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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Walking The Dog


Rain or shine and even during the brief times snow falls where we live, whether I am in the mood or not, my golden retriever Shelby and I make our daily trek through the forest which is literally just moments from our house. Shelby is now almost a one year old. I have been doing a variation of this walk for over 5 years now. Of course there are many other places that we take our dog but the forest walk happens every day unless we are away. It all started with our other golden, Cooper who passed away last year. Some of the time Linda joins us and I become 2rd in the pecking order.
Why both of our Golden’s names are the same as cars is purely accidental.
Shelby gets fed once a day in the morning and has a snack in the evening, usually some dog biscuits. As soon as he is fed we are out the door. When I put his leash on he almost always puts part of it in his mouth as if to say that he is capable of walking himself. He isn’t.
I decide which way I want to go. My choice is cutting into the woods right away and taking that path or walking down the road about 100 yards and cutting into the forest at another trail. At this time of year the foliage is quite dense. The trail is easily identifiable but one has to be careful not to trip on protruding roots.
Into the woods.
I’ve never seen a bear or a cougar in the woods but I have seen some other wildlife including deer and rabbits, red headed woodpeckers, and even a Bard owl a few times. Like a lot of other dogs, ours have had a penchant for eating rabbit poop. It isn’t encouraged and you would think the dog would be satisfied after eating his one big meal of the day. We jokingly call the search for rabbit poop “the Buffet”. Dogs aren’t always charming.
There are some similarities between our old dog and our new dog. Both are and were handsome gents. What some might call chick magnets. Little good this does me as I haven’t been in the market for years. Cooper used to race through the woods and sometimes clip our legs. Shelby seems to be more careful about that. He always has a strange desire to leap. He often leaps right over ditches and unfortunately fences. I will confess to having a man crush on both of the dogs I have owned.
There are some landmarks on our daily walk. The first trail entrance is not that noticeable and the foliage is quite thick. This is OK but on rainy days I can get a bit wet from the leaves rubbing up against me. The 2nd landmark is the big tree. The only notable thing about this is that it is bigger than the other trees. We next find ourselves in a straightaway which dips into a small creek. In the summer the creek dries up and I try to stop Shelby from going in there as he ends up with black paws.
Big tree.
Speed it up back there! I have places to go.
Forest canopy.

Next we cut off to another trail that runs alongside a gulley. A shed can be seen on the other side at the edge of someone’s property. There is also a tall BC fir tree by the gulley. I don’t know all the names of the trees but some are alder I think. Above the trail in most places there is a canopy. On sunny days you can see the dabbles of sunlight that penetrate to the forest below, kind of pretty really.
Sunlight dabbles.
Shed by gulley.

We come out onto a road with some very nice houses and turn the corner and we pass an estate that has an orchard. I always leash Shelby up before we get to the estate as there are cars in the area. The estate is boundaried by a wire fence about 6 feet high. At this time of year the blackberries are just starting to ripen. Both Cooper and Shelby have had a taste for blackberries. Cooper became pretty good at helping himself.

Water would be nice about now.
Path by blackberries.

A year or two ago they built a paved trail that runs parallel to the forest on one side and a railway track on the other side. For a few years we used to see a passenger tourist train that ran up and down Vancouver Island once a day. It seems to have ceased operation. Unlike the forest trail where I very seldom see anyone else the paved trail sometimes has joggers, bicyclists, and older folks out for their “constitutional” stroll. I always have to have a good look off in the distance to see if anyone is coming as both Shelby and Cooper are and were type “A” dogs who like to greet people by jumping up on them. It isn’t an easy habit to break and I don’t want to be involved in a lawsuit because they have knocked over some old gomer. Bicyclists are harder to spot as they can kind of sneak up on you. As soon as I spot someone the leash goes on until they have passed us.
You do remember me saying something about water don't you?
Paved path.
Grapevines in someone's back yard.
Railway track.
Dried up creek.
Wet and dirty.
Headed home.

