Bearly June

Did he get that wrong on purpose?

Well, it hasn’t felt too much like June this week, with chilly winds, rather short sunny spells and unseasonably low temperatures. Pretty dry, although the weekend forecast predicts that will change!

We usually see bears out and about when we’re out and about, certainly as May heads into June, but I hadn’t seen a single one until last Monday.

A different bear, a different site, but they all excite!

A favourite bear spotting site, or bear sighting spot, is from a little one way bridge heading into Hitacu. The bridge and road pass over a shingle, grass and mud patch, a smaller inlet off the bigger inlet, with a tidal zone that entices bears out of the forest fringe. For the past few weeks I’ve glanced over in hopes of seeing a bear or two, and was disappointed each way every day. Until Monday afternoon!

This side or that, should spot a few bruins in the coming weeks!

It was one of the rare sunny spells and feeling quite warm just after midday – not necessarily prime bear spotting conditions, but there s/he was, on all fours, head down and munching contentedly on whatever was good to eat. Result! A happy PlaidCamper, since I’d been getting a little concerned. Fewer bears or deteriorating vision?

On the way home a little while later, the same bear, or a twin, was still there, moved up some but foraging away in the afternoon sun.

Warming up

I’ll be spending more time in and around Hitacu as June warms up and the summer rolls in. Early mornings are a good time for spotting bears, so I’m hopeful I’ll catch a few more glimpses of a furry favourite along the shores.

I’ll keep this brief – bearly a post – thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Seen a bear? High 5!

It had to happen…

…I’ve found a beer style that is, in my opinion, impossible to enjoy.

I don’t mention it very often, and this will be news to many readers, but I’m partial to trying a new beer or two over the course of a weekend. I’m not too fond of sours, or beers that have been flavoured with oddball ingredients or too much fruit. I find too much alcohol leaves a burn that is hard to enjoy. An ABV somewhere between 4 and 7.5% is just fine by me. Hops? Yum! Ridiculously hopped? Sometimes yum! At the other end of the spectrum, malty or dark beers are jolly good, particularly in the winter months. Or summer months. Oh ok, spring and fall also.

Springtime? Beer season.

So yes to beer overall, but no to my most recent exploration. I tried the beer in the following photograph, and after the first optimistic sip – new beer = high expectations – thought my beer enjoyment taste buds (the medical term is BETBs, as reported in reputable medical journals) had broken. Cue medical panic. Is there a doctor in the house? A nurse? A nurse with a doctorate? Yes. Dr. Mrs. PC, RN to the rescue. While I tried to communicate through mime (having lost the power of speech due to this “beer” removing the layer of BETBs) Dr. PC took a sip and made a face. The one that said so who didn’t read the tasting notes before purchase?

No, no, no, no, no. And no. I didn’t like this one. No. Not at all. It isn’t beer. It’s a salt shaker. But with more salt. Nope, can’t think of anything positive. Not yum. A BETB killer. Not recommended. Just say no.

Obviously, being incapacitated due to the medical reasons explained above, I was unable to say it was me failing to read the tasting notes. I didn’t know salt water is the primary ingredient in a gose beer. Actually, salt water isn’t the primary ingredient. Salt is. Other ingredients such as water, or hops are mostly an afterthought.

Pleasant distraction

In the interests of public health, and as a safety information service to fellow beer lovers yet to “enjoy” a gose, I’ll say don’t. Don’t bother. Don’t do it. Just say no! That last one always works in public health messaging from governments not prepared to invest in proper health promotion. Best stop that, let’s not go on a rant about public healthcare under certain governments. Anyway, that’s Dr. Mrs. PC’s area of expertise, not mine. I’m better left with making (sometimes bad) beer choices and reacting in a suitably responsible manner when it goes wrong.

Ripple pattern on a beach? Or a photo from a learned medical journal of a tongue with severe BETB damage? I’m not a doctor, but it seems clear to me…

You don’t believe my public health messaging? You think that the gose style is something you could gose for? Ok, on your head and damaged BETBs be it. If you really, really have to try a gose, yet can’t find one anywhere, go to your store cupboard, take out the salt, pour yourself a generous spoonful and start eating. It’ll actually be more pleasant than a gose, a close enough approximation, and you’ll have saved yourself a few pennies and some major disappointment.

Before I go, you’ll be wanting a medical update, because I think I’m right in saying there’s nothing more interesting than an early middle aged person talking about their medical ailments? Fair enough, and thanks for asking – my BETBs have made a full recovery just in time for this weekend. I’ve learned my lesson, and will totally not be trying anything odd sounding or too experimental on the beer front. Oh look, now what’s this?

Oh no, not another generic plum and rosemary saison…(actually, it was yum!)

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

A dragon?

Why not? Too strange? Perhaps not – wasn’t there a paranoid maniacal mango with delusions about trying to rule the world making headlines not so long ago? Exactly! Dragons then, not so far fetched…

A dragon’s skull

We planned to go for a long walk in the sunshine last weekend, choosing Sunday as the better sunny day. It turned out, meteorological magician that I am, we should have gone on Saturday. However, going on the slightly colder and misty day meant we had a dragon encounter all to ourselves, the beach being very empty. No visitors due to public health restrictions, or a well fed dragon? Seems clear to me.

