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...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I found out on last Friday that I have the whole month of August off of work so my mind immediately began to dream of where to get away. As I wrote in the previous post, the weather here has been miserable. Spending all summer in a dark, windowless sound stage didn't seem like such a bad thing if the weather wasn't going to be summer-like. Usually those places heat up like an oven when it's hot out but not only aren't we getting any heat, we have a new air-conditioning unit that was installed over our break that keeps the place positively frigid. I had to dig out a sweater coat from my winter wardrobe so that I wouldn't catch a chill!!

I thought of a few options for a trip and so started to put out feelers for what it would cost:

Back to the BVI: I found a flight from YVR to STT for $945 - not great but better than I have seen in the past. When we were looking at flights in February of '09 for my daughter's wedding on Tortola, flights to EIS were $1,200+.

I got a smoking good deal on Jost Van Dyke at White Bay Villas. Their biggest unit, Plantation Villa, is a shared accommodation with private bedroom but shared kitchen, living room, and sometimes bathroom. The dates I was looking at, basically all of August, I would have the entire house to myself at $135 a night plus 17% tax etc. which is a spectacular deal as the house is gorgeous. And as I really want to go back to Jost for an extended visit the next time I go to the islands, this was my dream option.

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

I also got a great deal at Chateau Relaxeau Caribe, a lovely place right on the beach of Apple Bay, Tortola; $100 a night including all taxes. As I really want to get to know the owner, Malcolm Boyes and his wife (who live upstairs) along with neighbours Island Jim and his wife, this was a very attractive option.

Chateau Relaxeau Caribe

I checked with Uschi at Sebastians on the Beach (the place where I spent 9 days on my trip in May of this year) to see what her summer rates are and she also gave me a great deal. The restaurant closes August 17th along with some of the rooms so her offer was a Beach-Rear room at $50 a night or a Seaside Villa Suite (with full kitchen so could cook my own meals if I wanted to save money) for $85 a night. The Villa Suites are up the beach a bit from where I stayed before and right by Chateau Relaxeau Caribe so I could still get to know the gang. This was the most economical BVI option.

Sebastians on the Beach

I then thought about sailing and how I have a standing invitation to join a fellow who is a full-time cruiser in the Caribbean. He is currently in Grenada, holed up for hurricane season. Grenada is somewhere I would love to visit, especially after reading An Embarrassment of Mangoes. There would be no cost to me for staying on the boat other than $200 a week or so for food. I checked into flights and the best I found was $1,100 going Toronto to Barbados to Grenada. I emailed the sailor and he was happy to have me come down but warned that the weather was such that we wouldn't be doing much sailing and so I would not get to learn how. Seeing how the point of going on such a trip would partially be to learn how to sail, this doesn't make much sense at this time.

Sailing the Caribbean

I considered a trip to Palm Springs to stay with the friends I stay with at Christmas as they always urge me to come back in the summer when the pool is open and it's lovely and hot. I checked flights and they were cheap at just under $300 return. So I sent a request down via email to see if the 'Red Room' was available and found out that it wasn't a good time for them. Plus the director friend I love to bits who hosts Christmas down there is in Los Angeles making a movie all of August so I wouldn't get to see him.

The Backyard of Where I Stay in Palm Springs

I have felt that my next big trip should be to England to go see family, especially an elderly auntie that has just moved into a retirement community. I talk to her every week or two on the phone and she really wants me to come and see her. The last time I was over there was 2008 and the last time I saw her was a year ago when she visited here. So I looked into flights there and the best I could do was $1,600+. YIKES!! So I emailed my travel agent and he found a flight for just under $700. This would be an economical option as, again, my costs would be limited once I arrived as I would stay with family. But eating out and other spending would be very costly due to the price of everything being so high and the exchange rate of $1.57=£1.00 - albeit much better than my last trip which was $2.20=£1.00. And it's a bit short notice for everyone who I would be staying with. But I'd really like to go so this is moving up to one of my most probable options.

A Bridlington Street, the Town My Aunty Lives In

I also toyed briefly with the idea of flying to Los Angeles to visit the set of Ant Farm, a show by the creator of Mr. Young (the show I work on). I thought it might be beneficial for me to shadow the script supervisor there and see how he does things. I actually had a telephone conversation with him earlier this week about timings as we were having some issues with that on our show. I mentioned to the AD on our show what I was thinking and before I knew it, she had arranged for me to stay with the people who rent the house she owns in Burbank, so accommodation would be free. Flights were cheap and I could rent a car for under $300 a week. But there were mitigating factors that made me decide against this option. I would have liked to do this though as I could also have met up with my director friend in LA for dinner and perhaps visited him on set at the old RKO studio lot, which would have been fantastic.

