Tuesday, December 4, 2001

The weather has definitely taken a sudden change for the wintry. Yesterday morning, I awoke to frost on the ground, and little bits of ice covering puddles. On an afternoon walk with my friend Richard Schulz from Calgary around the lake, we noticed pockets of ice, even later in the day.

Eventually, at about 7:30 in the evening it started snowing wet snow, much to Aine’s delight, which made for a hairy drive down to the ferry to drop Richard off. Our driveway is really steep, and backing down, even in a small coating of wet snow was almost impossible. I slid around for a while until Richard finally helped me out and eventually we got in the road. We drove all the way to the Cove in first gear. It was easier coming home as a plow had cleared the way and the commuter traffic melted the rest. By about 10:00pm the snow had turned to mixed snow and rain, and things were looking sloppy.

Today the snow is still on the ground but it is crusted over with a thin layer of frozen rain. It’s toasty here now, in front of the fire. Turn out to be a very cosy place to write.

It was a busy weekend. Friday night Randy Vic and Paul Hawtin came over for a gig at Doc Morgan’s, my first on the island. We were pretty well received, and, more importantly we had a ball playing. Paul is leaving for Ottawa in December, so getting a chance to play with him was a treat. He is a DADGAD guitarist par excellence. Randy was on fiddle, with the odd banjo piece. I stuck to the flute all night as my whistle had unrecoverable intonation errors.

Friday was also the arrival of our dear friend Vivienne Weitzner from Ottawa who was in Vancouver for a conference. She joined us for the annual (second year now!) Lighting of the Cove on Saturday which is a great event. Starting up the hill at Artisan Square, people bring lanterns (or buy them from the folks at the Family Place) and stand around singing carols led by the Artisan Squires and the Morris dancers. About 100 or so folks showed up.

After a short countdown, someone threw a switch and all the lights went on in Artisan Square, following which we traipsed down the hill under the watchful eye of the RCMP 4x4 and repeated the process at Cates Square, where the Ruddy Potato folks were handing out hot apple cider and Bowen’s Celtic ensemble, Contraband, was playing.

The next stop was in the Cove proper, after a brief look in at the nativity play going on at the Breakfast CafĂ©. Down at Doc Morgan’s, there was a fire juggler and a last lighting of businesses down by the ferry dock. Then the main event began with Santa Claus arriving on the water taxi to the absolutely beaming joy of all the kids. He disembarked and made his way up the Union Steamship Company marina ramp into the waiting throng of kids. Rondy, the owner of Doc’s was handing out hot chocolate, carrot cake and brownies while Santa distributed candy canes.

By this time it was absolutely pouring rain, but as there was no wind, no one seemed to be getting very wet. Nevertheless, Vivienne remarked about how strange it was to see so many people standing around in the rain getting soaked. It’s an acquired survival skill for living on the coast I guess.

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