Bedwell Harbour fundraiser in the swim of things

June 26, 2017

Why would an island community name a boat after a second-hand store?

Read on:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Pender Islands Edition

August 9, 2000

Bedwell Harbour fundraiser in the swim of things

by Tanya Lester

The Bedwell Harbour community fundraiser made quite a splash over the holiday weekend with Auntie Kate belting out the blues, pool races, draws, a silent auction, kids’ fboard games and prizes.

Some of the more interesting games included paper airplane, cannon ball and belly flop races as well as a dunk tank.

On Monday by noon, office manager Laska Freeman had counted $500 and was still tallying up the donations.

The fundraising will benefit all islanders as proceeds will be divided between the Pender Island Swim Team and the Gulf Island Marine Rescue e Society.

The rescue society is raising a total of $80,000 for all new 24-foot rigid hull inflatable boat, which will replace the whaler now being used.

According to the society’s Ian Mott, the whaler is not intended to operate in extreme conditions. This means a rescue team might have to turn back in adverse weather conditions.

Mott explained that the marine rescue team is part of an overlapping support system that includes both the Canadian and American coast guard, the RCMP and firefighters.

The new boat will ensure that the team can do its part in rescue situations.

Penderites will get to see the boat in its preparatory state on the back of a trailer at the Fall Fair parade…..

The boat will be christened the Nu-To-Yu II after the second-hand store operated by the Pender Island Community eServices Society, which has been the society’s largest financial supporter.

The whaler now I use is called Nu-To-Yu.

Other grants have come from the Capital Regional District, South Pender Fire Department and North Pender Land Search and Rescue. Mott said they are applying to the provincial government for a lottery grant as well.

Bedwell Harbor Resort was booked solid during the long weekend festivities. Freeman said the marina’s 110 bays were filled as was every hotel room.

RCMP Corporal Don Smawley estimated that the Penders’ population swelled to 10,000-12,000 people over the weekend. He said the harbours were all packed with boats. There were several mechanical problems that led to breakdowns as well as reports of dragging anchors.


Tanya is an intuitive reader and counsellor who specializes in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling and mediumship. She is also a reiki master and instills this energy into her readings as well as into her housesits which she does fulltime. To make an appointment for a reading or to arrange for her housesitting services, contact her by email at or text/call her at 250-538-0086 cell. Her web site is and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.

Tanya’s book are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew that you can order from or buy directly from the author. She also wrote Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes. All four books are available in some library systems.

To read more posts in this blog of stories on a wide range of topics, go to and

Friends I Never Knew

June 22, 2017

Friends I Never Knew is my only book, so far, that is a novel, but that would be loosely speaking. It is also the only one of my four books that was published by a publishing house.

The others were not based on a sort of protest on my part: book do not necessarily reach a larger audience or make more money for the author than a self-published book does.

Here is what one reviewer wrote about my only novel and that of another author’s:

Prairie Fire

Vol. 14, No. 2, Summer 1993

Friends I Never Knew by Tanya Lester, Charlottetown: Gynergy Books, 1992, 160 pp., $10.95 paper.

The Guest House by Kristjana Gunnars, Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1992, 144 pp., $17.95 paper.

by Ralph Kiropatwa

Both Kristjana Gunnars and Tanya Lester are women of Canada’s great plains and of contemporary sensibility. It would be a mistake to assume that their respective works therefore have much in common. The differences far exceed any similarities.

Tanya Lester is an activist who has written her first novel about an activist. Tanya the writer tells of Tara the activist in the women’s movement. Tanya writes of Tara who writes of the lives of the women with whom the movement brings her into contact.

Tare is on the Greek half of the island of Cyprus. A long way from Winnipeg and the daily challenge of practical struggle on behalf of women in Manitoba, Tara is there to rest, restore her energies, comtemplate the lessons of her experiences, and write about the friends she had made back in Canada. Not all her friends. Her work in the community connected her with four special women, special friends: Juanita, Lou, Miriam and Rita. They are of different social origins, even generations. They have told Tara the stories of their lives, the shaping events.

Tara listens, records, but tells us on tales of her own. Juanita, Loi, Miriam and Rita made Tara a gift of their life stories. The value of their gift is clearly appreciated by Tara at one level.. It is only dimly comprehended at another. It is this pernumbra of unclear meaning that contributes to Tara’s need to get away. In the solitude of the Mediterranean island’s otherness, Tara can write her friends’ tales.

