March 30, 2016

The Crow & Gate ~ BC's first neighbourhood pub

It was BC's first neighbourhood pub, built in 1972 in the rural community of Cedar, near Nanaimo. The Crow & Gate is located on four hectares in a rather pastoral, almost British kind of setting.

Crow & Gate Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It's décor is much like the now disappearing English-style taverns of my youth (when I backpacked across the United Kingdom as a lonely teenager): exposed beams, massive stonework, two wood burning fireplaces, friendly bar maids, cozy booths and the comfort food of home.

Orders and settling the tab takes place at the bar, which creates a wee trifle of congestion at times. Just as it did during my youthful sojourns to the UK.

On our afternoon at the Crow & Gate, the weather kept us indoors by the fire, but on finer spring and summer days and evenings patrons enjoy their beverages and meals outdoors in the beautiful gardens.

The food is better than your average pub, nicely presented and reasonably priced. My Reuben sandwich was excellent, and the other plates that went by all looked fine too. Much of the menu is locally-sourced and made in-house.

So it's a great place all round. The Crow & Gate is screen-free: no big screen televisions screaming a hockey game or any other sport. Likewise, there isn't the deafening sound of music that Vancouver establishments seem intent on providing. Here, you can actually have a conversation with your friends. Come to think of it, that's what neighbourhood pubs were supposed to be all about in the first place: good food, great friends, and "the crack was good too."

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

March 24, 2016

Working in the Text Office has its perks ~ beer and flowers

Jeem discovered a few perks after seeing his office move to the Langley Campus of KPU. It's further away from home, which has it's drawbacks of course...

Jeem went from his own small, windowless office to a cubicle in an open-concept office arrangement. With a bunch of other people.

Creating a space to call his own was a challenge for Jeem, but after hanging flags and setting up favourite photos of special some-ones, it felt much better. The prominent placement of an old photo of the founder of the family fortune, made with his invention of the ice pick: Uncle Leon, made all the difference.

Langley Campus has some weekly activities that Jeem and his co-workers eagerly anticipate. As part of its polytechnic quality, KPU Langley has a wonderful horticultural department, and every Thursday flowers and vegetables are sold at modest prices to students, staff and the general public.

Knowing how to get there is important as the greenhouses are located across the highway from the main campus. Fortunately, there's a pedestrian overpass.

There's always a queue on Thursday mornings and people tend to wear black for some reason. The lineup will only get longer as more vegetables come on-stream during the spring.

Again in keeping with the polytechnic theme in KPU's mandate, there is the beer-making department where students delight in learning the art of craft beer-making.

On Fridays, free tastings are provided, and a queue forms again,this time with a slight variation in the fashion colour. And for a nominal fee, Jeem, students and staff alike, can buy ales, stouts and/or lagers to take home for the weekend.

Yes, there are some perks at Jeem's new office, and when all the beer has been tasted, Jeem can sit and reflect on what to do next.

Hmmm, there must be something....

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

You Are Her ~ now at VanDusen Garden

Between the rainstorms, the sun comes out, somewhat briefly these days on the wet coast, and it's then that VanDusen Garden is a wonderful place to view the first signs of spring.

New signage at VanDusen features the now famous "You Are Her" branding made popular in Europe and Asia. At select and discreet locations within the gardens you'll find the impressive logo first seen in the world-class gardens of Paris and Shanghai.

For brief moments, time dependent on your reasonable donation to the Vancouver Park Board, or a contribution to the mayor's re-election campaign, you too can be her. On our day at VanDusen, you could be this famous celebrity.

Companion merchandise will soon be available for sale in the gift shop.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.