I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Rob's parents arrived from England yesterday to spend two weeks in B.C. for the first time ever. Today, Shonah (who is down from Kelowna again this weekend to attend a shower for her friend) and I will drive to North Vancouver and meet up with Rob, Ashleigh and Rob's parents for brunch.

We drive to the restaurant, one I haven't heard of before but is right beside the daycare that Ashleigh works at, is called The Tomahawk. I don't know how I have managed not to notice this place in the half dozen or more times I have visited Ashleigh at work, but when I see it I am instantly so sad that I didn't know of this place years ago when a much-loved uncle and aunt came over from England a few times for visits. Uncle Donald just loved anything to do with the native Indians and this place is literally stuffed to the rafters with hundreds of original art and carvings, artifacts and utensils made and used by the local Indians. As I look around in wonder at it all, I try to imagine what the value of it must be. I am guessing, priceless. Apparently, during the depression when money was scarce, the owner took these items in trade for a meal. He thought they were lovely but worthless at the time. Now they amount to a veritable treasure trove. Uncle Donald would have been dazzled.

And the food is fabulous. And it's so lovely to see Geoff and Kathy again. I only got to see them for a few hours, all tolled, on Tortola for the wedding. They went home the day after as they'd arrived the week before. We arrived a couple of days before and stayed two weeks after. I wish we had all been there at the same time as we could have gotten to know each other better. They're a lot of fun and I'm really enjoying having this time with them now.

Once we've all but licked our plates, we walk over the parking lot to Little Acorn Daycare, where Ashleigh works. She has the keys and opens the place up to show her in-laws where she spends most of her days. Kathy is delighted to see it as she likes now having a visual to put with her thoughts of Ashleigh from so far away. I know just what she means as I felt the same way the first time I went to visit Ashleigh when she worked in London as a nanny for three years. It was great to finally see where she lived and worked so that, when I talked to her on the phone or thought about her during the day, I could visualise her in her surroundings.

We go for a walk along the water from Ambleside to Dundarave and all along the way, the visitors from England are enthralled with the scenery on one side and the houses and gardens on the other.

There's a stretch of about a mile that is all sizes of rocks and boulders leading down to the water. They were brought in from elsewhere to build an embankment that holds the pathway we are now walking on. All along the way, people have built Inukshuks and some have just piled rocks, one on top of the other in the most precarious of balancing acts, to create a tower. Rob talks of how he'd love to push them over (but wouldn't really do it) and his dad suggests he build his own and then he can push it over if he likes. Rob jumps down over the wall and those of us left on the path start pointing out rocks he should use. A few people walking along the path stop to watch as he builds his own tower and he gets embarrassed and comes back to the path. One woman who has stopped encourages him to go back and then we all chime in so he - gamely - climbs back over the wall and continues to build. It takes some effort and about 20 minutes before he is done, being cheered along all the while by passers by, and the four of us. It's a strangely exciting process and when he is finished the last thing he wants to do is knock it down, and we don't want him to either.

As we walk away, Shonah comments on how it gives us all a new appreciation for the work it takes to build one. I correct her and say that it gave Rob a new appreciation as he did all the hard work.

When we get to the pier at Dundarave, Ashleigh tells us of a cool sculpture that is a large sphere etched with the islands and continents of the world and floats on a fountain of water which causes it to spin. When we stand before it, admiringly, we aren't the only people there. There's a group of three also looking at it a little ways off from us. Then they walk right up to it and one of the men points to the sphere and makes some comments. As I start to hear what he's saying, it's sounding like he's saying "when I put this here, I..." and "well, this part was very difficult to do and it took me....". I start to wonder if I am hearing right. Because it's sounding like he made this sculpture. I finally ask him, "Excuse me, but did you make this?" He says that he did. We are all delighted and ask him about it. He then proceeds to remove a grate that covers a hole beside the statue; it's the size of a man-hole. He shows us the 'room' that is underneath the sculpture where the water is pumped from to hold the sphere up. We all peer down into the dark space as he describes how it works.

Once he has replaced the grate, I ask to take his photo with the sculpture but he doesn't want to; he seems embarrassed but I manage to talk him into it by saying, "oh please! This is such an amazing coincidence, to find you here just as we arrive. I'd love to have your photo with it." He finally consents, and as I take a couple of shots, I tell him I will be putting it up on my blog. He seems delighted by that.

On our walk back we see Rob's tower still standing. I hope it stays that way for a while.

After some refreshing passion fruit lemonade at Starbucks, we part ways; Shonah and I to go back to Langley and the four of them to go make reservations to whale watch later this week and then head up to Grouse Mountain for the rest of the day.

When we get home, Shonah is so tired she can barely stand up. She doesn't want to go to bed, however, because she won't be able to sleep through the night and so needs to find a way to stay awake. We decide to go down to that little park by the river that I've been spending some time at and play croquet.

Shonah sets up a course all over the place and we quickly finish that. Then she sets one up in a grove of trees. She puts the wickets in the most impossible places and we have a lot of fun and laughter trying to complete the course.

On the way home I take her over the Golden Ears Bridge, as she hasn't been over it yet. We were going to go for ice cream on the other side but she decides she doesn't feel like having any so we turn right around and come back. She walks into the house and pretty much straight into bed. She's out like a light by 7:30.

All in all, a pretty great day. I don't get to do stuff like that very often and I have no idea why not. I guess I just don't make the effort. I need to get out more.

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