Every so often, when I’m feeling poorly, I ask myself how the bloody hell I manage to get through the worst days … when every sense is surrounded by a miasma of pain, every movement is weighed against how much energy it would take to overcome the physical resistance to voluntarily walking into that inferno?
When all the drugs do is push the pain away so that, although I don’t care so much, I can still feel it? … there’s no magic, (unless it’s the magic of sheer stubbornness) it’s all about the passage of time.
One minute flows into another, an hour passes, perhaps even a day or two.
The dark of the night fades and I unlock my weariness, stick my feet out from under the bedcovers, and stand up again.
Had to have a bit of a chuckle to myself at Spring Equinox … last year (2022) seemed to go on forever, (and we shan’t ever mention the preceding two, ever) but 2023 seems to be galloping along at a breathtaking rate of knots.
Is it just me?
I’d finished vacuuming, and as I was putting the infernal machine/appliance back in its cupboard I sensed an eerie presence emanating from the darkness within. A cold shiver wormed its way down my spine.
Malevolence lurked among the musty old coats and dusty boxes filled with best-forgotten memories.
I wondered, in that strange moment, suspended between washing dishes and preparing dinner, do vacuum cleaners, in their lonely isolation between being let out to serve their creators, dream of world domination?
There are more and more birds flitting about, and soaring across the skies as it slowly warms up now.
It’s not ‘warm’, yet though. We’re still hitting double frozen digits of temperature at night, (and the snow is still piled up in measurable meters, all around me) and I haven’t seen the thermometer get above 5° during the day yet … but the birds have things to do and, well, t’is Spring after all.
One of the things I joust with is how much of my Self to reveal here in these posts. I tend to err on the side of, ‘more is OK but not too much’, but the trick is determining where that boundary sits at any given moment.
This particular post is one I’ve started over and over and not really gotten anywhere with it that I’m satisfied with. (which is why I haven’t posted anything for a bit too long for me to be comfortable with)
Not that I didn’t want to post something but right now it’s a fragmented jumble of thoughts and impressions … each of which is probably worthy of a post in itself.
… never-the-less …
I decided just to wrestle them into some sort of coherent order and leave them as is.
Everywhere I look the snow is so much deeper than I ever could’ve imagined this time last year.
Oi vey! This time last year … we were up to our necks in packing … Mrs Widds had slipped in a wet wooden board and hurt her back something fierce … rain, non-stop, pretty much, since October of 2021 … all I wanted was for the packing to be over, and the rain to stop.
It did stop, but not until we left the Lower Mainland with its failing rainforest climate, speaking both latitudinally and elevation-erly, and our little cottage on an island in the middle of a lake, behind us.
I’m not … I was going to say, ‘I’m not myself these days’, but that’s not true. I’m myself, of course, who else would I be? But the self I am, the Self I’ve become over the last year, isn’t someone who I recognise, who I’m familiar with.
I thought that a bit odd.
Here I am, coming up on 65 this September and I have less of an idea of who I am than in any decade previously … except perhaps my first one. I was an Innocent then, and had no need of descriptors.
I woke up the other morning and it was March!!! When the bloody hell did that happen?
We’re still getting snow up the wazoo, it’s still in the double digits below freezing at night, and some days too, but mostly the days are longer and I feel as though I might venture out from my coocoon … any day now … perhaps.
This is a bit of a compilation of snippets I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks …
If you’re interested in why your weather is going bat-shit bonkers all the time, this might be the website for you. It’s called ‘Severe Weather Europe’, and they deal with the weather patterns mostly from an entire northern hemisphere perspective, with occasional forays below the equator.
I find the posts well written and well researched, (I feel smarter just mentioning them here in this post) and understandable, which is to say they’re not enamoured of the ‘sound’ of their own voices.
Thisis their latest post on the why’s and wherefore’s of the arctic blasts about to roll over North America and western Europe this month.
Any information we can gather to help us plan ahead in these uncertain times is useful, I think.
Perhaps this is what I might do for the next while. Start a post and add anything that might occur to me, and when it’s full, (whatever that means in the moment) post it.