Wary dog approaching the dragon

The following paragraph contains spoilers. A young reader I’ve been enjoying books with has recently taken to a series of “what if?” nature books. What if a rhino fought a hippo? Or a lion took on a tiger? A great hook to engage reluctant readers, with lots of photos, facts and figures to help us try and reach an answer. It’s the hippo, if you were wondering. No, really, the hippo! I won’t spoil the large cat one. Our favourite so far has been King Cobra vs Komodo Dragon. I backed the dragon. I was wrong.

What creature can defeat a dragon?

Anyway, I’ll be honest – in case you’re thinking is he losing it? – the dragon we saw last weekend wasn’t a real live dragon. Come on, when did you last see a dragon outside of Game of Thrones? No, this was a dead dragon, or the skull of a dead dragon. Evidence? Look at the photos for the evidence.

Close up – definitely deceased

I checked with my reading buddy, and we’re still learning, but it seems pretty clear to us there are dragon killing cobras somewhere nearby, and we’re going to be very watchful next time we’re out there.

Just the one and then an early night for you, OPC

A short post this week, as I clearly need to rest, catch up on sleep, and finish making my suit of armour.

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

Trail time with a dinosaur

What time is it? Trail time! Music to Scout’s ears, and off we go as often as we can, Scout scampering, and me lumbering, like a, like a, oh, I don’t know, an old dinosaur? (Hmm. He’s mentioned dinosaurs. Is it worth reading on to find out why?) No.

Positively prehistoric?

We’ve chosen the Wild Pacific Trail for the past couple of weekends. One, it has many trailheads within a thirty minute stroll from home, no need to drive, and two, it’s the Wild Pacific Trail. We’re wild for it!

The photographs included this week are from the Lighthouse Loop, and, by the end, you’ll notice I haven’t included any images of the lighthouse. Once more the contrarian…

A glimpse of Ozzard?

The loop is a good stretch, winding through the rainforest, up and down, taking in views of Mount Ozzard (I found out the traditional Nuu-Chah-Nulth name, but not the meaning, earlier this week, č̓umaat̓a choo-maa-tah) and the stretch of low hills above Hitacu across the inlet, and sections above the crinkly cliffs and rocky bays over the Pacific. A wild side and an even wilder side. Yeah, man, rocky, and it rocks. Goodness, I sound like a, a, oh, I don’t know, musical dinosaur.

Wild thing

We must have clocked up many miles walking on the wild side of Ucluelet, and last weekend added to the tally. In my head, and stuck there due to a slow brain, a refrain from the Dinosaur Jr. ditty, “I Walk for Miles” played on a (lighthouse) loop. I love the heavy crunch of that song, and the heavy crunch of many Dinosaur Jr. tunes. Yes, tunes, if you’re an early middle aged indie kid with less hair than you might like. Dinosaur? Me? No…

Dinosaur? You? Yes!

Might as well mention I think the latest Dinosaur Jr. album, Sweep It Into Space is a wonderful sonic assault on your eardrums. It must be said I think they’ve mellowed a teeny bit, with some almost west coast sounding, and almost folk-tinged items shining brightly through the more familiar fuzz and feedback frenzy from the guitars. That J. Mascis is a loopy guitar player, and the frequent solos do not disappoint.

On the ocean side of the loop

Enough for this week, I think, and I’ll stop writing now – Mrs PC has popped out, so I can play a gentle, refined and soothing album without headphones until she gets back. Turned up to 11, of course.

This one was turned up to 11 – hoptastic

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend, stomping along some trails, wherever you might be!

Mud, mess and muddle

Like the week! All good though – a real mix, with some rain, some sun, plenty of mud in the school garden, and chances to get messy and mess about.

Mess about? There’s a story I can’t share with you from the school garden where two students thought it would be funny if they used the hose from the rainwater butt and pretended to be peeing into the watering cans. We’ll move on. Let’s not bother with their reaction when they heard me say water butt. I should have said barrel. We agreed they were children and eventually moved on. Overheard whispers: He said butt, water butt, hehehe…

Between rain showers

Mud on the trails was no hindrance, and (prompted by Jet, thank you) we’ve noticed an abundance of salmonberry flowers of late. Messing about with my camera phone in the rain, numerous attempts resulted in one reasonable image, shared below:

A great mix of new to me BC beers in store was a pleasant surprise. I know what I like, like what I know, and armed with too much fondness for hazy pale ales, I branched out, took a risk and chose…another hazy pale! And very good it was too.

Yum! Cannery Brewing, Penticton, BC

I have an app (RNI) on my iPad that has various settings to make digital photographs look like film stock. I messed about with this one evening, attempting to recreate what I remember old snapshots looked like in ye olden days before digital – you know, when life was in black and white, no colour, or maybe with some colour but grainy, and life was impossible without the internet. Or so some students think, when I share boring stories from prehistory. I won’t bore you with my many old/new masterpieces, and just keep it to the one image below:

Olden days (February 2021)

In between the mess of light rain showers, we’ve enjoyed the blossom found out and about. No camera filter tricks in the blossom photographs shared in this post, and if I’m honest, there is no need to change anything with these vibrant colours. Nature knows best…

Loud and proud, no filters

So there you go, a happy enough muddle through another week, and with the forecast for the weekend promisingly sunny, we’re hoping to mess about up and down a beach or two this weekend.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! (He did, he said water butt! Teehee…)

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!