Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just a Quick Update

Writing a note from the pub in the little town of Reeth in Richmond County in Yorkshire. In other words, James Herriot country, for those of you who are familiar with the literary veterinarian. It's pouring rain outside now but for the most of the day it was just beautifully misty and humid and the world is green and full of lambs and buttercups. Northern England is truly beautiful. We've stayed at a mixture of Bed and Breakfasts and town Inns, and some have been great hits and others were mixed reviews. Jorgen's Molly warned us about the small showers here and she was most definitely right! Some of them are so small you can barely turn around, and because they're often late late additions to the houses, bathrooms in general are in wierd places. It's fun still. We have lots of pictures, Brent's almost filled two 2-gig memory cards, but the pub does not have an uploading center so they'll have to wait! We've met some wonderful people on the trail. Australians, quite a few Canadians, actually, and a couple of Americans along with British. Mostly retired people though, not many young people. Anyway, just wanted to let you know we're alive. Tomorrow we walk 16 km (short day) to Richmond. We're hoping to get there early enough that we can tour the castle there and see what is supposed to be a "typical Yorkshire town." Love you all! Cheers!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Today we took the train from London to Carlisle (which, for those of Kirstin's family interested, is very close to the border to Scotland) (inside joke). Then we got on another train that travelled slower down the west coast to St. Bees. It stopped at a lot of small towns as we moved south and west...and all of a sudden it reached the coast and we travelled right alongside the ocean. I have no recollection of ever seeing the coast before, although I know Mum and Dad took us to Victoria once, and this was wonderful. Water as far as we could see, with little bobbing ships and coastal towns.

The house we are staying in at St. Bees is the farmhouse that accompanies a parish Abbey. The main floor used to be the barn, I'm told, and there are still hooks in the ceiling which used to hold hay. The house was built in the 1500s (!!) and is absolutely gorgeous. It's not your traditional bed and breakfast with ensuites, but that doesn't matter to us. It's absolutely lovely. I highly recommend it.

Tonight we went for supper at the Manor House, which is now a hotel and pub. We had a pint of real English beer--NOT carbonated (which is my biggest hang-up about beer) and it was quite tasty. It was called something like Smoking Hen Ale or something like that. Guiness is on tap here...and is much cheaper than in Canada.

Tomorrow we actually begin hiking. We wondered if there would be anyone else hiking at the same time as us, and there are. Staying here at Abbey Farm House are, count them, four other Canadians all starting the hike tomorrow as well. One semi-retired couple from Vancouver and two sisters, one from Saint Albert, and the other from somewhere in Ontario. And we thought we were going to be the isolated uncommon Canadians! Someone at the pub assumed that we were American, but I quickly corrected them.

The biggest difference between here and London that became clear very quickly, is how friendly people were. Only two Londoners that we encountered were at all friendly or voluntarily helpful. Here, lots of people are. A man we met on the train, a girl waiting for her friends in Carlisle, the man who runs this B & B. It's quite a lovely change, we were getting quite sick of being the friendly Canadians who were constantly snubbed.

In addition to sixteenth century Abbey, St. Bees has an old church and a big old cemetery (which, I'm sad to say, is in rough shape now). Nevertheless, we went for a walk through it tonight, and Brent took some pictures.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

England Swings like a Pendulum Do

ENGLAND SWINGS words and music by Roger Miller England swings like a pendulum do Bobbies on bicycles, two by two Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben The rosy red cheeks of the little children Now, if you huff and puff and you fin'lly save enough Money up to take your family on a trip across the sea Take a tip before you take your trip Let me tell you where to go Go to England, oh England swings like a pendulum do Bobbies on bicycles, two by two Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben The rosy red cheeks of the little children Mama's old pajamas and your papa's mustache, Falling out the window sill, frolic in the grass, Tryin' to mock the way they talk, fun but all in vain, Gaping at the dapper men with derby hats and canes. England swings like a pendulum do Bobbies on bicycles, two by two Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben The rosy red cheeks of the little children England swings like a pendulum do Bobbies on bicycles, two by two Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben The rosy red cheeks of the little children

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's Four in the Morning...

