A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

Tempus Fugit.

sunny 17 °C

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Spectacularly hued sunrises and sunsets have peppered our autumn blogs for several years but when we look back over the seven years since our blissful adventures began we are irrationally dismayed by the fact that each summer on our island has passed more quickly than the previous ones. Time is no longer the friend we had when we were young and we are reminded that seniors’ discounts and preferential line-ups are a double edged sword. But, here we are again saying farewell to the beautiful views over the Salish Sea from our island home, and saying farewell to summer... a summer of friendship, fun and a little work. James finished the Japanese style quilting studio with the addition of a traditional bridge...
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...while Sheila completed her first quilt in her new ‘home’...
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Our friend Gottfried reached a major milestone. A pod of whales turned up to join in the celebration and Chef James, with assistants Michael-Thomas, Graeme and Ute, put on a regal spread ...
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Our summer had its usual share of Shakespeare, fireworks, dinner parties and salmon fishing. (You should have seen the one that got away)...
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...although it was tinged with sadness when our friend Antony Holland passed away at the age of 95. Here is the old thespian proudly showing off his Order of Canada just last year...
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Time races on for all of us as we slip into fall. The heat may have gone, but our autumn is still full of colour and expectation. The welcome rains have brought an end to a season best summarized by a string of climactic superlatives; it was the hottest, longest and driest summer in recorded history in our corner of paradise. Global warming deniers take note! However, winter is on the horizon and, like the birds, it is time for us to fly. Please stay with us as we skip across the pond to explore some of Europe’s grandest cities and forgotten corners.

Posted by Hawkson 06:45 Archived in Canada Comments (10)

Chasing the sun

sunny 25 °C

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The Harvest moon rising over the Rocky Mountains lights a path across the Salish Sea to our front windows and signals that it is time for us to turn our back on Canada and trek westward in pursuit of the departing sun. But visitors to our island home this summer might have thought that we had already drifted westward across the blue Pacific to the shores of another island - to Japan...
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This is Sheila's Japanese inspired quilting studio. With its distinctive flared roof line and cedar siding it could easily be in the land of the rising sun, but it is firmly rooted among the giant cedar trees in our British Columbian garden...
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The sun may be slowly retreating southward as we slip into fall but what a summer it has been. Month after month of endless sunshine - perpetually blue skies melding seamlessly with calm seas, and balmy evenings ending in glorious sunsets...
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It has been a busy summer with little time for sunbathing or swimming. While James wielded his hammer and saw on the new building, Sheila was left to domestic chores and tending the parched garden. But we found time to visit friends; to see some Shakespeare in Vancouver; to watch fireworks; and to attend the annual Salmon Barbecue. The highlight came when our 94 year old friend, Antony Holland, was awarded the Order of Canada for his lifetime service to the theatre. Here he is receiving his award from Canada's Governor General in Ottawa...
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Antony was further honoured by having the stage at the island's theatre festival dedicated in his name for perpetuity. James made a speech and rewrote Shakespeare's Hamlet for the occasion and a good time was had by all.
But now winter is only just over the eastern horizon. Calgary, on the other side of the Rockies, is already knee deep in snow and our coastal mountains will soon be mantled in white. So it is time for us to go. Stay with us and we will happily take you along to the land of sumo, sushi and samurai; to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Posted by Hawkson 11:57 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Summer on Paradise Island

sunny 22 °C
View Through Siberia to China and Beyond on Hawkson's travel map.

When the summer sun warms our decks and the cornflower sea stretches ahead of us until it collides with the snow-capped peaks of British Columbia's rocky mountains; when hummingbirds and bees feast on our fragrant lavenders and honeysuckle and a doe teaches her fawn to graze on the fruits of our garden; when the silence is only broken by barking sea lions, blowing orcas and the cries of gulls and eagles; and when our home is filled with the laughter of friends, it is easy to believe that we live in Paradise. But even Paradise can be a little crazy, and when we arrived home from Mexico in March we found ourselves in the midst of mayhem. Millions of herrings had laid billions of eggs on our beach and, for weeks, both sea and sky were whipped into a frenzy as a multitude fattened themselves on the bounty. Then the fishing fleet showed up...
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The cool damp spring finally warmed when we celebrated James' senior moment at the end of May...
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And after a shaky start summer finally turned on the heat. Crimson dawns burst into golden morns and the cloudless sky stretched into endless days as the hummingbirds hatched in their tiny nest...
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Oh those lazy days of summer! But not for James. In an effort to dispel any notion that his youth is slipping away he took out his hammer and knocked together a rustic bridge, a rocky ravine and a little cove complete with sunken rowboat tied to an ancient dock...

