Saturday, March 31, 2012

To Victoria with Bill to see Phyllis and Barrie

This Friday past, Bill and I headed to Vancouver Island to visit with his sister, Phyllis and her husband, Barrie.  It was a spectacular weekend, with superb meals, two concerts, stimulating conversation and lots of outdoor time.  Bill and I are each truly fortunate in our "choice" of fabulous sisters and their respective mates. Here are a few highlights from our trip.

First, Victoria's flowers!  Daffodils were to be seen on pretty well every street.  I think these were in Phyllis and Barrie's lovely garden where we enjoyed tea and delicious treats.  Bill respected Phyllis' "two-cookie rule" with great difficulty.  
We then left for a walk in Beacon Hill Park. This is a poor photo, but it captures Black Jack's joy as she enters her version of paradise.
It seemed that the weather knew we were arriving.  The typical island wind was tempered by a welcome sun that caught crystals of water and multi-shaded ducks frolicking at bath time.
This hummingbird was enjoying the cherry blossoms by the pond.  Be still my heart! 
It makes me laugh to see ducks choosing to step rather than fly up onto the edge of the pond. 
Walking "home" a bit later, we noticed and admired this art attached to a telephone pole.  
There were trees in blossom just about everywhere we walked.  Sometimes, isolated sprigs  emerged from the least likely parts of the tree, even at the very bottom of the trunk at times.  I didn't get a good photo of one of those low-reaching ones, but here is an example of one "loner" caught between two branches. 
Then, there was supper!  This requires an exclamation mark, because it was so, so delicious.  Barrie made it and I liked it so much, I am including the recipe, just in case you would like to give it a try.  It comes from a book called The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest.  Here it is: 
Broccoli and Tofu in Spicy Peanut Sauce
35 minutes to prepare (put up some rice to cook before you begin)
Yield: serves 4 or 5
1 lb firm tofu
1 lb broccoli
1 to 2 tbs. of peanut or canola oil
2 cups of chopped onion
1 tbs. grated fresh ginger
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
2 scallions minced (greens and whites)
spicy peanut sauce (recipe follows)
1 C coarsely chopped peanuts, lightly toasted (optional)

1) Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place them in a medium-sized sauce-pan.  Cover the tofu with water.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  (note: precooking the tofu helps it hold its shape in the stir fry.) One more note: Barrie told me the secret to good tofu is to marinate it.  I'm not sure what he marinated it in, but you may have ideas of your own, or perhaps, he will leave a comment to fill in that detail.
2) Trim and discard the tough ends of the broccoli stems.  Shave off the tough skins of the stalks with a sharp paring knife.  Cut the stalks diagonally into thin slices.  Coarsely chop the florets.
3) Heat a large wok or skillet of comparable size.  After about a minute, add the oil and onion.  Cook for about 2 minutes over high heat.
4) Add broccoli, ginger, garlic, and salt. Continue to stir-fry over high heat for about 5 minutes  or until the broccoli is bright green and just tender.  Stir in the pre-cooked tofu and the scallions, and cook for a few minutes more.
5) Add the sauce, stirring until everything is well coated.  Serve immediately over rice, topped with lightly toasted chopped peanuts, if desired.

Spicy Peanut Sauce
3/4 Cup peanut butter (pure peanut butter with no added sugar or salt)
3/4 Cup hot water
6 tbs rice or cider vinegar
3 tbs. soy sauce
3 tbs blackstrap olasses
cayenne to taste

1) Mash the peanut butter and hot water in a small bowl.
2) Whisk in remaining ingredients.  Set aside until needed for stir-fry.

