White Rock woman holds ‘Lying Cheating Sale’ to sell all her husband’s stuff while he’s ‘gone with his floozie’ (Via The Province)

28 03 2013

Via The ProvinceWhite Rock woman holds ‘Lying Cheating Sale’ to sell all her husband’s stuff while he’s ‘gone with his floozie’.

Source: Province – Bargain-hunters at the Lying Cheating Sale look over the goods on Saturday in White Rock.
Photograph by: Nick Procaylo , PNG

Ouch!

They say “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

Well – William Congreve did, anyway!

Let this be a salutary lesson to all cheating men to make sure they keep their favourite fishing rod with them at all times.

Just in case…

 

Sorry, no, it’s not funny.

Really it isn’t.

At all.





H2O – solid and liquid

12 01 2013

Busy day.

Began early (for a weekend at least) with a trip up one of the local “North Shore Mountains” – Seymour. Mrs E and a colleague joined me for a return visit to Dog Mountain via snow shoes. It’s a route I’d travelled a couple of weeks ago, but the intervening time had delivered quite a bit more snow, and the pretty sharp ups and downs were now much less daunting, requiring no hands in cold snow to steady my course. It was a lovely day, and despite hovering around -4 Celsius, the exercise kept things very pleasant. Almost at Dog Mountain we bumped into another colleague who had just left there with his girlfriend – the trails were busy with many people enjoying the pleasant day and spectacular views of Grouse and the city.

Later, Number 2 offspring joined me for a walk to White rock pier to catch the sunset and fool around with long exposures down by the beach. Here’s a few of the more choice results. I really enjoyed the “classic” trick of smoothing out the sea’s ripples into a milky smooth average over several seconds. Dusk was the perfect time to allow long exposures without losing colour.





Of Feta and Pennies

25 12 2012

I really struggle with Christmas.

I used to be able to “go with the flow” when the kids were smaller, yet, ironically, longer in name. Back then they were kiddies, kidlings, sprogletts or other things longer and more intricate than mere kids. Now they’re proto-adults though, the mystique has evaporated. They’re just as materialistic now as their peers – lost to the tidal wave of marketing and consumerism we wallow in, in the West.

But every now and then, I see little peeks of the great human beings they really are (despite my hand in their parenting!). The things they unexpectedly do that bucks the accepted trend of “me, me, me”. Like First-born the devout vegetarian being more than happy to take on turkey-cooking duties to give her mum a break. (I have a sneaky suspicion that her 4-month stint in Switzerland has brought her back from the Dark Side… she ate bacon yesterday!) Like second-born giving me a hug. Rare, unexpected, but so very obviously heartfelt. And third-born. Well… at least he’s not making more mess just now while he plays his festive gave of Shoot-em-up.

Second-born shared an interesting little dish with us in that never-never time between “normal lunchtime” and “Christmas lunchtime” which can be any time up to and including 6pm, on past experience. This is created by taking  slabs of Feta cheese and baking them in olive oil in the oven for 8-10minutes, then pouring a little honey on the top and grilling them for a little while to brown slightly. Eat when hot (It’s perfect for removing the roof of your mouth before the real meal begins…) with some crackers. Très yummy.

So you may recall I mentioned a local wag leaving pennies around on the park benches yesterday. I was out in the Christmas Day snow this morning, walking the dog again. I have no idea of their motivation for placing them, but today I felt a little saddened that about half of the pennies were no longer there. Then I remembered that one potential motivation was to place them there for some poor soul to whom a mere penny or two might make a difference. If that really was the motivation, then it was totally fine for the pennies to be gone. That indeed was potentially the point. Ignoring my more base instinct that some thieving sod had simply run off with them, I chose to add the few pennies in my own pocket to the missing slots as I negotiated the pathways of our little park, occasionally engaging other people in brief exchanges of potentially sincere goodwill as I did so.

It just seemed appropriate.

Us weirdos need to support each other. Even if we don’t know why. Just because it’s different. A stand against homogeneity. And especially because ultimately, it’s Quite Irrelevant.

The clatter of serving spoons on pans and dishes is beckoning me to the annual festival of gluttony. I wish you all a healthy New Year, and commend “The Random Act of Kindness” to you. Smile at a stranger. Put a tin of food in the food bank. Whatever you feel like. Something that makes a positive difference to someone else. Unexpected. And ideally anonymous.

Bugger Christmas – we should do it every day.





