Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

Such nice guys


Years ago my friends nephew was walking in a market in Cambodia, alone on Christmas Day. He got to talking to a Canadian couple who insisted he come home to their apartment for Christmas dinner with them. “He shouldn’t be alone” they said. During the dinner they discovered that his Aunt (my friend) had been their next door neighbour in Prince George back when they were first married. Small world.

My friend, taking note of her nephews good fortune to be welcomed at Christmas in a foreign land payed it forward. The next year, while walking on Granville Island on December 24th, ran into a backpacker travelling alone from Australia.  She invited him home to the Christmas dinner with her children who had all travelled to Australia and could well understand his place at their family dinner table. 

We are currently renting our house to a crew of trades working on a neighbours house. There is more than one house rented to these guys at the moment. They are good guys and taking great care of our homes.  Winter is upon us and these guys are working long days in cold conditions to try to get the walls in before Christmas. When we see them as we drive past the construction site, my old arthritic bones ache just watching them out in the rain. They come over to the island on Mondays with their coolers of “milk” and cans of chef Boyardi. After their long days of physical labour they sleep in sleeping bags on pull out couches and window seats. It’s not ideal… But you do what you do to make a living. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like a nice hot home cooked meal. I remembered my friends story and decided to pay it forward. 

They came tonight at 6:30. Ten of them. Before they were allowed through the door I made them turn off their cell phones… Island rules. It was a night to laugh a bit and fill their tummys… I didn’t want to be competing with their friends and hockey scores. I know my neighbour Duanne says he didn’t get a handbook when he moved here outlining the island rules. But trust me, if there was a handbook.. Rule number one, no cell phones when enjoying a meal together.

 We had two huge pots of chilli, bowls of salad, loaves of homemade French bread, two types of cake and lots of “milk”. The fire was well stoked and the house warm and cozy.. I figured they must have been starving so we got straight to the meal. Even the two dogs seemed to understand that this night was about the guys and their chance to sit back and talk about something other than rebar and 2 X 4’s… We didn’t mention work. 

People ask me why I like living on this island. Hey, where else would I get to have dinner and spend such an enjoyable evening with eleven 

Such nice guys

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

4 thoughts on “Such nice guys

  1. Good on ya, mate…the way it should be.
    I am inclined to try to cook Chinese but seem unable to get the ‘right’ sense of the flavours. One day, we were in Save-On and I was looking at bok choy and wondering what the hell to do with it… older Asian women stepped up, selected some and was about to leave. I asked her about cooking it. She explained. We got to talking. She was on vacation with her ill husband from the prairies. He had always wanted to see the ocean so they were staying at some waterfront dump. I offered to pick them up, bring them over, feed them and take them back whenever they wanted to experience the REAL west coast. A week later she called and we did the visit-thing. Turns out he was more than ill, he was terminal. Nice guy. Died within the week. She has written us every year since. Paying it forward is what we do with the WOOFers, too. They don’t work hard but they get kayaks and wine and a lot of fun.
    The reward is ours.

    • Nicely done…. Good Karma…..I would love to try the woofer program… Maybe once we have a proper bunkey for them….. My daughter picked strawberries in Belgium with the program… It’s a great concept… Take care!!

      • Yeah…it sounds like ‘being a nice guy’ and, I suppose, it is but the rewards are disproportionately in our favour. Everyone has a good time and we now have friends all over the world. I highly recommend the WOOFer program. Keep the stay to a week and swap ’em out to neighbours if they want to stay longer.

      • I will have to get lots more information from you one day when we are in a better position to participate…. Stay dry!

Leave a Reply