The long and arduous process to have my knee surgery, (both knees need to be replaced, but I’m hoping to do one at a time. There are far too many stairs to be negotiated in this house for me to be completely incapable of traversing them) has officially begun.
Last week I had the first, of probably what will be many, x-rays. (of my knees) The technician was kind enough to let me see the interior condition of my poor beleaguered joints.
The last time I had the opportunity to so was back in 2009-ish, when I had that 16-hour soft-tissue transplant surgery to replace the original cut-n-paste skin transplant that was all that had separated the inside of my knee from the outside. (the original accident happened back last century … coming up on forty years now. Funnily enough though, I still remember so much of it so clearly. It’s amazing the bits and bobs of memory we retain, eh?)
Way back then, (2009-ish) my knees were pretty dodgy, and fourteen years later, they were even dodgier. The time had come, (the Walrus said) to set those poor old long-suffering joints out to pasture and import a pair of new-and-improved ones.
I know quite a few people who have gone through to this process, (waves to Derrick) with varying degrees of success, and having done quite a bit of research over the years, I know what to expect, but still … I found myself wide awake that evening until the wee small hours pondering my mortality yet again. (the last time I had such a mighty ponder was in 2013 when I jousted with, and won against, thyroid cancer) It seems that only very late at night, when the world is at its most still and quiet, the veil between the ‘here’, and the ‘elsewhere’, seperate enough for us to witness some Truths.
By 4am I’d had enough of that, and after a mellowing pot of tea, and toast, I came to the conclusion that the answer to it all is almost always 42. I put my empty teapot and cup away, and went back to sleep.
In other news, I’m deleting some posts from my blog, not because I want to, but because these five posts in particular, are getting, on average, 50 to 100 spam hits per day, and I’m heartily sick of deleting gazillions of the nasty little buggers every week. (some robot, digital or humanoid, probably sold the URL’s to some other robot who sold them to another one, ad nauseum) WordPress is very adept at catching them before they go live but they still clog up the innards of my blog
I’ll take them out of action at the end of the week, (Sunday-ish) so, If you’ve a mind to, you can have a re-read before they only exist in my external drive archives.
Here are the links, for your reading and entertainment pleasure … just click on the title and away you’ll go.
… why these were chosen I’ll never know. Perhaps the answer here, is 42 as well.
The snowdrifts are steadily getting higher. Some I can’t see over the top of now, and true to my word in my previous post I’m not posting a snow video … however, here’s a bit of a shot of a pheasant lass, who just happens to be standing on some snow whilst she contemplates the remnants of the crab-apples stillbravely attached to their parent tree for her morning tea …
… although now that I look closer, she could be a grouse lass, not that I’ve had much to do with either bird though. (I wonder if 42 could actually refer to a species, if so I may have accidentally filmed a new and rare species of ‘grousant’ … ah, we owe so much to Douglas)
Oh well, have some clouds, very high, very cold, and moving along at a brisk clip. (because they’re the harbingers of another snow-storm, naturally!)
But, just in case you’re getting tired of them, this will, (probably … most likely … unless something else very interesting happens) be the last one, because even I, who’s the greatest snow-junkie you’ll ever meet, am beginning to sigh rather heavily whenever I contemplate going out and shovelling it. (playing in it is a horse of an entirely different kettle of kittens, of course)
In this one we’re digging around the trailer prior to scraping the buildup of snow off its roof.
I wax lyrical about other things as well, as you’ll soon see …
One of the, many, reasons I’m currently making a lot of video’s about snow is that it’s everywhere. And not just the flurries and very occasional heavy falls we had back on the Lower Mainland, no, this stuff falls in tens of centimeters at a time, several times a week at the very least, and like yesterday, several times a day.
