A Perfect Ten, Finale – 2010: Beginnings and Endings

Well, here we are, at the beginning.

It was quite a decade, and it’s been an interesting exercise revisiting it via, firstly, my Great Blog Post Emendation, and thence on to these ‘one-per-year’ posts.

In looking back, I’ve found my line-of-sight swinging towards, not only the present, but the future also. A future that is occluded by Covid-19 – as it is for all of us – but also has some threads weaving in and out of the mists that I can tug on and feel their energy pulling me forth.

Going on our trip-ette for ten days was the perfect way to end these last ten years, to give myself time to, as I said at the end of my last post, stare at the scenery and drink tea … which I did … both, in copious quantities.

I had fine ideas of doing some deep spiritual work, of writing down a few outlines (vague outlines, ‘cos I’m a dyed-in-the-wool ‘pantser’*) of the stories that are percolating underneath the attic stairs in the back of my mind, of brainstorming the, Covid-19-revised, future of ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and many other things too numerous to mention. To give myself credit I had allowed the first five days to do the ‘scenery and tea’ bit, but after that I’d planned to get to work.

Yeah … about that plan … it was obvious by the first weekend that none of the above list of things was going to happen. I didn’t even get my camera out until we were almost at the end of our time there.

The first three days were still smoke-raddled by the capricious winds blowing up from the fires in the U.S. The next couple of days were filled with glorious blue skies and brisk winds … which got steadily stronger, and stronger and blew in thunderous storm clouds and rain … and more rain, and still more rain … that had reduced itself to occasional showers by the time we left.

Since getting home, late on Sunday afternoon, we’ve had nothing but sunshine … ain’t life twisty like that?

However, herewith, as promised, some photos and first ever videos of the (also first ever) official, Wunder-Lusters Adventure …

This is the view from where I sat under the trailer awning, all bundled up, sipping my tea, and listening to the rain.

 

And this made me smile …

A Puff of Dragon's Breath Cloud - busy with things to do and people to see

A Puff of Dragon’s Breath Cloud – busy with things to do and people to see

A little white cloud that had far greater ambitions than I …

(A bit wibbly-wobbly because of a stiff tripod. I ‘hand-held’ the rest, but I’m going to have to work through my equipment list poste-haste)

We did go for walks along the beach in-between the rain-showers and rain-deluges.

Very fine silt sand drifted between an endless vista of the most, pick-up-and-put-in-your-pocket-river-tumbled stones, I’ve seen for a good many years.

 

I have a selection of very special ones with me as I write this. I also picked up a piece of driftwood that caught my Attention. I don’t know, yet, what the stones and the wood will do, but they’ll make their opinions on the topic known when they’re ready, of that I’m sure.

The transition between sunshine and stormclouds happened in a matter of moments. Not long after I filmed this, another deluge descended upon us …

 

It was cold that night. I even tucked myself into bed with an extra hot water bottle. (a few things, among many, to make sure you have when camping, whatever you’re camping in – duct tape, wire, and an extra hot water bottle)

The next morning, I spied my most favourite weather event in the entire world

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

Of course Cheam Mountain is over 2000 meters high, and our campground sat at 23 meters, but still … SNOW!!!

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

And this is what she looks like, from another angle, when she’s really got her groove on, courtesy of Wikipedia and the photographer, Jack Borno …

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

It turns out I did think deep thoughts about ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and Spirituality, and writing, and the Universe and Everything, but just not how I envisioned it before I started … life’s twisty like that.

-oOo-

We stayed at the Cheam Fishing VIllage and Campground (where the Stó:lō, the People of the River, have fished for 10,000 years) in Agassiz. They’re closed for the year now, but if you’re ever in the neighbourhood check them out.

* ‘pantser’ – a writer who writes her stories by the ‘seat-of-her-pants’, making it up as she goes along, as it were … as opposed to a ‘plotter’, who outlines the story ‘plot’ to varying degrees of detail before she starts in on the meat of it.

