Incoming

The turn of the year has brought a fair number of blustery days, and these have been good for blowing away any cobwebs and waking us up.

A day to be above and not on the beach

We’ve stuck to the coastal trails after each storm, excited to see the waves and admire the churning waters. One of our favourite little beaches has been off limits due to high tides and strong surges. On a calm day you can sit beneath the rocks and look up at the enormous logs, marvelling at how big the weather must have been to wash them up there.

That’ll do it

We’re looking forward to calm day so we can scramble down to the beach, see what’s been washed up – Scout is convinced there must be a decent chew twig or two – and we wouldn’t mind a few quiet minutes with a cup of coffee and waving at the resident bald eagles drying their feathers out (the two wet blobs in a couple of the photos this week are the said eagles – they are stoic!)

Churning

Looking at the forecast for the next couple of weeks, those calmer days are still a little while off, but it’s been pleasant to notice and enjoy an extra daylight minute or two as the days slowly lengthen…

Here comes another one!

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

Very big matchsticks
January 2022 Down on that beach, on a calm day!

Almost home

Scout and I enjoyed a couple of almost warm and mostly sunny walks one day earlier this week. We rounded the last bend of the street just before home and found we liked the way the smoke from a nearby chimney was wafting through and across the treetops.

Almost home (and two Narnia streetlights)

The second of our two walks that day took us along the coastal path to a sunny little spot that is often warm in the sun even if the overall air temperature is low. It proved to be so that afternoon, and we enjoyed a pleasant few minutes in the sun. Never one to be still too long, Scout was soon pushing for us to move on.

“Let’s go!” (I like how Scout almost matches the diagonal lines in this one – but as far as Scout is concerned, it’s about her, not the lines…)

I was surprised by how low the sun was, although I shouldn’t have been given we’re approaching the shortest daylight hours very soon. The next photograph was taken before 2pm but seems later:

1:37 PM

We hurried along the path for a few more minutes, wanting to enjoy more of the sun and sparkling water before darkness fell and winter returned. Yes, the rumour is that we’ll be experiencing a little more snow sometime next week. I’m trying not to get too excited, but please let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, as somebody once sang. Not me.

1:35 PM (I couldn’t think of a caption)

Almost home! Not too bad. I’ll leave it here this week, and wish you a wonderful weekend ahead!

PS For anyone excited by the baking adventures I’ve been having as prompted by Nigel Slater, I had a go at his banana and cardamom cake, and it was pretty good. Banana and cardamom cake

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!

Thanksgiving

We’ve been enjoying a very benign fall season so far, one where during the day temperatures have been as good as summer or better. At last! Rainforest? Not right now… Still, we know real fall and some rain is ready to make an appearance in due course, but until it does, we’re thankful for the misty mornings and mild sunny afternoons.

Misty mornings

Thanksgiving is here this coming Monday, and along with the current mellow seasonal moods, we’re thankful for so much more. We moved to Canada this time of year many years ago, so the holiday is special to us. We’re grateful to live where we do, and count ourselves fortunate to be able to do so. The wider human world appears to be as confused and contrary as ever, almost at constant war with itself over resources that ought to be enough to share, if only we could see reason and make some necessary changes for the good of all.

Still warm…

Anyway, preaching to the choir isn’t very helpful, so I’ll leave it here this week, feeling thankful for family and friends wherever they are, and thankful that we live in our quiet(ish) little corner of the world.

A quiet corner hangout

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

Calm

Wandering through town in the days following the recent long weekend, we sensed something of a turning point, both in the season and how busy things seemed. After a summer seeing long lineups morning, noon and night for popular places to eat, this week appears quite calm. Business still looks pretty good for proprietors, but the lines out the door have disappeared. Phew! Maybe it’ll be easier to snag a seat up at the brewery in the next little while…

The coastal trails are certainly quieter, and with some late season sunshine, the black rocks have been a pleasant place to sit with a cup of coffee and think calm thoughts.

Coffee stop

Mrs. PC startled a bear, or was startled by a bear the other day, as a tree Scout was exploring turned out to have a small bear heading up the other side of the trunk. A quiet and calm retreat ensured all was well, but it reminded me to look up more often, pay a bit more attention the next few weeks. Bears are filling up on berries, as evidenced by piles of purple poop deposited along the trails. So, make that looking down, as well as up, and left and right while we’re at it.

