Jolie, the girls and I had an excellent three day get-away to Tigh-Na-Mara in Parksville on the island. To celebrate seven years together, Jolie cashed in airmiles so we could have a two night stay at this beautiful seaside resort. After a ridiculously expensive ferry ride ($80 each way), we checked into our lovely room, which had a full kitchen, big screen TV, and ocean front view... wow! Sunday afternoon, Lysa and I enjoyed a walk on the beach, splashing in the warm ocean waters as the tide came in, and then a refreshing nap, while Jolie and Layni ventured out for a trail ride, much to Layni's delight! We took another walk on the beach in front of our room after supper, with Layni and me splashing in the ocean and collecting seashells.
The next day, we went to Coombs to see the famous Old Country Market, where we admired the goats munching away on the roof, and bought cookies to munch on and wooden toys for the kids, before heading to the Parrot Refuge. As Jolie had visited a couple years ago with Marty, she and Lysa enjoyed a snack outside, while Layni and I enjoyed meeting the hundreds of rescued parrots from all over the world. Such beautiful and entertaining creatures, some of them in heart-breaking condition from being abused or neglected, but blessed enough to find a loving home in this refuge. That evening, we watched Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - which I think Jolie and I enjoyed more than the girls (as usual). My favourite line was something to the effect of: "Nothing seems impossible after swimming 96 nautical miles without hands or feet!"
Tuesday morning, I went for a soak in the grotto spa after breakfast. It was a luxurious experience. They provided a fluffy robe, towel, and sandals to lounge in poolside before enjoying the mineral-infused waters, hot tub and cooling waterfalls. Afterwards, they provided orange-grapefruit-ylang body wash, shampoo and conditioner for your steaming shower and then hairdryers, curling irons, hair spray, lotions... anything you could think of to need. Once again, wow! I can see how people could get used to living in the lap of luxury :)
When I returned, we went for one last walk on the beach - this time the tide was out, so we walked and walked until finally meeting the ocean waves again. We delighted in the sea life... sand dollars, crabs, fish, and sea snails playing in the surf as well as the birds preying on them. The wonders of God's creation delight me every day! We headed home on the Coastal Renaissance, and it was a roomy, comfortable ride (though wildly windy outside).
We had sunshine and lukewarm weather for our trip and the rain held off until we headed home, so I can't complain. The only downside - and is this because I'm getting old? Because it's never been a problem for me in my life! - was that the beds in the hotel killed my back. I was stiff and sore on Monday, but pretty much any movement was difficult and painful on Tuesday, and I was beginning to panic that something was seriously wrong. (What if I can't move normally? How will I handle Lysa? What if I lose my job? How will I live with this horrible pain every day? Yes, I tend to panic/worry/imagine the worst!) Thankfully, I woke up Wednesday able to move freely and with only a twinge left over, and today I'm fine - thank You, God! I have so much more empathy for anyone who's experienced back pain now... and I pray (selfishly?) that I never experience it again!
It was lovely and refreshing to get away for a few days, to enjoy different experiences, savour the beauty of God's creation, and delight in peace and quiet for awhile. We had a wonderful time, and I'm so grateful for the getaway... thanks, Jolie!