It fascinates me. It reminds me of all the magic that still resides in the Earth. It brings me Home like no other natural phenomenon can, except for mountains, of course. Give me snow and mountains and I’m a happy little vegemite. (if you don’t know what that last expression means, ask an Aussie)
There was a casualty though. All that shovelling wore a hole in one of my mittens, but with a bit of a darn and a crocheted patch we were soon back to it …
Not perfect by any means, but then again, perfection is highly overrated
Good to go
I can’t help myself … the last one, I promise? …
Late last night I glanced out my study window and saw snowflakes swirling in the wind, dancing across the snow drifts as though they were on a stage lit from above … all surrounded by the absolute silence that can only exist when snow falls.
I call it Snow-Dancing Underneath A streetlight …
I wanted to find a song about slow ‘snow’ dancing but I came across this compilation and it fitted the late-night mood perfectly …
And so, I have re-turned into 2023, hoping most fervently that it be less … perhaps ‘epic’, might be an appropriate descriptor … hoping it be less epic that the preceding year. (one can only sustain such epic-ness for only so long before the cardboard underpinnings of the entire mess collapse beneath one. Up to, and including, spending 3 days in December, at -37C temperatures without indoor running water – not an experience to be envied, I tell you)
This was before the ice turned into a solid sheet
A bit of a close-up – I never really understood what these looked like when I read about such things in books as a kid. Now I do
There were days I wondered if I was going to make it. Not that I ever considered offing myself, but the question of whether I would make it, back here, back to writing, back to blogging, back to being a writer who was writing, reared its unsavoury head more than once. The tricky part about it was that I didn’t have, couldn’t find, an answer.
For most of the second half of last year, since we stopped being wanderers and, oddly enough, finally settled into our lovely house here, I was depressed. (situationally, rather than clinically) Which, wouldn’t’ve been a stretch to figure out given the barely submerged sub-text of my semi-infrequent blog posts during that time.
I’m slowly crawling out of that rather bleak place, thanks in part to the passage of time, the indomitable Mrs Widds, my own ability to self-critique, lots and lots of rest, a twisty sense of humour, and views from every window that are truly uplifting. (not necessarily in that order, but probably in that order)
Trying to capture the uncapturable deep blue colour of a full moon rising over a blanket of snow, with Venus, I think, a tiny sparkle of light, up there near the top of the frame
‘Weary’, is a word I’m using far too often these days. It has crept way down deep in my bones.
Like Bilbo I feel as though I’ve been spread too thin for far too long.
This year’s been a bit taxing, folks.
Nothing that lots, and lots and lots, of rest won’t heal, I’m sure.
May you score lots of loot in ten days time. (if you’re into that celebration)
May the Birth of the New Year in five days time, bring you the double blessing of the release of the old and the renewal of all the good things that warm your heart. (if you’re into that celebration too)
On that note, I bid you adieu for the remainder of this year, and leave you with a piece of music, the second half of which never fails to send me into a most peaceful sleep, wherein perchance I dream …
I went outside to clear a few paths of snow that the 40kph wind gusts last night, had filled in. It was -26 … in the sun. A tad brisk, I thought.
On with today’s thinks that I thunked last night …
It’s not something we thought about when we were wee tadpoles, that the musical icons, the artists, the people who impacted our lives, whose songs moved us and got us through all those hard times, who tend to be a generation older than us, we didn’t think that one day they’ll go and die on us.
As we get older, occasionally accidents, (self-inflicted or otherwise) took some of them away from us, and we mourned, and were perhaps forced to confront our own mortality, our own foibles and addictions, but there was still an aura of indestructability in the air, for us to breathe and take comfort in as we merrily trundled along our chosen Paths.
We weren’t encouraged to think of them dying. (we’re certainly not encouraged to think of ourselves dying, perish the thought!) They were supposed to be immortal, or at least immortalised by their art continuing to be in our collective consciousness after they were gone.
But they weren’t immortal. They faded with time, as the years pile up behind us, as did our memories of why they impacted our lives. And when we heard of their passing, we may have paused a while, smiled a bit whimsically, and said to each other, “Oh, I remember that song,” and along we trundled again.
But now, here, around-about the middle of my sixth decade, it hits harder, some days when I’m feeling melancholy, when one of those figures dies.
