Whoever came up with the phrase “The Great Outdoors” must surely have been standing somewhere in the Pacific North West. It has an unequaled mix of forests and mountains and snow peaks that make it truly beyond comparison. It’s hardly surprising that this is what makes it one of the most sought after destinations for the world’s hardcore outdoor fanatics.
It struck me that if the summons I just received had been offered in a city context, I might not have been so willing to acquiesce to its demands. “Come and see my new chainsaw!” was the invitation. Winter storms had ravaged much of the Western Isles in January 2015 and the trees surrounding my parent’s house were badly damaged. The chainsaw was being put to good use, massacring the remnants of what remained standing.
It was all a ruse though. “Trobhad agus clearaig na craobhan a tha seo dhomh”. Which basically translates to, “I’ve pretended that I was going to show off my chainsaw, when what I actually want is for you to come and carry this huge stack of trees away.”
Granville Island is a celebration of blue. The gleaming blue glass of Vancouver’s famous architecture looks down on the blue water that reflects the blue skies of early summer.
The Granville website invites you to consider their Island as “Vancouver’s Town Centre”. Even out-of-season there is a pleasant buzz of life there. The motors of passing water-taxi’s hum as they career passengers across the water. Families and friends and tourists stroll in and out of the Public Market in the hope of bagging a bargain or a delicious snack.
I grew up with Harry Potter. I read the Philosopher’s Stone when I was 9. The characters at the time were 10. Nearly every age milestone of my teen years was marked with a new addition to the series. They were the classics of my generation.
Upon completion of the the eighth film – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (II) – the main filming location was transformed into a visitor attraction. It was a place where fans, young and old, could come and experience the world they’d seen on the big screen for themselves. While visiting London last Autumn I absolutely couldn’t pass up the chance to go along and see the Studios for myself.
Strùpag. Balacum. Cupan math teatha.
Gaels love tea. There are almost as many Gaelic words for tea as there are for love. We also have mad afternoon tea skills – though we don’t tend to give it such a fancy title. My grandfather was a crofter and almost every memory I have of my grandparents house involves him pottering outside, working on the land. He sported boilersuits long before the catwalks deemed them acceptable outerwear (his in iconic “standard blue”) and some fetching green wellies. And every day, between 3pm and 4pm, he was called in for his tea which was always accompanied with whatever my gran had baked that morning.
We celebrate with tea and mourn with tea and rouse ourselves in the morning with tea. Tea and the colour black – they never go out of fashion.
So when my dad got invited to accept his OBE at Buckingham Palace, there seemed to be only one way to celebrate.