Later, during an evening walk along Cook Street, we checked out the multitude of great cafes and stopped to peek in the lobby of this bank.  We didn't need banking service, but I couldn't resist the sight of these three dachshunds.  The kind gentleman accompanying them allowed me to take pictures and shared their stories with us.  The one in front was rescued from starvation, but it was clear that all three are now well fed, happy and very sociable.   
On the way home, we noticed Vancouver Street, and a sliver of moon over the trees.
Saturday morning, Black Jack was eager to do some more exploring in Beacon Hill Park.  A two-minute walk later, and we were admiring the spacious grounds,
gorgeous trees,
and stunning gardens.
We walked under the bower, and I found it beautiful, even minus the greenery that will soon bring it to its full summer potential.
We were a bit shocked to discover this fallen tree, but learned it had been there since a windstorm a few days ago.  Somehow, we had missed seeing it the evening before.
It was fascinating to examine its shallow..
root base.  It was quite a tall tree, and we thought a bit about how fortunate it was that no one was in the wrong place at the right time when it fell.
I love to see the peacocks in this park.  Their wings are not clipped. Yay!  They often roam the park, greeting visitors and sometimes taking refuge in the upper branches of trees.  However, I learned from this site that their favourite place is within the confines of the fenced petting zoo, especially at feeding time, and that is where we found them.  I had to work pretty hard to get photos through the spaces of the wire fence.  Many of the ones we saw were calling out, I think a bit impatiently, as they waited for their breakfast.
We walked to the top of the hill overlooking the ocean, and I loved the fervent song of this Towhee.  Later, Barrie (who was up and out for his walk ahead of us) said he too had heard it, sitting in the same tree and singing lustily.
Below, we have come back down the hill, and are heading once more to the petting zoo to see if I can get a closer look at the peacocks.  As you can see, Black Jack is keen, and Bill is doing a fine job of keeping up with her.
They were still in the enclosure, and this one turned to display the length of his magnificent train. I wonder how often they fan them out in their full glory.
One more shot to give you just a bit more detail in the patterns and colours.
And, one zoomed-in shot to show their beautiful faces and finery.
Then, we headed home for a Phyllis-style breakfast.  Oatmeal, maple syrup, strawberries, bananas, dried apricots, raisins, assorted nuts, flax meal, hemp hearts, and  Barrie's homemade to-die-for bread.  Everything laid out buffet style so that we could mix and match ingredients to our own tastes.  
Here is the recipe for the bread: Thank you, Phyllis and Barrie for generously sharing your recipes!
The original recipe is below.  We have modified it as follows: (Carol's note: I think those modifications are what makes it great bread!)  

We use whole wheat flour (1 ½  cups) and unbleached white flour (1 cup) and then add about 2 Tbsp of each of the following ingredients:  sunflower seeds, millet, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and ground flax.  The result is more than an additional cup of ingredients.  We also used a rounded ¼ tsp of yeast and only 1 tsp of salt.  After baking at 450 for 30 min, we usually bake for only 10-15 extra minutes with the lid off.  We also now don't bother with the extra rising step but go directly to the baking step after the overnight rise step.  You will no doubt find other “neat” things to do to make your individual recipe the best yet.
Phyllis and Barrie Webster

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Published: November 8, 2006 (The New York Times, no less!

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising -

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
Wow!  I can only say, "I wish I had taken a photo, and thank you, Phyllis and Barrie!"  But, perhaps this Tin Man's smile and wide-eyed appreciation say it all :)  (We saw him in someone's garden on the way home from the park.)