And the Typhoid Mary Award for What-The-Fuckery in 2020 goes to …

… Naomi Davis… and Clea Shearer…, a couple of plucky gals who aren’t going to let a little thing like a GLOBAL PANDEMIC stop them from doing something BREATHTAKINGLY FUCKING STUPID, (yes, I’m SWEARING and SHOUTING) like getting into their big rigs and heading out on the open road in search of … well, in search of more communities to infect.

Clea, accompanied by hubs, his mum, and their two kids are going from California to Nashville.

Naomi accompanied by hubs and five children, all shining bright with that true frontier spirit, are already on their way from New York to somewhere west.

Here’s the article that inspired me to make this award, and after reading, I’m sure you’ll all agree they are truly worthy recipients of this particular award. (there are, of course, many other types of ‘what-the-fuckery’ awards and recipients to be had during this time)

The article has live links and screen shots of their social media posts in case you think I’ve finally been taken over by the Twilight Zone.

Apart from the incredibly valid concerns mentioned in the article, there are a few more than haven’t been considered.

Emptying out the grey and black-water tanks. (that’s waste water, from the sink and shower – grey, and toilet – black) The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to exist in feces, (poop) so I don’t care how big your tanks are, with that many people pooping and showering and washing dishes, you’re going to need to empty them with alarming regularity.

Believe me, no matter how clean the facilities are, no matter how careful you are, you are guaranteed at least one splash. Even if you aren’t carrying the virus in your innards, you have no idea who was emptying their tanks, and had their singular ‘splash’ before you, or what they were carrying in their innards.

The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to remain airborne for up to 3 hours. (because the virus itself if really, really, really tiny) It has been demonstrably proven to remain on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface.

(Dr John Campbell has all the proofs to back up the ‘demonstrably-s’ I’ve mentioned, scattered throughout the last few weeks of his videos, usually from various global CDC’s and medical journals, scientific papers, etc)

Plus, the nomad community, although gaining more and more acceptability is still seen by many to be the lifestyle of those ‘unfortunates’ who can’t or won’t get a mortgage and live in a ‘real’ house, and can’t or won’t get a ‘real’ job … so when this finally blows up in these idiots faces, and it will, the fallout won’t be just on them.

But they’re not considering the true impact of the consequences of their actions on others, are they?

Funnily enough, when you think about it, that’s how this whole mess started in the first place.

-oOo-

It’s not that there aren’t other people out there doing reprehensible things like this, it’s just that out of an abundance of common sense, Mrs Widds and I have cancelled our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ plans for this year, and these reprehensibly arrogant fuckwits really got up my nose.

‘Common sense’ because until an antibody test becomes readily available, neither of us will know (unless we actually get sick) if we’ve even be exposed to the virus. (we’re both in the ‘vulnerable’ category. Mrs Widds is a disgustingly healthy 70, and I’m 61 with a compromised immune system) On top of that a viable vaccine won’t be readily available, probably until the end of the year.

About ‘Typhoid Mary’

ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

My computer is too old and too slow to open up Shotcut – my video editing software of choice. (after exhaustive researchings across the eleventy-gazillion dimensions of the interwebz) This I discovered after installing and uninstalling the software, successfully I might add, eleventy-gazillion times in a futile effort to get the damn thing to open.

Apparently my computer doesn’t ‘do’ 64 bits.(I have no idea what 64 bits is except that its double the humble 34 bits that are currently residing somewhere inside its hard-drive)

Mrs Widds computer, which is eleventy-gazillion generations younger than mine, was successful in both installing and opening the software!

“Eureka!” I hear you cheer … “No,” I riposte.

Mrs Widds computer, heretofore refuseth-ed to commune with my iPhone, (generation 5s – I know, I know, there’s a theme going on here) upon which I have extensively trained myself to take videos with. (Not having an actual dedicated video camera to do the deed with, I foolishly believed that because my phone successfully uploaded videos to my computer, it would be able to do unto Mrs Widds computer the same thing too)

I herewith tender my resignation to the Wednesday the 26th’s Center of Operations for the night!!!

So there …

Pouty McPout-face

Pouty McPout-face

… and I’m going to sleep until it’s tomorrow, and start all over again.

