I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The bridge is really beautiful. I don't usually say that about man-made super structures but the large brass eagles that are attached to it somehow make it beautiful.

We are shooting inside the house this week and it seems that there is something in the living room that causes me to itch and become all stuffed up within twenty minutes of sitting down on the couch in front of the monitors they set up when the camera is shooting into the kitchen from there. I am not the only one who is feeling that effect. I wonder what it is. This is not the cleanest house and the sofas are very old and worn so it could be dust.

This show is very challenging for me as one of the actresses has trouble memorizing her lines and she has a LOT of lines. So it falls on me to feed them to her when she is stuck and calls out 'line'. It happens with such frequency that I hardly dare lift my eyes from the script which means that I can't watch the monitors as I need to for continuity. I finally tell the PM that it would be good to ask the stand-in to feed lines to free me up to perform my other tasks as right now my ability to do them is severely compromised. Apparently that won't be possible as the actress wants me to do it. It begins to stress me out severely and I lose sleep over it on the night before a day full of long scenes with lots of heavy dialogue.

The weather is amazing. It's the end of September and it feels like summer, except that there is a nip in the air when in the shade. I am always in the shade as the monitors have to be shielded from the glare of the sun. So I will be sitting in my chair, eyes closed enjoying the warmth of the sun while the lighting guys work, and then suddenly it will disappear and I open my eyes to see a huge black flag being set in place by a grip. As much as I miss the warmth as I shrug back into my puffy coat, I am grateful for the lack of glare in my eyes when the camera rolls.

I bought a new rolling bag on the weekend for all of my supplies and big binder. The one I have had for three years is coming apart at the seams from the stress of everything I have to stuff in inside. Two days into using it there are long black threads hanging from inside and when I investigate, I see that the lining has separated at the seam and the little clear bag attached is hanging. Then, later in the day, the handle comes apart. It is exactly the same as the one I had for three years. This one is obviously a lemon and I will have to return it next weekend.

Sunday, I have arranged with my daughter and her hubby to pick them up and go to Bowen Island for the day. I arrive at their place at ten o'clock and we get in the lineup at Horseshoe Bay for the eleven o'clock ferry. When it pulls in, it isn't the one I remember taking the last time I crossed, six years ago. This is a much bigger ferry. They have upgraded the fleet, I guess.

It takes 20 minutes to cross over to the island and we get out of the car and stand at the front rail. The wind is warm enough to stand there the whole crossing. It's a breathtaking view and Rob, who is seeing it for the first time, keeps exclaiming how beautiful it is. When we arrive, we get back in our car and drive onto the island. I want to stop and get a map but Ashleigh wants to be adventurous and just wing it so we just start driving. The main road is the one that ends at the ferry and there are a few shops and cafes in quaint buildings on the left-hand side. We drive past them and take a right turn at the stop sign. Right off we see a sign for a garage sale so pull off the road onto a side street. We laugh as we see a small boy of about 7 wearing a huge box that is almost as tall as he is that has the words Garage Sale written on both sides in felt pen. I guess this is the place. We browse over the goods and I find two books. One is Aztec, the book I read in Florida. I buy it and then loan it to Ashleigh straight away, telling her she will love it. There is a great dresser for $50 and it looks a lot like the one I have that Ashleigh and Rob are using at the moment only it has an attached mirror that swivels. With a coat of white paint and some crystal knobs, it would look fantastic. I might not be getting the one I loaned to them back, or if I do, they will need a replacement and this would be perfect. But there is no way it will fit in my car, so we reluctantly leave it behind. I miss my Tucson!!

Ashleigh and Rob haven't had their morning coffee so we decide to drive back to the little main road and I find a coffee shop and park outside while they run in to order their drinks. Rob asks what I would like to drink. I tell him I have tea in my thermos cup from home so I am all good. While they are gone I hear the sound of a Woodpecker and look around to see where it's coming from. There's a large phone pole in an empty lot beside the car and as I look over at it, the Woodpecker comes around from the backside of it. I grab my camera and manage to get a shot of it before it makes its way back out of view.

We spend a lazy few hours finding a couple of nice beaches and exploring them. One is down a lot of steps but, once we are there, is very private and wild. There are huge logs all over the beach and a lot of purple sea stars just below the surface of the water, nestled on the rocks. This would be a great place to snorkel and we talk about coming back and doing that next summer. One has a rocky point on the right that extends out way beyond the beach and we clamber over the rocks to the very end. There's a wall of pink granite on one side that has a chunk jutting out at the bottom. It makes a perfect chair and I sit on it as I declare as much. Ashleigh laughs and takes a picture of me sitting in it and then has her photo taken sitting in it.

We are getting hungry so I drive back into the little main area and park the car. We walk to a pub that I remember eating at with the crew of a movie I shot over here at the start of my career in film. We find a table overlooking the green area that leads down to the water. We order drinks and an appetizer of prawns in a lemon cream sauce. Rob and I order the halibut and chips and Ashleigh orders a seared tuna burger. All of the food arrives at the same time, which isn't ideal. So we dig into the appetizer before the rest of the food gets cold. There are five prawns and three of us so I tell them I just want one. As Ashleigh is eating hers she asks me if I find them kind of spicy. I don't at all. We are about 5 minutes into our main courses when I look up at Ashleigh and she has put her tuna burger down and isn't eating. I figure she is just taking it slow. The next time I look at her, not a minute later, she is very flushed in her cheeks and down her throat. "Are you feeling ok?" I ask her and she shakes her head no. "I feel nauseated." she says. "You are breaking out in hives." I reply as her face and neck grow redder by the second. I get up and go to the hostess area and pour her a glass of ice water. When I get back to the table she looks even worse. I get her to move into my seat in the shade and I sit in her spot. "My gums are swelling and my throat is itchy." she says. She is having an allergic reaction to something she ate. I have had this happen twice to me and so recognize the symptoms. I go find a waitress and ask if there is a walk-in clinic open today. She tells me that there isn't. I explain the situation and ask her to call 911. She says she will, straight away. I go back to the table and now Ashleigh's heart is racing; I can see it the pulse in the vein in her neck. She complains that her throat is starting to constrict. She is terrified but internalizing her fear. We decide to walk into the breezeway leading from the street to the patio to wait for the ambulance to arrive. I go out onto the street to flag them down. Soon we hear the siren and I wave them over as they head down the small hill to where we are.

Two guys, one older and one younger, follow me to Ashleigh and they start asking questions as they unpack their kit. No, she has no known allergies to food; yes, she is allergic to penicillin; yes, she is taking prescription drugs; no, this hasn't happened before except to the penicillin.... etc. etc. They take her pulse and blood pressure. Her pulse is 96 and her blood pressure is low. They give her two children's chewable Benadryl. People walking by are stopping and gawking so they ask if she would like to sit in the ambulance and she says yes, so we move to the road. She gets inside with the older attendant while Rob and I and the younger guy stand outside the doors at the back and watch her with concern. At that point, the waitress walks up to me and apologetically hands me the bill for our meal and tells me they have taken Ashleigh's off. I am shocked as Rob and I didn't get to eat half of our food before all this happened but I am far to preoccupied to make the point that it all should be comped, and so hand over $80. She leaves and I turn back to the situation at hand. I suggest that Rob go up to the pharmacy half a block away and get some more Benedryl for Ashleigh as the attendant suggested that we get some. The young fellow is explaining that we can have Ashleigh taken by ambulance boat back to the mainland and to Lions Gate Hospital if we like. Ashleigh says she is starting to feel better and doesn't want to go to the hospital. I can see that the flush in her face and neck is starting to subside. About forty minutes after they arrive, the guys start to complete the paperwork for the incident, which they won't submit as they are on strike, and then pack up to leave. They tell us that, should Ashleigh start to feel worse again, not to hesitate to call them back. Rob arrives just as they leave with the Benedryl, water, and a protein bar for Ashleigh. We decide to go back onto the pub patio and have a drink to take it easy for a bit and decide if we want to head back on the ferry. We sit down and the waitress comes over and asks if Ashleigh is ok. We tell her that she's doing much better and order something to drink. As we sit there and sip on beer and Strongbow, Ashleigh starts to feel the effects of the second dose of Benedryl she just took. She's exhausted. We decide to finish up our drinks and then get in the lineup for the ferry back. It's 5 o'clock, a somewhat short end to our day together. I make a comment about it being the second time I have tried to have a day out with them and she has been ill. She apologizes and I quickly say that isn't why I said it... it's not anything she can help. It's just a strange coincidence and if it happens a third time, I am going to have to stop going out with them for the day. We laugh at that and she apologizes again and I tell her to stop it.

When we get on the ferry, we don't get out this time to stand at the rail. She is far too wiped out to get out of the car. And we had planned to drive up Cypress Mountain on the way back to see the improvements for the 2010 Olympics, but she just wants to get home so that will have to wait for another day.

I am back home in Langley by 6:30. I drive to the store to pick up a couple of groceries and then go back to Debbie's and watch The Amazing Race. I am in bed by 10:30. It's another early call tomorrow.

I give Ashleigh a call on the drive to Maple Ridge Monday morning to see how she is. She says that when she got home, she lay down on the couch and slept while Rob made some dinner. She ate a bit of it and then went straight to bed as she was wiped out. She feels much better today. Her throat and ears are still a bit scratchy and sore. She plans to go to the doctor and get tested to see what it was that she was allergic to but we figure it's the prawns. When she asked me if they were spicy, she said that as soon as she chewed them her mouth got tingly. She thought it was some sort of spice. But Rob and I did not have that sensation so it must have been those that triggered the reaction. She says she had prawns not a week before and had no reaction at all. But that is how it works sometimes... you are allergic but the antigens haven't built up enough for a reaction until you've been exposed several times. I don't think she will be eating prawns ever again.

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