured – would be close to five eagles and a salmon. Which is as much about the location and the company as it is about the beer. And that’s sometimes the thing about a decent pint – who you’re with and where you are can matter as much as what’s in the glass.

Now, having written that about company and location, nothing but nothing can save Slalom Lager. A different brother and I tried to drink a pint or two of said beverage in a lovely pub somewhere in North Wales a fair few years back. We really really tried our best, but no number of pints could fix that slimy taste. One eagle would be an eagle too far. I’ve hardly had a pint of any lager since.

“Enough of this frivolity!”

Enough of this frivolity. I’ll leave it here this week, with a photograph and recommendation for the following beer: (I’d give it five eagles for sure, but does it get the salmon as well? I don’t know. Maybe some follow up research is needed?)

Recommended!

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