It was a dark and stormy night.
The first thing you learn at a writing class is never to start a story with that particular cliché. The second thing you’re told is to write what you know. Well, I know, it really was dark as we drove north on the I-5 from Seattle and the rain became harder and heavier as we drove on. The windscreen wipers could barely keep up.
I say ‘we’, but it was Liesel driving a strange rental car in a strange place in these horrible conditions. The GPS in the car was fairly intuitive but its first instruction always seems to be ‘drive to the highlighted route’. Well, if we knew how to get there, we wouldn’t need a GPS, would we?
We wanted to stop for something to eat but every time I tracked down a nearby branch of Panera Bread, we’d already passed it. So, 5 Guys it was. Nothing special, but we hadn’t eaten since the surprisingly decent snack on the flight.
We finally got phone reception as we passed through Everett. I’m on T-Mobile, even though when I’d tried to connect to this provider earlier, they’d blown a raspberry.
We arrived at Ferndale to be greeted by our old friend Holly, her Mom Pat, and her four children Felix, Kira, Jaxon and Malin.
The sleeping arrangements were fun but complicated. When the music stopped, Malin moved to join Holly, Pat moved to Malin’s bed in the room with Kira and so Liesel and I ended up in Pat’s room. What a big house. I was worried I’d get lost on one of my nighttime walks.
The following day, we explored Bellingham, especially the Farmers’ Market where some edible purchases were made.
Pat showed us round the city, showing us some of her old haunts.
Later on in the day, Holly and I went for a walk around the local neighbourhood in Ferndale, seeing the school where she works and a rainbow.
On the way back, we walked across a field where Penny chased a couple of bunnies. The bear poop by the gate to their back garden had cherry stones in it. Yes, there’s a bear round here too.
Back at their house, Kira proudly showed us the house she’d made from 1,050 Lego bricks! She gave Liesel and me an ice pop each, which was unexpected and delightful!
On Sunday, we went to Fairhaven. I enjoyed a walk along the boardwalk to Boulevard Park and beyond. Liesel, Holly and Pat stayed in town to do some window shopping.
On the wander back to meet them, I supported the local coffee shop, Woods Coffee. Of course.
And apologies to the happy couple couple whose wedding I may have photobombed as I reached the end of the boardwalk!
Back in town, we had a late lunch at Colophon Café.
In the evening, Kira proudly showed me her collection of coral and told me all about how it had broken off in the strong sea currents.
The house is full of animals too: four cats, Penny the dog and two guinea pigs.. Liesel decided she wants a guinea pig, mainly because we can speak their language, something between a chirp and a whistle. And yes, they are cute!