Amy Harmon

1 09 2015

 

 

“It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you aren’t going to be loved the way you want to be loved .”

– Amy Harmon





Tough Mudder?!

31 08 2015

Nah, this is Bog Snorkelling.

An annual race. Snorkelling. Through a bog. Yup – for real.

No proper swim strokes though… only doggy paddle allowed.

It was in Wales. ‘Nuff said.





Wild Weekend

31 08 2015

Bit of a to-do here in the Lower Mainland this weekend.

After literally months of uninterrupted sunshine the weather finally broke on Friday night. By mid-morning the welcome rain was joined by a much less welcome wind storm. The parched trees suffered mightily and the urban landscape is still strewn – almost 3 days later – with bits of tree. White Rock/South Surrey got away pretty lightly and we didn’t even lose power except for 2 or 3 “glitches”. Enough to reset the olde worlde desktop PC and aquarium air pump but not enough to lose the time on the cooker’s LED clock.

Number 3 offspring had to help me do some running repairs on our panel fence as the gusty winds blew two panels completely off the fence. Spiketta the devil dog was too scared to go out into the garden otherwise I’m sure she’d have made a break for it. I knew those random pieces of drilled steel from the old overhead garage door opener I replaced a few years ago would come in handy…

Saturday was largely a day for hunkering down and writing, but I did venture out towards lunch to take aforementioned devil dog for a promenade. As we got to the wooded ravine she likes to sniff, we were met by a city workman who told us it was unsafe until someone had been through to check for loose limbs. Having already had to circumvent a pretty large tree limb in the normally serene butterfly garden, we decided that it was prudent to listen, and we detoured around Centennial Park instead.

Sunday was a lot more bright so offspring numbers two and three accompanied me to Van Dusen gardens for a breath of fresh air. We began by having High Tea at Truffles, the café there. It was atrocious! Number two and I had taken tea there before and had a most excellent experience. This time though? Yuck.  They offer afternoon/high tea for two or four. We were three, so we ordered “afternoon tea for two ($40!) with an extra cup please, and a Turkey Club sandwich (~$9!!)”. The order was relayed back to me as “afternoon tea for two and a Turkey Club sandwich”. There was a moment of confusion when I was asked what kind of sandwich we wanted, but this was my mistake as I  hadn’t realised there was a sandwich as part of the High Tea. So, all good, I went to pay. Only as I walked away did I realise the price was wrong. It was $42… not enough! I returned and said, there seems to be a mistake, the bill is $42 and the High Tea is $40 (meaning… the sandwich should have made it nearer $50). At this point I was told (presumably because of my not exactly local accent) that this was “because of the tax”. Here in BC the tax is added on at payment time and not included in the sticker price like in the UK, and I suppose the young lady thought I hadn’t realised that the $40 would become $42. I explained that there was a whole Turkey sandwich missing from the reckoning, but by now there was a large queue and they were on to the second person after me. We slunk off to get a table and I sent last born to rejoin the queue and re-order his Turkey sandwich.

After a while his sandwich arrived all hot and steamy and by all accounts was most tasty. This despite being ordered SEVERAL orders after our High Tea. Then the pot of tea arrived. Without the third cup. The server was pleasant enough despite exuding studied boredom from every pore of his being. He reluctantly sloped off to reappear with a third cup which was no less wet or poorly presented than its two earlier siblings. I don’t take sugar, but the sugar bowl was huge yet held only a small number of sugar cubes. Worse… it was dirty with some old coffee drips on the inside and the sugar was covered in fluff (or worse!). Just as my son finished his sarnie, the main event arrived, was swapped for the number we’d been given and that was it. No cutlery. No serviettes. No smile. Just lots of attitude!

I can’t complain about the food itself. The Croque-monsieur we’d ordered was hot and tasty. The lemon/white chocolate truffles were delightful. The petit fours were exquisite. The scone was a bit odd. Despite being attended by strawberry jam and thick cream (and for the locals – honey), it seemed to have orange in it rather than the more customary raisins or currants. Still that and the croissant went down very nicely thank-you and I can report that at least the kitchen staff were on their game, if not the front of house.

Both offspring were affronted enough to fill out pretty vociferous comment cards (with their real names!) and we went off to tour the gardens. We’ve visited many times and yet I was surprised to find that we ended up in various stretches of the garden I had never before visited. It really was a very pleasant little visit, and I was quite sad when we had to call it a day and leave.

As ever – click on an image for a larger version.





Summer Holiday – day 15

29 08 2015

Day 15 was spent being tourists in Portland. First thing’s first – figure out the Transit! It turned out we were just a couple of blocks from the station and it was easy peasy lemon squeezy to get into town. Cheap too. You get all sorts on public transport. The lady with the pet rat running up and down her arm was a first though…

Second things second… coffee! I’m a big tea drinker but this is Portland! We tried to find a non-chain establishment to better support the hipster economy.

Brazilian coffee sack

Brazilian coffee sack

I forget where we ended up, but I was amused to find the above coffee sack on the wall. Minas Gerais was the area of Brazil I had visited several years ago. Small world, isn’t it? Portland has cute names for its districts, Pearl, Rose, etc. I guess we were in the Rose District when I saw this cover for some utility ducting.

