Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Time. It's a funny old game... Part II

Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart, from the film "Star Trek: Generations"

My beloved time piece

I am fairly obsessed by time and I think it has become more noticeable to me over the last few months. I have always been "on time" and one of the few things that actually stresses me out is when I am not, or indeed when other people are not. I think my old job also made me very aware of time as my day was governed by bells ringing, so everything was very structured.

At present my life does not have much structure and I am no longer controlled by bells telling me when to start my day, eat and end my day. However, I still obsess about time. I find it very difficult not to wear my watch, although I do now take it off when I climb, mostly! I can live quite happily and have done when I have been camping, getting up with the sun, eating when hungry etc but I still like to know the time.

This obsession also means that I worry about making the most of my time, wondering that if I spend days like today not doing much in particular, am I wasting time. I have now been in Canada for nearly a month and I just do not know where the time has gone. I have been doing things but nothing of great significance. Should I have been doing more with my time or is this time being spent well by just doing "stuff" whilst waiting for better weather to roll into town.

It annoys me that I get annoyed by my sometimes wanton disregard for something that I am very precious about, and then waste more time procrastinating over the fact that I am wasting it. I worry that I have wasted large portions of my life time being in situations that I probably should have changed sooner, but were they a waste? Would I be any different if I changed those portions of time? Would I want to change the paths that I have been along? You make your own destiny by making choices and although I am still unclear as to what my destiny might be, would I have made different choices? If I had my own DeLorean would I go back in time to change my future? Probably not.

What scares me most about time is the speed that it passes. It amazes me that I have been on this planet as long as I have. It seems like only yesterday that I was 20 something with my whole life ahead of me. Now, well I am older, with still hopefully plenty time ahead but where the bloody hell did it all go. Am I not supposed to have my life "sorted" by now? I think many of these thoughts have been compounded recently as most of the people that I have met that are doing this whole take time out from life thing have been in their mid twenties and even they at least have a semi plan. Do I need a plan? Probably. I was hoping that this time away from home would help me to formulate something but so far no lightening bolts of inspiration have struck.

Whilst obsessing one evening I tried to write a poem of sorts just to get the thoughts out of my head. Now before you laugh, I am fully aware that I am no Wordsworth and it was only ever intended to be a scribble in my note book, but I thought I might share.

Time, it marches so proudly,
Always forwards and never back.
So swiftly it slips unnoticed through our fingers,
Ticking, ticking, ticking.
When we are young, time is unimportant and we seem invincible.
It is only age that shapes the reality of time as it runs away with our days,
Always forwards and never looking back.
Make the most of every day, so that memories will brighten your darkest thoughts.
Be always hopeful that time will be kind and serve you well.
Be gracious and thankful to the good times, but learn and gain wisdom from the bad.
Don't waste time by thinking, what if?
Use time and ask yourself, what now?
Time is valuable and precious and yet we often treat it with disrespect,
But regardless, time will move on even if we suddenly do not.
Do not miss a second, do not miss a beat.
It will pass without you, always forward and never back.

Love is.......

I don't think I need to say anything except this is Georgia, she is nearly 11 years old, acts like a puppy, loves lots of cuddles and comes to sleep on my bed in the morning. xx

Photographs by Caroline Harvey

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A wee spot of culture

Even though Vancouver is still in the grips of Olympic fever, there are still other events happening in and around the city. Last weekend there was a free performance by the Aeriosa Dance Society at the public library. They were performing in and outside the building. I sadly did not get to see the indoor part of the show, as only 400 people were allowed inside but I did see the outdoor part. It was an amazing show, basically they dance to music on ropes whilst hanging off a building. They made dancing on the side of the library look effortless and beautiful. My photos do not really do them any justice but gives you the idea. The next time I am rappelling down a cliff face I must try and do it with a bit more elegance and grace.

