“Let’s go out, let’s go out!”

OK, Scout, keep your hair on!

“How can you resist? Let’s go out!”

Why the big hurry from Scout? I think because she’s a snow dog, and the weather gods had heard my pathetic whining last week, so we were rewarded with a day of snow. I believe that’s how these things work? Snow? Hooray! First thing in the morning, it wasn’t all that much to get excited about – don’t tell Scout I said that – but we went down to the beach anyway. Light flurries, and the start of a biting wind, but that was it. Pretty enough.

Almost snowing…

As the day progressed, the wind got wilder and the snow got heavier, to the point where we got home and off the roads before other travellers also got off the road by sliding into verges and walking the rest of the way. Yes, there were a number of abandoned vehicles scattered at various points along the road the next day, but no serious incidents.

It turned into the sort of day best enjoyed from home – it really wasn’t a strolling in a winter wonderland kind of day due to the very blustery conditions. Scout indicated she wasn’t too happy about that, so I opened the front door for her to confirm that perhaps she didn’t really want to go out? She took one step – maybe not even as many as that – and promptly turned back indoors. Yes she’s a snow dog, but also a wise dog.

“This is ok…”
“…but I’m not going out in that!”
“Let’s stay in, let’s stay in! You’re going to the lighthouse? I’ll pass…”

Well, we did go down to the lighthouse, without Scout, to see how it looked in the snow, but it was so sideways and gusty, the snow wasn’t sticking and details were hard to find. We beat a tactical retreat and told Scout it was great…

No sign of the ocean

I’ll leave it here for this week, happy enough that we had a pretty cool snow day or two, and wondering if the call for more snow before the weekend is accurate…

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

From the kitchen window

Sparse

A bit thin, not much on top. A post about male pattern baldness, or something else? You decide…

Scout and I have been doing our best to enjoy early morning walks. We live and wander in a very green and pleasant place, a rainforest skirting the edge of the ocean. So the trying isn’t so bad, let’s be clear about that. It’s less the place, more the time of year. I’m not a huge fan of November.

Sparse

When we lived in Calgary, November was a month of promise but little delivery. There was (in my head) always the hope of decent snow, and sometimes the higher runs in the mountains delivered earlier in the month, but often not. In town, leaves had dropped long ago – mid to late September, and without snow, it always looked a touch drab. Less so here, due to the previously mentioned rainforest, full of evergreens, but the last of the deciduous leaves are dropping, and bare patches are apparent.

Full of evergreens – stop complaining!

Again, not so bad, but combined with the (admittedly long overdue) fall rains, shorter daylight hours and grey skies, it all feels a bit dreary. November blahs! Having been spoiled by the warmer late summer and fall, it seems a tougher adjustment to the grey and damp this year. Like male pattern baldness, hardly a major concern, but it’s there! I guess I’ll pull on the wooly toques, and get acquainted or reacquainted with the coastal winter. Might need a trip or two up island, get into the mountains there and wallow in the snow…

Damp and grey – but lovely, so get used to it!

A sparse post this week on a thin topic, those early winter blues. Or greys. To finish on a more positive note – November is almost over!

And it’s not always November grey… some early winter blues!

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful weekend – and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating that just to the (somewhat warmer?!) south.

There’s grey and there’s grey – a hint of sun here…
“Don’t listen to him – it’s great here!”

Turbulent…

Turbulent?! Oh no, it’s not a rant is it? Turbulent! Well now, this could apply to quite a lot – the economy? Politics? Weather? One’s stomach? No, no, not the last, all is well, and I wouldn’t go so far as to write on such matters. And it’s not a rant either. Not this week anyway…

Incoming

So, the economy? Do we want my take on fiscal responsibility and supply side reforms? Gilts and bonds? Why green initiatives make economic sense given you might want to be alive – stop, just stop, PlaidCamper, you know when you start to rant, it’ll guarantee a frosty reception in some quarters. No need…

Frosty reception

Let’s skip economics, important though the topic is, and also skip politics so all our blood pressures remain relatively stable. Although I can’t resist saying, given the midterm outcomes as of Wednesday morning, things could have been worse. Would have preferred better, but anyway. Glimmers of hope…?

Hope

That the leaves the weather! A safe enough topic if I resist the temptation to start on about the environment. No worries, at least for now – we’ve got as far as this paragraph, and blood pressure is within norms, let’s keep it that way. The weather being turbulent is where we are this week!

