Monday, 31 July 2017

A pillar of fire

While waiting for a Chamberfest concert to begin at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, I glanced over from my seat in the left gallery, and saw the evening sun catching the ornate plllar.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Smoky mountains

If the sky is clear enough, you can see Mount Baker in Washington State from Willows Beach in Victoria, so I recognized it immediately from the runway at Victoria International Airport.

The first leg of the flight back to Hades this year was to include a four-hour layover in Calgary, where all the traffic congregates in one wing while the other two are oddly deserted.

First, however, I had to get across British Columbia, so we flew north-east - and directly at Mount Baker.

We veered to the left of it.

I had never seen it so close -- which is a wee bit alarming, because as lovely as it is, it's a volcano.

And not far beyond lay other terrors.
The Interior of British Columbia has been relentlessly savaged by wildfire this summer. This first plume flowed like a flesh-coloured serpent across the horizon. I think it was somewhere near Harrison Springs.

Below us, smoke bubbled up like a cauldron of burning witch's brew, from some conflagration in a hidden valley.

And not long before we reached Calgary, we saw this rising somewhere out of the Canadian Rockies.
I had to explain to younger daughter, when she saw the photo, that this, unlike Mount Baker, wasn't a real volcano.

A pall of smoke spread hundreds of miles over Alberta. I saw it from the plane to Hades.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The last house-sit

There's a last time for every house-sit.  Usually, I haven't known it at the time.  Over the past sixteen summers, I have house-sat at about ten different addresses.  The houses have become my home over the weeks, before I surrender them back to their owners, hoping for another invitation to keep their house secure, the plants watered, the pets alive, while having a retreat and some elbow room in my daily visits to Demeter. I've usually been invited back, sometimes four more times.

Yesterday, I moved through a snug, but surprisingly spacious bungalow, playing a game with myself that I call "Removing the Evidence".  I systematically try to remove every clue I've been there, so that the owners can return from their trip, slip into a clean bed, and not notice that I've ever been there, apart from the fact that the plants are green and blooming.

And I said goodbye to the rooms as I trundle my suitcase to the front door.  This time I know.  It's the last time.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Emily Carr tree

On my evening returns to the house-sit, I sit on the left-hand side of the bus, and from there I can see what I've come to call (in my own mind) "the Emily Carr tree".

It seems to burst out of a larger tree like Athena from the head of Zeus, and bristle against the sky.
Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky - Emily Carr (1931)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Mandala sidewalk

In my years away from Demeter, three crosswalks in downtown Victoria have materialized in a whimsical way. One is your standard rainbow sidewalk - we have one in Ottawa, too, on Bank Street, which is kind of the gay downtown. Another is a colourful assortment of puzzle pieces near a games shop. This is my favourite: a frame of mandalas around the intersection at Fort and Broad.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Missing the point

Although I've been a prisoner of Hades for the past seventeen years, only returning to Demeter for the summers, I lived over half my years on this planet in Victoria. It was only this week that I made it out to Point No Point.

The Resident Fan Boy has been there, of course, but his family had a car, and a car is what is required, ironically enough, to get out to most nature areas.

Unless you're a determined, strong, and able cyclist. I am none of those things.

Here in Hades, I've only been to the Gatineau Park once, and that was on a field trip with a few scores of thirteen-year-olds. That was an interesting day.

The Unitarian Church in Victoria has, for many years, held a "service auction" as a fund-raiser. Demeter usually offers to knit one of her colourful sweaters, but this year, she bid on a trip out to Point No Point, because she knew it coincided with my visit.

On a brilliant morning, we set off in a convoy of three cars containing mature women - median age probably about seventy-five. Many of them, including Demeter, could not make the steep descent to the beach, nor even to the corridors of rain forest running along the tops of the cliffs, so before lunch at the restaurant (which, unfortunately, has a menu describing the Strait of Juan de Fuca as "Juan de Fuca Straight", delicious as the fare was), I scrambled down the long incline, picked my way over the pebbles, and stood, transfixed by the booming surf.
And I do mean "boom". Occasionally, I'd turn to scan the cliffs behind only to hear what sounded like a rapidly approaching, ravenous giant.

I only got caught once, with water swirling around my ankles, over my socks, and into my shoes. My fault - I panicked. Had I waited, the waters would have retreated enough to escape with dry feet.

