Titchy Jo

all about me, my boys and my adventures in Canada

Hollywood North

on 08/02/2012

Sorry to everyone who is reading this in the snowbound UK but here in Vancouver we have had a sudden and much needed upturn in the weather.  The days of mild temperatures and cloudless blue skies have inspired me to embrace a more Canadian attitude.  So with that in mind I got up at 7:30am on Sunday (yep that’s right, SUNDAY) and went for an early morning run along the beach (I clearly wasn’t the only one, the place was packed with joggers) and it was well worth it, the sunrise was beautiful – though the inside of my eyelids whilst having a nice lie in would perhaps have been just as appealing.  I drew the line though at lycra-ing up and sprinting at full speed whilst pushing the boys in the buggy which seems to be very popular here.  Instead I opted for a nice leisurely jog/gossip with my friend Philippa.  We then celebrated our efforts by treating ourselves to an enormous breakfast therefore slightly defeating the object of the jog but at least I got to try another Canadian speciality for the first time – Maple Syrup.  Neil’s full “Lumberjack” breakfast came with a pot of syrup to drench it in.  It must be officially the sweetest thing on earth.  I’m not sure if there’s any other way to cram more calories onto one plate, no wonder everyone’s always out, jogging, cycling, skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, rollerblading, diving, snowshoeing, hiking, sailing…

Neil's delicious and calorie-free breakfast

To make the most of the weather, capitalise on our new found Canadian spirit and burn off a bit of the breakfast I then strapped Theo to my back and we went for a bracing 10k walk.  Though to be fair Theo didn’t last long in the backpack as big brother Casper wanted a go and was letting the whole of British Columbia know about it so Neil had the joy of carting a two year old around on his back for most of the way.  By the end of the day we were all tired and red faced but very proud of ourselves.  In fact I have embraced Canadian life so fully that can now even use the Waste Disposal Unit without worrying that it will chop my hand off (almost).

Our new neighbourhood, Kitsilano, has a wonderful children’s playground which overlooks the beach and the city and mountains beyond.  In fact it is only separated from the beach by a pavement heavily used by the aforementioned joggers and cyclists.  Casper has always been a huge fan of the park and here he can hardly contain his excitement, running around like a little fizzing ball of energy (if we could find a way harnessing all the energy produced in kids play areas then surely we’d have an inexhaustible alternative to fossil fuels).  In one over exuberant dash between playground and beach he nearly took out a runner who had to leapfrog him in order to keep upright. The jogger turned out to be Joshua “Dawson’s Creek” Jackson.  Many Vancouverites are very proud of Vancouver’s nickname of “Hollywood North” (though I’ve a feeling it’s a nickname that is used rather more here than in Los Angeles) and Celeb Spotting seems to be a local pastime.  A lot of films are shot here, mainly I think due to the great locations, more relaxed unions and tax breaks.  A couple of weeks ago we made the mistake of looking at the Vancouver Time Out Guide Book in the street.  A kind, yet rather fragrant and hirsute, gentleman stopped to give us directions, except he refused to give us directions to where we actually wanted to go and insisted instead we went to a coffee shop where we would absolutely definitely see Robin Williams shooting a film…any day of the year.  Out of fear we went in the direction he told us (exactly where we’d come from)…but decided against visiting the coffee shop.  On our very first day here we went to the lovely Granville Island Market where, in the kids soft play area Neil spotted an idol of his, Noah Wyle, better known as “Carter from ER”, he was lucky Neil hadn’t had a few beers otherwise he would have been subjected to an embarrassing outpouring of affection starting with how he inspired Neil to become a Dr and finishing with the fact that it was because of him he had bought a Jeep.  Fortunately Neil was totally sober so all we had to do was loiter at a safe distance for slightly longer than could have been deemed a coincidence.  Soft play areas must be the place to “celeb spot” nowadays, before we moved to Canada Casper and Neil had a close encounter with Gary Neville in a ball pool in Handforth Dean, oh the glamour.

Round the corner from our new flat just in case we get homesick

We’ve been back to the Granville Island soft play area a few more times, Casper loves it, though unfortunately Neil hasn’t bumped any more of his heroes, we haven’t seen George Clooney queuing for the slide or Doogie Howser buying Ice Cream, not even Josh from Casualty hanging around the trampoline.  It hasn’t however put Casper off, though the last time we went was less than successful.  He was all ready to go in, shoes off, doing his best queuing but bursting to get in there and play, when the man (or it might have been woman – neither Neil or I were sure) told us that it was too busy so little ones who need adult accompaniment weren’t being admitted.  He was heartbroken.  How do you explain that to a two year old?  Particularly when they are face down on the floor screaming.  I’m sure the parenting books would say to reason with them calmly, let them know it’s an important lesson to learn and reassure them with a hug, because a hug is enough.  But it was busy and Casper was loud so I gave him some chocolate and promised him a go on the arcade which whilst probably very bad parenting did the trick in seconds and saved my embarrassment.

We have also finally got our internet sorted, hooray.  Though the experience may well have given Casper nightmares.  The engineer was installing the hub at the phone socket in the far wall next to the bed in our bedroom.  Casper ambled in and excitedly went running up to him, hugged him and shouted “Daddy”. When the shocked internet engineer turned round Casper was mortified, he went very pale and looked unbearably embarrassed, poor thing, we’ve all done it, accidentally called the teacher mum, held a stranger’s hand in a shopping centre – it’s practically a rite of passage, but try telling that to a two year old who’s woken up at 2am thinking his Daddy’s been replaced by a man in a high-vis jacket who stinks of cigarettes.


7 responses to “Hollywood North

  1. Jo Allen says:

    So very jealous Jo! Vancouver is my absolute favourite place in the whole world – At some point you ‘ll have to visit the Elbow Room Cafe and let me know if the staff still abuse the customers – Loved it!! : ) x

  2. Sweet Petite says:

    Its absolutely amazing! Food is awesome (especially the Big Ben Breaky)You’ll feel ridiculously ashamed when your in there, but once you’re out you’ll find yourself wanting to go back in for more abuse – Twisted, I know! x

  3. Sweet Petite says:

    Anywho, loving the blog – It keeps me going on these crappy British days – I’m extremely jealous x

    • titchyjo says:

      Aww thanks, it is an amazing place. What are you up to nowadays? x

      • Sweet Petite says:

        Nothing as exciting as you! Work in a media consultancy firm now focusing on the digital side of it all – web series, campaigns etc. I enjoy it, but would enjoy it a lot more if I had a view of Granville Island out my window!!! x

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