Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jarvis family tree - two deaths 1917, 1924

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Family Tree - The Fahey's and the Harvey's

The Fahey's and the Harvey's are my mother's side of the family and I can trace back four generations and have three names in that generation of my family.

Fahey, Connelly & Wall
My mother's father was Michael Fahey. He was one of 14 children that lived past birth. Michael was born in Clonmel on the border of Tipperary and Waterford counties in Ireland. I have visited Ireland and the house where he was born in the summers of 03 and 04. I met my grandfather's brother Martin and his children, and other family members.

During my 04 trip I also met relations from the Nire Valley in Waterford. Michael's mother was born Mary Connelly. It is this part of the family that I can trace back the furthest. Mary was the daughter of Dick Connelly and Ann Wall. My grandfather's oldest sibling Alice had a son who I met in 04 along with his wife and a daughter, her husband and their two young daughters. In just that one sentence I mention three cousins!

Michael's father was Lau(or w)rence Fahey. His father my great great grandfather was Tom Fahey. I don't know the name of Law's mother.

Harvey, Smith
My mother's mother was born Muriel Harvey before marrying Michael Fahey. Michael already had two sons from a previous marriage. With my grandmother they had eight children including my mother. Muriel's parents were Arthur Harvey whose hometown as far as I know was Colindale, which is also the town where I grew up in north west London. I have also been able to trace another Harvey from the previous generation in the same area but no other details.
Muriel's mother was Florence Smith of St Neots, Northamptonshire. Nothing else is known about that side of the family. I have a photocopy of a picture of Arthur and Florence in old age with their daughter and my grandmother Muriel.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ready for the off

I packed my back pack tonight. Everything went in. It was easy really. I have been packing it in my mind for weeks, not too many clothes, and even those I'm taking I'm thinking could lose en route or leave behind in England etc.

I am a bit light in the presents dept. Going to have a look around tomorrow see if I can remedy that.

Still have three houseplants to find a home for. Might take a stroll down to Co-op Radio tomorrow to see if they will adopt them. Jamie and Rhonda going to take the remainder of the food items and that pesky Propane cannister which I have been stowing since the summer.

Apart from that I think I have everything covered.

Getting pretty excited.....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Stone Roses

Two days ago I brought in a couple of CDs from home to play on the stereo. Having done the rounds and got the approval of the lads to play the CDs on the communal stereo I got the thumbs up with The Who's Live at Leeds and an Uncut compilation 'The Devil's Music - Keith Richards' Personal compilation of blues, soul and R&B classics.

I decided to step it up a gear and take the stereo speakers a degree further left field with the Stone Roses debut eponymous album. It was well received and one of the lads is borrowing the CD this evening. Nice one lads.

A beautiful day

Today turned out to be a beautiful if one was to take a look over Vancouver after noon and well onto dusk. The sun shone and I snapped digital pix along Clark. But today was beautiful in another way. It is almost as if my metabolism had somehow altered. I felt fresh and healthy. Wearing glasses really has altered my perception of life. It is almost as if I am somehow more complete. I have gained peripheral vision and two days ago when a friend gave me a ride to first avenue in her car I noticed that I could scan the street without having to turn my head.

I guess what I am really saying is that the last few days have given me boons which culminated in my sense of ease and happiness today. In addition to the glasses my dentist told me yesterday I need no treatment and just need to come in for a check up in March. I was so happy at that point I felt I could cry. Really. This may sound melodramatic but when I first visited the dentist here in Canada and they criticised my teeth and the dentistry in the UK I was catapulted into a state of extreme gloom.
What else? Well spent the last few evenings with NDP comrades phoning party members and renewing their memberships. A real sense of optimism and feel good gripped our group of volunteers. We are on our way, our way to saying goodbye to Gordon Campbell and his Liberal regime. Not even the fact that en route to last's night session I dropped a case of beer could dampen my spirits. I picked up the eco-friendly bag containing a pack of six Granville Island English Pale Ales only for the handles to slide through my fingers and crash to the concrete just as the bus arrived. The driver waited but I had to say I will get the next one. I was left picking out 3 of 6 good bottles and mopping up.

But the single most important factor putting a smile on my face today is that today was the day that I submitted my two weeks notice at work to quit. I had my draft letter written weeks ago and knew that this day was coming for weeks. So at tea time today I popped into the office and handed the boss the letter and told him exactly what it was too. He then surprised me by saying that you can make Friday your last day. Oh no!

Drat. This was not what I wanted. I told him that I would really rather work up until the 14th. He then said well you're 35 days are coming up and he didn't want me to pass that and told me without even looking up my details that I currently sit at 29 days (as of tomorrow). So first thoughts are; "hang on, was he planning to lay me off?" "Was he only intending to keep me up to a maximum of 34 days and then getting rid of me to avoid me gaining permanent status (35 days) and thereby avoiding the wrath of our union"? Not sure however that wrath and our union go into one sentence. Foolishly I said that it wasn't my intention to give he any grief on that issue and that if I could work as long as possible that would be really good for me and my budgeting and then said that next Friday would take me to 34. He agreed.
It buys me some time and the ability to negotiate further next week. If I lose out and lose that last week of work before my departure for England then so be it.