Holocaust resistance stories are, at once, infinitely sad and intensely hopeful. The tales of Juanita, Lou, Miriam and Rita are similarly celebrations of what might yet be redeemed  from the wreckage and dump of oppression. These women have overcome evil. Their lives are juxtaposed with Tara’s recurring, shifting dream and the silence around her own history.

There is a painting of Matisse in which women form a circle of fluid, dancing bodies. It is a haunting picture. Simultaneously optimistic, defensive, and accepting of human frailty, it is virtually a visual cast of Tanya Lester’s novel. Tara and her friends are connected in a circle of friendship, fluid lives that are the more potent for being connected. The circle also helps keep out the evils that have faced, victimized and been overcome by each woman. It is a healing circle, itself a remedy and a prophylactic against the pains and penetrations that life inflicts.

In the end, Tara remembers her own tale. The memory wrenches as might the uprooting of a tenacious parasite. It is time for her to go home. In looking into the lives of her friends she has found a mirror and reflections of herself in them, of them in her.

Tanya Lester writes in an almost deceptively simple style.  In fact she has taken great pains over the novel’s structure, voices and pace. Her book is disturbing because one is left convinced that there are many things in it that one has, somehow, missed. Part of that is the result of her introduction of occult themes into a texture that is assertively realistic and political. Part of it is the gift of understatement.

Kristjana Gunnars’s book is a collection of short stories. Each story has the strength of particulars that vault into insights. In the title story, “The Guest House,” her character is shown travelling light, “… his only possession a backpack. He was even freed from the burden of family. He did not need to account for himself to anyone.”

In “Mass and a Dance”, her alienated character wanders the winter streets of St. Norbert and muses, “Snow is a story that breaks off from heaven and falls down at random.”

In “Insomnia,” the sleepless protagonist reaches for a book to read, thinking “it was good to divert the mind by visiting someone else’s.”

As lapidary of the polished phrase, the poet peeps out in her telling the tales of ordinary people in ordinary settings. There is, after all, little that is extraordinary about family reunions, or rainy days, or buying a dress, or the rambling wisdoms in a drunk tank. What gives these settings, and the actors within them, heft and sparkle is Kristjana Gunnars’s command of the language — the talent of the poet applied to prose narrative — and the truthfulness of the dynamic that crackles between the natural world, memory, and familiar humans in utterly plausible circumstances.

The author does not turn her eyes away from the weary, common unhappiness that settles like a light dust on many lives. Gunnars is not satisfied, however, merely to reflect the goosebumps of shivering through another day. The prairies, ocean, mountains, sun and snow of western Canada are vital to the tales. More than background, they often come close to being protagonists themselves, characters like Wessex or Casterbridge in Thomas Hardy’s writing.

The stories achieve further depth through the interplay of moment and memory. This is a collection of truthful fictions that are profoundly accepting of the world with all its pains and glories. It makes the point, repeatedly, that what is is natural. And as long as life can be beautifully described, the hope endures that lives can be beautifully lived.

Tanya Lester and Kristjana Gunnars have presented us with quite different gifts, each of different value to readers with different interests. Tanya Lester opens a contemporary window to our comprehension of women and their struggles. She does so with a novel that disturbs as it informs, unsettles as it captivates. The stories of Kristjana Gunnars combine beauty of language with precision of thought. She has crafted a necklace of tales, a talisman for a world whose trolls might yet prove lovely.


To read other posts in this blog of eclectic writing on many different topics, go to and

Tanya has been an intuitive councellor/psychic doing tea leaf reading, tarot, mediumship, psychic channeling and mediumship for over two decades. She also is a reiki master and instills this energy into her readings. She also does this when house sitting.To contact her about her services, go to her web: or text/call 250-538-0086 or email:   She also has pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google.

Tanya Lester’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew can be purchased on or from the author. She also wrote Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. These books are available in some libraries.

Pagan Pop rocks Pender markets

June 20, 2017

One wonderful addition to all of the Markets (I can’t say Saturday Markets because they run on every different day of the week depending on where they are on the West Coast) throughout Vancouver Islands and the Gulf Islands are the excellent musicians that play at each of them.

