Cowichan Valley Seasonal Contrasts

Different moods for different seasons

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One June evening in the summer of 2017 we were blessed with this awesome sunset whilst sitting on our deck with a glass of wine. We live for the best part of the year in British Columbia Canada, on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley. Our house sits in an elevated position on terraced land with views over lake Quamichan to the mountains beyond.

It is early May now and the last of the snow has melted from the top of that mountain in the photograph, temperatures here are warming up with averages of about 15 or 16 deg C and highs of 24.

By contrast here is a photograph of the same view in winter.

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And here is an early morning summer photograph not a breath of wind.

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And by way of even more contrast an early morning autumn mist covers the lake.

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Same view but different moods for different seasons!

Where is Home?

Living in both Canada and Portugal

Our villa in Monchique is available from mid March to end of November each year during which time we live in Canada. One of the most common questions we get asked is where do we consider our “Home” to be? And, it is a difficult question to answer. When we first started commuting between Canada and Portugal I would say that our boots were still in Portugal but lately Bev would certainly sway towards Canada as we spend the largest part of the year here. For me though, having been a nomad all my life I cannot say either way, apart from a week of jet lag at either end I soon settle into whichever home as if I had never been away.Float Plane over Nanaimo

We love both countries, and count our blessings every day. The only thing the two countries have in common is that the people are friendly and they are both very safe places to live, in both, if we go out and realise we forgot to lock the front door it is not an issue. Otherwise the two countries are about as diverse as you can get, everything from culture to food.

Getting into the Mode!

When in Portugal we have to get into “Portuguese mode”, that is: language, cars with clutches, (you should see our kangaroo stops), bureaucracy, bank and post office short opening times, cheap groceries and wine, wall to wall sunshine most days, awesome restaurant food,  and Portuguese drivers! In Canada mode, burgers, pot lucks, making our own wine, cheap gas (petrol), language, yes language, Canadians speak English but so many words are different that sometimes folks don’t have a clue what we are talking about!Our resident orphaned deer

Pets

One disadvantage of living in two countries is not being able to have pets. We would love to have a dog or two but what do you do with them when you are away for so long, to board them in kennels would not be fair so we have to content ourselves with “Bambi” our resident orphaned deer, here he is waiting for an apple!

Here is a proud mother with twins born in our garden this spring.Mom with twins

Stop overs

Traveling between the two countries creates opportunities as far as flights are concerned we have discovered that going via different places each time gives us an excuse to have a short stop over. This year we had a couple of weeks exploring Yorkshire, last year Southern and Northern Ireland and next year Southern Ireland again, you just have to taste those Irish breakfasts!

In conclusion we love both places, there are so many positive things about both and what few negatives may exist from time to time are insignificant.

 

Is British Columbia more British than Britain?

I have come to the conclusion, well nearly, that there are more Brits here in British Columbia Canada than in Britain! Just outside the provincial capital, Victoria, named after Queen Victoria, is Oak Bay, yes, named after English Oaks planted there over a century ago. it’s a suburb of rather Posh houses and is often referred to as being, “Behind the Tweed Curtain”. Plus fours, tweed jackets, Range Rovers and Jaguars abound!

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Nigel and Bev with their 1967 Jaguar 420G

We even have an annual Scottish Highland Games complete with hairy knees, cabers, wee drams, kilts and Bag Pipes! It doesn’t end there either, any excuse for a Scottish marching band and they are out in force often competing for Bag Pipe honors.

Our local pub is called the Lion Rampant, a Scottish pub and they serve Haggis and Cullen Skink. Just up the road we have the Crow and Gate, a replica of the original pub called the Crow and Gate in Crowborough, East Sussex, built by a local who was homesick for his beloved pub in Blighty. Even our local Fish n’ Chip shop has a photo on the wall of the cast of Coronation Street who dined there some years back! Yes, BC folks are hooked on Corrie too!

So not to be left out of all this Brit nostalgia stuff I bought a Jaaaag. It was a wreck but after some 1000 hours of solitary confinement in the garage (for buying it), it now resembles a luxurious Jaaaag! Or Jagwaaar as the Tweedies would pronounce it. DSC_2153  It’s a 1967 420G in Old English White. It is the largest car Jaguar ever built and one of only 1125 left hand drives made and one of only 67 imported into Canada, so it is quite rare and the Brits here can’t get enough of it! We entered it in several shows and concourse type competitions and have notched up 5 first prizes. DSC_2152  DSC_2154 The boot (trunk) is enormous, apparently the infamous Kray twins had one for moving “things” around! All in all it has turned out to be a most enjoyable and worthwhile project.

All offers considered………..I have my eye on a 59 Mark V. lol.