My next hit of culture was hockey. Very, very Canadian. It took place in GM Place the home of the Vancouver Canucks. They were playing against the Anaheim Ducks from California. The previous night the Canucks had a terrible game and lost away to the Edmonton Oilers, who apparently are not good. So it was a big question as to how they would play the next night at home to the Ducks. I am not that well versed in what constitutes a good game but a 4 - 1 win seemed to appease the Canucks fans. Of course some of the best parts of the game were the fights, and there were at least 3 good ones. Those boys go at it big style when they get angry! One player, George Parros, from the Ducks, who looked like a cross between Magnum PI or possibly a member of The Village People, spent more time in the sin bin than he did actually on the ice. I was not really too bothered about the result but it was a great nights entertainment.

National anthem time. A quiet Star Spangled but rousing Oh Canada.

Practice. I did not get on the big screen thankfully.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Mini Road Trip

Oh look the tide is going out again!

There has not been much happening on the climbing front since I arrived in Canada, except a few trips to the local gym. It is still too wet. So with a couple of sunny days forecast I thought I would make the most of them and see some of the local sights. A mini road trip to Vancouver Island was planned. It was also a good opportunity to test out my car, as it has not been on a decent run yet and I wanted to see how good it was for sleeping in.

I got the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, which is about a 1.5 hrs sail to Nanaimo and then drove to Tofino and settled on a campsite on Mackenzie Beach as it had a perfect ocean view.

Over the couple of days I was there I visited Tofino and Ucluelet and stopped at various beaches and points of interest, but mostly I just watched the waves. As much as I do not like being in water I do love to watch the tides go in and out and in and out......

On my visit to Tofino I stopped in at a gallery of an artist named Henry Roy Vickers. I absolutely loved his work and stayed for quite a while just gazing at the prints. If I could have bought one I would have. The long boat style building in which the gallery was housed was pretty spectacular too.

A pleasant few days were had and I enjoyed fairly comfortable and cozy sleeps in my car. I impressed myself with my amazing curtain system that keeps out straying eyes.


Words of the day

I like writing or making patterns on the beach, there is something about the fact that it will be washed away with the next tide that makes it interesting. Who will see it before it vanishes and what will they make of it? The above were my thoughts of the moment. I think this is how I see the world through my rose tinted spectacles! The picture below is of someone else's take on the day.

An anniversary maybe?


Clouds on the water

More low cloud

Lots of Maple Syrup.

On the drive back I stopped in at a small town called Coombs for some lunch. One store in particular had lots of foods from all over the world including a British section where I found many things including Marks and Spencer soups, Tunnocks Teacakes and Snowballs, Thorntons chocolates, Branston pickle and Heinz beans. I did not buy any of these things but I did try their beef and salmon jerky, both were delicious.

The Bru

Here is a small selection from the vast range of hot sauces they had to offer.

All photos by Caroline Harvey

Friday, 12 March 2010

Old and new

Soggy shoes

I bought these amazing 5.10 shoes just over 2 years ago and as you can see they were looking a bit shabby. They had a rather large hole in the left heal and both soles were cracked along the middle, so needless to say they let in water. Today after a lovely but very rainy walk through the forrest I thought it best to go and get some new ones. Luckily I managed to get exactly the same shoes. Yippee.

Dry shoes

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Comfort zone.

A terrible photo of me with my eyes closed, but thought I would post it just to show that I am still alive.

Today was the day that I had decided to leave West Vancouver and head to Squamish so as not over stay my welcome with my lovely hosts in West Vancouver, and I did leave, but now I am back...... Why? Well I shall tell you.

As some of you may be aware I had tried to stay in the US a little longer as the climbing season here in British Columbia has not quite started yet, March is one of the wettest months, but alas the States would not let me stay. So here I am as you all know in Canada.

