Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday 30th April 2014…..Day 25!!!

Just a beautiful sunny and warm morning and I left at 8am to drive the 60 km to port Alberni to visit my friend Barb….took these shots on the drive there…



I had a wonderful visit with Barb she is doing really well and planning some changes in her life after the loss of her husband Frank almost 2 years ago…..I miss him did not see them often but very special friends!!!

On the way back home I stopped here


It is a beautiful trail around the falls and with all the winter run off the waterfalls were magnificent!!!





It was just a great hike.

Saw this sign at a store on the way home I think it is funny!!



Back in Nanaimo I did some chores and then stopped by to see a very special lady who was a huge part of my life for 6 years…..we travelled all over the States, Canada and Mexico and covered 880000 miles and slept together over 1000 nights!!!!






I was home by 3 and it was so lovely I had to do this….



this next photo contains partial nudity only fit for females over 58!!!!!



Views from the back yard!!



Well my Kings won the hockey game tonight one of the few teams in history to come back from 3 – 0 in the series to win 4-3!!!

Then I watched a pre recorded soccer game from England….now ready for bed!!!

Just to wet your appetite what I may see next week in Iceland!!!!




Yoshi Kochi!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday 29th April 2014….Day 24!!

Had a good sleep till gone 7am and I went out for coffee with my friend Chris and we caught up on what has been happening in our lives it was good to see him again.

Came home and with Heather we went to get Irene and take her out for lunch to celebrate her 89th Birthday..she is doing really well and we all enjoyed our lunch!!!


Heather then walked to her work and I drove Irene home and said goodbye and then  went and did some shopping….I bought 5 big boxes of the tea that I like and 3 boxes of my favorite cereal which I cannot get in either Mexico or the USA….and then at 3.30pm I went to the soccer field where I was the assistant ref for a senior high school girls soccer game.

This evening Heather had made a lovely dinner and if you can believe it I did not watch a hockey game tonight but I did counter that with watching a recorded soccer game from Europe, which was no contest.

Interesting article below!!

How Mexican mothers identify sons lost on the trek to the US

By Will Grant BBC News, Ciudad Obregon, Mexico

Undocumented Mexican immigrants walk through the Sonoran Desert after illegally crossing the US-Mexico border in 2011


Every year, thousands of Mexicans make the perilous journey across the deserts of northern Mexico and Arizona, hoping for a better life in the US. Not all of them make it, leaving some families with a search for answers - and eventually, bodies.

Carolina Chan's house is a noisy, chaotic place.

Her teenage children, already parents themselves, share the ramshackle two-bedroom home in the industrial town of Ciudad Obregon in northern Mexico. Her grandchildren play boisterously on the patio, running in and out with toys and neighbourhood dogs.

But someone is missing from this scene of domestic mayhem. One morning in 2012, Chan's 19-year-old son, Marco Antonio, left for the US without saying goodbye.

His mother still describes him as a "dreamer".

"He used to say, 'One day, I'll have a nice car, I'm going to live in the US,'" Carolina remembers. "We all took it as kids' games. Even in the final days before he left, I thought he was joking. I never thought he'd try to leave."

Not long after Marco Antonio vanished, Carolina received a message from one of his travelling companions. They'd attempted to cross the Sonoran Desert, which straddles northern Mexico and southern Arizona, in an effort to dodge the US border patrols.

Carolina Chan Carolina Chan was eventually spared the uncertainty of knowing her son's fate

Unable to keep up with the pace of the group as they trekked through the harsh border region, he had been left behind in the desert, his friend said.

Immediately, she knew her son's fate.

"When I heard he had been in the desert for six days, I said to myself 'My son is dead,'" Carolina says through the tears. "I came straight home to search Google for anything I could think of. I made call after call after call. I can't tell you how many."

A map showing the Sonoran Desert

Plenty of mothers who never hear from their sons after they leave home remain forever in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if their children made successful lives in the US, or died en route.

Eventually Carolina's inquiries led her to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office in Tucson, Arizona. Her initial fears were confirmed.

A dead man had been found in the Sonoran Desert not long after Marco Antonio had gone missing. The face was no longer recognisable, but after a long exchange of emails and photographs, Carolina was able to identify the body as her son's.

