We flew back to Vancouver on Wednesday but instead of spending time in the city, we headed to Chilliwack, an hour outside Vancouver, to visit some friends. We had not seen James and Marianne for 8 years so they had never met the girls. They had also had a little girl, Rosie, since we’d last seen them and their boys, Jackson and Luke.
They live in the foothills of the mountains and their house is like a treehouse as it is built into a hillside so steep that the ground floor balcony is higher than all the trees and the roof of the house just behind. Beyond that are the mountains – we could have sat and watched the clouds drift over the mountain peaks all evening.
The girls were instantly at home and keen to explore the house and the toys, thanks to such a warm welcome. James asked if the girls were robust and when we said yes he took us down into the basement. Lots of Canadian homes have basements which usually house a spare room, laundry room and storage. Not as boring as that in this house. Here, to the absolute delight of the girls, was a full indoor climbing frame complete with soft floor, monkey bars, ladders and ropes fur swinging on. The girls couldn’t have been happier and they then disappeared for the rest of the afternoon. If we had a larger house we’d definitely have one of those!
It was so lovely to catch up with James and Marianne over some (maybe too much!) wine. Marianne cooked us all fantastic food (curry – which is perfect as we miss our weekly curry in England – and lots of delicious vegetables!) The children all played nicely until 10pm when we realised it might be time to put them to bed!
The girls and I played musical beds all night, changing between the bunk beds and a blow up mattress. My Lovely Husband managed to sleep through it all (might have been the curry and beer…)
After a leisurely breakfast we headed to Chilliwack Lake. The road up there follows Chilliwack river most of the way and the river was really high. So high that when we got to the lake there was hardly any beach.
We found a space big enough for a picnic blanket and some chairs and settled down for some wading in the melt water lake (I didn’t swim – it was cold enough up to my thighs, but the girls and my Lovely Husband both swum, even if it was only very briefly).
It was a glorious afternoon and we collected stones, skimmed them on the lake, ate lunch, chatted and found strange lake creatures. This might be a freshwater decorator crab:
Alternatively it’s a swimming beetle that’s had some chewing gum stuck to it and then lots of small stones and sand have stuck to that! Maybe someone with more knowledge will happen across the blog and have an answer.
We then walked a little way along the Chilliwack river on a footpath in the woods. The kids loved it as there was lots of opportunity to scramble over rocks, pretend to fish from little wooden bridges and paddle in the very cold river.
All too soon it was time to head for our airport hotel. We’d had such a fantastic time with James and Marianne and none of us wanted to leave. Thank you to you all for making us feel so welcome and relaxed. Thanks particularly to Jackson and Luke for giving up your bedroom so we could stay and to Rosie for sharing her Tinkerbell nail polish and giving me a very sparkly manicure! All three are great kids and it was a total pleasure spending time with them.
It was a great finish to our Canadian adventure!