Going back to the cutting table I felt a little deflated but worked out the last half hour of the shift with brief words to the shop steward and a copy of note for him and also updated the department head of my plans.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Reasons why I love the DTES #'s 2 & 3

#2 - Yesterday Sunday standing at the bus stop on Hastings at Carrall. I look across street at a guy selling his wares out of a bag. Nothing unusual in that in this part of town. He's selling work coveralls, interesting perhaps? What's that wording on back on coverall? Coroner. One punter notices, laughs and politely refuses. A second punter measures length of leg against his own but doesn't turn coverall around. My bus arrives. I snicker away.

#3 - Today walking east on Hastings from Columbia I draw almost level with a woman who turns and shouts to a guy singing on the other side of road, "that song was in my head too." She laughs and then says to no one in particular "Don't give up the day job". I say "that's for sure." She says "aint that the truth" and knocks me sideways with her beautiful smile. What a wonderful sparkle too in her eye. She is so thin and her rain coat sits like a tent.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Tasers

Really that is the only option for Canada. The total elimination of tasers. The death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski is a tragic tragic event.

My view at the time of his death was that there is a problem with the training methods of the RCMP. Further information has come to light since Robert's death: that the police officers used the taser more than once and within half a minute of arriving on the scene and without attempting other restraining methods.

That last sentence suggests that Robert was a dangerous individual. Not so. He was a traveller in a secure area of the airport. He had passed through immigration control and was at the baggage pick up area. This area is not accesible to non-traveling visitors at the airport and is only accesible to international arriving travelers.

How could Canada do this? He came to Canada to be with his mother and start a new life in Canada. Where are the famous "Canadian Values"?

We can never bring back Robert but we can do something - ban Tasers.

Belgique 12/9/92

"Don't you love her madly", most recent blog posts here have been fuelled by music inspiration. This post is no different and The Doors, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and the Tom Robinson Band this time provide the momentum in the form of a cassette i rediscovered while tidying up tonight.

I compiled the cassette many moons ago, 12 Sept 92, to be precise from the record collection of truck driver Serge. He had picked me up from the side of the road a day or so prior. I was hitching out of Paris with the view to get to Calais but found myself extending my Euro 92 trip by a few more days.

That was more than 15 years ago. Today I attended the BC New Democratic Convention as a delegate from the constituency Vancouver Hastings. I am proud and very happy member of the NDP right now. We passed some great resolutions and are firmly on course to defeat the Liberals on May 12, 2009.

In less than a month I will be in England with my family and taking things a little easier than I have done over the last year or so. It is an exciting time. When i tell people I am headed for England, the first question asked "for good?" No. I am beginning to feel established now in Canada and having gone through a separation and a divorce things were a little rockier than I had anticipated when I set out on this Canuck adventure in the winter of 04.

I am aware that my last post was a bit of a teaser, sorry about that. I am working for Media Maintenance. Vancouverites and beyond might be a bit more familiar with the name Patterson on billboards all over town. As a member of the painters union I got the job about a month ago. I like the work and it's a heck of a lot easier on the body than my last painting role a la industrial. I can still smell sulphur on some of my work clothes. It is only a temporary post into the new year but having already bought my plane ticket to England prior to getting this job I will be leaving sooner. I get to cut and paste billboard posters in prep for display. I have also worked 'on the road' twice putting up the posters. And a few weeks back now I accumulated a few more painting hours painting the steel frames Patterson Brown.

Of course it will be back to the drawing board on my return to Canada but I am happy to say that I am a lot more confident about that time than when I have previously been in that position.

As for college, that will be later now, possibly April.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I can see light at the end of the tunnel folks, a personal update of sorts

Okay, so it's Saturday night so I am going to keep this short for all you Halloween party people out there.

But my plans to attend college are on hold. My plans to go to the UK on a one way ticket are not.

Have I just started working somewhere that I really like? Yes. Is it possibly the best job yet in Canada? Quite possibly. I will tell you more about it later folks, hold tight.

Am I excited? Yes.

Is Opportunity by the Charlatans awesome? Yes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


laptop on random listening to Jesus & Mary Chain - Darklands..............................

Monday, October 15, 2007

Taser death at Vancouver Airport

The user of the taser may have resulted in the death of the man at Vancouver Airport. We will have to wait for the coroner's autopsy report. All the same I am mystified why the RCMP could not tackle an unarmed man. The user of a taser is beyond reasonable force in my opinion.

I moved to Canada three years ago from England. The British police in comparison, although not without fault, are more likely in my personal experience having attended demonstrations and soccer matches to apprehend an unruly individual by ensuring first they have sufficient numbers of police officers on hand, and then rushing the said person and making an arrest. I don't blame the police officer who used the taser, the problem is with police training methods.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Creating one voice

A thought that occurred to me recently and which I mentioned in conversation to a friend is the idea of one's own voice or differing voices.

I know that sometimes I have thought that my phone voice differs from my natural voice as in when I am talking to someone. Furthermore I can have an online voice, experienced in forums such as Facebook (it's getting like the Starbucks of the internet).