The paved path also has a bridge and a few creeks, two of which run under the path through culverts. In the summer wild daisies and other flowers grow alongside the trail. There are also several nice looking houses just off of the path. One house has a couple of really old dogs that have kind of hoarse barks. I haven’t seen them lately. Maybe because it is too hot or perhaps they finally bit the dust.
We are coming up to the final stretch. We cut off the paved path and head back into the woods. In another 10 minutes we are home. The whole hike usually takes about 45 minutes. In the winter some of the forest trail can get a little mushy but there are ways to avoid those areas.
As you have probably guessed, I just love the Golden Retriever breed of dog. Their exuberance is infectious. There disposition is as good as it gets. When Cooper died last summer I knew that I wanted another dog and only a Golden. I also understand that others have their own preferences in dogs. Every now and then we take Shelby out on a play date with a husky mix named Sable up to a great off-leash park near Parksville called Top Bridge that ends up at the Englishman River. Man can that husky motor.

Linda, Shelby, and Sable at Top Bridge.
Sable and Shelby in Englishman River.
Dog day afternoon?

This coming weekend my daughter Leah is coming over for a visit and on Monday we will be heading out to Long Beach and Pacific Rim National Park. It is here that Cooper would disappear off in the distance chasing seagulls that were high above him. We will toss Cooper’s ashes to the wind and bring something along to toast him with.
I didn’t grow up with a dog but I am certainly a dog person now!

Is It That I'm Just Getting Old?

Is it that I am just getting old? Who knows? I still haven’t gone to Swiss Chalet for the early bird dinner. I still like loud music. I’m not having any problems with my plumbing. I don’t get in anyone’s way at Costco. I’m still driving at the same speed I always did. I’m not on any medicine. I still like to light up a fatty every once in a while. My pants are not up to my nipples. I’m still curious.
Where do I start? I mean about the things I wonder about today?
The Zimmerman Trial
Most of us have heard about the Zimmerman trial in Florida. Personally I think he should have got manslaughter. Whatever happened to two guys being in a fight with a winner and a loser? I was in lots of fights when I was younger and killing the other person was never an option. Almost nobody ever dies in a fist fight. Most of these fist fights are about trivial things and honour. The honour part can be a bit fuzzy. A broken nose, a few scrapes here and there. You take your chances and then you walk away in victory or defeat. None of Zimmerman’s injuries were life threatening and it wasn’t his first rodeo. His ex- fiancé once put out a restraining order on him. He was once charged with assaulting a cop. He has taken some martial arts courses. Some have opined that the 17 year old Martin smoked pot and had trouble in school and at home as if that is enough reason to die. So Zimmerman pulls out his gun and shoots Martin as close to the heart as you can get. Not at an angle but straight on. He didn’t want to wound, he wanted to kill.
Zimmerman never took the stand in his defence. Video shows him claiming Martin stepped out of some bushes when there were no bushes. He was told by police dispatch not to follow Martin who had every right to be where he was. Who wouldn’t confront someone who was following them? Why wasn’t Zimmerman held overnight after the murder by the police? Why were no tests made on him for alcohol or drugs?
It may be 2013 but racial inequality still exists in the US. These days it is just sometimes more subtle. Code words are often used. We hear stuff regularly from right wing types that makes you wonder what progress really has been made in the area of race relations in some parts of the US. Obama has been accused about everything one could imagine including having a fake birth certificate. Black voter suppression is common throughout the US south.
US prisons are packed with black people. Ever wonder why crack can get you 20 years in the slammer if you are black but if you are white and get caught with powder cocaine you very likely can get off with rehab?

