Saturday, July 16, 2011

a sunny day at the beach

It's mid-summer for those of us who live in northern latitudes but we always have a tendency to imagine or anticipate the opposite. This magnificent picture I found is what it looks like around here on a typical day six months from now. I know I'm supposed to be enjoying what I have and considering we experienced five very warm days followed by three wet, cold and rainy ones that other season is bound to prey on the back of my mind.

Last winter was cold and the wind knows how to blow hard in my new Maritime province. I like to walk so worst of all was having a bad coat - a raincoat with a light lining I wore in Portland suited me well there and was roomy enough to cover one of my office ready jackets. That turned out to be a lucky thing because by December last year I was wearing an undershirt, a turtleneck, a sweater, and an old fleece warmer under the coat to keep me cozy in sub-zero blasts on the nastiest days. I'm talking layers on layers. To add insult to injury that coat has lapels that would blow up and flap my cheeks as I walked so I was forced to hold them down. Now I know why northerners have rosy cheeks - it's because they constantly get slapped by flying bits of their clothing.

Anyway, I'd been keeping my eye out for a coat. I hate shopping and rarely buy anything other than replacements for what I prefer wearing but I'd been dreading another winter wearing that one. We walked past a shop downtown that had coats that looked just right and the sign in the window said 50% off. Naturally, that was a lie unless I was in the market for sundresses and t-shirts. The coat was expensive. It was also beautiful and guaranteed to be warm and weatherproof. It's the same kind of coat worn by the RCMP and the postal carriers. It has a coyote fur trim around the hood and even though I was assured the coyote was pleased to donate his pelt I was glad to see I can remove it so no one will ever know I participated in the fur market - even if it is the Canadian fur market and all the money goes to needy First Nations people. That's what Native Americans are called here.

So now I'm hoping all goes well with the immigration news because it appears I've made a commitment. I'm pretty sure I'd have little use for a Canada Goose Kensington coat in southern California, Virginia or the West Indies - my other choices for a nice place to spend winter.

Now let's get back to enjoying summer while it lasts.


  1. i've always liked that 'buy straw hats in winter' philosophy. it sees unfair to charge double when one actually needs a coat to keep warm.

    so i'll share one of my other peeves. the best milk chocolate in the world comes from san francisco. it's called ghirardelli. but no that isn't my peeve.
    if you go into the ghirardelli store to buy it, it's rediculously more expensive than if you buy it at safeway or walgreens. they charge more because it is mostly tourists that shop at the ghirardelli store.
    here's my peeve: i can't walk by the ghirardelli store without going in and buying chocolate. grrrr. i have no willpower.

  2. I'm glad you made such a good find - and I imagine it almost made you wish for just one sub-zero day, so you could try it out.

    Growing up in upstate NY, I recall the rosy cheek thing. There it was the sleet needles, rather than clothing slaps, but it gets the job done.

  3. p.s. i love that coat. it's flattering.
    (it was probably the coat that makes one look like the michelin man that was half-off).

  4. anything that keeps you warm in winter is a good investment. i'll be shopping for a new winter coat too.... the old thing i've worn for ..... um..... (doing mental calculation) yikes! 18 years!!!! finally breathed its last breath last spring.

  5. well, i shall admit ONLY TO YOU, that i would rather die than have to live in the cold and snow of winters up are brave, courageous and beyond reproach in my eyes for your nobility in removing that fur collar too... tho it might keep you as warm as the coyote it used to belong's quite stylish for one of "those" coats; what happened to the puffy things that made you look like a bloated caterpillar needing a salt free diet?

    this is a lovely photograph of the hinterlands and now i have to go look up EXACTLY where they are. and i hope for many more lovely weather days for you in your future for your daily wonderful you are getting out and taking care of you despite what and how the mighty winds blow!

  6. If the immigration news goes bad, you could always flash the fur and tell the bureaucrats that's what's in store for them as you turn and majestically stride into the wilderness* with your blunderbuss.

    *do you even have trees or have the nuclear nor'easters flattened them all?

    Re: slapping flaps. The black hoodie works wonders. Pull the strings tight and only your eyes and nose are visible, delicate epidermis saved from savage coat assault.

  7. sera - There was nothing else in that store window but the fancy winter coats and the 50% off signs. Inside the shop the sales person told me Canada Goose never goes on sale - like I was supposed to know.

    I love Ghirardelli chocolates too and would have the same problem as you. I'm not sure I'd be able to pass a Dove store either.

