Monday, August 20, 2018

ROBBLOG #734- Time Flies When You're Moving

I'm a bit early writing this post.

I had planned to have this ROBBLOG posted on August 22nd, one year since we drove Priscilla
onto this Island. However, I wanted to mention a bunch of stuff and it was getting all clogged up in my mind.

So, going back 365 days- give or take, Priscilla, The SwissshMobile, Tom and I, the mini-schnauzers Missy and Koko and our orange boy Dickens (Doyle stayed behind in Winnipeg) crossed the water on board the Queen of Alberni. It was a beautiful day for a sail- blue skies, sunshine and the smell of the ocean underneath the BC Ferry.

We had been on the road for eight days all the way from Orillia, Ontario through two eight hour driving days- just to get out of Ontario, then Manitoba, across the Prairies with salt flats and tumbleweed, driving up and over the majesty that is the Rockies, down the Coquihalla and across the mainland to Tsawassen to board the Ferry to Vancouver Island.

We did it.
We survived the sale of our wonderful Pine Tree House.
We still miss her so much but she gave us our future and a new home here in the Cowichan. For that she will be forever in our hearts. We know the first buyers flipped her. They had no idea what she meant to us. We thought she was being sold to someone who cared about the house- our home, not just making a dollar.

We know for those back in our old neighbourhood it is tough looking at her sitting there with new owners, perhaps not as loved as she was for the 25 years she was in our care.
At least, that's what your e-mails and texts are saying.
We are truly sorry for that.
Pine Tree House deserves more than a casual caretaking.
She needs devotion and constant upkeep.
I have to move on now or the tears will flow..

Our c.1882 Pine Tree House when we lived there.
Gawd, there was the packing.
Garage Sales. A car sale.
The Goodbyes..
The many heartfelt goodbyes.
I can't.....

Then, the final driving away early in the morning when the neighbourhood was quiet, late August pretty and forgiving, realizing we would no longer be a part of its daily life.
The fabric of a neighbourhood we loved.
Believe me it hit home at that moment.
That was hard. Real hard.
The driving away down Matchedash Street North...

~pause for a moment for the tears...again~

A year in the life.
Here we are today settled in our new house- Palm Villa, in a new neighbourhood, in a new province on an Island that's not so new.
It's been an adventure.
Sometimes challenging. Tough. Unexpected.
Today we have many new friends.
We go out to dinner. To the Theatre. We socialize with friends and neighbours.
We tell stories of our time in Pine Tree House and the years before.

West Coast Island Living. This is Palm Villa
Some things in our day-to-day lives are new- like smoke!
As I write this, I am staying indoors. The smoke is relentless today. We can't see Mount Prevost from our Lanai. Blue smoke swirls between trees and houses.
It's in my eyes causing them to water and itch. It's in my throat.
I can taste it  The air is thick. It's hot feeling like 30c.
We have all the indoor exhaust fans on and the air cleaner working at full blast. The air quality is not good which is to be expected with more than 500 fires burning across the province.

We were going to spend a couple of days in Vancouver- just the two of us, then, the smoke worsened and we cancelled out hotel and ferry crossings.

Usually you see Mount Prevost there behind that Hill.
That is all smoke!
It isn't as easy to travel about here on our Island as it was in Ontario. There you just pick up and go. Head the van south and you're in Toronto in an hour. Go east and you're in the Kawarthas or west to Midland and Owen Sound.

On the Island, you have to fly from Nanaimo or Victoria International to leave this paradise. Since we are former airline employees we stand by for available seats on flights. That's not always easy. The only other way off the Island besides swimming for the mainland is to take a Ferry from Departure Bay, Duke Point or drive all the way down to Sidney- east of Victoria in the Saanich Peninsula, to Swartz Bay. One more option would be Harbour Air- located about ten minutes from us at Maple Bay, flying in a float plane right into downtown Vancouver.

Driving is a new experience here with the many roundabouts and dead end "no exit" streets. That's because either a mountain or the ocean stops the road from continuing. Here in Duncan, city streets don't always allow you to "get there from here". You would understand that if you visited or lived here.

It is beautiful.
The ocean.
The flora and fauna- palms, banana trees, dogwoods and rhododendrons.
Many plants remain green all year through.

We don't have much of that moisture that Easterners think we have year round. We haven't had rain in a couple of months and things are brown- unless you have drip lines in your gardens or built-in lawn sprinklers and still there are watering rules. Vancouver Island is green in the winter and dead-brown in the summer.
It takes some getting used to but we don't get cold.
No minus 30's.
No snow piled high for months on end.
A sweatshirt and a weatherproof jacket is all you need from November through February. I wore a leather jacket only a handful of times last year and just a scarf or two- just for fashion.
We sat outside having coffee on sunny mornings in December, January AND February.
We planted in our gardens in all of those months!

Anyhoo, there it is and here we are, an entire year later.
So many changes and such a future to look forward to.
People from back home who have visited us- and in two cases moved here, say Tom and I look younger, healthier, better.
Thank you!
We feel that way.
We walk almost every day.
We relax. We garden. We read. We talk to neighbours. Everybody talks to everybody here on the Island- even in the grocery store lineups. It's disconcerting at first and then you get used to it. It was easy for us because we talk to every George, Dick and Harry we meet anyway.

Maple Bay with Salt Spring Island- 10 minutes from us
So Dear Friends, Family and former Neighbours, we are doing well.
We have settled.
We are smiling.
We have started a new life here on Vancouver Island- just don't get us started on ICBC insurance or some other government stuff!

Finally, we sold the Swissshmobile last fall- our Montana Van.
That was difficult.
Priscilla- the RV that got us here safely? She has just been sold and listen no matter what the folks at Heidi's back therein Ontario tell you, you will not make money on your RV when  you sell it here.
Quite the opposite.

And lastly-as the last Blog told you, our Doyle (Dicken's Brother) is still not with us and we can only hope he is happy- and safe, wherever he is- because we are...

The Island Boys