Best viewed from a distance

After a mostly delightful and balmy fall period, the weather finally broke and we’ve received much needed rain. Last weekend brought a robust storm, one that left many without power for a day or two, and we’d fully expected to be in that boat, but were spared this time. It was great to be down on the shore, well back from the crashing waves, and enjoying an exhilarating blast of ocean air. A day to hold on to your hat.

On the shore

Then we had a good old calm after the storm, and woke to a close to wintry scene of frost and frozen rain/snow that took a few hours to melt away. It has remained persistently cold ever since, with mostly blue skies and brisk mornings, and an almost perfect way to shake oneself awake after a bit of reluctance to step outside.

Chill

I’ll leave it for this week, as we must go and pack for a quick trip to Victoria, where hopefully we’ll still be enjoying the cold and bright days, and making the most of it knowing the rain will return. Sometimes, turbulent isn’t so bad when it’s followed by calm…

“Reluctant to step outside on a cold day? Me? Never!”

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

“I’m never turbulent, and always chilled…”

Way back when…

…I was a schoolboy, aged 10, my teacher was Mr. Ross Laugher (pronounced law, not laugh-er if you valued your recess time) and he was, initial impressions and appearances to the contrary, a lovely man. Over the years, I’ve been taught by, learned alongside, learned from, and taught or mentored dozens and dozens of wonderful educators, and of them all it was Mr. Laugher who came to mind as I was walking with Scout this morning.

Damp

I suspect he popped into my head because I remember him as being so enthusiastic about the natural world. Scout, as ever, was being enthusiastic about the natural world. It was a brisk and barely above freezing outing, and we were checking in with our favourite trees and inhaling the invigorating air, damp and mossy after the overnight rains. I think Scout maps the world through her nose. Light or dark, wet or dry, she has an unerring instinct when finding her way. Scout scouting!

A favourite tree

Back to Mr. Laugher. If you didn’t know him, or were apprehensive about moving into his classroom for your final year in elementary school, you might have thought he was a slightly forbidding and imposing figure. Bearded, gold wire rim spectacles, collar and tie, corduroy slacks, an array of sweater vests, and a brisk and purposeful way with movement and words, he induced a nervousness amongst pupils who weren’t taught by him. You’ve probably had teachers like that? They have a bit of a reputation for being fierce, but if you’re lucky enough to be in their class, it turns out to be a case of bark worse than bite? Ross Laugher was like that to me. It wasn’t that he couldn’t be strict – he was – but he was fair, and you knew where the lines were.

Bark? No!

He encouraged questions, looking up answers, reading, using the library, map making, experimentation, responsibility, common sense and using your senses. I don’t remember seeing him laugh or having a sense of humour, at least not with students, but he praised enthusiasm and effort.

Bark? Yes!

Friday afternoons in the upper elementary school were devoted to clubs. You could choose from (or were assigned based on seniority and if you had previously attended or not) cookery, clay, puppets (yikes, too scary, no thanks), bird club, needlework, painting, drama, music, model making and likely many others I’ve forgotten. Mr. Laugher ran the bird club and grade 5 me did not want to be there. It was bad enough thinking about the 50:50 possibility of being in his class for grade 6, so why run into him any earlier? For the record, in grade 6 I wanted to be in Mr. Lemaire’s class. He taught music, had that early 1970s rock band hair, flared trousers and no scary gold glasses. Like, cool, man.

Another favourite

Anyway, the education gods knew best, and I got Mr. Laugher in grade 6 and bird club not puppets the back end of grade 5. Bird club? Nooooo, I thought, that’s too square, man…We would go on walks through the school grounds, peering in hedgerows and up at trees, trying to spot nests, scaring birds off before we could identify them, then sitting with binoculars hoping the scared birds would return. We also looked for tracks, put up bird houses and filled feeders. Back in class, we were encouraged to draw maps to include what we’d discovered, and use reference books to identify what we thought we’d seen, then draw and/or paint any bird that we liked. (I was always rather taken by the storm petrel. Yup, I’d also like to know why…) For homework, we were encouraged to keep a bird spotting diary. Homework? For a school club?! Like, no, man…

Bird club

I would never have chosen bird club – in my young and shallow world view, Mr. Laugher would not be mistaken for my real role models, you know, a rock god or footballer – but it turned out it was all a good fit. Superstar sports and music ambitions aside, I was already enthused by maps, and had that odd childhood love of identifying and categorizing anything from cars and planes, to tanks and trains, so bird club made a kind of sense.

I even did the homework, making maps of our backyard and noting tracks and bird sightings. Robins, thrushes and sparrows mostly. Nope, no storm petrel. As we’re all enjoying these tales from the distant past, shall we add a few more details as I remember them of childhood me?