    I think I'd rather freeze than look like the Michelin man. In fact, there were several winters in RI when I just about did. There's nothing like waiting for a bus in a blizzard to teach one about dressing for the weather.

    steve - It's funny you should say that. When the temperatures dropped to 50 a few days ago I joked about taking my new coat out for a walk wearing nothing underneath.

    I grew up in southern Ontario and well remember days when tears would freeze.

    gfid - You're right it's an investment and there's just no point to finding a winter coat at Walmart. Around here the only department stores are that plus Sears and the Bay.. all very tedious. What really killed me though was the 13% sales tax. yikes!

    linda - I think high tech happened to the coat making business but you can still see examples of the others being worn and they're as ugly as you say. I felt bad for the coyote though.

    It really is a beautiful area year round and pretty sparsely populated once past the city limits. If you dress warmly enough it's a wonderful experience to be outside in all sorts of weather. I think you'd like it if only for a visit.

    randal - If it does go bad there's still a part of me that would happily cross the border on the way to somewhat milder winters.. if not tropical. Yes, there are lots of trees but they don't dare grow tall along the coastline.

    I'm sure you look very handsome in your hoodie.

  8. Susan; my wife and my most favorite times of year are fall and winter. There is something about the crisp air in a landscape that turns to black and white after a snow storm - it is nature cleaning and renewing the world.

    There is a silence and a solitude - a communion with nature that you can get at no other time of year, if you venture from the city and travel through the bush.

    I suggest your next purchase should be snow shoes.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  9. Oh, what a shock, that photo! I thought for a moment you had snow in July but no, you have to remind us of winter, brr. Especially when we here on the westcoast haven't had more than a few days of summer - it's being called a 'bummer summer'. Just pouring buckets for days, I thought we had monsoons only the other three seasons of the year.

    Enough complaining - the photos is beautiful as is your coat. It should certainly keep you warm and still fashionable. That reminds me - when we lived in northern BC, I bought a real fur coat to keep me warm. When we moved south, I only wore it once to twice for it was too warm here, and very impractical in rain (think wet long-haired cat). Anyone interested in buying it cheap? (shhh, don't tell the animal rights folk).

  10. ol'buzzard - Portland, OR can get very cold for brief periods in the winter but if one really wanted to experience very cold weather it was a matter of going up - as into the mountains. I love to walk but I'm not much of a climber so I may just consider the snowshoes. You're right that the stillness of snow and ice is sublime. Galoshes are also essential here because it gets slushy.

    marja-leena - You made me laugh because I knew that picture would shock someone :-). I'm sorry it's been a miserable summer in BC and I hope it clears soon.

    I'm glad you like the coat. Before I moved to Vancouver from Montreal I owned two persian lamb coats (and a wwII olive green military greatcoat) that I gave away before heading west. Someone had warned me about the rain. I can just imagine your wet cat look.

  11. Yikes I don't think I would step outside the house with weather like that.. It must be the Irish blood, it has a pretty small comfort range!

  12. Abbey has two new winter coats from the 50% sale, good bargains and will keep her snug if I can't find her a home with a stable. it better snow hard this winter!!

  13. A toasty coat is definitely a commitment. May you have a winter worth of it.

  14. That's a smart looking coat. Real Canadian! Of course, we are not awetruck here in the Northland of the good ole USA as we import garments from Canada for mushing.
    To be honest that scene, besides being a beautifyl photo, really does the trick as far as cooling us off. Ot has been an intolerable hot humid spell here and just about everywhere in this hemisphere. A friend from Winnipeg, (Where the Hudson Bay Company still has a store and fur exchange), said it was 42 C today.


  15. jams - It's not so bad if one dresses warmly. As you can see there are also great opportunities for photographers.

    claire - Oh I do hope you find her a stable for the winter. Two good coats will be sure to please her.

    lisa - I'm not sure I wouldn't have preferred to have spent the money on beachwear.

    spadoman - Canadians do know about cold weather gear.

    I had a feeling some might appreciate the cooling effect of an icy seascape. It's been pretty hot all over, including here. The temperature reached 76F today. Whew, a scorcher!

  16. That coat looks absolutely bullet-proof! I never (well, almost) begrudge myself the most effective clothes for harsh weather, working on the theory that it beats suffering!

    Now get out there and enjoy the sun while it lasts!


  17. When we lived in Minnesota I invested in a long wool coat that hasn't been worn since moving back West, however, when you need a warm coat - you need it! I really like the looks of this one minus the coyote fur.

  18. cr - My only hesitation about getting this much coat was knowing I can go out when I want and not because I have to. Now I know I'll be able to stay out as long as I want.

    nancy - I think in general Minnesota might be colder than Halifax but it gets cold enough and the winds are outrageous sometimes. Yes, the fur has to go.