After breakfast, we were off for a wonderful drive around Oak Bay.  Our first stop was at Harling Point, where there are fascinating geological formations, and also, a Chinese cemetery.  As you can read at the link, the cemetery was opened in 1903, and many Chinese people who died in the 1800's were moved there from Ross Cemetery, just a ten minute drive away in Victoria, where there had been a section set aside for them.    My experience teaching in an international school has left me with many emotions as I examine Canada's history.  Our visit to Harling Point inspired curiosity  about a place I might otherwise never have seen, had it not been for Phyllis and Barrie's kindness.
I snapped this photo of Barrie quickly, just as he was about to climb an outcrop of rocks.  I like it because it shows him to be an "out and about" fellow, up early every morning and off for his walk through Beacon Hill Park.  
He often rides his bike around Oak Bay, and he had lots of interesting stories to tell us about the area.
The rock at the centre of the photo below is an erratic, meaning that it is different from the surrounding rock, and was carried there by glaciers.  It is known as Harpoon or Devilfish Rock and there are several legends that have grown out of its distinctive appearance.  One such story is that a complaining seal fisherman was turned into a stone harpoon because of his disrespectful attitude.
It was an invigorating day, with brisk winds, but the blue sky reflected in the ocean seemed to make the rock formations and driftwood stand out.
I have no idea who this commemorates or what it says, but I love the beautiful, red script.  I know there is a story to be told under each grave marker, and wonder about this one.
The geese were going about their Spring mating rituals, and practicing windy landings.
A lone chair in the distance, possibly with a story to tell as well.
I joined Barrie on the outcrop of rocks and was thrilled to spot this tiny hummingbird.  Can you see it?
I changed to my wonderful 500 mm lens and managed to catch a fairly decent shot.  Whenever it turned its head, there would be a flash of red contrasting with the green.  At first I thought I might have a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, but checking in my book, I learned that they are in the East.  I think this was probably an Anna's Hummingbird.  I was just happy to see hummingbird number 2 for the trip:)  
I love these next two pictures of Phyllis.  What a great smile she has!  In this one, Barrie stands out of focus behind her, and the image somehow represents to me the strength of their relationship.  I wish I had taken a photo of the photo on their fridge, showing them wearing twin shirts when they were students together at UBC.
And here she is with her brother, another very close relationship.  They were born less than a year apart and I love when they reminisce about their childhood.  
Our next stop, Cattle Point, is one of Phyllis's favourite places.  The mountain view was truly spectacular.
This windswept crow announced our arrival. 
A very brave and skillful fellow on a sailboard..
was exciting to watch.
This lone seagull watched us, probably hoping for a scrap of food, but it was a little too early in the season for picnicking. 
Driving homeward, we noticed this monument and I snapped a photo through the car window.  I learned from this site that it was unveiled on Armistice Day, 1948.  Hames Saull, a former Canadian Airman, who made his home in Victoria after the war, used his wife as  model to create the central figure, Mother Peace.  She looks down over the 97 names of Oak Bay's 1939-1945 war dead.  There are more interesting details at that site.
We had driven just a bit further on when Bill spotted these deer and asked Barrie to stop the car for me.  
Thank you, Bill and Barrie!  
I know the deer are considered pests but my heart still pounds with excitement whenever I am fortunate enough to see them.  These were right on the edge of Victoria's downtown!
Home for another of Phyllis's delicious meals, this time we were treated to two kinds of homemade soup.  I had the Corn Chowder and Bill had the Gypsy Soup.  Bill declared his to be "absolutely wonderful" and I felt the same about mine.  Phyllis says she will give the "Gypsy" recipe when she gets a chance.  Since we left, she has entertained two other sets of visitors and states emphatically that she "just loves" her revolving "bed and meals" life.  I might add that Phyllis has been heard to say that she loves housework. I am in awe of her talents and energy!  Here is the recipe for the Corn Chowder, taken from page 10 of the "Enchanted Broccoli Forest" book:
Fresh Corn Chowder
A delicately seasoned, soothing, light soup, this is equally delicious made with fresh of frozen corn, so you can enjoy it throughout the year.
1 medium sized potato
21/2 cups water
2-3 tbs butter (non-dairy for vegan option)
11/2 cups chopped onion
11/2 tsp salt
1 med stock celery, minced
1 small red bell pepper, minced
5 cups corn (5 cobs or 1-1b bag frozen)
fresh black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil (more to taste)
1 cup milk (Phyllis used soy milk to respect my vegan diet)

1) Peel potato and dice. Place in small saucepan with water. Bring to boil, then simmer until tender but not mushy.  Set aside.
2) Melt butter in soup pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and salt and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring.
3) Add celery and cook for 5 more minutes.
4) Add potatoes and all other ingredients except for the milk.  Stir well and cover.  Reduce heat and cook for 5 more minutes.
5) Use blender of food processor to puree about half the solids in some of the soup's own liquid.  Return this to the pot and let rest until serving time.
6) Stir in the milk about 10 minutes vefore serving.  Heat the soup gently - don't cook it any further.  Serve as soon as it's hot.

After that wonderful lunch, we were off again, this time to Royal British Columbia Museum to see a Wildlife photography exhibit that had me gasping with awe and joy.  It is there until April 9th.  If you are anywhere near Victoria, don't miss it.  Honestly, I have never seen anything like this!  Since I couldn't take pictures, here are a few taken outside the museum.

