Shelter Point Whisky and Sasquatches

My husband returned from Vancouver this week having had skin cancer removed from his temple at the incredible Moh‘s clinic where he has already been a visitor a few times before. It feels kind of clubby there for him now and he likes to get the conversation flowing amongst the room of newbies. Poor guy removed his bandage the next day and found a patchwork of about 50 stitches. So today I suggested we do something fun to take his mind off his latest wound. We decided to drive up the highway to the Shelter Point Whisky Distillery.

Well – what a timely surprise! Tomorrow, having aged their thousand casks the legally required 3 years and 1 day, they can bottle their first batch of single malt. Can’t wait to try it. Brian, our tour guide, ran us through the process of whisky production and explained that until there is whisky to taste, there would be Vodka – their own Still Master triple distilled Vodka, in a variety of flavours. Vodka goes from the tank to the bottle and doesn’t require the subtle addition of cask flavours.

Not really being vodka drinkers it is ironic that we now have a litre bottle in our liquor cupboard. Still Master is distilled in copper pots hand made in Scotland from barley grown in the sea breezy farm land of Vancouver Island. We chose the vodka that hasn’t been infused with one of the delicious but subtle flavours they offer but the bare version which has it’s own barley imparted whisky flavour. We did buy a bottle of the chocolate infused for a gift too.

On the drive home I was thinking about how Jerry is full of conversational surprises.  A couple of weeks back, there was an item on TV about an island near Tofino and he says, “that’s where Alan and that other guy came across the Sasquatch nest.” Now I have been married to him for 32 years and with him for a couple of years before that and I don’t ever remember him mentioning a Sasquatch nest which is something I’m sure I would have remembered. And he wasn’t kidding – apparently it was pushed down underbrush in a circle with a diameter of about 10-12 feet and stunk unbelievably. And yes, there was excrement and fur that bore no resemblance to that of a bear. I know it was the seventies and the wild west but he’s sticking to the story and don’t even ask about the goat legged man of Stubbs Island.

I was thinking of how when he leaves to go anywhere, I automatically expect him to return at least once more for the items which he has forgotten. My husband  might come back for his phone, sunglasses, the required hat, paperwork, his list – forgetting these items or what I just told him is quite usual. But ask him to remember a joke he was told in grade 4 and there it is, punch line perfect. Ask him about one of Sherlock Holmes’ cases and he probably has an accurate answer. Ask him almost any random question that doesn’t have any bearing on our day to day lives and he ferrets out the answer from his subterranean mind vault with great alacrity.  Like the unexpected delight in a local vodka, he’s great at parties. Long may the Moh’s clinic keep him cancer free.

 

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What to blog … what to blog?
So many fascinating topics and so many useful words are at our disposal. The problem comes when you have to line them up in the correct order so that they will impart a meaning to someone; make a small emotional ripple in the reading matrix. Here are things that have crossed my free ranging mind this morning:

  • the beach
  • knitting wool
  • crab apple cider (non-alcoholic) stored in the heavy freezer
  • picking Queen Anne’s Lace at the roadside
  • the quality of drinking water
  • the dirtiness of my kitchen floor
  • why I still own a cat
  • if it is worth planning anything in the future

I could probably cast out a few pearly thoughts on any of these topics but I feel uninspired. If the muse doesn’t appear, musing withers away.

There have been galleries of muses both male and female since the originals who were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. I think Man Ray’s muse, Kiki de Montparnasse has a name that positively shouts inspiration. Even the inanimate – leaves,the sea and post-modern architecture have inspired artists and writers. Some think they get closer to their muse in a drug induced state. Think of Wilkie Collins, opium addicted writer of the first detective novel, The Moonstone.

My sister-in-law has a personal saint/muse whom she calls, Chocolate Bob. When called upon, he always provides her with guidance to the perfect parking spot – not artistic I realize but supernatural guidance nonetheless. My artist brother has always been inspired by clouds. I’ve never identified my personal muse but it is worth contemplating. I know that to bid her come I only have to slow down and let my senses do the thinking for a moment. To look, listen, smell, taste and touch always sparks up a synaptic response in me worth following. Try it yourself.

Right now I hear:

  • a bird outside chirping angrily
  • leaves rustling in the wind
  • a plane high overhead
  • the clock ticking
  • the fridge doing it’s thing
  • a far away neighbour running a saw, I think

And suddenly, I am reminded of lying on my bed in Calgary when I was 11 or 12 hearing almost the same sounds and feeling very detached from a busy world and wondering if it would all change. Perched on the cusp of adolescence and about to move to another province, everything changed in the couple of years that followed but funny how those sounds embedded themselves together in my memory like a grain of sand. I could write something about that experience if I chose to and give it the title, “Pre-Teen Musings on the Future,” or maybe not.

That sums up the writing process for me. It is word game that starts with a sensory key and the memory of a scene, a word snippet, a buried thought. A wandering mind can be a handy tool for picking up bits and pieces that connect in some way and then lets the words arrange themselves. A word stitch here and one there can piece together a written tapestry that is available to hang in someone’s mind for inspection. What they make of it defines it’s artistic value.

Holiday Without a Plan

Sadly ,I am now on the last day of my month-long holiday. I feel refreshed, I’m having happy thoughts, I’m not moaning about work to my husband and I’m drinking Cinzano in the afternoon whilst enjoying sweet’n salty kettle corn in an uninhibited, face stuffing way. Aah, the hols!

Although we moved this month. Sounds easy but actually entailed sifting through twenty-three years of accumulated junk and family memorabilia – most of which is currently jammed into two storage lockers in no apparent order. Withdraw a box or bag and you’re just as likely to find my husband’s great granny’s plush Victorian photo album as you are a VHS copy of Mousehunt or a tool for making sausages. Actually this could be a fun activity for the late hours of a party.

So that took care of the first five days or so of the holiday. After that, we avidly did some work on our boat for a day and made big plans for getting her surveyed and out on the briny. Did I mention that while I was on holidays, my husband was not. This meant that the anticipated voyage did not actually leave the planning stage. Oh well, as my darling better-half loves saying, ” that leaves something for later.” Later was supposed to be last summer but due to government bureaucracy, my husband’s contract got extended for yet another summer. This, I’ve been promised, is the last so hopefully we aren’t too creaky to haul up the mainsail next summer for an extended voyage up the coast of BC’s mainland.(More on that later!)

The holiday progressed at an enjoyable summery pace for me anyway. Got to enjoy the new digs, go to the beach, entertain a few friends, make jam, sew a new sail cover and generally fool around with this blogging lark while procrastinating with the seminal internet task of uploading my manuscript as an e-book.

The great thing about a holiday where you don’t actually have to get up the energy to do all that cool stuff there is never time for during the working year, is that you don’t have to garner any energy AT ALL. You drift from day to day, from inside to outside, from snack to drink, from book to laptop, from stove to store and there is absolutely no plan to make you feel guilty about your non-adherance. I think this might be what retirement is like or could be. And the surprise is that it is a good thing. After all, given free rein, I got quite a bit done. I caught up with my paperwork which I hate and consequently put off and piles of ironing which, as you know if you’ve been reading my blog, I enjoy.

All fun comes to a grinding halt tomorrow. I feel like the condemned. For my last meal, I’ve chosen Chinese take-out from down the road. Maybe I’ll get a touch of food poisoning and have to take a sick day.