tinyjo: (clouds)
1) Tofino has almost no internet! Well, the place we were staying didn't have internet in our room (although I think they did in their main building), and only some of the eateries did and then not very reliably. Thus, I have been absent from the internet for several days. Did you break anything? I found this to be not serene and peaceful, but rather irritating and it tended if anything to make me more antisocial as I tried to get an internet connection while we were eating dinner instead of when I was on my own. Basically, internet is good.

2) On the other hand, what Tofino did have was BEARS!! Yes, I have been out on the BEAR boat and watched BEARS wandering along beaches turning over stones looking for crabs and other morsels. They were very charming creatures and quite happy to just ignore us even though we were very close - I guess being on the water meant that they treated us differently. We also saw a rock on the way back that was just a rock, and just a rock and then suddenly we got close enough to realise it was covered in seals.



3) We also spent a very pleasant afternoon in the Tofino botanical gardens, which were lovely. A short wander through some different plantings and some old growth woodland onto the sea shore to gaze across the mud flats (full of migrating birds at other times of the year, nice and peaceful now). There was a slight tendancy to whimsey in some of the points of interest along the self guided trail but it was a lovely place to spend an afternoon (and had actual working internet in the cafe!).






4) Tofino has no Tim Hortons. I am not sure if this means that it is not really in Canada. Probably. It does have the prettiest cat we have met in BC thought (note careful categorization, [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg!).


5) For this drive from and back to Victoria, we hired a convertible because I love driving with the top down. On the way out it was cloudy and fairly cold, and on the way back, it was pouring nearly all the way. Of a total drive time of around 6 hours, we managed to have the top down for a total of about half an hour. Still, I'd rather have it that way around than have the bear trip rained off, so I guess it all worked out ok.
tinyjo: (Default)
1) It's been really lovely seeing [personal profile] coalescent and [personal profile] electricant's 5 things posts over the last couple of weeks and has felt very old school internet. In a way, it's reminded me of the fact that I really got into journalling at a time when I wasn't living near my friends, or most of them, and so it was a sort of relaxed chat that we weren't having in other media and actually, there are still people who I'm friends with that I don't see and it could still be serving that purpose. That came out less pointful than I'd hoped! Anyway, I am reading and enjoying those posts, guys, even though I don't generally comment.

2) I also think that having more going on on my friends page make me more inclined to post things myself, so I'm going to cautiously try to up my frequency of posting again. Who knows whether this will lead to anything as this is precisely the time of year when I think "hey, yeah, I should totally do that, I've got loads of time!". By Christmas, who knows :)

3) I am actually still on holiday at the moment. We went to two firework displays in the last two nights and I'm sorry, Victoria, but Vancouver won that contest. You are currently winning the "sufficiently cool for walking around" one though, so don't feel bad :) I failed to take any photos of fireworks because I find it hard to watch firework displays and get good photos at the same time. We did do some cool things in Vancouver though, including visiting the Museum of Art, where there was an exhibition by Geoffrey Farmer, including this room of paper cutouts from The Readers Digest book of the Last Two Million Years:




4) Despite the above, I have been mostly doing work today because I am an enormous dork. I woke up this morning feeling in the mood and with ideas about stuff and a sense of wanting to start getting things down on paper - this happened last time we went on a long holiday and seems just to be a thing that happens. Sadly, I am missing a key resource available only on paper for one of the things but I have managed to be getting on with other things which is good. It also looks as if my new colleague does pretty detailed plans, so that's good to know for next year.

5) Still very much looking forward to the next stage of our trip, which is a trip up to Tofino, with our lovely Victoria host [personal profile] aveleh, where we will be swimming in hot springs and going on a BEAR WATCHING boat trip! This will be awesome.
tinyjo: (Glastonbury)
Hello world! Well, it's about one third of the way through our trip to Canada and we have finally found a hotel that gives decent wifi access! Both the past two places kept dropping my connection every 2 minutes or so - not ideal for browsing the modern web, as I'm sure you can imagine :) Still, we have been having a great time so far, only slightly hampered by some less than spectacular weather. We managed a couple of lovely days in Banff, during which I climbed an actual mountain! Check out the view from the top!