As I wobbled slightly on barnacled rocks, soon to vanish under the incoming tide, it occurred to me that if this was my first time at Point No Point, it was likely my last.

You reach a point in your life when you stop assuming you'll be back, that you'll have another chance. The first time this happened for me was when elder daughter graduated from her university in Halifax, and I realized we probably wouldn't return.

I took far too many photos of breakers, hoping to seize and preserve one perfect rising, curling, crashing.

My time ran out, and I climbed the winding path, past ancient trees with trunks that wind and meander like serpents in the shade.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Yet another placeholder

This is where I was yesterday.

Because we don't have a car - and I don't drive - I had never been here, despite living in Victoria over half my life. More tomorrow.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Gone for the day

I'm off on a day trip. Might tell you about it.  Here's a place-holder - a Peggy-Lee-style take on a very very popular song.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

What does the sleep-deprived blogger say?

Woke up at 4:14 this morning; have been waking up at 4:40 since my family left, so this is not an improvement.  Will I wake up at 4:14 tomorrow? 

So, I'm operating on even fewer brain-cells than usual.  Time to cheat with yet another Postmodern Jukebox video.  This one is from three years ago, and I love the bit where Tambourine Guy comes charging in from the left - just wait for the iridescent mini-dress.

Very busy day tomorrow, so I'll probably cheat again.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

About face (write of passage number forty-six)

The lady doesn't seem at all pleased to see me.

"Don't sit next to me," she snarls.  She's sitting in the first forward-facing seat in the bus, while I've taken the sideways seat just in front of her, in order to help Demeter steady her walker.

The lady snaps a couple more times.  I think she's talking to me; she never actually makes eye contact, so I ignore her.

A family boards, taking a scattering of available seats.  There is a young girl among them; I'd say she's about seven.  She seems to hang back; resisting her family's directions to sit down, she clings to one of the railings.

Snarly snappy lady does a complete about-face.  She begins teasing the young girl and interacting with a purple bird puppet on the child's right hand.

"Does he have a name?  I want to see him fly!  Ow, he's pecking me!"

The girl smiles and relaxes.

So do I.

I guess I just wasn't young enough.

Maybe I needed a puppet.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Orca strait

I had heard about this Victoria Foundation project months ago while I was still in Ottawa, but to be confronted by it in person, where it's displayed outside the main branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, was a whole other kettle of orcas.

This is the work of Victoria-based Kwagiulth artist, and Victoria Foundation board member, Carey Newman, who had scores, well, maybe hundreds of prominent and not-so-prominent Victorians come to workshops to create individual tiles, then pieced them together into a trio of killer whales - we call them orcas in this part of the world.

If you click on the picture, you may be able to make out the individual tiles, which include Queen Victoria, and Emily Carr. This was, of course, all in honour of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Sky boy (write of passage number forty-five)

He's tiny and excited, taking his seat next to his young blond mum in the top of the double-decker. He's wearing some sort of headband, and his sandy hair sticks up like a cone behind it.

His mum tells him, "I used to ride on the Sky Train when I was a little girl; it's really high up too!"

"Well, this is the Sky Bus," he informs her.

"You can call it that if you like."

"'Cuz it touches the sky."

I look out at the blue expanse, and imagine the top of the bus is brushing against it.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Hat trick

The Resident Fan Boy and younger daughter returned to Hades yesterday, leaving me here, for only the third time in seventeen summers, alone to savour rather more solitude than I'm used to.

In a way, it's intoxicating. Despite devoting a section of each day to Demeter, I am largely free to go where I will.

In a way, I'm rather forlorn. I enjoy my unfettered state, yet I find myself looking longingly at families wandering together through the streets of Victoria, aware as I am of the griping about fatigue and hunger that is the inevitable byproduct.

So I find myself remembering a snippet of sweet memory from about sixteen years ago. Elder daughter, who was about nine or ten at the time, needed a summer hat, but was now old enough to resist. I grabbed a moment in a shop to have her try on a few, the time being limited by how much her younger sister could stand to wait.

I think it was the third hat, a simple beige affair with an artfully shredded brim. It touched her crown, and I saw the sun rise in her face.

Long after she abandoned it in favour of pre-adolescent hatlessness - she refuses to wear a sunhat to this day - I kept it safe and treasured the memory of that brightening smile.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

From bag to verse (write of passage number forty-four)

He's all in black, wearing a jacket on a warm day, and seated at the bus stop,loaded down with a suitcase on wheels and a couple of shopping bags. When he asks me for the time, I can't place his accent.