Is there any technological advancement as useless as this? If I wanted to listen to someone’s inane ramblings why not just take a visit to the local asylum where I could listen to crazy in more than 140 characters. Who else sees Twitter followers as sheep? Getting a signal that someone is tweeting is kind of like some lab experiment where animals or birds respond to a sound.
A few years ago my daughter suggested to me that Facebook might not be my kind of thing and that it was better suited to younger people who wanted to keep up with their friends activities. My daughter was right about me using Facebook.
The first thing I did when I joined Facebook was check off some of movies, TV programs, and music that I like. From then on I was flooded with stuff pertaining to these choices.
One of the things that really throws me off about Facebook and other similar media is the inability of people to have an actual conversation. It is as if people are afraid to provide any content. That they will be labelled as a gasbag or know it all. Sometimes it seems like a communications contest where both parties provide as little info as possible. If you haven’t seen someone in 40 years you might think “I’m living in Hawaii” might not exactly be overly revealing.
A while ago a Facebook site asked me if I would like to join and I declined. First of all I’m not fussy about crappy jokes, thoughts for the day about how to improve your life, dog and cat photos, or people trying to mine a Facebook site for potential cruise ship bookings of which I guess they get a cut.
I recently discovered that a Facebook site I had looked at a few times was now closed to members only. Members only? Its Facebook for chrisakes not a country club. Could these folks be any more narrow minded? Kind of reminds me of high school. I’m partial to Groucho Marx’s old line….”I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.”
I have to confess that a few times I have browsed through names on Facebook with the idea of seeing if someone was still alive and if so what they were up to. I also have to confess that I haven’t a clue of how to send them a message without the whole world seeing it.
And what’s the deal between Facebook and YouTube (which I love)? Why does Facebook pop up when I go looking for a tune?
What’s up with tattoos? It used to be only armed services folks had them along with some carnival roustabouts. Sorry but I don’t see anything individualistic about having a tattoo. Another one of those sheep things as far as I’m concerned. In some ways it seems like some have just given up on their appearance. If I see another fat lady at the grocery store with something crawling out of her squishy boobs it will be too soon. The same goes for 14 year olds with tattoos just above their bums. The worst has got to be those that have tattoos on their necks. Yikes!

Years ago I was in a video store in Vancouver that was owned by newly arrived Iranians. A guy came into the store with a 3rd eye tattooed on his forehead. The store owner said he felt bad for staring and should he apologize for doing so? I told him hell no! If someone wants to shock you and finds others staring that’s their problem as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve wondered a few times why people don’t get temporary tattoos. It would cost a lot less and you could always change your mind about your choice. I guess the ritual of having to endure some pain is some kind of throwback to primitive times.
A tattoo has little to do with who you really are. Still people are entitled to their choices I guess.
Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there a shutdown of the NHL this past season because expenses were getting way out of hand as far as payrolls go? So far something like 400 million has been spent on free agent hockey players. The biggest catch was supposedly the signing of David Clarkson by the Toronto Maple Leafs for 21 million over 5 years. He has only scored more than 20 goals once in his career. This past year he only had 7 goals. Mason Raymond of the Vancouver Canucks had 10 goals this past year and can’t find a team willing to give him a contract.

And then Ilya Kovalchuck buggers off on his contract and goes back to play in Russia. Last year he had 11 goals in 37 games. He was being paid about 9 million per year in the NHL.
It’s all crazy I tell you!
Harper and the Conservatives
Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the national Liberals go down because of corruption? Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, the Nigel Wright pay-off?  Where is the difference and how much are those air force jets going to cost us now and what ever happened to those screwy subs we bought from the UK?

One nice thing about getting older is that you can pretty well speak your mind with impunity. I’m kind of enjoying that. I really don’t give a ratsazz if someone disagrees with me. What are they going to do to me, shun me?

That’s my rant for today, another hot summer’s day in beautiful BC.
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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Gay Today?

