There’s a question mark at the end of that title because, even though we’re halfway through the first week of April, rain is forecast for the rest of the week & temperatures are still hovering around 10 or 11 Celsius.
And I want to complain. To moan about how the good lord (or really, given all the misery in the world in general, the not-so-good lord) who is supposed to be in charge of these matters, has tricked us into thinking the weather in southern Vancouver Island is lovely.
It used to be. It WAS the last 3 years (which is all we, as newcomers to BC have to compare it with) but this has been a rotten 4 months. And I don’t use the word “rotten” lightly. With so much rain & so few periods of sunshine or dryness, everything in the garden, on the balcony & on our roof is either mildewed or actually rotting away.
…by the cyclone in Oz. My brother Glynn sent this today, of his niece & her father in Byron Bay, NSW, where the storm is apparently working its way south. They look very happy, despite the apparently, to me, risky conditions on this washed-out road.
Even though the usual depictions of Australia are of being dry & desert-like, this part of the country is well watered – even to excess occasionally like now, which is why Russell Crowe lives there & house prices are very high for a small town.
For the first time in my life, I’ve got 2 cars. Really, I suppose, seeing as I’m a married guy, I share the ownership of them with Patti, my wife, but still…she doesn’t drive. And so they’re both registered to me. Which, on the other hand, makes me her chauffeur, doesn’t it?
Last week we got a new one. A lovely silver QX70S. Here’s a photo. The other car is much older, thirteen year older, in fact, but I still like it as it is so lovely to drive. In the summer, that is because it is a sports car, a roadster so on these awful wintry days we’ve been having, I’ve put it away.
And with this “hiemo horribilis” we’ve had, I am so looking forward to sunshine & warmer weather. Then it will be time to pay ICBC for tax & insurance on the Z car, carefully back it out of the garage & down our too steep driveway, & then..as Mr. Toad waxed enthusiastically, “There’s real life for you, embodied in that little car(t). The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs!
.. on Vancouver Island, or at least in our corner of it. So where’s our much admired view? Where is the glacier on Mt. Garibaldi? How will Pat be able to inform me, as she does sometimes looking out of our large window, that the ferry to Thetis Island is running on time? Or to comment on the various vessels that we see plying their way either north towards Nanaimo or south towards Victoria? We can’t, because the fog has enveloped us in a misty embrace & while doing so, deposits moderately intense rain of the continuous sort.
Here’s another picture to demonstrate what I mean, & you can see the difference from a few days ago, both with respect to the amount of snow on the ground & also the view out of our living room window. Oh, well, spring is, IS on the way.
..the snow is melting! Or at least it is in those parts of our little town that are subject to the recent appearance of..SUNSHINE!
However, on our side of the road, among the houses that are nestled into the tall fir trees on the side of the hill, we’re in constant shade at this time of the year. That’s because at our latitude the sun doesn’t rise high enough to clear the tops of the trees. But it’s getting there; this morning I noticed sun on the roof of the house & breaking in through the skylights. Soon, in a couple of weeks, we’ll have sufficient sun to sit on the deck out back. Until then, though, we have to go across the road to sit in the sun. From our living room window we can see the snow on everyone else’s roofs rapidly melt.
So I’m working on the family tree. Not that I have a large direct family – just one son – but the years pass & one reflects upon such matters as memories pile up. But my mother was one of ten children, & my father was the second youngest of five, so there are quite a few cousins, & their offspring.
Most are in the UK & Australia. As far as I can tell, I’m the only North American representative.
What I have spent a fair bit of time on is compiling the tree, using, initially, a lovely hand compiled chart covering the family as it was in about 1990. The world & human nature being what it is, there are lots more since, & I’m finding it both harder & easier to keep up. Easier because family can send in email format, pictures of gatherings such as Christmas dinners & birthdays, but harder because unless I’m very conscientious in writing down the names as described in the accompanying email, I risk forgetting or even deleting in error the explanatory notes & photos.
So I’ve bought a genealogy program. A “deluxe” version of a free one. I think it was just $30, so not very dear. And am working on filling in the details. Beyond just listing who begot whom, there is provision for anecdotes about the people listed, for photos of course & the ability to create “trees”. So far I’ve got about 160 people, not going back too far though – nothing earlier than the early 1800s, which probably means that there was nothing special about “my” family.
The picture above was taken, I think, shortly after the war – my mother is the rather coy young woman in the front row, looking very attractive.
When I say “ever” I mean that Pat & I have ever experienced since we came to BC. It may also be one of the worst winters that residents of Vancouver Island can recall. There’s talk of comparing it to others over the past 100 years & 2016/17 seems to lead the pack.
Of course, there is really no comparison to the amount of snow I used to get at the farm in Meaford, where it was often too deep to easily walk through without snowshoes or skis. Nor can our temperatures be compared to those suffered by Pat when she lived in Calgary – this past week has seen daytime temps of around -30C there, whereas we moan terribly if we don’t exceed the freezing point. Still, minus 2 is not exactly T-shirt weather, although I was down to mine yesterday as I cleared the snow for the 6th time this season from our steep driveway.
We are also lucky in that we get very little wind so the biting chill that comes off Georgian Bay is absent.
But also beginning to be noticeable due to their absence are fruits & vegetables! Today the shelves were rather empty in our local supermarket! Upon enquiry, we learnt that the road conditions were hampering delivery. One of the few drawbacks of living on Vancouver Island is that roads are not as available as in eastern Canada – for example there is only one road leading north out of Victoria – the rather oddly named Trans Canada Highway – odd because it stops, obviously, at the sea. So there is just one road traversing the Island & as stuff comes in from either Nanaimo or Victoria, it is subject to weather as it goes over the Malahat mountain range, where accidents are common. And that obstacle must be affecting deliveries all over the island!