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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Goats? What goats?

This morning started by dragging out my work laptop at the request of work and trying to search emails going back 9 years. Being unsuccessful in that pursuit, I thought I would sign up for our retirement health benefits as I have until December 31st to sign up. After another frustrating few hours getting kicked off the benefits sign up site, I elected to pack it in with the laptop and get ready for golf today. Grrrr!

Yesterday we were lucky enough to score a fantastic 9 hole tee time at 1:28pm at our favourite course so far - Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club built in 1913. The course has the best drainage and with the weather here most days, drainage is very important! Although saying that we’ve been here on the Island almost 3 weeks and we’ve only had 1 full rain out day, so that’s pretty good considering what we’ve heard the weather can be like in winter.

We were paired up with a father, son duo from Port Alberni. Of course that gave Richard someone new to talk to, to find out the local scoop about Port Alberni! The father was a beer rep too, so he knew quite a few local ”spoons” we can visit down the road for a great meal. Billy G’s Doughnuts apparently are to die for and the burgers at Big Foot Burgers, next to the Co-op gas station in Qualicum Beach are not to be missed. Somewhere to go after we’ve had a good day of exercise either golfing or hiking!

The weather today was +3C and despite the temperature I was able to take off my rain jacket. The new winter golf gloves worked like a charm and I ended up ditching them part way through the round for just a regular golf glove. I really am amazed that I don’t feel cold golfing in temperatures of +3C. Back home I won’t golf unless its double digits!

The sun came out on the 6th hole and it felt great to see the sun after such a grey day! Richard ends up pulling my golf cart for me up the hills as its all I can do to get up the hill with my leg. Anywhere its flat though, I’m pulling the cart!

Richard‘s selfie with the Straits of Georgia/Salish Sea and Coast Mountains behind him. Such nice views from a gem of a little 9 hole golf course. We’re finding that we don’t want to get up early, so playing 9 holes, at the warmest part of the day, is enough for us.

We had heard so much about this place called Coombs with goats on the roof that we decided to venture up there after golf. From the golf course to “Goats on the Roof, Old Country Market” was only an 8 minute drive.

We arrived at what we thought would be the right place - as the roof is full of grass - but there were NO GOATS on the roof unfortunately today!

The Old Country Market was started in 1973 as a roadside fruit stand providing fresh produce to travellers heading to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The original market was created by Kristian Graaten and his wife Solveig who emigrated to Vancouver Island from Norway in the 1950’s. Kris had grown up in the small community of Lillehammer, and was inspired to include a sod roof in his design of the market. Apparently many Norwegian homes and farm structures are built directly into the hillside with the sod roof becoming an extension of the hillside. Kristian’s son in law suggested that maybe they should put some goats up on the roof to trim the rather long grass. Needless to say the goats became permanent tenants of the Coombs market! The green roof also provides the building with great insulation and creates a wonderful habitat for the goats...but only from spring to October 31st. So we missed the goats on the roof for 2020 unfortunately.

When the goats are on the roof, this is what it looks like. Sorry we missed them!

The market area had some interesting shops as well as a great fruit and vegetable stand. The best prices I’ve found on produce on the Island were at this market.

There was also a store selling these huge garden statues if that’s your thing! They came in all shapes and sizes too!

Asian/Buddhist statues

Dogs in a Volkswagen


And what everyone needs in their yard - GIRAFFE!

A live statue!

The castle at the entrance to The Old Country Market complex in Coombs.

I was very pleasantly surprised by The Old Country Market store. Talk about a selection of gourmet foods, toys, lanterns, candles etc etc. The Market was a cross between Whole Foods, Trader Joes, kids toy store and an arts and craft store. A very eclectic place, but great to know its there if we want something unusual for a dish I’m making for dinner!

Lighting, hats, bamboo blinds..very eclectic

Outside of The Old Country Market

Milk chocolate lady bugs...

Kids advent calendars and nativity sets

Masks anyone? Berets and fedoras in the background.

The Old Country Market had a great selection of cheese and meats for charcuterie boards, so that is what we purchased. Since we seem to miss lunch a lot while we’re golfing, we really enjoy a nice charcuterie board when we get home from golf!

Of course we lost our daylight again driving home. I’m still not used to how soon it gets dark here this time of year, but driving home during “blue hour” means some great photos on the road home.

Blue hour on Hwy 19 heading north to Fanny Bay. Nice bokeh from those headlights.

Random fog just filters across the road from time to time

Fog on the mountains in the background.

And tomorrow I’m going to see a strength coach about my leg! I can’t wait to get back to the rehab process to improve my strength in my leg.

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