Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Busy doing nothing; the San Juan straits version

Having had a non-stop (counts) nine days at workshops, conferences and writing, we sacked out at motel in Renton and slept in, then haded off Saturday morning for Anacortes to catch the ferry, stopping only for donut nectarines and sweet local blackberries from a fruitstand I immediately christened Maslow's hierachy of farms (they sell in order of preference from new farmers, local organic farmers, organic farmers and then just locals) and a coffee from the Perfect Ten espresso hut. The blackberries were small and soft and sweet - hedge brambles rather than commercial I think - like the concentrated taste of every perfect berry form my childhood; when they were done I'm ashamed to say I licked out the punnet for juice...

By that time we were out of the light rain that started the second we got in the car and Anacortes was sunny and just a bit breezy, with some beautiful gardens in front of the houses along the main road. Tempted as we were by the Terminal Buzz coffee hut we checked in for the ferry to Friday Harbour and whiled away 30 minutes seeing what we think was an ermine (neither stotally different nor weaselly identified; russet brown body with a black tip to the tail and cream fur at the throat) and watching jellyfish in the harbour and spotting a baby cormorant getingt fed (looking more like an alien than a bird as it gapes open a soft beak so wide the mother bird can get most of her head inside - the pre-feeding motion is alarmingly like watching a cat about to produce a hairball) and picking up a tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread so sweet it must be sprouted and the obligatory clam chowder. We polished that off on the scenic ferry journey, passing Lopez to see a stream of ferries making the bus-stop route between the islands.

Friday Harbour itself is split between a charmingly rustic area of pretty shops to attract tourists and a practical main town; the friend who is charmingly putting us up for the weekend in his beach house drove down to navigate us to the market, back to his house and on to the retreat  - in all three places we sat around and yakked away, over tea and wine and cheese and the most amazing fresh picked blueberries from their blueberry patch - Simon now likes blueberries for the first time. Dinner at Roche Harbour watching the boats bob around and learning about the seven years war over a pig where no-one got hurt - except the pig. Steamed seafood and crab stuffed halibut (and not even a taste of the bacon mashed potatoes with Simon's meat loaf) and berry cobbler.

This morning we slept in and drank coffee and ate blueberries and raspberries and peaches and Dave's Killer Blues Bread with raspberry jam and peanut butter and gazed out form the deck across to Vancouver Island and those Nice Candadians with their Rogers phone network which is all our phones picked up and waved away wasps and giant dragonflies. The orcas seem to be elsewhere; we didn't even see them when we went down to Limekiln Park although we did see porpoises and seals and various sea birds and some impressive sea nettle jelly fish in the kelp. We walked back to the car along the cliff path, enjoying the silver-grey sea and sky without tumbling down to join the kayakers or the divers and then drove up to the tip of San Juan island. The landscape is a mix of typical Washington and Scottish borders; trees and fields and slopes and sky and coast, and lots of islands lurking around looking scenic. Unexpected: deer. Delightful: the whimsical houses.

More gossiping and geeking over more wine and cheese on the desk and an excellent dinner of local sockeye salmon during which even the more aloof cat realised suddenly 'oh, they're cat people' and get to get pettings. Tomorrow we have to work - and work out what to do with the rest of the week - but it's been nice to just stop and do as little as possible ;-) 

Tags: food, travel

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