Various members of my brother Bill's family have spent part of the month of January enjoying the relaxed hospitality of Harbour Island. My parents discovered this beautiful Bahamian jewel back in the 60's through a priest in our parish who was looking for someone to provide housing for a young island girl who wanted to go to nursing school in Canada. I'm sure the fact that my mom had 6 young children at the time factored into her decision to take part. We became instant friends with the Sawyers and their extended family, and eventually my parents came to visit them on their island, staying at a resort called Pink Sands. A few of us children were lucky enough to accompany my parents on their holidays before Pink Sands was bought by Island Records owner Chris Blackwell and turned into a very exclusive escape for the very, very wealthy. Years later my brother Bill and his wife Julie fell in love with the island all over again which lead to their decision to buy a piece of property and build a house. When they aren't in residence they rent Seadream House to people looking for an authentic and affordable Harbour island experience. During times of the year when rentals are slow they graciously make their house available to family members in exchange for a few chores. I had decided not to partake in the annual pilgrimage this year, instead indulging in winter pastimes back home in Grafton. When my snowmobiling buddies disappeared for a week in the Dominican, and the January thaw turned most of the trails into rut filled mudslides, I couldn't help myself from taking a look at airfares to Nassau, which for any kind of a last minute fare reinforced my decision, until I discovered that I had some Aeroplan points that were about to be expired. On a whim, I decided to book. On the surface, I love last minute, spontaneous trips, but I sometimes wonder if the people who spend months researching and planning their trips end up having more fun. I don't think I'll ever find out - I just don't tend to travel that way. My sister Kate also decided to join us at the very last minute. When we got off the boat at the dock and walked towards my parents and another waiting sister, Anne, Kate fell back a few feet and dressed up like a bum. After a few minutes she revealed herself, much to every one's glee. I just love surprises. In any case, here I am at the computer with buckets of rain pouring down on the roof typing my blog. People back home who see me on line are chiding me - telling me that I need to relax, go to the beach, turn off the computer. Well, this is how I relax, especially when its pouring rain. However, I also love listening to the sound of rain on the roof, I love walking or swimming in a nice warm rain, I love curling up on a comfy couch and reading a book, and I love the luxury of an afternoon nap so I'm sure I'll make the best of the rainy weather. Earlier in the day, during a short break in the rain, I stopped into a very typical Bahamian barber shop and had my hair cut. The client in the chair before me had very different hair than me, as did the barber, so this otherwise mundane activity turned out to be a bit of cultural adventure. When asked what kind of cut I'd like, I told the barber that I just wanted to look cool - a tall order for a 49 year old! Most of my hair ended up on the floor, but those close to me tell me I look much younger - not a bad thing I suppose. Emails from my friends back home at Ste. Anne's tell me that its minus 20 (with the wind chill), so I guess I can live with my last minute decision to flee the country for a few days.