The Cottage Look

Preparing to leave home for a month has me in a tizzy. What if my husband and I die driving to British Columbia? What if we wash overboard as we cruise north on the Inside Passage? What if… The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is buy trip insurance and possible disasters (each with a price tag) suggest themselves. Choose your bad news and then pay for it: trip cancellation, delays, hurricanes, civil disorder, and accidental death to name a few.


2017 07 the Aurora

See Marine Link Tours for further information


Once we are on Vancouver Island, we’ll drive to Campbell River and join ten other passengers aboard the Aurora. We know that we’ll be heading north, but our stops will depend on the ship’s deliveries along the way. It’s a mystery. What fun!

I can’t imagine civil disorder on Vancouver Island, so we skipped on paying for that option. But the insurance folks are missing out. They could really rake in the money if they would add travel insurance options to include the stress of planning the trip and packing for every eventuality. Mornings on the barge and later on the ocean’s edge in Tofino will be cold. I should take long underwear. One more thing to squeeze in my pack. I am frazzled. No doubt about it.


2017 08 tofino

I’ve packed the long underwear – Tofino here I come!


Looking at my to-do list, my blood thickens and slows to a crawl. My heartbeat picks up the pace, but my blood is so thick! It is like pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with cement. What if my heart stops completely? if my heart stops before I leave home, my travel insurance will not pay.

Meanwhile, there is the house. If we should die, I don’t want the neighbors coming in tut-tutting over my inattention to domestic duties. I need to clean out the refrigerator, and I should dust the piano: dust really shows up on a glossy surface at eye level. And vacuum. And wash the floors. I’ll never get to the baseboards.

If you think I’m obsessive, you don’t know my history. Years ago, my mother-in-law remarked, “Thank God, you’re a good cook; you’re not much of a housekeeper.” I was pleased that she recognized my strength. As for my weakness, obsessive housekeeping is for women who have no other interests in life. I have many interests. Her remark did not offend me; I found it humorous. That said… if Wanda is looking down from the Great Beyond, I would like to think that she thinks none the worse of me.

Leaving the garden for a month is distressing. Today I emptied the hummingbird feeders and put them away until our return. Taking lunch on the patio, we watched the hummingbirds perch on the shepherds’ crooks that formerly held the feeders. The birds frowned. They were not amused. I felt as though I had slapped them up the side of the head. Poor things! They will have to depend on Nature’s bounty. I’m out of the pictutre.



For the most part, the grass is knee-high. I think of the length in terms of ‘habitat.’


My garden is a problem. Design-wise, I’ve gone for what I’m calling “The Cottage Look.” Growing up in Horseheads New York, just south of the Finger Lakes, I am well acquainted with cottages. Many people have them. Maybe they spend a week or two at the cottage, but for the most part, the cottage is occupied infrequently – a weekend here and there. As for the grass and garden, benign neglect rules. After all, what’s the point of having a cottage if you spend your cottage-time mowing the grass and clipping the hedges?



A stroll in my garden is a walk on the wild side. Which is intentional and fine by us, but what about community standards? We do, after all, live just two blocks from Main Street. What will the neighbors say? Will our house depress our neighbors’ property values?

I should write to the travel insurance people. To their list of options, they should add ‘lawsuits resulting from dereliction of gardening duty.”








Using a red pencil, I cross off the tasks accomplished. It’s slow going. And I’m tired. I distract myself by writing a blog.

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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11 Responses to The Cottage Look

  1. reneecarrier says:

    Bon voyage, be safe, and hope you blog en route, or should that be en l’eau! Or don’t, and just fill up!

    • timeout2 says:

      As for blogging our trip … I’ll give it a shot – working off a handheld device is a stretch in terms of embedding photos in text. Thanks for reading, Renee.

  2. Danny says:

    You haven’t met the Aussies yet, Danny and Kris, you should have taken out the civil disorder insurance!! PS Kris cleaned the fridge yesterday, and plans on cleaning the rest of the house before we leave!! We also had to take the aviation terrorism clause!

  3. “It is like pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with cement.” How much I can identify with you on this, Doris. Here I am writing to you to escape. One and a half week more and then I am off for four weeks to Germany. In my case it is not worry so much about the neighbours but more about myself. On my return I won’t enter a flat that depresses me because every table is occupied with some things I don’t need anymore or do I? The floor is covered so that I have to step over things and so on. In contrast to you I haven’t bought a single insurance. I have booked places to stay only for the first half of my journey, the rest will be pure adventure. – Of course it would be nice to have a blog from you but don’t push you, just write if you feel like it; have a proper holiday! Love, Helga

  4. timeout2 says:

    Dear Helga, I need to reply in detail, but the clock is ticking. Tick Tock! Once I’m packed and out of the house, I’ll write an email. Thank you for keeping in touch.

  5. Bar Scott says:

    Dear Doris.

    I love you and your garden which reminds me of my mother’s garden. I also think of it as an English garden- my favorite kind. That you for creating it as you have.

    Safe travels. Do come back. I’d really miss you and might have to move to another town if you don’t.

    Love Bar

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Caroline Vornberg says:

    Funny!!!! Good to hear if others’ freaking out on many fronts before a trip! Have a fabulously intriguing time!!!

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