Monthly Archives: March 2013

Signs You Don’t See in England, Number 2

Ummm, yes.



Okay, Jamjarjude. What do you mean when you say, “It’s okay, Ralphie’s a great bear dog?”


A Trip to Canadian Tire, or How to be a Canadian Lesson 3

One of my earliest memories, and I swear I’m not lying, is visiting the huge Canadian Tire store in Grand Falls, Newfoundland with my father to buy a strange three-deck checkers game where each checker board was made of clear plastic and you played on all three levels at once. Funny what 4-year-olds remember. The other thing I remember about that trip was the rubber smell of tires in the store (which was more like a vast warehouse full of….everything), and that Dad paid for the game with Canadian Tire money. You see, Canadian Tire is as much a part of Canadian life as, say, ice hockey and maple syrup and Mounties.

So, I needed some light bulbs. Jamjarjude wheeled into town and we counted up our drawer full of Canadian Tire money (you get a bit of money every time you shop at Canadian Tire). $16.60. We were rich.


We decided to head off to Canadian Tire to see what we could buy for it.


Now, it had been some years since I’d been to a Canadian Tire (being as I’d been living in London, England), and I wondered how much it might have changed. Was it just another bland DIY store that could just as easily be found in England as the USA, full of electrical appliances and paint? Nooooo. First of all, it still smelled like car tires. Second of all, I was left in no doubt as to which country I was in. Bare in mind it is almost April….






…there were flags of course…


…not to mention canoes…


…and lots and lots of kayaks…




…and fishing gear…



…and everything you could possibly need for camping (we Canadians being oh so outdoorsy).


I just loved these miniature tents showing how the full-sized models would look. I want (the little ones). They’re like Barbie tents. Jamjarjude had to restrain me from negotiating a purchase on the whole lot of Barbie tents.IMG_4098


Check out the miniature mouthwash bottle for the scale.


There was, of course, the huge tool and hardware section (not to mention the car tire section)…


…but I skimmed over that bit.

So we loaded up our basket with lots of useful stuff…



…and we got it all for $15.85 of our Canadian Tire money. Plus we got a 10 cent Canadian Tire bill against our next purchase.


We got home, and unloaded it all. We forgot the light bulbs. Guess we’ll have to go back, eh?

Rrroll Up the Rim to Win, or How to be a Canadian Lesson 2

Timmy’s. Just say the word and any Canadian will know what you mean….


Tim Horton’s*. Purveyors of Canada‘s favourite donuts. Especially at 7:45am  on the way to work…


…”Like, can I have a double double**, please, eh? That’d be skookum.”


…traditional Canadian breakfast for two for $5.85…


…followed by the daily Canadian Spring pastime of “rrrolling up the rim to win”…


…bilingual, of course, mais oui!


Oh, blast. No win. Gotta come back tomorrow.

*Tim Horton – 1960s Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player/donut entrepreneur.

**double double — two sugars, two creams (heavy on the cholesterol)

Sushi Canadian Style, or How to be a Canadian Lesson 1

You know you’re in Canada when…


…sushi, Canadian style.


Skukoom*, eh**?

*good, ultimate, best — the Canadian “awesome”

**Canadian slang meaning, “huh”, “yeah”, “hey”, “isn’t it?”, “right”, particularly when used in conjunction with the words “like” and “you know”, e.g. “Like, y’know, eh?”

The God of Small Things

We headed for the woods today. I brought my focus in tight. Looking for beauty in small places. Letting my eyes search it out.

A tiny white fawn lily opening up to the sun…

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The glimpse of white on the end of a decaying log…

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Tiny red-petalled succulents hiding in the grass…

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A flash of blue in the crevice of a rock…

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Overhead, unexpected, pink…

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And yellow, many yellow flowers…

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I found some lime-green euphorbia under a cedar tree deep in the forest…

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…and the buds of a mahonia ripening…

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There were some grape hyacinths, how they got there wedged between the stones, is a mystery…

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…and delicate-petalled white flowers, so tiny, easy to be missed…

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…and another shy fawn lily, opened up…

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A toadstool, tiny and perfect…

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..and a sea flower, exposed with the low tide.

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Focus. Search. Look. It’s there to be found. The God of Small Things.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Today I woke up (or, more correctly, Ralphie woke me up) to blue skies and sun. The winter jacket I wore yesterday was replaced by a spring jacket. And off Ralphie and I went to Piper’s Lagoon again. But, what a difference a day makes.

Yesterday, all was grey and Ralphie and I had Piper’s virtually to ourselves (which we both quite like). But today, the parking lot was full, the sky was blue and children played on the beaches. It was a lovely March day, warm but still fresh, and the air was so clean — the best air, like pure oxygen.

There is something about the beaches on Vancouver Island — they’re so sculptural…

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…and the trees without their leaves have a stark beauty…

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…you notice how the bark looks like the skin of a great serpent.

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The water was like a satin sheet today and kids bobbed along on the water in their inflatable raft…

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…but Ralphie had eyes only for one thing.

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A Walk at Piper’s Lagoon

It was a greyer day today, but oddly clear. I thought I’d go somewhere new that I’d heard about. Down the coast a short distance from Neck Point. Ralphie was puzzled when we didn’t take the turn off she expected. Puzzled and concerned. But she needn’t have worried. Piper’s was a revelation.

The driftwood carved into sculptures by the wind and the waves…

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…and arbutus standing strong in the lee of the wind…

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…and branches like drawings against the grey sky.

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Some rowers were out, praticing for the dragon boat racing…

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…and some just poodling in the lagoon…

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…in front of some summer shacks boarded up for the winter.

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There was a fishing boat…

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… and herons, fishing too.

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