Friday, 21 January 2022

Around The World In Eighty Days


    When you hear the title, “Around the World in Eighty Days” what is the image that pops into your mind?   For me it was always the big colorful balloon carrying the characters over the Alps.  Although I was a big fan of Jules Verne’s adventure stories in my youth and loved the movies based on his tales (The Mysterious Island, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and of course, Around the World in Eighty Days) I don’t think I actually read many of his novels.

    One that I for sure hadn’t read was Around the World in Eighty Days, and I didn’t even see the 1956 block-buster movie, until a decade later, and since then I have watched it numerous times.  Presently PBS has been airing a new mini-series of Around the World, which I have been watching.  It didn’t take me long to realized that the series had ventured far away from the 1956 movie.  They added a woman reporter and a black Passepartout sidekick, along with additional adventures in each locations that the troupe visited.  

    I read novels constantly and recently finished the book I was on.  I lkogged on to the McBride Library’s e-book download site to find another one to start.  There I noticed Around the World, and since I had never read it, downloaded it and began reading.  It was a revelation.  

    All my knowledge of Verne’s tale was based on the 1956 movie and the episodes I had watched of series on PBS, and so I was very surprised to discover that in the novel, there is no balloon.  I was amazed since there was one in both filmed versions.  I found a lot of other storyline differences also.  

    In the last PBS series episode I watched, the characters were struggling through the Sahara Desert, in the novel, Fogg and Passepartout floated down the Suez Canal, not the desert.  Below is a map showing Fogg’s trip from the novel:





    Curiously, if you compare this map with the one on the novel’s cover at the top, you will see that whoever chose the cover hadn’t even read the book, because it is really off base.

    Of course films can never stick entirely to the original story, and love to enhance the plot using “artistic license” to add adventure and interest to the tale, but I liked the simpler storyline in Verne’s novel more than either of the two filmed versions.


                                        You can see my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


















 

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Expanded Horizons


    I have been belly-aching about how difficult it was to walk around outside.  We had about 20 inches (50 cm) of soft snow on the ground which was extremely difficult to walk through unless you had snowshoes on, but then the weather warmed up and rained.  This knocked the snow down to about one foot (30 cm), but you still couldn’t really walk through it.  The rain also made all of the surface of our paths (which I had packed-down with snowshoes) irregular and slippery.  The foot of snow on the ground remained too soft to walk through.

    I was feeling pretty house-bound and Kona was feeling even worse, because we couldn’t really spend much time safely walking her around our place, but then we got a hard freeze.  This froze the foot of rain-soaked snow on the ground enough for me to walk on top of it without sinking.  So now Kona and I can easily walk just about anywhere we want on top of the snow, without sinking through.  It has sure expanded our horizons.


My paintings can be seen at:  davidmarchant2.ca


 

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Found Some Grass


    Most of the Robson Valley is still covered with about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) of snow, and it is a hard icy snow.  Luckily this herd of deer discovered an open area with grass between the highway and the frontage road, and they are happily grazing on it. 

    The deer are not the only ones that discovered the grass.  With everything so icy, I have been having a hard time figuring out where I could safely walk Kona and I found another patch of open ground near the frontage road where I have been taking Kona for her walk.  Luckily, the deer weren’t in view where we did our walk, because Kona would have gone nuts with barking and pulling on her leash.


Take a look at my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


 

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Boys And Their Toys

 


    We live beside a normally quiet road without much traffic, but that changes during the winter.  Pickup truck, after expensive pickup truck, towing trailer, after expensive trailer, carrying snowmobiles, after expensive snowmobiles, come roaring past our house heading for a popular alpine snowmobiling area, so they can blast around in their loud machines in the snow.  It is very unfortunate, but our little village of McBride has become a snowmobile destination.

    This wasn’t always the case and I can remember how it started.  When I was working for the Forest Service, one winter’s day the man who was in charge of recreation was flying over one of the large alpine in a helicopter.  I think it was the helicopter pilot, after looking down, replied, “You could loose a hundred snowmobiles there.”  The Forestry Recreation Officer pursued that discovery, thus sealing the end of peace in the winter alpine.  Ever since, accessible local alpine areas are filled with screaming machines.

         Now snowmobilers, most of which are from Alberta, are all over the alpine.  Fueled by big engines and alcohol, they play a game called “High Marking”, where they drive straight up slide (avalanche) chutes to see who can make their machines go the highest.  Occasionally, the avalanche comes down on them.  Sometimes, they drive their snowmobiles out to the edge of the cliffs to look over the edge, not realizing they are no longer on the mountain, but on a cornice of snow.  Snowmobilers die in the mountains every year.

    In 2016, little McBride made international news after an avalanche, started by snowmobilers, buried and killed 5 other snowmobilers who were eating lunch below them.  It is indeed a wonder that more aren’t killed considering the reckless behavior.

    In the summer, after the snow melts away, and the snowmobilers leave, all of the beer cans, food wrappers, and snowmobile parts remain, littering what used to be a pristine fragile alpine.  A friend who was hiking in the alpine one summer actually found a snowmobile that had been left up there.  After reporting it to the police the whole story came out.

    The snowmobile had engine trouble and quit running.  The owner was able to ride out with someone else.  The next day, they went back to get the snowmobile but couldn’t find it in the massive alpine, so they just reported it stolen and got the insurance money.

       Now, snowmobilers, most of which are from Alberta,  are all over the alpine.  Fueled by big engines and alcohol they play a game called “High Marking”, where they drive straight up slide (avalanche) chutes to see who can make their machines go the highest.  Occasionally, the avalanche comes down on them.  Sometimes, they drive their snowmobiles out to the edge of the cliffs to look over the edge, not realizing they are no longer on the mountain, but on a cornice of snow.  Snowmobilers die in the mountains every year.  It is indeed a wonder that more aren’t killed considering the reckless behavior.

    It is not uncommon to hear the motorheads remark, “I’d like to come back here in the summer with my ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).”  I live in fear of that they would find an easy way up to the alpine, because that would be the death knell of the fragile, slow growing alpine.  At least during the winter, most of the alpine plants are protected by the deep snow.  The plants that struggle to grow in the extreme conditions of the alpine, are easily killed and not easily replaced.  The BC government is too addicted to the Alberta tourist money and local rider pressure to put in restrictions to ATV’s in the alpine.


View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


Monday, 17 January 2022

Am I Going To Get Back Up It?


    The weather forecast for yesterday called for “Snow, sometimes heavy,”  instead we got “Rain, sometimes heavy.”  It was a very miserable day.  When the afternoon came, we knew that Kona would be desperate to go out for a walk, but looking at the weather and knowing how icy every of our potential walking places were, my wife opted out, so it was left up to me. 

    I decided to try Horseshoe Lake Road, but once I got there I saw that it was pretty much glare ice.  I slowly and cautiously drove down the hill to the parking area anyway.  Kona and I walked carefully on the shallow snow along the side of the road which provided some traction.  Once she had had enough, we turned around and headed back to the car.  It was then I saw the ice-covered curve and hill of the road and wondered if the car would be able to make it up the glazed surface.

    Luckily the four-wheel drive did its stuff and we got up the hill and returned home safely.  Things are sure treacherous for walking outside.  It is still raining today and I wish it was snowing instead.  That would adhere to the wet ice and make things safer.


View my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


 

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Downy Woodpeckers


    I have mentioned before about my “peanut butter log” and how much birds (and squirrels, and deer) love to eat the peanut butter, well here is a photo I took of two Downy Woodpeckers busy stuffing their faces with the stuff.  Downy Woodpeckers range across most of North America and Canada and they are the smallest woodpeckers around.  The are 6-7 inches (15-18 cm) long.  I have a couple of pairs of Downy Woodpeckers around our place.


Take a look at my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


 

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Please Take Me Outside, I Am So Bored


    Kona, with her head resting on the arms of a chair, looks up with her pleading eyes, and we get the message, she is tired of laying around in the house, she wants to be outside.  We’ve thrown her ball inside, we’ve given her time consuming snacks, but that’s just not enough, she wants to be outside to smell the animal scents and act like a wild dog.

    Unfortunately, taking her outside these days isn’t that easy.  The deep snow is rotten and can’t support her weight.  The snowshoed paths I have made are no longer as firm as they were, so my boots constantly break through the snow, or slide sideways.  The driveway is again so treacherous with ice, I feel like I am risking my life to walk on it.  (I will throw some more sand on it after I am done with this blog).  In short, things are just not very conducive to taking Kona for a walk outside, so we have to deal with an unhappy, very bored dog.


View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca