Looking ahead…

…to a new year, and a new decade – goodness, the century is racing by, isn’t it? Doesn’t seem like 20 years have passed – a quick glance back, and remember when reading and writing about Y2K fears and predictions of gloom was all the rage? Well, the internet didn’t crash, stoplights kept working, and wasn’t the internet called the World Wide Web? A time before Twitter. How old fashioned and lovely…

Incoming…

I thought this post was looking ahead, not back, OldPlaidCamper?

You’re quite right. Looking ahead, I think people will remember to be kind and compassionate, seek to embrace and value difference, and wear plaid at least once a week because it never goes out of fashion.

Also, 2020 will be the year the Ucluelet Brewing Company brewers throw open their doors, if only to stop me pressing my nose up against the window almost daily. Nearly twenty months later than first promised, the next opening day is slated for January 31st – here’s hoping it happens, and the beer is good!

Something good

I hope your coming year is full of outdoor time and adventures in nature – be it hiking, skiing, paddling, fishing, photography or camping, either alone or with friends and family. And of course, your outdoor day should finish with a glass of something good when you get back indoors or back to the campfire.

Looks pretty bright

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend and a wonderful start to the new year and decade. Looking forward to 2020!

Fading…

The year, the decade – but not us!

A brief post to wish you all a very happy winter festive season, if you choose to celebrate.

The season? I dig it!

I was put in mind of the fading of the year a week or so back when we were on the beach mid-afternoon on a relatively sunny day, only to find the light went pretty quickly as the afternoon marched on and some clouds marched in. Shirtsleeves to toque and jacket in little more than an hour.

I’ll save looking ahead to the next decade for when it gets under way, save to say here’s hoping it isn’t as rabidly populist, negative and xenophobic as the end of this decade. As a couple of comments left here recently suggested, it’s worth holding on to the notion the pendulum will swing back, bad political times do pass, and common sense and decency, kindness and caring might even become the norm.

With that, all the best to all who’ve chosen to stop by, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Fog

Fog. A very brief post this week, written mere minutes after seeing the exit poll prediction following the close of voting back in the UK. People there are waking up on Friday the 13th, and it’s like it is Friday the 13th. Hmm. So, does this result show a nation seeking to be kinder, caring and more compassionate after the last ten years? Seems like a turkey really would vote for Christmas…

I have a few photographs from last weekend, when we went for a foggy and calm stroll along the coastal paths. It was quiet out and about, muffled, with most noise coming from the lighthouse siren, and it was pleasant to have the trails pretty much to ourselves. Wandering along, mind bouncing around from topic to topic, and continually coming back to asking would UK voters really vote in large numbers for a party that inflicted a decade of austerity? No, surely not…

Looks like they did, and I feel for for all the citizens not fooled by Brexit lies and promises of unicorns frolicking in the sunny uplands of a bright Brexity British future. With apologies to genuine circus clowns, the apparent electoral “success” of various political clowns in many places around the globe leaves me bemused, and quite convinced that some clowns are scarier than even Stephen King’s imaginings.

“Unicorns? Really? No, you’re just messing – right?”

Solace will be taken in remembering we’re so very fortunate to be living in western Canada – acknowledging the faults and all to be found here – and we will be setting out on our coming weekend hikes feeling slightly despondent, but sending good vibes to friends and families back in Blighty who were hoping for something better. Fog. Fog it. Fogging unbelievable.

A glimmer of light on a very (very) distant horizon…

Thanks for reading, and have a good weekend!

Space and balance and comfort

Balance? Teetering? Toppling? No, just an occasional wobble. Who? Me? Um, maybe. Any more questions? Um, maybe…

Teetering? Not me!

Over the last three decades (three decades??!) I’ve mostly taught upper elementary and Junior High school students. My work the past month has been with students a little younger than that, and I’ve found myself crawling around on hands and knees in the mud, building shelters and making fire pits. In truth, this isn’t so different to when I’m working with older youth. Hands and knees? Check. Getting muddy? Check. Building stuff? Check. To house a small toy wolf? Erm…

Room to wander – and wonder

I’ve wandered quite a long way out of my comfort zone, learning to learn through imaginative play. I’ve constructed tiny shelters from leaves and twigs so “my” wolf feels safe and secure out in the wild. The young ones understand real wolves don’t live in actual constructed shelters (they know pigs build those) but they’ve really taken to looking after their wolves.

Space to play

Since the mini shelters, we’ve moved on to making real shelters for keeping dry, exploring different ways to keep the rain off using a tarp and some rope, or a lean to made from branches. Yeah, that’s more like it for me, comfort zone rediscovered! When we finished, it was back indoors to warm up and make a miniature campsite using popsicle sticks, paper and plasticine. Comfort zone lost once more. All I can say is I’m doing my best, and who knew I would be so consumed by creating a fire pit from plasticine? Consumed, I tell you. Well, if you’re going to do something…

I’m finding out the attention span of eight year olds is fairly short (yet remarkably similar to teens) and when you throw in a few emotional/behavioural challenges, things get interesting. A popsicle stick topped with plasticine can be a weapon? Yikes!

A long and empty stretch

All great fun, and a major reason why weekends full of space and free from too many people have become so prized. I have to find some space and balance! Wandering long stretches of beach, and wondering exactly how many strains of bacteria can live in or on plasticine? Did I forget to bring my wolf inside? How long will it take to use several thousand popsicle sticks?

Space and balance!

I’m not going to post pictures of my – I mean our – plasticine triumphs, but an older student, the one with the creaky, muddy knees, seemed very pleased with this creation:

Aren’t those foxes, not wolves, PC? Shhh! Use your imagination!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Moon over water

A brief piece featuring a wolf (sort of – it’s less exciting than you might think), the moon, a beer, and me being a morning person (sort of).

If you believe that last part, then you’re one of the lucky many and haven’t had the pleasure of my company in the morning. I really am a little ray of early morning sunshine. You could ask Mrs. PC, only she’s not here right now because she’s teaching in the province next door (somewhere snowy) so I’ve a week or two to work on my cheerful morning demeanour and become even more sunny. I doubt that’s even possible.

Fortunately, Scout is a morning person, fairly forgiving and not too chatty. All is well in her morning world provided we are out, or about to go out.

Not the grumpy heron

We’ve been enjoying many quiet, clear and cold morning walks, the only company being the grumpy heron on a few occasions, and once, a possible wolf. Possible?

Scout got quite growly on Tuesday morning as we passed the Eagle’s Nest. The previous day she’d been agitated through the gloom at what turned out to be a traffic cone in the middle of the road, so I assumed the same, but this time there was no cone. On we walked.

Almost clear, quite cold

On our return and just beyond the invisible traffic cone, Scout growled again as a car drove by. She wasn’t growling at the car, but at the wolf-like creature slinking along the front of a wooden fence to our right, a dark shadow disappearing into darker shadows down by the shore. It happened so quickly, and I was so startled, that I can’t be completely sure it was a wolf. But I think it was.

We changed up our route the following morning. I can’t handle being startled by a grumpy heron and a slinking wolf at that time of day. Too, too much. It turns out I’m also not an early morning wolf person – even though I love the idea I might have seen one!

Moon over water

Moon over water? An early morning photograph I took a week back that happened, quite unintentionally – I’m not that attentive – to feature a small waning crescent moon. I wasn’t aiming for it, and it wasn’t the usual blur. Moon over water! Not the wolf moon, though. Perhaps I saw a large and shy dog? It’s tricky out there, when you’re stumbling through last dark and heading into first light.

Four eagles?

Beer stuff now. Moon over water and moon underwater? Go on then. I enjoyed the above beer last weekend, and it reminded me about the photo with the moon. I liked the beer well enough, but maybe not over the moon enjoyed. A California IPA (brewed in Victoria?!) is probably best in warmer seasons. Still, tranquility is a lovely name, the can art made me smile, and a West Coast IPA is rarely a bad idea – let’s say almost four eagles!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

The coming storm

Oh no, is he going on a rant here?! Nope, keep reading, it’s a short post about our stroll up, and then dash back down Wick beach last week.

I’d managed to get off work early, and because the forecast for the weekend looked a tad damp, we thought we’d make the most of an unexpectedly sunny afternoon. Probably wouldn’t need rain gear, so didn’t bother taking it. Yup, you’ve already figured out how good that decision was…

It might not rain, right?

When we turned off the main road and drove down to the parking lot, the blue skies were less blue, with wisps of fog blowing out of the forest, and some grey clouds out on the horizon. By the time we’d untangled Scout’s long leash and found a trail not being cleared by chainsaw wielding Parks Canada folks, quite some time had passed. When we stumbled out onto the beach, thoughts of a warm and sunny stay started to fade as quickly as the clouds growing closer to shore.

It could brighten up…

Luckily, I’m pretty good at reading the weather, and my expert calculations indicated we’d have enough time to wander along the shore for a good half hour, maybe throw a stick around with Scout for a few minutes, then saunter back.

Probably got time to saunter up and back?

I will say that a hurried walk that looks like you’re almost running could be interpreted as sauntering if you’re feeling generous. Mrs PC and Scout weren’t feeling generous, they were feeling the enormous drops of rain from the leading edge of the storm front that overtook us as we sauntered back to the car. I think the word was invigorating, but I’ll keep that to myself.

“You’re right about the light, PC, but can we go now?”

The light was dramatic, the waves were gathering themselves for an onshore onslaught, and goodness me, didn’t the front move in quickly. Still, at least we had rain gear with us. Oh, I forgot – someone who shall remain nameless said we wouldn’t need it.

It’ll stay dry

The forecast this coming Saturday is for rain, and I for one will be paying attention and dressing appropriately. I mean, what kind of fool ignores the obvious…

Um, maybe we should head back now? Or thirty minutes ago?

I think I’ll leave it for this week, and wish you a wonderful weekend – rain, snow, or shine!

PS Wayne let us know that Ucluelet received 210mm of rain, and Tofino had 167mm. Not bad for less than two days!

Light and dark

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.

Distant (somewhat hidden) mountains

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.

BC Parliament building, Victoria

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.

Oh alright, if I have to…(but not the cider or sours)

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.

Really?! Looks chilly.

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?

Taxi!

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!

Royal BC Museum

Spinnakers