Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ABC Wednesday - V

This is the second post about Victoria, BC, where we recently enjoyed a very pleasant visit.  Some "V" vocabulary in honour of ABC Wednesday will give you a variety of viewpoints to verify the versatility of this wonderful city.

*To my dear readers: I am very aware that this post is far too long, and that many of you will not have time to read all, or even most, of it.  If, as you scroll through, one photo or story catches your attention, I will be thrilled to read your comment on that one bit of the post.  Do not feel obliged to take in everything.  Much of it is to keep these happy memories fresh for me as time goes on.
**To Phyllis and Barrie: Thank you, thank you, thank you!  What a wonderful week we had because of your generosity! 

The artist Emily Carr had an indomitable spirit that kept her painting, writing and studying to the end of her life.  This mural was being painted on the wall of Island Blue, the store where she bought many of her art supplies.  
I zoomed in on Woo, her pet monkey.  Emily loved animals and vigorously defended her right to have an unusual variety of pets.  She had a rat named Suzie who traveled with her on the train (inside the neck of her dress) when she went to meet The Group of Seven for the first time.  I'm not sure if Woo went on that voyage but he accompanied her during her summer camping trips in the forest.  She lived in a small trailer, but Suzie, Woo and her dogs ran free in the forest all day, returning in the evenings to sleep in the trailer with Emily.  
We saw this sculpture as we walked home after seeing a play.  It was dark out, but perhaps you can see Woo on Emily's shoulder, and her dog, Willie, at her side.
 I like the expression on Emily's face as she looks toward Woo.
 Dear Bill didn't turn me down when I asked him to pose with Emily.
One day, I spotted this flower growing out of a stone wall, and I thought it was also a good example of verve.
One last example of verve.  We attended a performance of the Bach B Minor Mass by the Victoria Philharmonic Choir.  It inspired many emotions and memories for me, with professionals, dedicated amateurs, and even very young children all performing as an ensemble.  Having taught instrumental and choral music for many years, I learned that there is a quality of honesty that inexperienced but passionate performers can bring to an undertaking like this.  The audience was feeling particularly emotional as well, with the performance dedicated to a choir member who had tragically died only a few days before the performance.  From the descriptions I heard of her, she was a classic example of verve.  Add some very fine professionals (Soile Stratkauskas being one whom I have heard and admired before) to this recipe, and the result was a vivacity that at times just about lifted me from my seat.  This performance may have lacked polish at times, but at many points along the way, it was pure magic.    

As we walked to the concert, we noted the very large number of churches in Victoria.  This one, where the performance was held, had a lovely exterior, but a somewhat modest interior.
First Metropolitan United Church
With apologies from my shadow!
There was a lot of wind in Victoria, and we enjoyed watching people kitesurfing and sailboarding.  
They seemed to have a voracious appetite for thrills, 
and often, they appeared to be just on the verge of falling into the water.
But, even when they did, 
they quickly righted themselves and continued on, never vacillating in their focus. 
We ate lunch most days at The Soup Peddler and really enjoyed the delicious flavours, focaccia bread and friendly service.
One evening we had East African Cuisine at The Blue Nile.  It was very tasty and the service was excellent.
I also can vouch for the Monk's Curry at ReBar.  The food vanished from my plate in the wink of an eye. 
When I admired the beautiful planters,
the waiter told me that they had been done by the same artist who did this mosaic featured on the end wall of the restaurant.
The peacocks in Beacon Hill Park were in fine form, displaying over and over, even when there was no female in sight.  This little girl was so close, she ventured to touch a few of the feathers.  Seeing the feathers from behind was a brand new experience for me.  There was no vestige of the bright blues and greens from this vantage point, but the design was striking nonetheless.
I never tired of the front view of the peacocks' feathers.    
The vivid, multicoloured patterns definitely made me a votary of peacocks.
The value placed on Victoria's green space is never in doubt.  
  I cannot identify.. 
 most of the following plants,
and would be happy for any help..
 (I think this one is California Lilac),
 but each photo represents..
a gasp of pleasure as I took in the beauty around me.  
We walked through this community garden,
and spent a few minutes talking with one of the gardeners (she gave Bill a radish).
Could this be Lupin?
The plaque by this anchor in Beacon Hill Park stated that it is a "porter improved type" used by four masted sailing ships in the 1880's.  It was found in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and donated to the park in 1961.
 This was also in Beacon Hill Park.  I had no idea what it could be, until I read..
this plaque.  In case the last sentence is too difficult to read from the photo, it says, "The bilge, keel, or rolling chock was crumpled like a concertina as exhibited here."  (I love that sentence.)  
I had never seen anything before like this strange vehicle.  It is apparently a fundraising idea, and in this case, was initiated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The people were very vivacious.
 This plant sculpture of an orca mother and baby was near the parliament buildings.  
"Surfacing" by sculptor, Sandra Bilawich
When we went to see the play, we saw some demonstrators outside McPherson Playhouse.  They were supporting the student protest in Montreal that was originally against university fee hikes, and then against Law 78.   
They had pots and pans as noise makers and there were a couple of musicians as well.  Several appeared to be "mature" students and the protest was a very peaceful and friendly one.  As I was taking photos, I suddenly realized someone was taking a picture of me.  He smiled and said, "We are of like minds."  

