Tarps R Us
Midland Liquidators, immortalised in Bob Bossin's Nanaimo, and the heart of Island tarp culture.
Tarps are everywhere here, as water is exceedingly thin and can get into the tiniest of hairline cracks in gaskets, flashing, window frames, putty, sealed joints. Woodpiles are tarped, there are tarps on cars, tarps on boats, this morning saw a pile of rocks covered in a tarp, something completely inexplicable. And because it rains so much, all organic matter is leached from the garden leaving it a gravel bed, you see a lot of piles of manure and topsoil covered by tarps. Deck furniture is tarped, lawn mowers have tiny tarps, roofs have huge tarps. The mad lady who walks on the path by the yacht club beach wears a tarp.
Midland Liquidators used to actually be a liquidator, full of tools and work clothes mainly, and once, unforgettably a stand of high-end eyeglasses of which I bought many. Dad and I used to go down and look at stuff – screwdrivers that worked at right angles, clever pliers and such. One of my earliest memories when I would have maybe been five, was going with him to Capital Iron in Victoria, a gaunt old warehouse of tools, hardware and navy surplus, oiled wood floors and dim light bulbs up in the rafters. Neither my father or I were particularly handy with complicated building. He was a librarian and I generally smash things together with lots of nails and glue, but we found such places endlessly fascinating. It is quite tough at Midland now, a serious contractor's tool store, but, the tarps, the tarps.