Unfortunately, this wasn't the Burgess Shale mountain, and we decided that the lack of ability to maintain our own pace meant that wasn't going to work that well for me so we went on the shorter GeoScience walk experience where we got to open up some shale and find actual trilobytes! Yes, I have found my very own trilobyte, which is pretty awesome. After Banff, we went on to Golden, on the Kicking Horse River, which was really nice, and we went to see the wolf sanctuary and the grizzly bear sanctuary! We've also seen elk grazing on the highway and three deer, one while walking and two while on the road, so the wildlife spotting is going pretty well so far. We had been planning to stop next in Kamloops, but the nice waitress we were chatting to in Golden suggested that we might enjoy wine country and so we have diverted down to Kelowna, where we have unfortunately brought the rain with us, but have managed to find a nice place to stay with the aformentioned quality wifi :)





By the way, I can't tell if these images are only showing up in preview because I'm logged into google, so if you can't see them, comment and tell me!
tinyjo: (sunflower)
I find it kind of hard to believe, even now, but we have actually made it and I am actually on holiday at last. I was so excited that I was bouncy and enthusiastic at the man at the security check point :) The flight was only averagely horrible - a bit of a bumpy landing and my entertainment system didn't really work, but otherwise pretty smooth so I didn't feel too rubbish and we got a pair of seats on their own so we didn't have to keep getting up past people and stuff. and could be comfortably huggy. Once I got the mirrors adjusted right, the car we hired is pretty easy to drive, and has loads and loads of luggage space and the gps we bought successfully directed us to [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg's house, which is huge! You could fit about 3 of our house in it! It is also lovely, with nice squishy sofas, kitchen well equiped with tea and ornamental minous all over the place, which is really good for helping you feel right at home! This place is so big that there is basically a kitty play room!

We are planning to go on an expedition today to do some scrambling around and then some hanging out by the community lake (!) before dinner so hopefully, pics to follow :)
tinyjo: (Default)
Have had a very up and down week this week for some reason - easily discombobulated by little things at school and so on. Thank goodness for the Easter holidays, although I will be spending most of the first week at school anyway, either teaching booster classes for SATs or sorting out our new ICT suite.

I have discovered the fact that you can go on guided hikes of the Burgess Shale and really want to do one while we're in Canada so we've started going on weekend walks this month - well, we've managed two so far, anyway :) It's been rather nice so far, but my hiking boots just aren't really comfortable so I'm trying out some less heavy duty footware, in the hope that I can find something that's rather more natural feeling. We are going to need to find some hills to practice on though, given the elevation of the hike I'd like to do! At the moment, what we find is that I can walk quite comfortably without getting out of breath for about 3 miles on the flat but as soon as you add height gain, I start to get puffed in my breathing, which then goes away again as soon as you get back on the flat. Alex suggested it might be something in my stance, so that'll give me some more googling to do! Still, if I can repeat the hill part of todays walk about 11 times, that would be about equivalent, and that doesn't sound crazy. We'll have to see how things go.
tinyjo: (webdesigner - chez geek)
Abkhazi GardenWell, I didn't actually manage to post any more while on holiday, despite taking a day off to do work in* which I could have easily combined with posting but there we are. Victoria turned out to be absolutely beautiful. The place we were staying turned out to be lovely, if a little bizarre. The first night, we ended up being upgraded to the Parlour Suite, which was absolutely crammed with antiques of all periods and satin pillow covers. They were rather bemused that we seemed to prefer one of the less ornate ones when we finally got moved into there after a couple of days! Still, the breakfasts were lovely, the manager was very sweet and it was conveniently close to [personal profile] aveleh and the city centre (sorry, center).

Amongst the lovely things to do in Victoria that we indulged in, under the guidance of the above mentioned lovely [personal profile] aveleh, we went whale watching (and saw some actual whales!), visited the BC museum and the Maritime museum, visited the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (highly recommended, btw), basked on the beach and taken a wine tour. I hadn't really associated Canada with wine but apparently it's the Provence of North America. We did actually try some rather good wines. We bought a few back and quite a few fruit wines, which I hadn't really tried before and so seemed well worth bringing home - I can thoroughly recommend blackberry desert wine, for example. As you might have noticed if you have been on Flickr, we also went to two beautiful gardens - the Butchard garden, which is lovely, and very well known, and the Abhkazi garden, which was absolutely gorgeous and somewhat overlooked and quiet. I actually preferred the slightly smaller scale of the Abhkazi garden, which you could imagine actually being someone's real garden and being enjoyed as such.

