I am having the surreal experience of looking through photographs of the wildfire devastation in Washington State, Oregon, and California, and seeing the names of towns where much of my family live. They are all personally safe, and as of right now their homes are intact. It's very scary, both in the immediate and the larger pictures.
My own personal surreality continues, my skin covered in red welts, scabs, and bruises. (Bruises from scratching; my skin bruises easily.) I've learned that chronic hives are a roller coaster. Two or three times a day they appear to be clearing up, only to come back with a vengeance. I am worn down from the trifecta of not sleeping, not taking any of my medications, and not getting any exercise (activity inflames the damn stuff). It's warm here, but I won't wear shorts out of the house -- which is ridiculous, really, but the skin on my legs is wrecked.
OK, enough complaining!
Something I forgot to mention yesterday, on our last night in Victoria I joined part of a Zoom meeting with our MLA (provincial representative) Claire Trevena. Our provincial government is NDP, and I strongly support them. There were only 10 or 12 people on the call, but I knew two of them through the community, which amused me.
In the morning, after packing up and checking out, we had few errands to take care of. I had packed very light (in terms of clothes -- you can never really pack light when traveling with dogs), as I thought there would be washer/dryer in the cottage. Somehow I remembered to double-check the listing -- and there was not. I also learned there is no laundromat on Salt Spring Island! I was very pleased with myself for learning this ahead of time, as I'm feeling none too organized right now.
I found Scrubby's online, about a 15-minute drive from downtown Victoria, and did a quick load while we ate breakfast and I had my toenails done. Not a pedicure, that's unthinkable with my skin in its present state, but hey, at least my toes look better. The good people at Scrubby's are wonderful, including when Kai ran inside to find me.
I forgot to do an errand I needed at a drugstore, and was concerned that there might not be an opportunity on Salt Spring Island. This turns out to be very amusing.
We drove the length of the Saanich peninsula, from Victoria to the ferry at Swartz Bay, and took the 1:00 ferry to Fulford Harbour, one of three ferries you can take to Salt Spring Island. (You can also go from Vancouver and from Crofton, in the Cowichan area.)
From there, we drove the length of the island, which is maybe a half-hour drive on a lovely winding road, past signs for farm stands, wineries, and artist studios. We drove through Ganges, the island's larger village -- it was very busy, packed with cars -- then the smaller village of Vesuvius, before driving around in a big circle before finding the cottage, very near the Vesuvius Cafe. We are staying here: The Cottage on Bayview.
Allan set up "the corkscrew" in the front yard -- the tie-out we use when we travel -- and I helped Cookie and Kai settle in while he went out to the store. Allan actually called from the store, not because he had questions, but to tell me how great the store was. If you knew how Allan hates using the phone, and thinks I exaggerate about great supermarkets, you would find this very amusing!
When we lived in New York, I always had supermarket envy when we traveled, and living in Port Hardy, that has re-emerged. Our local Save On Foods actually has everything we need, and often has the specialty items I'm searching for, hidden somewhere. But it's old-looking, crowded, and could use a face lift. When I go into Save Ons or Thrifty Foods down-island, I am envious. But apparently the Country Grocer in Vesuvius is The Greatest! Allan came back raving about it. I told him that if the roles had been reversed, if I were raving about a store to this extent, he would assume I was exaggerating. He agreed!
I was unhooking the dogs from their tether while Allan was on his way in with the packages. There's a kind of covered walkway on the side of the house -- which, from where I was standing, seemed walled-off. Meaning, I expected the dogs to run down the walkway and into the house. And then they were gone! Just past the door, the wall gives way to a railing... and off went Cookie and Kai.
Moments later Cookie showed up in the neighbouring yard with a huge soup-bone in her mouth, clearly laughing at me. The cottage is on a very quiet street, but all of a sudden, there was traffic, and Cookie is zooming around the neighbourhood.
Kai heard it was dinner time, and came straight back to eat. I tried to make a lot of noise filling her food bowl, but food is no match for Cookie's love of prancing around, free.
But... she came back. She didn't turn on a dime and come sprinting, but on the other hand, we didn't have to drive around looking for her, as we've done at home. All told, she was loose for less than five minutes, and returned under her own volition. An improvement!
We spent the evening drinking prosecco and raspberry lemonade. I made a little garlicky pasta for dinner, but ate only cookies and chips.
Today is the famed Saturday Market. I love markets and this weekly market on Salt Spring Island is supposed to be great. I'm hoping that it won't be overly crowded, as it's past Labour Day. Naturally we will mask up, but I'm hoping for distance, too.
Dogs are not allowed at the market, so Cookie and Kai are going to day camp again, which is not a bad thing.