Pioneer Annie

When I decided to stay on Hornby for the winter I had no idea what challenges were ahead of me.

I was having lunch with another blogger a few weeks ago telling her my Hornby story. She said “ you should write a book, you have such an interesting story and you tell it so well. I wish I had such an interesting life” and I said to her.. “ I wish I had you stable life. I don’t want all this moving around”.   She told me about a  mommy blogger who wrote a book.   I am not aspiring to write a book so in the meantime I will update my retirement blog. Mommy bloggers are a bird of another feather.

It’s been a rough winter with about five 24 hour power failures since November due to wind storms and f trees falling on power lines. BC Hydro has been pretty diligent in sending over crews on the first ferry in the morning and fixing things by the evening.   I had two nights in the dark, one with a friend who kept me company and one on the sofa in front of the wood stove. Fortunately by the time the first power failure had occurred I had mastered the wood stove and was able to keep a fire going and make cowboy coffee in the morning. That is thanks to Hornby friends who gave me several demos on how to build a fire and instructions on cowboy coffee… “boil water on the wood stove and add some coffee”. It was pretty good. Morning without coffee is not a pleasant experience. Shortly after my landlady left for Mexico for 2 months, the basement flooded, and despite the attempts of her son to adjust the sump pump ( what ever that is) it remained flooded for most of the next two months.   My landlady had promised someone would come by to put some Plexiglas over the sky lights but that did not happen until she came back 2 months later when she had someone install the Plexiglass, fix the sump pumb, reinstall the propane tank I had incorrectly connected and fix the leak in the dryer hose. Turns out the propane stove was not working and still isn’t fixed as of Feb 28 and one of my space heaters was loaned to a neighbour while I was away.  And over all this time the Satellite TV was down because the wind storms changed the positioning of the satellite.  I had already developed a bad cold and decided to rent a condo of a friend in Courteny while he was travelling around the world. Then I discovered I had pneumonia but the clinic on Hornby had given me antibiotics so all I had to do was lie low in Courtenay and fight the side effects of the antibiotics. While I was lying low on a massage table in Courtney my massage therapist had a similar story about her new house outside of Qualicum Beach.   The week before when the snow had hit she could not get her 100 ft driveway plowed. Her neighbour came to her aid. And she was without power for 5 days!!! This was her first year on Vancouver Island and she said she has had a pretty steep learning curve.

Two of my Toronto families on Hornby were hit but the snowmageddon without snow tires or four wheel drive and also had to rely on the kindness of friends. It’s been a rough winter all the way around on Vancouver Island. Next year I think it will be Mexico for me. 

I had another pioneer experience while teaching my 7 year old student online in Shanghai. The lesson was on Wild Horses in the US and I followed that up with a lesson about Annie Oakley. I felt the material was quite foreign to her but it made me think about my pioneer experience on Hornby Island. I was pretty naïve about what to expect but my friends have come to my aid as needed. I will go back next week and hope the snow and the power failures are over for this year. This wasn’t my retirement plan but my friends keep telling me they are enjoying hearing about my adventures even if I am not enjoying experiencing them.  Apparently while I was away there was a septic tank blockage due to toilet paper and now I have to my bag toilet paper and take it to the dump. I guess this is material for my next comedy routine.

My new favourite place is the The Second Page used book store in Courtenay. This is a rare Main Coon Cat who seems interested in Quincy Jones.  He reminds me of a Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland. 

My other Courtenay Favourites

Acreview Dental- thorough, courteous

FYIdoctors -opticians- thorough, courteous

Walmart Medical Clinic- max about 30 mn wait and very knowledgeable doctors

The new hospital-

The Atlas Café

Mudshark Café

Union Street Grill

Fabricland.

And the Trumpeter Swans of Courtenay

7 thoughts on “Pioneer Annie

  1. You remind me of what I tell myself when going through tough times: “this will make a hell of a story…someday”. Not fun at the time, but good for a laugh later, when survival is once again assured. Hopefully the worst of winter is now behind you, Ann.

    Deb

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  2. Good stuff. Does this mean you’re over it and will be back to Van? I hope not – you’ve only just begun! Think how rugged you’ll end up – a survivalist – getting on with it while the rest of us sappy city-folk starve or freeze to death during next rain. Loving the pictures. Courtney is pretty, isn’t it?

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      1. I hope so, too. There’s some other ‘stuff’ I’d like to check out. Hope you’re feeling better and that the rest of the winter is a bit gentler on you.

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  3. Hi, Ann – You do have a great story and you definitely tell it well. I especially liked your line “my friends keep telling me they are enjoying hearing about my adventures even if I am not enjoying experiencing them.” That totally cracked me up. You must admit, your adventures are never dull!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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