Hollywood, December 23, 2009

Then this week, summer arrived!!!!!! FINALLY!!!! The sky is blue, the sun is HOT, and British Columbia is showing it's best side. Do I really want to leave in the only good weather we get all year??? Especially to the Caribbean where it's hurricane season so probably leaving sunshine for rain? It rained for over a week on my recent trip there thus I found that there's not much to do but read when it's raining in the Caribbean.

And to be honest, I am a bit travel weary after just getting back from 5 weeks away. And by travel weary I mean airport weary. I used to love being in the airport, people watching, excited at the prospect of flying away, loved ones waiting with you until you went through the boarding gate. No hassles, no line ups, NO SECURITY CHECKS. I loved flying. Now no one can wait with you unless they are traveling too, line ups everywhere, the dreaded TSA minions, no decent food on the flights AND my feet swell to the size of loaves of bread on the long flights.

So what to do, what to do?

I have decided to stay home for most of the month. I need to save my money for a new (to me) vehicle as mine is on it's last legs. I also need to save up for the rest of my dental work. As much as I love being spontaneous and adventurous, sometimes practicality has to prevail. It's a bummer but that is the way it goes.

But I did book a flight today. Just an hour long each way. I am going up to Kelowna, the lake country, to spend 11 days with my daughter. She is working during the week but I am staying two weekends and I have a good friend up there who I miss dearly and love to bits so we will hang out as much as we can (and she has a pool!!!! - which she even lets me use when they're not home). Kelowna is the holiday destination for most Vancouverites and Albertan's so why not me?

Kelowna, Home of the OGOPOGO

I need to take advantage of the sunshine here while it lasts.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I've been back at work for two weeks and we have the first two episodes of Mr.Young 'in the can'. It's been exhausting to say the least. After two months of relaxation, one month spent in the beautiful Caribbean, I have spoiled and softened. Thirteen hour work days with a two and a half hour daily commute are a shock to this system! It doesn't help that we started off hitting the ground at a full run... both episodes were pretty huge with lots going on.

I am still looking for a place to live. But now, I am looking with a friend from work. Her son is one of our cast members and their home is on Vancouver Island so they rent a townhouse close to the studio. But it's not big enough and they are looking to move and we have decided to get a place together. Thing is, there's not many nice 4 bedroom places for rent. The search goes on!

I have been looking for a car to buy. My old '93 Jeep Cherokee is dying a slow and painful death. I first thought I'd get a 2003 Toyota Echo as I like the way the seats are in that car - you sit more upright than low down with your legs extended out; that kills my lower back. But then I went to my mechanic to get my studded snow tires replaced with some cheap all seasons (before I got a ticket!) and he has some Suzuki Grand Vitaras for sale at a very reasonable price. I saw a 2001 for $5,000. It is a rebuild from being a write off, but all he had to replace were the headlights and the hood from it rear-ending another vehicle. He said, and it's true, that ICBC write off older vehicles for the slightest thing these days. It is a 4 wheel drive, which I like, and felt quite compact inside yet with lots of leg room. So I am saving up and hope to have it or one like it by the end of summer. I hope the old Jeep lasts that long.

My Blurb photo book arrived this week and I am really pleased with it. The upgraded paper quality and a linen cover were totally worth the extra few dollars (under $4) and the only thing I would change is the size of the font on some of the writing; the stuff on the inside of the flyleaf is kinda small. I would probably go for a bigger book next time too. I had it delivered to work, as that is where I am all of the time now, and so people got to see it and were really impressed. One of the boom operators took it home for her husband to see - he is a camera operator, and he not only liked the book itself but said I had a great eye; that the composition of the photos were really good. That made me feel pretty great. It is a really wonderful keepsake of a fabulous trip.

Speaking of which, I can't wait to go back to the sunshine of the Caribbean. The weather here is HORRIBLE. It has rained most all week and today, Saturday, it's just pissing down rain. July 16th. You'd never know it. I have decided that I need to give some serious thought to how I am going to move to a warmer climate in the future because I really can't take this weather any more. Life is far too short to spend it in the rain if you hate the rain. It's too short to spend any time doing anything you really hate doing. And if I lived somewhere warm and pretty, my kids would come and visit me and I'd actually get to see more of them... two weeks a year would add up to more than I see them in a year as it stands right now.

I need to figure out how to increase my income to make this dream a reality. I am open to any and all serious and practical suggestions (no multi-level marketing schemes please - I detest them).

Monday, July 4, 2011


I got a great GROUPON deal Saturday for a photobook from BLURB for $20 ($45 value). So I spent the entire day yesterday creating it. I am so happy with the results and can't wait for it to get here.

I upgraded the paper quality, endpapers and linen cover, with the dust jacket and it only cost me $11 extra including priority shipping.

Below is the link so you can take a look at it. You can even order one for yourself if you like and I will make a small commission!

All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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