Writers retreat on Vancouver Island


I just finished a two day get away for a writing retreat. It was fantastic. I’d never done this before and didn’t know exactly what to expect.

But having the time set aside turned out to be the first big gift. When do you get a chance to set aside two days dedicated to writing? It’s never happened for me. It gave me a freedom to just get started. I haven’t been writing for a few months – too many other issues arising including health problems, business concerns, family responsibilities. I began to think I’d lost my muse. 🙂

It wasn’t automatic and the words didn’t flow smoothly at first, but the process did get me going. I’m so grateful.

Then to have other writers there to bounce ideas off of, to ask for suggestions and receive their support was a real gift. It meant having some serious intense discussions, and laughing a lot. Thank you to my writer community for taking the time. I’m definitely going to do it again.

Above is the fabulous place we stayed on Cowichan Lake, Vancouver Island. The water was fabulous.

Beautiful Vancouver Island waters


Here is a view of the lake at sunset, just before the rain came. The water is so lovely, clear and cool. I have been trying to swim everyday, because it is such a luxury to be up here and have a chance to relax and heal.

I hope you are having a great end of summer as well, with a bit of time to rest and treat yourself before the whole hustle and bustle begins again. 🙂 Writing will start in earnest once fall really hits.

Hot and Dry – wildfires in BC

Red dahlias

We have had an incredible summer of heat and dryness in British Columbia. Yes, we’ve had wildfires, some from nature, some manmade. Our rivers are low, the salmon are suffering as they swim upstream to spawn. The forests show the effect of lack of rain –the cedars especially seem able to let whole branches go brown and drop to the ground so the rest of the tree continues to survive.

My garden is struggling. The tomatoes on the deck are too hot, even with lots of water, and the fruit starts to rot even as it ripens. Those growing in the upper garden are coming more slowly and most seem to survive long enough to turn a lovely red. I have a huge zuchini plant which gave me one fruit, about 20 inches long and weighing 5 pounds. Everything seems to be out of whack!

The dahlias? Only the red pompoms are blooming. It is so weird. I have 16 different varieties. I don’t know them by name but by description, yet other than red pompoms, I have 1 white, 1 adobe, 1 yellow (with stems so short I can’t cut them and put them in vases). Does this mean only the red ones like this heat? Hard to tell.

How are you surviving the hot weather? I”m not writing and not at work, so I’m going to cool off with a swim in the lake. 🙂

The Beauty of the East Kootenays

East Kootenay region of British Columbia is a magical place. We’ve just returned from there, exhausted and happy to have time with our daughter and grandsons who met us near Invermere along the Windermere Lake. The weather was fabulous, hot and dry, and we swam every day.

What struck me was how many cars were on the road from all over Canada and the United States. This is a very safe part of the world. We travel at our leisure, take time in the summer to visit and vacation. There were license plates from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, from Washington, Montana and Idaho. We saw California plates, some from Ontario and Quebec.

The roads are windy, mostly in very good condition, with a few spots under construction. The scenery is fabulous. Coming from the west coast rain forest, I am always fascinated by the mountain hemlocks with their short branches and upright bearing, backed by the sheer rock and high snowy peaks of the Rockies. They pack themselves in close to each other and take up such a small circumference compared to the Douglas and grand firs of the coast.

But back to the issue of safety. Would you take a car and drive the hills of Pakistan for a vacation? Or rent a boat and take your family tubing on a lake in eastern Ukraine? Pack your tent and go camping in the wilds of Ecuador without a guide? We are blessed to live here. I don’t take it for granted.

Long Beach, Tofino – a journey to the sea

My husband and I took a trip to the sea a few weeks ago. We drove up Vancouver Island and across to Tofino. The road is narrow and winding, a lot of people don’t like to drive it. But day time is fine, unless it’s raining. When it rains on the west coast, it’s quite different from when it rains elsewhere.

This is rain forest country. Many times we have walked Long Beach in October, our favourite time of year to visit there. We travel that endless flat sand with the sun in our faces, just watching the waves. Often when we turn around to come back, a black cloud has come up, following us closely down the coast.

It starts to rain, the drops coming thick and fast, pelting down. By the time we get back to our car, I can feel the water running down my legs inside my jeans. Everything I have on is wet through including my dripping jacket, soaked gloves, soggy shoes.

This time, it was June. The weather was lovely, warm enough to feel like real summer. We spent a few days on McKenzie Beach, poking around, biking into Tofino for lunch and groceries. The third day we went to Long Beach. We put on sunscreen, brought our sun hats and walked the beach.

The wind kicked up, blowing harder and harder. The rain began to fall, dumping down on us. Things blew across the sand in the forty mile an hour wind – an umbrella that finally dug itself into the sand, it’s handle like a brace keeping it facing into the wind, a blue bucket that had been ripped to shreds by the wind and water whipping it along the sand.

By the time we got back to our car, I could feel the water running down my legs inside my pants. June is a lot like October at Long Beach.