…bobbing along! Quite happy that spring hasn’t entirely abandoned us – to be honest, we’ve had more bright and sunny days than not the past week or two, although it’s grey and likely to rain today and through the weekend.
We’ve enjoyed the bright mornings that developed into positively warm afternoons, with more and more signs of spring popping out. A lone daffodil, the little brown birds peeping and peeping out from the hedges, frisky bald eagles chasing and challenging up above.
The harbours have been busier, with more boats and kayaks appearing each day as the town prepares to get livelier as the days grow more hospitable.
We were looking across to Hitacu yesterday morning, and I’d just said to Scout how we hadn’t seen a seal for a while when up one popped to say hello. It circled the same patch of water where the calm harbour transitions into the slightly choppier inlet waters, bobbing up and diving down until we lost sight of it. Probably something tasty below the surface. Fun to see, and I managed a great photo:
I tried taking a carefully composed shot of the new greenery promising to emerge, but Scout had other ideas as to what passes for excitement and the results I’ve shared speak to that. She’s right, and I’ll wait until there’s more colourful blossom and a day when she’s on a longer leash…
So there we are, happy enough to be bobbing along through the springtime splendour. These little chaps below appeared quite content, hanging around for a less than perfect photo:
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
A shortish piece for a week where we’ve been worried about friends and family not doing so well, medically speaking. That said, it doesn’t have to be all gloom (although, the January weather here – please, weather gods, just a few hours of blue sky! Is that too much to ask?!) Right, on with the story:
L, a good friend, was taken unwell recently and rushed off to a local hospital. Alright, we’ll go see how he’s doing. Nope, not there, he was transported to a larger hospital the next big town up. No worries, we’re heading there Tuesday, we can drop in. Ten minutes before arrival, I picked up a voicemail. “Hey, L here, I’m not in Port, I’m in Victoria!” We can do that, had plans to be in Victoria at the weekend, so called back and left a message saying we’d track him down… By the time we got home from Port, a new voicemail. “Don’t go to Victoria, I’ll be heading to Tofino by the time you hear this!” Sure, that’s an easy reach from home.
We finally caught up with L in Tofino. I thought he might be a touch miffed what with all the travel. Nope, not a bit of it! Instead, a model of grace and calm. He’s been hither and thither, up and down and over and across the island in the past week. Prodded and poked, weighed and measured, yet still in pretty good humour given the circumstances.
Smiling as he recounted his travels, he whispered he doesn’t need but would quite like an air ambulance to the mainland, just to grow his recent medical transportation collection, you know, to complete the set.
Over the years, L has been a logger, a fisherman and a trucker, loving aspects of each – particularly the travel – the more difficult and remote the better. So being bumped around in an ambulance on roads that have seen better days wasn’t too bad. “The medics couldn’t understand why I was so happy! I didn’t mind, seen worse, felt worse!”
I left L with a pile of sports and outdoor adventure-type books he’s keen to read. “Yeah, you can go now. Let’s see what we’ve got here. Hockey? I dunno, not any more, not at my age. Hold on! Mountain climbing, eh? Haven’t done much of that, could be good…”
Yes, mountain climbing, eh! Well, why not? Curiosity and being an adventurous type can keep one going. L has about 25 years on me, and I wouldn’t put it past him to be out in front again soon, with me struggling to keep up.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a pleasant weekend!
I was staring out to sea the other day, with a partial lyric running through my head. I kept reaching for the song, and the performer, but it stayed just beyond my grasp. It wasn’t a particularly poetical piece, in fact, it was literal to my circumstances:
“You stare out at the ocean Mountains at your back…”
Yup, that was what I was doing, and that was the fragment. Although, the first day, I wasn’t standing with mountains at my back, they were in front of me:
By Saturday lunchtime I got it the right way round, with ocean in front, but I still couldn’t remember the song. A Teenage Fanclub tune? Nope. Sad to say, I know their songs inside out, and it wasn’t them. Being a person capable of holding on to deep thoughts, and always prepared to grapple with a problem, I completely forgot the lyric for a couple of days and got on with whatever it is I’m supposed to do.
On Wednesday, I received an email from an old friend. We’ve been plotting and postponing an old guy road trip, with stops at baseball places (for him), musical references in songs (for both of us), and craft breweries yet to be tried by either of us (for him!) The latest plan involved parts of California, a favourite for a road trip, and it had me humming “California Bound” by Black Francis/Frank Black or however he refers to himself. As well as being buddies in beer, my friend and I share the same dubious musical tastes, so Frank Black, the Pixies etc. would make it onto a road trip mix tape. Can you call a digital playlist a mix tape?
