Tuesday, March 27, 2012


We had a rather nice weekend.  The sun shone quite a bit although it mostly stayed cool.  I even managed to go for a decent bike ride Sunday afternoon.  Right on the forecast, it began raining again Monday morning.   After the rain eased up, Aileen and I went out to the bush in the back of Charlie’s and Sheila’s and had a roaring fire which we tended most of the day.  We cleaned up quite a large section and now have the stiff spots to remember it by.  This would be our version of Work Camping, I guess.
I had been considering replacing the poor quality TV in the motor home for some time and it has now happened.   We haven’t watched TV in any of our RVs and the picture quality of the one that came with the motor home was abysmal.  Even DVDs didn’t look any heck.   It didn’t have any connections for me to hook up the computer either.  Saturday morning, in between helping Chas build a cathouse at his rental (this was for those little four legged furry critters, in case you’re wondering), I built a heavy duty mounting base for the wall mount bracket.  I don’t think I actually got rid of much weight but the mount is really secure.   I haven’t yet tried the TV out though.
Also on Saturday, it was the local Errington Community Center’s 90th birthday party.  This old hall has been a favourite venue for our family since the mid 60’s with many wedding receptions, anniversaries, dances and coffee houses attended.  Aileen spent some time on the board of director’s, I was fire chief in the adjoining previous fire hall and my dad spent many years on the board including a term as president.  For many years Mom and Dad were fixtures at all events, Mom on the door and Dad in the bar.  It has been over 35 years since we lived here and I was amazed at how few people I recognized.  Of course, once some people were pointed out to me, I was able to place them.   Some of us change a lot in 35 years, many of the old stalwarts have passed on and some of the younger ones moved away.
Aileen and I played five games of SkipBo over two nights and she won every one.   Twice she robbed me when I was down to just one card.
We’ve done quite a bit of exploring around sort of looking at property and it has been amazing the number of houses we’ve been seeing tucked away out of sight.  We will see a road heading off and turn up thinking it’s will have a house or two but suddenly there will be a huge row of mailboxes and by the time we’ve followed the road to its end we’ve accounted for all the boxes.

Sophie has found the best spot in the motor home

Was that a camera I heard clicking?

The empty hole after removing the old TV

The new TV installed

5968 foot high Mt Arrowsmith, on the left is the highest mountain on southern Vancouver Island.  Mt  Cokely is the smaller one on the right at 5312 feet elevation

Mt Arrowsmith

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


On Sunday before Richard and Georgia headed home to Victoria, we took a short walk along the Englishman River area known as Top Bridge Regional Park.  This was the location of the first vehicle bridge across the river many years ago.  The regional district has installed a pedestrian bridge as part of their regional park making the whole area more accessible.
Yesterday, Aileen and I went to Courtenay where I bought a 32 inch flat screen TV.  Why did I do that, when we don’t even watch TV, you ask.  I would like to be able to do photo presentations with a larger screen.  I had looked at this particular model last week and after researching, found it was the top rated by Consumer  Reports last year for Canadian models.  When I went there yesterday to actually buy it, the price was marked down $70!  Now comes the fun of trying to make it fit in the motor home.  The old TV was a much smaller screen and the quality was terrible.  Even DVDs didn’t play well.  There is lots of head scratching going on here now trying to come up with a solution that will enable access to the large area left empty from removing the old style TV as well as mounting this new one securely.  We enjoyed lunch at the Union Street Grill and Grotto where they are very good at doing gluten free meals.  Later we went over to Comox to visit my Aunt Isabelle.  She is 86 or 87, I think, and in good shape except for some memory issues.  She’s still very cheerful and living on her own.
Today we took a trip over to an adjoining island, Gabriola.  We were last there in September 2010 and wanted to more thoroughly explore it.  We took some real estate listings along to check out and most were rejected out of hand.  It seems pretty popular to bury your house in the trees over there which doesn’t work for someone like me who craves light.  I think there are quite strong regulations regarding tree removal on most of the gulf islands.  We had a fairly decent day weather wise and got to eat our picnic lunch outside.  We did bundle up well though.   We took the 9:30 sailing over from Nanaimo and the 3:25 return so we made it home in time for supper.  We had taken enough food to do for supper if we decided to stay til the 5:30 boat.

These two shots are along Englishman River

Our car this morning

There ferry to Gabriola in Nanaimo Harbour

Leaving Nanaimo

A lighthouse off Gabriola.  The mountains looming in the background are north of Vancouver

An Arbutus Tree with the lighthouse in the distance

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Our son Richard brought our granddaughter Georgia up from Victoria today.  They are staying overnight with us in the motor home and will head home tomorrow sometime.    We all went down to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park after lunch and enjoyed a walk.  Lots of other people had the same idea.  I think all the parks are getting more use since the government rescinded the day use fees.
We made it up to Campbell River on Thursday and had a good visit with Cousin Bill.  We checked out a couple real estate listings while there but nothing very interesting.   A couple were old single wide trailers with additions and they both needed a lot of work.  One was quite moldy and would be better by doing a match reno; that’s lighting it up with a match!  
Aileen and I went to the Coombs Country Opera last night and enjoyed the evening.  The local and Port Alberni Old Time Fiddlers opened and closed the evening.  In between was sort of an open mike with most performers and groups getting up and doing three songs.  There were some really good performances but as is usual with this type of venue, some were less than stellar.  It cost $5 each for nearly three hours of music.  The Coombs Country Opera will celebrate 36 years next month.
We had a pretty nice day with lots of sun today.  The past week has been very lousy for weather with several snow falls, some high winds and lots of rain.  Not much of the snow stayed on the ground fortunately.   We’re hoping the weather improves quickly now.
I’ve been noticing that quite a few of the bloggers I follow have left their winter abodes and have headed back to their summer locations or are at least starting to work their way there.   Next year we hope to go south later and not have to cross the border until mid April.  We had to come back so early this year because of going down before the middle of September for the Colorado Springs photo conference.   I think for the next few years if I want to attend the September conferences, I will fly down then right back again.  I have been watching enviously the pictures of the desert starting to flower from some of the blog posts plus the pictures sent out by my ATV friends.   

