What a Year
21 October 2019 | Salt Spring
Jane Poulston | Fall with every type of weather
What a year.
I can't believe it is over a year since I updated our blog. We have so much news to share. Apologies in advance if I ramble on a bit.
I will start where I left off, just before our huge family reunion and big Birthday party last September. Twenty two family members from around the world made it to Salt Spring and we partied hard together. We had one evening with twenty four of us sitting down to a family dinner, and another at the Yacht club outstation for a potluck appetizer get together with cruising friends and family the night before the party. Over seventy people helped celebrate Russell, Amy and Edwin's birthdays; and the youngsters, with the help of a DJ, got everyone dancing till late. Such fun. With everyone a tad on the slow side the next morning I produced brunch before most people left on the afternoon ferry. A wild, very special and memorable time. Check gallery for some photos.
After waving the last of our relatives goodbye (some stayed for a month) we took some time off to recover. We had some "time share points" to use up and booked a fabulous resort in Palm Springs for two weeks. We spent a week traveling down there via route 5 and spent a week on our return enjoying the coast via route 101. There was so much to do and see on the way, although highlights were hiking the Redwoods and visiting Hearst Castle; which I loved when I last visited 43 years ago and Russell had not visited. We had various friends in Palm Springs who we spent time with, enjoying everything there is to do around the area. The weather was perfect and we had a wonderful trip.
Back to "The Rock" it was time to focus on our next adventure, building our new home. Plans had been worked on, and with the help from a local Architect while we were away, we put them in for approval on our return. Of course nothing is easy, we had to jump through a few loop holes before we finally got our building permit at the eleventh hour.
In the meantime we had the "BIG" storm on the 20 December. Highest wind ever recorded for our wee island and she really suffered. We watched the wind race across the harbour, back and forth, side by side, over the water like nothing we have ever seen before. More like a series of mini tornados. When it finally stopped we were one of the lucky ones with no trees falling on our property. By some miracle no one was hurt, however there was a huge amount of damage with trees down everywhere, roads blocked and all the power was down on the island. On our nine hole golf course they counted 200 trees uprooted or ripped down. It was a total mess.
Some people were without power for nearly two weeks. The best present we could have had was when ours came back on the evening of Christmas day. Amy and Edwin came over and joined in the Christmas adventure with us. We had heat from our fireplace, cooking on our BBQ and because of our septic tank only flushing toilets when really necessary. We did not cancel our Christmas eve cocktail party, as by then our road was accessible from one end. We had a large amount of people turn up to enjoy a candlelit evening with us. It was fun, but certainly a very different Christmas to the one we had planned.
We moved out of the house in February and proceeded to sell or give away as much as we could. It was amazing what we were able to recycle and there was not much left the day the house was demolished. We did most of the work ourselves and were exhausted at the end of each day. For a couple of months we rented a friend's place until we moved onto Madrona, our new boat, in April.
Any house older than 1990, if it is being renovated or rebuilt, has to go through asbestos removal. Ours was no exception and it took six guys over a week to remove. They informed us that they found 300lbs of rat shit in the eaves and ducts, including dead rats and mice - yuke. They also found burnt wires in the walls, and burn marks beside one of the fireplaces. Scary. On top of that when we pulled down the house we found that one area instead of being on hard rock was on shingle. She was meant to be pulled down for sure.
February was an interesting month as we also had a huge amount of snow, not something we normally get on Salt Spring, and it did not melt for weeks. Some friends were stuck in their home for nearly two weeks, but luckily with Russell's 4 Runner we were able to get out (and work).
April could not come soon enough as Amy and I had planned a trip to Japan together. A life long dream of mine as my Dad used to work with the Japanese and spent a lot of time in Japan when I was younger. We left at the end of March and had the most fantastic two weeks visiting Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima/Miyajima, Kyoto and Mt Fuji/Kawaguchiko. The blossoms came out for us everywhere we went, and we were with a wonderful small group of travellers with an outstanding guide. It was the first time I had ever gone on a "tour" but it was perfect. Japan is a fascinating country and we learnt a lot about their history and culture. We had a trip of a lifetime together that we will always treasure.
Our summer has been spent building our new home. Russell, bless him, has worked 24/7 and when I am not doing admin/accounting, amongst other things, I have been trying to get fit. Not an easy thing, as my hips/back are still causing me a lot of grief. I have been going to yoga most days, tennis three times a week and golf once or twice a week.
We have had a few visitors come and visit us this summer and stay on Madrona, including dear friends Mary-Lou and Patrick from England and Martha and Bryce from New Zealand. We are looking forward to hosting more friends from around the world once we have finished the house.
Our time on Madrona was mostly spent on our dock, or at the yacht club outstation at Scott Point, depending on weather. A highlight of the summer was Russell's cousin Rosco coming over for three months to help work on the house. He wanted to loose some weight, enjoy some manual work (he is in the construction business) and get away from New Zealand's winter. He did all three and helped us a ton in the process. He lived in our Boat House; which he adored, even though it was more like camping. I am sure we will see him back on the island again within the next year or two, we had a lot of fun together.
Russell is the home owner builder for our house and has employed two fantastic framers, Will and Brad, to help with the build. We feel very blessed to have found them as they are excellent. They have also helped with finding labourers, when needed, and have introduced us to the best trades on the island. Work has progressed ahead of schedule most of the time, and we are more or less on budget. Lock up will be in November, with us hopefully moving in by April/May. As you can imagine we are beginning to get very excited.
We moved off the boat three weeks ago and are staying at a delightful house (with stunning views) for six months just outside of Ganges. Holidays? Well we are booked to go to Cabo San Lucas for a couple of weeks in the middle of February. By then I think we will be in need of some time off. We can always put the place on hold if necessary and move in later; we can just jump back onto the boat.
Amy and Edwin are doing well. Amy is currently looking for a new job and is taking a course in Copywriting and Editing. She and Luke recently took a holiday to Hawaii which they loved. They are still living in a delightful neighbourhood home with a huge balcony that they sit on to watch the sunset. Edwin is still at Aqua Bus, but is no longer with Iva and now lives in North Vancouver with friends.
He is about to house sit for a couple of months for friends in Kitsilano, so we will stay with him in Vancouver for Christmas. He went on a three and a half week photo shoot to Cadrona, NZ in September, and has just got back from a paid road trip to Phoenix.
It is wonderful to be able to keep in touch with so many friends and family from around the world. We think of our friends often and treasure the memories we have shared together. However, we have many friends who are unwell and sadly this year we lost Simon, a dear friend, who died of the same Cancer Foxy (our best man) died of last year. We hope this finds you healthy, happy and enjoying life and look forward to hearing from you.
We will update our blog again next year, once we have moved into our new home. Please know that we would love to see as many of you as possible, nuestra casa et su casa (our home is your home).
LOVE every moment, LAUGH every day, LIVE beyond words.