Calm

All in all, a calm and fruitful time of year in this corner of the PNW. We know the rain is coming, so we’ll enjoy the golden days while we can!

Rain? Here?!

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!

Sunshine at mile zero!

Our recent trip to the Sunshine Coast wasn’t overly blessed with sunshine, but when it did warm up, it was wonderful.

Sunny sparkle

We were staying just a few kilometres along the coast from Powell River, a mill town that is transitioning to an outdoor hub/cultural centre/pleasant place to while away a few days. We didn’t tackle it, but there is a trail, the Sunshine Coast Trail that runs through the high backcountry, from hut to hut, that presents a moderate challenge to keen hikers.

The end of the road

Instead of taking on the high trail, we drove to the end of the road, mile zero of highway 101, a coastal road that winds north to south 24 000 miles to Chile. We’ve made a good start, only 23 950 miles to go…

Mile zero is in Lund, a bustling little harbour at the end/start of the road. We drove there last week, setting off under cloudy and drizzly skies, but by the time we arrived after a short and pretty drive along a lakeside and through wooded hills, the sun was starting to break through.

Soon to be sunny in Lund

We parked in the lot overlooking the harbour, and what a wonderful spot Lund is located in! Our first priority was the ever important second cup of the day, and Nancy’s Bakery was just the place. We sat on the outside terrace in front of the harbour, and with the sun now fully beaming, and after a long cold spring season, we had to nudge ourselves we were in the PNW.

The tropical side of the PNW

Snow capped mountains in the far distance, boats bobbing on sparkling water, palm trees and lavender plants fringing the terrace, and a fine cup of coffee? Not too bad! Lund is a gateway for adventurous types heading into the wonderfully named Desolation Sound, but in those moments, it wasn’t too desolate. We didn’t rush to leave…

Pretty good day

As fine as all the above was, the absolute highlight was spotting a pod of orcas moving across the bay, spouting and speeding from left to right, dorsal fins high out of the water and just outside the harbour. Hello orcas! You made an already great day even better.

Orca territory

I’ll leave it there for this week – remembering the beaming sun and the magnificent orcas has me beaming as I write this. Right now, I can hear the fog horn from the lighthouse, and it doesn’t look as though we’re in for any sunshine anytime soon, so the memories of last week will have to warm us. Hopefully we’ll be saying hello sunshine as we head into summer…

Townsite saison – pairs well with sunshine

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

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast? Not always, but it has been sunny, the most sunshine we’ve seen in the past few months, and we’re very happy about that!

Sunnier than we’ve been used to!

A brief post, as we spend a few days in an internet free cabin a few miles outside Powell River on BC’s Sunshine Coast. Powell River is home to Townsite Brewing, and we spent a very pleasant hour in their lovely garden enjoying a jar of Suncoast Pale Ale.

Brewery garden and Suncoast Pale Ale

More to follow (from Townsite Brewing and our trip) when we return home next week. In the meantime, I hope you have a sunny weekend ahead. (I’ve seen the forecast for Ucluelet, and apparently it will be raining by the time we return – there’ll be time to catch up on blog reading. More rain and cold? Oh well…we’ve seen the sun!)

Sunshine Coast…

Warm glow

If we can’t bask in the warm glow of a sunny Spring day, then we’ll enjoy the warm glow colour and looks of a sodden cedar log!

Warm glow

The season continues to be damp and chilly, so when we head out, we do so kitted out for February or March rather than May. Cold and rain aside, everything looks fresh and green, and it is a delight to be out there.

Tangled fringe

To keep warm, we’re walking at a brisk pace, and stops to sit and admire the location are brief but enjoyable enough. With summer just a few short weeks away, we’re hopeful there’ll soon be days when we can sit on a (dry) log, basking in a proper warm glow.

Damp underfoot (underpaw?) – can’t stop for too long…

Until then, it’s appreciate the scents, sights and sounds of the dripping rainforest fringe, and don’t think too hard about why we have winter beers in the fridge…

A failed attempt at a tan and black. Almost a waste of a good stout…

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

Last weekend. Mid May? Or early March?

PS Of course, the day before posting, what happens? Why, there’s an improvement and blue skies reappeared:

Blue skies! The morning after a big storm