On yer bike

18 08 2012

So a colleague had a problem with his motorbike on Friday. Severe wheel wobble at low speed. Scarily wobbly. Too bad to contemplate the long ride up the Sea to Sky highway to Whistler for the weekend. Nothing for it – it had to visit the Harley Davidson garage ASAP. I agreed to follow in my sensible FOUR wheeled (air conditioned – it was close to 30degrees on Friday) vehicle, and bring him back to the office.

While he was inside deciding which arm and leg he’d trade for the pleasure of having it serviced at a pukka H/D garage, I stood outside watching life. There seems to be a strange fascination in these machines to some people. There was an unlikely posse of 3 men crooning over their motorbikes. Lovingly polishing the chrome with microfibre cloths. Huffing on the windshields to remove remnant bug splatter. Wearing the uniform black skinny Levis and black T-shirts – variously advertising their membership of some bike club or other. Number plates included Washington as well as the expected BC variety. But these men were old enough to know better. They were all North of 60, if they were a day!

The machines themselves look pig ugly I reckon (they are called “hogs” after all!). They purposely sound like they have a blown exhaust, and are well known for being unreliable, leak oil like a constantly excited nymphomaniac and are badly manufactured. Yet they are beloved by their owners. There was a neat line of other bikes awaiting the return of their owners. Don’t they just beg to be knocked over like dominoes? I resisted…

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Opening At Main & 13th : Scout Magazine

6 05 2012

Another great piece from Scout magazine for Vancouverites. They pose the reasonable question: “Does Main St. need another coffee shop?” Read on for their opinion, but I might posit that if you are perhaps peeved at the casual custom that takes up the bandwidth (seating and WiFi) in your favourite other café in the area, then at the VERY least this addition to the offerings will relieve some of the strain…

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Opening At Main & 13th : Scout Magazine.

DINER: 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Opening At Main & 13th : Scout Magazine

And for those perhaps not from Canada, the 49th parallel is the line that by and large splits Canada from the non-tea drinkers to the South. (I still shudder at the thought of all that tea being wasted in Boston in 1773!)

There are a few kinks in the line, such as when BC moved its provincial capital to Victoria in the South of Vancouver Island to make sure that Canada got the whole island, and not just the top bit (look how well that went for Ireland or Cyprus, just as an example…)

However, the flip side is a local peninsula (Tsawassen – try saying that after a couple of beers. Actually – at all!) with about 2 square kilometres below the line. This tiny plot is technically Washington State and goes by the name of Point Roberts. The rest of it is BC. There are a few folk living on the end, and so when they get jiggy, there are inevitably a few kids. Enough to build an elementary school even. Too costly to have a secondary school though. So guess what! The poor teenagers have to make the daily trip via school bus across two international borders each way and travel all the way to Blaine in “proper WA state”. The more logical alternative of sending them to one of the several Canadian high schools they pass on the way, or even – dare I say it, making Point Roberts Canadian – seem to have been passed over. It’s handy for getting a US mailbox or cheaper petrol though. Just sayin’…

Check it out on Google maps here.

Snoqualmie Falls, WA

19 02 2012

Just over the line, in WA state. We visited Snoqualmie Falls a few years ago with some good friends from the area. I loved this photo because it really captures the raw power coursing over the falls.


Originally posted on amysomday.

The downside of living in White Rock…

29 01 2012

So I have to say that for me personally, living in White Rock/South Surrey is as near to perfection as I can dare to imagine.

I am not typical by any measure, so don’t therefore expect many of my reasons to dovetail with your own list of traits for your perfect place. And I know how you do so love lists. I’m OK with that difference. You should be too. Variety is the spice of life. As  Robert A. Heinlein in Time Enough for Love once posited, it might also be the logical plural of spouse (as mice is to mouse), and it’s definitely a Yorkshire term for sweets or “candy”, as it is hereabouts called.

Didn’t take me long to get off-topic there, did it?

It rains a lot in WR (I was born in Yorkshire, remember? It’s a good thing, rain. I like it!). But here, it means it. When it rains, ducks drown. We probably get a similar amount to Vancouver’s annual 44″ which is actually a couple of inches less than Yorkshire per annum, but not spread out over the year nearly as much. None of this messing about with days of non-committal drizzle like I grew up with.

But, alas, nothing is ever totally perfect. We are perilously close to the border with the US. This in itself isn’t an issue. Americans are, on the whole, quite decent folk. The ones in Washington State are particularly laid back, and make pretty good neighbours generally (plus or minus the airborne effluent from their power stations blowing up the Fraser Valley). But, their proximity has the unfortunate side effect that we in BC are subjected to their TV broadcasts. These unfortunately do not stop at the 49th parallel, but seep insidiously across and are picked up on the more impressionable TV screens here in the British Commonwealth. It is due to this phenomenon therefore that I happened to witness possibly the worse advert ever made, while walking past my teenage son watching TV (I think he’s actually taken root on the settee).

Not only is it poorly acted, but it epitomises pretty much everything that’s wrong in the world. First and foremost, it’s for a lawyer, so must inherently be demonic (sorry Kianys 😉 ). Secondly, the TV ad within the TV ad has a slightly better actor (though with a face as hard as granite) depicting a woman who seems to delight in revenge on her husband who (understandably from what little I’ve seen of her!) wishes a divorce, and she is inherently encouraging the audience to reap similar retribution on their unsuspecting partners with a pre-emptive strike.

See what you think, but for me, it’s like politics… we get the advertising we deserve!