Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just came from a brilliant performance of George Bernard Shaw's "You Never Can Tell" at Tir-na-nog Theatre School. The play is a bittersweet comedy set on the threshold of the 20th century and it pits the old world against the new, the values of the old century against the new dawning world, and it does a brilliant job of articulating the struggle to rationalize the spaces between competing world views.

It's a great play, and it has a superb cast, my favourite cohort of the Tir-na-nog School. Mariah Fleetham, Beverly Rapley, Kailie and Sam Speares, Calder Stewart, Natasha Wehn and Justin Fitzpatrick are joined by Jack and Julie Headley in what may be the last performance that these kids will put on together for a long time. They are all perfectly suited for their roles, and Kailie and Sam especially are briliant - this is easily the best production I have seen them in. Their comedic timing is sensational and the exude the same kind of playful confidence that their characters play.

The perfromance is being done as a fundraiser for the school, and it runs with one more performance next weekend. It is WELL WORTH ATTENDING, and I can't emphasize that enough. It is an outstanding production from a troupe of seasoned young actors who have worked together for more than 10 years in some cases and who are all making tranistions in their lives. We may not see them together again for quite some time (although here's hoping) so catch their brilliant chemistry while you can.

Also next weekend at Tir-na-nog, Jack's son Hamish has returned from New York with a couple of his acting buddies from NYC and they will be staging a couple of short plays to raise money for Tir-na-nog as well. This is another not to be missed opportunity from one of Bowen's truly great acting alumni.

See you there!.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A slew of great articles from the Undercurrent this week, recounting Bowen's social history, highlighting islander achievements and updating us on the Cape Roger Curtis plan.

Susanne Martin wrote a great account of the history of Bowfest, looking at its various iterations and the events that have come and gone on the roster over the years.

There is an article abou the recent plans for the Cape and the need for community voices to be strong on what the public interest is in the lands. I'm amazed at how much the proposal has changed largely due to the tireless work of the Cape Roger Curtis Trust and the voiciferous public input that has advocated strongly for ecological values at every stage. If anything, the current iteration of the plan shows that the community's public interest makes sense and that the approach being used is influential. I hope it continues to build towards a sustainable solution for the Cape.

Lastly, Spider Robinson, our resident science fiction superhero was awarded a Heinlein medal for his lifetime body of work. It's a thrill for him because Robert Heinlein, or whom the prize is named, is Spider's hero. Spider talks about him like teenagers talk about their celebrity gods with stars in his eyes and deep appreciation in his voice. When I ran into him at Bowfest, he couldn\t find enough superlatives to describe what the award means to him. In the news story about his recognition, he has the line of the year I think, something that sums up the feeling of many of us about living on this rock: “About the only ambitions I have left now are jamming with Sir Paul McCartney, spoiling grandchildren and living forever with Jeanne ... on Bowen”. Congrats Spider.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today another day of work in Vancouver, and another evening walk home from the ferry. It's pouring today, fall rain, a heavy salmon calling rain, almost heavy enough to wash summer away.

There is a rain every year that comes, usually with colder weather than this, that brings down the fir needles, rots the blackberries and signals an end to the drought. It's not usually in August, but this one has that feel to it.
Sad news of another passing. Bowen has many famous residents, regionally and internationally, but one that was loved by all was the sportswriter Jim Kearny. Jim died this weekend, and Peter King, our bus driving all-rounder wrote a lovely, personal story of spending time with Jim over the years. Here it is reprinted in full, from the Bowen online forum:

BC lost a giant in the sports media field this past week with the passing of Jim Kearney. I lost a very dear close friend. I always enjoyed getting that phone call every other day to take him and wife Patty around to the post office, the pharnacy or down to the ferry. It was always " Kearney here" on the phone and it did not matter if I was on the Eagle Cliff run or the Bluewater run, Jim and Patty had a bus in front of their house. To drive and listen to Jim and Jen Wheatley rattle off batting averages and goals against was poetry. How he remembered it all I will never know. Same holds true for Jen.

Jim was an encyclopedia of sports and world history. I remember reading his column in the paper when I was a kid and that was a long time ago. To hear him talk about the Canucks, the Lions or the Whitecaps it was pure sports. At a time where sports reporting is more of the business of sports, what with binding arbitration, salary caps and salaries in the millions, Jim was from the old school. His type of reporting is greatly missed these days.

