If you live on the edge, life can never be boring. It’s a long weekend in BC and we’re off on a road trip. Kirsty wants to visit her friends John and Jane (these are not their real names – for reasons that will be explained later). We’re a bit vague about where they live as we haven’t actually been given an address, just a rendezvous point somewhere near Kamloops, where we will be given GPS coordinates for “the farm”.
…. It’s now early afternoon. The highway up the Fraser Valley is really good, and the spectacular scenery keeps changing back and forth between rolling farmlands and tree covered mountain passes with signs like “end of avalanche area” – surprisingly, there are no signs announcing “beginning of avalanche area”, but what would be the fun in that?
…. Mid afternoon. GPS coordinates in hand, we find ourselves on a winding mountain road that was once a track for forest workers. I’m driving. The road is gravel. It’s raining. We suddenly realise that the cute bushes we’ve been admiring are actually the tops of two hundred foot tall pine trees growing on the cliff that edges our road. No problem, the Dodge sticks to the road like – well – a minivan. I ask Kirsty why John and Jane live in such an inaccessible place. “Better not to ask too many questions, all I can say is John used to be a commando, and there are some really bad guys looking for him.”
Just before the road peters out, we reach a gateway with a friendly little sign with a picture of a bunny and the words “trespassers will be butchered”. Is this it? All we can see through the misty rain is a tent and some kind of log building. Ah well, what have we got to lose?
We drive in and find, to our great relief, that there is a real house a bit further down the track. Kirsty announces “that must be Grandma June’s house.” She goes on to explain that John’s mother moved onto the farm a couple of years back. Again, details are a bit vague, but we gather Grandma June (again, not her real name) has lived in some interesting countries, but has “retired to the quiet life” in remote rural Canada.
We roll up to the door. Nobody around. Knock. No answer. Knock, knock. All is dangerously quiet. Then, Jane and June emerge together. “Oh hi! Welcome to the farm. Sorry we didn’t hear you arrive. Our neighbour just arrived and we were swapping recipes for cougar stew. Come on in.”
The house is really spacious and feels like a Swiss chalet with timber walls stretching up to a high cathedral style timber ceiling. “Nice house,” we remark, “who built it?” Grandma June is a bit embarrassed. “Well, we had to get a guy with a crane to lift those ten ton beams in place, but John and I did all the rest. Would you like some coffee? You can have cream, but I prefer the goat’s milk from the farm.”
The coffee (with cream) is good. We ask where John is. “Oh, he’s away …. at work. He should be back in the morning. He has some surprises planned for you guys.”
– to be continued