Saturday, 28 June 2014

Historical truths

I've told Hannah a lot of lies about what a lovely child I was growing up.  She believes most of them, but things have got difficult with the arrival from Frome of Sue and Justin.  They've known me since I was one, and with their three boys I got up to plenty of (good-natured, harmless) mischief around Somerset.  So far I've managed to steer the conversation away from the worst bits.

Sue and Justin have stopped in at the end of a West Coast odyssey that has taken them from San Francisco up the coast to Seattle in an RV and then by boat to Vancouver Island.  On the way they've seen bears, orcas, and Tillamook cheese.  They arrived here in the middle of Vancouver International Buskers Festival so we added "strange Australian juggling acts" to that list.  Now we have a few days to show them the delights of the city before they fly home.  First mission: convince them to try a japadog.

"When your Dad was your age, he set fire to my shed..."


The most impressive thing was that his patter made this one trick last about 30 minutes.

Sue: professional teacher/grandmother.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Return trip

Claire and Eavan popped up from California to see us a few months ago, but so taken were they with the city of Vancouver (and our warm and flawless hospitality) that they came back again.  This time Claire was bigger, due to the baby in her tummy being much closer to arrival.  She's 32 weeks, which in this household is known as "full term", so I was a little nervous.

Luckily baby stayed where he was meant to, and the other baby once again enjoyed having people around who are much more fun than his parents.  The weather, in direct contrast to last time, was beautiful, so we made our way up the Sea-to-Sky Highway and into Squamish for ice cream.  Today we wandered over to Canada Place to look at the cruise ships docked there - summer season is in full swing.  Hannah can watch them from the window of her office, and informed us that the Disney cruise comes in on Fridays.  The ship's horn plays "When You Wish Upon A Star."

Unfortunately Claire and Eavan's trip had to come to an end today but they've texted from Seattle to say they made it through the border in super-quick time.  Of course they did; it's only suspicious-looking foreigners that get ushered into "secondary processing".

The rather lovely Porteau Cove Park.

I told you it was lovely.

It's sunny, you're with British people, therefore a picnic.

Just checking.

Baby on the inside.

Baby on the outside.

Not long now.

Finishing off at Shannon Falls, by Squamish.

High speed fun with Eavan.  You have to wait for a few months after they're born before you can do this.

When in Canada.

Eavan couldn't resist some of our signature cuisine.  I abstained this time.

Take me back to California with you!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Two halves

Apparently there's some football going on at the moment, but why travel to the far reaches of the Amazon when we can enjoy it right here?  Canada's women took on Germany at BC Place, and I was there.

It's a little-known fact that, at university, I was the mascot for the St. John's College women's football team.  I wasn't allowed to dress up but I spent many rainy Saturday afternoons running up and down a touchline, supporting Hannah and chanting things like "there's only one Sharon Moughtin" and "say oo-ah, Sally Johnson."  Happy days...until a nasty girl from St. Mary's broke Hannah's ankle and we said goodbye to her promising football career and our nascent ballroom dancing partnership.  It still hurts (my feelings, not her ankle).

The German team has been staying at the hotel across the road and earlier in the week I spotted them all wandering down to the waterfront for group photos.  I was too chicken to go and ask for my photo with them.  If it hadn't been past Pete's bedtime I might have taken him down and deployed the cuteness, but I never learned how to say "would you like to hold my baby?" in the one year of German I took.

After being Hannah's team's lone supporter it was nice to find 15,000 other people at this match.  It started out as a cagey affair with no one taking charge in midfield and the Germans playing mostly in Canada's half, leading to an inevitable goal for the visitors.  Luckily Canada had a number 8 called Diana Matheson.  At 5ft she was the shortest player on the pitch by quite a way, and is also the fastest person I've ever seen!  Her speed set up Canada's reply, although the striker on the end of her cross totally fluffed the shot and the ball sort of looped over the keeper and bobbled into the net.  But, as they say, the sheet doesn't record how you score them, only that you did.

As they also say, football is a game of 90 minutes and then Germany wins, and this proved to be the case with a penalty in the 65th.  2-1 was a respectable loss, and with the 2015 World Cup happening in Canada, and nine games including the final in Vancouver, I'll be having discussions with Pete's mother about how old you should be to attend your first football international.  I need to start teaching him the chants.



The ref checks her watch and...

...we're off!

The keeper, as usual the best dressed player on the field, wearing those two-colour boots that some players in Brazil are.

Heading towards the German goal.

But it's the visitors who score first.

Stout defense from the reds.

Plenty of support for the home side.

That's Matheson, the fastest person in the world!

The penalty, clinically slotted away by Simone Laudehr.

Jonelle Filigno tussles with Lena Goe├čling.

During an injury stoppage, Team Canada plans for one final assault.


The team thanks the supporters.  You're very welcome!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Surfeit of cute

Levels of cuteness increase exponentially depending on number of babies present.  I found a graph on the Internet that proves it:

Which means that our cuteness quotient has dropped dramatically with the departure of Lauren, Nate and Genevieve.  They headed south this morning, back to parched California after enjoying the verdant surroundings up here.  They were very impressed with Vancouver, although they were undemanding guests - endless supplies of coffee, and babies to entertain each other, seemed to do the trick.  Anyway, here's the cuteness:

An easy morning...of me not having to look after my own child.

When in Vancouver.

This is the cute I refer to.

A lot of play happened near if not actually with each other.

Gen gets in on the World Cup action.

In Stanley Park.

Action pose.

When in Vancouver #2.

One to show at their wedding.  Although shortly after this an emergency bath extraction occurred due to...foreign matter being introduced to the water.

More me absolving responsibility.

Gen tries gnawing her way to freedom.

Donuts on Granville Island.

In the park with mum.

More gnawing, this time at the Urban Tea Room.

How the world thinks the English eat afternoon tea.

How we actually eat afternoon tea.

It was father's day, and here are two prime examples.

We finished their trip with a visit to the newly-expanded aquarium.

They look so tasty.

The tropic zone has an additional new species: tree pygmies.

Perfect harmony.