Vancouver

escape with me

I have a treat for you today. Come and join me on my morning walk yesterday and escape for a few minutes from the hate, the anger, the despair, and the noise that we are all being pummelled with each and every day. I don’t know about you but my troubled soul needed a little healing and when the sun rose yesterday on freshly fallen snow with the mountains stark against the bluest of skies, I knew all I had to do was dress warmly, put on my boots and venture out into the crisp air and morning sunshine.  I’m happy to say it worked.

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It didn’t take long to enjoy every magical moment with everyone else who was out and about.

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This gallery, which I have also made into a slide show, I hope will help sooth your soul too.

This next photo is for Cheri and her Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

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As I came closer to the trees  in Vanier Park I was greeted by a symphony of sound that made me stop in my tracks and listen for several minutes, joined by others who were equally as enthralled.  Here is a short excerpt from my post entitled Birdsong for today’s Daily Prompt: Heard.  If you feel like pausing for a minute or two and hearing more visit the post and listen to it all.

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I hope this has made your day as much as it did mine.

the second of the year

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Kitsilano in the snow #2

Inspired by a magical morning on Kitsilano Beach after the snowfall before Xmas, which I posted about in backdrop to a life: part 2 and which was also the inspiration for the first of the year.

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The Gift of the Four Treasures has once again weaved its magic spell with the superpower that resides in its brushes and ink.

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Looks like the beginning of a new series for a new year.

Welcome to 2017

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The golden hour and the Vancouver skyline at the end of New Year’s Day 2017.

WPC: Resilient

In this week’s final Weekly Photo Challenge of the year Ben asks us to “share a photo of something that says “resilient” to you. It could be a local landmark that has survived through the decades …. or of a ritual or tradition that you (or people in your community) have successfully preserved. Show us something that has endured.”

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What could be more fitting for this final day of the year than this photo from the Remembrance Day Ceremony around the “local landmark” of the Cenotaph in Victory Square here in Vancouver on November 11th this year.  It is an event that has been respectfully preserved and attended by many, many thousands each year and is certainly something that has “endured,” as it has all over the world.

If you would like to see more images from this year’s ceremony and read a special story that I wrote about it, open drawer 21 of my New Year’s Eve Retrospecteave that I posted today. No, that is not a misspelling and the reference to the drawer will become quickly evident.

On yet another day of terror our sympathy and thoughts are with those killed and injured in Istanbul today to whom I would like to dedicate today’s post. We will all need to remain resilient in the year ahead.

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backdrop to a life: part 2

Yesterday’s winter wonderland here in Vancouver.

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The title to today’s post is explained in backdrop to a life, which I submitted to this week’s Discover Challenge: Finding Your Place. I hadn’t planned on a Part 2 but after those crisp, clear blue skies last week the weather changed and it was snow, snow, snow, creating a whole new beauty to magical Kitsilano Beach where it felt yesterday as if I had stepped into a Lowry painting.

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This final image seems to be the perfect way to wish everyone Happy Holidays

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backdrop to a life

Yesterday was one of those perfect days in Vancouver that needs to be shared.

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The North Shore mountains, the West End skyline and the shadowed sands of Kitsilano Beach.

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Looking out above the logs to English Bay and the snow-covered peaks beyond.

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 A perfect afternoon for bicycling through the park.

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Who wouldn’t want to stroll in the afternoon sunshine on such a day?

No surprise to those of you who follow The Changing Palette that I would choose this special place to write about in response to this week’s Discover Challenge from the Daily Post: Finding Your Place, in which we are asked by Cheri to bring a place alive that means something to us. But more than that, Cheri writes, “the heart of this challenge is to go further and show how or why this place is particularly special”.

I have shared so many photos from Kitsilano Beach and English Bay over my nearly four years of blogging that the “how” is really self evident.

But what about the “why”? Well, here is my answer.

In 1975, on our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I came to Vancouver from England. We moved into a one bedroom apartment in Kitsilano just a few hundred yards from Kitsilano Beach Park. The following March, on one of our regular walks along the path you see in all of the photos, my wife went into labor and a few hours later our beautiful daughter was born.