If you watch TV or follow the news at all these day’s gay marriage and gay rights are often front and center. Being gay has become more main stream. The gay community has a lot of support from younger people, people on the left politically, and a number of straight women who have gay friends. There are also a lot of straight men like myself who think everyone should have equal rights without any qualifying requirements.
The opposition against gay equality comes mostly from right wing Christians and to a certain extent a number of black males. Some of the viewpoints from right wingers seem to change when they discover one of their own children is gay. (Dick Cheney?)
A reasonable estimate would be that 5-8% of the population of any country is probably gay. Any way you slice it that is a lot of people. In Canada that would be 1.7-2.7 million gay people. In the US that would be 16.5-26.6 million gay people. Together they have a common cause and a lot of political clout, particularly in more liberal US states.
To not understand that people are born gay and that it is not a learned trait is simply ignorance. The idea of de-gaying people is equally as stupid. Right wing US politician Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus operates a business that claims to be able to change gays into straights. If that isn’t weird enough Marcus appears to be gay himself.
Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005. It was reaffirmed in 2006 in a vote in the House of Commons 175-123. Most of those voting against same sex marriage were Conservatives. In the US same-sex marriage is legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Several more states may legalize gay marriage but there is still a long way to go for that to happen in the deep south.
There isn’t much question that people who consider themselves liberal are often more empathetic to all types of minorities including the LBGT community. It wouldn’t be a big stretch to claim that most of the television shows we watch or movies we see are written from a left of center point of view. Most creative people in all of the arts lean to the left. Consequently over the last number of years we have seen more and more gay characters in dramas and situation comedies on TV making being gay far more acceptable than it used to be.
Gone mostly are the days when Rock Hudson, Tony Perkins, Raymond Burr, Tab Hunter, Richard Chamberlain, and even Liberace were in the closet. Today we have politicians, news readers, political pundits, famous actors and actresses, singers, and comedians who are openly gay. The world hasn’t spun off of its axis.
The Amazing Race and Survivor usually have one or two gay participants. Ellen Degeneres is loved by millions of daytime TV viewers. Dancing With The Stars has at least one gay judge. Clay Aiken became famous on American Idol. Even daytime soaps now have gay characters. Cable TV stations bring us a wide variety of home décor, fashion and cooking shows often hosted by gay people. TV can’t get much gayer than Glee. To me there isn’t a clearer head on TV when it comes to US politics than Rachel Maddow.
A good part of western society has become far more inclusive when it comes to gay people. We still see new stories from time to time about gay people being beaten up or even killed. Perhaps a bit less than we used to. We still hear some right wing politicians from time to time doing a rant on the evils and unnaturalness of homosexuality using their belief in god to justify themselves often forgetting what their bibles say about treating others with dignity. We also know that being openly gay in some countries in the world can be punishable by death.
When it comes to gay marriage I have to admit that I have myself evolved on the subject. I used to think that civil unions were the answer. I could see where many religious types could be offended if gay marriage was OK’d. I changed my mind for a number of reasons. The first reason was because I realized that gay people getting married posed no threat to anyone. My second reason was why should I really care if religious types are offended? They have no problem offending those without the same beliefs. If they don’t respect me why should I respect them? The third reason I had was that only through gay marriage could gay couples have the same rights as the rest of us under the laws.
One thing that has often disturbed me is people trying to rewrite history. I am also not that fussy about political correctness when it is used to obscure the truth. I never really liked the idea of some subjects being taboo. I realize that there is a time and a place for some discussions but there should be that time and place at some point.
I am not writing the following as a scold but more to offer some opinions that all isn’t what it sometimes seems. I fully expect to get bashed for some of my opinions. I can take it. Although my leanings are almost exclusively to the left I have a problem with some other lefties who sometimes look at issues in far too simple terms. To some, if you criticize anything to do with the gay lifestyle you are immediately labelled homophobic. One might also be accused of being a closet gay and another common response is “Thou dost protest too much.” I hate to break it to these folks but I have never had a homosexual thought in my life and I am not alone.
The Stonewall Riots