Lest we forget

11 11 2012

As a long time scout, I remember dutifully attending Remembrance Sunday services in the UK as a kid, and being told off for sniggering as The Last Post was rendered almost unrecognisable by some poor kid with lips frozen to his bugle.

When we moved to Canada, I was slightly taken aback with how much more respect is paid here in BC. It was almost as if the UK was apologetic for having to remember. The only attendees at the cenotaph in the UK would be the scouts and guides and maybe the local city Councillors. Maybe a couple of parents, but certainly not a big thing.

Here in White Rock, the entire town turns out to watch. The ceremony is on the 11th – no matter what day of the week it falls. Not on the nearest Sunday as in the UK. The parade includes the local air and sea cadets, the RCMP, the fire service and representatives from all the various scout and guide groups in the town. There’s even a fly-past from the local flying club, and it’s definitely “a big thing”. It never fails to leave me feeling humbled.

WWII started as a European thing. Britain couldn’t NOT get involved. But Canada? Canada could very definitely have kept itself to itself and let things on the other side of the world play out. The US in fact did just that for about three years. I read a review of a Canadian TV series called “Bomb Girls” about munitions workers in WWII. Apparently US viewers were confused because Pearl Harbor was the big story item in the last episode of the first series. It would seem that some US viewers had no idea the war had been raging for years before then.

Thankfully they did enter though – Britain (even with the amazing support of its dwindling empire) was on its last legs. They were showing “The Battle of Britain” film on TV this afternoon. There’s a classic line from Sir Lawrence Olivier as Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, when he’s being pressed to verify the astonishing figures of the number of bombers being downed by the struggling RAF in October 1940:

“I’m not very interested in propaganda. If we’re right, they’ll give up. If we are wrong, they’ll be in London in a week!.” Incidentally there were 112 Canadian pilots helping in the Battle of Britain… as well at 7 Americans. Despite the US still being neutral at that point. They were all part of “the few” referred to in Churchill’s famous speech.

It’s usually a cool day. Rainy often. Occasionally windy – I remember one year the wreaths were continually blowing over. But today it snowed. Only a little, but enough to remind people of the discomforts weather can bring.

I have been to Flanders. To Ieper/Ypres (depending on whether you’re a Flemish or French speaking Belgian). I’ve seen the Menin Gate and been astonished at the thousands of carved names. Then astonished afresh to learn that this seemingly endless register of lives lost records only the brave souls whose final resting place is not known. I have seen the traffic stopped at 8pm – every day since 1918 except briefly during WWII – and heard the Last Post played by the local Fire Service and the second stanza of Ode of Remembrance read.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them





What a load of rubbish! – I feel violated.

7 10 2012

So a few days ago, I learned (via the ever reliable BBC) of a blog chronicling the migration of British English into the day to day American English usage. I recommend it if you have even a passing interest in language and its changing usage. Innit (Which alarmingly didn’t trigger a spell-check error with WordPress!). Not One-Off Britishisms is its locale.

So anyway, I liked what I saw, and signed up as a groupie, er – I mean “follower”. The reward for which is the occasional notice of there being a new posting. The other day, I was rewarded for my herd behaviour with a notice of a posting called “Rubbish” moves south. This tells of a semi-official notice from the City of Philadelphia informing its citizens of a change in their refuse collection schedule.

“Rubbish” it seems is becoming used as an alternative to the more usual Americanism “garbage”. This is made fun of in my circles by saying it Frenchified as “ga-Barj”. In the same way we ridicule the popular US chain store Target, by calling it “Tar-jey”. How did I get here? Ah yes… refuse collection!

So, I live in Surrey, BC. The city started a wide-spread advertising campaign months ago to pre-warn its tax-payers that they would be rationalising and simplifying household refuse collection. This was done under the auspices of reducing the amount of rubbish entering the landfills by being smarter about recyclables – organics as well as the more usual glass/paper/metals/plastics. No problem there – all for it, in fact.

Then, the new bins started to arrive. In order to simplify (there’s that word again – take note… it’s important) the collection, every household was issued with three bins, colour-coded for (you guessed it) simplicity to differentiate waste, organics and recyclables. These bins are pretty large (240L) and in the UK would have been referred to as “wheelie bins”.

