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Claire Martin

Claire Martin

Christmas Communications – by Claire

So far this year I’ve received just 10 Christmas Cards, and 3 of those are signed-sincerely-by-the-office “corporate” cards. And I’m kinda bummed.
Let me back up here.
My annual Christmas routine USED to include 2-3 evening weekends, in late November and early December, spent diligently writing close to 200 Christmas cards. I always added a personal note. I always added a Christmas letter. Though it was a pain in the arse to physically write and sign all these cards – I loved the routine. And just as importantly, I loved the cards that I got back. I loved the connection I felt, to friends and family spread literally around the world.
There’s still something quintessentially delightfully “old fashioned” about getting hand written mail.
I kept 3 pages of lists of names of people (family and friends) that were annually added -or sadly dropped off- the Christmas card list. Don’t get me wrong. It was a chore. But it was a rewarding, ultimately “connecting” chore.
That all said – Christmas card sending is going the way of pennies, lamplighters and Blockbusters! There’s simply no need to send a paper card via snail mail when you can send an e-mail and connect (virtually) instantly.
So why am I a little sad at all this?
I mean, the cost alone is prohibitive. A single stamp to England is $2.50 – and I have all my family, everyone, in the “old country”. And I understand that it’s not particularly “Green” of me to have trees cut down for such a frivolous use.
But I am a little sad.
I loved the notes. I loved the family updates. I loved the cards.
But wait.. there’s a happy end to all this (it is Christmas after all!). My seriously technically challenged family has managed to jump on an App (yes a mobile phone App) that can connect us all. And this year (for the second year in a row) have decided that all of us must send the whole group a Christmas-related photo every day for the entire month of December.
My cousins live in Norway – the scenery is breathtaking;
My brother is in London – his shots of my city twinkling and sparkling make me smile and a little homesick;
My mother – who doesn’t understand the task nor the App, sends strange shots while shopping!
I love it when my phone chimes.. and I glance down and see another new “card”.
It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year!
– Claire
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Claire Martin

Brolly Brawling – by Claire


Photo credit: Domo-Domo-kun

I do not own an umbrella!


Most of you right now are laughing at me, some are shocked, and some are simply dumbfounded..

The question is: How can I live on the WET west coast, on the fringe of a rain forest no less, and not own an umbrella?

Here’s my thinking:

  1. I have had bad relationships with umbrellas in the past. I had one beautiful, bright flowery brolly – but it would just not close properly. Right there, always on the bus, always surrounded by my cordial commuting cohorts, who all carefully cloistered their brollies lest they drip on seats etc., right then and there this wretched apparatus would spring open. WHOMPF.


  1. I have owned cheap-ass, poorly constructed umbrellas that simply don’t do the job. They barely cover me, they don’t stay fully open and I look like I’ve got a poorly constructed plastic mini-tent over my head. Not cool!

So – I have yet to find a great umbrella. So I have given up!

Furthermore, umbrella etiquette seems to be missing on the streets of Vancouver.

Please, people – leave the golf umbrella for the golf course.

Also .. I’m “petite” (read: short) so even with a suitably sized umbrella, some maneuvering is going to be necessary on a crowded Georgia Street sidewalk. Taller people (I beg you) please raise your brolly when approaching us littl’ns. As my Granny would say “eyes can be lost with a careless use of knives and brollies”!

Finally – the real reason that I’ve given up on owning a brolly – have you tried texting, or holding a coffee with a brolly in your same hand? It’s impossible!

So I walk the soggy streets of Vancouver in Gortex.

Forgo the brolly.

It’s actually quite liberating!



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Claire Martin

Inspiration – by Claire


Photo courtesy: UNBC

It’s funny where you find inspiration.

Because I just found it, this past week, in Prince George.

Let me back up.

We all know that for many of us, the past two weeks, since the evening of November 8, 2016, have been a time of much hand-wringing, some self-recrimination, and a lot of “what-went-wrong” discussions. I know because I have taken part in all of that (and more!).

I have felt beaten for over two weeks now. And there has been little in the news to make me feel any better.

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Claire Martin

Migraines – by Claire

img_5169suffer from migraines and yesterday was a bad day for me.

Now, there are many of us out there who suffer from these type of headaches, and if you do, you’re going to recognize the moments in this story. If you don’t – here’s the way it usually goes for me ..

I have got very good at recognizing the day-before-pre-migraine symptoms: usually a slight headache, a feeling of “warmth” gently pulsing behind my eyes, and a very, very slight sensitivity to light.

If I’m on top of it.. I wait – Continue Reading

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Claire Martin

Google You – by Claire


Image: Tamara Volodina

The other night I found myself watching CNN, and caught the latest Jeanne Moos piece. She’s a great reporter, working the “off-beat” stories with a casual, irreverent usually humorous style. Her last story started with the question – “Have you ever “Googled” yourself?”

Most of us have. Of course I have, but it’s been a while. So of course, I had to have another go..

Here’s the results when I put “Claire Martin” into the search bar:




The first 2 results I know about, the 3rd – WHOA!

It’s a spoof.. but holy cow.. at 10 pm it jolted me out of my bed (safely sans Mr Mansbridge, I might add!). I had no idea.. and of course I had to click and enter the rabbit hole that can often be the internet.

Wide awake now I decided to check out my Twitter name – and did a search of accounts with the name “Claire Martin”.

Of the top 6 results, I personally know 3!