Christine McVie … 12th July 1943 – 30th November 2022 … Bon Voyage, and thank you for all the beautiful music.
Everybody sing it with me now, and do your best impersonation of a drag-queen, or king, doing an impersonation of Ethel Merman singing, ‘There’s no business like show business’ …
… what’s that you say, you don’t know who Ethel Merman is?
Well, this is Ethel …
I don’t think there’s an entertainer in the world today who could belt out a showtune quite like she could.
I’ve temporarily retired the ‘The Wunder-Lusters’ category, (over there on the right of my blog) because we’re not doing anything remotely wunder-lustery at the moment … which isn’t to say we aren’t having adventures. No, certainly not … and, I’ve started a new category, here and, on The Wunder-Lusters Youtube channel, called ‘The Prince Georgian Chronicles’, which will, as the name implies, chronicle our adventures here in Prince George.
First and foremost, as you’ve probably gathered from the title of this post, I’m going to talk about snow. What a surprise, eh?
And after that, well, who knows where this new adventure will take us …
In response to a request for more ‘snow-on-trees’. Here’s a photo, and an epic wee video …
I’m pretty sure there’s a snow-dragon somewhere in this picture
The last time we saw this beauty she was still in her Autumn robes. Looks like she’s wrapping up her Season with a bang …
Soon I’d bundle up in as many layers as I could wear and still be able to move, and head outside to clear pathways through the 40cm (15”) of snow that fell last week.
Mittens from 2010 when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics. Never really had an opportunity to wear them … until now, when they are a necessity
I suspect I may have found the Winter I’ve been searching for all my life. It certainly is a tad different than the fantasma I created in my imaginasium when I lived in Australia, or even back on Widder Island.
Normally I’m outside shouting, “SNOW!!!”, as loud as possible but when this lot started to fall, I timidly peeked through the curtains and whispered, ‘snow’ – just in case someone heard me and decided I needed an extra three meters of the stuff. One can never be too careful with the Weather Deities these days.
This is what I call, COLD
In all fairness, those temperatures were, according to, Environment Canada, a bit of an anomaly brought about partly by La Nina’s third winter in office. The ones at the end of the 7 day forecast are the averages for this time of the year. That being said, nothing about any weather forecasting is ‘average’ in these interesting times.
However, I’m getting ahead of myself again. The tale continues …
Part 1 HERE … In which we have arrived at our new ‘sticks-and-bricks’, home after living in our RV for months …
Every major joint in my body seemed to be letting it be known that they never EVER wanted to set foot on an uneven, or unstable, surface, again.
It took several weeks for me to stop expecting the floor to sway with every movement. I suspect it’s the same for anyone who spends any length of time on board a boat, of any size. Even now I occasionally catch myself bracing for something that never comes. A bit rough on the joints, that too.
But, I had come to terms with the fact that our Great Adventure, might well and truly end in Prince George. (which, all things considered, isn’t a bad place to end up)
For all the years we’d been planning and preparing for, (and the actual doing of) this, relinquishing the wider possibilities was turning out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. It was all tied in with my self-image of a foot-loose and fancy-free vagabond, out to see what the world had to offer, rather than the reality imposed by my physical limitations which, scarily, appeared to be on the increase.
…… but that was the emotional, physical, and spiritual place I ended up at, and I’m getting ahead of myself again …
So, this happened …
Driving through the Fraser Canyon
The quickest route from Prince George to Agassiz, where our storage unit was, is through the Fraser Canyon. It’s usually a spectacular drive along a pretty decent 2-lane highway winding up and down and around and through the canyons carved out of the mountains by the Fraser River, and ending up on the Fraser Plateau.
Still driving through the canyon
It was still a spectacular drive, but it was also very smoky from wildfires burning in Washington state (in the U.S.) and others much closer here in British Columbia.
Repairs, necessitated by the damage from last November’s disastrous floods to the highway, were still going on, and we had several occasions to sit and enjoy the scenery as we waited for the road ahead to clear…. a road that narrowed down to a single lane emergency bridge thrown across a washout, bookended by torn asphalt and concrete barriers.
