Thursday, 15 February 2018

Giving credit where credit is due

Nine years ago, when I was doing my first NaBloPoMo, I made a baker's dozen list of the things I missed about Victoria.

Believe it or not, there will be things I miss about Hades.  They just won't tear my heart out by the roots when I think of them.  It turns out to be a baker's dozen as well, and were basically the things that kept me alive for seventeen years:

1. Autumn. Brief, temperate, multi-coloured.  Three weeks of beauty.  Victoria has about, I dunno, about forty-nine more weeks of beauty, but autumn is rather tri-coloured: yellow, brown, and orange. (Except in the Sunken Garden at Butchart's, but you need to time it right.)

2.  A Company of Fools.  We have Shakespeare in Victoria, and a lively arts scene, but nothing that combines classical and comical quite like the Fools.

3.  The Bytowne Cinema
We have the Vic and Cinecenta in Victoria - neither have the range of films that can be seen at the Bytowne.  Won't miss the audiences much....

4. Papier. I'll have the Papery in Victoria, to say nothing of several amazing bookstores that also carry stationery, but over the years, I established a connection with Papier.  They saw me through birthdays, parties, anniversaries, Christmas, other holidays.  One of my favourite memories was on a frigid -38 morning in January, when I had Planet Coffee practically to myself, and hurried through the Byward Market alleys to get a birthday card for my mother.  Greg, one of the co-owners, looked up as I marched in, and exclaimed: "God bless you!!!
Papier, 18 Clarence Street, Ottawa

5.  The National Gallery of Canada. Sure, there are galleries in Victoria; the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is nothing to sneeze at, but Gustave DorĂ©? Vincent Van Gogh? Alex Janvier? Alex Colville? The National Gallery has the scale to host huge and comprehensive collections, as well as more esoteric and intimate shows. Sigh...

6.  My Friend With Whom I Go For Coffee.  Sad to say, the one close friend I made and kept over seventeen years in Hades.  I have a number of close friends in Victoria.  Odd to have a social life again.

7.  BIFHSGO. Trying to pluck up the courage to attend the local genealogical society here.  So far, not seeing many topics that match my objectives.

8. Cardinals and blue jays.  When I heard the pip-pip-pip in Hades, I'd scan the area for the flash of crimson that is the male cardinal, skimming through the air.  In Victoria, pip-pip-pip means hummingbirds.  In Hades, when I heard what sounded like a seagull, I'd look for the brilliant blue flash of a jay.  In Victoria, it'll actually be a seagull....

9. Second Cup (kinda).  Planet Coffee (definitely).  Each Second Cup, unlike Starbucks, has its own distinct personality, for better or worse. The Second Cup on Metcalfe, with its patient and welcoming staff,  became a comforting haven for younger daughter.  There is only one Planet Coffee.

10.  Red Door Provisions marmalades.  Well, they never make my favourite, Pink Lady, any more. This isn't sour grapes.  It's sour grapefruit.

11.  National Theatre at the Cineplex, and other live-streamed theatre events.  Oh, you can see them in Victoria, but not everything, and not as often.  It could be worse. I could be in the Maritimes, where they're not shown at all.

12.  Bus stop notifications.  Seven years of having bus stops displayed, along with the time, have spoiled me rotten.  BC Transit has introduced an audio system with a computerized voice - which sounds like a little like a fella with a Chinese accent - not impossible to understand, but not easy either.  I'll also miss the texts with predicted bus arrivals -- OC Transpo had GPS, BC Transit does not, so all you get is the scheduled bus arrival - not where the bus actually is.  I hear this might change next year.

13.  My own washer and dryer.  Now, granted, this is nothing to do with Hades.  This is to do with living in an apartment again after more than two decades, as does not being able to have a pet nor a live Christmas tree, nor to fit more than two pie plates in the oven.  This can change.  (It had better...)

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