I don't like the differences in those voices. To me it's not real. Real for me, I think is creating one voice. That, I believe is genuine, it is sincere. That is what people can trust.

Of course in creative writing it goes without saying, so why am I? So why am I, that there are many voices in characters.............

No more metal paint perhaps just Cashback

Layoff layoff layoff. No I aint asking for an easy time although you might see it as that in the sense that I am not working right now.

I got the layoff that I was craving. Painting with Urethane and Epoxy primer was really beginning to screw me up. I have no idea how the rest of the guys can work without a respirator. Me, I found the metal paint, and the day long restraint of a respirator, inhibited my ability to function normally and what with working in the drizzle I succumbed to a cold over the weekend. A pretty rotten one at that.

So now I continue on the road that is life and there are times when you see a film or read a book and something clicks. The right piece of art at the right time. I must admit on renting the film Cashback from Black Dog I was sold on the cover of the beautiful woman and Ben's night's of insomnia working in the local supermarket. I got more way more than I bargained for. Thanks Sean Ellis.

Dialogue from the film Cashback

Ben: I've always wanted to be a painter, maybe, have my work hung in a gallery one day.

Sharon: I've always wanted to meet a painter,

B: why?

S: I think it might be something to do with their ability to see beauty in everything.

And then Ben's thought, 'You just have to see that it's wrapped in beauty and hidden away between the seconds of your life. If you don't stop for a minute you might miss it.'

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reasons why I love the DTES # 1

Okay so I'm walking along Main St having just crossed Cordova heading north and a young guy says to me spying my dinner, "pizza".

I return "Yeah, pizza and a DVD,"
"Pizza and a film"
"what film?"
"oh, what's it called?"
"'What's it called'. Haven't heard of that one."

I just start laughing. As I walk further on I hear him say, "Well enjoy the film",

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crown Mountain 22 Sept 07

I did the unthinkable today climbing both Grouse and Crown. My muscles are feeling it now at 12.02 am. Is that really the time as I swig on Nelson Old Brewery beer and boil pasta noodles. I am eating dinner at this hour! Mad! But I am super hungry having lounged in the bath reading 24 Hours and drinking tea. The tea, that's why I am so awake. It could be some post hike shit too. I think strenuous hikes have that effect on me in the sense that I am invigorated.

I didn't do the Grind. Instead after waking later than I really should have done to do the hike in a proper fashion. However it wasn't that kind of day. It wasn't orderly. It was random and I am thankful for that. A second beer? It's Saturday night. Why not? No work till Monday. I am listening to francais radio, Espace Musique. How are those noodles doing?

They're done and now with the odds and ends sauce I made last night, zuccini, brocolli and spinach not forgetting recycled mung beans, tin of tomato paste, ginger, red onion and yellow pepper. Good feed. Seconds tonight. I got up late and tune into to 102.7fm Co-op Radio to hear the end of the Polish radio show, the name of which escapes me right now. The jingle for Redeye on same frequency starting sooner than i expected. Can't be 9am already? It was. I listened to one interview and the start of a second as i made porridge with grapes de Okanagan.

Quidk w5ir of the sacue o u know what i mean. I thoguht the grapes were blueberries when I picked them up in Santa Barbara. Nevermind. The sacue olso contains some potatoes and at least one carrot.

As I walk into the kitchen kicking over the Vim, what ever happened to Jif?, I look for the mystery pisser but realize it's my fridge defrosting. Damn this dinner is good. So after a pit stop at Blakes coffee shop to pick up a chicken wrap, a vegan breakfast bar and a cookie I walked to the Waterfront where I boarded a sea bus to Lonsdale Quay, chatting with a returnee to Vancouver and his partner. They were grateful for the tourist info I gave them. I boarded a 236 bus to find conversation with two English blokes of Bournemouth and Axminster origins. My parents age group we talked politics in Britain, the price of gas, painting, and generally passed the journey.

Fall is most definitely here. I can feel the chill in my place. Where's that fleece? I soon found the Baden Powell trail a wee way up the Grouse Grind. I followed for a while passing the BCMC trail and about thirty minutes in found the Larsen trail, my chosen route for the day to climb Grouse. I had the opportunity to climb this trail a few week ago in a Meet Up hike. That day after following the Larsen trail to the chalet I went on to do Thunderbird Ridge with a fellow Meet Upper. Today somehow after following the Larsen trail and almost losing the trail at least once I ended up on the BCMC within earshot of the chalet, and then bizarrely I lost that trail and found myself heading towards the Cut (the ski slope). I eventually surfaced at the ski rental building.

Shortly after I perused the Grouse Mtn map and found conversation with a guy who wanted to get to Goat but didn't know the way. I said I would show the way. I did and he hiked with me until I guess he found his way, no goodbye, no thanks. He just sped ahead. A larger group of hikers also headed to Goat were a little distance behind me but never caught up with me. I made the turn off to the Hanes Valley/Crown and discovered a chained descent and mud. Probably the hardest bit of the whole day. Not long after this I crossed paths with two hikers who had come along the Hanes Valley trail and they informed me a group of six were ahead of me en route to Crown. Excellent. It took me an hour to catch them up. They were lunching at the Hanes Valley/Crown junction. I said hello and continued towards Crown, now climbing. This part of the route some four hours later in reverse was also difficult. The time now was close to 2pm. About half an hour later two of the six passed me. It was only later I found out from them, Cang and Mark that the others in their group were struggling and turned back. Not long after they passed me I heard a great whooping from them and then a distant hello further back. Cang and Mark had seen their friends on the trail back to Grouse.

