The Big Canadian Family Holiday:-)

It’s been a while since my last blog, but it has been a very busy and tiring time, involving a sponsored walk, a big family holiday, and a holiday recovery period that took longer than intended, or indeed expected! So it’s taken me a while to get going again, it’s a bit of a long one, but with lots of pictures to break it up.

First of all in my last blog I said that I was back on the prophylactic antibiotics for my persistent urinary tract infections, this time for 6 months. Unfortunately, a few days into the course I was floored by another infection, thankfully only 2 lots of antibiotics were needed this time, and although it rolled over into the first week of my holiday they did do the trick. So please cross you fingers that everything now behaves for the next 6 months.

Just before going on holiday on the 20th June I went a day early on my monthly jab in the hope of getting some of the post jab lag out of the way before the start of our trip on the 24th.   I also did the ‘Race for Life’ that night at Trentham Gardens with my daughter Judith (the instigator) and friend Janine who very kindly stepped in for Michelle at the last minute.  The walk had been postponed from the 6th June due to bad weather, this time we had a lovely evening for the 5k walk around the lake and gardens, and I was amazed at the number of people who did it. Thank you to everybody who sponsored us and helped us to reach our target:-)

The next few days were then spent on the settee mainly before getting the packing done, as on the 24th of June we were off to Canada for a big family holiday. This should have happened last year, but there was too much going on tests and fitness wise to commit to it then. It did turn out for the best in the end though as it meant that going this year we would be there for my oldest daughters 30th birthday, Saturday was going to be a long busy day. The taxi picked us up at 4:30am, there were 7 of us, my son and his partner, my youngest daughter with her husband and son, Ade and myself. Unfortunately our youngest son couldn’t make it though.

To say the taxi was full to bursting is an understatement, but with such an early start it was a fairly quiet ride drive down to Gatwick. Luckily check-in and security were over and done with fairly quickly and easily, although I set the alarms off as usual. To kill time we had a late breakfast and a wander around the airport, a few indulged in a cocktail or two to ease the tedium before boarding. I refrained as wanted minimise any possible upsets on what was going to be a long flight.  It was a first for our grandson, and I am happy to say that even though we were in the air for 9 hours, he was a star and charmed all the stewards. Wish I could say the same for the food, especially the gluten free option, YUK.

Flying into Calagary, we would be would be travelling down through the rockies with a few stops on the way, then over to Vancouver Island for a fews days, finishing off in Vancouver itself. After landing there was a slight delay with getting the luggage off, and sorting out the hire cars, well ours anyway. So it was a couple of hours before 7 very tired Brits were on the way to our first destination, Canmore. Our daughter Ruth and husband Jordan were there before us, having driven across from Edmonton, and had a lovely meal ready for us when we arrived.

Canmore was beautiful, we had 4 nights there to help us recover from our journey and acclimatise as they are 7 hours behind us. The house was lovely, with wild rabbits in the front garden, and the biggest bed I have ever slept in. Honestly you could have got snow white and the 7 dwarves in that bed and there would still have been room for more!!

Amazingly enough on the Sunday morning I felt pretty good, so we went for a walk around the town to get our bearings, and I ate ice-cream at 10:30 in the morning. I put that down to my body thinking it was 5:30 in the afternoon. Well that’s my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking to it. Sunday afternoon, we went for a walk around Grassi Lake, it was a bit steeper than I am used to these days, so my ascent was a bit slow, but I did it and it was well worth it.

On the Monday we drove to lake Louise and took the ski lift up to the view point, and were lucky enough to see bears both on the way up and back down. Tuesday morning it started to hit me, I was tired and sore, but in the afternoon after dosing up on the painkillers we went to the hot springs in Banff. I saw this as therapy, and it was lovely sitting in a natural hot spring, with the sun shinning and being able to look out at the snow topped mountains.

Wednesday we moved on from Canmore driving through the Banff National Park towards the ferry terminal in Vancouver. We had two overnight stops on the way, the scenery was spectacular, and we spent a lot of time going wow, and hanging out the windows taking lots of photos of amazing scenery. By the Thursday night though, even though I had been sat down for the past 2 days in the car I was extremely tired and emotional. I had not slept the night before either which didn’t help, but I managed a good nights sleep on the Thursday night ready for the ferry the next day. Jordan’s parents Cathy &  Jim arrived on the Friday morning too, they would be spending the second week of the holiday with us, which we were looking forward too.  Cathy & Jim are always great company, and holidaying in Canada without them just wouldn’t be right.

After travelling down through the rockies we found that the drive to the ferry was a bit boring, but we did get to see bald eagles, so big and majestic floating around in the air currents. The weather for the crossing was very calm, another first for Arthur too, and he loved it.

The house in Victoria was amazing, and was definitely my favourite of the trip. It was in a beautiful setting with a pond in the back garden and a hot-tub. Sitting in the back garden, watching all the birds on the feeders, especially the humming birds was so relaxing, and the kitchen was very well stocked. Although we did have to be sure to lock the ice-maker on the fridge door after Arthur figured out how it worked!!


