Thanksgiving, a road trip tale, and a cry for pie

Roasted butternut squash with sage (from the “garden”), something with mushrooms, and apple not pumpkin, please not pumpkin, pie, all washed down with a small glass of beer. Or two.

Yup, it’s a long weekend ahead, and for us, a chance to reflect, acknowledge and give thanks for our great good fortune to be living where we are.

Happy to be here

Our recent stop on Salt Spring was the calm start to a rushed road trip. We drove to Calgary and back in a matter of days. Why?! We wanted to see Junior – she has started a new education journey in Calgary, taking in psychology and linguistics amongst other things, and having not been in the same room with her for over a year, were excited about that. We also had some boring old “you have to be here in person to sign off” paperwork that allegedly couldn’t be done through any digital trickery. So off we went, ahead of the snow, but not ahead of every single road construction project in BC and AB. Actually, every single construction project in western Canada. No, North America. No, the world. The solar system. The universe. Since the dawn of time.

Destination Calgary!

Anyway, there were a few hold ups along the way, but as it is thanksgiving, let’s put a positive spin on that, and say, isn’t western Canada beautiful? It really is. All the extra time spent staring at the same group of trees was great. Once we got our heads around this was going to happen frequently, it wasn’t so bad. Apart from the last straw, the new construction that meant the Trans Canada was closed from Golden to Banff. A two hours and some detour in the dark at the end of a long driving day was quite the bonus. Good thing I am a happy traveller.

The same patch of trees? Maybe…

All the stuff I wrote in the past couple of posts about disconnection and getting off the grid etc? I even managed that in Calgary! That’s what happens when you visit your daughter on the 22nd floor and admire the view from the balcony. I reeled back after taking the photo below, sitting down and placing my phone behind me. Placing it over the wide gap between the balcony floor and the wall. Then watching my phone fall through the gap. Yup, that’ll disconnect you.

Getting high. 22 floors up

Anyway, thankfully, my phone did not break – did I mention 22 floors up? – and isn’t that amazing? It didn’t drop all the way down, but landed on the balcony beneath. The resident below was on vacation, and the building managers couldn’t gain access without permission and notification, so the phone wasn’t recovered until after we set off for home. I’m happily reunited with it, although somewhat sadly despondent that when I didn’t have it, it was revealed just how reliant upon it I’ve become. I did manage without, but not so well. Yikes…

High harvest. Thanksgiving cheers!

We were very happy to see Junior, and catch up in person. We’re hopeful she’ll be in one place for a little while (don’t know where she gets the moving about bug from…) and we even anticipate a winter break visit from her out to the island. Don’t tell her about the rain.

I’ll leave it there, that’s enough heartwarming and exciting thanksgiving/road trip tales for now. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! But no pumpkin pie – please, not that…

“I can see the sea!”

Here’s a trip down my Memory Lane, and you’re very welcome to come along. It’ll be a civilized and genteel stroll…

When we were children, my three brothers and I would start craning and leaning forward in our seats, desperate to be the first to call out “I can see the sea!” as we approached a vacation destination. It was something of an annual ritual, and signalled the end of the backseat silent territorial war being waged for extra space in a crowded small sedan.

I can see the sea!

Our parents would start to relax, knowing their four boys – delightful children all – were about to be unleashed onto an unsuspecting British beach, and they could stop pretending we hadn’t been fighting and elbowing each other the past few hours. Four sweaty urchins on a leatherette bench seat? How fragrant.

The lucky destination? Usually somewhere in Devon, Cornwall, North Wales or Norfolk. The United Kingdom isn’t the largest of countries, and you’re never too far from the coast, but I bet on those road trips my parents wished they lived on a smaller island…

I can still see it!

Are we there yet? Yes, off you go! Take the cricket bat, footballs, kites, and dog, and come back next week. I mean, before 7pm. And don’t fight. Look after each other. Yeah, right. The unspoken code was to do pretty much anything stupid short of broken bones, and no telling the parents later. We’re all still alive today, and no bones were broken – hard to believe – so I guess we sort of looked after each other. It was always advantageous to be the one with the cricket bat.

“Memory Lane? Yawn…”

These days, it’s pleasant to sit on a log, watch the waves, drink that essential second cup of coffee and wind down after a work week. Goodness knows, my parents must’ve needed to wind down. They worked hard, particularly at being parents to four little angels, even if they weren’t getting along so well with each other. At the beach, my mum would reach for a book, no doubt hoping the children didn’t suffer any serious injuries, and my dad would sometimes join us to play cricket, if he hadn’t disappeared to the nearest golf course. One year, he brought along some sea fishing gear, and spent a week catching no fish. It looked so boring to us, and I think that was what he had hoped.

Winding down time

What prompted all the not so misty-eyed nostalgia above? Last weekend, we were heading down to Sunset Point to enjoy the early morning sun – aren’t we the contrarians? – and as we wandered along, I had a sudden sense of being that (adorable) little boy again, spectacles shining in the sun, excited about glimpsing the sea. I’d quite forgotten that feeling, probably because in recent years we’ve seen the ocean every day, but it hit hard last weekend. It is a thrill to see the sea! Even better when you aren’t nursing new bruises and can walk straight there, no cramped car journey to endure and no need to carry a cricket bat. Golden memories of innocent childhood days.

Sunset Point, but not sunset

I’ll leave it there – I have to take Scout out for a (beach) walk, go see the sea, and anyway, I think I have something in my eye. I bet I’ve a cricket bat hidden away somewhere. Might need it post-COVID when siblings come visiting. Oh no, don’t think that! To play cricket, of course. Genteel, remember?

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

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.

Sad and smiling

My Dad died last week. We’re sad and smiling, as we recall so many memories of time spent with him. I don’t want to write anything lengthy here. My aim is to catch up reading your blogs, and to be writing my more usual posts from next week. Perhaps bits and pieces about my Dad will be woven into some of the stories.

The photograph is from summer 2019, when we enjoyed our last evening out together. He was very keen I had a beer photograph to post on the blog! We went to a bring your own beer local curry house, and ate too much and laughed a lot, like always.

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

What a week

First off, I hope all is well with you, your friends and your family. Trying times…

Very quiet

I was in Calgary last week, a flying Spring Break visit, and quite a good thing too as it turned out. We were aiming to surprise Junior, who is (was) teaching cookery and early years in the city. The surprise happened, smiles and elbow bumps all round. Then we had to scramble to find her a flight to Scotland via London, because, not being a Canadian, Junior’s partner is unable to return to Canada for the foreseeable future. Understandably, they didn’t want to be apart, so, fingers crossed, by the time this is posted they’ll be reunited in Bonnie Scotland. We’ll miss them, but know they are together to get through the next little while. Aah, lovely!

Very cold

I returned to Ucluelet, just long enough to pick up Scout, shut up shop, and, travel restrictions allowing, should be on the road as you read this, heading to Calgary once more so Mrs. PC and I can be together full time. Aah, lovely! Mrs PC can’t wait to see Scout.

I did try and explain social distancing to her

I know you might not be, but if you’re willing to watch something virus related, try this from Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland. It’s how a leader should sound in times like these…

Yup, what a week. Please take care of yourselves, friends, neighbours and family, and, although it might sound strange, I hope you find ways to enjoy your weekend.