The Adventure Begins

My year of living ‘On Island’


I assuming you know that I decided that living in a world class ski resort wasn’t enough, and I had some itchy feet on the ends of my legs. Last summer I was looking for a new adventure. I’d been rejected by the Australian Commonwealth Games – for a job not as an athlete– so took a shufty*at the Northern Health jobs website. I’d been in Haida Gwaii for a kayaking trip in July and thought it was a pretty amazing place. When I spoke to the guy in HR he reported that the job there had been filled in April…boo. However, 2 weeks later he called back to say that there was a “full time temporary fixed term position” available, a what? Oh , you mean a maternity cover post. So fast forward a few months of working in London, spending quality time with the fam, seeing friends in the UK, I made it to the edge of the world. Hello Haida Gwaii


I’ve always liked a dictionary, I need it for my terrible spelling but I prefer looking through and finding out where words come from. I had a number of conversations recently with friends and family about word provenance and started following Robert MacFarlane on Instagram – beautiful words and pictures to describe wild places and things.

Also Haida Gwaii has it’s own native tongues and as I’m here for the year I really should try and learn some.

This is a photo of Emma looking through the massive dictionary whilst we were at Sgang Gwaay in the summer.


Hence the Wordhord part of the blog name. The Old English wordhord is (rather obviously) defined as ‘a word-hoard, a store of words’.


The ‘On Island’ bit is because that’s how people refer to their place in the world (literally or metaphorically) I am currently on island but if I want to shop at Canadian Tire (yes that’s how they spell tyre here) I’d have to go ‘ off island’.


*Word of the day

SHUFTY Shufti is Arabic. In that language it means “have you seen?”. It’s a bit of military slang, picked up by British servicemen formerly based in the Middle East. Here’s me thinking it was a Scottish word. Arabic non the less


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