He says he's on his way to the Paint-in at Moss Street and offers to read me a poem.

Oh heck,why not? I think, so he pulls sheaves of vellum from a sort of large wallet, and unfolds a large sheet which, fortunately, bears large handwriting.

Unfortunately, he spends a little too much time on the preamble, and the bus pulls up before he can begin reading.

This never happens in Ottawa.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Wasn't expecting this one

A woman? Sure! Jodie Whittaker? That was a well-kept surprise, wasn't it? (I gather she suddenly zoomed into the list of contenders in the final hours of the countdown. Mind you, I wasn't paying close enough attention.)

I can almost hear the fanboys bellowing. The Resident Fan Boy seems okay with it.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Learning you were wrong

Little time today, so I'm cheating again. Aubrey Logan is another Postmodern Jukebox performer I would love to see live. (We did see the bassist.)

Friday, 14 July 2017

How much will you pay to live in the attic?

Events of the past few weeks leave me with this song on my mind. I heard it first as a child, when it seemed spooky and largely incomprehensible. Later, it sounded to me like a man making doomed overtures to a woman.

As it turns out, Paul Stookey,who wrote it, can explain precisely what it means, but before you click on the link, I should warn you that there's a reason that so many poets and songwriters suggest that readers and listeners seek out their own interpretations.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The poets and the saints

I studied Our Town in Grade Nine English (maybe Grade Ten - it was a long time ago).

It was the practice - and probably still is - to take turns reading the roles. Our teacher, an intense Australian, took the part of the Stage Manager who narrates, and I spoke Emily Gibbs nee Webb for the third, devastating act of the play, and so had one of the final lines: "Mother Gibbs? . . . . They really don't understand, do they?"

I was also branded for life by the exchange between Emily and the Stage Manager, after the realization of the nature of life and living has collapsed in on her. She asks (and I'm paraphrasing because I'm relying on memory): "Are any human beings ever truly aware of life as they're living it -- ev'ry ev'ry minute?" The Stage Managers replies: "No. The saints and the poets, they do, some."

We had a young curmudgeon in the class who took the role of the depressed and disappointed choirmaster. I don't ever recall him saying much at any other time, but he read the part of Simon Stimson to perfection -- a slight, curly-hair boy in a mustard-coloured shirt and black-framed eye-glasses sounding like a cynical and dispirited middle-aged man. I wonder if he grew into it.

So, when I heard that Blue Bridge Theatre was mounting a production of the play, I knew I wanted to go, having never seen a live production of it, apart from the filmed version of the 2003 Broadway revival starring Paul Newman.

And when I heard that Gary Farmer was playing the Stage Manager, I knew I had to go. Gary Farmer was "Lenny" in a stunning Blue Bridge Theatre production of Of Mice and Men which I saw in 2012. This Our Town featured three other actors from the OMaM and the same director.

I thought it was going to be good. It was.

As in Of Mice and Men, I was approaching a work first encountered in adolescence, and seeing through my older and, regrettably, not much wiser eyes.

Our Town is popular in high schools, both for studying and performing, because it has next-to-no scenery, few props, only the slightest hint of sex, and focuses on the love story of two young people.

It's only when you're older that you notice how very grown-up a play it is, that the story is as much about the elders as the youth. Things hit me in the solar plexus that simply didn't register when I was in my mid-teens, not least the bitter-sweet revelation of what has become of the elder Mrs. Gibbs'(Cyllene Richmond) legacy and her dream of visiting Paris.

Also as with Of Mice and Men, the ensemble work was universally fine, from the young lovers to their parents to the village characters. The music was fun, but a bit distracting -- more Tennessee Appalachian than New England Appalachian. And in a strange but moving moment, Simon Stimson (Jacob Richmond), the alcoholic organist, staggers on before the wedding in the middle act and sings "Ombra Mai Fu", which is better known as "Handel's Largo" and is listed, in the first act, as being among the half dozen or so things of "culture" recognized by the denizens of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire.

Frondi tenere e belle/ del mio platano amato/ per voi risplenda il fato./ Tuoni, lampi, e procelle/ nonv'oltraggino mai la cara pace/ ne giunga a profanarvi austro rapace.
Ombra mai fu/ di vegetabile/ cara ed amabile/ soave piu.

