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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

That’s strange!

Last night Richard was not himself. He kept complaining that his back was really itchy. Earlier in the day when we were having lunch at the spa, he had said he felt like his lymphatic system was moving around inside him! I’m thinking what a weird thing to say! How on earth can he feel his lymph system moving? What he really meant to say was he was itchy all over and his skin felt very strange. Before going to bed I asked to look at his back. His back was covered in a big angry red rash!!! Oh oh! I think he must have been allergic to the treatment he had at the spa! Usually I’m the one with very sensitive skin - only using creams with no parabens, sulphites and all natural products without perfumes.






Luckily we have a very well stocked medicine cabinet in Newman. We replicated all of the important pills and potions we have back home in Fort Erie, before we set off in November. I found some coritsone cream, Benadryl cream and Benadryl tablets for him to take before he went to bed. This morning the rash was not as ‘raised’ as it had been yesterday. I encouraged him to call the spa to try and get an understanding of what was in the treatment he had yesterday. He called the spa manager and got her voice mail, so he also sent her an email asking her to call him. The spa manager finally got back to him this afternoon with all of the ingredients in the salt scrub that was used on his back, which apparently is all natural and comes from Hungary. One of the ingredients in the scrub was ARNICA. I know when I have used Arnica cream as a natural anti inflammatory in the past, I would break out in hives after using the arnica for a few days. I’m wondering if it is arnica he is allergic to? Thank goodness I had the apricot scrub and stayed away from the sea salt scrub which was milder than my apricot scrub or both of us might have been dealing with angry red rashes!







.Poor Richard. His first all day spa experience at the #1 rated spa in Canada and he comes away with an angry red rash and not feeling himself. Very strange!


We had a a strange wake up call today as well!


Snow in Fanny Bay! 0C and snowing! This was no ‘light dusting’ of snow. The strange thing was that in Parksville, where St. Stephen lives, they did not have a lick of snow! The Island is very strange that way. Courtenay can have snow and we won’t have any. Qualicum Beach will have snow - which is south of us- and we will have rain. Richard keeps telling me it just depends on the elevation, but if we are north of Qualicum why don’t we have snow and they do? Next week the weather is looking better at 3C and 4C with no snow or rain. We’ll take that! It’s certainly not the balmy weather of Florida, but then we have a lot less Covid here, so we’ll take it!



We headed up to Courtenay today to visit a few second hand stores before dropping off Jerry for his service appointment, on his ‘check engine light’. Today’s quest was to see if we cold find a light fixture for our sunroom back in Fort Erie. I may have mentioned previously that the last one we had up in the sunroom disintegrated over time, and Richard specifically wants a light fixture with a ‘story’ to it. This holy grail of a light fixture is sure hard to find!




Our first stop was a very nice store specializing in chalk painted furniture and while they did have some beautiful pieces, the light fixture the owner had brought in from their warehouse was not what we were looking for.



The name of the store seemed promising, but it was not meant to be today.


We then headed to another second hand store around the corner from Abbeylane. The next store did not have any furniture but I did get a great deal on a book for $2.



The book is 1182 pages long! Since we have Newman, and the border with the US will open one day, there are a lot of really cool places to visit in Canada and US that are featured in the book. I started looking at British Columbia to see what else we should see and do while we are on the Island.



I also found a very nice glass jar with a lid for $1.50. I have been wanting to make preserved lemons ever since Richard and I had the best caesar salad we have ever had at a steakhouse at Walt Disney World, with Richard’s brother and his wife. Disney’s recipe for Caesar salad included preserved lemon pieces in the salad. I had attempted to make the preserved lemons before when I was working, but I didn’t pay enough attention to the recipe or pay attention to them, and they went moldy. When we came home today I made the preserved lemons.



The lemons are crushed into the jar with sea salt and enough of the juices of the lemons to cover the lemons. I will leave them out on the counter for a few days and then put them in the fridge for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks they will be ready to season fish, middle eastern/Moroccan dishes and also Caesar salad! It’s nice to have the time to do this kind of fun stuff and because I love cooking and preserved lemons are very hard to find anywhere, I’m glad we will have our own to eat soon!


We headed up to the Chrysler dealership for Jerry’s service appointment to try to figure out why the ‘check engine light’ was on.



It was still snowing when we dropped Jerry off for his service appointment in Courtenay. There was not much around the dealership in terms of retail, so we decided we would go for a walk and see what we could find. No point in sitting around in a very old car dealership if we could help it!


Lots of new Jerry’s waiting to be sold.


A new Jeep Compass.....not that we are getting any ideas. There is no way we would buy a car in B.C. unless really really had no choice.


As we started walking down the road in very slushy conditions, we saw a very large garden centre which we had visited before Christmas. Art Knap - Garden Home and Fashion looked really inviting to us, so we could get out of the snow and cold, look around and stay dry.



We did see some cute stuff in the Garden Centre. The store reminded us of the Stevensville Garden Gallery back home that we frequent in Fort Erie. We were looking for a small side table for Newman as we don’t have anywhere to put a drink next to the couches, when we watch Netflix. We didn’t find anything suitable in terms of tables, but we did find something interesting!




Cannabis soil! Who knew that you needed special soil to grow your cannabis at home in? Only in B.C. Eh?


With the spring coming so much sooner on the Island, all of the seeds and seed trays are in the garden centre, as I mentioned the other day. I couldn’t help myself from buying some seeds for our vegetable and flower gardens back in Fort Erie. We had a very delayed start to getting our seeds last year from Stokes, as I think everyone was doing ‘Victory Gardens’, when everyone was locked up with the pandemic. Today I found a very neat brand of seeds called Renee’s Garden. All of their seeds are non-GMO, and certified organic. The founder of the company defines the company as ‘a company run by gardeners, for gardeners’. Nice!



I can’t wait to plant these in our backyard in the spring!


Unusual veggies for our raised bed vegetable garden this summer. I’ve never grown beets or parsnips and these Chinese cucumbers which guarantee “Burpless” look really interesting!


The neatest packet of seeds I bought today though was this one:


Isn’t this cool? We can grow our own bath loofahs! A former neighbour of mine in Florida, (who was originally from Brazil), brought back seeds from Brazil, to grow bath loofah in her garden in Florida. She gave me a loofah she had grown in her garden and I used it until it fell apart. I have never seen these seeds before in Canada, so I’m going to try growing loofah in our garden this year. Growing the loofah will remind me of our dear friend who moved back to Brazil after her husband died in Florida. RIP Wade. We miss you, you fellow Canuck.


After purchasing our seeds we decided to go for a walk in the snow around some neighbourhoods until the Chrysler dealership called us about Jerry.


There was definitely a lot of snow on the ground in Courtenay!



We thought this house looked very cozy on our walk. I could imagine sitting inside, by a stone fireplace, with a crackling fire, sipping on some red wine or hot mulled cider!


After we were thoroughly soaked with snow, wee finally got the call from the dealership telling us that Jerry needed a new fuel sensor and the ”O” ring that connects the fuel line to the gas tank. We didn’t want to wait around today to have the work done, and the dealership had to order in the ”O” ring anyway, so we walked back to the dealership, picked up Jerry and Richard will bring Jerry back for another appointment next Tuesday at 9am. After being in Automotive Finance for 20 years, I’ve been in enough car dealerships to last me a lifetime!


We were starving after our walk and by now it was 2pm. We knew that George’s the ’spoon’ that my former colleague had told me about was close by, so instead of chicken balls today, we had a bowl each of chicken chow meIn.



Chicken Chow Mein from George’s. It was steaming hot and delicious and we sat in Jerry in Simms Millennium Park, by the river in Courtenay to eat our lunch.


I wanted to check out one more second hand store in downtown Courtenay to see if I could find either a light or a small table for Newman. By now the Benadryl Richard had taken this morning was wearing off and he was not feeling well, so I went into the store by myself and as luck would have it found a beautiful new BUFF for Richard.



At $3.00 for a new BUFF brand, this was a ‘start the car’ deal! These BUFF brand buffs usually go for $20 or more in a sporting goods store. We love wearing these when we are hiking as they keep our necks warm and they are really versatile. I wear mine as a headband, a toque, a head covering, or as a neck warmer. I also find them great when we are golfing. Keeping my neck warm, makes me feel warm! I must have 6 of them in different colours and now Richard has a BUFF brand buff too!


We headed home and stopped at the Post Office in Union Bay. Richard is still waiting for the hinges for Newman’s basement, from Kentucky. He originally gave the Post Office address to the shipper in Kentucky and despite calling UPS to change the address (UPS won’t deliver to the Post Office), UPS won’t change the address until there is 1 failed delivery attempt. The hinges should be delivered tomorrow, so that would be the first failed attempt to deliver to the Post Office. After tomorrow Richard should probably be able to pick the hinges up in Courtenay. It’s always a challenge figuring out how something is being delivered to us, without having a physical address at the RV park, to accept parcels. GRRRRR!




Richard is feeling a bit better after his very long nap and his back is starting to look a bit better too. What a drag that his spa day turned into a strange rash and weird itchiness. We’ll have to be more careful in the future and make sure he checks off ‘allergy to arnica’ in the future.




Thank god for Benadryl!

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