... the end of December...

Well, not quite, actually 6:30 in the morning and two weekends ago, but close enough :) We made a trip up to Lacombe to visit both sets of parents once more before we head out on our big trip to England. Saturday morning I (Brent) decided to wake up early and finally take advantage of the golden hours for photography.

Not being much of a morning person I haven't set out to do it before, but for some reason I just decided on the spur of a moment to take advantage of morning light. So 6:30 I was up, outside and shooting for 90 minutes or so. Approx 200 pictures later I got 30 or so good shots, pretty good odds, best I've ever gotten before. Here are some of the better shots in my opinion:

Later in the day I didn't have much to do, so I continued to take pictures. Here are a few more good ones:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A new artist

Recently we discovered a new musical artist in the genre similar to Josh Ritter and Ray LaMontagne etc etc. We were listening to his album this morning and one of the songs just really struck me. Perhaps it's the beautiful spring rainy day...makes me feel all romantic and mushy. Here's the lyrics...there's no music video because the album is brand new, but I found a recording on Youtube nonetheless. Great Escape Thought I could But I just can't wait Started planning For the great escape Where I'd live and What I'd leave behind Made a list of things I'd have to take The things that make me feel like hell For heavens sake Who I'd love and who would tow the line And I need you Everybody needs someone like you If you need me too You would be the only thing that I'd take On my great escape I float through this town like a cosmonaut Reminding me of all the things I haven't got Like time and space, a smile on my face and you And I need you Everybody needs someone like you If you need me too You would be the only thing that I'd take Maybe I'll find that my destination Is somewhere I already know? And your were as far as I ever had to go And I need you Thought I could, but I just can't wait Everybody needs someone like you Started planning for me great escape If you need me to Who I love and who I'd leave behind You would be the only thing that I'd take with me Who I'd leave behind I need you Who I'd leave behind Everybody needs someone like you Who I'd leave behind If you need me to You would be the only thing that I take On my great escape

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Democratic Race

This is slightly out of date now, but it's hilarious nonetheless. Voting for party leadership in American politics is incredibly complicated. Who are you rooting for? Wanna guess who I am?

PJB Design in the news

Check out this Lacombe Globe article. That's Brent's Sketch-up model of the fieldhouse, and PJB himself in the article. Also in the same Globe issue, a very interesting article on the coming race track and its place in the greater global scheme of things. George Weenik is a long-time Woodynook resident, close to my parents' house.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Just a coupla things

We're off to Lacombe for the weekend, to run some errands and, more importantly, spend some long overdue quality time with family.

Just a couple of things then before we go:

Today's Calvin and Hobbes: interesting in light of so many things going on today. Rice shortages everywhere--including here in Calgary. The price of basmati rice has almost doubled in our Co-op, and there was little of it to be had. Have you noticed this too, Rach and Trev? I've heard that a lot of the food shortages in the world are because of 1) the new production of biodiesel (which is controversial in its own right) and 2) the loss of farmland in general. As my brother Karl is fond of lecturing us, don't complain about farmers with your mouth full.

Also, strange weather occuring all through North America. Major flooding, tornadoes where they don't normally occur. Like it or not, the climate is changing.

Call me a tree-hugger if you wish, but I think we all need to be very mindful of our use (and misuse) of green space and of our society's overwhelming force of consumerism. Brent and I are of the opinion that experiences are more important to life than "stuff." Of course, this doesn't always work. We need a vehicle that runs. And, because we live in North America, one set of clothes just isn't socially acceptable. But you know what are fun? Hand-me-downs. I just got a couple of shirts from a friend. I really like hand-me-downs. New-to-me and already broken in in. (Although as a kid, they were not so much a treat).

These are my thoughts for today. Anyone want to add or disagree?

Finally, a webcam in London for your viewing pleasure. Thirteen days til we go...