"Tender and beautiful fronds/ of my beloved plane tree/ let Fate smile upon you./ May thunder, lightning, and storms/ never disturb your dear peace,/ nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.
"Never was a shade/ of any plant/ dearer and more lovely,/ or more sweet."

Needless to say, the melody has been haunting me all week.

Our Town is,by its nature, a very WASP play, but this production featured Laurence Dean Ifill (as milkman Howie Newsome) as well as Gary Farmer who is of the Cayuga Nation. The only reference to this is if you are watching carefully as Professor Willard (Julian Cervello) is giving an anthropological history of Grover's Corners and mentions that the indigenous people are long gone. Farmer's eyes close as he listens.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What are little boys made of? (Part Two and write of passage number forty-three)

My heart sinks when the bus on the way back from Butchart Gardens stops near Elk Lake, where several young kids are lined up.  It's day camp season in Victoria.

I was a day-camper for my first three summers in Victoria, ages 9 to 11 -- eons ago.  In those days, there were few day camps and we were transported daily by ancient, retired city buses.

Now, the hapless and hopeful counselors must marshal their charges on to city buses, to fidget and chatter cheek by jowl with unenthusiastic passengers.

This lot look roughly in the 6 to 8 range with a couple of taller boys who are either big for their age or some kind of junior assistants.  There are about fifteen children in all, and they have been instructed by their twenty-something counselors to stand.  Most of them ignore this, being small enough to fit several to a seat.

One little boy (there's always one) is sitting by himself, inches away from me.  His name is James and he's spent the first ten minutes of the journey playing with a rubber frog he's retrieved from the sandy pails dangling from the fingers of the distracted female counselor.  She has a nose piercing and purple hair-ends; she's busy pivoting to keep an eye on everyone in her end of the bus.  Her bearded co-worker is overseeing about half a dozen kids in the back of the bus.

For the next ten minutes, little James dozes off, but as he rouses, it becomes clear he isn't happy.  His small face screws up, and tears start dripping down his summer-coloured cheeks.  I wave to catch his counselor's attention, point discreetly in James' direction and draw imaginary tears under my eye.

He looks up at her in abject misery and butts his head against her hip as she reassures him that "we're almost there".  (This is debatable -- we're still in the upper reaches of Douglas Street.)

One of the big boys slips in beside him and tries to jolly him out of it, gently poking him, and trying to draw his attention to what's out the window, finishing with a droll "Drip-drip-drip".  Female counselor tells him this isn't helpful and to cut it out.

I'm a little worried, given my proximity, that wee James is bus-sick. but it's becoming clear that his discomfort is growing; he's starting to grab a bit at his groin and cry harder.  In other words, he's really wee James.

Mercifully, the group's stop is not quite downtown, and, out on the sidewalk,  I see James at the head of the fleeing line, clutching his counselor's hand.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

What are little boys made of? (Part One)

We're approaching  Demeter's condo building.  A man and his son or grandson -- better not to assume, especially these days -- have reached it just ahead of us, and the little boy, who is more of a knee-gnawer than an ankle-biter, has just entered the code with a flourish.

We carefully brandish our entrance keys to signal that we have a legitimate means to enter the building, and that it's okay to hold the door for us.

We follow them into the elevator, and, after the buttons for  our respective floors have been pushed,  the knee-gnawer looks around and announces:  "No smoking!"  He gives us a keen gaze.

"Good thing I don't have smokes," I observe soberly.

He turns and grills his grandfather (or father). "Do you have smokes?"

Assured, he turns to the Resident Fan Boy and points:  "Do you have smokes?"

Younger daughter doesn't escape the interrogation.  She is quietly amused and bemused.

As the door opens, the man catches my eye:  "Well, that's a relief!"

We leave the pair to rise above us, like smoke, to the third floor.

Monday, 10 July 2017

. . . but they don't listen to me

I know I'm back in Victoria when I see the twisted branches of the arbutus trees and Gary Oaks -- and when I see pewter verticals of the cedars.  These were in Butchart Gardens today.  I'm a little too drowsy to say much else.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Tossed upon cloudy seas

On the night of the Thunder Moon, I went to water the outdoor plants of this summer's house-sit, and saw this.

My Nikon is back in Ottawa, so I made do with my phone and got something vaguely Van Gogh.

However, as a friend has pointed out:  "The best camera is the one you actually have on hand."