“Is he still talking about himself? I can’t bear to watch or listen…”

Outside of school clubs, I collected football stickers, had a brief flirtation with stamp collecting, was far too keen on old WWII movies, loved Viking, Greek and Roman myths and legends, anything Arthurian (reading this now, how did I not end up some kind of swivel-eyed right leaning loon?), tales of Robin Hood (phew, looks like I also had a leaning to the left and concern for fair redistribution of wealth from the 1%) and also spent time frequently modifying and falling off modified bicycles. I never enjoyed train-spotting, because that was for nerds. Yes, I know what some of the sentences before that describe, but c’mon, there are degrees of nerd…(Oh, ok, I might have been train-spotting once or twice with friends, and I might have enjoyed it. But we’ll keep that quiet?)

Misty, slightly faded

And once again back to Mr. Laugher. He opened my eyes to the natural world in my own backyard, school yard and neighborhood. He helped me see the small natural wonders and start to understand how they are actually rather large. He wasn’t the first or only person to do this. Parents and grandparents also encouraged a love of learning and sense of curiosity, and any number of family, friends and colleagues have also done so since. But as I said at the top, it was Ross Laugher who popped into my head this morning. And here we are, many years later, me the bearded teacher, sometimes requiring glasses, and corduroys in the closet. Talk about teacher influence… Wait a minute! No no, it’s ok, I don’t have a sweater vest. How could I? There’s only one Ross Laugher – an excellent teacher and role model, and in my mind, no one will ever rock a sweater vest the way he did…

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

Rainforest reminder

After a somewhat worryingly lengthy dry spell, the weather has taken a turn for the expected the past few days, and reminded us we do live in a rainforest. Temperatures have gone down, hoods have gone up, and relatively normal meteorological service has resumed.

Definitely damp

Scout can usually be relied on to jump up and be first out of the door if a walk is mentioned, but she was decidedly less enthusiastic this week as she heard the rain bouncing on the roof. In fairness, it was quite loud, and her ears are quite large. Fortunately, her curiosity always gets the better of her, or at least a fear of missing out on potential hiking snacks, and her mood always improves after the first few steps. Or bits of kibble. I find I’m the same, although I haven’t tried the kibble.

Greener

The forest smells right, with a return to wet and mulchy rather than dry and dusty, and to my eyes the greens are greener. I’ve missed the pattering of rain on leaf and raincoat, and although there’s much to enjoy hiking in the dry, it’s nice the temperatures have dropped a bit. It all feels a bit more alive somehow.

Not so gentle patter

The forecast is for a fair amount of rain the next two weeks, and we have definitely entered rain season, so let’s see how far our early enthusiasm goes. Will it be dampened? Probably not, as long as Scout can endure the indignity of towel drying each time we get home. I do assure her it’s laughing with and not at her, but she remains unconvinced…

“You said you wouldn’t share this one…”

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

Seasonal greens
“Large ears? Me? Not a problem, other than I can hear him when he thinks he’s being funny…”

What is happening?!

The past few weeks have been pretty strange. That could be a reference to our prolonged and very dry spell. Or it could be a description of what has been taking place politically and economically in my birth country… Maybe it’s both. What is happening?!

Political scene

I’ve been very distracted by events back in dear old Blighty. We haven’t lived there in nearly two decades, and whatever reasons we had at the time for moving away don’t seem to have been too far off the mark all these years later. It’s not that we saw what was to come. Anyway, it’s been upsetting to see – we have family and friends enduring the ongoing political clown show, and it isn’t funny. How many Prime Ministers, Chancellors, Home Secretaries in the last few years? Months? Weeks?! What is happening?!

Scout sees things clearly. Scout for PM?

I’m very aware that there are many places suffering far worse, militarily, politically, and economically, than the UK. To my inexpert eyes, it would appear the rise of “populist” political figures (surely there’s no link between years and years of woefully underfunded education/less teaching of critical thinking and the rise of these figures?! No…) equates to the demise and decline on view.

Back on track – I like this viewpoint

A friend texted me earlier, just after Truss resigned. We’d agreed at the time she was “elected” PM that that was the bottom of the Tory barrel. Now she’s been ditched after a destructive and disastrous few weeks, and the Tories are looking once more, but where do you look if you’ve already scraped the bottom of the barrel? Is there a barrel? Is it the same barrel? Or another one underneath, one that contains some previously undiscovered talents? Isn’t the well, or barrel, dry? How low do you go? Hmmm.