Check out those blue, blue skies.  We were so fortunate!  These totem poles were just outside the museum.  
I concentrated only on the tops of the poles, 
but there were many wonderful details to see and admire in each section of the totems.
I am not sure of the name of this area by the museum but the cherry blossoms were out in full bloom and..  talk about "picture-perfect"..
We peeked inside the windows of what may be the oldest building in Victoria, St. Ann's Schoolhouse.  These desks really brought back memories, not so much of the ones I sat in during elementary school (those had separate chairs) but of the ones in Ormstown, Quebec, where we went for our music lessons.  They were in a French school run by the nuns, and I remember sitting at desks like these for our theory lessons.
This sculpture of Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken (1824-1920) is in front of his home, another of Victoria's oldest buildings.  He built the home himself and although we didn't have time to go in, it looked as though it would be a fun place to explore.  I really liked the sculpture - it was formal, but there was something so warm and friendly about the expression, I felt we could almost have had a conversation with Dr. Helmcken. Here is the inscription:
Dr Helmcken earned acclaim for his work as a physician, colonial legislator and negotiator of British Columbia’s entry into Canada. This statue, created by Armando Barbon and Gabriele Vicari, was donated to the Royal BC Museum by the family of Yole and Armando Barbon. May 19, 2011
This next photo really makes me smile.  Brother following sister at a good, brisk pace :)
Again, I have to repeat that the photography exhibit is not just for photographers, although professionals would definitely enjoy it.  Take your children, your friends, your mates.  No one will be untouched by it.  There was even a section of work done by children!  I don't think I will ever again look at photography in quite the same way.