I only caught up with Cang and Mark at the peak of Crown. I lunched about ten minutes from the peak staring at a slim piece of rock that stretched eastwards in the direction of Goat for about 20 metres. However the end was hidden by the gently moving clouds. The spot was so peaceful. I only discovered after eating that on the opposite side of the ridge from where I sat was an amazing view of a valley and sunshine. The clouds were caught in pockets. Very different on the way down when the clouds were everywhere apart from a few respites offering glimpses of Vancouver, Tsawwassen and beyond.

I passed a German hiker at this time and I sensed his concern for my late arrival and large pack but he didn't say anything more. I could by this time hear Cang and Mark but could not see them. I continued to climb, the route getting ever more perilous. Then I saw them sitting atop the peak. Oh my god! So narrow. Mark straddled the rock while Cang leaped around with confidence. I put down my pack and climbed to where they were. I took some pics for them and they returned the favour. We then assisted each other in getting off the peak. Camel was threatening to make an appearance through the clouds but never quite did. Goat was also absent as was everything else. Helping each other we introduced ourselves in order to ease our descent. I lagged behind the whole way back to Grouse, but my new found friends were curteous and waited for me. It took us more than an hour to get away from the peak of Crown back to the uphill for Grouse. From there we made better time and even better time once we got back to the ridge linking Goat to Grouse. We got back to the info kiosk at 7.30pm, 18mins shy of my predicted time of 7.48pm. I had simply added seven hours to the 12.48pm check in time.

Back at the chalet we exchanged contact info and I grabbed a coffee and a Nanaimo bar resting briefly before heading for the gondola where I got chatting to a young couple. At the bus stop chatting with two Brits, the couple walked by and offered me a lift which I gladly accepted and we had a laugh driving back over the Lions Gate Bridge and through Stanley Park. I felt comfortable with them and so we exchanged contact numbers and talked of beers in the future. Not ten minutes later I passewd, oops the glacier that is my defrosting fridge, snagged. The cops siren by at 1.05am. Cheers VPD. I am sure the roads are really busy right now, not. I passed a work buddy. Then walking east on West Georgia I look down and see my boots cracked and looking very much set for retirement. They lasted the summer. That I had hoped.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Using Clara's needle gun

In recent weeks I have been using the wonderful industrial tool that is the needle gun. How does it work? Well it is powered by compressed air which in itself is worthy of description but I diverge reader. What does it do? It gets rid of rust and loose paint to create an even surface prior to power washing and finally painting. So much prep!

Clara continues to take me to delightful settings in BC. I have migrated up the Burrard Inlet to Port Moody where I get to stare at the mountains beyond Ioco. It is just wonderful. A seal and a heron are just some of the locals. But boy does the sulphur get everywhere and no I didn't cut the cheese - it's the sulphur.

School and travel

Hello all

I will be going back to school in mid November for five weeks to achieve second year apprenticeship status for painting.

Also just 8 days shy of Christmas I shall be travelling to England.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Camping on Mayne Island Labour Day weekend

I made my virgin voyage let's call it to Mayne Island early Saturday morning for two blissful days and nights of camping. What a beautiful island and I have to say that Salt Spring has now been relegated to second place in terms of my favourite west coast islands. There isn't many other islands that I have visited.

Vancouver Island stands in a different league due to its size and sits better with my imagined league containing rivals - The Lower Mainland and the Okanagan.

As for the west coast islands, Galiano is 3rd and tiny Bowen is 4th. There, now you know all the islands that I have visited.

Having got up at a very early hour, close to my work alarm, actually earlier than my current work alarm I walked with S to Howe n Pender to board a bus to the Ladner Exchange and from there to Tswwassen for the ferry to Mayne with a stop for fellow Labour Day weekend travellers at Galiano Island.

From the ferry terminal on Mayne we hiked the few kms to the campsite which commands an amazing sea front location. Don't tell anyone! Miner's Bay was less than 20 minutes walk from campsite and thanks to True Value and the Miners Bay Post company it was possible to buy cheap grub and alcohol respectively.

On the Saturday under a hot sun we walked to the dockside and bought sockeye salmon. With a bottle of red and spuds and brocolli we dined in style beside our tent and the very stinky outhouses. Oh well we were last to arrive without a reservation. A fact for which I nearly paid with my life. Only joking.....

On Sunday we explored as far as Georgina Point and saw the Lighthouse before venturing back for our last night under the stars and a pasta dinner and two bottles of vino. Labour Day we hiked back to the ferry terminal and caught an earlier ferry back to Tswwassen.

True Value operate a Community Spirit initiative whereby when you shop at the store you tell the cashier which local organization you would like the grocery store to donate one per cent of the value of your purchase to at the end of the year.

Power washing with Clara

How did I get to here? After an intro to unionized painting, mostly commercial stuff and an interesting couple of weeks with last employer work, no work, work, no work, I have now entered the fold of industrial painting and I have to say so far it has been a very pleasant experience.

We work hard but have laughs along the way. There wasn't much laughter with the last two employers in the commercial painting sector. With Clara I am heaving weights around and preparing swing stage riggings and then working on the swing stages power washing and today painting.

For residents of Vancouver and those familiar with the UGG logo on the grain mill in the port, it will soon have a new logo. My part, I washed the UGG and painted over it with co-worker in readiness for sign writer to do his stuff next week.

There was more to write on my exit from oil but it can wait, or may never be written......

and for those interested in the grain mill itself

the following comes from

In 1913 the Company acquired a small elevator at New Westminster to handle feed grains from Alberta. This elevator had fairly good business opportunities until the depression. During the depression the feed business was temporarily disrupted and the elevator was sold. In 1925 United Grain Growers Limited purchased a controlling interest in the Burrard Elevator Company. At the time, Burrard operated a terminal in Vancouver which was under lease from the Harbours Board. UGG bought out the remaining shareholders of Burrard in 1980 and operated the terminal under lease for 36 years. In 1966 UGG acquired the 500,000 bushel terminal outright.
In an effort to become more efficient and increase throughput, several upgrading programs have been undertaken. The capacity of the Vancouver terminal was increased to 1,500,000 bushels in 1932, 2,500,000 bushels in 1959, and 3,600,000 bushels in 1972. In 1980 a central control panel was installed which semi-automated the terminal. 1984 witnessed a new oilseed cleaning section, increased trackage capacity, as well as the installation of shiploaders. Land acquired from the port of Vancouver will allow for increased storage on the east side of the elevator.
On 6 March 1989 the Vancouver Terminal ceased all operations in preparation for a major upgrading of the trackshed area, cleaning facilities and the distribution system. The terminal commenced unloading cars approximately ten months later, in December 1989.
The trackshed area has undertaken a new unloading concept, allowing only hopper car unloads. The track scale has been replaced by a batch weight scale, and car progressors are utilized for spotting cars.
Existing barley and wheat cleaners have been replaced with four rotary barley cleaners, and three new wheat cleaner sections increasing the cleaning capabilities immensely. The new distribution system will allow for a more efficient movement of grain within the terminal.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Summer song request played 22 August

Wednesday August 22 2007
Summer request from Angela Title: Come Here My Love, Artist: Van Morrison, Album: Veedon Fleece

Title: Velvet Green (live) Artist: Jethro Tull. Album: 20 Years Of Jethro Tull

Summer request from Gary Title: Rain In The Summertime, Artist: The Alarm, Album: Eye Of The Hurricane

As played on CBC The Early Edition with Lee Rosevere of date above.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Postcard from Jersey

received today, 20 Aug,
Hi Gaz
Having a lovely time in Jersey. Had a bit of the wet stuff. Just started growing web feet but it's nice and warm. Went to France for a day trip. You would love the buildings in St Malo. Had a bit of a rough time coming home on the boat. Carole's thinking of becoming a martian - she turned that green. She's okay now, Love mum and dad

Monday, August 13, 2007

Admiring Crown Mtn from Goat Mtn, 11 August

On Saturday afternoon having met S at Waterfront station we took the 15 minute sea bus ride over to Lonsdale Quay and boarded a waiting 236 bus to the foot of Grouse Mountain. After a human fuel injection of coffee we took the gondola with the tourists.

Heading north in the direction of the grizzly bear enclosure we saw the two bears. It can't be right for those bears to be there. That is not their natural habitat. Of course though the bears are a guaranteed revenue stream for Grouse Mountain Inc. I think the Grouse Grind is only as popular as it is because of the outrageous $32 gondola charge. That said you can get an annual gondola pass for $90 and ride as many times as you like. GMI is not going to do anything that will eliminate the tourist trap.

Turning west in the direction of Dam Mountain we soon lost the crowds and heard only their occasional roars as they delighted at the Lumberjack show. We meanwhile delighted in the twists and turns of the trail to Goat Mountain. In less than an hour the trail offers a great view of Kennedy Lake which sits at the bottom of a perfect fruitbowl with creeks feeding it on all sides. The lake itself feeds Lynn Creek. Soon after we gained our first view of Crown. S likened it to a fortress. But our destination was Goat. We found several snow patches and the trail to be rugged in places. There were plenty of wispy clouds but no rain. Rain would have made the twisting rollercoaster trail treacherous. The air was cool and you could taste Fall but we made it to the foot of Goat and back to the gondola with only a few drops of moisture.

The fortress will be conquered but here's a pic I found online

Practising zero waste

With the ongoing civic strike it has been the perfect time to practise zero waste. How am I doing? In my opininon not too bad. I have thrown out less than two plastic shopping bags of waste.

I got caught out at the start of the strike. It was necessary to sort a bag of waste containing both organic waste and landfill waste. Just writing the words landfill waste makes me shudder. So I had to do at home what I have done more commonly at work on a construction site, separating the trash. Equipped with rubber gloves I pulled the hard stuff from the bag leaving only the organic matter. I rinsed off the landfill waste and then cleaned as I would clean the dishes.