They’re massively over-engineered so that the special (and therefore presumably EXPENSIVE) dustbin lorries can automatically pick up the bins and tip them into their innards. Having witnessed the collection of similar bins during our holiday in Victoria my observation was that this automation came at the expense of much manual set-up on the part of the dustbin men. Instead of just picking up a dustbin and lobbing its contents in the back of the lorry, they now had to load up the special bins onto the proper hooks at the side of the lorry, wait while they were hydraulically lifted (slooooowly), tipped, shaken and returned to the ground for wheeling back into position.

There were lots of apparently friendly statements saying not to bother writing your address on the bins as they were all uniquely embossed with a number so they can be identified with the correct address. We occasionally have gusty winds, and it’s always an amusing game trying to retrieve your bin lid out of a neighbour’s tree. These city-provided bins have flip-tops and presumably are immune to that particular problem. Not least because they weigh about the same as a minor continent even when empty. It remains to be seen if the raccoons can figure out the new challenge.

Anyway, the 1st of October arrived – “first day with the new bins”. We dutifully wheeled out our bins, and equally dutifully measured out the requisite 1m spacing between them (well – not really, I’m not that anal!), facing the specified direction (they’re embossed with arrows for the hard-of-thinking) and not under any offending trees, all as per the simple instructions (All 4 pages of them. This is a rubbish bin we’re talking about!).

I went to work, safe in the knowledge that despite the city now requiring me to hang on to my rubbish for two weeks instead of one, it was all so much more simple, it would be worth it. Doing my bit. Community spirited citizen. Yeah – all that bollocks.

And then I came home. Initially I had my usual irritation at my teenage offspring having not bothered to retrieve the bins from the side of the road. There used to be one rubbish bin (plus or minus the lid depending on the Beaufort Scale) plus a couple of blue recycling bins - upturned to indicate they were empty and not available for filling up with rainwater today, thank-you very much. I know it all sounds incredibly complex, but it seemed to work pretty well.

Now there were three minor industrial installations to be moved, but same difference – teenagers could walk past a writhing hydra without noticing it. So, having deposited the car in the garage (pronounced ga-ridge, me being from Yorkshire), I went back to the street to retrieve our lovely new bins after the loss of their virginity. Ask how it went. Tell them the next time would be less awkward.  Maybe suggest that perhaps that dustbin lorry wasn’t the right one for them. That kind of thing.

And then I stopped dead.

I’d been “written up”!

It turns out that this simple collection actually involves only putting 2 of the 3 bins out each week. To put out the wrong bin results in the binman having to go to the trouble of writing up a citation and sticking it on your bin. A badge of honour, I reckon. I wonder how many I can collect before the bin gets so ridiculously heavy that they stop adding them.

A violation?! Are you kidding me? For putting out the wrong bin? Notice numbers 3 and 4 on the list! They can refuse to collect your rubbish because you didn’t space it out correctly… or someone (presumably from out of Surrey, or is that Airstrip One?) inadvertently parks within 2m of your bins, no matter how carefully you yourself space them. I have a good mind to park next to the mayor’s bins on collection day. See how universally the rule is really applied.

So – you can imagine this put me in a bit of a strop for the rest of the week. I hate bureaucracy, and particularly when it has been justified in the name of simplicity.

As I came home on Friday, I noticed one of those large electronic notice boards they use to warn of impending roadworks. This one was informing residents that bin collection would be on Monday as usual (it’s Thanksgiving here in Canada), and specifically which 2 bins to put out. Needless to say – I forget which they were. Since then I’ve noticed two more such electronic noticeboards on major ingress routes to White Rock/South Surrey. (I still can’t remember which 2 bins are the ones to put out).

It’s nice to know that it’s so simple the city has to pay for such “in-yer-face” (yet apparently ineffective) reminders to its taxpayers.

Maybe they just ran out of violation stickers last week…





Are friends electric?

12 08 2012

I’ve lived in North America – White Rock, BC to be more specific (well “South Surrey” to those who are familiar with the joke) – for around 11 years now.

To this day I am in awe of the overhead crochet that seems necessary to supply electrical power to this far flung corner of ex-Empire. Prior to emigrating from the UK, I lived for 15+ years in a town called Milton Keynes – which has its own cadre of jokes – with pretty much all its power, phones, TV and the like neatly buried in the ground. No idea where MK birds sit to have a chat and plot bombing runs on the passing populace, but there it is.

