Spinning me round

I’ve got so many different ideas whirling round for this blog so apologies to anyone who gets dizzy but that will be quite in keeping with my theme. I haven’t blogged in ages because there’s been a lot going on. Some of this has been very pleasant – most emphatically my trip to the west of Canada which has boasted some of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen. I took loads of photos – over 1200 in the album as well all the others I deleted as I went along, but some of the views were really hard to capture in a regular photograph. My friend and I both spent quite a lot of time trying to get panorama settings on cameras and phones to do justice to some of the finest scenery God created. Slowly rotating, trying to get the frames to join up while avoiding too many other tourists and each other in shot, we did our best to record the views which you then can’t easily display in an album or even on screen but here are some of my best ones:

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Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

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Vancouver Folk Festival, Jericho Beach Park

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Peyto Lake, Banff National Park

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Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

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Lake Louise, Banff National Park

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Bow River, The Hoodoos and Mount Rundle, Banff National Park

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View west from Calgary Tower

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Saskatchewan Crossing, Banff National Park

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Bow Lake, Banff National Park

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Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park

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From Sulphur Mountain, Banff

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Vancouver, Jericho Beach Park

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Killarney Lake, Bowen Island (near Vancouver)

As well as the views, another highlight of the trip was some of the wildlife we saw. Again I got rather carried away taking photographs, particularly of the grizzly bears on Grouse Mountain and the sea otters in Vancouver Aquarium. I loved the sea otters who are so cute and playful, somersaulting and swimming around and over each other which inspired me to collate the footage to my friend Lobelia’s chilled out cover of ‘You Spin Me Round’.

We also went to two big folk festivals in Vancouver and Calgary which included a few more traditional jigs, reels and polkas by some very talented fiddle, ukulele and mandolin players as well as blues, bluegrass, Americana, klezmer, rock, Cajun, afrobeat and so many other fusions of folk and other styles. DSCF1361Big Canadian festival audiences tend to set out their ‘tarps’ and bagsy their spot at the mainstage at the start of the day, sitting with their low deck chairs and blankets so others behind them can also see. There are some defined spaces at the edges for standing and dancing but we were quite a way back from these so I missed out on some good opportunities to polka. I used to love ballroom dancing and ceilidh dancing which often involved energetic spinning round. I’ll admit that our trip to Canada involved rather less exercise than other travellers we met – we utilised the gondola trips up to the viewpoints on Sulphur Mountain and Grouse Mountain instead of the serious hike or ‘grind’ required to climb to the tops.

One part of the trip I’ll look back on less fondly was the emotional waltzer of applying for a job in another UK university and being interviewed from the Rockies via Skype. After rushing to fit in a visit a few days before I left the UK I found that our planned accommodation for the night/morning of my interview had really unreliable wifi (not too surprising for an out of town ‘Alpine’ hostel). I prepared back up YouTube versions of my interview and presentation and changed to a fancier hotel in the main town of Banff and in the end the technology worked well and my interview was positive, except that they turned me down. I wasn’t so gutted about the specific job as disappointed that a whole new life I was imagining might be my future suddenly wasn’t an option after all.

I know there are still many other possible avenues available to me – I think it’s ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring‘ who stands in the middle of the square in Delft, where an eight-pointed star within a circle points to so many different possible paths across the city and her life. I’d definitely consider a move to Canada if the right job turned up, and I’m heading back to Edinburgh for a quick festival flit later this week – I’ve always thought I’d love to return to Scotland one day. Another source for good panorama pictures. I was thinking of the Proclaimers ‘Beautiful truth’ song as well:

Spin me round
Bring me down
Be my sound
Don’t you leave

and while there’s the Scottish connection, it’s also about not leaving. It’s making me dizzy, but I suppose I’m not meant to take direction for the future from song lyrics. Except perhaps more sacred ones which talk about looking to the mountains and the one who made them all…

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