As for that first batch of organic waste? I flushed it down the toilet. That is far from ideal. I have only flushed one piece of organic matter since. At the end of last week I opened a jar of rice to find creepy crawlies. The entire contents of the jar got flushed. I then boiled the kettle, rinsed the jar several times and also flushed this. With the jar clean it joined two recently cleaned empty fish tins, ready for the recycling bin in my building. These are the first items I have recycled since the strike's inception. My thought at that time was there would be no collection of recycling. So I thought it better to leave the stuff in bags in my apartment but this bin has been emptied. I also made a conscious decision to eat more fresh food and avoid collecting recycleable waste.

Eating more fresh food however and living in an apartment with no compost facilities provides a dilema. The answer - an empty five gallon paint bucket. Since the start of the strike all organic waste has been deposited into the bucket which is closed tight with original lid and placed in sealed and defunct fridge. The bucket is about three quarters full.

In my suite - there is one large rubbish sack containing two, almost three, plastic shopping bags of paper to be recycled. There is also one plastic shopping bag of newspapers to be recycled, two bags of cleaned landfill waste. That is it. Hazards so far - perhaps more fruit flies than normal but this could also be a result of avoiding housework for more than two weeks. Having washed kitchen floor today their numbers are already reduced. Perhaps the single biggest problem will be what to do with the organic matter when the bin is full. I can only think that a trip to a communal garden might be the answer. Failing that starting a compost on the roof but then I am impacting on my neighbours - something I have avoided thus far.

In a perfect world I could compost all the organic matter at a nearby communal garden, recycle all existing recycleables as well trash that at present is headed for the landfill. Some items that can't be recycled can be reused as plant pots for example. But there is a lot which can not be reused like batteries, used ink cartridges and faulty cameras to name just a few examples sitting idle in my apartment.

The end of oil?, painting by numbers VI

The end of oil, sounds like a grander story than it actually is. Sorry to disappoint you reader. I got a call Saturday morning from the boss man to be told that the company is slowing down and that he is going to have to let me go. Coming just four days after my refusal to cross a picket line I can't help but think there's a connection.

I keep it polite, not one to burn bridges though I can't see a return to this oh so happy bunch of painters and tight wads, er ahem, Gary, cool it! I felt strangely liberated by the fact that I didn't have to think of going to work on Monday and that I had a weekend in which I could let my hair down. Five hours later I am exiting a gondola car beating out the trail with S in the direction of Goat Mtn. Life in Vancouver, forever fall of hits and highs.

Marching with Local 40

By Gary Jarvis
On Friday afternoon I joined the members of Local 40 as part of the Hotel Workers Rising campaign. As a keen supporter of the hotel workers union local I was delighted to join the march and rally as a marshall. On arriving at the Vancouver Art Gallery I quickly got to work on sorting out the Hotel Workers Rising banner with fellow activists. This done there was a quick briefing by the lead marshall.

About thirty hotel workers assembled next the Olympic countdown clock and we were joined by several NDP provincial politicians and sisters and brothers from other unions including CAW and HEU. We left the square and marched north to the first of several stops at hotels in the downtown core of Vancouver. We rallied at the hotel chanting "what do we want?" - "contract", "when do we want it?" - "now." Soon after we were joined by about fifty more workers from a nearby hotel and ten minutes after that by another fifty. Each time new workers arrived with their 'hotel workers rising' flag poles they joined their already marching comrades. It was an impressive site.

We later marched to the Hyatt on Burrard turning in the direction of the hotel front doors. We filed past noisily and went down beneath the hotel via the underground parking to make a loop of the hotel before heading back to the Art Gallery and only after making a circuit of another hotel's parking area. It must have been eerie for hotel management to see this many disgruntled employees mobilized and ready to act on their grievances.

Back at the Art Gallery, John Wilhelm, president of Unite Here's hospitality division addressed Local 40 members. Then Beth Marshall, a server at the Hyatt for more than twenty years, told us that on retirement she can expect to receive a pension of just seventy dollars a month. This was just one example. Worker after worker got up to air their anguish at the now corporate nature of the hotels, so different from years gone by, when local operators owned and ran the hotels and treated their employees more fairly. Hyatt, Renaissance et al better sit up and take note otherwise the struggle for justice will intensify.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Gospel Train

check out the Co-op Radio show on 102.7fm, Fridays 8-9pm.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Painting by numbers V

Oil paint 0 Spinach and lettuce salad with olive oil, red vinegar, salt and pepper 1.

There's the recipe that finally put to bed the lingering effects of oil paint.

Solidarity forever II

I worked a full day today and a day without incident for me. However the boss showed up and expected my co-workers to do the work on the back of the Thunderbird community centre. I am pleased to report that one of my co-workers said no citing the strike as the reason.

It also turns out that after I left the job site yesterday one of the strikers told another of my co-workers who was prepared to do the work that he would have to stop. I am pleased to hear that.