(this video is a bit long, but if you can watch on as big a screen as possible, I think you’ll get a feel for the road as we traveled through the canyon and out onto the plateau on our way home)
The saddest thing I think, were the closed shopfronts in the tiny villages we drove through. Covid-19 had devastated these communities long before the flood damage closed the highway.
We took it, relatively, easy, driving the 700 kilometers over two days … Met up with Sir L, and proceeded to empty out our rather well stuffed storage unit, ably assisted by son-in-law and twin grandsons.
The next day was a little different. We’d decided, in the interests of getting the damn job over and done with, to do the return trip in one day. With a 4am start and switching drivers regularly, we managed to get back home with a decent bit of daylight to spare. Which isn’t to say we weren’t absolutely knackered the next day – we were, but the deed was done. (luckily I was passerger-ing when we drove through the canyon and was able to point the camera on my phone at the windscreen and hope for the best)
However, where was our stuff, I hear you ask. It remained in the back of Sir L’s very large truck until he drove up a week later.
Not having grandsons up here was a tad inconvenient so we hired a bloke to help with the heavy lifting, and to our surprise son-in-law turned up with Sir L, so the unloading went just as efficiently as effectively as the loading had.
We had our stuff … boxes and boxes, of stuff … everywhere.
Just as well we had lots of rooms to put it all in.
Mrs Widds downstairs study – one day
One side of our craft room. There’s a worktable somewhere underneath all that
But then, sometimes rainbows happen just when you need them the most …
I didn’t deliberately set out to take such a long break from blogging, but as events unfolded, it seemed, hmm, well, necessary … so I did.
First this happened …
(this video’s being a pain to embed into this post. If you could let me know if it’s working, that’d be great, otherwise you can watch it on YouTube itself)
It was only a short pootle from the BeeLazee campground, through town, along the highway, and on to a quiet street, where …
… oops, getting ahead of myself a bit.
We knew we needed to move on before the campground closed at the end of September or we’d be, almost quite literally, orphans in the snow.
Rentals in town were ridiculously astronomical, and apparently nothing was to be had elsewhere. But, just as Mrs Widds went on Craigslist and found our cottage on Widder Island, so too did she find us a house, on a quiet street, with an acre of lawn, (which I’m going to turn into a huge garden next year), and surrounded by mature trees.
This is the view from our front door, and the back – Tree heaven!
The trees, the trees, they stole my heart.
Even though we hauled in whatever we needed from the trailer, the house was so large (three times bigger – at least – than our little cottage on Widder Lake) we felt like two little lost socks in the Washing Machine of Life. Very disconcerting it was, after living so small for so long, (ten years in the cottage) and then smaller still in the RV.
Being on unstable ground for so long, (people with bad knees should not live in a small RV for any length of time – I’d far surpassed by ‘use-by’ date) I could hardly walk by the time we signed the lease and officially moved in, if you could call my hobbling along a ‘walk’. There are steps up to the front porch and off of the balcony at the back. There’s also another set right in the middle of the living room, (don’t ask me why they had to be in that particular spot – it’s a mystery) that lead to the downstairs craft/workshop, the storage room, and Mrs Widds study.
Hobbling up and down all those stairs was hard, painful, time consuming, and exhausting … however, we had our Winter home.
We set up camp in the living room and began to figure out, 1 – how we could afford twice the rent we were used to paying, (which is slowly sorting itself out) and 2 – how we were going to bring up all the rest of our worldly possessions from our storage unit 700 kilometers to the south.
U-Haul, it turned out, was U-seless … their business model only works if there are as many people needing trucks going one way as there are going the other. Unfortunately, all the U-haul trucks of the size we required were in Alberta, (the next province east of us) and weren’t likely to come back any time soon.
After literally weeks of not knowing if we would be able to even do the move this year, let alone before winter set in, a friend of the family, I shall call ‘Sir L’, stepped up to the plate with his 7-ton moving truck.
The catch was, (of course there was a catch, there’s always a catch!) we needed to be at the storage unit to help with the loading … 700 kilometers away.