Published: April 10th 2012January 18th 2012
Wilson family together at last
Thanksgiving saw us all together for the first time since Dianne and I went to China.
Okay, okay…. I haven’t been as faithful a blogger as I should have been. Maybe life in Canada seems tame compared to our activities in China. But actually lots has happened …. Another road trip
Because I was going to be on Pender from Labour Day to Thanksgiving, we tried to hit as many places as we could while there was still a car in WL. Off to 150 Mile House. Not a very big place but home to Thyme for Tea, a great restaurant and gift shop. We were very popular and our credit card is still warm. There are many places on the way to WL that are named Something Mile House but I never knew where the starting point was. We finally learned that it was from Lillooet. Who’d have thought? Lillooet isn’t exactly on the beaten path these days but in 1860 it was the major starting off point for the Gold Fields.
Out from 150 Mile House is a community with the charming name of Horsefly. It serves the ranches in the area and is the closest shopping area for Horsefly Provincial Park which has a lovely mountain lake. Long and narrow, it
The new principal meets with a student in her office.
has some beautiful views and well as great swimming and boating. We considered bringing our kayaks to WL but they aren’t much good in the winter and there is nowhere to store them. As is our custom, we visited the local cemetery which provided some interesting reading. Dianne in Williams Lake
Dianne said while I was on Pender she didn’t do much except work as I had the car. She managed to get out with friends to a few places but agreed it was a good opportunity to become familiar with a new school. We managed to talk on Skype most days and being in the same time zone made it a lot easier than last year’s separation. Peter on Pender
I watched the renovation guys gradually put the finishing touches on the addition under the house. The final result of the storage area gives us lots of room to put our many boxes of stuff until we get back to Pender long enough to sort through them. I was chatting with our next-door neighbours one day and she told me they were sitting on their deck one day, enjoying the sunshine that had finally arrived.
Dianne settled right in. The library was one of her main focuses. She loves books and passing on the joy of reading to her students.
The excavator guy was busy digging under the house to make room for the foundation. Suddenly the construction noise stopped and they heard one guy ask the other “Did that column move?” If you haven’t seen our place, check out the “Before” picture. You may agree that it was a good thing we were out of town while this phase was underway.
I was back on the Island for a good chunk of the work and it was a good time to be there. There were several decisions that needed to be made and, while I didn’t make them, I was there to gather information to pass back to Dianne so the correct decision could be made. By the time I left, most of the work had been done and we were almost ready to start the main floor renovations. Why Peter isn't allowed to use power tools
Last summer when we arrived from China for our summer visit, we discovered that the old floating dock with our two old canoes was missing. The dock was really old and needed to be broken up but I had not gotten around to it. But it would be irresponsible
The old one room schoolhouse at 150 Mile House.
to ignore it and besides, the canoes may have been ratty but they were better than nothing. We hauled our kayaks down to the lake and set off to find the dock.
We were pretty sure where we would find it; down near the picnic ground where the prevailing winds would likely have pushed it. Who knows how long it had been missing? Sure enough, it was pretty well exactly where we expected it, stuck in the weeds at the far end of the lake. I tried reach it from land in an attempt to push it out into open water but couldn’t. As I had on my neoprene boots and water shorts, I carefully waded into the lake and, with great effort, got it out of the weeds. Back in the kayak, I attached my tow rope and pulled it back to our place. Quite a struggle. We tied it down and relaxed.
So when I arrived back on Pender, I knew what I was up against when I noticed the dock was missing again. It must have just happened because it wasn’t quite as far away and was floating freely up against a weed bank. It
The new school is up on the hill behind the old one room school. I don't think it has the same appeal but I am sure the staff and students think it's great, at east in comparison.
was easy to hook the tow rope and, about an hour later, I had pulled it back to our place.
Not wanting to go through this again, I decided enough was enough. I went to the shed and took out my hammer and crow bar and decided to take the thing apart right away. The part of the dock that is underwater was pretty well rotten but the boards on the deck of the dock were in remarkably good shape. I knew I could saw them up and use them for fire wood so I started to pull the nails out and stacked the 2x6 boards on our “new” fixed dock.
There were about 20 of these boards on the deck surface and I cleverly left one at each end and a couple at strategic locations to keep some semblance of stability as I stood on what was left to pull the nails out of a rapidly decreasing number of boards. As I was pulling the nails out of the fifth last board, the thought crossed my mind that I probably shouldn’t be standing where I was. Just then, the boards under the dock finally gave way and
Bridge over the Fraser
This is the highway to Bella Coola which is supposed to have one of the scariest highways in the province. This bridge is just west of Williams Lake. We may not get to Bella Coola as it is 400 kilometers from town.
I fell through the remnants into the lake. There was just enough framework to allow me to catch my elbows to prevent me from completely submerging. I attempted to climb back onto the fourth last board but further collapse of the submerged structure dropped me back in the lake. A second attempt was more successful and I managed to get up onto the fixed dock. The good news was that no one was around to see this fiasco. On the other hand, it would have made a good entry in Amazingly Stupid Videos.
Back in the house putting on dry clothes I realized my wallet had been in my pants pocket. Luckily nothing was damaged although a few pieces of paper were a bit soggy. But to my horror, I realized I was still wearing my belt pouch. While my magnifier could handle the water, I was afraid my favourite calculator would have been ruined. It was a birthday gift from my wife some years ago and was really useful. But even worse, my passport was in a zipper pocket. Dianne was going to kill me as she had been after me to put if away safely once we
We love this river.
returned from China. Fortunately, the zipper pocket kept most of the water out. There was a little water damage but I had it checked out by Passport Canada and they said it was OK. Whew! Together again
We got back together in Victoria for a great family reunion and finally got a picture of the whole family. The last family picture was in 2007 (before we went to China) and there have been two additions since then. It was fabulous to have everyone together including my two sisters and their husbands.
Now we have the long haul until Christmas break which comes a month earlier than in China. OK, so in China it’s a Winter Break not directly associated with Christmas. But we are happy because we can spend Christmas with our family. In the meantime, Dianne spends her time cleaning out and reorganizing things at the school. This means lots of trips to recycling and garbage for me. It is fun to be back in an elementary school. The kids are great.
We did make one day trip recently. We had read there was a ferry across the Fraser River and thought we should take
More fraser views
There are lots of signs of erosion. Great viewing.
it. While we never found the ferry, we did find a jade store. We had seen lots of beautiful jade pieces in China and were surprised to learn that a lot of the jade comes from Canada! Sure enough, when we mentioned this to the young chap running the store, he said their company had just signed a contract to send half a million dollars worth of jade to China. Another small world story.
We were told it usually doesn’t snow until after Halloween and, sure enough, two days after the trick-or-treaters visited us, it snowed. There was some build up in the morning but it was gone by mid-afternoon. A taste of what is to come. As we were walking to school one frosty morning last week, Dianne observed that one of the benefits of living so close to school is that we don’t have to scrape the car windows every morning. But there was almost no snow on the ground when we left for Christmas Holidays. The roads were bare and dry. It can’t last.
We have managed to attend two theatre productions lately. A community theatre group did “Office Hours”, a comedy in 6 acts.
When you climb up from the river valley you find the Chilcotin plateau. Incredibly flat area in the middle of the mountains.
Very funny. A local High School did “Flapper”, a musical set in the 1920s (what a surprise!). The enthusiasm of the students reminded us of some of the productions we saw at our school in China. We hope there are more of these activities in the months ahead. We love live theatre.
So, life goes on. We hope the Christmas season was a happy one for you and your families (I told you I was a little behind in my blogs).
To be continued (soon).
There are more photos below