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...together with a sunken Japanese garden with a waterfall and fountain...
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But now it's mid-September and, while the midday sun still burns brightly, night's curtains are drawn ever earlier and somewhere just over the horizon lay the first of the winter's rains. The birds are flocking to migrate, the whales came by for a final wave, and it is time to pack our bags and head for sunnier climes. Two thousand five hundred years ago Confucius claimed that a journey of a thousand miles began with a single step, but as we head to the Island's ferry we wonder if he could possibly have imagined taking the initial step in a journey of more than thirty-three thousand miles - a journey of a hundred million steps. So where on earth are we headed? To the land of Confucius and beyond; from the western edge of the New World to the most easterly edge of the Old. But not for us a leisurely hop across the Pacific. We'e going the long way around and doing it the hard way. Come with us and we'll show the sights and introduce you to the folks we meet along the way.

Posted by Hawkson 17:24 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

Home for Christmas

sunny 6 °C

While we may have serious doubts about Sarah Palin's claim that she can she see Russia from her house, no one can doubt that we can see America from ours. Here is the sun rising over Mount Baker in Washington State as seen from our kitchen window...
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Winter on the west coast of Canada can be pretty dreary, but it's been so unseasonably balmy this year that we've decided to postpone our annual Polar Bear swim for another few weeks - probably until the beginning of February! In the meantime, we're making the most of the warm sunshine and watching the roses bloom on our deck...
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But we've hardly had time to smell the roses since we arrived home from England before Christmas. We were back just in time to launch James' latest book, the biography of famed Canadian thespian, Antony Holland. James made the cake for the launch party - yet another book - which was eagerly devoured by his fans...
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Ninety two year old Antony Holland, originally from Devon, is the world's oldest regularly performing actor playing lead roles and he is an inspiration to all of us who are 'of a certain age'. Not only does he still run his own theatre but he also appears in five touring stage shows and two television series - and this is a man who first appeared at The Royal Albert Hall in 1939, (alongside Paul Robeson), and topped the bill at the Royal Cairo Opera House in 1941.
Research for the book, saucily titled Antony's Private Parts, took us to three continents, (N.America, Africa and Europe), during the past two years and brought us into contact with many famous celebrities. So, if you would like to buy a book and know more about Antony and his involvement with stars like Laurence Olivier, Phyllida Law, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis and Gene Wilder, please let us know.

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Now that we've shipped our latest 'baby' off to the bookstores we're packing our bags for our next adventure which begins in just a few weeks. Where to this time?
Here's a clue... Feliz Año Nuevo.

Posted by Hawkson 15:36 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

Lazy Days of Summer

overcast 18 °C

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Everyone’s dream: a warm summer day on a Pacific island paradise - curled up on deck in a deckchair with a good book.
But wait! Why aren’t we in the picture?
First, Jim decided to build the deck - yet another deck overlooking the ocean. Our house now has more decks than a small liner, but with brilliant sunrises and ever-changing seascapes to enthrall us we never tire of waving at passing yachts and watching for whales, sea-lions, dolphins and seals. But a deck without deckchairs is like summer without sunshine, so we made the deckchairs - Jim did the woody bits and I stitched the upholstery. And here’s the view we would have had if we had found the time to sit in them…

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So why were we too busy to enjoy the view this summer? Remember the good book we were going to read? Well … firstly, we had to research it and Jim had to write it. It’s the biography of the remarkable 91 year old award-winning actor, Antony Holland, (the world's oldest regularly performing actor), and here’s a sneak preview…

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Not content with just doing the creative part, we then started our own publishing company - Bliss Publications of Gabriola. and we have been snowed under with orders. The first-edition hardcover issue of Antony’s Private Parts has already sold out and we are bringing out the softcover version next spring. In the meantime we’re off to relax in the Aegean and the Mediterranean and to greet a new addition to the Hawkson family. Hop into our backpacks and we will take you on a tour of Turkey, Italy, France and the UK for the next few months.

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Posted by Hawkson 19:45 Archived in Canada Comments (5)

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