Vancouver is a stunning city but the stand out feature of our stay was the enormous breakfasts made each morning by Doug, the husband of my great aunt Joyce and with whom we were staying.
We’d emerge from our beds, still feeling the hallucinatory-like effects of weeks of sleep deprivation on exercise, and find the table laid out with cereal, fresh fruit, coffee and the daily newspapers, with Doug beavering in the kitchen making a full cooked breakfast to follow on.
Considering Doug was in his seventies, we felt rather over indulgent in our impositions, initially, but he was so friendly and enthusiastic about it all, as well as delivering a breakfast that would put a five star restaurant to shame, that we put aside our socially conscious trepidations and got on with the business at hand. We ate like feudal lords.
Doug and Joyce even leant us a car which meant we had the freedom of the city to ourselves, though we admittedly spent quite a lot of time in coffee shops just reading our books.
Real friendship, they say, is when you don’t feel obliged to make an effort at conversation and are content with silence, though, frankly, I often suspect Big Al enjoys our silences because he gets bored of me waffling on incoherently.
But at that time, after the weeks of non-stop radio messages and frantic communications, fire orders, urgent calls to cease fire, locstats, sitreps, replen requests, and so on and so forth, it was nice just to sit in relative peace for a bit, munching on a muffin, sipping on a coffee and peering into the pages of a book held by hands that weren’t cracked and covered in dust, oil and dirt.
Doug and Joyce lived out in Eagle Harbour, a fancy bit of West Vancouver, having bought their property decades before the property market soared. A small stream ran through their garden containing salmon, which provided a nice touch of the Yukon spirit.
We could walk down to the waterfront of Horseshoe Bay from their house, and after the barren wilderness of the Canadian prairie its lapping waters were a lovely tonic to our somewhat parched and depleted souls.