And yes the two other lads who were working yesterday did find sufficient work to do for the rest of yesterday. That flys in the face of what I was told that there was no other work. A fact that the other principled worker mentioned in the first paragraph rubbished saying that there was plenty of things I could have done.

Lesson: Don't rely on site supervisors for instruction. Find your own work to do on site and only when that comes to an end or if given a direct instruction follow that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Solidarity forever

Today I had the option of working on a worksite where job action was in effect or heeding my principles of solidarity with my union brothers and sisters. I chose the latter.

I work as a unionized painter and we are currently painting Thunderbird School in east Vancouver. The school is adjacent to Thunderbird Community Centre where members of CUPE Local 15 are on strike. For the first half of the day we worked on the school site. After coffee break my site supervisor informed me that we were to paint the back of the community centre. I told him that I was not comfortable with this considering the strike. I asked if there was any other work that I could do. There was not. The site supervisor suggested I contact our employer. I did. He too was not able to give me any other work and informed me that I should go home for the rest of the day.

I told my site supervisor this and also reported back to the striking workers that I was leaving the job site. They thanked me. I later contacted CUPE strike headquarters and informed them of what had happened. They also thanked me.

It was not a difficult decision to ask for alternative work or phone my employer. I am however disappointed in my employer and co-worker that they would consider it okay to do this work where job action is in effect.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Save Insite and Pride Parade

In just two days I have gone from an Englishman abroad to a Canadian. No I am still not a citizen and have a few months to go before that process can begin but having participated in the Vancouver Pride Parade yesterday and volunteered at the launch of the campaign to save Insite on Saturday afternoon I now feel firmly at home here in Canada.

I am essentially riding a wave. A wave that has lifted me to a high on life that shows no sign of abating. To my great surprise last Thursday I discovered that not only did we have Monday off work (BC Day) but also an optional holiday on Friday thanks to our union agreement. Unable to make a decision to work or not I decided at 4.40am Friday morning with the sound of my first wake up alarm that I would take the holiday. It wasn't a difficult decision to make considering I'd been upto past midnight having dined with S in English Bay.

I took advantage of the surprise holiday to do the mundane - laundry and housework. A clear 36 hours with no responsibilities enabled me to get renergised and so when an organizer with the Campaign to save Insite asked if I could volunteer on Saturday afternoon I jumped at the chance. Shortly after noon I was to be found standing on the corner of Cordova and Carrall streets handing out flyers inviting pedestrian traffic to the free BBQ featuring legendary Vancouver punk band D.O.A. Insite is a safe injection site for heroin addicts. It has medical staff on hand to deal with any emergencies and is funded by the federal government. That funding is at risk of being pulled by the minority Conservative government. Should that happen hundreds of people each year could die on the streets of Vancouver.

As smoke filled the air and the warm up music blared at the corner West Hastings and Carrall, more commonly known as Pigeon Park, I and other volunteers walked the line up of hungry punters requesting they write a letter saying why they want to keep Insite open. With dozens and dozens of letters collected a dynamic of the Downtown Eastside that I had never before noticed became startingly apparent. That is, that here in the poorest neighbourhood in Canada there is real community solidarity. It is easy to say that a neighbourhood has a community but what does that mean and does it have a community that will support each other in the face of adversity? Of course it is also easy to get carried away with the euphoria of the moment; the sun was shining, hungry people were being fed and watered, there was dancing and Joey Shithead of D.O.A sang songs of resilience.

Here in this ever shrinking geographical district thanks to Olympics development and gentrification people can still give you something and expect nothing in return even if they themselves have no home or even two pennies to rub together. I experienced that on Saturday. Feeling the heat of the day I had decided to take a break and walk the few short blocks to my home. En route I tripped on a knee high metal chain, a trademark feature of the Gastown area. I fell hard and slightly cut my elbow. Retelling this story to a woman in the line up for BBQ meal tickets she took an antisceptic wipe from her pocket and gave it to me. It was a simple and innocent gesture on her part but to me it was an example of this community's collective strength. Speaking from the stage Joey Shithead said the great thing about this country is that we are prepared to give people a second chance. His words formed a segue to the next three minute wonder echoing that sentiment, and in that moment I was convinced that I was standing in the surely the best place in the whole of Canada.

On Sunday I joined with our bride of Bush statue and Stephen Harper wedding cake on the Pride Parade. In front of us on the back of a flatbed truck a dozen men dressed only in their underpants and suntan lotion cavorted to techno. Each man with his own coloured briefs but collectively forming the colours of the rainbow. We followed behind carrying the stop war banner shimmying and shaking all the way from Robson via Denman to Beach Avenue. In a few short hours we gave out 15,000 Tell Parliament to get Canadian Troops out of Afghanistan stickers. The Pride Parade is a must on the Vancouver calendar, an opportunity to defend and strengthen the rights of the gay and lesbian communities of Canada and beyond. And beyond was one of the key messages of this year's parade. In seventy five countries around the world homosexuality can mean persecution or even execution by hateful authorities.

