Ok, so having had some feedback that my last post was “a bit ranty” (thank you nearest and dearest), it’s time to express all the positives of this dynamic, intriguing, adventurous, eye opening journey, in this; the whole lotta lovin post!
I have bored all my friends to tears on Facebook with my WOW, AMAZING, WONDROUS, GORGEOUS, INCREDIBLE statements. I’m glad that there is no analytics on Facebook as I would see a steep decline in activity as more than half the people I know turf me over to the black hole of ‘hide’ (or worst, ‘unfriend’).
Mr Babymule and I had it in our minds that we would be living remotely, and as such would be lacking in access to certain things. So it came as a massive surprise that this community, in addition to its lust for all things active and outdoorsy, tailored especially to people under the age of 12, has a huge host of seriously good essentials. Two fully stocked supermarkets (open 7 days), a bakers, deli, household supplies shop, fantastic off licence (that’s a liquor store now, but I’m still struggling with that one), couple of coffee shops, 3 or 4 cafés and at least 3 restaurants, plus a few hotels and motels as you’d expect, a museum, a weekly farmers market and a proper freight train line running right through the middle!
Then there’s a playground on almost every corner – the birth rate is rocketing here and it is ‘kid paradise’. The downside of this is that it takes about 3 hours to walk anywhere with the minimules as they need to have a go on the swings/slide/monkey bars before moving on. They are further spoilt with the skate park in town, the water park, the large community centre and library, BMX track and lord knows how many trails through the lush woodland.
Fortunately the summer is long here and we still have a few weeks of heat and sunshine to explore our surroundings.
And explore we HAVE! In addition to the man made fun we have found the creek (actually an impressive glacial river which brings with it icy pockets of cold air across the forest trail), the meadows (we drove up these and spotted our first BEAR!!! A most exciting and scary moment as we drove along and this huge animal ran across our path), one mile lake with its picture postcard view, miniature beach and fantastic boardwalk all the way round.
Yep, see – I can hear you clicking off to another page as you have begun to feel nauseated at my continuous gushing amazement. But seriously, how can a place like this exist? I’m sure one of two things is about to happen: 1. I wake up tomorrow morning back in my (very lovely) bed in sweet Manchesterford, or 2. The zombies start coming out (I have kept my eyes out for ‘The Lake Pub’ but so far it’s not materialised)….
But there’s 2 more things (yes there’s more, ‘oh bla bla yawn’ I hear you say) but 2 things have really taken me; hook, line and sinkered. Firstly the friendliness – people openly start chatting to you in the road, in the park, anywhere really. It’s simply the friendliest place I’ve ever been to. Pedestrians smile to car drivers! (and vice versa)! Amazing – and it struck me that this is only physically possible because the road speeds are 30k in town – about 20mph. It’s astounding what a tiny difference in the road regulations can make to the day to day exchanges between people. A small, almost unnoticeable difference has a massive advantage. We really do need to slow down, in so many ways.
And the second thing is the bears! I thought that seeing a bear was a once in a lifetime (maybe twice) event if you lived in the wilds. I have friends who live in ‘bear country’ on Vancouver Island and North of Vancouver who have had one or two sitings in the decades they have lived there. Although we read all the ‘bear aware’ literature I didn’t expect to have to actually put it into practice. So it came as a surprise to see the big bear run in front of our car, then a few days later I was amazed to see a smaller bear wander through my neighbours garden. But this morning I was really put on the spot when I wandered into the path of a young bear with the 3 minimules on foot with me!! My big 6 year old hero immediately took on his bear training with a glint of purpose in his eyes; calmly clapping, moving slowly backwards and saying ‘go away bear’, and sure enough the beast withdrew. Can I just say it one more time. WOW.