After leaving the museum, Phyllis headed home and Bill and I went back to a place we had discovered the day before.  It's called The Blue Fox Cafe.  After changing to a vegan diet, the one thing that I miss so, so much is my beloved latte!  No milk substitute has left me with the same satisfaction, but The Blue Fox makes an almond latte that is the best I've tasted. (I had tried other almond ones that were awful.) Very nice people there, too!  I highly recommend the place.  Amazing that it is a thriving business, yet closes at 4:00 p.m. on week days, and 3:00 p.m. on weekends.  Now, that's the way to run a business and still have a life!
 Christ Church Cathedral, just around the corner, was our next stop.
We spent a little time looking at the tombstones in the cemetery beside the church.  The one below really caught my imagination.  Four young children in one family died around the same time.  I couldn't stop thinking about this, imagining the grief of the parents and wondering what happened to take four children at one time.  I learned after a bit of research that the parents were Edward and Mary Cridge.  Edward was the first minister of Christ Church Cathedral, later given the title of Dean.  His children died during a Black Measles epidemic in the mid 1800s.  Edward and his wife worked tirelessly towards the development of Victoria, establishing a system of education, the first hospital(with a women's ward) and the first orphanage.  There has been a book, Quiet Reformers, written about this couple.
I found this quote about two cemetery ghosts:
The Old Burying Ground is on the edge of downtown (on Quadra Street beside Christ Church Cathedral). It was used from 1855 to1873 and still contains 1,300 bodies. Now it is a city park called Pioneer Square and you may walk through it to enjoy the ancient tombstones by day or by night. If you go when it is dark, keep an eye out for the ghost of Adelaide Griffin who has haunted the place since her death in 1861 or for the less frequently seen ghost of Robert Johnson who slit his throat in a house across the street in the 1870s and has returned from time to time to reenact his grisly demise. The stories of the Old Burying Ground are featured in the Creepy Canada TV series.
I found the inside of the church to be very beautiful.
I would love to have heard the organ.  It was magnificent!
Here, a side wall reflects the images from two stained glass windows.
Here are a couple of other windows in the church. 
The window patterns had a modern art feel to theml.
We left the cathedral and walked homeward, passing this building that I seem to notice each time I visit Victoria.  It has a gingerbread house feel to it that I love but no sign, and I wonder if it is a private home, apartments, condos, or perhaps, a rooming house.
We stopped at home for a few minutes after that.  Bill had one of his ten-minute power naps, and then we were off to Beacon Hill Park with Black Jack. I noticed the bluebells around this tree and marvelled that we had missed them the day before.  As far as I could see, this was the only tree in the entire park with a wreath of blue flowers around it. How did they come to be there?  No answer to my question, but a photo records the moment of discovery.
Black Jack was again absolutely ecstatic.  She was enjoying the trip every bit as much as we were.
Bill had been exploring with Black Jack, and he suddenly called to me that he had a surprise to show me.  It turned out to be this marker under a tree that Winston Churchill had planted.  Churchill's name summons an instant memory of my father, who thought of him as perhaps the greatest of all heroes.  I took a Holocaust literature course that gave me great doubt about Churchill, and so I have felt conflicted about my father's conviction, and there the uncertainty has remained, long after my father's death.  In preparing this post, I found this article. It does not answer all of my questions, partly because I need to read it again much more thoroughly, but what it does do is reaffirm something that has been settling into my understanding of many issues recently.  It is the danger of assuming "black and white" conditions exist, when "greys" are more often than not the reality. Much more to explore here, but for now, I can only say that standing on the ground where Churchill stood, and looking at a tree that he planted, left me deeply touched.  
Can you imagine my pleasure when I looked to the top of Churchill's tree, and caught hummingbird sighting number 3 for the trip.  I zoomed in with my small lens,
and managed this shot, but of course, I wanted to get closer.
By the time I changed to my big lens, the hummingbird was preparing to leave.
It fluffed up its feathers just as I snapped the photo, 
and a split second after this shot, it was gone.
The next shot should have been one of it in flight, but it was at that exact moment that my camera quit!  No image..  just blackness!  There had been a similar experience once before, and Henry Wong of Broadway Camera had fixed the problem in an instant by flipping the stuck mirror back into position.  I tried to do this, but to no avail. As Bill mentioned later, Carol without her camera is "a pretty pitiful sight" :)  We had plans to see the Victoria Symphony that evening with Phyllis and Barrie, and I had really hoped to catch at least a photo of the concert hall.  However, I still enjoyed the performance immensely. The first number was Symphony No. 10 of Franz Schubert.  Here is a little quote about it taken from this article:
"Rendering" is Berio's fascinating "restoration" of a three movement, highly experimental symphony Schubert sketched shortly before his death in 1828. (It is usually called Schubert's "Tenth," though in fact he had previously completed only seven symphonies.)
The piece shifted back and forth between Schubert's ideas, and Luciano Berio's absolutely unrelated (it seemed to me) musical themes.  Berio came up with the idea in 1989, and I appreciate his love of Schubert and his attempt to create an original work incorporating two very different styles.  I found the shifts back and forth quite jarring, but at the same time, I was pleased to have heard the work for the first time.  Perhaps, it would take many more listenings to begin to comprehend it more fully.  The third piece was Shostokovich's 10 Symphony and the Victoria musicians really did it justice.  It was a thrilling performance!
Vincent d'Indy
The second piece was Ravel's G Major Piano Concerto, with Janina Fialkowska as soloist.  Bill and I had heard her play an extraordinary recital in Vancouver about ten days earlier. I have recently thought about Janina a lot.  She would not remember me at all, but I attended Vincent d'Indy in Montreal (see picture below..  it was, for me, an extraordinary experience as a girl from a small village, to be attending what seemed to me such a prestigious school).Then in my mid-teens, Janina (four years younger) was already well known as a child prodigy.  Apart from my all-day-Saturday lessons, I also stayed in residence there for two three-week sessions during my 16th and 17th years.  I didn't get to know Janina very well, but a couple of small interactions have stayed with me.  At thirteen, she was thrilled about a new system (I think called "music minus one") that allowed her to buy recordings of concertos with the symphonic part, but missing the solo, so that she could practice along with the recording.  She was working on a concerto at the time, and she was thrilled to have the opportunity to practice like this.  She invited me, and two other friends, to her room to listen to this recording without the solo.  Her excitement really struck me.  What stays in my mind is that she was not a prodigy pushed by her parents (although she had great guidance and support from them), but rather, she was self-motivated and thoroughly in love with her art.  It was amazing to me that she was so young but yet so mature in musical outlook.  Janina became a well-known pianist on the world stage, and although I was well aware of her fame, I somehow never heard her play again, except for an occasional performance that I would happen to catch on CBC.  But now retired, it seemed the time was ripe to hear her live.  Even better, she had concerts planned in Vancouver and Victoria.  But, there is much more to the story..
Photo by Peter Schaaf

