Ashley Storrie: Comedian about Salt Spring Island being enchanted in British Columbia

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STORRIE ASHLEY, COMEDIAN

That’s where it is.

Salt Spring Island, one of the Gulf Islands between mainland British Columbia, Canada, and Vancouver Island in the Strait of Georgia.

Why are you going?

I realized with my mother, Janey Godley, that we had only ever travelled to work. We haven’t taken a break together without work since I was a little girl. So we were going to Salt Spring.

How often do you go there?

I’ve been there once in real life; I’m always there in my imagination.

How have you learned this?

My mom was telling random Internet people where we could go. Years earlier, a woman she met briefly invited us to stay with her. It has been risky, but it has been worth it.

What is your fondest remembrance of your time there?

I found this old second-hand bookstore, the kind you might crawl up the shelves with rolling ladders. I bought Elspeth Barker’s book O Caledonia, a scary little book worth reading, and made my way to a patch of grass where I was sitting in the heat.

The youngest, oldest man came up to me with a little Viennese puppy. I can’t sufficiently stress how old he was. He talked to me through the dog in a strong German accent, “I wonder what the girl is reading?” he asked his pet without looking at me.

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“It’s a scary book,” I replied to the dog. “Oh, the girl doesn’t read romance novels, she likes to get spooked, huh? How interesting!”Oh, the girl doesn’t read romance novels, she likes to get spooked, huh? How interesting! He limped backwards, climbing into a rowboat, his dog sitting in front of him, looking out at the water.

The old man rowed briskly to what I can only identify as an anchored pirate ship just outside the bay, tied up his rowboat, and climbed on the rigging. It was really the most magical and odd thing in my life that I have ever seen.

Who would you take with you?

My girlfriend, maybe my own Viennese dog….

What do you take with you?

Books. It’s the perfect place to read.

What do you leave behind?

My phone, because there’s no reception. And any suspicion: It’s perfectly normal to hitchhike on this island, go to parties that random people invite you to, eat berries off a bush, and talk to old German wizard pirates.

Sum it up in five words.

Magical. Happy. Clean. Expensive. Happy.

TV host Jean Johansson on falling in love with Gotland.

What travel destination is on your post-release wish list?

I’d like to go on one of the world’s great train journeys, probably the Trans-Siberian Express.

Ashley Storrie, Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Rosco McClelland star in “Up For It” on BBC Scotland, Thursdays, 11 p.m., or watch it on BBC iPlayer. The Ashley Storrie Show airs on BBC Radio Scotland, Fridays, 10:00-1:00 p.m.

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