Like more than 2,200 other migrants over the past 10 years, Marco Antonio had died on the trek to the United States.

Marco Antonio grave

Despite its relatively small size, Tucson has the third highest number of unidentified remains in the US, after New York and Los Angeles.

So overwhelmed were Pima County's forensic investigators that a few years ago they had to start using refrigerated trucks to store all the bodies, which kept arriving at their small office.

"Nobody foresaw this many dead. I didn't," says Dr Bruce Anderson, the forensic anthropologist at Pima County. "When I started here I never could have predicted that this many people would die - and continue to die on a yearly basis."


A wall mural of a family grieving for the dead


Anderson's office is awash with thin, colour-coded files. Piles of papers clutter up every available surface and a back wall, known by the staff as the Wall of Shame, is bursting with backdated archives.

Each file represents an unsolved case. "I look at this wall to remind me of the work still to be done, of the many, many people who are presumed to be dead migrants," says Anderson.

"Bodies that are decomposed, mummified, skeletonised, ravaged by animals where only a few bones are left - these people cannot be identified through normal channels."

Together with a postgraduate student volunteer, Robin Reineke, he set up the Missing Migrant Project which began the painstaking detective work of tallying the families' often vague missing persons reports with the scores of bodies in the Pima County morgue.

"Many of these families are living in the shadows," says Anderson. "They're either poor and living in Mexico or Central America, or they're living in the United States in an undocumented fashion and they cannot go - or are afraid to go - to the authorities."

He and Reineke now have the biggest database of missing migrants on the US-Mexico border.

Little by little, family members learned about their work and started making direct contact with them in the search for their lost loved ones.

Carolina Chan was one of those desperate family members - another was Emma Grittel.

Emma Gritel Emma Gritel in her salon in Puerto Penasco, Mexico

Two weeks after her uncle, Francisco Romero, disappeared in 2010, a man came into her beauty salon in the Mexican resort of Puerto Penasco. He said he'd last seen Francisco in the desert and told her to widen her search beyond the borders of Mexico. She started with US detention centres.



The job of identifying bodies found in the desert can be painstakingly difficult. Robin Reineke describes how she pieces together the sad jigsaw puzzle of personal attributes and belongings.


"But he didn't show up in California or Arizona. He wasn't detained. From there we started going to hospitals, town to town. Finally, someone said: 'This is going to sound cruel, but there is nowhere left to look except the desert or the morgue.'"

Often a body will be identified by the smallest of details - a wooden rosary, a family photograph in a pocket, a piece of clothing.

In the case of Emma Grittel, a photo of a withered and sun-blistered tattoo of Jesus Christ on one arm was enough for her to recognise her uncle.

For Carolina Chan, the final clue was even more innocuous - a single button she'd sewn on to a pair of combat trousers her son was wearing.

"The trousers were my husband's," she explains. "But they were too big for Marco Antonio's waist. So he wanted the button moved so that they'd fit." She could never have imagined that the simplest of motherly acts would become so significant.

DNA evidence eventually confirmed the identifications and the bodies were returned home for burial.

Both women shy away from thinking of the suffering their lost family member endured in the inhospitable Sonoran Desert - exposure to heat of up to 45C (113F) during the day, freezing temperatures at night, hunger, thirst and, eventually, hypothermia.

Rather than express her sorrow in words, Carolina finds it easier to cope with her grief through music. She wrote a song for him called Five Minutes More. "The title of the song says it all," she says, playing the ballad through a tinny speaker on her mobile phone. "I just ask God for five more minutes to be with him, to say goodbye."

Given the chance to talk to migrants planning the same journey as her son, Carolina says she'd only have one thing to say.

"I'd say, 'Look at me - your mother could end up like me.' I'd tell them not to cross. At least not like that - illegally, through such an ugly and dangerous place."

Yashi Kochi!!!

Monday 28th April 2014…Day 23!!!!

Sorry I know this is a day late but later on you will read why!!!

This morning was an early start as Heather’s van was going in for service so I followed her up to the mechanic’s place and brought her back home and then after breakfast took her to work and from there I went to see my foot Doctor.

I have been seeing him for a few years now and he is semi retired but a very jovial man and very direct and I like him.  He remembers me and we talked some about my travels as he cut away a good portion of the callous in between my big and second toe….I also told him about the operation that my doctor in SMA suggested I may need and he told me that at my age and the seriousness of the operation and the length of the recovery time, 5 months, for something like that if it is no bothering me and it really does not that he would recommend that I do not have the procedure…I appreciated his candor and it will give me something to think over.

I then went to my bank where I had ordered some money for Iceland


and for Spain


I then went to the Salvation Army thrift store as I was looking for a pair of rain pants for Iceland and found these(Heather had arranged them on my bed that woman has a sense of humor)!!!


I then came home had lunch and then Boomer and I went for a hike…..I wanted to hike three days in a row to see how I felt and we took off for


and here are some views from the park.






On the way home…


Do you see the deer!!!


So as I am walking home at a cross roads a van stops to let me pass and the lady driver took off her sunglasses and said Les!!!  I looked at her and it was Colleen and she pulled over and got out and we had a wonderful re union.

When I moved to Nanaimo in 1993 I was not in a very good state both mentally and financially and one of the first things I did was when I saw an advert in the local paper for volunteers to man the Crisis Line…I applied was accepted and the very intense course was 3 months and half way through they told me that they did not think I was going to pass the course I sat down with the director and we talked about all sorts of things but mainly about my past relationships and I begged for them to stick with me….long story short…they did I was accepted and I went on to be the longest serving member of the Crisis line a record which still stands today 8 years!!.  So shortly after that I also applied to become a Big brother and after passing their criteria I was also accepted there and assigned to an 8 year old boy called Devon…I also went on to become the longest serving Big Brother….Devon and I were together for 8 years……SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO      Devon's Mum is Colleen!!!!


So we had a good long chat and Colleen told me all about her family and how well Devon turned out he went to Chef school and is now a qualified chef working in a huge restaurant…what a small world.

Boomer and I got home after walking 13 km about 8 miles and I felt good.

I went in Little Bluey to the mechanics and left her there she is being serviced tomorrow and brought Heather's van home.

Next on the agenda was to go across the street to say hello to Matt!!!


Matt is my protégée….When I was reffing I also ran the Education and mentor course for the junior refs and Matt was about 14 and was on my course and let me tell you he was a handful!!!!  He was tall, handsome, funny and a big challenge to me….again a long story short…he was a great young ref and with coaching and advice he went on to become one of the top officials in this province…I have followed his career with pride and he is now listed as the youngest highest ref in BC..but more importantly he has turned out to be a wonderful caring, smart and great young man..well done Matt!!!

Next stop was Karen's house where we had arranged to go out for dinner


Karen was the first person I met when I moved here in 1993, she had a small apartment for rent and I went to look at it and rented it and we just had a wonderful relationship after that and is  today still the same.

We went to a nice pub and had a great meal and then back to her place for tea and a surprise of birthday presents for me….Thanks Karen for all these years of always being there for me!!!

Now it is 10pm and I got home and had to sit and watch a hockey game that one of the boys had recorded for me earlier in the evening……of all the hockey teams playing in the Stanley Cup my favorite apart from the Canadian team of Montreal is the Los Angeles Kings as Great One used to play for them…they lost the first three games and were counted out by just about everyone but they have crawled their way back and last night was a great game which they won and now they play a one game winner take all on Wednesday….so by the time I had watched the game is was 12.30am and I was so tired so that is the reason why the blog is late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So it is now Tuesday morning and I will post tonight as usual sorry!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday 27th April 2014..Day 22!!

This morning was tea in bed and watching a very exciting live soccer game from England………then I had decided I needed to do a big hike at least the distance of the first stage of my Camino so I packed up and was out of the door at 9.15am with my pack loaded as it will be in Spain…..the weather was a little overcast a good walking day not too hot.

Some of the sights on the way!!








Now I don’t want to sound like I have a big head or anything but I have lived in this town over 20 years and during this time I have been quite a volunteer, Crisis Line, Big brother’s, Referee coordinator and mentor and also helped with many charitable events and a few years ago I was rewarded with the city naming this small park after me!!!


Of course those of you who live in Nanaimo will know that is not true!!!

Anyway I arrived back home at 2.45pm having walked 27km or almost 17 miles..I felt a bit tired and my legs a touch sore but I was happy I did that and I had no soreness in the evening.

Heather cooked a lovely roast beef dinner and zack brought his prom date, Hannah over for us all to meet her, she is lovely…this weekend is the big prom festival so looking forward to that and then we watched the movie Saving Mr.Banks!!!!

Now ready for bed!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday April 26th ….Day 21!!!!

Well the best sleep so far till 7.15 and then Heather made me tea and I relaxed in bed watching my Brother’s soccer team on TV.

Some history here….. in March Carolyn and I played tennis with Canadian friends of hers Erica and Colin and we played about 5 times together and had really good games even though we never won a set….Erica and Colin live on Salt Spring Island

Map picture

and I offered to bring some pottery back here for them so this morning I had arranged to go to the Island and give them their stuff and have a visit and Heather came with me.  It is a 45 minute drive to the ferry terminal


and a 20 minute crossing


looking back at the Mill


and ahead at the Island.


We easily found Erica and Colin’s gorgeous home…



It was a lovely visit and Erica made a lovely snack of English scones with real Devonshire cream…tennis is a big part of their lives and they have their own court on their property


perhaps if we had played them here we may have won a set…because the net is not up yet!!!!!!

Heather  and I wanted to go on a hike so they drove us to the start of a hike they recommended but before we did this we went into town where they have a famous Saturday morning market and walked around!!



We then drove towards to the start of the hike but on the way passed this field which holds a special memory for me!!!


It was the May long weekend three years ago and it was my birthday and I had come over to the Island in Ramona and stayed three days reffing soccer tournaments and I had a game on this field the last game of the tournament and this is where I decided after all those years of being involved in the game it was time for me to retire and I wanted to go out on my terms without injury so as I blew the final whistle for the end of the game I knew it would be my last of over 1000 games!!!!  Little did I know I would come out of retirement the last couple of days!!!

So back to the hike this is the one we did..

Mount Erskine Provincial Park

About This Park

Located on Salt Spring Island in the South Gulf Islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island the park contains a variety of features including the summit of Mount Erskine, coastal Douglas-fir forests, moss covered rocky outcrops and bluffs, dry southwest facing Garry oak ecosystems and riparian wetlands. In addition, the park preserves an excellent example of the red-listed arbutus/hairy manzanita plant community as well as other species and habitats at risk.

It is recommended hikers access Mount Erskine Provincial Park via the Mount Erskine Upper Access Park Reserve owned by the Capital Regional District (CRD). This access is located in the Rainbow Grove Subdivision at the end of Trustees Trail. From this point Dodds Trail enters the park and provides linkage to the rest of the Mount Erskine trail system. 
** Note:  There is no provision for vehicle parking at this access.
Hikers using these trails pass through mature Douglas-fir forests to a rocky summit where they are rewarded with wonderful views of Booth Bay and Sansum Narrows. At the summit, visitors can view Vancouver Island, north towards Mount Arrowsmith, Chemainus and Nanaimo and east across Trincomali Channel to Galiano Island and the Lower Mainland.


It was a tough climb going up hill right away and kept on that way


That is the ferry we came across on…


There were a couple of fairy doors on the way up!!


They are just small doors built into the rock for the fairies to come in and out of!!

It was a tough climb we went from 0 to 1500 feet but the views were reward enough!!!





After all that climbing some of us needed a



It was certainly a great work out and a wonderful hike.

We got back to the ferry terminal  to go back to the other side and Heather met one of her friends and chatted with her on the ferry.

As we arrived home the weather changed and the rain started and after supper for a change I watched a hockey game!!!

As I used to live in Bermuda I enjoyed this article I hope you do too!!!!

Glasgow 2014: The Bermuda boycott of 1986 that still hurts

By Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

The 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh are sadly remembered for the wrong reasons.

While there was Scottish 10,000m gold for Liz Lynch, now Liz McColgan, the Games came at a heavy financial cost due to the boycott by 32 out of the 59 competing nations.

Teams withdrew after being angered by the British government's attitude to apartheid-era South Africa.

One of the nations that pulled out was Bermuda.

As Scotland prepares to host the Games once more, memories of the Edinburgh Games were brought back this week when the Queen's Baton Relay - the main curtain raiser for the Games - passed through the North Atlantic island.

For Bermudan swimmer Victor Ruberry and 100m runner Bill Trott, 1986 was a farce.

It is an episode of their lives which still causes frustration.

The Bermudan team at the 1986 Commonwealth Games

The Bermudan team at the 1986 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Before the Games, Ruberry and Trott were gravely concerned like thousands of others about apartheid in South Africa. They remember discussions on the island about boycotting, but no decision was made and the athletes made their way to Scotland.

They just wanted to compete. However, the Bermuda Olympic Association (BOA) - the governing body of the team - was still considering what to do.

When the athletes arrived in Edinburgh, there were reports of safety concerns for the Bermudans. According to team manager John Morbey, this was one of the reasons given behind the team's eventual withdrawal.

"The night before the opening ceremony, a teammate and I caught a taxi and we went to a disco," recalls Trott, who was looking forward to his first Commonwealth Games having competed in the 1984 Olympics.

"There was no-one supervising us, and that is how safe we felt. As we came back late at night, we bumped into John Morbey and he had just found out that the Bermuda Olympic Association had pulled us out.

"That is when all the drama started. I was deflated."

Trott and Ruberry woke up on 24 July, the day of the opening ceremony, with no idea what was going on.


Liz Lynch, now Liz McColgan, was the highlight of the Games for Scottish fans with victory in the 10,000m

After a day of discussions, Trott remembers a call was eventually made to Bermuda's leader John Swan while the opening ceremony was taking place on television screens behind them.

Swan offered his support, and Trott and his teammates frantically got dressed into their Panama hats, blue blazers and beige shorts and rushed to Meadowbank Stadium to take part.

Having missed their slot, they marched on just before the host nation and received one of the biggest cheers of the night, with Scottish fans - facing a Commonwealth Games without half the Commonwealth - showing their delight.

Ruberry, meanwhile, missed the ceremony as he prepared to take part in his 100m breaststroke the following day.

He remembers Morbey coming into his room around midnight to confirm he would be swimming in the morning. By the time he had reached the pool, Ruberry knew it was all in vain.

The BOA had finally decided to remove the team from the Games.

Ruberry was disqualified for keeping his head under water at the end of his race.

He said: "Your mental state was not one where you were focused on competition.

"It was an abysmal swim. It was nowhere near what I was prepped to do prior to that. I am not making excuses, I just did not feel ready. At one point we were packing our bags, the next moment we were unpacking our bags."

After the team's withdrawal, Morbey went on television in disgust over the BOA's decision while the athletes hung their bed sheets out the window with 'Bermuda wants to stay, don't penalise our athletes' written on one.

When the Bermudans returned home, Trott remembered an island sympathetic towards the athletes but behind the decision to boycott.

Twenty-eight years later, the athletes still reflect on what the 1986 boycott meant for them.

Trott said: "It was unfortunate that we were put in a situation like that. What I learnt from all of that was politics can play a role in some cases that it shouldn't."

For Ruberry, the Edinburgh Games were the second time his dreams had been shattered by a political boycott after missing out on the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

He gave up swimming, believing the countless hours of training were not worth it when it could all be scuppered by a boycott.

He returned to the pool for the 1988 Olympics, and now works as a swimming coach on the island.

He said: "Any sporting event brings people together. Boycotts serve to divide.

"They are a huge disappointment for the athletes who have been training so hard for something like that, and all of a sudden you take away the goalposts.

"I still to this day don't believe there is a place for boycotts in sport. There is so much more that can be accomplished by the positives - the healthy competition, people coming together.

"If you are going to do something political, then don't use the athletes as pawns."


I would like to say Happy birthday Sara!!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday 5 th January 2023…it was a great run!!!

 This was my first ever blog post back in November of 2006!!! With just a couple of days off I have written a blog every day since and I hav...