Saturday, 8 July 2017


I don't know if I can even begin to describe my excitement when I decided to check the line-up for the Victoria Jazz Fest a few days before departing for the annual retreat to visit Demeter and escape the hazy summer heat of Hades.

I expected to find the usual array of undoubtedly talented musicians of which I'd never heard. That's fine -- I'm open to being educated. Instead I found a listing for the Postmodern Jukebox, one of my favourite means for coming up with a blog-post when I have no time.

Hands shaking, I checked their website, because they usually have two or three travelling troupes on tour somewhere in the world. There was a promotional video showing them heading off in a tractor trailer "to Canada" -- presumably they think there's nothing but farms up here -- and I thought I could spot Sarah Niemietz and Casey Abrams among the throng.

I frantically booked tickets. I couldn't believe that PMJ was coming to Canada - I think they'd been to Montreal on one of their so-called "North American" tours - and that they would be performing at a venue that was actually accessible to me. Younger daughter, who has been exposed to PMJ through my Facebook shares, was pretty excited too.

At the appointed time, the Resident Fan Boy, younger daughter and I made our way through a beautiful post-solstice evening, walking the few blocks from Demeter's condo to the Royal Theatre. That was an additional treat for me; I haven't been to a performance at the Royal in about twenty years. Between our absence and extensive renovations to the theatre (first opened in 1913), there simply hasn't been the opportunity.

We were up in the gods, three rows from the top of the upper balcony, but I'd brought bird binoculars, and gazed rapturously at the distant performers

I haven't posted many of Sarah Niemietz's performances on this blog, which is odd, because I love her style and watch her PMJ videos repeatedly. She can take a song I like and take it to a different level.

The live performance had the extra thrill of hearing Casey Abrams sing backup for her on this one.

Niemietz, who, I've just discovered, is the same age as elder daughter, can also take a song I could live without and turn it into something fine.

Last summer I was able to identify this Justin Bieber ditty for my 12-year-old niece - because I'd heard the Postmodern Jukebox version.

I've posted more than one Casey Abrams PMJ video.  He's a force of nature. This song, originally recorded by Haddaway, features Maiyah Sykes on backing vocals (she's the lady in the Louboutins).  She blew away the crowd in Victoria with her solos.

After the show, we escaped down the back staircase and burst out into the night, still in twilight.  Victoria is several longitudes north of Ottawa, enough for sunsets past nine thirty in late June.  We were jet-lagged, but unexhausted.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Just what I needed

This features three of my favourite Postmodern Jukebox performers -- and I got to see two of the musicians in this video live last week.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Family matter

I guess it was a good day to visit the museum.

Younger daughter was having one of her "on" days, when the sliding doors of her brain are open, and she is comfortable and functioning.

She was delighted by the transformation of the First Nations section, which now opens with columns and buttons which allow you to hear the vanishing indigenous languages of British Columbia, and to see where they used to be spoken.

She dove into this year's Terry Fox exhibit, and painstakingly read through every item in every display.  The Resident Fan Boy found comfortable places to sit while she did so, while I learned the ins and outs of the access elevator to accommodate Demeter's walker.  It involves finding the correct button with a bright light on the dashboard to blind you, holding said button for the correct length of time while the platform finds the correct level, then releasing the button at the correct time so that the door will open and let you out or in, releasing you from the embarrassment of hollering and banging for a patient RBCM staff member.

However, I had come for the Family Bond and Belonging exhibit, a sort of three-dimensional album.  Families from all over British Columbia have contributed film and videos of days at the beach, in the living room, in the backyard.  Some of these films look very old indeed -- from the 1920's and thirties, at least.

There's a sort of 1970s-style living room where you can plop down and watch snippets of these, ricocheting back and forth through the years.

There are galleries of photos, some from the Royal BC Archives, some from contributing families.  They represent a myriad of experience:  being First Nation, British, Chinese, Indian, or gay in British Columbia.  Having a family of blood relations, or chosen friends.  Living now, or a century and a half ago.

My very favourite display is at the very centre of the exhibit -- a dazzling collection of costumes: historical, cultural, military, occupational, again, many contributed by families, with stories attached.

I want to go back, of course, but repeated Victorian summers have taught me what Thomas Wolfe always knew -- that you really can't go home again.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Dismayed in the shade

Out on errands on a sunny day in Victoria, I find myself footsore and weary, so decide to catch the bus home.