Utility cover

Utility cover

Number two offspring wasn’t with us for this trip, but we’d promised to return with some offerings from Voodoo Doughnuts. After first spending a couple of joyous hours in Powell’s bookshop we dutifully joined the queue for these doughnuts. No idea why they were so popular but the queue ran round the block. Over the road was a telling sign…

Keep it weird

Keep it weird

Having queued the length of the building, we then got the joy of queuing all the way back! Good job we were English… this counts as entertainment! I got dripped on once or twice and I eventually figured out it was an Air Conditioning unit in a first floor window up above the queue.

Little England. Love a good queue...

Little England. Love a good queue…

The jokes I was making about AC units and Legionaire’s Disease suddenly didn’t seem so funny when I realised that the doughnuts we were about to buy spent some period behind this open doorway protected from airborne disease and children’s bogey-laden fingers by nothing more substantial than a wire grille! Pink, I admit, but even so…

Now THAT's healthy...

Now THAT’s healthy…

I’m told by more discerning doughnut-lovers that they were especially scrummy, but personally I don’t think they were worth the effort…

Voodoo doughnuts

Voodoo Doughnuts





Summer Holiday – day 14

29 08 2015

Day 14 was spent on the road.

After carefully packing up the wet tent (it was to stay in the car for a couple of days before we’d have chance to dry it properly) we headed north. We passed through a lovely little place with the unfortunate name of Drain.

As we headed up the I5, we stopped off at Cottage Grove to grab a coffee and stretch our legs. I was amused by the sign outside a KFC which seemed to offer some unusual cuisine due to ambiguous English…

Odd menu

Odd menu

After a long but uneventful drive we arrived at our hotel in Portland. After the usual arguments over who gets the shower first we headed out for tea at Chipotle. Along the road we passed an oil change shop just as it was closing up. I really liked the colour from the interior lights.

Oil Can Henry's

Oil Can Henry’s





Summer Holiday – night 13

29 08 2015

It was our last night in Umpqua River lighthouse park, so we made a point of visiting the lighthouse while it was doing its thing. Whilst there we were treated to a far-off thunder storm over the Pacific. This wasn’t sharp forked lightning but rather subdued sheet lightning. Unfortunately the storm gradually came to land and by morning we had a thoroughly wet tent. We’d had glorious weather all holiday and now we had to put the tent away wet! :(

Red and white beams visible from the lighthouse

Red and white beams visible from the lighthouse

Red in the trees

Red in the trees

Hard to believe how far the beam can reach out to sea

Hard to believe how far the beam can reach out to sea

Lightening on the Pacific horizon

Lightening on the Pacific horizon





Summer Holiday – day 13

29 08 2015

Day 13, third born was invited to join his girlfriend’s family for an hour of motorised fun in the dunes. We’d arranged to pick him up in the early afternoon in Florence.

Mrs E and I decided to go early to Florence and amble around to see what it offered. The river was very similar in feel to Steveston along BC’s Fraser River. I assume it had had a similar salmon-oriented industry a few decades ago.

The derelict industrial scenery was quite pleasing I thought, with river pilings telling tales of times now gone.

Piling it on

Piling it on

There were still a number of boats – both leisure and working boats – moored at the river’s side. Florence seemed to have avoided the general malaise we’d felt coming up the Oregon coast.

Fishing still pays the bills for some

Fishing still pays the bills for some

The road bridge over the Siuslaw was completed in March 1936. It is a “bascule” bridge, meaning it is a drawbridge with counter-weights (in its solid-looking supports). It was designed by Conde McCullough and was funded by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works… i.e. part of the infrastructure projects that were intended to pull the US from the recession of the 30’s. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 5, 2005, and has since seen some TLC and much-needed restoration.

Siuslaw River Bridge, opened 1936

Siuslaw River Bridge, opened 1936

We found a most excellent lunch at the Bridgwater FishHouse and Zebra Bar housed in the Kyle Building, named for one of the early settlers in the area. After lunch we headed of to the small local museum and found an amusing signpost reminding us of the North American tendency to recycle place-names from other locales.

Florence - one of many

Florence – one of many

The small museum was in the old school-house, just off the main drag. It was stuffed with the usual ephemera of local museums. Family photos that mean little to outsiders, old pianos once loved in log cabin parlours. It had interesting sections on the early industries of logging and fishing, but these are repeated in most similar museums along the Pacific North-west and had little of new interest. Upstairs there was a collection of local school items including what seemed like arbitrary rules for turn of the century teachers. (Male teachers would be thought errant if they used a public barber!) There was a rather random collection of glass artefacts including telephone insulators and several coloured glass bottles. I thought the ambiguous colours in these were most intriguing.

Translucent blue

Translucent blue

Not green bottles

Not green bottles

We ambled back to the Bay Street area to recover our son and had a pleasant hanging-out with his girlfriend’s family on a café patio overlooking the river. Here I was surprised to see a sack from l’Herault area of southern France, an area we loved very much. It just seemed out of place in the PNW, but on reflection, no more than us!

A sack from southern France, in Florence, in Oregon

A sack from southern France, in Florence, in Oregon








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers