Well, what presents did Santa bring you last week? Something festive I hope. He certainly didn’t forget the Calder household here in sleepy Parksville on Vancouver Island.
He gave me a delightfully debilitating chesty virus, which sent me to bed during Christmas afternoon. Boxing Day was just a blip on the calendar. I did manage to creep downstairs to say hello to some of Garry & Monica’s pals who popped round during the afternoon, but all I wanted to do was sleep, sleep sleep.
I managed to hang on for everybody to arrive and it was great to catch up with the Calder clan. It’s been around 10 years since we had seen Stephen, Brian and Terry Lynn, and despite asking them not to, we both had a number of gifts thrust upon us. I particularly like my “Canucks” ice hockey hoodie. That will get some good use when we get back on the boat. Especially when we encounter the Canadian crews who inhabit the waterways during the summer flying their maple leaves from their tiller bars. I was really looking forward to the Christmas spread, but only managed a bit of turkey and a spoonful of Terry Lynne’s Brussel Sprout, hazelnut and bacon dish, which I was really looking forward to. And the glass I am holding in the picture is the only drink I had over Christmas. A tragedy!
|The Calder family clan gather on the porch on Christmas morning|
|Everybody gets stuck into the present opening|
I don’t know if I have passed my germs on, or where I got them from, for so many folks are suffering from coughs and colds over here at present. I just can’t get rid of my cough and just hope it disappears before we get on our next flight next Wednesday. Pat has so far resisted the germs. She was a little poorly on the drive up the Pacific North Coast and considering the fall out around us she remains remarkably perky.
So it’s been a low-key holiday season for us. The lull before the storm, so to speak, for when we get to Wellington I am sure there will not be a lot of lazing around with a three-year old to entertain. And despite coughs and sneezes, we have had a very restful time here and it is still a novelty to have so much room to operate in, after the confines of the boat for so many months. Though there are four of us in the house, I can normally sit at the far end and practice on my new uke without offending anybody when I play the same song over and over in an attempt to get the changes fast and slick.
We had booked a New Year’s Night of entertainment at a local community hall here in Parksville and on arrival, it was fairly obvious it was not quite what any of us had in mind. After an hour or so, an elderly couple sat down with us and we ended up going back to their apartment to see the New Year in. They had just moved south from Fort St George, way north, so the minus-one conditions were positively Mediterranean to them.
|Princess Pat wears her New Year crown|
|We saw 2015 in at this delightful couples condo, Jaye and Cecelia, who we had met two hours earlier.|
A feature of New Year’s Day in coastal British Columbia, is the annual charity Polar Bar swim, which many seaside towns run each year. They had 160 participants at this year’s Parksville event and we joined a big crowd at mid-day to watch the spectacle. The girls were threatening to go in for a paddle, but despite a balmy three degrees, they somehow forgot to bring a towel with them. Funny that!
It’s hard to get our heads around just how busy this town is in summer. There are numerous motels, campgrounds and RV sites along the highway north and come July and August the sleepy population quadruples with the roads jammed for miles around.
|And the annual Parksville Polar Bear Swim begins|
Next Blog from down under.