Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Various Vacations I Have Had by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

As you read this post I will be on a bus tour from Rome to London, the second bus tour of my sixty-six day long visit to Europe. How did this vacation come about? Well, it started three years ago when my dragon boat team, Angels Abreast from Nanaimo, B.C., found out that the next Breast Cancer Survivor International Dragon Boat Festival was going to be held in Florence, Italy. Although we voted to attend the festival, eventually it was decided not to go as a team. Since I had already begun planning my trip, I put out feelers to other breast cancer survivor teams who wanted to attend but didn’t have enough paddlers to fill a boat. I was picked up by Sunshine Dragons Abreast, a team from the Sunshine Coast.
     My husband originally planned on going with me and we discussed other countries we wanted to see, but he had to back out because of his health. By this time I had decided that since I was already in Europe, I might as well visit as many countries as I could. I didn’t want to travel alone so I asked the members of Sunshine Dragons if anyone was interested in travelling with me. One woman, Ev, agreed. I also spoke with a fellow employee, Heather, and she and her sister, Beverly, hopped on board but couldn’t join us until the beginning of the Rome to London tour on July 9.
     The festival was from July 5 to 9 so I began looking at tours and cruises before and after those dates. Ev and I picked a 16 day Spain, Portugal, and Morocco bus tour beginning June 15. Then we decided to spend three days in Milan before going to Florence. At the end of the festival there we headed to Rome.
     After this bus tour through Italy, Switzerland, and France, and ending in London, Ev is leaving to do a tour of Denmark, while Heather, Beverly and I plan on spending eighteen days backpacking and riding trains to Brussels, Luxembourg, Cologne, and Amsterdam, and then fly to Copenhagen. We will meet Ev in that city to take an eleven day cruise of the Baltic Sea. One of the highlights of that will be a two day visit to St. Petersburg, Russia.
     I wish the planning had gone as smoothly as it sounds, but that is how attending a five day international breast cancer survivor dragon boat festival in Florence morphed into a sixty-six day visit to Europe. And this isn’t the first time that has happened to me.
     In 2007, an international festival was held in Coloundra, Queensland, Australia. Angels Abreast attended the five days festival. Afterwards, the team split up, some going to New Zealand, some touring the interior and some, my group, spent three weeks sightseeing along the eastern coast ending in Sydney to see the Opera House, climb the Harbour Bridge, and go out to the Great Barrier Reef. Then we spend a week in Fiji.
     I missed the festival in Peterborough, Ontario, but in 2014, the festival was held in Sarasota, Florida. Rather than fly there with the team, do a little touring and fly home, I decided I wanted to see some of the country between the Pacific Ocean, where I live, and the Atlantic Ocean. So my husband and I bought a motorhome and spent four weeks sightseeing on our way to Sarasota and five weeks sightseeing on our way home.
     I could go on about all the other trips I have taken, like the nine week my husband and I took in our motorhome across Canada in 2017 to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday, but that can wait for another post.
     My novel, Romancing the Klondike, is set in the Yukon, a place I have travelled to twice and hope to visit again in the next couple of years.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July is the Month for Vacations by Victoria Chatham

Our topic this month is vacations and where do we go or would suggest going. When I lived in England I was about a two-hour drive away from the coast. When I moved to land-locked Alberta, I missed the ocean like crazy. My go-to vacation spot back then was Spain, mostly the Costa Brava and not the more usual Costa del Sol or Costa del Mar. I spent the first week relaxing and sunning myself on the beach and the second week finding places to visit.

Times change. After coming to Canada, vacations were trips home to the UK to visit my family although I usually find somewhere else to go or revisit favorite spots. Walking along the canal side in my hometown of Stroud, Gloucestershire, is always a delight. In Canada, I began camping – the first time since I was a Girl Guide – but camping with a difference. No more suspect army surplus bell tents, but more compact and well-designed campers and trailers.

I’ll be camping again this summer with my friend in her fifth-wheel, this time a tour of parts of British Columbia that I’ve never seen before. I haven’t been on a beach since 2002 when I visited Victoria, Vancouver Island. There’s something about sun, sea, and surf that completely mesmerizes me. Next January we are heading to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a month. I’ve never been to Mexico before and and am really looking forward to enjoying sitting on a beach and gazing at the Pacific Ocean. However, I doubt that I will sit gazing for long as my friend has a few ideas of where to go and what to do. Zip line, anyone?

