Summer moves to autumn

After enjoying some travels in the last few months, we have happily settled into day to day life in our adopted city.


We are really enjoying Bournemouth which is beautiful, affordable and safe.  In an effort to assimilate ourselves into British culture Garry has begun a volunteer commitment with OXFAM, and I have accepted a part time retail job with a British owned kitchen store called Steamer Trading Cook Shop.


I am not entirely comfortable with British currency so Garry will be playing “store” with me a few times before my start date of November 2nd.  I am also boning up on British cooking terms.  I am really looking forward to being part of the Christmas buzz here, while serving and interacting with the British public.


Brexit, Brexit, Brexit – what a challenge and a mess.  2019 looms as the date by which the UK must reach an agreement with the EU – and it may not happen.  The government here is looking increasingly weak and in a minority position.  In the coming months it is probable that another election will be forced.  Our experience so far is that wages here are lower, poverty is significant and the class system is alive and well.  We’d be smug Canadians but for the child poverty rate in Canada which is a staggering 19.8%  in B.C. and 18.5% in Canada.  So we do not intend to deliver any lectures in the near term on how great we are.


Some summer memories:


Yes the beach is crowded on warm sunny days.




Surfing at the Bournemouth pier
Three girls in Rome
Bournemouth Beach


The remnants of hurricane Ophelia are hitting Ireland – the worst storm in over 50 years.  On the south coast we are getting some wind, and some creatures washing up on the beach.

From the BBC:

A warning has been issued after more dangerous jellyfish-like creatures washed up on UK beaches.

The UK Coastguard has told people not to handle the Portuguese man-of-war, following an increase in the number appearing along the south coast.

It followings a spike in sightings across the Welsh coastline last week.

They were reported at Hove, Dawlish, Lyme, Charmouth, Bournemouth, Swanage, Seaton, and Portsmouth over the weekend.

We are off to the beach later to see if we can find some doubloons.

Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival

This week Bournemouth hosts the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival.  Last night was a beautiful walk through the park with illuminated umbrellas, moving to live music.

Today we attended a more serious screening of ‘Our Plastic Oceans’.

The film:  Our Plastic Oceans

Plastic Oceans is a film about plastics invading our oceans from every direction.  Birds with gullets full of small plastics, turtles sick from mistaking plastic bags for jelly fish, to our water bottles lying motionless at the bottom of the ocean – and of course the microplastics that hide in products we consume such as beauty products and toothpaste.

On hand was one of the filmmakers to answer questions.  One thing he said made sense and that is aside from other actions the single most important thing that can be done is to make plastic valuable, so that everyone is focused on picking it up and reusing it.

Friendly faces from home and a day out in Swanage

We enjoyed an busy three day visit with Christine and Mike who were passing through from Iceland to Ireland.
We celebrated Mike’s birthday, toured  Bournemouth and took a day trip to Swanage.  From Swanage we took a steam train to Norden past the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle.
The site is believed to have been occupied since 6000 BC and the murder of Edward the Martyr took place at the castle in 978.
If you know Mike, be sure to ask him about the historical evolution of the sheep….a man who knows his stuff!
Photo was taken by a young man sitting across from us on the train. He was from Vernon.

Continue reading “Friendly faces from home and a day out in Swanage”

Mournful Cry of Cows

Our hosts are crofters and they own about thirty sheep, and a few Highland cattle.  Earlier this week, Catherine warned us that the calves of three of their cows were going to market the following morning, and we would likely hear the mothers crying for a couple of days while they searched for their little ones.
I have never before heard the mournful cries of cows that have lost their calves.  They stationed themselves right across the road from us, likely because it was at the top of the hill.  One poor mother even crossed the road and circled our cottage twice, wailing all the way.
I doubt I will ever progress to vegetarianism, but I must say I now have a deeper understanding of why some people do.  The end of day three, and one continues its cry.
If you think cows are not emotionally intelligent, think again…..I did.

We have looked everywhere – and nowhere do we see our calves.
I am sad…