The Stonewall Riots were a landmark in gay history. The Stonewall Inn was a seedy hotel owned by the Mafia in New York City. The hotel didn’t even have running water behind the bar, there were no fire exits, and the toilets regularly overflowed. Almost all of the clientele were gay men or tranvestites. In June of 1969 the hotel was raided by the NYC police and many of the patrons were arrested. A crowd started to form outside of the hotel and a riot ensued. There were a number of reasons for the riot including police brutality. People in the crowd which was becoming bigger and bigger, realized that they had the numbers to fight back. The event is looked upon as a landmark also because gay people realized that if they organized as a group they could be effective and shortly after the riot a number of new gay organizations came about.
What isn’t often noted is around the same time gay men would often meet in dark rented tractor trailers in New York and have anonymous sex with complete strangers, not exactly what one might call a healthy lifestyle.
How HIV/AIDS evolved is too complex to write about here. The fact is that anyone who was infected was doomed to die a number of years ago. Today it is possible to still live a long life if one is infected because of newer medicines. A number of gay men due to their sexual urges infected other gay men and wouldn’t use a condom. That they did this to their friends or even strangers is not a pleasant chapter in the history of the LBGT community.
Pedophilia Verses Homosexuality
If you look up the word “pedaphilia” in the dictionary it alludes to sex between an adult and a prepubertal child. We have all heard about Catholic priests molesting young boys and girls. It seems to me to be disingenuous to simply label a priest who has sex with a 15 or 16 year old boy as a “pedaphile” when in actual fact he is committing a homosexual act. It also seems to get a bit fuzzy as to what constitutes being a boy. Is he still a boy if he is 20 years old? Like it or not sex between two people of the same sex is a homosexual act.
Straight Women And Gay Men
It should be no secret that some of biggest supporters of gay men are straight women. Some say it is because often they think alike in some cases there is some truth to that. The obvious fact is that gay men are no threat to straight women sexually which immediately breaks down some barriers. What isn’t mentioned very often is that a number of women have had bad experiences in dealing with men. Often gay men offer them an empathetic ear to their tales of woe. More than a few women like the idea of pay back and if straight men are uncomfortable around their gay friends some may savour the moments. Because there is no sexual threat from gay men, straight women often give gay men a lot more latitude than they would a straight guy.
Being Artistic And Creative
If you’ve watched TV at all in the past 10 years you would think that if you are male you would pretty well have to be gay to have a valued opinion on interior design or fashion style. News flash! Many men are quite capable of making their own decisions when it comes to these things. A lot of people are quite content just wearing an old pair of jeans and a tee shirt in their leisure time.
For The Record….Some Things Most Straight Men Are Just Not That Interested In
Gay Pride parades may be a requirement for politicians to attend these days but lots of men are not that comfortable seeing other men dressed in drag. Many of us don’t find it hilarious. Some of us are also not that fussy about some gay people simulating sex acts on a float, something a lot of parents don’t want their kids to see. If we did that we could very well be arrested. The ballet and Oscar parties are a few other things many hetero men have little interest in. Judy Garland was OK in The Wizard of Oz when we were kids but a lot of us don’t have a fondness for her. We aren’t evil if we aren’t partial to these things. We have other interests.
Being The Center Of Attention
I know to some this might sound a bit like stereotyping but I have been to a number of parties in my life where a gay person has demanded attention by talking loudly and making statements that are somewhat shocking. It is like they are showing off their gayness like it is some gift that they have received. Sometimes it as if they are playing the part of a diva. Sometimes they take little verbal shots at those that don’t seem amused knowing full well they are in an environment that would make you feel silly if you called them out for their childish behavior. In straight circles a person like this would sometimes be called a boor. Being gay doesn’t automatically make you funny either.
Pettiness And Meanness
It isn’t exclusive to the gay community but there are a number of gay people on TV who comment on celebrities, politicians and other people often ripping them apart. Big deal if some woman chooses a dress that they don’t like! What particularly ticks me off is when someone is attacked who is going through marriage difficulties or has a drug problem. You would think these gay critics would have a bit more empathy for other people and their coping problems. They should know that their victims also often have children who watch TV.
Predatory Sex
I am not going to say that there are no heterosexual predators that have taken advantage of younger girls sexually. They are out there. Teenage years and early twenties can be confusing times whether one is from a good home or not. Every year there are confused young people with little in the way of money to survive on that turn up in larger cities. Often they come from families where abuse was common. They are at a point in their lives where they are just trying to survive and are often very vulnerable. It isn’t a rarity for an older gay person to provide them with food and shelter in exchange for sex. Taking advantage of a young person when they are at weakened state is simply despicable as far as I am concerned. I think the same thing about those that use religion or a cult to take advantage of these kids too.
My Own History With Gay Men
Just for the record. None of the following experiences left me scarred.
