Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tired but happy.
Thursday 8th November - Vancouver to Brisbane

The flight in a westerly direction crosses the international date line, which can be a little disconcerting for some as in the process a day just quietly dissolves.  In our case our departure on Wednesday the 7th will end on Friday the 9th after a mere fifteen hours of flight.

Our day admittedly had already been jam packed with colour and travel and that sinking feeling that good times must end, (for a short while at least), when Al dropped us at the airport with half a dozen hours to kill.  One of us expected that we may well spend it quietly ruminating over the memories of our week, or our month or perhaps our six months of adventuring, on which the curtain was now slowly lowering.

The curtain lowered much more quickly for the other apparently, as for her, barely minutes into that conversation the past six months had already become little more than a dream.

The Carnival is Over.
Wednesday 7th November - Whistler to Vancouver

What a glorious day Canada provided for our grand farewell.   It was that cold, crisp, clear kind of cold that says “it’ll be snowing just after you leave, once the gondolas start working”, but we didn’t care, because snow would have sent us into O.D.C. (over dose of Canada.)

Sunny and Al had saved one final disappointment for us, taking us on a short albeit “quite scenic” detour to a place where hundreds of bald eagles nest. To be fair to all, Eagle nesting season does not officially start until next week, but we held collective but ultimately false hopes that perhaps one or two may not have taken the change to daylight saving into account and turned up early. 

Without an eagle to be seen, and not wishing to appear ungrateful to our hosts, we ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at the scene before us for a bit, watched the seals catching the early run of salmon for a bit longer, wiped the odd tear from our eye (must have been the chill, surely not because we were on our way home?) and increasingly more quietly and with markedly less enthusiasm entered the monster truck for that final ride to the airport.

Slow down (life), you’re going too fast.
Tuesday 6th November - Whistler

Picture yourself in the company of friends who are so special that they’ve arranged an apartment in one of the world’s great snow resorts at the very foot of the gondolas, specifically so that they can accompany you to the tiny patches of snow at the top of the mountain in the hope of watching one of you go nuts as she stands for the very first time in falling snow.   Now ask yourself, what can possibly go wrong?

When we arrived at the apartment it was stunning. As advertised.  Everything was right there before our very eyes, or would have been if the cloud would lift just for a bit.  That cloud.  It was the wet rainy kind, the sort that delays the forecast for the first snow of the season until the day after you leave for Australia.     

That wasn’t a problem really, it would have been close to a miracle to see falling snow given our timing, but at least we could ride the gondolas to the peaks to scratch around in what was already there, or we could have if they hadn’t all been closed just for this week for pre-season maintenance.

We could have gone to the Olympic Ski Jump site for the same reason, but it’s only open on Mondays.   We could have had a long hot spa bath in the apartment if the water hadn’t been cut off for the day at five in the morning without warning.

Thanks to having nothing else to see except bears and waterfalls and boring stuff like that, we stumbled upon the Olympic Sliding Venue where braver souls than we were qualifying for the weekend’s big event.  We stood transfixed for hours, possibly due in part to our feet being frozen in place, while Skeletons and Bob Sleighs shot past at speeds that were approaching that of the past week rushing by, providing a spectacle that will remain in our minds long after those first stupid snow flakes would have melted anyway.

It’s Us, Isn’t It?.
Monday 5th November - Lantzville to Whistler

We had to get up in the dark to get to the ferry this morning which was a bit uncivilised, but Sunny and Al had planned a monster day for us in the even more monster truck they’d hired for that very purpose, and the least we could do was to accompany them.  

The first planned stop was the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver which is well served by a multi story carpark.  Thankfully parking was not expensive by our own inner city standards, but none the less it might have been nice of the museum people to place their “closed Monday” sign at the entrance to the carpark rather than at the pedestrian exit.  While this was a little disconcerting to our hosts, to put it mildly we are not inexperienced in things closing as we approach, and in our vast experience, disappointment is always followed by some unexpected highlight.

In this case the Vancouver waterfront and Granville Island kept us just as enthralled as poking round stuffy old canoes and carvings would have anyway, and we had to drag ourselves away in the end for the road trip to our next disappointment. 

Thursday, November 08, 2018

It's All Because of Daylight Saving.
Sunday 4th November - Lantzville

We woke this morning to our eighth time zone change in three weeks and wonder if it’s not finally catching up with us.  

One of our number was a bit curtailed with an inflamed achilles tendon, two were battling minor illness with the sort of stoicism that causes grown men to exchange silent nods of mutual sympathy, while the sole survivor of this week of rollicking good times not wishing to be left out perhaps, twisted her ankle somewhere in the wilds during our usual morning excursion.