The musicians are almost always local to the area and are usually different ones each week. Like artists and writers, this illustrates the large numbers of professional musical ‘magicians’ on the islands.

The following is a story about one group:

Gulf Islands Driftwood– Pender Islands Edition

June 14, 2000

Pagan Pop rocks Pender markets

by Tanya Lester

A new voice on the Penders is musician Zorah Staar who is performing her Pagan Pop on the market circuit during several Saturdays throughout the month of June.

Staar relocated to the islands four months ago, intent on spending at least a year of focused work on her music. It started to happen for her four years ago when song lyrics began to pop into her head.

Two years ago, she started performing. Even though a couple of decades has intervened since she studied piano as a kid, Staar is again tickling the ivories and has added guitar to her musical interpretations. She wants to get the message across that it is never too late in life to return to an earlier passion or to develop a new one.

“I just figured these songs were coming through to me and it was my job and my joy and my passion to share, she said.

Pagan Pop is a musical genre that Staar has coined. She describes its as ancient rhymes, new edge songs for new age times. The musical structures borrow from pop as well as ancient tribal music.

She said, “It’s new age-y but with a pop rock edge.” Other of her performance pieces are ballads.

Song themes evolve around goddesses and gods, earth-based spirituality, personal growth and transformation.

Her song Nehalennia, for instance, refers to a goddess honoured by her pagan ancestors called Frisians who lived on the North Sea coast of Holland. It is about how hungry our spirits are for connection and transformation and for healing.

Staar moved to the West Coast from Winnipeg five years ago. She has been working most recently in community development for non-profit groups in Langley.

She is spending a lot of time now rehearsing for the CD she will be producing through Paul Brosseau’s Nomad Music on Salt Spring. It will be released in July and she will be marketing it through the Internet….


Tanya Lester has worked for over two decades as a psychic specializing in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channeling and mediumship.  She is also a reiki master and energizers her readings with this healing. She also housesits with special love for the animals she finds in her care. To contact her for her services email her at or: text or call her at 250-538-0086 cell. Her website is  She also has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew which are both available for sale from or from the author. Her other books are Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes. These books are available in some public libraries.

To read more of the posts, on widely varied topics, go to or




Ankle-bracelet criminals concern island residents

June 19, 2017

It occurred  to me, as I thought about posting the following story, that maybe criminals who are sentenced to wear ankle-bracelets can choose where they go to live and ‘do their time’ or can even move from one residence to another.

I googled a question about this but could not get an answer.

I want to know because if a criminal can make a choice like this then s/he might very well choose to ‘do the time’ in an idyllic place such as the Gulf Islands.

But then, maybe not. Having to stay inside of your house while the temperate rainforest surrounds you might be worse than living in an urban highrise if you can never set foot outside of your property.

Maybe some lawyer or criminal out there, can enlighten me on this.

In the meantime, here is the article:

Gulf Islands Driftwood– Penders Edition

June 14, 2000

Ankle-bracelet criminals concern island residents

by Tanya Lester

RCMP Corporal Don Smawley and the RCMP Consultative Group on the Penders are concerned about probation officer requests from the Lower Mainland to re-locate electronically-monitored criminals to the Gulf Islands.

Smawley recently advised against a criminal being transferred to Saturna.

The individual wears an electronic bracelet that is monitored by the probation system.

The RCMP was opposed to the re-location because Saturna has no full-time police who could be called upon quickly if the individual were to violate his or her parole conditions.

According to Neville Avison, who is the consultative group chairman, one electronically monitored convict on Pender and two on Salt Spring Island have successfully completed their sentences.

Another had applied to go to Mayne but was denied, said Avison.

Probation officers agree to criminals’ applications to be located on the Gulf Islands if they obtain employment or can do community service work on the island in question.

Being from the island community or having family there is also viewed positively by the justice system in placement cases.

The people in question are non-violent and have committed minor property, drug or corporate crimes, said Avison.

They are allowed to travel to and from work, shop for groceries and perform other necessary functions outside their homes.

Most of their time is spent inside the residence, however, where the ankle-bracelet operates in connection with the phone line.

If the person is out of range, officials are alerted through the telephone system.

