We live extraordinary events and the full consequences are not yet known, but we must hope for the best. So though we are not under lockdown yet in PEI, I have a strong feeling that it is coming. Today both the two largest provinces of Canada, Ontario and Quebec have closed down all businesses by decree with the exception of grocery stores, liquor stores and hospitals. That is a lot of people out of work all of a sudden with kids at home for what now looks like months to come.
Today I went to the supermarket to do a bit of shopping, items we needed. The store was quiet about 15 people in all in a large super store. All the shelves were stocked no shortages except for Schweppes Tonic Water, very strange indeed why no tonic water? But you have to remember that Gin Tonic is the drink of choice on the Island and with people at home drinking is the pastime. The only other counters that are now closed is the fresh cakes and pastries, though I never liked them too much sugar and the deli fresh meat section is closed all for sanitary reasons. But you can buy all the pre-package brands anyway. There is a lot of frozen cakes too and ice cream not to mention all those Easter Chocolates.
So we took a drive to Brackley Beach just 15 minutes away from our home in the National Park on the North Side of the Island. The park is beautiful with its Maritime Pine Forest, giant sand dunes and beach stretching for miles. It was pretty quiet and people do practice social distancing. The beach is covered with ice and snow and wet red sand typical of PEI.
The air was fresh but no wind and the sea was calm, no waves. It is so tranquil, the world and its troubles very far away. The sea always fascinated me, it is enormous, vast and stretches to the horizon, you can imagine that Europe is out there beyond the curve of the Earth.
We also went to the Agency Liquor Store on St-Peter’s Road just outside the city, South of the Airport. It is a strange shop, part gas station, part convenience store and part hard liquor store. There are 4 such stores in PEI who are privately owned by the IRVING family who own just about everything in Maritime Canada. All our Government Liquor Stores are currently closed so these private stores make a killing selling booze.
Our Wine cellar at home was out of Champagne or Prosecco and I absolutely needed a bottle for tomorrow. I got two and a bottle of red Italian wine. Though I could have driven to New Brunswick on the mainland of Canada for booze, this is currently not a good idea since I would have been obliged upon returning to the Island to spend 14 days in self-Isolation, meaning you cannot leave the house at all. The Premier and the Government of PEI today imposed fines for people who do not respect the rules on Self-Isolation which includes police visiting your house etc. The first fine is $1000 and the second fine is $10,000. So no we are staying put on PEI and not going anywhere. As the Prime Minister said today, now is time to stay home, enough is enough with not respecting the rules. In Nova Scotia next door it is even more strict, you can only walk your dog or yourself around your city block where you live or else. We must also stay 6 feet away from anyone else everywhere, including the grocery store.
So (spoiler Alert) I will not be having a big Birthday party tomorrow with a special cake as is the tradition, fireworks, balloons, large floral tributes, Mariachi band and chorus. It will be a very quiet affair, we will have our Prosecco, a nice dinner, and a special dessert. We won’t starve.
Dessert of puff pastry, stuffed with butter, brown sugar and raisins