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Archive for the ‘Guest Stories’ Category

These words are inscribed on a small plaque that hangs in our office.  I’ve always felt drawn to this old fashioned phrase and today it fits how I’m feeling.  Blessed…content…grateful.  This morning’s breakfast included two lively groups visiting from Vancouver who shared their adventure tour experiences out of Telegraph Cove.  Once again we are reminded how amazing it is to live in this place.  Our guests were thrilled to see the grizzly bears of Knight’s Inlet, black bears, humpback whales, sea lions, seals, river otters and eagles.  They excitedly shared their pictures and I’ve been carrying around that enthusiasm all day.  Driving home from errands this afternoon I dumped the groceries on the kitchen counter and raced outside to take capture a few things that are making me smile today.  Clouds.  Big white fluffy clouds as far as I could see.  Quirky formations that make me want to lay on the grass, look skyward and daydream.

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We’ve had a few weather systems pass through since this picture was taken a few hours ago.  Including lots of cool, fresh rain responsible for our garden looking so beautiful and green.  A riot of colour and blooms — roses, bird of paradise, and um lots of beautiful plants I don’t know the name of 🙂  My favourite right now is the lilac tree.  Oh our little lilac tree.  I’m not sure if it was root bound in a pot too long or if it needs better soil but after 10 years it offers up just one lone blossom.  One of my favourite scents that ranks up there with lavender & peppermint.

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Whether everyone is home and available or it’s just me by myself I love a cup of afternoon tea.  Today in the spirit of happiness I treated myself to a homemade London Fog.  Three quarters of a mug of strong Earl Grey tea with 1/4 mug hot milk with a little shot of real vanilla.  Delicious !!  This beautiful mug is from the “Crazy Daisy” collection I found at Murchie’s Tea in Victoria years ago.   Am I a tea-oholic?  How many kinds of tea do you have to have in your cupboard?  Ten, twenty, thirty.  As many times as I tell myself I’m not buying one more kind until I used up all the others I just can’t help myself.

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My soundtrack for today’s happy moments was the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young CD “So Far” I found at the thrift store for $1.50.  I’ve been singing along to “Woodstock,” Teach Your Children Well,” “Ohio,” and this one “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Blessings from the beach from one happy hippy…

 

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It’s quite amazing who we meet at our bed & breakfast. The topic came up again recently, as it often does, this time with a guest from Vancouver who worked in a restaurant for 33 years. And I thought I’d served a lot of meals. We have been blessed and thoroughly entertained meeting people of all ages…from all parts of the world…each with their own incredible stories. Musicians, actors, politicians, olympians, doctors, inventors, authors, train engineers, pilots, international trade layers and a shoe repairman. Welcoming thousands of guests over the years it’s hard to remember everyone and sometimes guests are only here for one night and we don’t have enough time for in-depth conversation. But some arrive as guests and leave as friends. Thanks to Facebook & Skype we keep in touch with guests from all over the world and we’re delighted when they’re able to find their way back again. One family from California has been coming back for 5 years. We’ve got a picture of their daughter on our fridge. A couple from England has been visiting Canada for 30 years — they consider it “coming home” when they get back to Vancouver Island and we look forward to seeing them every summer.

In the spring we met an incredible young man. He’s a music VJ with Much Music — a deep philosophical thinker, who from the darkest pits of hell fighting mental health issues has found answers to the meaning of life through music and spirituality. This is a link to just one of his band’s (Purpale) You Tube videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6X3ffFJwZI

Another guest Dr. Stella Atkins is a Professor of Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Stella and her team have created an UV application for Apple users. The app ties into local weather and tells you how many minutes you have before sunburn. That day it was sunny in Port McNeill with a high UV count — 7 minutes to sunburn.

This summer we also met a “felter.” Sally is an artist from Tucson, Arizona who uses felt as her medium http://www.spiritedhandsstudio.com/aboutus.html Incredibly vibrant colors of felt crafted into wall hangings, vests and hats. Another instance of a guest telling us that coming to the North Island to kayak/whalewatch/bear watch was on their bucket list. We can totally understand that 🙂

We learn so much from our guests. They’ve helped us to identify birds, they recommend the most interesting websites, tell jokes and show us pictures of their grandkids. Thanks to all the guests that have shared wonderful bits of their own lives and thanks for reminding us that we live in a truly beautiful place.
Blessings from the beach…

