Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pitt Lake & Burnaby Mountain

The last couple of weeks have brought several days of torrential rain and a little snow, only today are we seeing some very welcome sunshine !

Most walks with Mojo have been dashing through Princess Park, or further afield at Lynn Headwaters but I wasn’t going to risk taking the camera out in some of our recent weather. 

However, on two days we did manage to at least get walks in and stay dry.

The first was a revisit to Pitt Lake and the wildlife reserve. I had to visit a furniture store in Coquitlam to collect a sample for our new media room sofas so it seemed like a good opportunity to continue on to Pitt Lake.

Mojo is pleased to be back here, this walk is always a good supply of birds to chase and plenty of water to go for a dip in.  No surprises he’s also armed with a nice big stick.


The day we were walking here was following a couple of good wind/rain storms and there was debris and damage to the trail in several places.


We then had a slightly surreal and brief Skype session – with Davids mum Sue, her friend Mal and their friend Bridget – Bridget lives just a few miles from Pitt Lake where we are but is visiting her family & friends in the UK and was at Sues house for the evening.  Sue wanted to show Bridget the wonders of modern technology – webcamming, and I wasn’t going to be home at the computer before Bridget left Sues house for the evening.  So we had a brief webcam with me on my iPhone walking Mojo and Bridget in Sues living room before continuing with our walk.

A little further along the trail winds North through the marshland towards the lake.  Views here North over the marsh.


And the view South back over the nature reserve.


Soon we reach Pitt Lake itself, Mojo of course has to jump straight in and check it’s still as great for swimming as his last visit !

Final views of the lake as we head back along the causeway.  Up to the right the recent wintery weather has left a very defined snowline.


Another recent walk in pleasant weather was on Monday when I took Mojo out for a couple hours to Burnaby Mountain.

At just over 1200ft this ‘mountain’ is a mere lump by comparison to many of our other local peaks, nonetheless it is easily accessible and we were able to do a circular walk starting much lower down on Hastings Street and walking up the south west side to Centennial Park, taking in the views and then returning on the north west corner.

The walk starts like most others……lots of pent up energy and enthusiasm to burn off fetching sticks and chasing the occasional squirrel.


Like everywhere else in the Lower Mainland fall is definitely over, all the leaves have dropped and the canopy in our deciduous forests have completely opened up.

IMG_6348 IMG_6349 We follow the boldly named Trans Canada Trail, although the trail looks a little minor for such an important title.


Soon we reach the clearing that marks the edge of Centennial Park atop Burnaby Mountain. Beyond the trees ahead is Simon Fraser University and the adjoining residential development. Aside from this the majority of Burnaby Mountain is still predominately wild forest environment.


Mojo waits patiently for his stick to be thrown again, although he’s beginning to realise that I keep throwing it downhill and it’s a long slog back up again !  The wide open parkland is great for stick throwing and would be perfect with a chuck-it ball too.

IMG_6355 Great views of Vancouver downtown skyline from the top of Burnaby Mountain.


Hiding behind a rock won’t stop me finding your stick and throwing it !


Good views from Centennial Park on Burnaby Mountain towards the North Shore mountains.


Panorama from the top of Burnaby Mountain.

Horizons Restaurant is fully re-opened after a massive fire destroyed it in April 2010.


Just beyond the restaurant is a lookout from the North side of the mountain.  Here we get views North East along Burrard Inlet towards Port Moody.


Looking due North up Indian Arm.


The Dollarton neighbourhood of North Vancouver.



The villages of Deep Cove and Belcarra can be seen on the left and right respectively of Indian Arm.


These totems were erected to celebrate Burnaby’s twin city of Kushiro, Japan.  Called Kamui Mintara meaning ‘Playground of the Gods’ they depict the story of Japans native peoples, the Ainu and of the gods who came down to Earth to give birth to them.


After visiting the totems we follow the well marked trails back down the inlet side of Burnaby Mountain to where we have parked the car just off Hastings St. 

IMG_6379 IMG_6380 A couple of pleasant walks and with two more sunny days forecast this week hopefully we’ll be able to get out on another one this week !

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Christening of Oscar Stanley Lancaster

We haven’t published any blogposts in the last couple of weeks due in part to finishing our basement renovations, the disgusting rainy weather and the fact that David was away for 10 days or so for the christening of his godson in England.

David flew into London Gatwick, hired a car and initially drove up to Peterborough to spend a couple of days with his mum and sister and her family before driving down to St. Albans in Hertfordshire to stay with his family friend Craig, his wife Mia and their six-month old baby son Oscar.