Whether you want to believe it or not I have never had a fantasy about having sex with another male. By far, most men and boys are strictly interested in women or girls.
On a few occasions, when I was a kid, older boys exposed themselves to me. I never thought of them as being gay but more like creeps.
Looking back, in grade school there was one boy who I later thought was gay. He was kind of like the teacher’s pet and ratted me out a few times to her. Other than this one kid I can’t recall any other kids being gay in grade school or high school. My guess is I probably couldn’t identify a gay kid because it wasn’t something I ever really thought about much. There were 2-3 high school teachers who were definitely gay. Word got around.
As a kid there wasn’t much talk about gay people. There certainly was a lot of chatter about girl’s bodies and the sexual possibilities. Anyone who got a hold of a bare naked picture of a woman was sure to find plenty of other guys who wanted to share it.
It wasn’t until I was about 14 that I became more aware of homosexuals. I lived at a boy’s school for 2 years and there were rumours of a few boys being involved with sexual acts together. Only once in that time did I actually witness briefly two boys engaging in sex when I accidentally walked in on two guys in the middle of a sex act.
I was kind of young looking for my age and up until my late teens I ran into situations infrequently that involved gay men. Once I was groped on a crowded bus. I was followed several times by pervs in slow moving cars while I was walking at night. I got propositioned a few times while hitchhiking but always managed to extricate myself from the situation. One truck driver had a hard time accepting no when I declined to go off the road and pick berries with him. I knew what a shallow grave is.
One day when I was about 17 I was sitting at the counter in an A & W in downtown Montreal. A couple of American sailors dressed in their whites were sitting next to me. They asked me where St. Joseph’s Oratory was located. The oratory was on my way home and they offered me a lift in the back seat of their Volkswagen. Call me dumb but I had no suspicions. When the car started moving the guy in the passenger seat reached over and grabbed my crotch. I screamed bloody murder and they let me out. It was a lesson learned.
A year or two later I was hitchhiking in Northern Ontario and got stuck in Thunder Bay with no place to stay. A Zellers store manager picked me up and learning that I had no place to crash for the night he told me I could stay at his place. He had a great record collection and let me pick out whatever I wanted to listen to. During the course of the evening he offered me a number of beers which I drank. I was little more savvy at this point in my life. I think his plan was to get me pissed. Eventually he told me that there was room for the two of us in his bed. I declined. He didn’t seem like a happy camper the next morning.
In my early twenties I worked in a number of restaurants in different places in Canada. One of them was a rooftop restaurant in Vancouver. I got used to working with a few gay waiters. One evening before the rush, I was hanging out at the service bar in the lounge area and an older gay waiter got me into a conversation about homosexuality. It wasn’t something I was that curious about. I made it quite clear to him that I was straight. He then asked me how I would know about gay sex if I hadn’t tried it. I told him I had never eaten shit before but  knew that it didn’t taste good. It might have not been the nicest response but I thought it to be fair because he was starting to try and play mind games with me.
In my late twenties I was in a few gay bars late at night. I was single and chasing women and sometimes they wanted to keep on dancing and we’d end up at a gay club. The music was usually pretty high octane and I was probably a little on the drunk side. I never felt threatened or a target. On the other hand I never would have been in one of those places by myself.
My ex-wife worked with a gay guy. He was about a 10-15 years younger than his partner and could be very funny at times. At Christmas office parties they would dance with one another including slow waltzes. Nobody seemed to mind and that was over 20 years ago.
Over the years I have been to a number of parties where there were one or two gay people. As with everyone else some were nice enough to talk to while others could be a bit of a pain. For most of my life I haven’t had that much contact with gay folks. There never was any intrigue for me as far as their lifestyles go.
When I was in my 50s and once again solo I did a lot of internet dating. Every now and then I would read a profile of some gal who was interested in me and it would include something like her best friend(s) were gay and if that was a problem they weren’t about to give up their friends. I always took a pass but wondered how they would respond if I said my best friend and I like to go see strippers a couple of times a week.
As an adult I have never been inclined to be part of group, large or small. I’m kind of a one man, one woman type of person. It isn’t that I am anti-social. I am far from that. (I’ve been a salesman for most of my life.) Nowadays I hardly ever run into a gay person other than at a Starbuck’s. The whole deal about the gay lifestyle is usually pretty remote from mine.
To each their own as they say. Gays are just like the rest of us in that some are more pleasant to be around than others. Just because I don’t hang around with a group type doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that they should not have the same rights as others.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Bowen Island 32 Years Later...July, 2013