When I found out that he was in Evergreen Extended Care at Lions Gate, I visited him as soon as I could. It is a nice facility but Jim was bored to tears. Just as lunch was being served he asked me if I could contact a few of his friends and associates to visit him. Putting pen to paper I was compiling a list of the who's who in sports and media. First on the list was Pat Quinn, then Bob Ackles, Jim Taylor, Ted Reynolds, Bob Lennarduzzi, Bob Costas, Jim Pattison........ Needless to say it was a challenge but I was able to contact everyone except Bob Costas. At the mention of Jim's name and the reason I was calling, it was like I was talking to an old friend, not someone I would hear talked about on the radio or written up in the paper.

Jim Taylor, a fellow sports journalist talked for half an hour not only about the two of them reporting on sports for the past 50 years but also about the personal side of Jim. Jim was truely a class act.

I thanked Jim for giving me this gift of contacting his friends as I don't think I would have any reason at all to call Pat Quinn or Bob Ackles at home and have a chat. Not exactly in my calling circle. It also showed me how one person can make a difference and have such an possitive impact on others

In talking with Jim about local sports, he took a particular interest in the BC Lions. I contacted the BC Lions Jamie Taras who arranged for Jim to attend the Wall of Fame banquet with his daughter and see the Lions take on the Blue Bombers. It turned out to also include the Tribute to the late Bob Ackles. Having lost my mom last year, this game was also a good father/son evening for me as my dad not only enjoyed football but he also had met with Jim during his move to West Van. Jim was in a wheelchair at Evergreen so what better opportunity to practice using the wheelchair lift on the bus.

We arrived at Evergreen with Jim and his two daughters at his side. He looked sharp, what with his sports jacket, cap and black framed Raybands. After some confusion around having the accessible entrance locked at the dome, Jim and his daughter enjoyed the banquet where new inductees were introduced and oldtime Lions stalked the buffet tables. Hats off to the Lion's staff who assisted him at the banquet and in getting him to the accessible area to watch the game. It was a win for the Lions but for three quarters it was a bit of a sleeper. That didn't matter as Jim had already had a full evening of seeing all
of the old timers of Lions teams of the 60's and 70's. It was an evening we both will never forget.

I will miss Jim, his whit, his stories and his advice. Its true, they don't make them like they used to. I will heed his advice in that one has to work to live not live to work. Driving by the house in Deep Bay just won't be the same again. My heart goes out to his family. BC has lost a giant, Bowen has lost a true gentleman and I have lost a dear old friend.
Walking home tonight from the Cove...herring in Mannion Bay jumping in the evening light. There was a warm wind blowing down the mountainsides making little swirly zephyrs on the lagoon.

I notice that it is often warmer in Sung Cove than in Horseshoe Bay on evenings like this. Don't know why except it must have something to do with the way the wind enters the Bay. At any rate, it was one of those evenings that was like a warm loaf of bread, it was so comfortable.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

An array of bread

The day after a great Bowfest, sunny, well attended, busy parade...the perfect community fair.

Today it's rainy and cooler, and the garden is enjoying it. Peas are still producing and the zucchinis are finally flowering. I spent the day inside making bread, and came up with this
inspiring and tasty trio. That's a half loaf of whole wheat at the back, some cranberry-pecan whole wheat rounds on the right and some fougasse on the rack cooling.

Time to make some soup.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our ferry causes us no end of pains and trouble, but it's worth remembering that those folks who work on board are trained to save you life at a moments notice with no questions asked. THey don't care if you yelled at them or grouched at the perfromance of the Cap or anything else. When there is a an emergency on the water, the luxuries of customers' narcissistic puffery go out the window.

Life saving hapens on a regular basis for the BC Ferries crews, and the most recent event for our guys was a couple of days ago when they had to stand by while a boat ran into trouble off Tyee Point in Horseshoe Bay. No one had to get wet, but here's a timely thanks anyway to the crews that have marine safety on the top of their priority lists.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Great day at the ball park today. The Men's Fastpitch League tournament wrapped up with the final two games of the tourney played this morning and then the semis and the finals played this afternoon. In the first game, the Diggers miscalculated the amount they needed to win by and let up on the Celtics who squeezed into a playoff spot as a result. The Cruisers cruised to a victory over the Shakers and the semi finals were set.