BC power is strung from very temporary looking wooden poles, and seems to require frequent use of oil-filled dustbins for some purpose or other. Their majesty though is enthralling, and when the sky is looking particularly moody… or perhaps azure blue… I find the criss-cross lines photo-worthy. Here’s a crop of images from – you guessed it! – Victoria.





The Rain in Spain

16 06 2012

… is completely irrelevant. The rain in White Rock however is somewhat persistent. As in “It’s persistenting it down outside”. People have started referring to Junuary, it’s been that wet.

Now call me odd (many do!), but I love the rain. Ignoring all the obvious stuff like the cheap hydro it offers us, and the cycle of life and all that gubbins, it’s such a sensuous thing to experience. I just got back from walking the chien. She looks like a drowned rat, but gives me hopeful looks every time I go near the coat rack… just in case there’s chance of a rerun. The rain makes the more normal folks stay indoors, so I get to experience the parks pretty much on my own. It’s a calming experience. The dog came to a complete halt at one corner, and I was forced to call Mrs E to ask advice. It turns out that I’d happened to arrive at a portion of the route she herself takes the dog every morning (I’d extended my walk to enjoy more of the rain and the solitude it offers, and taken a random turn.) The dog was basically refusing to deviate from the route she expects once at that point. As soon as I hit the crossing button and headed over the road she happily trotted along. It’s a pure coincidence that’s my dog is female. Just sayin’.

First-born, currently at Waterloo, was complaining of the “million degree heat” currently there. Mrs E offered no sympathy, as she herself does not enjoy the wet and cooler temperatures we’re currently experiencing. “Well, you do live in a temperate rainforest” came the over-educated but ultimately unhelpful response from across the country.

Meanwhile I was having a whale of a time. As the rains eased off, the colours seemed more vibrant. The lack of people made me aware of more of the nature I was passing. When the rain stopped altogether, the duck ponds were mirror flat, like they’d been pounded smooth by all the raindrops hitting them. Then the swallows (not sure of the airspeed velocity) came out in force. They were feasting on the mosquitoes hovering low over the water. Probably only moments old. They’re an amazing bird. Swooping and darting at breakneck speed. And now the sun is out and the concrete is steaming.

I love BC.





Vancouver Sun: Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

12 06 2012

I don’t usually watch the news these days. Today though, I had a few minutes spare, so I turned it on. “Hey news – you’re looking really sexy today…” (The old ones are, well, the oldest.)

I was a bit sad to see that a humpbacked whale had been stranded on White Rock’s East Beach. It had been alive when it first landed early in the morning, but had subsequently died. Initial reports said it had been in distress for a considerable time and had its baleen ensnared in a commercial long-line which had prevented it eating for quite some time. Though it finally died at White Rock, its fate had been sealed a long time previously. It was quite moving to see ladies from the local Semiahmoo Band drumming a lament and sending its spirit away in peace.

As the tide returned, the carcass was towed away to an undisclosed location for tests and disposal. It looked almost like a submarine being launched with the flowers people had placed on the dead creature’s head to honour its death.

Many animals die on our beaches every day. Somehow though, the death of a large mammal seems to make us feel the loss more personally, and we feel the need to mark its passing. A reminder that all living things are connected ultimately.

Vancouver Sun: Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video).

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock (with video)





Spring: The grace, the power and the detritus

28 04 2012

A few readers may recall come pictures I posted when our two local ponds were being drained. That was back in February. Progress is being made, and one of the ponds has been refilled. Aparently the mud dredged out had an unexpectedly high zinc level, so the council had to find a different waste dump that was certified to accept the mud. Mud that had hitherto been totally fine for the local ducks, but was now unfit to have within the city boundaries of Surrey, BC.

As the park is slowly being returned to normal, I took my trusty camera obscura for a walk and captured a few snaps of the different aspects of the Spring day. The glorious blooms from the magnolias, the pathetic little piles of bikes and shopping trolleys that had been salvaged from the ponds, the heavy equipment lying idle for the weekend, awaiting Monday’s renewed action. There’s much to be seen if you choose to look.





Guinness Withdrawal on St. Patrick’s Day

17 03 2012

So, in the absence of Liffey Water, I went for a brisk stroll down the front at White Rock this après-midi, camera in hand. Still enjoying my Christmas prezzie to self (70-300mm lens) greatly. Brisk because it was ‘kin cold and windy, not because I was walking fast, you understand.

I thought I’d share the results. I’m generous like that. Because it’s free.








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