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Victoria Times-Colonist Review
The lightly scatological title of Eric Nicol's charming and funny book is intentional. He devotes some pages to his toilet arrangements - the outhouse that does in place of a septic tank and the nighttime bottle that serves "when nature calls."

But nature also knocks at the door of his Saturna Island cottage in the form of deer, eagles, ticks, wasps, ants and the incomparable orcas, whose heavy breathing inevitably summons Nicol to drop everything and dash for a good vantage point. Nicol finds room for them all in his life.

When Nature Calls is like a box of chocolates: You dip into it, pick a favourite piece and savour it. It's not designed to be devoured all at once even though he has the happy knack of letting one chapter flow into another.

For those who are new to BC, Nicol is the province's best-known humourist and three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock medal for humour. For years his columns brought chuckles to readers of the Vancouver Province.

At 79, and retired from his day job, he still writes with a smiling bite. He brings a wry and affectionate look to the pleasures and pains of island cottage life, reserving darts for BC Ferries and the people who fired the lighthouse keeper, and laurels for the folks who make Saturna tick - other columnists who have found a hideaway there, the checkout lady at the store who is also the manager, stock boy, postmistress and liquor store clerk, the volunteer firefighters and the tradespeople. Between guffaws, Nicol works in some Saturna history, touching on some gruesome murders and the "pig war" that restored the San Juan Islands to the United States. Saturna is BC's most southerly island, and enjoys just 100 centimetres of rain each year, making for great growing conditions and early crops. Nicol calls it Polynesia North and then compares it with Victoria, "where everything matures early except the members of the legislature."

It's hard to resist Nicol's prescription for a stress-free getaway, the place where he has "a mute button on the world." You'll want to read two chapters and call a realtor in the morning.

-Victoria Times-Colonist

Bea’s Briefs

Does Nicol ever get depressed, serious or have down-in-the-dumps-days?

The way he looks at cottage life on Saturna Island, in BC's Strait of Georgia is a talent we will never tire of - this positive, funny-to-its-depths writing is a gift we should all have. Nicol covers cottage life in these 33 chapters and answers any questions you may have about this lifestyle. "A man can go for days without saying a word to anyone but a raccoon, a chainsaw or himself." About all the rain, he says, "It keeps us green and growing, and if we find moss in our shorts, well, its kind of mystical." About nature (the feathered kind) he says, "Ashy bird, is the towhee. This bird is a master, or mistress, of concealing her nest egg, a roll model for all of us beset by Revenue Canada." The bald eagle is very standoffish and ignores Nicol.

An enjoyable read - I do admire his style of humour.
-Coffee Mate