I settle on a bench in the shadow of the arts supply store, juggling my purchases, bus schedule, and bus pass.

A lady strides up, clad in light-blue stone-washed capris. Her blond hair is clipped back into a small ponytail, and she's wearing sunglasses.

"Well, howdy-doody!" she greets me with cheerful briskness.

It's Victoria, so I smile up from my seat at her and respond, "How do you do?"

She pauses a micro-second.

"Oh, I see, you're just going to sit there."

Off she goes, leaving me slightly baffled.

Do I know her? I don't recognize her voice, and her sunglasses do nothing for my mild prosopagnosia. Frankly, she's a wee bit generic and could have been anybody I've met in Victoria during the past three decades -- or a complete stranger mistaking me for someone else. (This happens pretty often, so I guess I might be a bit generic too.)

When I describe the incident later to the Resident Fan Boy and Demeter, they recall all the times when an unfamiliar person has struck up a conversation with them, imagining them to be an acquaintance.

We fantasize comforting scenarios where my brisk mystery lady confronts a bewildered friend:

"Why were you so stand-offish the other day?"
"Excuse me?"
"I said hello, and you just sat there like a lump, smiling at me as if you didn't know me."
"Where was this?"
"At the bus stop at Island Blue Print."
"Are you crazy? I don't take the bus…"

Oh gawd, I hope that's what happened and she wasn't an old pal...

Tuesday, 4 July 2017


Sometimes a theme just emerges from a day. It doesn't always have much meaning, but there it is.

For Canada Day this year, my mystery theme appeared to be hoops.

The Resident Fan Boy was determined to see the Ottawa festivities, so we hurried from our house-sit to Demeter's house. And there were hoops in the opening moments, as various First Nation dancers bounced and whirled around the Eternal Flame to the rhythm of the Spirit Drums.

July 1st 2007 - First Nation Dancer performing while the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family look on.  The dancer is possibly Ojibwa, as hoop-dancing is associated with that nation.

(Bono and The Edge also sang "One", which was nice of them.)

We had lunch at the only sushi restaurant we could find open on Canada Day, then made our way to Centennial Square to see what we could catch of the free concerts.

Well, actually, we couldn't see much of anything, because Demeter, very sensibly, is using a walker these days, so we couldn't clamber into the stands. We found a table under a small parasol by the fountain, and chatted amiably with a volunteer, while people-watching and half-listening to a jazz fusion band who claims Pat Metheny as an influence.

During the final number, which was apparently a well-known number, but since we couldn't see the band and couldn't hear everything the announcer said, I'm not sure what it was. I did like it -- it had a steady, travelling sort of rhythm, and, lulled by the music and the heat, I dreamily watched two people off in the distance, tossing and dancing with hula hoops, which seemed to hover around their bodies, as if they were in suspended wheels of bright colour.

Maybe it was this number.

In the evening, Cirque du Soleil whirled in hoops of steel and fire.

Meaning? Coincidence, probably. But Joseph Campbell pointed out that the way of escaping the ups and downs of the wheel of fate was to move to the centre -- something like the dancers, performers and acrobats of this one day.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Eating crow

Oak Bay Avenue

You can click to enlarge

Sunday, 2 July 2017


I hear it somewhere behind me: a liquidy expulsive sound.  I'm sitting on a patio inches from a sidewalk.  Flinching, I'm unable to see through the shrub at my shoulder, but the origin of the noise slouches up the street, past my elbow, in all his denimed, tractor-capped glory.

"Sorry," he mutters.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Sequential and sesquicentennial

I so wanted to snap a picture this afternoon.

I went to use the facilities at the Bay Centre in downtown Victoria and found a line-up snaking out nearly to the corridor.

It was a winding curve of women of many colours and shapes. I saw an older woman in a sari, a young redhead with sunburnt shoulders, and two Japanese students using the waiting time to maple-leaf each other with tap water and temporary tattoos.

Almost the entire line was a whiplash of red and white. One girl used the time-honoured out of wearing a Canadian flag as a cape, but it was mostly scarlet tops and white or cream trousers, or red caps and sun hats, or patriotic hair decorations.

And I thought of how Canada has changed, and especially, how Victoria has changed. It was once said that there was nothing wrong with Victoria that four hundred Ukranians couldn't fix. It was a bit homogenous when I was growing up here.

But I didn't pull out my phone.

Taking pictures in a women's washroom borders on the creepy.

So I took this one.