OK, so I’m pretty sure you all thought I’d given up on the blog it’s been that long. Sorry about that.
So, let’s talk about Christmas! It was a weird one this year (last year) – as many of you know, I have applied for a visa to stay longer term in Canada so from mid-October to December most of my free time was spent doing more life admin than I would wish on my worst enemy, trying to get everything together for my application so I could submit it before Christmas, and relax a little about it. That just about quashed every ounce of festiveness out of me, and also goes someway to explain my lack of Christmas card sending – some of you got some, others didn’t. What can I say, I lost the will to Christmas.
In the lead up to the big event, I did manage to a couple of festive things; a hike (of course) up to the top of Grouse Mountain to see their festive light walk, which we enjoyed whilst drinking hot chocolate, and a few ‘Holiday Parties’ as their known here. Nothing too raucous – Canadians excel at doing things in moderation – but they were fun all the same.
For actual Christmas, Hollie and Alex invited me to spend it with them on Bowen Island again, this time joined at the last minute by Hollie’s sister, who I don’t think I’d seen in about 15 years – crazy how Vancouver is the place for Frome reunions?! I had 3 days off work, and managed to pack in about as much eating, drinking and time spent in pyjamas playing pictionary as is humanly possible.
Bowen Island is such a lovely little place – it only takes an hour or so to get there from Vancouver (including the ferry), yet you feel a million miles away, even though you can see the city from the island. We spent Christmas Eve walking around the lake, having lunch at a cute little cafe, and actively preparing our stomachs for the onslaught of the next day by eating a giant ham for dinner.
We actually got lucky and had a (just about) white Christmas, and it was someone’s bright idea to do a sunrise hike…thankfully sunrise was at about 8am, but we plodded up to the nearby viewpoint in our pyjamas to start the day off.
After the mandatory mimosa (buck’s fizz) fuelled breakfast Hollie and I headed out for a little festive jog, before meeting up with the others to search for the Bowen Island mastodon. Built from driftwood by a local artist, you can find plenty of photos online of the sculpture, but there are no details of how to find it… We knew where the trail began and had some loose instructions, and we genuinely thought we’d find it within 15 minutes or so. After almost an hour of searching we had to give up on account of our stomachs starting to remind us it was time for more eating.
Hollie’s Turkey Wellington reigned supreme for Christmas lunch again, and she also wiped the floor with everyone at Pictionary – that’s what happens when you play with someone who draws for a living. Apparently drawing arrows and stabbing at the paper next to the unidentifiable blob you’ve drawn isn’t a good enough clue.
An evening cheese session may or may not have been the best idea, so we were all ready to blow some cobwebs out on Boxing Day. We headed to the south west of the island for a stroll along the coastal path there, before more eating and drinking – a Christmas well done.
New Year’s Eve started off with drinks with friends and ended with me watching a film on the sofa and going to bed at 11.30 – the first time in my adult life I haven’t made it to midnight! A proud moment.
Some friends and I managed to squeeze in a little sunrise hike on the 2nd of Jan – a fun adventure before we got back to the reality of January. As a side note, how is it still January?! This feels like forever ago, the time has slowed to a snail like pace.
Anywho, it was FREEZING and little bit foggy at 6am in the city, and as we drove to Mount Seymour we wondered if we’d made a terrible mistake. Luckily, as we wound our way up the mountain, we came out on top of the clouds and the temperature was several degrees warmer – Vancouver has had some really weird temperature inversions this winter.
Even as we left the car park we could see the beginnings of an amazing fiery sunrise, which only got better as we climbed further up to the first peak of Mt Seymour. It got a bit blustery at the top as things clouded over, but it definitely cemented my love of sunrise hikes with friends – the coffee with Baileys helped too.
And just like that it’s 2018!