The last time we saw Craig & Mia they were still living on the top floor of a five-storey (walk-up no elevator !) townhome-flat conversion in London so we hadn’t seen their new family-friendly digs (ground floor with garden) in St. Albans.

Their new home is close to the centre of the city, so the first afternoon they went for a walk around the neighbourhood.


The little guy snoozes while they wander the narrow windy streets of St Albans.

IMG_6122 They pass the cathedral.  The tower seen here built in Norman times using Roman building materials.

IMG_6118 The next day was the christening.  They are driving into London to the home of another of Oscars godparents where they will all meet before heading to the chapel.  Oscar is all dressed and ready to go.

IMG_6127 Gill lives in Clerkenwell in the borough of Islington, very much part of Londons inner city.  Her home is part of an old converted building overlooking the streets of Clerkenwell with the steeple of St. James Church visible in the background.


Views here from Gills rooftop garden, again over the rooftops towards the church steeple.  This particular church was built in 1792, the previous ancient one situated on this site collapsed in 1788


Craig in the rooftop garden before heading to the chapel.


Oscar seems pretty content, infact he’s a very laid back little fella happy with lots of strange people, noises and places.

IMG_6146 More of the party arrive.  Carrying the light blue bag is Rebecca, Craigs sister and in front is her husband Andy and their little girl Emelia.


They take a cab to the Savoy Chapel, situated just off the Strand, about 0.5kms East of Charing Cross.


Built by Henry VII during the 1490’s the Savoy Chapel originally formed a side chapel off of the Savoy Hospital built around the same time.  The hospital closed in 1702 and was demolished in the 1800’s but the chapel survived.

IMG_6153 IMG_6156 IMG_6157 Arriving for the service are the paternal grandparents, uncle and cousin.


The five godparents with Oscar.


Oscar checks out the font with Gill.


Inside the Savoy Chapel.  Only one of the stained glass windows is original, the others having all been blown out during the Blitz of World War II.

IMG_6177 IMG_6191

Oscar with mum Mia, and grandparent Chris,


Craig, Mia and Oscar.


After the service everyone returned to Gills for food, drinks and most importantly, cuddles !

IMG_6192 IMG_6194




IMG_6204 Gill had laid on a traditional spread and bubbles.


Oscar also had a cake, although I’m not sure he actually saw any of it !

IMG_6221 Oscar Lancaster with the two previous generations of Mr Lancasters.


That evening they spend the night in London.

The following morning they return to St. Albans and Oscar shows off a new outfit we had bought for him.

IMG_6246 David and Oscar


They decide to head out and explore more of the town and parkland.  Oscar is wrapped up ready for a winters walk.

IMG_6261 Craig and Oscar.

IMG_6262The City of St. Albans has an incredible amount of documented history having been continuously settled for over 2000 years it was originally named Verlamion and was the main city of the Catuvellauni a Celtic tribe resident here until Roman occupation in AD43.  At that time the city was renamed Verulamium and the city was encircled with gated walls in AD275. 

After the Romans departed the city in AD410 the city was renamed St. Albans in memoriam of Saint Alban, believed to be the first British Christian martyr who was executed in the city around AD250. 

Over the next several hundred years the town continued to grow and in 1089 the new cathedral was completed.  The materials used for the building of the cathedral were recycled from the buildings of Roman Verulamium so while the cathedral was officially built in Norman times the actual materials used to build it are significantly older.  It played an important part in political history, at one time being the principal abbey in the country and it was here that the original draft of the Magna Carta was drawn.

The cathedral seen here from Verulamium Park.


The walk also takes them past Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub, believed to be the oldest pub in England, dating back to 1539 and sitting on foundations dated 793.  St. Albans has traditionally had a large number of inns due to its history and proximity to London, being one days travel by horse & coach, making it the perfect overnight stop.


Views over the meadows and lake in Verulamium Park.


Feeding the ducks.


They stop for lunch at The Waffle House, an established restaurant situated in a working 16th Century watermill situated on the River Ver.


Outside the Waffle House on the banks of the river.  Not sure the uneven surfaces-please take care sign is a genuine 16th Century installation.


Parts of the original Roman wall are still visible in Verulamium Park.


The final day in St. Albans they walk into the shops so David can pick up a few essentials to bring home.


IMG_6310 Plus a little more playing



Finally a little video clip of Oscar honing his driving skills as he practises for the narrow winding roads of St. Albans.

David then returned to Peterborough for one more night before heading home.  An extremely brief but lovely visit, great to meet Oscar and David looks forward to being the best godparent to him that he can.

He was greeted by a very excited Adrian and Mojo and a nice wintery scene with our first sprinkle of snow for the season.

Mojo first snow 2011