Avison began to look into the situation three months ago when Smawley expressed concern that requests from Lower Mainland probation officers might be on the increase.

The consultative group chairman contacted the assistant deputy minister of corrections.

Smawley told the Penders Edition that he thinks the Vancouver area justice system might be attempting to reduce their heavy workload by transferring these criminals to the Gulf Islands.

He said those who are sent to the islands from the Victoria area have connections to the community.

He does not feel criminals with “no roots” on the Gulf Islands should be transferred here.

Smawley questions, for example, allowing someone sentenced for drug charges being re-located to the Gulf Island, which are known as a drug trafficking area.

He noted as well that sometimes on the Outer Islands there is a limited amount of community service work available, especially under supervision.

— END–

To read more posts on this blog of eclectic topics that have previously appeared in print and written by Tanya Lester, go to and

Tanya now works as a psychic, a housesitter and also a reiki master. Find out more about her work by going to her web site: or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google. To contact her directly email: or text/call 250-538-0086.

Tanya’s book are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew ( available from or from the author) and Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.









Van bursts into flames

June 15, 2017

Let me tell you, there are no shortage of vans on the Gulf Islands. Leftovers from the Flower Power, Hippy Days of the ’60s. Probably more per capita than anywhere else in Canada and maybe even in the world.  Not surprising that one spontaneously bursts in to flames now and then:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Island Edition

August 9, 2000

Van bursts into flames

by Tanya Lester

John Miles was in the computer room above his store when he heard what he first thought was wind followed by the crackling of flames last Wednesday at about 9:15 a.m.

The Southridge Farms Country Store owner rushed down the stairs, saw smoke and then witnessed huge flames engulfing the Volkswagon camper van of an employee.

“It spontaneously combusted.”

Miles called 911 and then went to remove the family’s two dogs from their house as he feared it would catch fire, too. He moved his own van to make room for the fire trucks.

Miles has acting fire chief Charlie Boyte and his crew to thank for arriving quickly and extinguishing the van fire with foam. The firefighters then wet down the side of the house with water, which prevented it from catching fire.

A nearby tree was scorched badly but Miles credits rain the day before for preventing it from being set alight.

“Everything worked in our favour,” he said.

RCMP Corporal Don Smawley said the fire was ruled accidental with no foul play suspected.

Victims Services is affiliated with the RCMP and responds to requests from Smawley to assist in matters including robbery, spousal abuse and traffic accidents.

Smawley pointed out that in a smaller community they are sometimes asked to support victims of fire as well.


To read more posts on this blog of published work on a wide variety of topics, go to and

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew available for purchase on amazon or from the author as well as Dreams and Tricksters besides Women Rights/Writes. All of these books are available at some public libraries.

Tanya is a psychic reader with over 20 years experience. To get a tea leaf reading, tarot , psychic channeling or Russian gypsy card reading, text or call her at 250-5528-0086 or via Facebook or email: Her web site is at and she also has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter.




Questionnaire pinpoints services needed

June 14, 2017

More than the other Gulf Islands, I know Salt Spring Island, BC the best but I suspect all of the islands have many, many volunteers.

I remember some of the volunteers on Salt Spring were busy each day of the week provided their free services to as many different island organizations.

I have mixed feeling about this as I believe paying work is often not available to those who need it because of the wonderful services provided by volunteers.

But volunteering is certainly not going away on the islands.

The following article has a sort of ‘coming of age’ theme, I think. When volunteers, like the ones on the Penders, have to ask what volunteer services are needed, it seems to me that the community has grown to point that it wants to be more organized. This is, after all, what volunteers do. Events and groups start to run more smoothly with good and willing volunteers.

Here is the piece:

Gulf Island Driftwood — Pender Islands Edition

August 9, 2000

Questionnaire pinpoints services needed

by Tanya Lester

Islanders whose mailboxes do not have a “junk mail” exemption have probably already received a questionnaire from the Pender Islands Community Volunteer Program.

The questionnaire asks for residents’ assistance in pinpointing the five most important areas in which volunteers are needed to help fill gaps in the delivery of local services.

Research in putting the survey together and doing other work to help start a volunteer bureau has been aided by an $11,000 grant from Involve BC, a wing of the Ministry of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers.

