The Inlet: Memoir of a Modern Pioneer
The Inlet is a rich historical document of a wild and beautiful part of BC's west coast and a gripping tale of one family's struggles to navigate a modern-day pioneer existence in a place called Loughborough.
The author/artist Helen Piddington and her husband Dane Campbell settled there in 1975 with their two-year-old daughter Arabella. Their reasons for moving were different. For Dane, a professional photographer wanting to write, the place offered safe moorage for his beloved sailboat Native Girl. For Helen, an artist at the height of her career, it meant the possibility of more time for printmaking and that the family would be together year round.
But, captivated by problems ashore, they found little time for extras. Inlet life is not easy. Everything depends on you: your effort, wit and commitment. If you want to be warm you must drop a tree, buck it, split it, and stack it -- a year in advance. If you want electricity you must make it. If you are thirsty, then you must find a source of drinking water and pipe it into your house. And as for food, it is wise to grow as much as you can for shops are far away and travel by small boat is often hazardous.
The following year, their son, Adam, was born. Together the family raised chickens, ducks, turkeys, wild boar and grew much of their food. When the two small Campbells were ready for school there were no other children left in the inlet so they did correspondence courses in the kitchen. Once Dane had solved the major problems at home he worked as a fisherman, a boom-man and a logger. And Helen's jobs kept multiplying until time in her studio became a rare treat.
The pastels in this book were done "each of its own necessity" before a text was considered. The tales are of old-timers and their memories plus the Campbells' adventures living on the edge: the very narrow edge between forest and sea. They capture the joys, hazards and complications of the so-called simpler life "beyond convenience" where one's four-legged neighbours can be very large indeed and not always entirely welcome. Some are as fresh as journal entries--written the day events took place-- while others were carefully crafted over months, if not years. We predict you'll treasure them, read and reread them and share them with friends.
Their boat, Native Girl, didn't last a year, by the way. She went back to her builder to be schooner-rigged. Eventually the children grew up and moved away but Dane and Helen stayed on. Now considered the inlet's "old-timers," both of them love the place as much as life itself.
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Adam ancient apples Arabella arrived Axel Baldie beach bears Beaver Inlet became Blind Channel boat Brutus called Campbell River charcoal/pastel chicken coast comfortable Cortes Island cougar creek Dane Dane's door edge everything farm feel fishing float floathouse Fort Chimo friends garden Goats grapes Gray Hill hens Heydon Bay huge inside Johnstone Strait keep Kelsey Bay Kitasu kitchen land Lillian lived loggers logging camps Loughborough miles Mount Harold mountains moved neighbours never once Pelton wheel perhaps plants post office prawn Rock Bay sailed salmonberries seemed Shawnigan shed shore Sidney Bay someone sometimes stay stove studio summer things tide took towed town traps trees turned Vancouver Island waiting wanted warm weather West Thurlow Island West Vancouver wharf wild wind winter woodlot woods young