Titchy Jo

all about me, my boys and my adventures in Canada

California Dreaming

Since I last wrote Casper has celebrated turning three, and boy did he milk it.  It was the first time that he has really cottoned on to the whole birthday concept and he was hugely excited.  He thought it was sheer magic how he wanted something, such as Tidmouth Sheds (for the uninitiated that’s Thomas the Tank Engine’s house) and a Thomas cake, and then they miraculously appeared – if only things were always that simple.  Of course, now he’s the big three he is full of worldly wisdom and is not slow to impart it upon us, including such gems as, babies sleep inside conkers until they are ready to be born and if you poke bath bubbles they don’t pop they just shoot up inside your finger, fact.

We have also just returned from a holiday in San Francisco.  We took in all the touristy sights, the Golden Gate Bridge (although it was so foggy it took four visits before we actually saw it, we were beginning to think it was an urban myth, like Nessie and streak free fake tan) and that famously child-friendly attraction – Alcatraz.  In fact the boys really enjoyed the boat trip out to “The Rock” and Casper liked playing with the headphones and buttons on the audio tour.  I actually thought the audio tour was superb, clear, atmospheric, perfectly pitched and wonderfully told by a selection of wardens and inmates.  At least it was right up until Casper loudly insisted that he needed a poo – the mood was somewhat shattered after that.  When we got back home the checkout guy at our local supermarket asked about our trip and seemed overly shocked that we took the boys to Alcatraz, I mean I know it’s not Disney World but still.  He later admitted he’d got confused and thought we’d taken the children on holiday to Guantanemo Bay.

Family Fun




As we were lucky enough to be travelling with “Gran and Pops” Neil and I were able to make use of their babysitting expertise and enjoy a rare night out together.  We chose to go to the achingly cool Alembic Bar, voted one of GQ’s top ten bars in North America.  It’s an amazing bar, relaxed yet special.  They are famous for their cocktails so Neil and I tried our best to blend in with the crowd looking as nonchalant as we could whilst inside fizzing with the excitement of being out past 7pm and sampled a few of their specialities.  They were delicious yet potent, especially for a small statured girl who’s just spent nearly a year in a country where you practically need to remortgage your home to afford alcohol.  I had three of the delicious little drinks and can now tell you with absolute authority that the loo in our holiday house was made by American Standard, though you had to be looking at it pretty closely to notice.  I think it was the ‘Jack Rose’ that did me in – note to self, next time don’t go for anything that is described as a ‘home wrecker of a cocktail’.

We also made the obligatory stop at Lombard Street, the ‘twistiest’ street in the world, and also one of the steepest, it seemed unnatural to have paving slabs on such a ridiculously steep hill.  Fortunately for me though it was good training for the ‘Grouse Grind’ which I completed the morning after we returned.  There’s nothing quite like a nice Sunday morning mountain climb to remind me that we’ve returned from the edgy cocktail bars of San Francisco to good old outdoor obsessed Vancouver.  I did the hike as part of a team raising money for the Alzheimer Society, teams of seven people were trooping up Grouse Mountain whilst another team in Africa simultaneously scaled Mount Kilimanjaro – Grouse Mountain is 1/7 the height of Kilimanjaro.  Halfway up my dumpy little legs were struggling with the steep rock steps but the lure of massages and burgers at the top kept me going.  The Grouse Grind is famous here and people do it regularly trying to beat their personal best time, there’s a leader board at the top.  Buzzing on adrenaline after we finished I was quite keen to have another attempt in a few weeks time and try and speed up a little, though the reminder that Jean-Luc wouldn’t be waiting at the top to give me a rub down then swiftly made me see sense.



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