The beach was the perfect place to walk with the pram or stroller whatever the time of year, and soon a little brother joined our daughter on those same walks. It soon became a place to stomp in puddles, to take training wheels off bicycles, to bury dad in the sand, to laugh on the swings and slides, to walk with my wonderful late parents whenever they visited, to enjoy the four seasons with the changing colours of autumn, the few days of frost and snow in winter to be followed by the warmth of spring and the heat of summer filled with magnificent skies and those unforgettable sunsets creating silhouettes of lovers sitting on logs or people playing beach volley ball in the dying light.

I could go on and on but I’m beginning to sound like Dylan Thomas. I think you can understand why this place is so special, so meaningful to me, as it has been and continues to be, the beautiful backdrop to our lives over these past forty years.

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Yesterday’s walk, as it always does, lifted my spirits at a time when they are being crushed by the daily news and pictures of new atrocities a world away to the people of Aleppo, particularly to the children; and also as we remember the tragedy of the murdered children of Sandy Hook Elementary School four years ago today. I know you feel as I do that these moments must never be forgotten and so it is with a heavy heart that I pause and dedicate today’s post to the memory of all of these precious lost souls.

Remembrance Day 2016: One Story

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Private William Teichrib, South Saskatchewan Regiment, R.C.I.C.

I never knew William Teichrib, but I do now.  He died at the age of 22 in northern Belgium.  I was introduced to him by his proud relatives today at the 92nd Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph in Victory Square here in Vancouver.

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As always it was a moving ceremony attended by many thousands, young and old, all of us standing reverently listening to the Prayer of Remembrance, the playing of the Last Post, and in quiet thought during the Two Minute Silence; then The Lament played on the bagpipes by Pipe Major Vern Kennedy, The Rouse, the commemorative Flypast by 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, and the singing of In Flanders Fields by the Vancouver Bach Youth Choir.

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Not far from where my wife and I were standing I noticed a family proudly holding the photograph of a loved one together with his medals and regalia.

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At the end of the service I made my way over to them and introduced myself. I then asked if they could tell me about their fallen family member, which they were only too happy to agree to as well as allowing me to take their photograph.

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It was then that I was introduced to Private William Teichrib by his two great grand nieces Vanessa and Sarah and his grand nephew George.  I learnt that he was born in Morton Manitoba and died on October 15th 1944 at the Battle of the Schelte in Northern Belgium serving in the South Saskatchewan Regiment. This was Vanessa and Sarah’s first Remembrance Day Ceremony and it was clear that they were so proud to be there to keep alive the memory of their great grand uncle who like so many died too young.

We attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Victory Square every year but meeting Vanessa, Sarah and George made today’s ceremony more meaningful than ever. Just one story among so many, but one that moved us deeply.

Once home I searched William Teichrib’s name and immediately found it on the  Canadian Virtual War Memorial of the Veteran Affairs Canada website and learnt that he is buried at the Schoonselhof Cemetery in Belgium located in a suburb in Antwerp. Through the website I was also able to find his name in the Second World War Book of Remembrance on Page 459, which is displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on October 3rd each year.

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Now it was time to learn about the Battle of the Schelte, which I am ashamed to confess was new to me.  Once again through the Veteran Affairs Canada website I was able to learn about this vital battle which opened up the port of Antwerp to be used to supply the Allies in north-west Europe. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands  from October 2 to November 8, 1944, with the first convoy carrying Allied supplies able to unload in Antwerp on November 29.  At the end of the five-week offensive, the victorious First Canadian Army had taken 41,043 prisoners, but suffered 12,873 casualties (killed, wounded, or missing), 6,367 of whom were Canadians.

Private William Teichrib, now a name and no longer a statistic, was one of them.

This post is dedicated to his memory with thanks and gratitude to all of our fallen heroes on this day of remembrance.

We will remember them.

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View of Antwerp with the frozen Scheldt” (1590) by Lucas van Valckenborch.