(I’m nowhere as cute as this little baby fox … which if memory serves me right, is one of Chuck Wendig’s family of foxes from last year, who raised their kits near his house, and he took many, many, way-too-cyoot photos of the younglings)

Widdershins and The Wunder-Lusters

I’ve been through some evolutions in my life. Some of ’em I’ve mentioned in passing on my ‘About Me’ page, and a whole lot more of ’em are in ‘Prelude’ (which is half shaman-y Journeys and half autobiography)  but, apart from two highlights, (my motorcycle accident, and emigrating here to Canada from Australia) nothing comes close to what I, (along with Mrs Widds, of course) am about to undertake.

Our story begins in the back-yard of a cottage, on an island, in the middle of a lake.

(Note to self: remember that line for when Hollywood comes a-knocking to make a star-studded movie … no, a star-studded movie franchise, outta this!)

So, The Wunder-Lusters …

For the new kids in town, and I seem to get about half a dozen new subscribers every week, and for some unknowable reason, even more when I go through ‘dry spells’ where I don’t publish anything, (like the gap that was half of January and February) The Wunder-Lusters will be the name of our YouTube channel where we’ll be documenting our adventures … going from our little cottage, (on an island, in the middle of a lake) to living in our travel-trailer full-time, exploring the length and breadth of British Columbia, nay, the length and breadth of Canada, (we’ll see how far we get) whilst keeping a weather-eye out for our forever home, our Sanctuary.

That’s the big picture. The smaller picture is … smaller … so, we return to our back-yard.

It’s a small back-yard and at this time of the year the very tall fir-trees along our southern fence line leave their shadows across it all day long. Because we’re going to make some fairly significant modifications to our (8M/25′) trailer so that two women, who like their spaaaace, can live in it full-time and not kill each other, we needed a place to work that was protected from the elements.

We have a patio attached to the house that’s just a roof, so we covered the three exposed sides with plastic. (unfortunately we rent so we can’t do any major, nor obvious, nor permanent, renovations)

We knocked together a minimalist framework …

Minimalist framework (night-time photos because I forgot to take them during the day)

Minimalist framework (night-time photos because I forgot to take them during the day)

Then we duct-taped the edges of our plastic sheeting and stapled the lot to the framework, creating wide doors, for the goings-ins and the coming-outs of various projects in various states of completion …

Wide door #1 and assorted 'stuff'

Wide door #1 and assorted ‘stuff’

The other door - with slightly less stuff

The other door – with slightly less stuff

The patio has always had a few leaks so Mrs Widds scooted up the ladder onto the roof and took care of the ones we could find, but like typos, there’s always one that escapes even the sternest scrutiny.

Our next task was to create a workbench … out of … well, we didn’t have enough bits of timber left, but luckily I found this underneath a pile of junk a previous tenant had left behind …

As punishment for putting all those staples IN the plastic I now had to pull gazillions of the little buggers OUT of the frame

As punishment for putting all those staples IN the plastic I now had to pull gazillions of the little buggers OUT of the frame

Once the frame had dried out – this was during the four months of rain we had from November 2019 to … now really, (with assorted sunny bits of late) we plonked it down on a couple of bookshelves we ‘liberated’ from my books, threw a slab of plywood on top, and voilá …

Instant workbench - fully loaded with a pot of tea (for me) and mug of coffee. (for Mrs Widds)

Instant workbench – fully loaded with a pot of tea (for me) and mug of coffee. (for Mrs Widds)

And that’s where we’re currently at.

Our first official project involves this interesting little sketch I made. Lets see if you can guess what it is …

In the meantime – I continue to learn about the making of, and editing, videos, whilst being regularly startled at how broad my Aussie accent is. Just goes to show, you can take the woman out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the woman, even after nearly sixteen years … mind you, I also occasionally shift to a strange hybrid English accent as well, sometimes in the same sentence.

Ready for the toasting of toes, boiling of kettles, and relaxing of bones into chairs

Ready for the toasting of toes, boiling of kettles, and relaxing of bones into chairs

The Hardest Thing On Earth

I have a quote by Katharine Mansfield up on my wall above my computer desk where I write all this stuff. It goes like this …

‘Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.’