Much like a canceled road trip, you might be finding this post isn’t really going anywhere. Anyway, prompted by the postponed plans, I played “California Bound” and then let the album (Black Letter Days) run, because I’d forgotten how hugely enjoyable this rambling country tinged guitar and reedy/basso and sometimes falsetto voiced album is. He writes and performs as if, well, why not? So listen I did. And there it was! The song with the partial lyric that had wormed its way into my musical mind. “End of Miles” by Frank Black. Phew! Mystery solved, and a fine song if you like that kind of thing. The more complete lyric is:
“At the end of miles You stare out at the ocean Mountains at your back you think you’ve tamed”
Well, I haven’t tamed any mountains – at best, I think it is safe to say I’m always happy to head up and then make it back. Hiking, or on a snowboard, and especially on skis, getting home is the thing. I don’t tame mountains, but I do love them.
I haven’t reached my end of miles just yet. Very happy to be residing on the coast, between the mountains and the sea, but also looking forward to the “grumpy old git road trip“ and being California bound, likely now scheduled for 2022 or beyond…
I’ll leave it for this week, with a post almost as meandering as a Frank Black album, full of detours, and incomplete stories, but written because, well, why not?
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Bonus track: “1826” by Frank Black Oh yes! Turn it up to 11 – if Mrs. PC is out. Probably not for everyone, but this should go on a road trip mix tape.
With the long Easter weekend almost upon us – life has turned into one long weekend if you’re one of the many staying close to home right now – I thought I’d post a few past pictures taken around this time of year. Sort of heartening and disheartening at the same time…
Aiming to be positive, it’s nice to think that next Easter, or maybe the one after, most that choose to do so will be able to celebrate with their friends and families close by, rather than on FaceTime etc.
On a lighter, borderline trivial note, and perhaps somewhat worryingly, I have a trove of beer photographs dating back many, many years. Hmm, now why is that? Well, don’t some adults take pictures of trains and write down the engine numbers? Not that I’m being defensive or anything. The real reason is one of my brothers doesn’t like beer (you remember, he only drinks Peroni, proving he doesn’t like beer) so whenever we’re out and find ourselves – and this is rare – trying new beers in a microbrewery or bar, or a friend’s house, or at home, or on a day ending in a “y” – like I said, rare – then I’ll take a photo and send it to my brother. It’s ok, he likes getting the photographs, he really does. Anyway, seeing the photo below of North Coast Brewing’s Red Seal ale reminded me we haven’t tried that in quite a while. This is clearly an issue for me, because there’s still the important research needed to catch up on the past three years of AB new beers before revisiting old favourites. Looking back to look ahead. Clutching at straws, but maybe that’s a lockdown silver lining…
I’ll finish this one as I did last time. I do hope you’re keeping well. The current crisis is very serious, and frightening for so many. I admire and thank all the people who are doing all they can to keep what is necessary going. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful long weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
A brief post this week as we head into a very welcome long weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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!
…as we wait for an internet connection. Your call is important to us. Really.
We’ve just got back to Calgary, and you know how it is in the big city compared to living in more isolated locations. Yes, big city life and all the conveniences, like reliable internet, functioning remotes to parkade doors, no lineups in supermarkets due to a high level of staffing, and happy, happy people. (Apparently, I’ve forgotten how to drive, at least that’s what fellow urban road users appear to think. Maybe that chap in the shiny red pickup was waving a fond hello?) All invisible modern problems, but my goodness, being back in the city might have raised my resting heart rate just a touch.
As I’m in cheerful rant mode, I’ll continue. I’m writing this on my phone out and about, and since the paragraph above took about 3 hours, and I can barely read the screen, this will have to be brief. Please excuse any typos, but no need to excuse the incoherence – it’s all good, and I’m quite enjoying myself.
Hopefully, the photos I’ve included are reasonable – again, it’s hard to see when viewing on the small screen, at least for my tired old eyes. Plus, I’m on high alert due to being in an urban setting full of fashionable young people, and I’m sure they’re all looking at me, wondering what he’s doing, sitting in the corner and muttering at his phone. Have I mentioned my inner city induced paranoia? (Calm down, PlaidCamper, you’re in Calgary, not exactly high on any list of no go areas!)
