My name is Percy Hart, I’m 58 and I live on Read Island a small island on the BC west coast in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Isl. and the mainland (yes, you can be jealous). There are fewer then 50 year-rounders on Read. I’m a bit of a loner so the isolation doesn’t bother me. I”m one of the few people on Read to have internet via a long-range WiFi connection off Cortez Isl. That’s my antenna sticking out of the water in my header picture which is the view from my front porch. I’m an active member in our little community being a founding member of Read Island Access Society which is responsible for roads, trails and docks on Read. I care-take my brothers oyster and clam ranch as he doesn’t like to live on-site and I do. I can’t work the oyster and clam ranch anymore due to being all gimped up from osteoarthritis, but I still make a good watchman. I am on a small disability pension and the rent is cheap so it’s heaven as long as I can take care of myself which I’m managing to do so far with help from friends and family.
I started my work history in Winnipeg as an auto mechanic but quickly got work in aerospace and was lucky enough to work on the “Voodoo”, the jet fighter that was replaced by the CF 18 as Canada’s front-line fighter. Then I became a “sawyer”. I saw an opportunity to recycle hydro poles. So I designed and built a steel-frame mobile hydraulic sawmill and worked that for the next 15 years producing cedar lumber for sale and building decks and fences. I even built some beautiful uniform log buildings from those ugly old hydro poles. I was years ahead of all the recycling fuss now. Then a few of life’s little problems came along to discombobulate my life: problems with a business partner resulting in the selling of my business; problems with my marital partner resulting in separation; and finally my mother had a stroke taking me to the BC. west coast to help in her care. I have been out here ever since mostly working with my brother on his oyster and clam ranch.
About 10 years back osteoarthritis started to afflict me and gradually drew my strength and physical capabilities down to the point that I am now barely able to maintain my isolated life-style and can do so only with the help of friends and family and a small government disability pension. 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to visualize myself as I am now. I was always in very good physical shape, doing heavy physical work with the sawmill then oysters and clams; firewood; etc.. I was confident that I would always be able to take care of myself into old age. Boy, was I wrong! Osteoarthritis is an insidious disease and not enough is being done to research it’s cause which is unknown to science. My other vital life functions are all in very good condition. Doc says I have the prostrate of a twenty year old and no cholesterol so should live to a ripe old age, as a cripple. Unless?