It’s a pretty wild quote don’t you think?

Every time I get freaked out about this whole Wunder-Lusters thing,(and believe me it happens a lot, sometimes they’re small freak-outs and sometimes they’re, not) I read that line I’ve used as the title of this post.

You wanna know what the hardest thing for me is? What the hardest thing has been for me for my whole goddamn life? Doing the hardest thing.

I’m good at a whole lot of things. For a high-school dropout I’ve managed to build an impressive skill-set. I can draw you up a set of houseplans, I make a mean spaghetti bolognaise sauce, I’m a pretty damn good writer. I can fix just about anything with a piece of coathanger wire, duct tape and a crochet hook. I can talk knowledgeably on a list of things from A to Z, and a just as many things I know nothing about, like … hmm, there’s a whole list of ’em but that’s not my point.

My point is that of all those things I’m good at not one has ever risen above the level of ‘really good’. Well, some of ’em have got as high as ‘really, really good’, but nothing has ever … shone, bright enough to qualify for having accomplished that ‘hardest thing’.

I have no idea where Wunder-Lusters is going to take me, us, or how we’re going to pay for it, or what I’m going to become, but I do know this, I’m going deaf, I wear three strengths of glasses, (for different things, not all at once) I’m down to half a working knee, and arthritis is starting to kick in everywhere else. Sometimes the future scares me so much I can hardly breathe.

I’m 61 years old, it’s time to do the hardest things.

Mrs Widds Goodie Basket Seasonal Baking Begins

Mrs Widds rose a little earlier than I yesterday and put her nefarious plans in place.

Because we live in such a little cottage I awoke to a tantalizing toffee-and-melted-butter aroma that gently lifted me from my recumbancy.

Although I’m not at my best before my first cuppa tea, I hastened to the kitchen to be greeted by this …

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

She waved her magic rolling pin, and in a great act of alchemy transformed these base elements into ….

BUTTER TARTS!!!

BUTTER TARTS!!!

I quelled my beating heart for I was about to face my greatest test ..

Quality control ...

Quality control …

I girded my spleen, also pancreas, and bravely hoisting my tea, sallied forth to do my duty …

Going ...

Going …

Gone, in a sugar induced haze of glory ... if I should fall in service to the season, bury me where the wild tarts roam!

Gone, in a sugar induced haze of glory … if I should fall in service to the season, bury me where the wild tarts roam!

One of the ‘playlists’ on our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ video channel is going to be about cooking these sorts of things with a propane oven, dutch oven, campfire, all sorts of RVcooking in general really, because we do love our food, we does.

Mrs Widds Eviscerates

I have occasionally featured Mrs Widds and her exceptional baking skills on my blog as ‘Mrs Widds Bakes’ – prime examples of which can be found by doing a search for Mrs Widds Bakes, where you will find such gems as THIS.

Due to her expanding skill-set she is now also our resident Fixer-Upper.

But first … on a personal note, I was promised snow the other night. It didn’t happen. I am … disappointed.

For those new to my blog one of my little, quirks, lets call them, is an (‘over’, some might say) enthusiasm for snow. It’s in my genes.

I was born in the northern hemisphere, (in a little town called Rochford, in the county of Essex, England) but for reasons that were never adequately explained to me, my parents chose to emigrate to Australia when I was 2. Had I been able to voice an opinion at the time I would’ve voted for the alternative destination, Canada.

The ways of one’s parents are inexplicable.

It took me 42 years but I did manage to get here (Canada) by 2004. Having been so long deprived of snow I have since discovered a deep well of (insanity, some might say) joy when the fluffy white stuff falls from the sky. …

… back to Mrs Widds and her evisceration-ing.

Out little cottage used to have a real fireplace but a previous tenant used the flagstone hearth as a base for his firewood splitting endeavours. Needless-to-say the owner wasn’t at all impressed with the mess he left behind and removed the fireplace.

Mrs Widds and I grew up (separated by the Pacific Ocean) with fireplaces, so we decided to use the old fake-it-’til-you-make-it principle, and, as all our power here on Widder Island is sourced from electricity, we bought ourselves this fabulous electric fan heater.

