Thursday, August 31, 2006

Alan Fotheringham weighs in with his annual "how I spent my summer holidays" piece. He comes over here in the summer and often writes something like this at the end of the year. A piece he wrote in Maclean's a while back made some really offensive comments about Vanessa, who runs the Paradise Grill. This year, as usual, he gets some truths late and some half baked. The community consensus last time was that he thinks of us islanders as quaint.

He's out of touch, indeed more out of touch than any of you far flung readers of this blog. So he assumes that the cougar that is currently on the island is simply an extension of the old rumour about lions prowling the place. There is a persistent rumour of cougars here, but in the last year the sightings and scat have proved that there actually is one here at the moment.

He makes some really disparaging remarks about the Dalai Lama and the work that is being done to find a place to build a retreat centre here. He has a tender review of the Bow Fest parade, but, friends, the woman on the horse was not drunk. It was Karo, sure, but she wasn't drunk. And he trots out his usual amazement that he can get the New York Times here on Sunday morning.

And then there is this total historical mash up: "My retreat is called Bowen Island, named after a rear admiral in the British Royal Navy who discovered this little piece of heaven in 1860. Evidence would suggest that he wasn’t the first guy in the territory. It would seem the Spanish high-riggers, sailing around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, beat the Brits to the job. Witness the names of the other islands built in Paradise: Saturna, Galiano, Valdes, Texada, Ganges, Lasqueti, Gabriola, Hernando. I rest my case."

Bowen Island was never seen by Bowen. It was actually named by Captain Richards in 1859, taking the lead from Vancouver who named the Sound for Rear Admiral Richard Howe and the heros of the Glorious First of June. And of course it is true that the English weren't the first in the territory, and neither were the Spanish. The Squamish have been here for at least 9,000 years. And the Squamish name for Fotherham's little retreat at Hood Point is Kwumshum, which means "fast drumming ground" or "thumping feet" for the sound the tide makes as it rolls over the rocks between Bowen and Finnisterre Island. I rest my case.

See you next year Alan.