Wise Words

March 31, 2014


From Twitter.

Vancouver Greens Begin Nominations

March 31, 2014

At a news conference at City Hall this morning, the Vancouver Green Party announced three nominees to run as candidates with Adriane Carr in the municipal election in November.  The will likely be unopposed at the Party’s nomination meeting in May.

The three newcomers are Cleta Brown, daughter of the iconic Rosemary Brown, Pete Fry, son of Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry, and Tracey Moir, founder of the Oakridge-Langara Area Residents group.

I have spent many months working quite closely with Pete and Tracey, both of whom have been very active members of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods.  They are passionate and articulate spokespeople for their communities and they are darned fine people all around.  I am not a member of the Greens, or any party, but if you want some folks who have the wherewithal to shake up City Hall, you could look for a long time before finding better people than these.

The Red Wagon

March 30, 2014

A friend took me to breakfast at the Red Wagon on Hastings this morning.  Hard to believe I havent been there before, especially as it is so close to home.

We got there at about 8:55am, and we were already the ninth or tenth group in line, getting one of the last tables when the doors were opened.  It was well worth the short wait, as I am sure it was for those who continued to line up throughout our meal.  I had today’s special, which was schinitzel and eggs with country potatoes:  an odd thing for breakfast but really good.

No “ambience” but full of friendly service and endless coffee.  I will definitely be back.



Wall in Philadelphia

March 29, 2014

Wall in Philadelphia

Digestives, The Queen of Biscuits

March 28, 2014


Some people, I know, think that digestive biscuits are boring.  I disagree with passion.  They are, for me, exquisite semi-sweet delights that hold up to dunking in hot tea as if they were invented for that very job.

I cook a lot, but almost never make cookies.  However, I found this excellent recipe yesterday and could hardly wait to get to it.  They are, perhaps, not as smooth and pretty as my favourite McVitie’s, but they taste even better and I doubt I’ll ever have to buy the manufactured versions again.

Paranoia, Protectiveness, or Simply Parental Control Issues

March 28, 2014

The following map was tweeted on Twitter this morning. It purports to show the difference in freedom allowed kids when, say, I was young and today:

walking map

There was no source given for this map so who knows whether it is accurate.  However, from my own general knowledge it seems about right.  However, in large parts of North America, at least, the son today would not be allowed outside his own yard, let alone to the end of the street.

When I was eight in 1957 (to use the same indicator as the maps), I walked alone a couple of miles each day through the roughest of London neighbourhoods to get to school and learned much of interest and usefulness by doing so.  On the weekends, my pals and I would explore the still-existing bombsites across town.  Often we would walk a mile or so down to the Thames where we paddled in the muck and climbed aboard “dangerous” barges.  I only remember one kid breaking his leg falling into a hold, and although I had my stomach pumped a few times after swimming in what was then a horribly polluted river, it didn’t seem such a bad thing, and added to one’s street cred at school the next day.

Yes, there were murderers back then, and pedophiles and evil characters — the slums of London in the early 50s were a tough town — but we learned how to run, how to gauge trust, how to fight, how to scream and, most important perhaps, how to avoid serious trouble.  I cannot imagine but that this freedom to wander didn’t add to my sense of self-esteem, confidence, and general knowledge about life and safety. I know it made me into a more independent and intelligent human being.

I have written before about today’s aversion to dirt and the concurrent rise in childhood illnesses and allergies (here and here), and I see this over-protectiveness as part of the same societal malaise. A lot of parents, I believe, are concerned about what others will think of them if their kids get dirty or scrap their knee. The child’s  safety is often just a cover for their own insecurities.

Let kids be kids, give them the freedom to learn, to get hurt once in a while, to make judgements about situations. They will be all the better for it.


Trout Lake Plan

March 27, 2014

According to an email I just received, the public is invited to attend a Parks Board open house to review and comment on a draft master plan for John Hendry Park (aka Trout Lake).

“The plan was developed in consultation with community stakeholders and through input received at three open houses and online over the past seven months,” they say.

Tuesday, April 15, 5-8pm – drop in anytime at the Trout Lake Community Centre – Grandview Room, 3360 Victoria Drive

To learn more about this project visit vancouver.ca/john-hendry-park. Open house materials and questionnaire will be available online April 16-30 at the same url.