Monday, October 26, 2009

If we look one way, we see the shoreline of the park we just walked through.

Looking the other way, we notice that this area is less groomed and there is some industry in the distance.

At the foot of this industrial area, on the far right, is a small, bright blue shack where a locally famous poet once lived. My mother loves to tell the story of how she and my father once found him face down in the park, groceries strewn about him, drunker than a skunk. I forget his name, so his reputation is safe with me!

A pier, a tug boat, a barge. Local colour. Like an E.J. Hughes painting. He's one of my favourite artists. His work has become hugely popular since his death a few years ago. Look him up on the web. His paintings are vibrantly colourful and evoke a playful feeling of life on the west coast of BC.

We are looking into Burrard Inlet. Far in the distance is the Second Narrows Bridge which links the north shore, where we are, to Vancouver. We could sail off in the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco...or the Orient...or New Zealand...
But not today. I'm ready to head home for a nice cold, white cranberry BC Cider. Would you care to join me?


  1. Don't worry about your poet's reputation. He often made comical reference to it in his own works. For example his suggested epitaph:

    Malcolm Lowry
    Late of the Bowery
    His prose was flowery
    And often glowery
    He lived, nightly, and drank, daily,
    And died playing the ukelele.

  2. Setting it straight. Yes, Malcolm Lowry, the author of "Under The Volcano" did live in a shack on the
    shoreline of Cates Park. All the squatters' shacks were eventually burned down, but there is a marker placed in the park at the approximate spot.

    The "poet" was actually a painter who "retired" and was given permission to live in that little blue shed. He was a nice guy, but had a drinking problem.

  3. FCW + Shirl:
    Setting it even straighter, while I was in high school, there was, indeed, a fairly well-known poet who lived in the little shack, not in Cates Park per se, but at the furthest edge, as indicated in the photo in this posting (albeit nearly invisible to the naked eye).

    Malcolm Lowry lived briefly in what's now Cate's Park long before we arrived on the scene.

    I still suspect the "painter" my parents came across was also the poet, although the shack may have been passed on to another artist by that time. I'm just amazed that it's still there.

  4. Anybody knows if the Blue Shack available for a new squatter.
    I, too, could write poetry.
    My prose could be flowery and always glowery
    I could live there nightly between sessions of maintenance @ Shirley.
    I would invite you for cranberry cider daily
    And we can learn the ukelele.

  5. I think it's probably beyond your financial means!

    We'll have to fight our way through the brambles and go check it out next time we're on this side of the country together.

    Big hug and a smackeroo to you!

  6. Everyone sounds like they live on Vancouver Island! Well, it is beautiful. the leaves on the forest floor, the border collie (looking determined), the coastlines--very reminiscent of ej Hughes whose work is huge; I looked him up--the forest just beginning to turn near the water, the pier bridge with its little bird sentinels all lined up. a great idyll for walking and musing. How was the white cranberry cider? How about the pomegranate cider? I'm drinking plain old cider, hot, with a pat of butter and a stick of cinnamon. But then it's colder back home! LOVE xxox

  7. Hi Margaret, We're not on Vancouver Island, we're on the north shore of the Vancouver Lower Mainland. All my blog exchanges this morning have been with people who are very familiar with the area. Later this week I'll be going over to the island--then you'll be really confused!

    I didn't get around to trying the pomegranate cider. That may have to wait for my next visit as I'm running out of time, and I can only drink so much (in spite of my reputation with Saj and Owen!) The white cranberry cider is lovely: dry, subtle, and very refreshing.

    The rain finally let up here--after two dismal, drenching days! So I'll be able to quaff the last cranberry cider this afternoon. Yay!

  8. Dear Lynne, thanks so much for the virtual tour, and the running discussion about artists and poets and shacks or shacking up and drunkeness and shorelines and islands is fascinating too... am going to have to look up this poetry, I can see, for I've never been to the northwestern sea, nor fallen down drunk on the bowery, nor felt the pangs of poverty, and all I know of liberty is that it means one can leave if one wants to...

    PS are you sure it wasn't the Saj who fell down drunk in the park ?

    PPS WV is "zongst", as in, what terrible pangs of zongst I'm feeling tonight, I sure would love to go walk in a park like that..."

  9. Owen, I'm a bit too "zongst" (using its alternate meaning) to leave much of a coherent response tonight. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

    I'm sure the Saj would not be lying face down drunk--she would be gazing up at the stars, loudly singing an old R&B tune!

    BTW--As for poverty, don't forget, "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

    WV: "oussne" as in, " 'e weren't quite sure oussne 'e 'ad 'is 'and on in the Dunedin 'ot ladies sauna but 'e thought and 'oped it mighta been that of the Saj."

  10. Lynne ! you're bad ! I hope the Saj doesn't see that... !

    PS WV is "squil", as in the noise she may make if she does see it ! She's liable to squil very loudly !