Fringe elements

The lunatic fringe. Used to be, you could tell where that was located, politically speaking, but these days? It’s a little harder to avoid the fringe elements…

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post-Brexit, post-Tr*mp, post-truth piece. It’s a piece touching on fringes, elements, edges, and transitions. But not hair. A fringe? If I had one, it would be a high fringe. Possibly monkish. Moving on.

High green fringes

We were walking through the rainforest fringe last weekend, descending through layers of green down to the shore, and emerging onto a wind-blasted beach. We knew it was a blustery day, and had wrapped up accordingly. The first part of our walk was in the shelter of the trees, and we thought it was all pretty pleasant. So when we stepped out and into the hard gnashing teeth of the wind, goodness, it was biting.

Colder than it looks…

We trotted up and down the beach at a very brisk pace. Down to the water’s edge and back, and enduring, I mean, enjoying the bracing air. For what was probably the first time ever, Scout was not interested in examining every single washed up log. She had her ears pinned back – streamlining, sensible dog – and attempted to guide her lunatic companions back to the fringe. Yes, at least one of us was thinking clearly.

The sheltered edge

We did find a suitable log to stop and sit on for a short while, mercifully out of the clutches of the wind. The sun almost appeared, and with it a steady trickle of hopeful beach walkers. It was fun to watch them hit the wind zone and then see them scurry back. So it wasn’t just us…

Cool green

A short piece this week from the western fringe as we transition into proper spring. Or hope to. A recent long range forecast was predicting a cool start to the season. Haven’t we just enjoyed that? We’ll continue to head out, whatever the weather, ears pinned back and making the most of it.

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

Some small stuff

We’re not sweating it! It’s not warm enough at the moment…

It’s spring break for schools here, and with stay local and nonessential travel advisories in place, we’re not taking any time off. It’s a chance to catch up on less enthralling admin aspects, and aim for shorter work days and longer hikes.

Another rain shower heading this way!

The weather has been spring like from time to time, without breaking out and committing to a full on farewell to winter. We’ve had frosty mornings, rainy mornings, one or two misty mornings, and no more snow at sea level.

The rainy days have been the warmest, and Scout and I trotted out between showers one morning, expertly timing the gap in showers to get a good soaking at the farthest point of our walk. We sheltered under a tree overlooking our favourite sunny day spot, dreaming of drier days and walks to come…

Our favourite sunny day spot

Scout amused herself by chewing on a stick and then posing for a portrait, and I amused myself by taking her picture and then trying to snap a drop before it dripped. Or was it a drip before it dropped? Yup, the big stuff keeps me occupied. The photographs used here are some of the better drips – and I think Scout is happy enough with her photograph.

Me? Have my picture taken? Oh, go on then!

Small stuff to enjoy against what appears to be a slowly improving bigger picture, vaccination wise. I think we’ve forgotten what normal used to be – maybe it wasn’t always that great – and perhaps we’ll move forward to a normal where we will try to remember the small stuff is the big stuff.

Small stuff, up close

It’s still very tough times for many, and no doubt there are still challenging days ahead. We appreciate we are fortunate to be living where we are through these locked down and restricted days, and, for the most part, haven’t felt too restricted given our remote(ish) location. The novelty of Zoom and such like wore off after the first ten minutes, and introverted as I might be, I’m looking forward to seeing friends and families in person at some point later this year. Must be the hints of spring encouraging this sense of optimism. That and my sunny, outgoing extrovert side finding a voice. Hush, now, strange inner voice.

Drips and/or drops – big stuff

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.

Did it snow?

At the end of last week, I promised to post a few extra photographs of the snow – with boats, without boats, but definitely with snow. After all the excitement we experienced given the relatively large snowfall, it already seems so long ago. Now, the talk of the town is all about spring. Spring?! Is it here yet? No!

So, hold your horses for spring, and here are a few extra photographs of the two day winter we enjoyed.

Green on white

The next photograph was taken on Rainforest Drive:

Snow Forest Drive last week
White on green

It didn’t take too long for the quite mild temperatures to cause the snow to drop off tree limbs in great sliding thumps of snow. It was fun to walk down Rainforest Drive and dodge the wet snow bomb clumps. This wasn’t champagne powder snow, it was more like porridge.

Didn’t lounge about here for too long

The beach was interestingly different, but actually quite difficult to navigate, with all the rocks and large pebbles hidden under the snow. Next time (next year?!) I’ll come down to the beach when it is snowing, see the flakes driving in off the water.

Boats in the snow. So last week.

I think that is probably enough snow – we enjoyed it while it was here, but spring, it’s your turn now! What snow?

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

End of miles

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:

The other day, and it was sunny!

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.

Ocean in front

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?

“You planning on getting to a point here?”

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.

Yes, happy to be here

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.

Lighter

Setting out, there’s a little more light in the morning, and when I’m heading home, it is slightly less dark each evening. I’m drinking less beer and eating less chocolate. Throw in the transition events of Wednesday this past week, and it’s safe to say I’m feeling lighter. It’s also safe to say one of the previous sentences isn’t entirely true. You decide…

Light

Anyway, I think the world is a tiny bit safer, and things are a touch brighter. I know, and it’s an adjustment for many of us, but I’m being almost optimistic.

We spent part of last weekend on Long Beach, enjoying some sun, and wondering as we were wandering how the Biden/Harris inauguration might go. We settled for signs of things improving, and hoping there’d be no repeat or echo of January 6th.

Coffee stop. No chocolate?!

Later in the week, I was in the school garden with a future horticulturalist, and he noticed a bulb about to burst into colour. He was so excited! Due to the pandemic and a construction zone right outside the garden location (seismic upgrades and a new building to improve the two schools) the garden hasn’t been well tended the past year, so it was promising to see new growth emerging from the tangle.

Bright enough ahead

Did you hear Amanda Gorman perform her poem this week? Click on the link if you missed it or would like to enjoy it once more. Hopeful? I think we can be.

One last thing from Wednesday, and it certainly made me smile – did you see Bernie Sanders’ mittens? And some of the humour they inspired? It’s worth following the link, it really is. My favourite was:

I laughed!

A corner turned, and much work to be done, but doesn’t it feel good to be heading in a better direction? With a map? And people who can read it?

Almost optimistic. Maybe I’ll have a beer and, who knows, a cube of chocolate? Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Happy New Year!

Let’s be glass half full, and say 2021 will be a good year!

No arguments here – yum!

Walking about town last week, I was surprised and cheered to see a small hedgerow sporting an early bloom – hints of brighter days ahead?

A pleasant surprise!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and other posts this past year, and we wish you all the best for the coming year!

Brighter days

Small bubbles

A short one today, as we enjoy the season in our small social bubble, and safe harbour, perhaps with a glass containing small bubbles.

Frothy on top – a mild wintry west coast day

We hope you stay safe and well, physically if not socially distant, with small bubbles of your own to see you through.

Always in our social bubble!

Cheers, thanks for reading, and enjoy the long weekend!

Safe harbour and small bubbles – cheers!

Virtual camping?

Can that be a thing? Not too sure it’ll work, but here’s what I’ve been thinking. Thinking?! I’ve gotten very close to setting up my little solo tent on our tiny balcony. If I thought Mrs. PC would let me in again the next morning, I’d probably take that trip. This week is a bit of a repost, or perhaps a remake? Redo?

This time last year was the last time I went on an off grid trip. Over thirty young people plus elders and mentors set off in two boats, in high spirits, low temperatures and steady rain. The smaller boat was a zippy number, speeding ahead and stopping every now and then to drop a line, see what could be hooked. We had time. This was because the second boat was a larger slow boat, carrying most of the group and all of the supplies. A steady steamer that probably felt smoother in the roughish seas.

The slow boat

I was on the small boat for the outbound voyage, “enjoying” those roughish seas and the chance to stop and fish. The fishing wasn’t a huge success, unless you count snagging a surprised sea slug. Or was it a cucumber?

Beware, sea cucumbers!

The weather improved over the three days we were away, so that by the time we were ready, if not willing, to return, we completed the trip under blue skies. I took the slow boat back – anything to prolong the fun.

Another picture of the slow boat

Out at camp, we rebuilt trails that had taken a battering from a couple of spring storms. Everything was tidied and spruced up, ready to present to and welcome a group of elders coming out to see the area, for some, the first time in years. After the first night, I reset my tent properly in daylight. I’d really rushed the set up, doing the best I could in strong winds and rain in the dark. Besides, who wants their untidy tent letting the side down?

The small tent

What I didn’t report in my first piece about this year ago trip was that on the final afternoon – the day before we were leaving – I turned my ankle over. It was jolly painful, and my left foot turned all sorts of jolly interesting colours.

Since then, the recovery of the high ankle sprain has taken many months. It’s unlike me not to have complained about this sooner, but as I’ve time in this pandemic, and because you’re interested, let me share that I couldn’t ride my bike, and really struggled with walking up anything with much of an incline. My dreams of shimmying past the last defender and scoring a beauty of a World Cup winning goal have had to be put on hold. Again. I know, I know, it’s a loss for sport.

The small boat

All of this slight moping and retelling and reminiscing is simply a way of me wishing we could all go camping again soon. Not all at once, and not in the same place. I love you dearly, but there are physical distancing issues that we need to respect. Still, until we can be out in our favourite places and with our favourite people, there’s always the virtual camping and old stories to share. Again. Did I mention my ankle?

Off grid inlet. Soon?

Thanks for reading, enjoy the long weekend if you have one, the regular one if you don’t, and stay safe and well! Now, where’s the spare back door key, and let’s see if that solo tent will fit on the balcony…

PS I’m told those seas really weren’t that rough, or roughish – even the sea slug laughed at me. Or was it a cucumber?

Social distancing

Or, in my case, being something of an introvert, anti-social distancing. Silver linings…

Silver linings

Clearly there is plenty to be concerned about presently, what with Covid-19 and the toilet roll fights in supermarkets. They cut those scenes from “Mad Max” didn’t they? I imagine John Woo or Sam Peckinpah could have had a slow motion field day with scraps and shreds of toilet paper floating through fight scenes of suburban scrappers going toe to toe over the last packet of spaghetti. Pasta pugilists…

Back to the social distancing. I don’t mind if that’s the way it has to be. Avoid large crowds and social gatherings? Oh, alright. Drive thru virus testing, then a quick stop at the drive thru growler refill station. Doesn’t sound too bad.

Another growler? No!

Oh gosh, I just sneezed. I’ll keep this brief, as I suddenly feel the need to google the early onset symptoms. All photographs this week are from Florencia once again, and if you’ve got to be socially distant, this seems as good a place as any!

Anti-social distancing? If I must.

Flippancy aside, please be well, look after yourselves, family, friends and neighbours, and remember pasta shouldn’t be overcooked and is best enjoyed with a glass of red wine. Or two.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!