Scottish tree hybridisers

My parents are here!

They arrived on Saturday, on the same flight as my boss’s inlaws1 and the woman who Gordon Brown called a bigot2. And now I have five weeks of chatting to my Dad about football  before work! Oh, and endless comments of the “do you always have that kind of thing for breakfast?” variety. At least my Mum has finally given up trying to stop me (and my sister, when they visit her) from leaving the house with wet hair.

Yesterday morning was spent in the VanDusen Botanical Garden, which is in full and splendid bloom at the moment.

A non-blooming part of the garden. Oops!

My Dad’s sense of humour has been documented here previously, but one thing I didn’t mention was that every trip has to have a theme. He’ll find something that amuses him, then create a whole set of jokes, stories, and banter around it. For example, after meeting someone on his flight once who had an annoying voice and rather unusual opinions on several issues, everything that happened on that trip had to be commented on and re-told as if by that person. It’s always very funny for the first week, less so the second, and gets gradually more annoying through constant repetition. By the end of five weeks we’ll be begging him to stop, but my poor Mum will have to live with it for at least another month after they get home.

Mr E Man’s Scottish heritage is a recurring theme of my Dad’s banter, and he happened to be wearing his Scotland rugby shirt yesterday. So when my Dad spotted a mention of a “famous Scottish tree hybridiser” on one of the Garden’s plaques, it quickly became apparent that the theme for this trip was set.

“You Scotsmen will shag anything!” was the opening salvo. (Mr E Man did point out that this is not a very nice thing to say to the man who married your daughter).

There was much more banter along these lines as we made our way around the garden, and the puns and jokes continued over lunch. I know I shouldn’t encourage my Dad in his efforts, but “Robert the Spruce” popped into my head and was too good not to share. My Dad then inquired whether Mr E Man’s ancestors came from the Outer or Inner Hybridise3, and it’s all been downhill since then.


Ah well, it’s lovely to see them, and we have lots planned for the next few weeks. Luckily, both my parents seem happy to watch lots of hockey (Go Canucks Go! WOOOOOOO!). We’re also taking them to see Delhi 2 Dublin (we’ve told my Dad that the venue will be serving curried Guiness), and to visit Mr E Man’s mum and then one of his sisters. Oh, and we’re going to Whistler so the boys can play golf and the girls can go to the spa. So if you don’t see me round the blogosphere as much as usual, this is why… so much to do! Although we will have a temporary return to normality next week when my parents leave for their week-long Alaskan cruise, and they might also go down to Seattle for a couple of days at some point.

Oh, and the cats are being excellent ambassadors for their species; if this continues, my Mum should be able to persuade my Dad to get another cat (the last one died seven years ago), if/when she decides that she would like one. She’s always been a pet person, but my Dad most definitely isn’t, and he agreed to get the last cat only after much begging and crying by my sister and me. The cat turned out to be a vicious little bugger who’d rather scratch you than snuggle with you; Google and Saba are the opposite, and have already slept on his lap several times. Nice work, kitties!


1) I ran into him and his family in the arrivals area. We had a long wait as there was a problem with the baggage carousel; my parents got one suitcase immediately, but had to wait an hour before the second one showed up.

2) Apparently she was very embarrassed to be recognised! I wonder if it was a pre-planned trip or if she suddenly felt the need to flee the country…

3) Link for those of you not au fait with Scottish geography

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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10 Responses to Scottish tree hybridisers

  1. chall says:

    I read all this and smile but still can't get my head around one thing; 5 weeks?!?!!?!!? FIVE?!?! In your house? By golly, I need a bigger house for that to happen (and an extra TV and some other stuff) :)although, I did glance at the duplex next door that is on sale as a potential "owning to rent" place for my out of town guests (as family). THen I recalled that, alas, I am not that rich. But it was fun for a second…Hope you have a grand time! And GO CANUCKS indeed!! 😀

  2. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Yup, five whole weeks! It's such a long way to come, and they're retired now, so…They're excellent guests though, and do their best to go away on side trips while we're working. As ever, sharing the one and only bathroom in the house is the biggest single issue – oh how I long for a second bathroom! (A second house would be even better, obviously, but completely unattainable).Game 1 of the Canucks-Chicago series exceeded my expectations by such a long way that I didn't even really understand what I was seeing on Saturday night. I think tonight could be a bit closer, to say the least, and you can never count these guys out, as we learned last year. As long as Luongo keeps his current form though, we have a good chance of getting through.

  3. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    p.s. my Dad asked Mr E Man who the Canucks were playing, and mis-heard "Blackhawks" as Black, um, something else. Thank goodness THAT didn't become the theme of the trip!

  4. knutty knitter says:

    My mother lives next door 🙂 Fortunately we are also good friends so not a problem, in fact a plus as I can now help her out as necessary.viv in nz

  5. Professor in Training says:

    That's great that your parents are visiting. But 5 weeks!? I'd go crazy. Or kill them. Or both.

  6. RPS77 says:

    A term like "Famous Scottish tree hybridiser" is a good reminder that fame can be relative to a particular field.I think that the ability to frequently make silly jokes is a sign of a healthy family. It's one of the things that I like most about my when my immediate family gets together. I don't think any of us are quite consistent enough to keep up the same theme for multiple minutes, let alone multiple days and weeks.

  7. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Knutty Knitter, there are definitely pros and cons of both situations! I would like to see my family more often (and maybe for shorter periods of time, heh), but that's what you sign up for when you move such a long way from home. I keep trying to get them to move to Victoria – having them 2 hours away would be just perfect!PiT, well, there's a week long break coming up starting next Wednesday, which will reset the clock. And all four of us will go away together for almost a whole week later on, which is a break from being at home. But five weeks is indeed a long time!RPS77, there's hope for us all yet! Maybe I can be a famous British-Canadian grant wrangler / blogger!I could live without the consistent theme. But not without the silly jokes and banter.

  8. EcoGeoFemme says:

    It's hard to have your family so far away because long visits get long. I would much rather see people more frequently but for less time. Sigh…if only Far Off Land weren't so far off.Anyway, it sounds like you have a great visit planned with your parents! Can't wait to hear all about it.

  9. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Yeah, two or three times a year for a week at a time would be my preference too! But Bad Daughters who move to Canada don't get that option 🙂

  10. ScienceGirl says:

    5 weeks?!? Side trips and all, I hope y'all really get along!Unfortunately, my family doesn't get to visit us at all as it is so difficult for Ukrainians to get tourist visas to U.S. (I can sponsor, but they would have to take multiple overnight trips to the consulate, and then it is not guaranteed, etc.) So we visit them instead, but vacations are awfully short in U.S.

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