Good morning/evening/high noon/hobnob’s elevenses/dusk/early hours/bus seat scrolling tit bit or traditional work skive! Whatever time of day, or indeed whichever day it is where you are, hello! I am inherently a forgiving man, if your inner dialogue is presently bewilderedly asking:
‘Christ, who is this so called ‘blogger’, who seemingly never actually blogs, reaching out to me now? Why should I give him and his writing time of day!?’
I forgive you. It’s OK to feel those feels. Please accept my apologies for a neglect of these pages, a busy seven months and a shade of laziness has deflected my focus from writing here. I open my arms wide asunder, biting your bottom lip and furrowing your brow you glance backwards momentarily. Uncontrollably you turn and run, gasping with excitement. Nearly tripping, you bow your head so that it collides forcefully with my wobbly abdomen. My arms wrap around you tightly. The coarse wool of my jumper evokes deep rooted feelings inside of you, emotions of security, happiness and the the uncompromising taste of butter rich hard-toffee flood your senses. All is, again, well with the world. Now we’ve had our necessary Werther’s Original reconciliation moment I must press onwards, I have much to relay.
The key purpose of this post is to put a notion to the sword. The notion in hand being that Canada is a winter biased country – that the Canadian summer doesn’t harbour warm or dry enough climes to facilitate a summer experience how you or I may consider a legitimate summer. You know the ideals I speak of; barbecue, beach sport, skimping around in your speedos – that sorta thing. It’s pure misconception – in interior Canada and the Eastern cities of Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal, say – it’ not uncommon for mid summer temperatures to reach the late 30’s early 40’s (Celsius).
Focussing on British Columbia; the summer climate remains temperate but warm, but with one key difference – it is long and dry. This year was essentially rain free in Vancouver from mid May through to last week. It’s hard to put into words how much Vancouver thrives in the summer, the population felt like it quadrupled as soon as it was vaguely warm, everybody rose out of cosy hibernation recharged and with freakishly well maintained physiques – stark contrast to my A4-white happy gut (it didn’t stop me basking!) The city is all too geared for the summer with numerous accessible outdoors activities to indulge in. The people of Vancouver are possibly the most active you’ll encounter. Some may as well get Lululemon tattoos the amount of aforementioned lycra garb they exhibit – I must admit, a little nauseating! Otherwise, it’s an excellent place to be when the sun is shining – the proximity of our apartment to several BBQ friendly areas, beaches, Stanley Park and the crux of our buddies living so close by made for plenty of forays, often ending in the latter hours with hiccups, a dizzy head and a slice of street pizza.
Spring seemed to come earlier than Blighty – I remember March being mainly dry, and rather splendid. The majority of the year has, for me, been punctuated by appreciative guests. Starting with the sister-Beats and Rhys ‘Taffy’ Evans treble birthday bonanza visitation – in that we all have our birthday’s within a week of each other. What better time than to pay bro a visit?
March and April are still prime for mountain pursuits – it would be horribly wrong not to take the opportunity to view the lankiest man in Wales on two flat fibreglass sticks tackle the terrain of Whistler. A five day jaunt ensued. Nice powder dumps of snow greeted us – dining, drinking, partying and hilarity also – memorable times.
For the first time we ventured west of Vancouver – and paid a visit to Victoria the capital of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. A quaint sea side city that reminded me of a British sea side town/city. Think Brighton but more cute. There we had some of the best seafood I have had the pleasure of sampling.
Way too soon Sister and Rhys’ two week visit had halted to an end. Time for them to get back to London and await work on their first home to be finalised – congrats guys! The Spring was picking up pace nicely and a mere three weeks after these two had departed I welcomed our next visitor – Stu ‘Milton’ Rhodes. I used to live with this insatiable gent back in London. Oh, the time we had! Arriving in Vancouver ‘fresh‘ from Coachella festival and a mini west coast States tour, Stuey had barely shaken off the jet lag before it was time to get Canadian mash-up, poor bloke. Before his arrival I had deliberated at some length on how his Alan Partridgesque tones would permeate with Canadians, an intriguing pickle. One of the definite highlights of his visit was a irrefutably successful micro brewery tour. Now, I intend to do a more in depth piece on the west coast micro brewery scene in months to come – it is something which I think is a real positive born from this part of the world. You’ll need to bare with me, I’m still collating data. Oh, and an FYI – Milton’s dulcet tones coupled with straight to the point observations strewn against a canvas of Canadian politeness made for hilarious viewing. ‘WE ARE ALL CANUCKS!’
One of the pros of living in Van is its proximity to other audacious and spectacular places. South western BC is gifted with some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the world – (says many people who’ve travelled a great deal more than me!) Vancouver Island is particularly beautiful. One such location on the Island, often touted in the tour guides, is Tofino. Existing on the periphery of a hugely diverse rain forest the tiny town is a haven for wildlife, undualting forested scenery, long sweeping wild sand beaches and the unrelenting frontier of the Pacific ocean – it’s also Canada’s premier west coast surf resort. Having read up a little of this wonderment it became somewhat of a priority to get over and see for myself. Assembling a crew all living in Vancouver – nine expats from England and Ireland alike – and a Canuck, we ventured westwards.
Tofino was incredibly and undeniably beautiful – I run out of superlatives. Something in the air leant itself to a guttural feeling of the prehistoric – there was something decidedly primeval permeating from its core. One of those scenarios where human activity and settlement is so dwarfed by the scale and energy of the wild which surrounds it that people seem out of place, like we as a race are only visiting and that something more pure and of a intrinsic wider understanding of this planet stakes claim here. Sea mist eerily peeled off the water, scraping gradually through the rainforest canopy – a palate of vivid greens and deep dusk-blues radicalised the plentiful vistas. Silence and calm on a level I have seldom experienced reigns, at odds to its winter incarnation; a turbulent epicentre of famous Pacific storms – none other was this more apparent than when we visited Wickaninnish Beach, a beach that comprises Long Beach, a 10 km stretch of unspoilt white sand and large scale drift wood. Here the Pacific relentlessly roared with such gusto we struggled to hear each others voices. The town itself conveyed the typically west coast ethos; relaxed beyond comprehension. There was helpful locals, a bad ass bakery, surf stores and all importantly; a brewery. Seeing is believing.
TO BE CONTINUED….