A Travellerspoint blog


Chasing the sun

sunny 25 °C

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
The cool damp spring finally warmed when we celebrated James' senior moment at the end of May...
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...
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...


...together with a sunken Japanese garden with a waterfall and fountain...

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...
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...
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...
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.

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

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…

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…

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.


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

Summer on Paradise Isand

rain 15 °C

Gabriola - Paradise Island
From stunning sunrises...
To glorious sunsets...
...........The perpetual sun stretched the days and weeks into a wonderful summer in our corner of paradise this year.
The northern Pacific was particularly warm and welcoming, both for us and for several pods of killer whales that performed breathtaking exhibitions in the bay. At the end of July we held an Egyptian party to share culinary experiences from our spring trip. The happy bunch feasted on shish-kebabs, falafel and pita, followed by an enormous fig flan, and, on cue, the orcas turned up as the main entertainment.
Our friends from Calgary were most impressed.
July 12th. marked the anniversary of our labyrinth and, as always, we spruced it up and held a re-dedication. The labyrinth is now a popular destination for both visitors and locals and we love to see people walking it.

So, now that fall and the rains have arrived, we are leaving. First, to England and the Channel Islands, to research material for Jim's next book - the biography of 90 year-old actor/director and founder of Vancouver's Studio 58, Antony Holland. And then to India. We arrive in New Delhi on October 21st. and for the following four months we will be travelling the length and breadth of the Indian sub-continent; from the Himalayas to the southernmost tip. We invite you to join us for the ride. It's absolutely free of charge and you won't have to suffer the heat, the beggars or the flies. And you definitely won't get Delhi belly or Dengue fever. (We hope that we don't either - but we're prepared to take the risk on your behalf).

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Posted by Hawkson 19:35 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

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