Oh, I could go on, but I won’t, you’ll be pleased to hear. I’ll just get upset! Let’s try and get back on track. The almost ranting old man went for a walk with his dog, and he was calmed by that. The weather was pleasant (aside from the worrying lack of rain) and the views were lovely. The dog was content. There you go, almost normal, or what passes for normal around here. I’ll do better next week…

“Chill, man – it’ll pass…”

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

Mystic haze!

Mystic haze?! Really, OldPlaidCamper? What’s going on? Too much time in the company of hobbits? Or you’re finally coming clean about those Dungeons and Dragons days? Perception altering fungi? No, nothing like that. My thanks to Vancouver Island Brewing – without their beer name inspiration, I would never have gone so far as to call this post “mystic haze!” (I mean, does that sound like my way with words?) No, this was mostly the recent weather and my beer choice coinciding… That, and the fact I was stuck more than usual for a title. I bought and enjoyed the beer, and as our recent weeks have been full of mystic haze, here we are, at possibly my longest and most pointless intro paragraph to date. Are you still here? Stick around, try the haze, it’s far out…

Like, it’s hazy here…

Fall continues to be surprisingly warm and dry, and I, less surprisingly, continue to write a version of that sentiment each week. I bet we’re all hoping this keeps up?

Happy blues

Scout and I have tripped out (teehee) most days, stopping off at our favourite stopping off places, admiring the mist and sunshine on the water, with me eventually giving way to Scout’s pleading insistence I take her picture. All is groovy on days like these.

Groovy

We had our first weather advisory of the new season last weekend, with talk of wind gusts bringing down drought weakened larger branches and cutting power. Perhaps the forecasters were hoping for a bit of meteorological disruption to the long run of placid days, and got a bit carried away? A few more leaves blew off the trees overnight, but that was about it. The weather “event” missed us, which was not a bummer at all, man.

Golden and mellow, warm and cool.

Anyway, I think we’ll leave it here for this week. Scout is looking out the front door with a meaningful expression. I think it’s the one that says it’s golden and mellow out there, with a hint of mystic haze under the rising moon. Oh, so that’s where I got it from.

Nope, it was from the beer

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

Chill early fall or late summer morning

Transition time! Scout and I enjoyed a chilly walk yesterday, a bright fall morning shot through with mists and spells of sunshine. Fall foliage is beginning to show, mornings are cooler, but for now we’re still just about hanging on to summer, with at least a hint of warmth most afternoons…

Late summer/early fall

A rather brief post this week as we prepare for what feels like our first longish distance trip in a number of years. Excited for that, and more to follow when we return. Where are we going? Let’s find out next week. Oh, the tension…

Warm light

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful late summer/early fall weekend! (Any Southern Hemisphere readers will be looking forward to spring – hope it’s a pleasant one!)

“Tell me again how good I look – I’m all ears…”

Fogust

You wait all summer for it to be summer, and then when it is (at last!) Fogust pops up! To be fair, we had quite a lot of Fogust in July, when July wasn’t being March. Is it safe to say by the time this is posted, we’ll be back to full on summer? One can hope…

Sea views? The ocean is there…

Yesterday afternoon was a warm and sunny one, so Scout and I dressed appropriately for the weather – sunblock and pants for me, fur coat for her (what was she thinking?) – and off we ambled about town, looking good and looking for a shady spot to sit and keep looking good.

“Yes, I look good, but if you’re done, I’m heading under that bench behind you!”

With the sun high, if not quite at the midday zenith of high summer, empty shade was in short supply, so we settled for a favourite spot, a small platform in front of the inner harbour. Scout, quite sensibly, sought the shade under the bench I was sitting on, and wouldn’t move over to let me under.

I see shade here

We lasted about ten minutes before the relative heat got to me, protected though I was by sunblock, sunglasses, a baseball cap and the aforementioned good looks. We headed home, almost wishing we’d get a short spell of Fogust to break the brief warm spell. Be careful what you almost wish for…

A tad chilly…

I’m off to put on an extra layer. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Putting my feet up

Not all the time, and not entirely sloth like – it does take a bit of a walk to get to our preferred haunts. This photo was taken early July, on one of the rare sunnier days we got to enjoy.

A lazy boy?

We’ve read and heard a good deal about how many places are experiencing extreme heat and very little rain, and after the hot weather events of last summer that occurred even in this often damp and foggy little corner, we appreciate our overall good fortune.

Damp – just a hint of mist

So, here’s to a few more summery weeks, by the calendar if not always the weather, and we’ll take any excuse going to seek out quiet spots to put our feet up!

A paws for rest…

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