Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Welcome Nicole

Nicole is a recent transplant to Vancouver from London, having moved here to run the OR of BC Childrens Hospital.

Because she has not yet been to the North Shore we took her for a quick tour of the best bits, followed by a meal at The Boathouse in Horsehoe Bay.

Nicole at Capilano Lake

Then we went up to the view point on Cypress Park Road, there was a cloud inversion so with the setting sun the views were beautiful. This is a wide view of the city.

Then slightly closer of the downtown area

Then a close-up of Mt Baker, all pink in the evening sun

Closer in view of the Westside penninsular, UBC and Vancouver Island in the distance

The sun setting in the west and Vancouver Island on the horizon
Finally a close-in view of downtown

April (Snow) Showers

OK, it's not quite April yet, but today has been a mix of living in cloud, followed by just cloudy up above, followed by torrential rain, lightening, thunderstorm, hail & then snow followed finally by a bit of blue sky and sunshine. Here's a pic from the webcam towards the end of the day once Mother Nature had done her worst as the snow line had dropped (we had a white garden at this point) but the sun was out.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter at the Novak-Jacksons

This Easter we visited for dinner our friends Sig & Helen, and their family of Bella, Max & Basil plus Buddy the dog and two cats. Since we did this last Easter too, it has been decided that this is actually an annual event which must be upheld on all future Easters !

Helens mother Jill was up visiting from Kelowna and it was a nice big house full. Jill actaully hails from Southwold in Suffolk so we had the chance to put the world to rights with a fellow Brit.

Another tradition (although it's planned for this to be more than annual) is David making a pavlova which has become a firm favourite in the Novak-Jackson house. This year David made two to ensure there was enough to go around (and some left over for Basil for breakfast!)

David is seen here with Basil and Max

Then we had to play on their Nintendo Wii. We had the opportunity to fail miserably when playing against 6 year olds and look like a pair of morons.

David and I in the living room

The day also co-incided with Buddy's 3rd birthday He was bought a doggy birthday cake from Big Dog Little Dog Bakery in Burnaby ( He has pretty much the same approach to food as Charlie - 'eat it'. Basil assured us the cake tasted of peanut butter - we were all quite happy to believe him as none of the rest of us were prepared to try it. Buddy is seen here with Sig & Helen.

Buddy with his cake, Max & Helen

Now you see it........

Now you don't..........

The kids also bought Charlie an Easter gift from the same dog bakery - a rather ominously named 'Killer' bone. This is him receiving it. He's very grateful and guarding it hard - although the 'I' did fall off so he had to eat that. It's now a 'K ller' bone.

In all we had a great Easter and hope you all did too.

'If Only I Had A Cushion That Was Big Enough'

Monday, March 10, 2008


Last week we decided to take a few days out and visit Seattle. Since we are only a couple of hours drive North of the city it didn't require too much planning, only organising someone to look after Charlie and where we were going to stay once we were there.

Our friend Andrea had some very useful connections that enabled us to stay at a great downtown hotel at an extremely preferential rate, and Stephen & Glenn kindly offered to housesit and take care of the dog.

Infact it turned out Andrea was going to be in Seattle the same time as ourselves as she was meeting a friend there.

The exchange rate of Canadian $ to US $ is currently about 1-to-1 but because the Canadian $ has historically been worth less than the US $ many things in the US are considerably cheaper to buy than in Canada. This is one of the huge incentives of going over the border is that clothes and electrical items are often 20%-30% cheaper.

So, we checked into the Renaissance on Madison St for a couple of nights. We were on the 22nd floor, without perhaps the best possible view but we we're going to argue since it had actually worked out cheaper than the Travelodge ! I have to confess this photo is one I had to steal off of their website, as we didn't actually take one ourselves.

Our room had a 'terrific' view over Interstate 5 which runs right through the downtown core. This was to us one of the most noticible differences between Seattle and Vancouver, is the presence of large freeways and elevated roads in the urban area. It made us particularly grateful of the way city planning has managed the beautiful location of Vancouver, keeping large elevated freeways out of the city and creating the fantastic seawall allowing water access and recreation throughout the downtown area.

However, we did note that Seattle appeared to have kept more of their older buildings than Vancouver, including this 'Seattle Tower' which was built in 1928. It had originally been planned as 24 floors, but an additional 3 were added to enable it to be higher than the Smith Tower which was being built around the same time in the city.

A flatiron building in the downtown core

Then we took the monorail from downtown out to the Seattle Centre where the Space Needle is located. Most of the centre seemed fairly closed and desolate....we're assured it comes to life in the summer.

It had clouded up during the course of the day, but the forecast for the following day was good so decided not to go up the Space Needle on the Tuesday, but to actually go up the next day instead. However, David spotted the Museum of Science Fiction......

Where Trekkies and Star Wars fanatics abound.....

We were impressed to discover the Komo 4 TV station adjacent to the Seattle Centre - we often see their news & weather forecast.

Heading down towards the Pike Place Market there are a number of historic buildings, some in great shape and some in a degree of disrepair, but still showing signs of a former bustling life of prosperiety

That evening we met up with Andrea & her friend Stephen and had dinner with them, then went to a great bar which offered over 90 different beers on tap.

The following morning and a few glasses of wine and beer the worse, we met up with Andrea and Stephen again for breakfast at a diner in Pike Place Market.

The entrance to Pike Place Market

Views from the diner where we had breakfast looking out across the water watching the Washington State ferries come and go

Finally after spending a few hours up the Space Needle (see next post) with Andrea & Stephen we headed back home, via a couple of shopping malls. This is a view of Mt Baker from south of Bellingham.

Views from the Space Needle

On the Tuesday in Seattle we went with Andrea and Stephen to the Space Needle at the Seattle Centre.

This is a little movie of the brief monorail ride from the Westlake Center on 5th Avenue Downtown out to the Seattle Center where the Space Needle is located

David and I in front of the Space Needle

Views from the top in a North Easterly direction towards Mt Baker.

A close up view of Mt Baker

Views to the North West

David and Andrea

View South towards Downtown.

Close up view showing Mt Rainier on the horizon. Although it was a generally clear and sunny day unfortunately it didn't make it easy to see the volcano as it was South of the Space Needle.

David and I at the top

Looking down on the Komo 4 News offices and helicopter

Views to the West

Looking down on the Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum. Apparently this building is supposed to look like a mangled guitar. Ummmm.

A brief piece of movie of an eagle that was flying around close to the observation deck

Andrea back down at the base of the Needle.