I learned that ten years ago, Janina discovered a large lump in her left arm.  That tumour turned out to be malignant, and it threatened not only her career, but her life.  Her battle against Cancer is one that sends shivers down my spine.  In this You tube video, you can listen to her speak about her life, see photos of her as a young girl meeting and being mentored by her teacher and supporter, Arthur Rubinstein, hear snippets of her playing, and begin to understand something of the depth of her courage and talent.  In this second You tube video, she thanks Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and talks about the  ground-breaking muscle transfer surgery that was done a year after the initial surgery.  For that first year, she had played much of the one-hand repertoire that has been written for the piano.  That, in itself, is commendable, but there is more.  Most (all?) of the one-hand piano literature has been written for the left hand, since most people suffer injuries to their dominant hand.  Janina's tumour was in her left arm, so she had to transcribe all of the literature for her right.  Sounds easy, perhaps, but pianists will recognize that this alone was no mean feat.  Then, after the muscle transfer (from her back to her arm), she had to completely retrain that muscle.  At first, the only way she could get her arm to the piano, was to lift it up with the other hand. Now, she has resumed her two-handed career, and is stronger than ever!  What a success story!  I loved her performance of the Ravel and am just so happy for her that she is alive and able to continue loving life and music.  One small statement near the end of the first you tube link really made me smile.  When asked about her future goals, she said that she hopes to have her own vegetable garden.  Go for it, Janina! 
Continuing on with my account of the Victoria trip, Barrie, Phyllis, Bill and I talked the next morning (Sunday) about my camera.  I was feeling pretty lost without it, and disappointed that I wouldn't be able to catch any photos of Barrie, who was playing cello that afternoon with a Gilbert and Sullivan performance of H.M.S.Pinafore in Sidney.  Phyllis googled and called camera shops, but all were closed.  Thank you, Phyllis!  Then, Barrie had the brilliant idea to check out London Drugs, and to my great amazement, the busy clerk took a moment to look at it, instantly figured out the problem, fixed it for no charge, and showed me what to do, should it happen again.  Thank you, Barrie, for the suggestion, and London Drugs for great service!

We left the store (Bill, Barrie and I), and my first request was to walk by the Royal Theatre, where we had attended the concert.  The outside was perhaps not as impressive as one might expect, but I liked it.  There was something heartwarming to me about its unassuming appearance.  And, on looking a bit more closely, there were gargoyles and other fascinating details. The theatre was opened in 1913, so just before WW1.  It seats 1434 people and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1987.  This link will take you to a very good photo of its still quite grand interior.  After seeing my first performance there, it will forever hold a special place in my heart. 
As we walked home, we noticed this mural on another of those interesting buildings that give no clue as to their purpose.  Beautiful, though, and Bill snapped this photo to save me running across a busy street.  (He is quicker on his feet than I am.)  Thanks, Bill :)
We also stopped at this spot.  There are pictures that encircle this stand showing the crowds of people at Sir James Douglas's funeral.  He was the first governor of BC, and died on August 2, 1877.  What made those pictures really special, is that they face the church across the street.  One can look at how it used to be and then transfer the image to the present day, just by looking up.  
Here is a photo that I found at this site, showing the crowds marching past the small Church of Our Lord (current address 626 Blanchard Street) and Christ Church Cathedral at the top of the hill (current address at Quadra and Rockland).