Game one saw the Celtics playing the Firemen. The Firemen had a good start but their bats went cold in the second and third innings allowing the Celtics to catch up. They never fully caught them though and the Firement rallied well in the late innings to win. In the other semi, the Cruisers made a valiant attempt against the Twins, but no to no avail and the game ended on a mercy rule.

Going into the final the Twins were the favourite over the Firemen, who have won the last three years in a row It was a tight game early on, even tying up at one point, but errors killed the Firemen. They made four errors in the game, all of which scored runs, and the Twins fielding was impeccable. Other than catcher Zak Ma letting a runner advance to third in the last inning, they played perfect ball. There were a lot of homeruns, the traditional streaking incident (this year by the Blomberg and Thompson ne'er do wells) and the Twins pitching was great, playing the umpire's wide strike zone to great effect. The Twins walked away with it after a couple of five run innings and the Firemen were left out of gas, despite a final inning rally in which the made 5 of the eight runs they needed. A great final altogether.

Bowen Island baseball is one of the treats of a Bowen summer. The season starts in May and concludes in August with the tournament. The games are played on a gorgeous field in the Cove, kids are paid a quarter for every foul ball they return (or 50 cents for a homerun ball). It's free, it's local, it's non-toxic and it's community building. All the right requirements for perfect summer entertainment. The league has been around forever and many kids have grown up with dreams of playing for one of the six local teams. It's all volunteer, from the commisioner to the scorekeepers, enjoys great support and, despite the occasional outburst, the games are tough fought between good sportsmen.

(More photos from Graeme Campbell)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Men's Fastpitch Tournament is all on weekend down at Snug Cove Field. Tomorrow is the playoffs and finals starting at 9am.

I caught two games today: Cruisers and Celtics and the Firemen and Twins, both of which ended in a tie. The league is close this year - closer than ever - and the three ties today were unprecendented. Should be great ball tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2008

One GOOD thing did appear at the forum recently...this story of our local vets heroically saving a nursing doe from abroken leg.
Life on the sleeping porch

We have pretty much moved out here for the summer. THis is our front porch which faces out over Mannion Bay and the Queen Charlotte Channel. In the fall and winter, this porch lies between us and the gales of the autumn, but in summer, the covered deck keeps the sun off and drinks in the cool air off the water. Even on days of 30 degrees or more, it's never more than 23 or so on his porch.

As a result, our lives have become focused on this space. We are all sleeping out here at night and as you can see from the foreground, the office has moved here too. Meals are eaten on our little teak table and we look down upon the garden and the sea and just relax into summer on this beautiful island.

And it has been a great summer. Weather has held steady and unlike last year, we've had hot and sunny days punctuated every couple of weeks with a burts of rain. We're expecting more this weekend, during the Men's Fastpitch tournament.

In news, the turf war is proceeding full on. The debate centres on the installation of artificial turf at the BICS field. Different groups of people are taking each other on over process, cost, environmental impact and the removal of trees. These four issues seem to be hot points.

For me, it's interesting. Many people I know and like are on both sides of these issues, and the thing that keeps me from getting involved is thatI'm hearing lots of personal comments and attacks against friends of mine on both sides. It's strange because the stories I'm hearing don't equate with my reality. So in general, in case you want to know where I stand, I'm with folks who are working on finding good information and working with each other to see what can come from co-creative planning and collaboration. I am put off by rants and people trying to convince me of the merits of their position, and I'm especially repelled by people who are just making up suppositions and implications about people I know. So if you're reading and you think I should agree with you, or line up against so and so, please hold your thoughts to yourself. If you'd like my opinion on how to work together, I can help out with that.

Our innocuous little forum has become toxic over the issue and I don;t even go there anymore. The link is on the sidebar. Visit at your peril.

Bottom line: at the end of the day we need each other. There is a mega earthquake scheduled for this part of the world at any time, and given that that might happen tomorrow or in 100 years, we need to be on good terms with one another. And anyway, this issue will pale to that one. There are many other things facing this island that need neighbourliness to be intact, ike affordability, sustainability and other good things. So my advice to the combatants in this is do your best to get a good resolution, but if you find yourself alienated from neighbours over this issue, put it in perspective. Bring them a gift of a jar of jam, or some fresh baked bread and apologize for offenses intended or otherwise, and remember what is most important here. Getting along is more valuable than any other solution to the turf war.

And that's my piece spoken. Back to enjoying the summer.