Back home now and the cats have more or less remembered who we are again, which is nice. I've finally finished a first draft of my assignment this afternoon, which is a relief, now I just have to get the rest of the medium term plans done and get my classroom sorted out! Fortunately, Mum and Dad are coming over to help with the latter as there seems to be a huge amount of stuff still to put away. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the new Computing curriculum as we're free to use it now if we want. It'll definitely still need work, but I think trying to get a handle on it now is a good start. We're doing online interaction this term so I've set up a class blog and signed up for a service which matches you up with three other class blogs so that you can take turns to provide audiences for each other, which strikes me as a really good way of getting the kids to actually engage with posting. Maybe I'll even try a class twitter account again - I might even actually manage to post in it :)

* No really. I was stressing about the amount I had to do before the start of term so decided to sit down and write the Maths medium term plan, as all the material I needed for that was online. Yes, I know, I'm sad.
tinyjo: (Cassiecat)
So, here we are in the colonial territories :) Seriously though, part one of the Canadialand holiday is almost complete. We had a ludicrously long Tuesday between getting up early to get the plane and then flying about 6 hours back but we managed enough cat naps on the way to enjoy a lovely evening with [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg, where we had steak, or rather STEAK, because much of Canada seems to invite excessive capitalisation, so far. It was seriously good steak though, and just what I needed after the anaemic plane food and enjoyed in excellent and convivial company. We then headed back to their current abode to stroke cats and play Cards Against Humanity. I won, which I think makes me the worst person there, right?

UntitledThe next step was to start out across the Rockies. We had decided not to book rooms in advance for this stage of the trip, so that we could play things by ear a little. This meant that we had the flexibility to take the advice of the very friendly Canadian lady we met in the immigration queue and drive on up to Jaspar, rather than stopping in Banff. This was an extra couple of hours in the car, but boy were they impressive hours. There were MOUNTAINS, and more MOUNTAINS, and BLUE LAKES of ridiculous, unrealistic colour. We stopped for a wander around Bow Lake, which was pretty amazing - you could see the glacier making its way down the side of the mountain opposite. We had intended to take an evening walk but actually, once we were there and had eaten, I was pretty knackered so we just crashed out in our hotel.

UntitledNext came the other half of the Rockies drive, to Hope, a town I had picked purely based on driving distances as a sensible place to stop. We did consider stopping and doing a little trail walking on the way, but the midday sun dissuaded us and so we enjoyed the grandeur of the MOUNTAINS from the car this time. Once in Hope we had thought of walking a little trail there but by now we had arrived in rainy country. The mountain here is under an ominous wreath of misty cloud and when we couldn't figure out a way to safely walk from our motel to the trail head as the grass verge petered out, we decided to substitute a wander around town instead, which proved very enjoyable in its own way. We discovered that Hope has lots of motels in various states of seedy looking, closed down shops, masonic lodges (seriously, there was a whole block of them) and a surprising number of Chinese/Canadian restaurants, a cuisine we decided to pass over on this occasion in favour of a rather nice classy restaurant next door to our motel. There were also lots and lots of chainsaw carvings all over town, as we had just missed the annual chainsaw carving competition. These range from the banal to the frankly bizarre but the drizzle, the roaring river and the whole abandoned small town air definitely made for an interesting exploratory walk around before dinner. Also, I have decided based on this visit that the difference between a motel and a hotel is that you get a slightly bigger room.

Next we're off to Victoria where we have what looks like a very nice hotel room booked - each room has a name in this place and ours is the Reading Room! I'm trying to upload each day's photos to flickr as I go (otherwise I'll never get around to it) so if you like that sort of thing, check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinyjo. Otherwise, I'm sure I'll post again once we're settled in Victoria.

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tinyjo: (Default)
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

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