I took this photo of the Church of Our Lord, waiting to be noticed, just across the street.
Barrie gave us a wonderful tour, with lots of information to digest.  I took several photos of him with Bill.  This one shows them by St. Anne's Academy with luxurious cherry blossoms in the background.  Black Jack was happy to explore the more up close and personal details at her nose tip :)
There were heritage buildings everywhere we looked. 
Saint Joseph Apartments were magnificent.
A horse and carriage came by, adding to the feel of history all around us.
Bed and breakfasts in this area were also lovely, 
each one painstakingly restored and maintained.
And, did I mention the cherry blossoms?
We arrived home just in time for another of Phyllis's wonderful lunches, and then we were off again, this time to Sidney to hear Barrie perform in H.M.S. Pinafore.  This sculpture outside Mary Winspear Centre yet again brought history right to my fingertips.  Lawrence Binyon's words, "They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old..." was on a plaque, but I could not find the name of the sculptor and googling, for once, has not helped me out.  I can only say that I was really touched by this beautiful art and by the effort Sidney's people have made to honour and respect war veterans.  
The performance was of a very high quality and great fun as well.  I loved seeing Barrie as a musician, something to this point that I had heard about but not witnessed.  Barrie is a scientist by profession, but he is the true definition of well-rounded!
What a beautiful sound this chorus produced and the soloists were also very impressive.  Bill and I gained a new appreciation for Gilbert and Sullivan and look forward to seeing more performances.
Here, Barrie packs up his cello, and although he has to be exhausted, he gives a great big smile at the end of a jam-packed weekend of guiding guests around the local sights, keeping up with his morning walks, attending a concert, performing twice (he had also squeezed in a performance the day before while we attended the photography exhibit!) and just generally being on the go, nonstop.
As we left Sidney, I snapped this photo through the truck window of a mural that caught my eye.  I'm curious about it, but completely out of "google" energy.  Perhaps, some one will know what it represents.
Sunday evening, the four of us ate at an excellent vegetarian restaurant, Green Cuisine.  The next morning, I snapped a couple of shots, again through the truck window,  
 as we headed back to the ferry terminal.  This sculpture was intriguing, but we will have to save its history and information for a future trip.
One shot of the music conservatory, just because it holds fond memories for me, after several  school band trips, and that is the conclusion to a very long post, and absolutely beautiful weekend!  Thank you, dear readers, if you have made it all the way to the end (and even if you didn't) and my deeply heartfelt thanks to Barrie, Phyllis and beautiful Bill!


  1. The problem with these lovely long posts is that you had all weekend to process the sights and sounds. I get to the end of the post and can't possibly figure out which things I want to comment about!

    I am curious, however, if you approached the Ravel soloist, to perhaps ask her if she had any remembrance of your long-ago encounters in school?

  2. Good question, EvenSong, and thanks for commenting :) No, I didn't. First, I was quite sure she wouldn't remember me. Second, one of my memories of Janina is the way she gave her complete "all" in every performance, even as a teenager. She would be so drained when she finished, I remember feeling as though there were nothing of her left when she played that last note. I didn't want to bother her. Lastly, she played second on the program, and we listened to an entire symphony after that. i suspected she may not have even been in the building.

  3. Some amazing shots as usual, Carol, and so much to digest. I like the duck stepping up with its webbed foot and the water that sparkles. The shallow root of the fallen tree is surprising and makes me wonder just how shallow the trees near my forested area are. We have very tall trees here and they swing a lot on windy days. I like the glint on the bench in the park where Bill and Black Jack were walking. And the orchestra reminded me of the brief time I spent on the Island years ago when I was often lucky enough to watch the Victoria Symphony Orchestra rehearse while waiting for a friend. Looks like you all had a wonderful time visiting very hospitable people. Thanks as always for sharing your world! :)

  4. What a lovely description of our fun-filled weekend with sunshine throughout! I must say that I do not hate housework as many people do because it was always a nice change from the many hours of marking that I did during my teaching career! I was not allowed to say at school that I liked marking.... in fact, I enjoyed it! My point is that it is nice to have some variety!! Thanks for the wonderful photographic memory of our enjoyable time together! Phyllis

  5. So many wonderful shots, but my favourite is the one of Bill sprinting to keep/catch up with his sister. It made me smile, Bill! What a wonderful weekend you must have had.

    Oh, and the hummingbirds were extraordinary. I'm still trying to get a picture of the elusive cardinal for you. The woodpecker has defeated me, but I have many more shots of tree branches to share with you.

    Way to go London Drugs!



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