Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yeah yeah - Vancouver touching down

I'm about to embark on a road trip of sorts. Tomorrow night I will be leaving Vancouver and taking the Greyhound to Calgary, and then on Sunday I take a flight to Manchester, England.

I am close to completing my first pack of the backpack. My attempt at trying to travel lighter is looking good but at present nothing is in the backpack - ha ha! So I can not really boast about achieving anything at this stage.

I think the only thing I've not got right now is a Maple Leaf! I'm thinking of getting one just in case I run into difficulties in the north of England and end up hitch hiking - it will add some novelty to my appearance. I've also cut the hair and it's looking a touch hip(pyish)as the blade set #4 did not do a uniform cut. Yeah it was deliberate.

I've cut up the last of the fruit and put into freezer. Only the milk and some lemons left in the fridge. Oh yeah the lemons.

Going to use some of those right now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Travel Mode

A week from now I will be at the airport in Calgary awaiting my flight to Manchester, England.

It's under a year since I was last in England but it feels a lot longer than that. I think it's just down to the fact that I've been busy. Yet at the same time I really don't feel like I've done that much. Who am I? Well yes this blog And Out Left is a blog by Gary Jarvis. I'm from north west London if you want to know but have been living in Vancouver for nearly seven years and most of that in the Downtown Eastside. Every time I take a trip back to England I get the feeling that I am closer to leaving Vancouver.

In fact I have more days than not when I think to myself why I am still in Vancouver. There's an answer to that question that I just haven't worked out.
It's a glorious sunny day in Vancouver and I'm readying myself for a trip to England, finding British money I forgot I had - no great fortunes but along with hostel cards and an Oyster (London Underground) card it feels like I'm ready.

I am readying myself for the travel mode. I got a cheap flight out of Calgary, and in typical style, well for me at least, I will be doing the Greyhound there. That's 18 hours on a bus! I've already decided that I am going to be traveling light. I hope to stay at a hostel in Calgary that has great reviews in the Rough Guide to Canada but that's not confirmed.

So I'm thinking of packing the emergency sheet, sleeping back and maybe even a tarp. It was last used for a night camping in Osoyoos. I will not be packing a tent though. It's tempting but it can stay here on this side of The Atlantic.

From Calgary it's a flight to Manchester, and then a quick hop to Carnforth.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jack Layton

Jack Layton will be remembered as a fighter. From his first political steps as a young man to the amazing surge of the federal NDP in this year's spring election to his fight with cancer he always embraced the struggle.

It was this tenacity that endeared him to people all over Canada. To many he was simply known as Jack and in Vancouver on Monday night some five hundred people gathered at the Art Gallery in a vigil for him.

It was a beautiful event with NDP activists and supporters holding candles. I held a CUPE flag which drifted gently in the evening breeze. It was fitting that after the day's heavy rains the clouds cleared. As candles glowed people talked of Jack and grieved. I chatted with an old friend - we knew each from our activism with the BC Health Coalition. Our interaction, just one of many such conversations taking place.

I got home at about 10pm and went online to Youtube where I found a video of Jack singing at the 2005 Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner. The event typically has a satirical edge to it and that year was no exception with Jack singing his own lyrics to the tunes of three popular songs.
'King of the Road' became 'Party For Sale or Rent' with Jack making fun of himself, his party and the general state of federal politics at that time. The medley continued with 'Nobody knows you when you're down and out' again with different and comical lyrics. He ended with a variant of the Barenaked Ladies 'If I had a million dollars' becoming 'If I Had Another $48.6 billion dollars'.

As Jack left the stage that night - the musician accompanying him sang Hit The Road Jack. That night Jack left the stage of the press gallery dinner but yesterday he departed this life. He will be greatly missed, but what a legacy!