Published work

High tech streaming system brings Kootenay curling into digital age

Curling has existed in BC for more than 120 years, with the Kootenays being home to some of the first clubs. A lot has changed over that time, including the way people watch the sport. In January 2016 I spoke to Cranbrook’s Chris Medford about his efforts to link curlers with a neat tool on their smart device.

Cranbrook’s curling club might not be the centre of the universe, but it has suddenly found itself with a powerful tool that allows it to reach a national or even international audience.Read More »High tech streaming system brings Kootenay curling into digital age

Summer Games athletes deserve support

When I worked for the Nanaimo Daily News, I was lucky enough to get to produce a column. I enjoyed writing the following piece on the Olympics. In it, I predicted that Canada wouldn’t get a bucket-load of gold medals, but argued that these athletes deserve our admiration even more than some of the gold-medal winning Winter Olympians.

Tommy Gossland dives into the UBC Aquatic centre pool. Picture Copyright Geoff Lister/The Ubyssey.

Tommy Gossland dives into the UBC Aquatic centre pool. Picture Copyright Geoff Lister/The Ubyssey.

Canadians need to start embracing the Summer Olympic Games like they embrace the Winter Olympics.

For a nation that professes to love sport, we are too often prone to ignore some of our best and brightest athletes.Read More »Summer Games athletes deserve support

Plastic may be fantastic but only a real Christmas tree will cut it

Christmas is coming — and it’s time for the annual tree panic. If an  artificial tree just won’t cut it, then you might want to join the growing numbers  “choosing and cutting” their own Christmas tree. I visited a farm  to get the whole festive experience. South Wales Evening Post, Wednesday, December 7, 2011. 

I HAVE really fond memories of my childhood trips to get our Christmas tree.

My dad would take my sister, my brother and I out in our estate car, armed with an axe and some twine, and we’d travel up a snow-covered country road to find somewhere where an evergreen would be growing. The outing usually culminated — after a big argument over which tree to choose — with my dad strapping a less-than-perfect-but-still-beautiful tree to the top of the car, and packing us all home where mum would serve hot chocolate.

​If this sounds unlikely to you — a bit too Hallmark-card perfect — it might not surprise you to find out that I grew up in Canada.

Not just Canada, but northern British Columbia, where trees outnumber people by about 82 million to one, give or take, and there’s always a white Christmas. It has meant that, for me, the fake Christmas trees you buy in the supermarket just won’t cut it.

Read More »Plastic may be fantastic but only a real Christmas tree will cut it

I’m losing my Canadian English

Pic by Graham Roumieu.

English, I have learned, isn’t just one language. Depending on where you live in the English-speaking world, words can develop new meanings or spiral into new directions.

When I prepared for my move to Britain, I didn’t think my English would be much different from that of my British peers. I was wrong. My job as a writer and editor has forced me to examine these differences closely, and it has made me realize just how much language can create – and change – your identity.

Read More »I’m losing my Canadian English

Rosslyn and an autumn journey to Edinburgh

Here is my review, in full, of a trip to the Scottish borders in October 2010. A version of this appeared in the South Wales Evening Post on Saturday, October 30, 2010.

THE best-selling Da Vinci Code book and film inextricably changed the face of Rosslyn Chapel, on the Scottish borders.At one time, the relatively small chapel attracted 3,000 visitors a year.

But Dan Brown’s international best seller threw the decaying building into the limelight. At the height of the book’s popularity, 175,000 visited the chapel, and, in 2009, visitor numbers were still well above the 100,000 mark.

Although a visit to the chapel wasn’t our only aim on travelling to Scotland, it was most definitely one of the highlights.

Read More »Rosslyn and an autumn journey to Edinburgh

Aldershot barracks fill in for ‘Eastern bloc’ era Moscow buildings in Bond film

Filming for the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace, took place in Aldershot and Farnborough while I was a reporter for the News & Mail. I interviewed local people who took part in the production.  It was published on the Get Hampshire website on October 30, 2008.

Cinema-goers from the News area will be able to see some familiar sights when they go to the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.

Farnborough Airport and the Bruneval Barracks, in Montgomery Lines, Aldershot, were used in the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to Casino Royale, due out in cinemas Friday.

The star-studded cast from the film, including Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench, were all filmed in the area in January.

The barracks were portrayed as snow-covered buildings in Moscow.

Read More »Aldershot barracks fill in for ‘Eastern bloc’ era Moscow buildings in Bond film

Fatima Cengic tells story of heroism

The Interior News, July 28, 2004.

Fatima Cengic survived the siege of Tesanj, in Bosnia, and proceeded to build a life for herself in Canada – all thanks to a Christmas shoebox that arrived from Whitehorse and a great deal of determination. This was published in the Interior News on July 28, 2004. This story also never made it online, so here is a full transcript:

WHEN Fatima Cengic was 13 years old, she was living in Tesanj, a Bosnian city under siege by Serbian militants. She was unable to enjoy even the simplest of pleasures of life, such as a carefree stroll down the road.

Because of the threat of gunfire and bombs, she lived with her family in the basement of their home for six months.

But after six months, Cengic got fed up and decided enough was enough.

“My room was upstairs, everything was upstairs,” she says.

“I just hated the basement.”

To the chagrin of her parents, Cengic defied what they thought was safe, and began sleeping upstairs.

Read More »Fatima Cengic tells story of heroism