The great jazz singer – Claire Martin – and I have actually chatted about occasionally being mistaken for one another. My father is a huge fan of hers; I have most of her CD’s and quite frankly, she’s much better looking than I, so the mistake is often to my advantage. In fact in the early 2000’s I was put on a BBC List of “top 100 entertainers to watch” – I’m convinced to this day that the radio executive that constructed the list actually had me mistaken for her!

The 4th Claire MARTIN is also a lovely woman! She lives and works in Paris, France – and we were introduced at a function about 10 years ago at car show and have often had to direct misguided requests for each other back to the other!

So – is it really a small world? Is my name really that common? Or is there maybe more going on here?

What really floors me is that the other 3 “Claire Martins” in the top 6 twitter accounts – are all journalists. I’m going to reach out to all three and see if they’ll write a piece for us on #mybackyard.

See, Jeanne Moos – that’s what happens when you Google yourself!

Claire Martin – aka The meteorologist/former broadcaster Claire Martin

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Claire Martin

Paris Agreement – by Claire

img_4871For those of you wondering, here’s the Coleman’s notes version on the about-to-be-ratified Paris Agreement:

The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaption and finance starting in the year 2020.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries (including Canada – see photo) at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris (aka COP21) and was adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.

In the Paris Agreement, countries agree to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and do their best to keep it below 1.5 degrees C, compared with pre-industrial times.

It was decided at COP21 that the agreement would only come into legal force after 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions sanctioned it, and signed on the dotted line.

So in October, after the European Union ratified the agreement, there were enough countries that had formally recognized it, for the agreement to enter into force.

The agreement will take effect on 4 November 2016.

Believe it or not, agreeing to the rules laid out in the agreement, was the easy part. Achieving the goals will be much harder.

The Paris deal calls for countries to review their individual emissions targets every five years, to see if they can find ways to achieve deeper cuts as renewable energy technologies become better and cheaper.

The first review is set for 2018 – just a scant two years from now.


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Claire Martin

Cockney Claire

Getty Images

Getty Images

I’m a Cockney. I’m actually a “true” Cockney.. in fact I’m the only true Cockney in the family. And I’m very proud of it.

When you live in Canada, a country of immigrants, where you come from is a big deal.

So here’s my story.

I was born in Lambeth, at home, in a “two up two down” terrace row house within shouting distance of Guys Hospital, about 10 blocks from the River Thames.
Having been born in London is one thing.. but having been born within a highly specific limit of the core of London.. is something else entirely.

Not every Londoner is a Cockney (which drives my hackney-cab holding licensed brother NUTS!).

You can technically only be a Cockney if you were born in the East End of the city. within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in the Cheapside district of the City of London.

This actually gives more scope to being a Cockney than you might think, as the bells have been proven to have been heard six miles to the east, four miles to the west, five miles to the north and three miles to the south. Dick Whittington, according to legend, heard the bells in Highgate in North London before he turned back and came home.
The reason that hearing the bells was/is such a big thing in the nomenclature is because during the early London days (in the 16th century) fires would often run rampant through London. Church bells then tolled to draw in residents to help fight these fires. If you could hear the bells, you were considered a Cockney and were therefore expected to come help fight fire.

I love that the legacy of being a Cockney is not actually about the accent but about the community. Can you imagine if we installed that sense of “ownership” or “responsibility” to our own neighbourhoods? Say if you lived in Kits and a child wandered off and went missing around Cornwall and Vine, you’d be expected to help search for the lost child.

There’s something wonderfully “family’esque” to being a Cockney. Think Michael Caine. Think Mary Poppins. Think Adele.

I love that I’m a Cockney. I love being Canadian. There’s something ultimately uniting about being a Cockney’d Canadian.

What’s your story? What do you bring to Canada?


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Claire Martin

Little white lies – are they ok? – by Claire


Photo credit Christina Reichi Photography

The woman that cuts my hair calls me Julie!

I’m not sure where or when the mistake began. I KNOW I introduced myself as Claire, but somewhere between my first and third haircut, she started calling me Julie.
I clearly remember sitting in the waiting area at the salon (around my fourth appointment) when she called “ok Julie – you’re up” – as I leapt to me feet, my bemused girlfriend said “you’re not Julie” and I simply said “well, here I am”!
The best part of being a fictitious Julie is that I have now made up an entirely fictitious life to chat about with my hairdresser.
Julie has been married for close to 25 years to her high school sweetheart (I am not).
Julie has three strapping, grown up kids (I do not)
And Julie is looking forward to retiring from her career (“desk job”) in a couple of years (I wish)!
Now all of this is an out and out lie – but for some reason, I don’t feel bad.
It’s not hurting anyone and I have – I feel rather deftly – avoided that awkward point in our relationship where I would have had to point out to my lovely hairdresser that my name is actually Claire.
So when is lying ok??
The BCC has a lying ethics guide – which I have read (no lie) –  but it feels onerous.
I know I know.. honesty is the best policy. Seriously people I know.
But this feels so harmless..
What do you think?!
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Claire Martin

Gerbils. – by Claire


Photo: Getty Images

Ok – so I’ve bitten the bullet.

I have joined a gym.
Now before you give me that look, I’m joining a gym so that I don’t hurt my foot. I’m getting desperate to do something with this now-rampantly-flabby body, but I know that I can’t run. So here I am, doing something I swore I would never do – become a human gerbil and working out in a room filled with other well-intentioned human gerbils.

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