Splash!

Tethered, and definitely in one place, location wise, but not feeling too tied down. Is this making sense? No worries, pull on your gum boots, and let’s jump from puddle to puddle…

Splash! A mishmash this week, like the weather, where we’ve enjoyed days with sun, days with rain, and days with both.

Some sunny days

Splash! Thursday, the day I wrote this, was a day where light rain became heavy rain, with pulses and cloudbursts blowing through on strong gusts. Then the skies almost cleared, and the wind almost dropped. Almost.

On the sunnier days, Tuesday and Wednesday, I was able to work with students outside, catching up on grade 8 science. Grade 8 science and catching up? That was me as well as the students. Fair play to any student willing to give up a spring break afternoon or two to stay on top of their learning. And goodness, we are the people to talk to if you want to know about mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and if vesicles rhymes with testicles. Did I mention grade 8?

A spring break learning distraction

Wednesday was great, St. Patrick’s and a good excuse to wear green. “The colour matches your eyes!” said Mrs PC. She never saw the colour of my eyes the morning after a cultural tour of historic Dublin pubs I attended with my brother. I think we appreciated the architecture. We looked a bit green the next day, and not in a twinkling eyes way.

Splash! (Didn’t you miss it, the last two paragraphs?) Man about town bit next. The beer store lady was surprised to see me mid-week, but helpfully pointed me to where the last of the Guinness was hiding. At the grocery store, the cashier did all but buy me a drink from the Ukee Brewery – it is located in view and less than a minute from her till – insisting a lunchtime Guinness was ok on a work day, if it is St. Patrick’s. I didn’t like to tell her about the one and only time I taught with a hangover after a St. Patrick’s celebration went long. And wrong. My friend: Sure, Adam, we’re working tomorrow so we’ll have just the one – c’mon, it is St. Patrick’s. My willpower: OK! Never again.

Just the one

Splash! A music bit now. Tethered? Not really. I have been listening to Chvrches quite a lot the past week or two. My fondness for 80s style electronica and misery in music has been very satisfied. It isn’t all downbeat, but check out “Tether” for a downbeat tune almost getting upbeat at the end. I probably haven’t sold that very well, but you might like it if you like Depeche Mode or Erasure.

Splash! A movie bit follows. I’ve been having an email back and forth with my brothers about great and not so great but at least entertaining movies. Tango and Cash? No. Point Break? Yes. Waterworld? Big no! Is it an overlooked masterpiece? Nope. It’s sh#t, even though, at a bare minimum, it should have been passably entertaining. It has pirates on skidoos, Dennis Hopper chewing (wobbly) scenery, explosions, a man with gills, and Kevin Costner’s definitely not balding, no sir, not me, look over there hair do. Hair don’t. I fast forwarded through the movie, pausing for the best bits. Not too many pauses. But it did get me thinking about his other movies – some are pretty good, some are terrible, and one had Whitney Houston. And Whitney was the route I took to Chvrches. Chvrches covered “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” and there you go, that has been my music and movies week. I didn’t rewatch The Bodyguard. I remember it as not okay.

Definitely okay

Splash! No, really, Splash, the movie. Probably not so good, or it’s okay and about right. Might be time to stop writing.

Like I said at the top, a mishmash, and it’s been pretty good. Unlike Waterworld. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Driftwood. Vikings. Matches.

A monkey at a typewriter will eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare? Maybe, but really, would a monkey live long enough? I’m in my mid fifties, and all I could come up with this week was the title “Driftwood. Vikings. Matches.” Hmm. I’m assuming the monkey isn’t blogging after work.

Incoming matches

Between bouts of wind and rain last week, we ventured out to catch some air and enjoy the coastal trail. Seeing the huge logs being swept against the rocks, I thought to myself that’s a lot of matches, or just a few small ones for the gods. Then I thought the sea gods wouldn’t have much use for matches. I mean, have you ever tried to light a wet match?

I’ve been watching “The Vikings” the past week or two, and I don’t know how historically accurate the show is, but it’s been hugely entertaining. I like watching the scowling Norse folk paddling hard to shore to cause (mostly) mayhem. Brave sailors with a belief in gods who could change your fate on a whim. I get a bit confused telling one Viking from another, with all the hair, tattoos, furs and whatnot. Also, the ones I was watching all seemed to have the same name or two. Ragnar. Lothgar. Ragloth. Lothrag. Nargar, and so on, with a -sson thrown in for good measure. (Apologies here to any Vikings reading this and feeling offended. No need to pay me a visit…)

Anyway, the Vikings weren’t far from my thoughts on our visit to the shore last time out. We’ve had some big weather, with wind warnings and large waves. Possible power outages haven’t happened thus far, but the blustery stuff is with us for another day or two. I wouldn’t want to be on the water, with the rough seas and logs lurking just beneath the surface. Paddle out on a raid? Nope, not even if armed with a lucky tattoo and impressive facial hair. I have neither.

Lovely beer – even in a glass

It seems appropriate that our beer choice last weekend was from the Driftwood brewery. Pretty good beer, and I wonder if it is even better from a horn? Do Vikings ever put down their drinks? For all their craft skills – those longships are a marvel – you think they’d have managed flat bottomed beer containers…

Thud and thump

Thud and thump – the driftwood we saw last week wasn’t drifting. It was slamming. Against the rocks, and against other logs. The low boom was deep and you could almost feel the vibrations.

Large matchsticks? No. Sea gods? Possibly. An overactive imagination or tired mind? Most likely.

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

PS Back to that monkey with the typewriter. How will we know if and when it has typed the complete works of Shakespeare? Is there another, very well read monkey sitting alongside, checking the work? Or is that role taken by an ape? I think I’m switching from “The Vikings” to “Planet of the Apes” next week.

An old favourite

In these somewhat restricted times, we find our fun where we can, and how pleased were we to see an old favourite in town last week?

Visitors? Is that allowed? What about non-essential travel, OldPlaidCamper?! It’s ok, these visitors were properly contained, safely transported, suited up in glass bottles and clearly labeled “Lagunitas” with a best before. Best before? I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

No problem

Lagunitas? I’ve done some extensive research (no he hasn’t, aside from tasting the beer – Mrs. PC), and I believe a rough translation, medically speaking, tells us Lagunitas possibly means “very good for you but don’t overdo it.” Small doses, small delights, great relief. Sounds medical and reliable to me. I’m getting the hang of this fake online thing. Trust me, I’m not a doctor. Easy.

Another old favourite was seeing the layers of mist, cloud and rain cloaking the low mountains across the bay and above Hitacu. The special combination of water, mist, clouds, mountains, and shades of green feel so very PNW, and when the heavy rain has obscured such views for a lengthy period, it’s so good to see.

A good combo

We have a snowfall warning for the next couple of days, and since the last one came to nothing here at sea level, hopes are high (amongst the student body at any rate) that this time there will be enough to make a snowball or two…

A brief post this week, as work piles up in a positive way, and we get things done before the long weekend – Family Day. Bittersweet once again, given the current circumstances, but with vaccines rolling out, it feels we’re moving in the right direction, and the next time Family Day rolls around, it’ll be celebrated properly. In the meantime, it’s a quick dash to the beer store, in the hope there’s still a six pack of an old favourite looking for a weekend home.

It’s not all green and grey…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the long weekend if that’s for you, and the regular weekend if not!

PS I don’t speak Spanish, so an uneducated guess on Lagunitas, after some more sketchy research, has me thinking it is related to “laguna” and a small lake or lagoon. Or really good beer.

Drifting by

I was standing outside my office earlier this week, enjoying a break between storm systems, and trying to avoid thinking about how political systems appear to be falling apart, or they would if certain people could get their way, when a piece of storm damaged dock floated by. Well, I thought, that seems about right.

A brief break between storms

Oh no! Everything is broken! But instead of going any further down that path, I decided to stay in my slightly dreamy state, almost warm in the almost sun, and enjoy the moment. I smiled to myself, and to the sea lions singing their not so lovely song across the bay. Perhaps they weren’t singing? Perhaps they were telling each other a prime piece of floating real estate was up for grabs? Or perhaps they were saying doesn’t that guy over there take really long coffee breaks?

