Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Victorian Vertigo

When I was ten or so, my church was in James Bay, an old neighbourhood of Victoria, BC which used to be a bay before it was drained and built up. (When the Big One comes -- the super-earthquake for which we're rather overdue -- James Bay will not be a fortuitous place to be.) One Sunday, they took the R.E. (Religious Education) classes out to the breakwater for an outing and since my mother was teaching one of the classes at the time, she came along. I don't recall how far Demeter walked out (the breakwater is very long), but I remember she was dressed in brown and what a state her stockings were in when her vertigo overtook her and she crawled off the wall on her hands and knees.

The Resident Fan Boy was very sympathetic when he heard this sad tale, being a sufferer from a fear of heights himself. We made a trip out to the breakwater last summer with younger daughter and while both made it to the end, which affords an unimpeded view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the southern edge of Esquimalt and the mouth of the Inner Harbour, neither enjoyed it very much. It's true; the sea wall, which is about ten feet across, felt very narrow with the sea several feet below on either side.

However, during the past year, the powers that be have erected a metal fence on either side, so Demeter declared that she would like to make her first repeat visit since her last ignominious retreat in torn pantyhose during my childhood.

The barriers made all the difference. Demeter strolled happily down to the very end and, using my Nikon, snapped seascapes for her "cover photo' on her Facebook Timeline. Then she made her way back in triumph, and took a header down the ramp at the café, despite the fact that she was watching her feet and holding firmly to the rail.

Oh, she was okay. She's a retired physiotherapist and had the presence of mind to roll, ending up with two enormous goose-eggs on either side of her forehead which made her look like Boris Karloff in Frankenstein.

Her stockings were fine, not a run in 'em.

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