Although you can't really see it at all in this hasty photo, the flickering light is rather lovely to stare into on a cold winter's eve whilst sipping one's chai-latte

Although you can’t really see it at all in this hasty photo, the flickering light is rather lovely to stare into on a cold winter’s eve whilst sipping one’s chai-latte

Then a few years later, it suddenly died!

Wailing and gnashing of teeth was heard across the land!

Then it started again.

Great rejoicing was heard, you guessed it, across the land.

Then it died again.

… deathly silence …

All was not lost however, because Mrs Widds, fresh from her triumphant carburetor replacement on the generator. (which can be found HERE – you have to scroll down a bit, and HERE) swung into action.

I on the other hand, retired to my computer with chai-latte in hand and proceeded to work on my ‘How to become a YouTube video-making Mavern’ (not real name) course for our Wunder-Lusters adventures next year.

Meanwhile, appropriate tools were sought, and with a few sub-sonic mutters, Mrs Widds reduced our faithful heater to it’s component parts …

Upside-down, back-to-front, and eviscerated

Upside-down, back-to-front, and eviscerated

… and isolated the miscreant …

Corrosion of the miscreant-y kind

Corrosion of the miscreant-y kind

It turns out one can’t just replace these tiny wires by themselves, or even with the plate they’re connected to, no one has to buy the whole assembly.

Some reassembly will be required . The bit at the front is the heating element and the round thingy at the back is the fan

Some reassembly will be required . The bit at the front is the heating element and the round thingy at the back is the fan

The upside is that Amazon carries many of these gizmos that are slightly less powerful and fairly cheap, (and probably will fit, probably) but to get one exactly the same as this we have to pay pretty much double the price.

We are currently quandary-ing the odds, and consulting the bank balance … will update soon.

New Horizons

A few posts ago I hinted darkly of the perambulating goings-ons Mrs Widds and I are undertaking next year, namely that of heading to parts East-North-East in our trusty travel-trailer until we find our forever home.

In a fit of absolute insanity I also committed myself to chronicling the entire thing on video … and now I have to figure out how to do it. (I don’t know why I do this to myself, I really don’t) I am confident that YouTube will have instructional videos on how to put videos on YouTube. (which is a perfect example of ‘meta’)

Any author will tell you that sometimes the hardest part of writing a story, (that isn’t actually the story itself) is figuring out the title. This is also true of finding a name for your, to-date, completely theoretical, YouTube channel.

Mrs Widds and I put our heads together and came up with … nothing. Which was surprising … we’re usually rather good at that sort of thing.

That night as I lay in a deep doze in-between bathroom visits, (I’d drunk way too many cups of tea for my bladder to readily forgive) it came to me .. The Wunder-Lusters, (a play on ‘wunderlust’) because we’ll be wandering to all points of the compass in our adventures. (who knows, we might even venture to the Atlantic Ocean, or even the Arctic one! …Tuktoyatuk, here we come!)

Next was the tag-line, or sub-heading. That was easy. At that point, in my mind’s eye the entire thing looked something like this …

4 wheels on the truck and 4 on the trailer ...you're wondering what the dots after the word 'and' are for, aren't you?

4 wheels on the truck and 4 on the trailer …you’re wondering what the dots after the word ‘and’ are for, aren’t you?

Well, if you’ve been around here for a while you’ve probably already surmised the rest of the line is, ‘no fucks given’ … which, as much as I heartily approve of the sentiment, it might be a bit too outré for YouTube, and not what I want to be part of that vital ‘first impression’ anyway.

Any thoughts on what else I could use?

(I did come up with an alternative that I’m … hmm … OK with – 2 Women, 8 Wheels: The Adventure Begins/Continues … but I’m not overly fond of it. It sounds like a sequel that nobody wants, to a movie that no-one saw)

Our 'rig' (I love that term, it's so on-the-road-ish) on our 2015 cross-country adventure at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta

Our ‘rig’ (I love that term, it’s so on-the-road-ish) on our 2015 cross-country adventure at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta