Where to begin?

April 30th, 2016

The origins of this project stretch back 18 months. Already I could write a book about what has transpired, hence my first entry’s title: Where to begin?

Actually it’s a longer stretch than that. Julie & I started to think about ‘life after the B&B’ several years ago. What would it look like? What would we be doing? Where would we live? We struggled mightily with these questions. After all, we love what we do and we love where we live. Why make changes?

When in November 2014 the District of North Vancouver passed a Bylaw allowing the construction of laneway houses, we thought our answer had been delivered. Our plan was to build a laneway house which Blake, Lauren & Ellie would occupy. We would continue to operate the B&B as long as we felt able. At some point in the undefined future, when Julie & I were ready to ‘downsize’, we could do a flip flop – We move into the laneway house and Blake, Lauren and family (which by now has grown??) would move into the big house.

We really liked this plan as it had the added benefit of providing Blake and Lauren with the opportunity of affordable long term accommodation on Vancouver’s North Shore. Oh, and the chance for us to be to closer to our little sweetie, Ellie.

It seemed perfect, only it wasn’t, and had to be abandoned. This part is a long story that I’m going to save for later. In any event, a plan B, a home renovation, emerged from the ashes in early 2016.

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A day on the beach

September 15th, 2015

The wind breaks make all the difference.

The wind breaks make all the difference.

Gwithian has an amazing expanse of sandy beach several miles long with the magnificent Godrevy lighthouse to the north.  Julie’s cousin Tamsin has a cozy chalet just above the beach and a visit to Cornwall is not complete without spending a day there feeling the sand between our toes and the chill of the ocean waters on our skin (which in my case was about up to my knees).  Thankfully, Bob & Tamsin were properly equipped for a day on a Cornish beach, which means a wind break and extra wetsuits. Even on a sunny day the chilly breeze would rapidly deplete any body warmth you might possess, but these simple devices make all the difference.

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Cornish Adventures

September 10th, 2015

For our week in Cornwall we stayed in Carbis Bay which is just outside St Ives, a 30 minute walk along a bit of the famous coastal path.

Carbis Bay beach looking back toward Hayle.

Carbis Bay beach looking back toward Hayle.

With this as a home base we were able to explore about and with two cars at our disposal it was not necessary to travel as a pack. This worked very well for us as it allowed Blake and Lauren to try to keep Ellie on track re mid day naps without requiring all of us to accept the same fate each day.
Thus Julie, Kim & I decided to drive down towards Zennor to walk a bit of the coastal path high above the ocean on this magnificent coast. But first, we had to get there. Cornwall is (in)famous for it’s narrow, winding roads.

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Cornish Made

September 5th, 2015

Julie was born in Cornwall.  So were her parents.  So were all her grandparents and all her great grandparents.  In fact as far as we know her blood is Cornish back to the mists of unrecorded time.  And so it was no small thing, genetically speaking, when her parents, David and Una, pulled up stakes and moved to Canada in 1957 where their daughter would meet and marry a Canadian (of mixed Anglo-Saxon ancestry) and produce half Cornish children.  While Dave & Una lived the rest of their lives in Canada and became Canadian citizens, Cornwall was always home.  In their hearts and in their souls they were Cornish and yesterday their ashes returned to the soil from whence they came.

David and Una's extended family - post pasty smiles

David and Una’s extended family – post pasty smiles

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Cracking walks in the Usk valley

August 31st, 2015

Seems our week in Wales flew by so quickly.  In addition to canal walks and walks into town for a pub lunch or a shop, we ventured up higher in the hills.  The first was a fine walk along an old quarry tramway and into the Craig y Cilau Nature Reserve.  We had the sketch of a map and route instructions like, “at the old wall and fence turn right and down an old track past some houses”.  Or, “from the holly tree turn sharp left up a faint path rising steadily to the foot of the cliff”.  Miraculously we managed it without getting lost.

At the trailhead

At the trailhead

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Crickhowell and Ty Neuadd

August 31st, 2015

Here I sit in our rooms which are in a converted stable which was built about the time Henry VIII’s reign was coming to an end – 1511.  The stone walls are several feet thick.  While most of the interior walls have been plastered over there is a section around the arched entry way left exposed.   Outside, in the middle of the parking area is a gnarled oak tree, centuries old.

Ellie checking out the oak tree

Ellie checking out the oak tree

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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.

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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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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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