After the play, we both admired the lighting on The Bay Building
 The lighting of the Rialto Hotel also had a certain charm.
Parliament buildings and totem pole.
Sections of a totem pole near the parliament buildings.
Red trash bins in Chinatown.
Turkey Vultures over Witty's Lagoon.
Beautiful flyers, but with the tiniest (and many would say, ugly) faces. 
A raven (?) by Witty's Lagoon.
 Two adorable Irish Setters standing on the deck of a house near Witty's Lagoon.
 An oh so tiny yellow caterpillar that Bill worked hard to help me photograph.
A young buck that stopped for a scratch, but was mostly busy..
eating grass on someone's lawn as we drove home from Witty's Lagoon.
Dinosaur exhibition at Royal BC Museum.  I gained a new appreciation for the painstaking..
effort and research that go into bringing us information about this vanished species.  Those small bones in the photo below were part of a whip-like tail.  Finding them was hard enough but that is just the tip of the investigation.  Learning how and why that tail was used involved complicated computer programs and virtual explorations.
 Some pieces were locked inside glass to protect them,
but others were casts that could be touched.  Bill and I learned a lot, but if you are like us, a couple of hours are about all we can absorb at a time.  This exhibition would be well worth a second visit.
I still can barely fathom the effort to get all of these displays loaded into trucks, transported to BC, unpacked, and prepared for our viewing pleasure.
This Sinornithosaurus millenii fossil dates from more than 125 million years ago.  That the veracity of such information can be proved verily boggles my mind.  This site states:  
Sinornithosaurus was discovered by Xing Xu, Xiao-Lin Wang and Xiao-Chun Wu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of Beijing. An almost-complete fossil with feather impressions, was recovered from Liaoning Province, China, in the Yixian Formation; the same incredibly rich location where four dinosaurs with feathers were discovered previously,ProtarchaeopteryxSinosauropteryxCaudipteryx, andBeipiaosaurus.
This duck was viewed in Beacon Hill Park at the petting zoo and inspired my curiosity because it seemed different from any I had seen before.  I learned from google that there are Crested Ducks, sometimes called Topknot Ducks.  That fact, for some reason, makes me smile (as did the duck). 
This scene had so much variation of species and attitude, it made me smile too.
I have my concerns about public farm displays, but hope I am correct in feeling the animals are well cared for and happy at Beacon Hill Park.  These pigs immediately made me think of Hearts on Noses, a rescue sanctuary for pigs run by Janice.  I have long admired her dedication, verve and vision in making life good for these highly intelligent animals that have been so abused.  You can read about her rescue operation at facebook or at her blog.
This llama (or possibly alpaca?) watched proceedings very, very vigilantly, 
as did these three goats.  I had the feeling I was being assessed for my food-supplying potential.  Notice that the peacock has no fears about flying in and out of the various pens.  Although peacocks are not native to Canada, they seem to have a happy life at Beacon Hill Park.  As far as I could tell, they cause little annoyance, and are free to roam the entire park. They fly into trees and sit on fences or rooftops but seem to return to the pens voluntarily for feedings and perhaps, for protection too.
A ram (?) in a field by Witty's Lagoon.
Another section of a totem pole (already shown) that was near the parliament buildings.
I must express the viewpoint that, as much as I enjoyed the peacocks, I also value the fact that they are not calling outside my window when I wake up in the mornings.  They have quite a high-pitched and insistent quality to their vocalizations.  
Peanut Butter, according to the sign, is soon to have his 21st birthday.  I wonder if he has been at the farm all of his life.
 The Johnson Street Bridge was designed in 1920 but will not live to see its 100th birthday.  It will soon be replaced by an upgraded bridge that will transport people across the harbour more efficiently, and above all, more safely in the most seismically active city in Canada.  It is often called The Blue Bridge.  I will miss the idea of it, although I have only traveled across it a handful of times.
In Beacon Hill Park
As usual, my visual references to the letter "V" are a bit obscure.  They are sometimes best viewed sideways or even upside down, but here they are:
Water fountain in Beacon Hill Park
Garry Oak
We discovered a poem about the Garry Oak on a plaque near this tree. Frank Pitts, a park goer, was inspired to write about the tree, though he did not consider himself to be a poet.  Although I found less than flattering comments about this poem on line, I appreciate it for the sincerity, and because it increased my awareness of how these beautiful trees were used to build boats that saw warfare.  Here is the poem:

You ancient monarch of the wood.
Chieftain of the race,
Your rugged coat, your outspread limbs,
The devastation of time has stood.
From hearts of oak great ships were built,
They sailed the seven seas,
Through battle smoke they stood the shock,
Upheld the name true hearts of oak.

An attractive fire escape downtown
Hanging in McPherson Playhouse
A mask in a downtown store window.
A water fountain in Beacon Hill Park.