Setting sun, falling tide

The sun set, and the tide dropped, causing the broken dock to float the other way, out towards the ocean, perhaps to be lost forever. But no, it drifted too close to shore to avoid being beached. I wondered if an owner missing a piece of dock would reclaim it before the sea lions decided to take up residence, or the ebb and flow of another tide or two took it away…

The broken and beached dock

Caffeine fuelled musings, drifting along, happily not-quite-empty headed and unplugged from the news of the day, if only for a little while.

Nirvana? Perhaps not, but a very good beer – yum!

I think I’ll leave it there this week, not too deep and, a bit like the dock, slightly stuck in the mud. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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!

Happy New Year!

Let’s be glass half full, and say 2021 will be a good year!

No arguments here – yum!

Walking about town last week, I was surprised and cheered to see a small hedgerow sporting an early bloom – hints of brighter days ahead?

A pleasant surprise!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and other posts this past year, and we wish you all the best for the coming year!

Brighter days

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!

The year in beer

For many, it hasn’t been a fabulous year, has it? With that said, a tip of the hat to Walt over at Rivertop Rambles for reminding us it hasn’t been all bad. He unintentionally nudged me into this one. Glass raised to Walt! Now, on to what had you reading this far, the promise of a year in beer – there’s always a beer, thank goodness…

January. We live on Beer Island, thank goodness. I liked this one. Yum!

I’ve picked my favourite beers featured on the blog this year, one for each month. I was going to write a short “tasting notes” paragraph for each. Then I realized that would be boring for most readers. So instead I wrote almost the same for every beer. It imitates my beer tasting thought process. I know, me too – there’s a thought process? Here it is. Being a discerning beer drinker, I try a beer, and usually, unless it is a sour that slipped past the guards, I think “I like this one – yum!” and then I drink some more of it. That’s a process. Wait until you read the notes. With such descriptive powers you’ll be convinced, like me, I should not write a beer blog.

February. In flight entertainment. The Kolsch was a standout. I liked this one. Yum!

I hope you like the artwork on the bottles and cans, because it will be better than the descriptions. If you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll be able to track down a few of these? To keep it really exciting, I’ll tell you my absolute clear winner and favourite at the end. Cheers!

March. We have lift off. A complete surprise how much I liked this one. Yum!
April. Brilliant Albeerta brew. Yum!
May. Berry good. Yum!
June! Off a cliff good. Yum!
July. A towering agricultural achievement. Yum!
August. A VIB dependable. Yup, I like this one. Yum!
September. I didn’t post any beer photos in September? Strange. Here’s some extra goodness from August. Yum!
October. Red, right, return. Lovely can, splendid beer. Yum!
November. Did I like this one? I almost cried the following week when there was no more in stock. Yum, sob.
December. Bought it for the label, was delighted at how good it was. Yum!

Well, what a variety. When I started this, I thought each month would be a pale ale – and it could have been – but it looks like we stepped outside our comfort zone to enjoy plenty of good ones. No sours, though.

My absolute favourite, even though I liked them all and there can be only one winner? Maybe for Wayne’s suggested award, the coveted Four Soaring Eagles and a Salmon? That goes to:

The Plains Breaker Wheat Ale! No, I meant The Grinch seasonal. Actually, the 33 Acres of Ocean West Coast Pale Ale. Or was it…

…Oh dear, I think further research/a recount is in order. It’s so 2020 to be unable to agree on a winner. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Easy rider! Roustabout! Mobylette!

Easy rider? Roustabout? Moby what exactly? What’s going on here? I’ll start slow, then steadily pick up speed. It’ll be fine, just like riding a bike. Or falling off. It won’t be much clearer, even if you read to the end.

It has been pleasantly “steady as she goes“ the past week or so. Another big windstorm at the start of the week didn’t knock out the power – some disappointed students there – and we’ve enjoyed a cold and sometimes sunny settled stretch of weather.

