Thursday, 16 February 2017

Time to go home

Bodhi and Fuzzy

As with anything, all good things must come to an end, and so must our stay in Port Alberni. The home owners are returning to their pets and we must go home. The day before we went through the house with a fine toothed comb, cleaning up and gathering our things. Slowly but surely putting things back the way we found them. A final laundry in the morning of our departure day, clean bedding and towels go up, and a last minute sweep to tidy up and check if anything got missed. The car gets loaded up, and all the while the dog is taking it all in with a slightly nervous cocked head, looking on and wondering... Cats don't care either way!

For dogs everything is forever. You come into their lives and you'll be there forever, you leave to go shopping and they fear you'll never return. That's why they are so happy when you do return.... For nearly a month this was our home and these were our pets. You develop a routine with them. You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom, make coffee while the dog is outside because he needs to go too. Then Shelagh gets our breakfast ready and also the pet's. We read the morning news on our iPads and check out the new blogposts, followed by showers and eventually a one hour walk with the dog. The snowfall had wiped out our plans for hikes in the forests surrounding town, but the dyke path was kept clear of snow so we still got good walks in. When we return from our morning walk we let the dog lose in the backyard, Shelagh patrols the garden looking for little doggie droppings while I check the three freezers making sure all that is stored there in in good nick. Freezers can fool you, the light might be on, but that does not mean it's working. They need to be checked daily...

Mount Arrowsmith
One last look at the waterfall

Back in the house my thoughts turn to lunch and I either make it myself or we try out one of the restaurants in town. We had some great lunches in the city, there is no shortage of good eateries. The Chinese is good, the Greek and the German are excellent as well as the fish and chips. And there is pizza galore. We also cooked some wonderful salmon dinners, donated to us from the freezer. Our landlord had reserved a shelf for us with various cuts of venison, home made sausage and fish for us to enjoy...


New construction

We also looked at real estate. Some new construction is under way and the homes we saw would suit us perfectly. The houses not too small and the lots not too big, perfect for a retired couple or a young family. House prices here are some of the most affordable on Vancouver Island and I would not have a problem living here. Port Alberni has everything you need and is surrounded by beautiful nature. It is a great spot for fishing and hunting as well as hiking and camping.

The phone rang at about 12:30. Robert and Debbie were boarded on the ferry from Departure Bay and headed home on the final leg of a very long travel day from Belize City. They flew from Belize City to Houston, Texas, then to Mexico City and finally to Vancouver! A pretty strange flight plan and totally exhausting. We said goodbye to the pets, a bit tearful for Shelagh, and crated the dog. Then locked up and got on the road. We made the 3:15pm ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen and relaxed in the forward lounge with our e-readers. The drive home was uneventful. The house was cold so that got remedied first by reprogramming the thermostat. Then the water heater got turned up. Now, the next day, we are preparing for our next house sit in south Surrey. Leeza, a Borzoi, and Rocco a Cairn Terrier are waiting for us...

 

Friday, 10 February 2017

After eight days, the car is free!

After eight days in the driveway we decided to pull the car out from under the snow and go out for lunch to the "Little Bavaria" restaurant in down town Port Alberni. After digging a basic path to the road for traction we cleared the snow off the windshield and made it out on to the road. The roof still had about 15 cm of snow on it and I managed to remove that by coming to a quick stop at the nearest intersection. The whole load slid off onto the hood and then the street. We had to pull over because this mini avalanche pulled the drivers side windshield wiper forward. An easy fix. Sometimes gravity does not suck.

A wee cleanup

Lunch was excellent, Shelagh enjoyed a Seafood schnitzel with shrimp and scallops in a white wine sauce, and I had a Yeager schnitzel, a small bowl of cream of broccoli soup to start for both of us. We added a bottle of Australian Lindemann's Pinot Grigio to round out the meal. Delicious! Shelagh is now researching white wine sauce recipes so we can make this at home.

Located at Argyle and 4th

We are enjoying Port Alberni, it is definitely not the little hick town people think it is. This town is up and coming... Real estate is cheap, for now, and there is so much to see and do here if you like the outdoors...

Shelagh just checked their website and there we are!

 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A nice surprise

With all the snow we have had so far the idea of a nice walk with Bodhi is a bit far fetched, but we braved the elements anyway since it had stopped snowing and the sun was making an attempt to shed some light. We made our way down the street, which had been plowed nicely, to see how the trail on the dyke was looking. To our amazement the entire trail had been plowed, and walking was a breeze. Port Alberni just scored huge points with us. We had a great 45 minute walk and Bodhi got his 10! He's now on his blanket on the couch sleeping it off. Here are some pictures of the trail...

Perfectly plowed.
It's pretty tough dealing with these eyes.
Bodhi has an amazing tri-coloured coat

 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Snow!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 2-4

Downtown Port Alberni.

The weather guessers have predicted snow, lots of it, so we figured it would be smart to stock up on some groceries. The weather was nice and sunny but also cold and windy. We decided to take a walk in old downtown to see what kind of little shops are there. The old town needs a good shot in the arm and as more people settle here it might just happen. New houses are being built in all shapes and sizes for all budgets and levels of energy. We especially like the smaller houses built close together in little communities. They will create a good neighbourhood without the need for endless yard maintenance.

A nice meeting place, privately owned, but shared with the city.
Too cold for coffee outside
At city hall.
Some nice murals in town.

Just walking around you see that in summer this town would be a fun place to stroll and have a coffee. There are some nice places to stop and relax outside and watch the world go by. There are quite a few shops that sell used stuff and antiques as well as clothing. We came upon a nice looking German restaurant and decided to have lunch there before we go back to the mainland. We would have walked more, but the cold wind was just a bit too much. So off to the grocery store for some shopping. We just stocked up on the basics and headed home. If this snow materializes we want to be able to just stay put and leave the car in the driveway.

Friday afternoon was nice with some relaxing and eventually dinner prep. I made one of our favourite dinners, "Chicken Divine", basically a casserole of broccoli, chicken and a mushroom curry sauce with cheddar cheese melted on top. Served over rice, delicious.

An evening on NetFlix followed by a good sleep led to the discovery that the weather guessers were right! An enormous amount of snow had piled up outside, and for once I was happy that we had taken appropriate measures. This snow warning is in effect for the next four days...

Even in this area of town our streets were plowed twice on Saturday, something that does not happen in Metro Vancouver where only the major roads get plowed. Tonight we will have Chicken Quesadillas, all prepared in the first week of our stay here. The freezer is stocked with many dinners and we have no need to go anywhere. We are snug as a bug in a rug.

The dyke, with lots of the white stuff.
Our Port Alberni home.
Shelagh clearing the snow off the cedar hedges.

Bodhi loves the snow and jumps right in. He takes high leaps to cover the deeper parts and scurries back and forth with his nose below the surface. The nice thing about walking a dog in the snow is that it's easy to see where he has left his business... More snow in the forecast for the next two days, then the rains will come...

Venison Wellington with roasted potatoes and veggies.
Wild Salmon, sprinkled with brown sugar, soya sauce and red onion. Purple yam and veggies.
Chicken Quesadillas
Our landlord, having fun in Guatemala