With love and peace firmly in my heart I later met S at the Inukshuk and strolled to Stanley Park where we balanced stones and paddled in the sea. I went for a swim in my underpants and on changing my beautiful assistant while holding my shirt was bitten on the foot by a crab. She screamed, the shirt slipped and passers by whooped at my nakedness. Our energy levels sinking we walked back to Davie and ate at Vera's burger joint with the Pride revellers. Waking for my third BC Day today I had the curious feeling that I was now Canadian.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Civic workers strike III

Despite my hopes I have been unable to support the strikers in any meaningful way, apart from a brief visit to a picket line at Britannia over a week ago. I do have an opportunity on Thursday to join rallying workers at Terminal after I finish work. I will probably go along for a bit. I continue to support the workers' cause and find the Mayor and the NPA administration's reluctance to engage in the negotiations disturbing. This administration as most on the left will be aware has a capitalist agenda. Come the civic elections let's flush City Hall of the NPA.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Painting by numbers IV, the continuuing adventures of oil

It is only now that I am beginning to truly understand how oil paint messes you up, screws you up, sends you a little bit cuckoo....

It is bad enough dealing with the heat of the day, okay it's hot for me - old Limey. I am limiting my coffee intake and making sure I drink enough water. Keeping hydrated helps. Fruit and veg are eaten without question. Today spent the whole shift on the boom or man lift or whatever they are called in Blighty, I have no idea. Felt like a kid again driving that thing, like a kid at the fairground driving his very first dodgem car. Brilliant. Up and down and round the trees including two magnificent Garry Oaks at Thunderbird School. What a wonderful name for a school. The playground minus the wee ones takes me back to attendance at the Hyde, NW9. Tea break I sit with my co-worker on a bench adjacent to a silent slide and other assorted apparatus. 15 mins up we get back to it painting the flashing and manoeuvering the boom.

The day drags slowly by but we make it amusing laughing at the helicopter dragging a huge banner advert. Nothing exciting but a bank advert - how lame we conclude. Uncle Sam, not the US variety, keeps us amused with his lack of techno prowess and mad capers. Our respect for him though remains steadfast - the fastest brush in the west! Finally I leave the site and head to Rupert skytrain station and two stops later I am at Commercial Drive. I buy a new bus pass for August, pick up some groceries including bulgar and fennel tea at the Dollar grocery store before picking up a medium roast coffee and carrot cake at JJ Bean - that old favourite. I find the bench at McLean and sit and sip my coffee, swig water, eat the carrot cake, finish my coffee, swig more water and more, slice up an orange into six segments and eat. Drink more water, and hey presto what's this? I feel alert.

I walk to the book shop and buy a book on vegetarianism but for its info on legumes principally. No intention of dropping meat and certainly not fish and eggs.

Stone Roses on random, crank it, shower..............................................

Sunday, July 22, 2007

West Lion 21 July

An early start. Not as early as work but woke on my 'It's time to leave the house for work alarm'. Having already packed for the day a few days before decided to switch packs and go for a bigger pack. After an 'excuse for breakfast' but having prepared a hearty lunch and snacks I passed Blakes (closed), and then the Cambie Hostel cafe (closed). I thought of Blenz but then passed a Starbucks. The coffee wasn't that great. I nursed it to the meet up point on West Georgia with two fellow hikers. From there in the comfort of a car we made our way over the Lions Gate Bridge to the second meet up point where picked up the fourth member of our party to West Lion.

We parked at the trailhead and dressed in various combos of wet pants and gaiters before hitting the trail, which starts with an old logging road. For my British friends think disused railway track. Overgrown but a central path and maintained with rocks and large stones. A pleasant way to start a hike. Before you know it you are on to the trail proper and start to wind through the ever dense forest. It rained for almost the entire hike so visibility was limited. We got a good view of Gambier on the descent. Continuuing to climb we crossed a creek that is scaled by odd planks of wood. The second creek used to be passable only with a rope bridge. Not now. A metal bridge sits atop a huge tree trunk and steps on either side of the creek remove the stress out of this crossing but leave all the pleasure. It is truly majestic.

From here we climbed for a long period. It is a continuuous climb. One particular patch, approximately fifty metres in length, of the trail has been hit by the windstorms earlier this year. The trail markers were not visible. Our intrepid leader ventured out and found the marker. We followed her calls. I slipped a few times on the loose mud and tree bark.

The trail becomes firmer again twisting all the time. It levelled out at some point and then rose again before we hit the first patches of snow. We were then close to the base of West Lion. We climbed a little more and lunched in an unsheltered spot, changing our wet and sweaty clothes in the rain. We lunched standing up and after perhaps 15 mins agreed to head down. Any further ascent to be saved for another day and better conditions.

Post note: 31 July. I have added a link to photos on the Meet Up Vancouver website, a group did this hike on the 29 July, and my hike on 21 July was much the same except there were only four of us and no map reading

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One more household item

I bought the iron. Pressed shirts and pants, er trousers, coming to a Gary Jarvis near you. Super tired today. Two organizing meetings last evening left me with low energy today and struggled in the afternoon dragging the oil paint across a lazy surface. The fumes giving me a headache. Will I ever get used to oil paint? The Nine O'clock gun sounds as 102.7fm eminates through my near Main & Hastings digs. It's time to sleep to rise early and sing with the seagulls.