(Upside down V's)
St. Andrew's Catholic Church.  You can read a bit about the architecture here.
Church of our Lord

I hoped to publish this post on Bill's birthday (yesterday), but didn't quite make it.  I also struggled with my printer and couldn't make him the card I had planned.  Add to that an experimental bit of cooking that was so bad we had to go out for supper, and perhaps you will understand why I want to post here how VERY much I VALUE having him in my life.  Just one of the things he did recently was to fashion a kind of reflector board after I expressed a desire to learn more about lighting for indoor photography.  We played around with that last night, and I feel I am making some progress.  Bill is not always a comfortable volunteer model for my photography, but he never, ever refuses me.  Last evening, I thought we both made progress and even if they are not (yet) perfect photographs, I love them and him.  Here they are, some of them numbered in case you want to choose a favourite or offer constructive criticism:
 Black Jack settled into this weird position and we couldn't convince her to change it.  She doesn't appear to be comfortable, but in fact, her repertoire of positions is quite versatile.
Thank you so much for taking time to stop by the blog.  I really hope you still have a vestige of vitality left so that you can check out other vivacious "V" ideas from around the world for ABC Wednesday.



  1. I love the Emily Carr mural, what a marvellous idea, very striking.

  2. My goodness!!
    I think you hit every V word there is and pictures to illustrate them too.
    Great post.
    Thanks for visiting mine and leaving a comment. Its much appreciated.

  3. I haven’t been to Victoria for a while so it is a treat to visit this second time around through your pictures. Love Emily Carr and the painting of her sitting on the tree truck. That spouting water in the shape of a V reminded me of the bird wings you photograph. All the photos have a comfortable air about them. I like the lighting and feel I can almost walk into the restaurants. It sounds like Bill had a great birthday and pre-birthday! I agree ... it is sweet of him to be your model. :)

  4. Fantastic post. I love all the words and shots. Verve is a great V word and one I haven't thought of for ABC words. Your photography is wonderful. Carver, ABC-Wed. Team

  5. such a VARIETY of VISUAL treats. These are great!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  6. This was a virtual feast!!! I'm so blessed that I got to experience this is as you say, "a gasp of pleasure as I took in the beauty around me"

    I love number four of the photos with the new reflector board.

    Your love for Bill is so precious!!!

    Thank you for this!

  7. That was a WONDERFUL post! So many outstanding photos, but the most striking to me was the fountain in the shape of a V. It is brilliant.

  8. Thank you for all the work you put in this post! I like the murals very much. It brightens up a town if walls are painted in lovely colours. Emily Carr is a great artist.
    All your photos are beautiful and worth-while seeing.
    Thank you for taking part in the ABC meme.
    Wil, ABC Team.

  9. Wow, I'll bet that was the most copious V post--great pics

  10. Wow! It must have taken you hours to write this blog(or maybe I'm just ridiculously slow at writing blogs). I particularly loved the mural with the monkey carrying the shopping bag. Also that amazing hedge sculpture of the orcas. Great

  11. I particularly love the mural and especially the close-up detail. The shadow of yourself over the poster is a vrilliant picture.

  12. I always learn so much when I visit your blog. Verve is such a great word. I adored the mural and the statue of Emily Carr. All your captures are so vivid and striking. I too love the upside down V.Looks like a phenomenol city.

  13. so many variations of V :) great shots!

  14. What a great collection of V pictures ! The sculptures are very beautiful and the peacock's feathers too !

  15. An amazing post for V! you covered just about every word of the dictionary! Simply wonderful. Oh, and happy bday, Bill!

  16. Great visit to one of our old favorite places (and I mean old, it's been way too long since we've been there.) And you're right, it is longer than many bloggers post -- I'd make 20 or so shorter posts out of this visit, but that's just because if I didn't I'd run out of things to blog about.

  17. Wow!! So many things to comment about! But you've made me curious about Emily Carr -have to google her and see some of her work! Can tell you had an enjoyable time there -thanks for sharing!

  18. I've been to Victoria many times; it is such a lovely city and very charming. It's fun to see another's perspective of it. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  19. Holy cows! You had me at the Bach Mass! What a Variety of v words all in one post! A marathon, Ifor sure...

    Great shots of Bill-they are all great and if you want to tweak them-you can easily do so in a free on line photo software called picmonkey.
    Just drag your image over and have at it (so fun to play with). It does not alter your original image at all. And you can save your edited photo back to your computer.
    Anyway, the ones where you think you might want more light, just adjust the exposure in picmonkey.
    I often use my Photoshop CS5, but having worked in that a lot, I find that picmonkey does a lot and all for free!

  20. My first time here, thanks to ABC! You are right, I couldn't take it all in, but the Emily Carr mural is fantastic... sounds like my kind of woman, working right up to the end. Also, her little monkey reminded me of Frida Kahlo. As for Bill, I think my fave image is where he's looking down slightly toward his right (our left). Tell him he's very cool for sitting for you. I'll bet my daughter's art class would love to sketch himm - interesting angles, distinct features, a classically handsome guy! Amy
    Here's a recent poem of mine: