The week we left for Barkerville my car died. I drove it to Rosebud so that it would be looked after, cared for, started once in a while – so that it would still run when I got back from BC – and on the way there the water pump decided it was no more for this world and the engine overheated and I perhaps cooked my engine. I still don’t know. I left it in the hands of a friend and we’ll see in five months whether I have a car or am in the market.
I do appreciate the bitter irony of the car situation.
The actual trip to BC was made without incident. We drove through the mountains with snow and rain and sun each taking their turn. We didn’t see any animals much to my disappointment. I did see birds – a Great Blue Heron, a few hawks and some ducks of various breeds – but no animals that run on all fours. Unless you count squirrels, in which case I saw one.
The hotel we stayed in was small and much, much dirtier than the images on their website led me to believe. I walked in and said, “I have a reservation.” The woman at the desk said, “You have a reservation? Here?” She sounded so surprised. I knew right then that things were going to be a bit squibby. When she looked down at her papers and called me by name, it clinched it. Obviously the place is not a well-used hotel, as the three vehicles in the parking lot implied. (One of them was ours.) We watched some television and went to bed.
The rest of the trip was also without incident. We ate breakfast in a place that had no fruit on the menu which normally I wouldn’t have noticed but I really wanted French toast with fruit that morning (damn); we commented on the remote farmhouses and ranches and wondered who in their right mind wanted to live out there all year round? Or at all? We kept a sharp eye out for the turn Google Maps had told us about – but when we got to Prince George we realized that the road didn’t exist. (I have since learned that Google Maps was directing us to a road built in the 1860’s which is no longer in use if it even still exists.) In Prince George the highway was being used as a parking lot and we had to drive carefully to avoid hitting mirrors. I have no idea what was going on but apparently it was a big deal, as everyone in town was there. With their dog and their dog’s car.
We explored Quesnel briefly and then went to Wells. The road was long and curvy but we made it there in one piece and found the house we are staying in – the yellow house next to the even yellower community centre. It was indeed easy to spot, as we had been told it would be. We met our roommate, Tim, who is a nice guy and reminded both S. and I of someone we know. It took us almost the entire evening to figure out who – the art teacher from our Certificate year! I don’t think he sleeps much, as we’re always in bed before him and he’s always up before us. When we wake up at night he’s either not home or he’s up eating or drinking coffee. I don’t understand it but that’s just because I like to sleep 10 hours or more a night.
The snow here. Wow. The snow! When we got here it was piled up against buildings, laying in thick white blankets on the baseball diamond – six to ten feet near the house and probably four out in the open. I wish I’d taken pictures as now, after a week or so of sun and (mostly) rain it has shrunk considerably. (Near some buildings it was piled up to the eaves!) It was cold our first few days of work.
We got costumes after a few days, which actually made it warmer. A corset holds in a considerable amount of heat and the dresses hide all the civvies I care to wear underneath them. On the coldest day I was wearing two pairs of socks, long johns, jeans, two shirts, a corset (as well as the necessary modern underwear), a heavy petticoat, my green dress, a scarf, gloves, a wig (to keep my ears warm), a hat, rubber boots and a thick woollen cape.
It was warmer today so I wore my blue dress. I like it quite a bit. It has a lace collar and cuffs and a lacy bustle as well. Those women in the 1870’s sure liked their bustles. Not to sound vain, but I look good in period costumes. A part of me wants to wear those kinds of clothes all the time, except for how sore my back and shoulders get. They’re heavy and really, I couldn’t wear a corset all the time. I like being able to tie my shoes and lean back on chairs and snuggle up on a sofa with a book, all rendered impossible with a properly fitted corset.
However, I was not the only person who thought I looked fine, much to my dismay. Today I collected a follower of the male persuasion, much to the amusement of all my co-workers. I can’t remember his name but apparently he latches on to a different pretty girl each summer and I’m the unhappy target this year. The fact that I have a boyfriend isn’t likely to deter him – one year his object of affection was clearly and obviously married. My boss has had to talk to him before about bothering actors who are working, so if I can’t shake him on my own at least someone will deal with him for me. Actually, my boss gave me and S. permission to kiss – full on French – in front of this guy; this while we are portraying an era where men and women didn’t even touch in public.
Hopefully I won’t need to resort to that.
I’ll try to keep this blog up to date through-out the summer. It’s a bit hard – I have to bring my laptop to the local general store to access the internet and after work it’s the last thing I feel like doing. However, like I said, I’ll do my best.