I’m going to have to stop now, this is too exhausting and I might have outstayed my welcome in this cafe – how long can one cup of coffee last before having to order another? I will quickly mention we enjoyed our road trip from Ucluelet to Calgary, and it was very pleasant to be driving through big mountain spaces. We’re planning a weekend in Canmore soon, a favourite mountain town, so I will write about that in the near future, once a sense of calm and the internet at home have been restored. Might need to decaffeinate as well…
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!
PS Hoping this gets posted on Friday morning as usual, and very much hoping we’re online somewhere over the weekend, and I can get caught up on all your posts I’ve not seen the past few days.
For the past decade and more, we have been used to (and very much enjoyed) a snowy December and beyond, sometimes in a blanketed city, and often in the mountains. Still, change is good, and contrast is good. Winter on the coast is very different!
There are so many colours and moods – vibrant green on the trails, but also blue and grey. It can be dry, grey and cold, or gold, warm and sunny, or blue, cold and sunny, or windy and rainy, just rainy, and very, very rainy. Every now and then it can be extremely stormy. Exhilarating stuff, and always with so much green. (PlaidCamper, you do know you live in a coastal rainforest, don’t you?)
Being by the ocean, it always feels fresh, and there’s usually a breeze. Last weekend, we met up with Wayne and took a wander along Chesterman’s Beach. Fresh? Yup! A breeze? And then some! We took shelter in the lee of some rocks overlooking Lennard Island lighthouse (for shots of the lighthouse taken by Wayne over the years, look on his website here) and tucked into delicious soup and cornbread – thanks, Wayne – and a mince pie. We didn’t know Scout was such a fan of soup and mince pies, but perhaps that’s no surprise…
The ocean wasn’t calm – we saw the coastguard zodiac and cutter both riding some pretty big waves, and it looked as though they were searching the coastline. It would be nice to think it was an exercise and all was well, but the search looked quite intense.
The grey skies gave way slightly, and there was a hint of warmth from a few weak rays, but eventually we had to head back. Scout chased Wayne, or Wayne chased Scout along the beach, and it was a good game to play, because the breeze had a bite to it. We had a great time, and Scout wanted to go home with Wayne, but eventually she relented and came home with us, even though we can’t promise daily soup and mince pies.
Winter blues? We’re not singing that song, not yet. And I’m sure at some point we’ll find some time for a visit to snowy and wintry mountains – blow the dust off the snowboard and snowshoes – but until we do, I’m loving the winter greens.
We took a short stroll down to the outer harbour then past the small campground overlooking the water. We needed to stretch our legs and shake off the disappointment of England missing out on a golden opportunity to make it to the World Cup final. Beaten in extra time by a determined and more skillful Croatia team, we could only commiserate and also celebrate the tournament success of an England team most thought wouldn’t get as far as they did. Maybe next time…
Anyway, our little stroll found us ending up on the outside deck of the Eagle’s Nest pub, Mrs PC’s first visit up there, with a fine view across the water to Mount Ozzard. Often, the low mountains opposite Ucluelet are swathed in mist and fog reaching down to just above the first layer of trees. There are days where if you didn’t know, you’d swear there were no mountains. Not this past week, where the weather has been fine, and the evenings summer golden.
Summer golden? That calls for a glass of Tofino Blonde ale, and we couldn’t ignore the call. A perfect match, unlike the game earlier. Mrs PC seemed slightly bemused by Scout knowing her way about the place, the way the bar staff seemed to know her, almost as if she’d been to the Eagle’s Nest many times before. That’s a mystery to me…
We sat and sipped, enjoying the beer and the view. A pair of bald eagles circled overhead, occasionally swooping down and disappearing behind Lyche Island, and we’d wait for them to reappear above the trees, their cries clear in the calm evening. A few folk were busy on fishing vessels below, finishing up the day, preparing for the next, and in the deeper channel, a larger boat or two chugged past slowly. Nearer the shore, colourful kayaks paddled by, and they were a pretty sight in the soft light. A good evening to be on the water.
A small glass of Okanagan Spring pale ale (not as good as the Tofino Blonde, but we had to see) and then back to the outer harbour to catch the last of the sun falling behind the trees up channel.
A very pleasant stroll on a summer evening. Well done to Croatia, here’s hoping for an exciting final this coming Sunday, and because it was our home for a few years, Allez les Bleus!