FILE - BC Ferries vessel the Coastal Inspiration. (News Bulletin file photo)

Odds n’ Sods: COVID-19 from a traveller

Elaine Nyeholt’s column for the Haida Gwaii Observer

We made the choice to use spring break for our spring Osoyoos trip to tidy up the garden in the old house and relax in my old “home” town, even knowing that COVID-19 was lurking around the edges of life.

It was not a great choice, but it was the cheapest trip we have ever made.

We were not allowed to eat out, shop except for essentials or have haircuts even. Swimming pools, theatres and pretty much everything was cinched up tight. Our old home yard, however, was open and received an incredible clean up. I even sat on the lawn to weed without getting a damp bottom.

We watched old VHS tapes on our antiquated equipment, ate a ton of popcorn and read a lot of books. It was very relaxing. The neighbour’s dog is one of those ball-fetch-fanatic creatures and old as the hills. She does not understand “no, I need to keep weeding now Shanny,” and bark-bark-barks when the ball that dribbles through the fence is not thrown for her. I love dogs.

Outings involved going for a drive on the back roads or walking to the lovely sandy beach in the beautiful weather and feeding the eager, friendly ducks, usually last year’s young. We even were able to mow the lawn in the desert climate. I do not have internet at that house. That was kind of different. Honestly, the upside was quite nice.

ALSO READ: B.C. man returns to isolation in China nearly two months after fleeing COVID-19 scare

The downside included all the very worried people walking by quickly; frenzied people in the grocery, pharmacy and other essential services. Interestingly, one of the essential services is the liquor store.

At gas stations we could buy gas and junk food, but were not allowed to use the washrooms, a tad awkward when travelling any distance. Rest areas are also locked up, which means one needs to plan ahead, especially with four girls travelling, but can be done. They really want everyone to stay home. I get it now, such a slow learner.

Everyone we talked to from home was freaked out and rumors were rife regarding the ferry running or not, and we received numerous phone calls with “non-information” about the ferry being cancelled from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii for a week, etc.

Three phone calls to BC Ferries finally assured us that if we are heading “home” from “away” our reservation stands and will be normal, except the food service will be wrapped sandwiches, etc., only. This was fine with us, and again cheap for travelling. We brought along numerous yummy lunch type items and beverages, hand wipes, fruit, homemade cookies, computers to play games on, cards to play, drawing utensils, and books and other games.

ALSO READ: ‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

On the way home we booked in to our favorite hotel stop in Courtenay, the Holiday Inn Express, which has been bought out by the Bayview Hotel Group. It’s the same, excellent children-friendly environment and breakfast-included place, and I can highly recommend it.

We have often met up with other islanders here accidentally. The pool and exercise rooms are a real draw also. The girl from Bayview Drive stayed at the Bayview Hotel.

Arriving home to isolation for two weeks … hmm. We have three houses and yards to lose ourselves in and nothing going on at home either. Our male members of the family will get to do the shopping for us. We can play on the beach and in the gardens. Our granddaughters have begun reconnecting again, which is nice.

ALSO READ: Odds ‘n Sods: Shooing winter spiders and welcoming spring

We are blessed to have a freezer with enough, a cupboard with enough and love for enough. It will be okay. This can be done.

I am sure there are Port Clements items that should be reported. Do not take people or businesses for granted — we are all in this battle against disease. Think of others’ safety. Fight the good fight. Look at what you can do, not what you cannot. Wash your windows, clean the yard up, play with your family, make a campfire on the beach. Chin up and carry on.

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