I'm not sure that I'd suggest a vacation destination to anyone. What I look for and enjoy is going to be very different from what someone else may want to experience. But wherever you go and whatever you do, have fun. Going anywhere can make a difference in your life because, according to the Roman philosopher, Seneca, 'travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind'.  

Victoria Chatham


Monday, June 25, 2018

A Summer Vacation Memory by A.M.Westerling

I love camping. If you’ve been reading my posts here at the Canadian Historical Brides Blogspot at all, you know I’ve mentioned camping from time to time. I have my parents to thank for that. They were avid campers as well and with our little trailer in tow, they took us on the most amazing adventures up and down the west coast of the US and Canada. Everywhere from the Redwoods in northern California, up through Oregon and Washington and even one year a ferry ride from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert.

But my favorite family camping memories were the trips we took to Pacific Rim National Park, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. In those days, the only road access was over a restricted logging road from Port Alberni out to the coast. Restricted logging meant you had to complete the trip either before 8 am or after 5 pm. We’d leave spot on 5 pm and it was a harrowing 3 hour trip on a rugged (and I mean rugged) gravel (barely) road. Think potholes the size of moon craters and Texas pea gravel (which in oil field slang means large rocks the size of your fist).

The reward was at the other end. We’d hit the small patch of paved highway linking Ucluelet and Tofino, turn north and a few miles up the road we’d get our first glimpse of Long Beach. The unforgettable sight immediately erased the weariness of days of travel to get there.

We camped on the beach right up against the driftwood, tossed there by winter storms long passed. Coastal rain didn’t faze my Dutch mom and dad - my dad strung tarps and plastic sheeting everywhere. Not the prettiest but we were warm and dry, which is the main thing when out camping. 

My three siblings and I would paddle in the (cold!) waves and when the tide was low, explore the little island nudging the beach.(You can see it in the above picture.) We’d watch orcas in the bay, or find a sunny sheltered spot among the driftwood to read. 

On particularly miserable rainy days, the whole family would pile in the station wagon and head into Tofino where my mom bought fresh salmon and shrimps right off the docks, direct from the fishermen.

And we’d hike, either beach combing right out our door, or on rain forest trails in search of ship wrecks on remote beaches. 

There was always time to explore the tidal pools, fascinating mini worlds that only came to life when the tide was low. 

Wherever we hiked, we’d leave a trail of peanut shells – the snack of choice! 
I could go on and on as the memories keep cascading but I think you get the idea. After a few years, camping on the beach was banned so we moved on to other adventures but I’ll never forgot those trips.

The pictures I’ve shared are from a vacation with our boys – a lot has changed since those early years but the natural beauty still remains.

We also took our boys to Barkerville. The ghost town impressed me so much, I went back with my husband a second time and we plan to visit it again sometime soon. That’s why I chose it as the setting for my contribution to the Canadian Historical Brides Collection! I enjoyed writing it, I hope you enjoy it too. 😀

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Tlicho Raven Story, A Tale For Our Times

Here is a Tlicho Raven Story, based on the one told by Johnny Mantla to Allice Legat and reported in her “Walking the Land, Feeding the Fire.”

Once a very long ago, soon after the beginning, the animals lived like people. They had villages together, hunted and fished together and married one another. Not only that, they hunted and ate everything—and, for the sake of the story, other “villagers” must not have been on the menu.

Raven could fly and see everything, so he was always well fed. The other animals came to rely on him for news of the caribou on their yearly walk-about, and other important things hunters needed to know. In time, he became responsible to the others, whose feet could not leave the ground. Raven and Wolf were brothers-in-law; Raven’s sister had married to Wolf and Wolf’s sister was married to Raven. Both Wolf and Raven were  Ka’owae and each had many followers.  Wolf was a mighty hunter and provided plenty of food and so he had many followers who ate up all the caribou he brought to camp quickly.

Raven, though, was more powerful than Wolf, because he flew everywhere and could see everything for miles around. He brought back information that everyone used to hunt. He was The indispensable man!

Then, one year, the caribou did not come and the village was starving. Raven and Wolf met as usual and sat down to speak with one another. Wolf said, “My wife, your sister, and everyone else in this village us starving. We can hardly move around we are so weak and hungry. Have you seen the caribou? Have you seen any game for us to hunt in all your flying around?”

Raven replied that he hadn’t seen any caribou or any other game. “We are all in the same predicament,” he said.

Wolf kept his counsel. He watched his old friend Raven, who was began telling a story to the others, to distract them from their hunger. Wolf thought Raven seemed very comfortable and pleased with himself.  While Raven was the center of attention, Wolf called some kids over and asked them to sneak a look into Raven’s traveling pack. “I think there is some meat in there,” he said.

The kids did as they were told and Raven never saw them. They came back to Wolf very upset, saying that Raven did have dried caribou in his traveling pack.

After he’d finished his story, Raven excused himself saying it was late and he must go home now. Wolf agreed and Raven left.

After he'd gone, Wolf asked two men with strong ink’on  (spirit power) to follow Raven. They watched him fly until sunrise. It became very hard for them to see, but one, who’d rubbed charcoal on his lids, had strong magic and could still see Raven landing at his village. And what else did he see? All the caribou they’d been waiting for, trapped behind a snow fence!

Wolf sent for Fox and told him he must travel to Raven’s home, set fire to his tail, and leap in among the caribou. The caribou, who panicked at the smell of smoke, would jump right over the snow fence and run away. They’d even forget how much they hated the feel of snow on their bellies in their haste to get away.  (This is why the tip of the fox’s tail in now black.)

Well, Raven was very angry when that happened. He’d become greedy and proud and imagined all the caribou were his.

Wolf and the others came and told Raven how wrong he was. “We are here in this land to help one another, all of us living here together. Were you willing to let your sister, my wife,  starve?“

Wolf and the other villagers put Raven in the middle of the circle and lectured him sternly. This was serious; people had come close to death! It was well known that those who hide or steal food from the group can be cast out. Everyone took turns telling how they and their families had suffered from Raven’s greed.

A decision had to be made about Raven. Some wanted to shun him, but Wolf, who was Ka’owae said, “Raven, from now on, you will only eat dead animals. People will live around you, but you will eat their garbage. Your power is gone; you can no longer kill for your food.”

And so that is how Raven lives today. He drinks the dirty water others pour away. When garbage is tossed out, he eats it. It is a humiliating and pitiful way for a once great hunter to live.

Johnny Mantla finished his story by saying: “That is how powerful Ka’owae were in the old days. They are the ones who are supposed to take care of the people, but even Ka’owae can become lose their way and grow greedy. When this happens, the people can no longer depend on them. People who do not think about others should not be followed."

~~Juliet Waldron

See all my historical novels @

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Vacations by Katherine Pym


Ferryland Mansion where the Kirkes lived in the 17th century

I would like to go to Ferryland, Newfoundland/Labrador, and see the archaeological dig there of the manor house and plantation Sir David and Lady Sara lived in for several years. Sir David was recalled to London for crimes against Parliament he did not commit whilst living in Ferryland and never returned but Lady Sara did. She made a very successful go of it and as a result, she is considered the foremost female entrepreneur of Canada.

Archeological dig of the colony of Avalon
There was also litigation against Sir David by the Baltimore family, who said the Kirkes were interlopers when in fact their sire abandoned the colony as too cold and inhospitable. The family sailed to Maryland, where the weather was more temperate and made it a Roman Catholic colony.  

Sir David took over the Colony of Avalon from Lord Baltimore, but the advertisements of Ferryland and its museum say little about  it...

More of the site

...or of David and Sara, the work they did to make a success of this beautiful new land. 

That’s why I want to go there, to see if it is a bias toward Baltimore, and if so, why not mention the Kirkes, who in my mind hold tighter sway on the site.

I’d also like to see Pillars of Avalon in their gift shop. After all, it’s real history of a real place, which should be attended to.

But news is coming from that location the museum is not doing well. They are suffering from a lack of funds. They may be gone before I can find my way to the site, which would be an arduous trip, over several airplane hops across the vast territory of our lands. 

And there you have it.

NOTE: Interesting articles below for your perusal. 

Many thanks to Wikicommons Public Domain