Bowen Island, BC

One day last year I was about to catch a ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver and asked if there was a senior’s discount. I had just turned 65. To my surprise I found out that I could travel free as a foot passenger. The only stipulation was that the free ride was only available during the week Monday to Thursday.
A number of times in travelling by ferry to Vancouver and I would look up above the shoreline to the left of me as we passed Bowen Island and see if I could find the house my ex-wife and I once owned back in 1981. It appeared to be still intact. Over the years I had wondered a few times what had happened to the place. It wasn’t a big house as it only had two bedrooms and an open plan kitchen/living room. It was all wood and what they call a Panabode.
This year I got to thinking about taking a trip over to Bowen Island for the day. I was going to be on foot. This past Tuesday I made the journey. All in all I took 4 ferry rides. Two there and two back. If I had brought a car it would have cost me over 200 dollars. Show me an old guy who doesn’t like the word “free” and I’ll show you a nut.
It was one of those perfect BC coast sunny summer days. Many of the ferry passengers were out on the top deck, some stretched out wherever they could find a spot to soak up a few rays. The ocean was calm and there was a slight breeze.
Hitchhiking is legal on Bowen Island and they even have signs where you can wait for a lift. I got a short ride from an old guy who cut off at Hummingbird Lane. Could there be a better name for a street you retired to? There are a couple of big hills on the way to my old house and even with that I decided to hike the rest of the way instead of trying to get a lift.
I spotted my old house from the main road and sauntered down to it. I noticed a car parked in the driveway and caught a glimpse of an older gentleman who disappeared down along the side of the house. This wasn’t my first rodeo as far as knocking on a door of a place that I had once spent time at. I let out a big “hello” and the older gentleman appeared and asked me if he could help me. I did my best to explain who I was and my connection to his house.
Although he was in the middle of an outdoor project he took the time to show me around the house. He is a former engineer who was born in Scotland. He was little reticent about showing me the inside of the house which is understandable. It turned out that he had bought the place about 17 years ago and at the time it was in some disrepair. Over the years he had replaced the roof and outside deck, added a storage room beneath the living area, recreated the front entranceway, built some stairs so that the back deck could be accessed from outside. He had also graded the property around the house so that rainfall drained away from the foundation.
All in all I probably spent about a ½ hour chatting with the owner. One of his neighbours, a guy named Don Nicholson who is a retired architect, was one of our neighbours back in 1981. Unfortunately Don was off of the island the day that I visited.
I took a few photos. Because the house is so high up on a kind of cliff side it isn’t the easiest place to take pics of. It sure does have an amazing view.
Here are some of the photos I took….
Morning coffee at ferry terminal at Departure Bay, Nanaimo.
Upper deck on ferry to Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver.
Mountain Skyline from Salish Sea.
Cowan Point, Bowen Island.
Old house cliff side at Queen Charlotte Heights, Bowen Island. In the group to the left.

Coming into Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver.

Coming into Snug Cove, Bowen Island

Ferry line-up Bowen Island.
Hitchhiking sign.
Strata sign where my old house is located.
The old house 2013.
The old house 1981.
The old house 2013.
The old house 1981.
Kitchen of old house 2013.
Kitchen of old house 1981.
View from back deck 2013.
View from back deck 1981.
New back deck.

New front entrance and stairway.

Current owner on phone.

Goodbye old house!
Old Union Steamship building 1981.
Old Union Steamship building 2013.

Snug Harbour, Bowen Island.
Bowen Island ferry.

Leaving Bowen Island.
Sailboats near Departure Bay, Nanaimo