Take my hand. Let’s walk together.

Tonight Marc and I watched two episodes of the British television series Happy Valley.

Let me tell you, that is one grossly misleading title.

The show is excellent, but grim as shite (in the parlance of all the characters.)

I wanted to watch a third episode, but Marc told me he couldn’t handle any more for the night, and opted instead to play some Dark Souls.

(This should deftly illustrate just how brutal and bleak the series can be, in so far as he would nominate this maddeningly difficult video game to be an appropriate palette cleanser. Good grief.)

Meanwhile, I am laughing because he keeps inadvertently poisoning his allies with a pair of enchanted, and very deadly pantaloons.

I feel like we’re all bonkers around these here parts.

The weather here in Vancouver has been so starkly beautiful of late.

My favourites are the afternoons when everything seems to be aglow in a soft, rose gold. As the sun hangs heavy in the blush toned sky, you could swear that you can feel your blood run a little warmer, even as your shadow grows a little longer.


I could easily hack a winter made purely of this magic.

Five years ago we were living in Birmingham England.

Our days were a brilliant pick-and-mix of graduate courses, teaching at a community school, running around the Edgbaston Reservoir, exploring the city, and heading out on cross-country adventures.

One of my most vivid memories of this time, is the amount of time we spent walking in the cold autumn air – both together and apart.

We didn’t have a car while we were there, for many reasons of course, but funds and fear of driving on the opposite side of the road were the two that topped the list.

(I cannot tell you the number of times I was almost smoked by a vehicle because I looked the wrong way before stepping into the street, nor the number of times I could have been destroyed in a round-a-bout whilst riding my bicycle. A quick study on the English rules of the road, I was not.)

However, being without a ride (my garbage ten pound bike notwithstanding) was never an issue.

We loved careening about the city – both on foot and riding public transit.

The first time we were waiting at the bus stop, we didn’t know that you needed to actually flag down the bus (you stick your arm out as it approaches to indicate that you want it to pull over), so each one just kept driving on by.

“Why won’t they pull over!?” I exclaimed as I watched the fifth red double decker zoom on past.

“You don’t have your hand out,” remarked a kindly older woman who happened to be walking by. “You have to put your hand out, love. Or else they won’t know that you want to board.”

I thanked her (and felt my heart grow three sizes – an event that I would come to expect every time someone addressed me as “love” during my time in Brum.)

Strangely, I think some of my most cherished memories of our time spent in the city, are the mornings in which Marc and I would commute together to our teaching jobs.

Classes began at eight thirty in the morning and it was about a forty-five minute commute from our flat in Edgbaston to the school in Alum Rock.

We would wake up around seven, and together we would greet the day.

Never saying much whilst we got ready, we were like two silent dancers, each lost in our own little routine, before locking up and walking to the bus stop.

The mornings were always so cold, and I relished the chance to walk arm in arm together, as well as bundle myself up in Marc’s embrace as we waited at the stop.

Sometimes we would read the free magazines that were handed out at the Broad Street interchange, but mostly we would talk quietly about our lesson plans or make each other laugh with stories from the previous day’s classes.

For breakfast I could buy a three pack of egg tarts from Greggs. For one pound you couldn’t get anything more delicious (and most likely, anything as remarkably unhealthy.)

From the stop in Alum Rock we would walk up to the road to the school, betting on which of our students would be waiting at the main entrance for us to arrive and unlock the doors.

Once inside, they would make tea and try convince us to let them play one game of billiards before settling down to their first lesson.

Our decision normally rested on how much sugar had been put in our tea.

In the afternoons, I would bus to the university for either my classes, or to do research for my thesis, while Marc worked on overhauling the school’s curriculum and marking systems.

In the evening, we would meet back at the flat and then go for a walk.

Marvelling at the multi-coloured trees rapidly losing their leaves, we’d spy each spindly bare branch waving self-consciously in the wind.

Whether to Bearwood, or to the city center, or to the Garden House (our neighbourhood pub) – we’d stride along together.

Our blood a little warmer.

Shadows a little longer.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Yesterday I saw a real live cowboy.

This was awesome.

Yesterday I ate mesquite bbq, and black pepper and balsamic vinegar potato chips before heading out on my training run.

This was a mistake.

Thank goodness it was only a six km route, because there’s nothing quite like feeling as though you’re going to ralph at any minute from overdoing it on the heavily seasoned deep friend tubers.


I even know how bad I am wrecking myself as I sit there, munching away, but being the classic masochist that I am – I just keep on keeping on.

And it’s not like this is some kind of rare occurrence (although thank goodness it is (slowly) becoming less of a regular thing in my life as I am making more of an effort to regulate my diet leading up to my next long race.)

Irrespective of all this though is the fact that I’ve been knowingly ingesting ticking time-bombs since I started running at the age of eleven.

Someday I’m going to learn my lesson – and but good (and believe me, after the tight spots I’ve found myself over the years, I am terrified to find out what exactly it’s going to take to get me to finally smarten up. ACK.)

In the meantime, I keep calm and carry on.


First on the docket:

Individuals who run downtown on their lunch break.



You are actually doing this? You are actually going to let this happen? I mean, I will (barely) give you a pass if you choose to jog along the seawall, but on the sidewalk on Hastings Street? In the bike lane on Horby?

Get out of here.

Running in place at red lights; weaving in and out of the mass of walkers (many of whom are just trying to get back to their office with their take-out fish tacos in peace – or at the very least, in one piece); and stretching in your spandex in your building’s courtyard?


Look, I get it.

I like running. In fact, I LOVE running. Plus, I understand that it takes a firm commitment to keep in shape, especially if you are a busy professional. It can be a tricky balancing act.

But it is possible to do this without acting like a total arse betwixt the hours of twelve and two.

And look at it this way:

Who wants to be breathing in that kind of exhaust when they are exercising? Who wants to be stopping every thirty seconds waiting for the red light to change?

Also, and these are legitimate questions for those who do work out at lunch: how do you manage to work up a sweat, but not work out that hard so that you’re sweating for the next two hours once you’re back at work? And what about showering? How does that factor in? And when the bloody hell are you actually eating?

Either way, just don’t do it.

Work through your lunch, leave an hour early, and hit the pavement somewhere where you’re not tripping others up, or traipsing from Cactus Club to Cactus Club in your sweatbands, sweatpants, and lululemons.



2. This is not an amusement park ride.

What is up with people and escalators?

I don’t understand those who refuse to walk (when it’s a single capacity escalator) and those who choose to walk on those that are double capacity and then stop once the track reaches either the top or the bottom of the ramp.


Because, you see, I’m still walking – because that’s the commitment I’ve made as an escalator walker – and as such, I will knock into you (and maybe even step on the back of your shoe.)

Because, you see, I expected that you too, would, AS A WALKER, you know, keep moving.

And then, should they get all snippy and grouchy at me, muttering about how, “I should watch where I’m going!” I will have to bite my tongue from bellowing: “You chose to walk! YOU MUST LIVE WITH YOUR CHOICE!”

Seriously, it’s a good thing that my cheery disposition overrides all of my murderous rage, because if it didn’t, I would be dextering peeps left right and centre. DAILY.


3. Long lost reunions.

Today I am having lunch with my grade eleven English teacher and I am SO EXCITED.

As an educator she was darn rad – super engaged, extremely enthusiastic, plus totally committed to her students. I was pretty off the chains that year, and I’m fairly certain there were a couple of weeks where every single morning she asked me if I was okay.

I know that I told her that I was fine (every single morning) – but just knowing that she cared enough to ask was something that I took to heart.

Plus seeing everything that M does to prepare for his classes/make his lessons fantastic gives me a really solid understanding of what goes into being a terrific teacher – insight I definitely didn’t have as the drama queen teenager that I was.

My respect for those who put their heart and soul into education really knows no bounds.

Going into this long weekend, it’s so bonkers to think that we are already at the start of September. This summer has absolutely flown by. August turns to autumn, and I’m already on the lookout for crunchy leaves to step on as I fly about town.

I’m just looking for the right wind to carry me away.