“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

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.

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!

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

Canadian Thanksgiving

A brief post this week as we head into a very welcome long weekend.

Lighthouse after sunset

So much to be thankful for! Living in western Canada is something we appreciate every single day. A remarkable location, an exciting diversity of people, and it rarely rains or snows out this way. Two out of three isn’t bad, and actually, the rain and snow make the landscapes what they are.

Whiskey Landing fire water

We always enjoy celebrating this holiday. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but that won’t stop me writing it again – we first arrived in Canada just before the Thanksgiving weekend, and were completely unfamiliar with this holiday. We ventured out from our Calgary hotel into the downtown, and couldn’t understand why it was so quiet everywhere. A city of one million, but it didn’t seem anything like it. Where was everybody? At home with friends and family, giving thanks for being in Canada? Perhaps.

“Didn’t you say that last Thanksgiving?!”

Back at the hotel, our room was upgraded, because the person who showed us to the room had thought we couldn’t possibly spend any amount of time in such a small space. Small? It was bigger than some apartments we’ve lived in! A wonderful introduction to Canadian hospitality, we were made to feel welcome over and over.

Ucluelet – derived from Nuu-Chah-Nulth for “safe harbour”

Canada has a poor history when it comes to indigenous peoples, but it is working to acknowledge past wrongs and create a better future for all – old and new Canadians alike. There’s a long, long road to travel, but we’re very happy to share at least a part of that journey. So much to be thankful for!

Pretty bright ahead

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Digging it

Really digging it. And no stone left unturned. A little more detail this week to follow up on last week. This one is a bit preachy – that’s a heads up, not an apology…

Digging it

The students I was with were really digging being scientists. From a plankton tow, to measuring sea salinity and water temperatures, to searching for intertidal wildlife, the young ones showed they really, really care about the place they live, even if some of the creatures they were looking for can’t easily be seen with the naked eye.

Sooo cute?! I think so…

Plankton! Phytoplankton! Zooplankton! These little plants and critters are sooo cute (not my words, but I understand the sentiment) and utterly astonishing when viewed under a microscope. We all – quite rightly – get alarmed by the rate at which forests are clear cut, slashed and burned, and generally mistreated in the name of resource extraction, worried that these acts of destruction are steadily ruining the “lungs” of the planet. Last week, students learned from their instructors that forests contribute approximately one third of the Earth’s oxygen. The other two thirds? Yup, you guessed it, from marine plants, and particularly or significantly from phytoplankton. The larger lung of the planet, absorbing carbon and producing oxygen, the all important base of the aquatic food chain, these tiny plants perform a mighty task. Good thing we’re being so kind to the oceans…

On the ocean, in the ocean

Students enjoyed seeing aquatic life through microscopes, in laboratory touch tanks, and even better, out on and in the ocean waters. By exploring, seeing, touching, drawing, identifying and naming a variety of marine life, the students came to care (more) about their local environment, and see how what is local and necessary for them is also local and necessary for everywhere else and everything else.

Think green, go on, dive right in

These young ones, they see the connections, can follow a line from the smallest creatures to the largest, from the bottom of the ocean floor to the high edge of our atmospheric envelope. Lofty stuff, and here’s hoping their caring example is enough to maintain, restore and protect our precious planet. Forget about the childish adults denying a climate crisis and belittling those (young and old) who care to hear the truth of science and dare to suggest solutions. Instead, aim to support the next generation of scientists and activists, the young people inheriting our woeful environmental legacy, and hope for them that they have enough time to act to secure a sustainable future.

Passing through, like we all are…

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

Wizard Island

This isn’t a post about elves or unicorns (or hobbits) – phew – but how about some magic? I will, due to being rather tired, be very brief this week, and I promise to write something a bit more detailed next week.

Leaving Bamfield, and we’re off to Wizard Island

I was on Wizard Island – yes, really – earlier this week, learning alongside a small group of students, splashing about in the intertidal zone, slipping on seaweed and scraping hands and knees on barnacles. We were being scientists, uncovering then sharing our discoveries, beaming our explorations live to students at UVic, and generally having a fine old time in the middle of Barkley Sound.

As far as these students were concerned, we were in (on?) the best possible classroom, transported there in a small aluminum boat, past bald eagles, basking seals, foraging bears, and with the prospect of a humpback whale sighting. We were lucky enough to spot three humpbacks spouting on our trip back, and I wish you could have seen the students when this happened! Such excitement, because we were relatively close, and this excitement from young ones quite used to spotting whales from the shore.

Barkley brilliance

All this and their first ever media appearance before 10 o’clock in the morning. Not that I couldn’t keep up – I did, just about – but I am mighty tired in the best possible way after three full days of marine activity. I will sign off this week with a few more photographs from Wizard Island. I don’t know about magic, but I do believe there are magical places…

More to follow. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

“We’re media stars!”