I drove to Squamish, it actually only takes about half an hour or so and had the full intention of camping etc, but when I got there it was snowing and because it is still "off season" the park where I intended to stay did not have any of its' facilities working, blah blah, excuses excuses. Anyway, before I had left West Van my hosts had made it clear that I was very welcome to come back and stay longer if necessary and that it would be cold and possibly quite wet still in Squamish at this time of year. So whilst sitting having a coffee and watching some very large black clouds gather on the horizon, I weighed up my options. I could either stay in a very lonely National park with no one else there and hope for sunny dry weather or I could go back to West Van and sleep in a nice warm bed and just go to Squamish on day trips when it was dry. Guess which one won my vote?

So here I am back in the comfort of a house for a wee while longer. My current plan is to stay here for a few more weeks go train at the local indoor gym, try to do some CV training as I feel incredibly unfit, do some day trips to Squamish and other places and help my host Harriet out with some things she needs done. Excellent plan, even if I do say so myself.

I realised today that I have very few photographs of me actually climbing, which is kind of a shame but inevitable I suppose. You will all just have to believe me when I tell you what I have climbed!

I will post a few photos from my weekend trip to Gabriola Island soon.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Getting there, slowly!

Well it has been a week since we left Hueco and what a week it has been.

Friday = 13 hour drive back to LA, although Wes did all the driving.

Saturday = Up early because I did not want to sleep in. At LAX by 8.30 am. Arrived at Tacoma, Seattle 1.0opm, departed 2.30pm. Landed Vancouver 3.30pm. Arrived final destination about 5.00pm.

Sunday = Went for walk in the morning then watched Olympic ice hockey final, visited Down town Van to watch celebrations, lost camera lens cover, watched closing ceremony on TV.

Monday = Looked for a car, found one, paid deposit. Bought a new phone because you can not buy just a sim card and my O2 wireless one from the States does not work here.

Tuesday = Bought car. Had hassle getting insurance because British Columbia's car insurance is run by the government and they have many funny rules and regulations. Managed to get 3 months insurance for Canada. If I go to the US again will need to get some there, hopefully. Got myself a haircut after 8 months without. Looked ok once the guy had finished.

Wednesday = Realise that my new phone is not receiving any texts. Try to contact Bell to sort out why this was happening. They were less than useless. Took phone back to shop and got a new one. Hair not cooperating, my cow's lick has a mind of it's own and I look like I am 12, not a good look.

Thursday = Went for my first run in 3 months, very slowly and only 25 minutes. Managed to find a play park to do some stretching and some pull ups. Took a trip into town to the Mountain Equipment Co-op and bought some new climbing shoes, they were on sale, but still quite expensive, wished I had managed to get to the 5-10 store in Redlands, Ca, but I never passed on a Friday, the only day it is open.

Friday = Muscles a bit sore from my run etc. Drove to Walmart in North Van to get a few things for my new wagon and next trip. Pimped my new ride with some lovely stripey curtains.

Tonight I am going with my hosts to their other home on Gabriola Island for the weekend, and then hopefully head off to Squamish on Monday and if the weather is nice get some climbing in before all my hard earned Heuco skin disappears.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Go Canada

Big flag

Canada eh! I made it just in time to catch the end of the Winter Olympics. I arrived on Saturday to a very quiet Vancouver airport and caught the train downtown, from there I managed to lug my heavy bag, rucksack and boulder mat through the thronging crowds to the bus stop where I caught the bus to West Vancouver in order to meet my new hosts for the next few days.

Sunday was the last day of the Olympics and the big event of the day was the final of the men's ice hockey between Canada and the USA. Where would my allegiance lie? To be honest I was not too bothered but thought it would be good if Canada won since they were the host nation. Thankfully and not without a few nail biting moments they did. I took a trip to downtown Vancouver after the game to check out the party atmosphere and oh my goodness it was jumping. I have never seen so much red and white and heard so many car horns in my life. I soaked up as much of the excitement as I could, but after spending so much time in very quite corners of deserts recently it all got a bit too much for me and I retreated back to the comfort of the house and watched the closing ceremony from the couch.


Olympic cauldron

Lots of people!

Bouncing snowboarder

Catching some air

Go Canada

Photographs by Caroline Harvey