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What an incredible day we had yesterday…I just couldn’t stop looking out the window. Sunday the weather forecast predicted hurricane force winds so we knew there was a big storm brewing. And during the night we could hear the wind howling & rain hitting the house. At breakfast yesterday the wind picked up enough to rattle the windows. Apparently there were gusts of up to 100 kph. Normal for us but not for our European guests who had to arrange “plan b” scenarios to switch water based adventures over to land based. I love watching big waves hit the beach so really had a hard time cleaning rooms. During a sunny break at lunchtime Chris and I went down to the beach with the camera. The waves weren’t as dramatic as they were in the morning but the water was still pretty lumpy. Over the next few hours we watched all sorts of debris float past — wondering which logs would find their way to our piece of the beach. High wind, high tide, torrential rain, dark sky & gorgeous sunshine all in one day. Watching the news last night we were lucky not having to deal with power outages or trees down like they did further down the island. Our trees here are so used to being bent sideways by wind we don’t seem to be affected as much by storms. Can you see the rainbow in behind the fence? Just one of many during the day. Another reason we keep the camera charged up and ready on the kitchen counter. Ready to record those magic moments.
Chris has always done the yard work and gardening but since he retired he’s discovered “when you water stuff it grows”. I used to be in charge of watering the hanging baskets and they’d be dead by August. This year they were spectacular !! Keeping him company while he raked up the leaves that dared blow into the yard I spent a few minutes enjoying our little garden plot. This fuschia bush is so beautiful. It’s almost time to prune the bushes and get the garden ready for winter. Time to bring in all the lawn furniture before any of it blows away. A little bit sad that summer is over but I don’t mind wind and rain and look forward to getting at that stack of books waiting for me. And we’ve got a huge stack of wood to keep us warm this winter.
Hugs from the beach…

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It’s official — the busy season is in full swing !! Already this spring we’ve welcomed guests from New Zealand, England, Scotland, Germany, France & Holland. This morning I unearthed a few french phrases from an unused and dusty part of my brain so I could explain to our guests that Chris is retired and now drives a water taxi part-time. Cue Chris — there he was in the Rainbow Chaser driving past with a big wave !! Somehow with my rusty French and our guests limited English we managed to talk about children and how sad (tres triste) it is when they move so far away.

We’ve had an incredible amount of wildlife sightings this spring. Transient orcas & humpbacks and black bears are all over the place. We know there is a mama bear and cubs nearby. We hear them crashing around in the bushes looking for berries on the beach and see them at low tide flipping rocks looking for crab. We’ve heard stories of bears walking into carports and even sleeping on front porches. I’m afraid for our furry friends that the more brazen they become the more phone calls the Conservation officer will get. We’re in the bears backyard so as good neighbours we should do everything we can to keep them out of harms way.

We haven’t seen much of the resident orcas yet but in mid May thirty transients came right into the harbour. And last week all it took was our guest Val from the UK to wistfully comment she hadn’t seen a whale. Minutes later she spotted a humpback tail. Our guests were delighted to get breakfast and whale watching that morning. We aim to please at At Water’s Edge Bed & Breakfast 🙂

On a sad note we said goodbye last month to Lisa Falk. Shocking that it was only six days from the day she was diagnosed with leukemia to the day she passed away. I love this picture of Lisa and our daughter Megan on graduation night June 2006. Lisa was a beautiful, bubbly & caring woman who is dearly missed by husband Jed, family & friends. A reminder to us all that life is precious and fragile. We’re seriously looking at our list of things to do “someday” and will do everything we can to make the important ones happen. Top of the list is a motorcycle — so get ready we may be coming to a town near you.
Hugs from the beach…

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Such a great word — serendipity. It’s the magic that brings people into my life at exactly the right moment. Two weeks ago Kevin Pidwerbeski was a guest at our bed & breakfast. Kevin is the Executive Director of PADS — Pacific Assistance Dogs Society in Vancouver. On a Vancouver Island talking tour Kevin kindly made his way up to Port McNeill to speak to our Rotary Club. PADS is a non-profit organization located in Vancouver and Calgary that raises and trains assistance dogs. Dogs that change the lives of people who are disabled, deaf or hard of hearing. Kevin’s passion for his job is clearly evident and I know I wasn’t the only one smiling at the pictures of adorable labrador and golden retriever puppies during the Power Point presentation. These incredible service dogs open and close doors, retrieve dropped items, can pull a wheelchair and turn lights on and off. Kevin told us about a young man with cerebral palsy who has gained independence thanks to his canine partner. Enough confidence to apply for jobs, take the bus and hang out at the beach with his “chick magnet” PADS dog. Not receiving any government funding this non-profit group struggles to raise the funds required. It costs more than $70,000 to train a dog and in 2010 PADS graduated a record 14 dogs but they’ve got a chronic wait list. Cost to the client is only $700 and that includes round the clock support and training refreshers. One of our Rotary members is the publisher of the local newspaper. Here’s an article from one of the sister papers the Mid Week newspaper that covers the Comox Valley to Port Hardy
http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_north/northislandmidweek/news/117195448.html
There are many ways you can help PADS. You can sponsor a dog, a project, a litter, a team, a kennel or become a member of the society. Or if you know someone physically disabled, deaf or hard of hearing who could use an assistance dog they want to hear from you too. For more information please visit their website at http://www.pads.ca
Hugs from the beach…

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I’ve always felt that I learn more from my guests than they do from me.  Most of our guests do quite a lot of research before visiting  BC so I learn  something new everyday.  Did you know that Port McNeill is at 51 degrees latitude, the deer that we see quite often on the beach are  black tailed deer and Alert Bay was named after the first steam vessel the HMS Alert that called in there.     

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Over the past 6 summers we’ve had guests visit from around the world.  From Kathmandu to just down the highway on Vancouver Island we have been priviledged to meet people from all walks of life and all kinds of occupations. 

 

 Tobias the CyclistThis is Tobias from Germany on part of his year long cross Canada tour.  Working for his keep for up to a few months at a time  Tobias spent just 2  nights with us.  An impressive young man with a deep faith in God and great love of travel.  This picture was taken in Vancouver after leaving Port McNeill.   Traveling mostly by bicycle Tobias also took the train when spring weather wasn’t cooperating.  It was an honour to meet him.

I took a picture of these guests because they looked so relaxed and were  obviously enjoying 007the view from right outside their rooms.  Love the hats and see the tripod set up waiting for an eagle to fly by or maybe a whale to swim past.  Last week we had the Annau family from Alberta visiting for 4th summer in a row.  They bring their little boat so they can go fishing and crabbing.  One night we had fresh salmon for dinner thanks to Dave’s successful catch.  And thanks to neighbour Cherel who added fresh crab to our west coast feast.

We just had a group of 8 stay for the BC Day long weekend.  Some of them have stayed with us before and some were visiting us for the first time from England.  What a happy group they were – here to do some whale watching and there were hugs all around when they left.  I love my job !!  I have the best commute ever walking from the bedroom to the kitchen in the morning.  It’s the guests though that make this job my favourite one so far.  Adventurous people who are happy to be in Port McNeill on holidays.  Infectious with their enthusiasm !!

010Here is why I don’t mind getting up so early — this is just one of the incredible sunrises this summer.  This morning was so still and the water so calm and I stood at the window with my cup of tea thrilled to watch the day unfold.   Blessings from the beach…

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This is my favourite time of year !!  I sit at the computer with the window wide open listening to hummingbirds and another of my favourites the Stellar Jays.stellar-jay-5    They are such cheeky little devils always nattering on and moving so quickly it took ages for me to get a picture of one sitting still. 

Everything is so green and lush on the North Island.  Our little garden is sprouting — the primulas have been blooming for ages.  I’m sure it’s only been a few weeks since the last snow flurries but spring flowers always soldier on.   Gardeners here are chomping at the bit and I’ve heard a few lawn mowers already — keeners !!  Growing up in Ontario I always wait until at least Mother’s Day before I do any serious gardening just in case we get another big frost.

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Another nice thing about spring is gaining an hour so we can enjoy the incredible sunrises.  Thanks to Chris for this picture !!  Our camera is always ready on the counter for moments like these.   After some quiet time over the winter we’re welcoming our first international guests of the season.  In the past couple of weeks we’ve had guests from Germany and the UK.  I really enjoyed chatting with Ian & Karen about our favourite British comedies.  Monty Python came in at #1 !!  

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Last weekend Richard, Jack & Brian arrived by kayak from Saltspring Island.  After 9 days of travel & camping they were looking forward to a hot shower and a bed.  The next morning Richard left his kayak here and took the bus back home but Jack & Brian repacked and off they went to Alaska!!  I kid you not — they are kayaking all the way to Alaska.  These are 2 extreme kayakers who run adventure companies for a living and train guides so they know their stuff.  Jack operates Island Escapades on Saltspring Island http://www.islandescapades.com/index.html   I was awed just watching the organized dance of loading everything but the kitchen sink into the kayaks.  

I love spring in all her moods here on the beach –the grey days are just as beautiful to me as the sunny ones.   And after some quiet time during the winter I’m excited about heading into our 6th summer season.  Blessings from the beach…

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