August 10th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
The slightly fuzzy snap of us on a tandem

A splendid English breakfast was awaiting us in the morning – bacon, egg, tomato, toast, jam, and a great pot of tea.  Mr + Mrs Howieson were both very nice, but it was sad in that while he was still very much alert, she was becoming very slow + vacant.  We had contemplated the evening before taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island and trying to find Liz + Brent, and then driving to the north of the island + taking the ferry to Prince Rupert, but overnight for various reasons to follow our original plan + drive to PR.  Drove in to Vancouver (tho’ managing to take the wrong route), + went first to the Information Centre, and then drove out to Stanley Park.  We walked around there for a while, + then decided to hire a tandem – they were only $5 an hour.  Neither of us had ridden one before, + at first we were very wobbly, but we soon got the hang of it – it was good fun, and we both had a turn in front.  We stopped + got someone to take our picture, but he was fairly stupid + managed to mess everything up.  We just completed the round trip around the park within the hour, and then Val managed to confuse the guy so he gave us US instead of Canadian dollars for the return of our deposit – that made things a bit cheaper.  Afterwards, we drove out to Wreck Beach, a nude beach near the university.  As we reached the bottom (woops) we thought we’d been done, since the first few people we saw were clothed.  However, it was certainly a nude beach – everybody (more or less) as nature intended, so we quickly stripped off + joined them.  We swam a couple of times – the water was shallow but quite warm – and then we re-robed +climbed the exhausting trail back up – it was getting late-ish = we wanted to get out of the city.  We ate first, a pleasant picnic on the grass, then in the car.  And it wouldn’t start.  Nothing, not a dicky-bird.  A guy there (he was drunk, + with his girlfriend and daughter.  They were going to get married that evening, he said) took a very quick look and informed us with absolute certainty that we had a dead cell in the battery, + that jump leads would start us straight away.  Eventually we found someone with some… still nothing, then smoke.  I quickly switched off, then trotted off in search of a garage.  Found one, but by now it was too late, so walked back to the car.  By luck, the groom-to-be had given us 3 beers, so Val + I sat + drank those – we needed them.  Then I slept outside on a leaky air-bed, while Val took the back of the car.

More car problems – I don’t remember it causing it as much trouble as it obviously did, but even as a mobile sleeping place it proved useful.  But encountered our usual generosity – we really did rely on the comfort of strangers.

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