Grouse II

26 05 2013

I like to do the Grouse Grind after work on Thursdays. Nothing obsessive you understand (Moi?!). But being as last Thursday was my Geburtstag, I gave myself the night off. By last night I was feeling slothlike. I’m doing some charity 5km race next Sunday, so I had to “get out there” and went for a run around the local environs. Today looked a bit rainy so I figured the Grind would be quieter, and drove over to the North Shore to partake in the madness.

Wrong! It was heaving. I smiled at myself clucking at some BMW driver trying to drive against the relentless flow of arriving grinders. Plainly a newb and unaware that the other way (hinted at by the Exit sign) was the way out. I gave him a disapproving look, which as a BMW owner he was plainly unaccustomed to.

Fortune smiled upon me and someone was leaving just as I cruised past. Some deft reversing and the trusty steed was parked.

Most of the hike was uneventful, but I do so enjoy catching up and over-taking the young bucks and buckesses that regularly storm past me earlier on the trail. They can usually be found gasping at the side of the path, or in the case of the less well brought up – right in the middle of the path.

By the half-way mark, I was feeling in a groove and quite fluid in my stride. There’s an artsy seating bench at the half-way mark which I have overheard several people mistake for a mountain biking “stage”. It seems to not occur to people that mountain biking and Grouse Grinders would be a disastrous mix. Anyway, as I arrived, the bench was covered with a handful of 20-somethings trying to catch their breath. I was a bit peeved that they weren’t offering their seats to the various ladies that were pausing to also catch their breath. I was itching for one of them to offer me a place, so I could rebuff them with sarcastic comments about how they needed the rest more than me. Alas they were all too rude to offer their elders a seat, and I stood to quaff from my water bottle. They all set off just as I was ready, but I passed them only two switch-backs later.

It was quite a trip in all though. I saw TWO babes in arms on the trail. One being breast-fed at about the 3/4 mark. The other was plainly not happy about proceedings and was clearly audible from way off.

Just as I got to the top, there was someone blocking most of the trail having a rest. I was about to make some comment when I noticed that they had a prosthetic leg. I was completely knackered by then, and I can’t imagine the extra effort and bodily stresses it must make to do the route with a prosthetic limb. Kudos!

Despite it feeling really humid, and me being convinced I’d done a shoddy time, I was actually 2 minutes faster than last week at 1:24.

English: Part of the Grouse Grind in Vancouver...

Part of the Grouse Grind in Vancouver BC, showing part of the hiking path. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My one over-riding impression though was about how much perfume and/or cologne people seem to think appropriate for a hike in the woods. It was overpowering at times. Somehow it seemed so out of place with the scenery – but then again, so in keeping with all the “look at me” attire that the typical walker was wearing. I wonder if Lululemon would be in business still if the Grouse Grind were to close.





Victoria – where old Citroën’s go to die?

10 08 2012

When we moved to White Rock, BC, there was an old Peugeot garage just by the river. It’s since become a repo car re-seller with an odd variety of merchandise… including a yellow hearse for a time. This was our first indication that Canada (along with the rest of North America) had largely spurned European mass market cars some time ago. Of course, there are still the premium brands like Mercedes and one often sees Maserati, Ferrari and even the odd Aston Martin and Lamborghini in downtown Vancouver.

Volvo, Audi and BMW are reasonably commonplace too. But come lower down the food-chain and it’s pretty much VW or nothing. Fiat are making a recent come-back with the 500, it’s true, but where are Renault, Citroën, Peugeot, Seat, Saab?

But the true Euro-fan is still out there, and I sometimes get pleasantly surprised by a Triumph TR6, an MG Midget and even once a Renault 4. Immaculately cared for and lovingly maintained.

Imagine then my surprise to see not one, but two Citroën 2CVs in Victoria! In the space of a mere 5 days. One was the relatively common (back in the day) banana yellow, but one was nothing short of amazing. I can only think the owner was either a complete extrovert, or was strapped for cash and was repainting it one panel at a time while his supplier kept running out of paint!

Apologies for the photo quality… I only had my BlackBerry with me when I stumbled across this find on Victoria’s Fort St.

And life wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Lloyd Cole now, would it?