Tuesday, 29 September 2009


Choice : the act of selection which implies the opportunity to choose.

Life is full of them. Do I have the H1N1 vaccine? Whom should I vote for in the general election next year? Should I give up the cheese and wine consumption I truthfully (stupidly) told my booty camp instructor about in last week's food diary as she says I will lose 1lb a week in the process? Is Argentina or Nepal the next holiday destination? How long do I stay in a job in which I don't feel particularly fulfilled? How do I know what is the right consultant job to go for - how do I strike the balance between the job and the location?

I'm not very good at making decisions. Tapas, dim sum and tasting menus suit me well. I'm not sure I ever was, life has always been simple - I remember feeling lucky at school just knowing that I wanted to do medicine and therefore not being faced with a dilemma of options. Ditto with radiology.

Perhaps the right decisions come naturally without much thought?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Tofino Time

I've been lucky to have visitors - Jules and her cousin Emma from the UK. I took one of my precious 20 days annual leave on Friday to join them over on Vancouver Island. I took the ferry across to Victoria which brought back pre tunnel nostalgia of travelling to France as a child and spent a glorious weekend in Tofino, the Byron Bay of Canada on the west coast of the island, along with (the other) Sue Ferreira who is an anaesthetist working in Victoria. The weather was amazing - warm, sunny with clear blue skies. We took a windy choppy boat out to some hot springs and saw lots of whales on the journey. We steamed fresh crabs (killed thankfully by the unemotional woman in the shop for a well spent 1$ who said to think of all of them as nasty ex boyfriends - she had clearly had a few), compared and contrasted healthcare in BC and the UK, other important world issues (Jules's latest dates) over chilled sauv blanc. I wasn't tempted by surfing the crashing icy pacific waves but we managed a bit of stone 'art' and put Tofino on the beach art project map...


A delightful weekend. Didn't want to leave. A refreshing contrast to my working week.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

BC Life Part 1

Have got bored with waiting for my computer lead so will post blogs in no particular order. The lovely Will came out from London a few weeks ago and performed an essential role of cheese smuggler (the plastic cheese is here is an offence to cheese and shouldn't be allowed to have the same name) and we flew up to Port Hardy at the top of Vancouver Island (along with lots of men with facial hair and fishing rods) and went to see the grizzly bears having a good feast of the sporning salmon before they hibernate for the winter. Do not be fooled by their cute fluffy coats; they are vicious and huge. The river was heaving with salmon, it was an incredible sight. The scenery here is absolutely stunning; it makes me feel the same way that mountains do - the expanse is calming and gives perspective. We had a lovely time. There will be many more BC shots for you to feast your eyes on.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Grind

They like exercise here. It was chucking it down with really wet rain this evening as I cycled to my kick boxing class (unfulfilling day at work but the object of my frustration got fantasy punched pretty hard in the gym) and there were a lot of people out pounding the pavements. In London, we go for a beer after work. Here, they exercise. Grouse Mountain is a local peak with an old fashioned cable car (a 'big bird' equivalent like Saulire in Courchevel 1850, or the type to feature in a Broccoli 007 extravaganza - On Her Majesty's Secret Service?) where one can ski in the winter and in summer walk up. The hiking books slate it as one of the worst walks in BC. We did it the other week. Now I know why. It is a stair climb of 2.8km and an elevation of nearly 1000m. It is relentless. And boring. Hence the name 'The Grind'. It is however a good workout and the view of the city from the top is pretty impressive (or awesome as they would say here). Wednesday night is allegedly singles night and a thriving pick up joint! Can't imagine why as everyone is hot and sweaty (a good place to test out your waterproof mascara if you are on the pull I guess). It should be open only on the 12 August to commemorate the start of the Grouse season. I have some photos of the path and us jubliantly exhausted at the top but am awaiting a lead from ebay to download photos onto my computer for your perusal so photo to follow. I doubt I will be going back.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Situation Report

Welcome to Vancouver - population of 0.5 millon (greater Vancouver 3 million). Reasonably (relatively to London) multi cultural - second largest Chinese population in North America after San Fran. It is consistently in the top strata of the most desirable places to live in the world according to the quality of life index living score (with not surprisingly Baghdad at the bottom). It is easy to see why - a stunning coastal location with a back drop of impressive mountains. The city feels small - everywhere seems to take about 20 mins to get to. The public transport system isn't bad (although the locals think it is, although I am relying on pedal power until the winter begins.) The mood is apparently typically 'west coast' (read laid back and friendly; not sure if that has anything to do with Canada being the largest producer of cannabis in the world or not). It is a dog friendly city with lots of chocolate labradors to nourish my dog owning fantasy (currently a choc lab called Nelson). The way of life here is honourable - healthy, (preferably organic and locally sourced) outdoor living. All extremely noble (it is illegal not to recycle your household rubbish) but I have sensed a marginal sanctimonious population if you don't conform to the Vancourite model of organic protein shakes for breakfast and regular yoga classes (preferably at 6am). Tattoos and body piercings are de rigeur (as is hepatitis and HIV) . Everyone seems more irritated than excited about the forthcoming winter Olympics. Healthcare + radiology will deserve another blog.

Scratch below the surface? Its diluted North America.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Finally It's Happening to Me

It has taken me a while to get to this metaphorical place in blogsphere.  Feelings of writing inadequacy for one,  but I've decided to take the plunge and see what happens (a not so unfamiliar way to do things in my life).  The experiment at best can be mutterings from the west coast and at worst a snow report (or vice versa!).  Nothing ventured nothing gained.