September 14, 2008

Update on dry dock

Filed under: A long way from home,family,misc — Duchess @ 9:42 pm

The ferry’s been out of service for just over a week.  People who live here (like my mother and her partner) are settling into the routine of staying mainly on island, walking or biking everywhere, chatting to their neighbours.  These three weeks of purdah, when the island is cut off from all vehicle access, is the annual divide that separates the busy, touristy summer from the long, rainy winter.  The sun is still shining, but we know its days are numbered.  The nights are drawing in.

I’ll have returned to England before the car ferry’s back in service, but meanwhile, like a good islander, I’m enjoying the forced privation that keeps me mostly off the mainland.  I’ve baked bread (twice) and (twice) walked – that’s hiked to Yanks, who take these things seriously and have poles to prove it – up the island’s mountain, all of 1000 feet high.

Today, the second time on the mountainside, I met a girl I went to school with 35 years ago and 3000 miles away.  There were 85 kids in my high school class; the population of this island is about 900.  Both of us come from east coast families, and when we were in class together neither of us had ever been west. 

It’s a little weird that we should both turn up here, but not quite as weird as a discovery my mother made when she was first living on the island and introduced to another recent arrival.  As they talked it gradually emerged that they have the same great grandparents, making them second cousins.  Neither my mother nor her long lost cousin have any roots in this part of the world – I think the shared great grandparents were from New York – yet both my mother and her cousin retired to the same tiny, relatively unknown, island in Puget Sound (population then about 800).

If there are any mathematicians out there I would be interested in what the odds against such coincidences might be.


  1. I so covet the English way of life.

    Comment by Midlife Slices™ — September 15, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

  2. Slim. Who needs numbers when words convey the sense so absolutely.

    Comment by Laura — September 15, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  3. That story kind of freaks me out. What a small world!

    Comment by Twenty Four At Heart — September 16, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  4. What kind of bread did you bake? I had no idea you were a baker, too!

    Comment by Linda — September 17, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  5. Small world, indeed!

    Comment by Smart Mouth Broad — September 18, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  6. It’s a big world, really, but sometimes when we find a small place in it, we find other people we knew in the big world found that same, small place too. I wonder if it is just an accident or maybe they were somehow made the same.

    I’m not a baker. I lived in a “co-op house” at university to save money and we shared jobs. The baking bread for 12 people for a week job cured me for about 20 years. Now I mostly bake bread for pizza, but the bread I have baked for dry dock was whole wheat with rosemary, olives and sun dried tomatoes. All that stuff made hard work for the yeast, but I enjoyed the results.

    Comment by Duchess — September 18, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

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