With nothing compelling on our agenda except for a bit of provisioning and packing for our road trip tomorrow, thoughts of exploration further abroad were quickly extinguished in favour of spending a leisurely Sunday afternoon appropriately recumbent, licking our wounds in front of a nice warm fire.


Oh we do like to be beside the seaside.
Saturday 3rd November - Lantzville

We don’t normally think of bunging on the Wellies for a walk along the beach, but we don’t normally walk on the beach if the temperature is in single digits either. 

While normally the abundance of interesting flotsam and sea shells on the shore would be a reflection of an abundance of life in the adjacent waters.  In this instance we do have to wonder if it’s just an indicator that no one else is stupid enough to be out fossicking among in the rain in sub ten degree temperatures.   Normally in our experience it’s great to feel sand between the toes too, but here that would be a sign that one’s toenails are probably about to turn blue and it’s time for a new pair of boots. 

On the face of it Rook enjoyed himself even more than we did, running around like the puppy he was long ago but we did look askance at those poor little bare feet and wonder if he wasn’t just trying to get some feeling back into his toes.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Places to go, People to see.
Friday 2nd November - Lantzville

Perhaps we gave the wrong impression yesterday about just how easy life is in Sunny and Al’s care.   Be assured there are jobs that need doing and it’s a little hard to describe just how difficult it was to get a proper afternoon snooze with Al outside cleaning up the yard with the leaf blower.

Despite that particular adversity, we did manage to appear quite bright eyed when it was time for Rook and we to once again climb aboard the monster truck to watch them attend to even more chores in the afternoon.  This seemed to mostly involve driving down shady leaf strewn lanes to pick up organic eggs, or perhaps embarrassingly to dispose of our carefully carved pumpkins, now destined to make some equally carefully raised yet hungry animals even happier than perhaps they already were.  

If this is mundane, we do have some concerns about how we will cope when we get to the actual pretty bits.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

A Dog’s Life.
Thursday 1st November - Lantzville

Probably the biggest compliment we can pay our hosts is to say they treat us even better than they treat their dog.

We’re settling into a bit of a pattern now, Rook and we.  After we have been fed in the morning, we are taken for glorious frolics through the mist in the forest, then when we get back we are allowed, or perhaps even encouraged to have a snooze before (and after) being fed again.

Sometimes, if we’ve been good, the three of us allowed to go for a ride in the car to the shops.  This is not necessarily a highlight of the day for one of us, but the other seems to bear up under the strain. It will be interesting to see a week from now, what use can be put to all of those merino mid layers on the other side of the world when the temperature is four times what it is outdoors at present. 

Wednesday 31st October - Lantzville

One of us has never particularly liked pumpkin.  It once was even higher on his list of undesirable foods than Brussels sprouts, stringy beans and bitter, stringy rhubarb.  Quite possibly “despise” could be the most accurate term for his relationship with the ghastly vegetable although he would prefer not to think of it as a relationship at all.

Therefore, when the opportunity arose to give a pumpkin a craniotomy and stab its eyes out, it seemed like a chance to avenge a lifetime of mealtime trauma, and he did so with some relish.  There we were, in a familiar kitchen in a foreign land partaking in a custom that we barely understood, not even pretending that we weren’t enjoying ourselves.

While the events of this evening did little to enlighten our ignorant Antipodean selves of the significance of Halloween in this part of the world, there can be absolutely no doubt that the presence of sugar, pumpkins, bonfires, fireworks, children dressed as hotdogs and adults dressed as mustard bottles are all anyone needs to have a rollicking good time, and when a rollicking good time is had, who needs significance anyway? 

Oh Canada!.
Tuesday 30th October - Vancouver to Lantzville

The float plane landed and taxied to the dock if that’s what float planes do, and Sunny and Al were right where we left them five years ago, behind the security gate looking as though they were expecting us, perhaps already wondering what we’d leave behind this time.

We must have been mid-sentence when we last departed, because we all began at once beginning from where we had left off, with a good deal of urgency, all of us apparently oblivious to the the fact that all being well we had the rest of the week and a good deal of the next to catch up.  We simply stood talking and laughing on the dock unaware of our surroundings, quite possibly risking death by exposure or starvation, until one of us or perhaps all of us at once, came to our senses and we moved in search of warmth and sustenance indoors.

Having recently discovered that social interaction is a key factor in arresting cognitive decline as we age, those first few hours of our reunion alone were enough to convince us that we need not worry about the autumn of our brain function appearing for the next week at least. 

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