Almost sometimes sunny

With the drier days, I’ve been zooming about town on my bike, speeding up and down hills with ease. Yes, the sun on my face, wind in my hair- …

Hold on a moment, Speedy – “up hills with ease” PlaidCamper? Yes, of course. My fitness is paramount to me, my body being a temple, and you’ll agree regular strenuous exercise has always been a feature. Oh, alright. It’s an electric bike. So, yes, uphill with ease.

I race up here (photo taken in a different season) – good view of the brewery tower from here

After many, many years of research, and countless conversations with Mrs. PlaidCamper, (yes, countless fascinating conversations – Mrs. PC) I admitted that recent ankle sprains and the approach of very early middle age meant the time had finally come to purchase an e-bike. (Peace at last – Mrs. PC)

Interestingly, as Mrs PC knows, because I mentioned it a million times, having a pedal assist bike is still exercise because the rider is pedalling and putting in a bit of effort. Mostly true, but probably less true if your e-bike has a twist throttle allowing no pedalling whatsoever. Care to guess what I’ve got?! I do pedal if there’s anyone around. It’s a small town and I’ve my fitness reputation to maintain. I haven’t ridden to the beer store yet. Yet…

It has pedals – useful foot rests…

Yes, years of research into battery duration, weight to power ratios (should that be power to weight ratios? I was too busy looking at the pictures), build quality, range and other important technical stuff. It had to be an informed decision. So I ended up getting a bike because it looked a bit like a mobylette, and I liked the seat. Yup, I’m shallow, easily persuaded, and must have been a Gallic teenager in a previous life.

Une mobylette! Tres chic, oui? (Photo from Motoconseils.com)
Yup, comfy seat

Having had it a few months, I’m happy to report it is reliable, fun to ride, very comfortable now I’ve decided it’s an e-moped and I let the battery do all the work, and I think I look cool. If looking like something from Wallace and Gromit is cool. Which it is. In my head. Please stop laughing. I’m going to get a biker jacket and a flick knife and a tattoo and get told off by the principal.

Adult soda

As this appears to be descending into a weird late 50s or early 60s retro type of thing, it’s probably best I leave it here. Anyway, I’ve got to go hang out at the soda fountain, run a comb through my hair, get admiring looks. That’s right, daddy-o.

Thanks (Roustabout link) for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Oh look – the American Johnny Halliday! Merci! Thank you for reading. Thank you very much! (Stock image from Alamy.com)

Slowing down

With new COVID restrictions – or are they the same ones with greater amplification? – we are attempting to appreciate an opportunity to slow down.

Earlier this week I found myself staring out of the office window (thinking deep and meaningful education thoughts, of course) and enjoying the sun setting over Ucluelet across the bay. It was so pleasant, and I was so busy, I stepped outside to take a couple of photographs. A smoke break. Ok, I don’t smoke. A coffee break? Yes, that’s allowed! If accompanied with deep and meaningful education thoughts.

Educational

A variety of shore birds were flitting up and down the exposed mud flats, in silhouette as the sun dropped below the trees on the Ucluelet side. It was a calm scene, with a slight breeze disturbing the surface and rustling the last of the leaves holding on after the recent storm.

A heron was stalking tasty morsels, moving back and forth with deliberate and elegant intent, watching, winding up, and then striking. It seemed to be doing well, as far as I could tell, given the fading light.

A happy heron hunts here

With fewer student contacts, and increased “office” time, I’m looking forward to further coffee breaks overlooking the mud flats. I might not see any bears this time of year, although I have spotted them into December, but I’m hoping to catch sight of a wolf. I’ve been told they are sometimes seen patrolling the shore along the Hitacu side. I sense my caffeine intake might rise, and replies to emails will be delayed…

“Don’t you have any work to do?!” “Yup, in a minute…”

No, I’m not really slowing down to the point of a sacking! I appreciate the current good fortune of being in employment when so many are struggling. What a year. I find myself thinking “what a year!” over and over, as if repeating this will yield a better understanding or calmer acceptance. Not there with that as yet, and I think it’ll take the turn of the year and a good many steps into 2021 before some equilibrium returns.

This will slow me down

In the meantime, it’s steady as we go, and enjoy the slow down, as far as we can. Take a cue from that heron, and maintain (the appearance of) elegant poise…

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