Arrival

August 24th, 2015

Not without some trepidation did we board our flight for London.  With our little Ellie, now almost 18 months old along with our son Blake and his wife Lauren, we occupied four seats just behind a bulkhead and just behind business class.  I should not have been worried as other than a small incident where Ellie grabbed then flung my glasses which struck a very grumpy woman in the face, the flight went well.  Except for the fact that Ellie was having such a great time that she wasn’t too interested in sleeping.  Thus her normal 12 hour sleep was missed completely.  We arrived early afternoon and Blake, Lauren and Ellie headed directly to the Mowatt’s while Julie and I stayed at the airport waiting for Kim’s flight to arrive, she having begun her journey in Australia.

This trip involves five different legs: we begin with several days in Crowthorne, a week in Wales, a week in Cornwall, several days in the New Forest and then finally, a week in Ontario before we head back to Vancouver.

And who are Gordon and Vivian Mowatt you ask?  Well, our son Blake and their son Phil are brothers-in-law, having married two of the three MacGregor sisters.  Nearing the end of a massive renovation of their family home they graciously offered to endure the six of us for three nights.  And I do mean endure.  It seems that the amount of time required to recover from jet lag is inversely proportional to the number of quart bottles of Peroni consumed.  Still, it was a real treat to arrive in England at not have to do the long drive down to Cornwall.  We stayed close to home for the time we were with the Mowatts, venturing as far as Windsor only a short drive away.  The Union Jack was flying from the top of the castle meaning that Liz was in residence, but we had already lunched and so declined her gracious invitation.  By the time Saturday rolled around most of us felt fully recovered from jet lag, eager for the next leg to begin.

 

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Departure

August 18th, 2015

Julie’s parents, Dave and Una Blight, emigrated to Canada in 1957, a young Julie in tow.  Since that first Atlantic ocean crossing via ship they made many more.  Today will be their very last as their final resting place awaits in a tranquil parish church cemetery, St Illogan.  As I write this Julie is shifting their ashes from one suitcase to another, trying to ‘balance the load’ so to speak and I think they have ended up in my backpack.P1010957

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What?

June 2nd, 2015

A coach house, also referred to as a laneway house, is simply a small house built at the back of a residential lot, one that has a laneway behind for access.  These fully detached ‘secondary suites’ have become popular in Vancouver where increased density is being encouraged for environmental purposes.  However, we do not live in the City of Vancouver, we live in The District of North Vancouver (DNV), which is not to be confused with North Vancouver (NV), a different city (even though you can’t tell one from the other unless you know where the boundaries are.  This is a very important distinction because each municipality has it’s own set of objectives, guidelines and bylaws.

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A Coach House?

May 5th, 2015

Julie and I are about to embark upon a journey.  It will be a long and potentially challenging journey and yet will take us no further than our own back yard.  You see, unlike our last several adventures this one will be a construction journey, not one of travel.  A few weeks ago a good friend, upon learning of our plans, asked whether I was going to blog about it.  This suggestion has now pushed it’s way forward and here I sit at the beginning of a series of blog posts, but far from the beginning of this journey.

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And what is this journey, you ask?   We are building a Coach House in our back yard, close to where the garage now stands.  Like any journey, if you don’t record the details as they occur, many soon fade away, leaving only some highlights in memory.  This bit of human nature is a strong motivation for me in my travel blogs.  When I write my journals, I picture myself, years from now, old and creaky, reminiscing – probably randomly – about past events in my life.  I know I’m going to need help jogging my memory (I do now!), and we all know how tricky memory can be at accurately conjuring events of the past.  What better jogging device than to record events or scenes and then write down what I was thinking about them, not just what I see?

So, this is my main objective:  To be able to read these journal entries years from now and relive the building of our Coach House.  Hopefully my readers will not be bored.  As always, the five W’s – the Who Where Why What When – must be considered, but where to start?

 

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Okavango Delta

November 28th, 2014

Here is an account of the further adventures of Jane’s Journeyers who wound up in the middle of the Okavango delta for a further three nights after our tearful parting at Chobe. Thanks to Joe McAllister for the text and to Blanche Tait for the photos (except for the ones of Little Dave and the one with Blanche & Dermott in the mokoro, which came from Jane Deluzio). The Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a very large inland delta formed where the Okavango River drains into the sands of the Kalahari basin.

The Okavango Octet

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Home again, Home again, Jiggety Jig!

November 24th, 2014

Except when I go To Market, To Market I want to find Warthog, not Pig.  Doesn’t even have to be a fat one.  If you ever see warthog ribs staring at you on a menu, do not pass them by!

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The Elephant in the Room

November 22nd, 2014

Chobe is home to a population of 130,000 African Elephants and so far we had seen not a one. Yesterday, after a somewhat disappointing morning trek, our guide suggested that we combine our two Wednesday safaris into one longer one. A six hour trek would allow us to go deeper into the park where the guides thought the odds of seeing some elephants and also giraffes would be higher. This was to be our last day on safari and we all agreed to this change. Yes, we all knew it would mean even longer periods being hurled about the swaying, bouncing truck, but, it also meant we were more likely to be alone which had a lot of appeal after all the traffic along the river route. And if this safari increased our odds of seeing more wildlife, well, we couldn’t say no.

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Don feeds the Chobe River God

November 21st, 2014

On the afternoon of our second day here in Chobe (Tuesday Nov 18) Jane had scheduled a three hour river cruise rather than the land based safaris we had had so far. (Jane we love you for this!). This morning’s safari was a bit short on wildlife but we did see the leopard included in my last post. However the afternoon cruise was spectacular, and I’m pretty sure the Chobe River God smiled upon us as a result of Don’s sacrifice.

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Public vs Private

November 21st, 2014

As I mentioned last posting, our first safari treks took place in a private game reserve. Here in Botswana they are in a huge national park. Pretty much the same animals to see, so what’s the difference? Well, there are a lot of differences. Let’s look from the perspective of we human visitors. In the private game reserve (PGR) there is only one tour operator. In the national park (NP) there are many. In the PGR the the guides cooperated. They also competed. Which tracker or guide was first to track and sight the elusive leopard? Which guide was responsible for discovering a new lion’s den? Once discovered they would excitedly communicate the location to the other guides in the area. In the NP there are many tour companies. They certainly compete and we did not see much cooperation.

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Another Day, Another Country

November 19th, 2014

After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel

We departed Victoria Falls and drove for about an hour to the border crossing from Zimbabwe into Botswana for the final leg of our journey. (Final for most, but several in our group carry on to the Okavango Delta for yet more TIA adventure).

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