The big news of 2023 is that our long-awaited log cottage is under construction. We thought it would be finished by now, – but the layers of bureaucracy for which Canada is famous makes such timelines very unpredictable. We are hoping that it will be ready to move in come the summer next year. It looks enormous, – which it isn’t, – but sitting high on a rock on tall concrete pillars certainly gives it presence. 

We continue to run with the amazing community that makes up the Toronto Harriers. A bunch of us earmarked the Golden Ultra as our key race of the year. A few days of hiking with our cousins Laura and John from Scotland in the mountains of British Columbia readied our legs for a challenging three days that make up the race. It included a vertical kilometre over 4.5km on Friday afternoon, a 60km trail run with a heap of climbing on the Saturday and a “short” run of 24km with more climbing on the Sunday. Richard and I were one and two on the podium in the old geezer category (50 plus). Alistair has declared that he is done with ultramarathons and nobody believes him. He is trying out some track running and is being coached by a former four minute miler. Here is hoping his body adapts from slow twitch to faster twitch. 

In June we did the rounds seeing friends and family for a week in the UK before heading to Turkey the following week for the wedding of our niece Lottie to her beau Andy. Catching up with some of our African and UK family members who we hadn’t seen in a while and exploring a small corner of Turkey in the lead up to the wedding day was fantastic. We especially enjoyed running trails, finding ancient ruins and the coastal vistas with our running niece Shayne. And the wedding day itself, – as memorable as they come. It was truly magical. 

Our friends Maggie and William spend several months in the Cayman Islands over the winter, – such folk are known as Snowbirds in Canada. We joined them for a week in February. William entered us in a run relay across the island the day after arriving. Oh geez, – the heat and humidity was crushing for Richard and I, – going from a run before boarding the plane in minus 20 to plus 35 twenty four hours later. Our hosts treated us to some of the best gastronomy on the island and a very memorable swim with stingrays. We were fortunate to be the only boat at the time to Caymans number one attraction. Having the rays nudge up against your chest and holding them gently under their smooth soft bellies is hard to describe. Thrilling. 

Five friends joined us on a trip to Costa Rica at the end of November. We based ourselves in the small town of Manual Antonio on the Pacific Coast. We explored beaches, waterfalls, national parks full of exotic wildlife and birds, – did zip-lining and crawled across some scary suspension bridges. We almost adopted a dog that stuck to our heels for an entire 8km run along a beach and up a steep climb to our hotel. 

Richard’s brother Joe and family spent a week and a half at the cottage and a couple of days camping in Algonquin Park with us in August. Their time at the lake coincided with the biggest party on the lake, – which includes an egg toss competition. We were really hoping that the two cricket loving sportsmen Joe and son Isaac would take the crown. Having plugged them to be the team to beat, – they were eliminated early by the eventual winners, – two girls in their early teens. Our new boat was a hit with the kids who spent a lot of time tubing on the lake. Smores around a campfire became the daily and favourite post dinner ritual.

Richard’s mum joins us again this Christmas and New Year. She brings a family sized amount of energy and joy which will make it again special. 

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.