Englishman River Falls from the bridge

From the other side looking up to the bridge

Ferns and mosses dominate the forest 

Aileen, Mitzy, Richard and Georgia

Looking downstream off the bridge

Monday, March 12, 2012


When we went bed last night, the ground was getting white and big snowflakes filled the air.  I was awakened by wind and rain pelting the motor home about 2 am and when I looked outside, the ground was bare again.  We had planned to go to Campbell River to visit cousin Bill but he called to say the power was out and the weather was terrible.  We decided to postpone our trip.  Later I read online that Campbell River was the hardest hit with trees and debris down on many streets.  There was also a report that a house roof blew off and into the neighbour’s yard.  Maybe we’ll go tomorrow.
After breakfast we went down to the beach to check out the waves.  French Creek was the best, with big waves blasting the shore.  We went to several other areas but some of them were pretty sheltered so the waves weren’t much.  The tide was also going out as the morning progressed which minimized the wave effect at the beach.  After a while, we decided to head home as we were getting hungry even though it was still too early for lunch.  When we went in the motor home, Aileen noticed the time and remembered we hadn’t set the clock in the car to daylight saving time so it was actually past lunch time.

Some waves at French Creek Boat Basin

These deer took advantage of a lull in the rain to grab a snack

Rainbow at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park

Rathtrevor has some dandy fir trees in the campground

Mitzy had the right idea for today's weather

Sunday, March 11, 2012


My Mom planted snowdrops many years ago and they are still creating a beautiful carpet of  cheer every spring

The weather has been all over the place recently.  We’ve had snow then minutes later the sun will be shining and nice and warm and within minutes it will be raining.  It sure is nice to be plugged in to power so we can have an electric heater running.
Chas and I went to visit our Mom the other night and she was doing fairly well.  She doesn’t seem to have lost any ground since last fall.  It is so good that she can be in a home where she is well cared for.
Aileen and I had another bonfire and burned up a lot of branches and debris.  We also burned off some dry grass.
We took a drive over to Port Alberni a couple days ago to poke around.  I had found an interesting little restaurant called Bare Bones, which advertised gluten free fish and chips, by typing in gluten free eating in Port Alberni.  They grilled some sockeye salmon for Aileen and their chips are always gluten free.  I had beer batter cod and chips and we both enjoyed our lunch.  Aileen had no ill effects later, which was good.
Aileen's sister Anne, and John, arrived midafternoon yesterday.  We visited awhile then went to Roong’s (Sheila’s Thai sister in law) Westhill Restaurant for supper at 5:30.  Chas and Sheila and Ethel and Terry (Sheila’s Mom and brother) joined us for a delicious supper.  John went home with Chas and Sheila to watch the Canucks get beaten in the hockey game while Aileen, Anne and I went to the Bluegrass show at the Rodeo grounds.  Ethel and Terry were there too.  There was some good music but some was a little loud.  We got to see Chris Stevens and John Milne from the Chris Stevens Band who are from Eagle Bay near Salmon Arm.  I’ve heard about them for years but never seen them perform.
As we approach noon today, it is beautifully sunny and blue skies.   Anne and John just left a few minutes ago to visit their son Mike in Port Alberni.  We hope to spend a month, or so, on Northern Vancouver Island with Anne and John this summer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We are having trouble keeping the motor home warm enough with the cool damp weather that is happening.   Several degrees of frost forecast for tonight.  When I took Mitzy for her walk this morning she was somewhat surprised to find her tongue skidding along the surface when she tried to have a puddle drink.  She only tried a couple times before telling me we’d better get back to the motor home for a drink.
We have been busy earning our temporary parking spot at my brother Charlie’s (and Sheila).  We have done miscellaneous chores around the place and today had a large bonfire cleaning up one section of the back yard.  Aileen enjoys having a fire and doesn’t consider it work.  I leveled a corner of the yard so the lawnmower can access it instead of having to use the weed whacker.
Aileen has been arranging visits of some of our relatives for the short time we are in this area.  We are both arranging appointments for our few weeks in Salmon Arm, our former home.  We don’t think we’ll  stay there too long this year.  Last year we stayed much longer because we were building our storage shed at our daughter’s.  We need to be down in the south Okanagan for a celebration of life for our friend Carole on May 5th and have no idea yet which direction to go from there.  One advantage of this full timing is the ability to change direction fairly easily.

This is my office.  Aileen has been typing my Mom's diaries as an ongoing project spanning several years.  I proof then print them.  My Dad actually started the diary in 1946 before I was born then Mom took them over.  She was still writing them until just a couple years ago until her mental health declined too far.  Yesterday, I finished printing 1993 ending at page 4,563.  Yes that's right!!

This is yesterday out the side window

This was out the front window.  Today was a gorgeous sunny day but only just a few degrees above freezing