Saturday was Canada Day as well as Jim & Cathy’s 40th wedding anniversary, Ade and myself went for a walk around the local lake, hoping to get in a swim but there were no spots free. In the evening we had an anniversary BBQ for Jim & Cathy. Sunday we explored Victoria itself and went over to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch, which was very nice, and saw the seals.   I also managed to get a little something for Ruth to open on her birthday.

Monday was Ruth’s 30th birthday, and after singing happy birthday to her in her bedroom at 7am in the morning she and Jordan went off kyaking, whilst we collected the birthday cake and a balloon. I must say I do like the fact that dairy queen do an ice cream cake, which was right up Ruth’s street as she has always been a big fan of ice cream. In the evening we went out for a family birthday meal, and then stuffed our faces with ice cream cake. We had to eat as much as we could as we would be on the road travelling back to Vancouver the next day.

The next morning we were up and out, stopping for a late breakfast en-route to the ferry terminal. We wished we had more time to explore Vancouver Island, but hopefully we will get back there one day.  If you are looking for a house for a big family group whilst on the island, you won’t go far wrong with the one we had. We would definitely stay there again, Custom Arts & Craft Home, Victoria,

The Vancouver house was very nice too, the best thing being that we all had our own en-suites, although it was a big light on place settings and there was no garden furniture or BBQ. It did however offer good transport links for both the bus and sky train into the centre of Vancouver.

On the Wednesday however I was confined to bed, I wasn’t surprised by this, as I had had a good run, although I was annoyed by it. I was completely washed out, bloated and in a lot of pain, so I stayed put. Derek, Ruth and Judith went to get their sibling tattoo’s that had been booked a few months before, and the rest of the gang went out to explore too, leaving me to my own devices. This consisted of  lots of painkillers, a long hot bath, a hot water bottle and sleep.

Thursday I was well enough to go into Vancouver itself, and we had a wander around the centre, with a nice lunch by the harbour and a stroll through Stanley gardens. Oh, and more ice cream, this time made to order with nitrogen, it was yummy. Friday we did the sea-plane tour of the harbour which was great fun, although it was a bit snug, I am glad the weather was calm. We also caught the bus over to Granville Island, had a wander around the market and lunch. Then it was time to pack for our journey home, but on the Friday night before our departure we introduced Cathy & Jim to the game ‘Pass the Pigs’, it got very competitive!!  If you have never tried it I thoroughly recommend you give it a go, throwing two little rubber pigs to see who can reach the high score first is surprisingly addictive and tense.

Saturday morning was a bit fraught as everything was checked and double checked and packed back into the cars. I was very sad at leaving my Canadian family behind, especially our daughter Ruth, we had all had such a lovely time together. I am not ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears.

As for the last three weeks, I have been pretty much wiped out, but it was worth every second. My stomach has been very sore, but thankfully the bloating hasn’t been too bad, manageable. A great deal of painkillers have been consumed, heat packs cuddled, and a lot of time spent both in bed and on the settee. I am though now just about  coming out the other side of it.

To top it all I also got a lovely compliment at the weekend from ‘Live Better with Cancer’, where my blog from last years Scottish holiday was voted as one of the top 5 by people travelling with cancer , so I hope this one is up to standard.

“I’m not afraid of dying, it’s time I’m afraid of…” Interstellar 2014


4 thoughts on “The Big Canadian Family Holiday:-)

  1. Kath, did you have special travel insurance for your trip to Canada? I ask as my husband also has neuroendocrine cancer metastasised to the liver from the bowel. Our son and his wife and daughter live on Vancouver Island and we had hoped to visit this summer but with travel insurance quotes ranging from £1900 to £6000 we decided against it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo, I have pretty comprehensive cover through work, and my consultant signed me off to go. There are a list of providers on the NPF website, and I have also pinned a list from MacMillan in some of the forums. It is a nightmare, and a massive rip off, although I believe a lot of people have had some success with Boots, but you need to ring them. Let me know if you want me to send you the list.

      Vancouver Island is so beautiful, I wanted to stay longer, it would be such a shame if you can make it


      1. Thanks for your reply Kath. We had tried quite a few and even Free Spirit and Insurancewith who had insured us before with no problems. The quote was so high as they said my husband was undergoing treatment even though he only has his monthly injection and is stable at the moment. Yes, it certainly is a rip off. We are going to Cyprus now though it was over £400 for 2 weeks with Free Spirit. They were the ones who originally quoted £6000 but after calling them they reduced it to £1900. We’re just going to pay for my son and family to come to us next year instead. Best Wishes – Jo.


      2. Same as me then, please don’t give up on getting there. It is quite high profile at the moment in the media, apparently less than 20% make a claim. After all your it going to travel if you don’t think you are up to it.

        This is a link to the insurance list from MacMillan, I do not know why some are in yellow, it came like that. Have a lovely time in Cyprus.!As45HC1gmPx-gRe3cgUcelRYLKfJ


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