Carol Stewart, Pender Island Community Volunteer Program manager, first conducted a preliminary needs assessment before developing the questionnaire.

She asked about 30 people to tell her what they thought was the most important area in which volunteers are needed.

Those people ranged from caregivers, volunteer service providers, health and social service professionals as well as involved community members.

Jean Rogers, a long-time island volunteer honoured with awards for her work, is one of the people with whom Stewart is working closely.

“We’re trying very hard to fit in with the community and how things are done on Pender,” said Stewart, who feels that making a switch from informal volunteering to training individuals in more specific roles might take a while to fully accept.

Stewart said the Penders have lots to draw on in the way of volunteers.

“There are marvelous people,” she said. “We are very rich in that sense.”

The focus will be on matching volunteers to specific areas.

The questionnaire lists these areas under six headings including children and families, alternate school, teens, people aged 30 to 50, seniors and general.

Stewart insists that volunteers will serve to enhance work already done by employed individuals and will not be picking up the slack due to recent home support decreases and other government cutbacks.

Robert Dill agrees. He applied for the Involve BC grant as Pender Island Health Care Society executive director.

Dill said the grant, which was approved in February, was $3000 less than requested.

That money, along with a Capital Health Region grant, will employ Stewart under contract for a year.

Her assistant is Clare Mathias.

Stewart and Mathias had a table at the Farmers’ Market last Saturday and will also be at the Fall Fair on…..

They will have questionnaires available for anyone who did not receive them in the mail.

After the end-of-the-month deadline set to complete and return the forms, Stewart will be tabulating the results.

Then the next step will be to slowly recruit and train volunteers. “We’re going to have to start gently and build up,” said Stewart.














Energy for Choice

June 7, 2017

In my experience when a push is on to make the world– or a segment of it — a better place, you know that you are really ‘on a roll’ (winning/successful) when everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon.

This is what happened when we were working hard to make Henry Morgentaler’s free standing abortion clinic a reality in Winnipeg during the early 1980s.

When I inherited $5000 from my Great Aunt Maude and decided it was time to sit in the sun somewhere and write a novel, I went to a travel agency that had donated money to the cause.

Group after group named themselves for Choice.

This did buoy us all up after spending hours upon hours on demonstrations, letter campaigns, lobbying politicians (sometimes right in front of their homes) etc. etc. etc.

I was tired but I could not seem to stop working when I wrote the following piece (as I get closer to the end of my blog, it is only a partial article but still worth posting, I think, as these scraps of information, I know from experience, can fill out an article or thesis for those following behind my generation):


December 1983

Energy for Choice

by Tanya Lester

As a longtime feminist and a semi-active participant in our latest push for reproductive choice in this province, I have found my own energies sagging after months of attending rallies, stuffing envelopes, and lobbying politicians.

Using my own tiredness as a measuring stick, I started to fear that fatigue might lead us to defeat instead of victory on this issue. But when I went out to talk to some of the people involved in the many choice groups which have sprung up over the last few months what I found were angry women with strength and determination.

Labour People in support of Choic (LPC) chair Darlene Dziewit describes herself as someone who is used to making compromises but refuses to compromise on a woman’s right to choose abortion. “I think it’s a labour issue because it’s the right of people to choose how to govern their own bodies,” she said. “The labour movement has always stood for the rights and freedoms of individuals.”

LPC began its work when the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL) executive ordered its Equal Rights and Opportunities Committee’s disassociation from the Coalition for Reporductive Choice last June.

LPC vice-chair Susan Reznik, says the lobby to ensure the passage of a pro-choice resolution at the MFL’s biannual convention started months before the event. Reznik found herself discussing pro-choice with labour leaders sometimes until 3:00 in the morning during the convention weekend….


Tanya has many years experience working as a psychic and intuitive counselling specializing in tea leaf reading and tarot. She is also a reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. To access information about her work and/or book a reading, go to her web site at or her pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. Her email address is or you can text or phone her at 250-538-0086 or through Facebook.

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew which are available from or from the author. She also wrote Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes. These books are available to borrow on some public library shelves.

To read more posts on this eclectic blog featuring articles, reviews, poetry, play writing and short stories published by Tanya, go to and

This is blog of the many articles published by and about me over several decades as a freelance writer and a tealeafreader/tarot reader/psychic.