Hello and welcome to my blog. I am going to write about lots of things, about art, about life, about the Manor, about life at the Manor, about my thoughts, about Spain, about religion, about politics and of course about breakfast. Don’t forget that I am from Spain and my English still is not perfect so please forgive my grammar and spelling.
Everyone knows that it never snows in Victoria. At Albion Manor we have roses that bloom in the front garden in January. But that can be a bit boring after a while so this year, as a kind of mid-January surprise, I got a bunch of tiny styrofoam beads and sprinkled them all over the garden. I think the effect was quite successful, don’t you. Getting the beads to stay on top of the garden angel was quite tricky, but it worked.
March 6, 2010
What’s with the sun? There’s more of it today. A person could get used to this. Fernando and I did a big spring cleaning on the yard today, getting rid of a lot of rubbish. Not the general kind of rubbish, but just the kind that a big garden can generate. And it is amazing how quickly it can generate it. Why do things grow like that? Can’t they just grow to the size that I want and then stop? Why should I have to prune the willow tree 3 times a year? And the mock orange, and the buddleia, and the wisteria, and the grapes and the… and the… oh, I’m tired. Three trips to the recycling depot. Thank goodness it’s free on Saturday. And I did manage to get the wisteria pruned. And some other odd bits of cleaning.
And Fernando continues his ceiling painting. We may become the Sistine Chapel yet.
This was a bag of bulbs labelled ‘A River of Muscari’ and contained about 50 bulbs. However, I think that to create a river you would want to have about 250 bulbs. Chalk this up to experience and things you have to know when you have big garden. I have known for some that there is no point planting just one of anything. You need at least a dozen of anything, except perhaps bushes and trees. Tulips are better by the hundred. Day lilies by the trio, minimum. At least a dozen lilies of whatever variety. Hostas, peonies, all those things. I bought only one of each of the tree peonies last week. Hopefully they will grow to a sufficient size to justify their oneness. However, I usually get multiples of rhododendrons and even roses.
It’s a big garden!
We went last night with friend Wes Tritter and cousin Christine Anderson to see the latest offering at the IMAX theatre. The IMAX is located in the same building as the Royal BC Museum and a very nice day can be made of combining a visit to both. If you don’t know the format, IMAX is really big screen. I don’t know what that acronym means, maybe something like ‘eye maximum’ or some such thing. I saw my first IMAX at Expo 86 in Vancouver and was blown away. The typical IMAX screen is about 10 times bigger than a conventional theatre screen. The one here at the RBCM is 70 feet wide and about 6 stories high. In other words, really bit.
The show we saw was called ‘Hubble’. The show takes you through the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope through 2 shuttle launches to repair it and install new equipment. The images are absolutely breathtaking. So see our planet from so far up in space and in such crystal clear images brought tears to my eyes a number of times. And we see the astronauts out in space, walking, as they do repairs on the Hubble. And our very own Canadarm is featured prominently (even though it’s owned by an American company).
While I loved the show, I couldn’t help thinking about the amount of money that is spend on space exploration. There are villages around the world that don’t have any running water and many with no water at all. These highly trained, intelligent, brave astronauts fly up into space and then walk in an environment of no air and no gravity and then use extremely sophisticated tools to change sophisticated parts in space telescopes. I wondered if there is any way that we would use their expertise, and some of their money, to help make the world a better place for the people who are living here.
There are usually 4 shows on at any one time, at different hours during the day. Please consult their web site for details http://www.imaxvictoria.com/index.cfm.
Coho Ferry from Port Angeles
One of the most convenient ways to get to Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast in Victoria is to come as a foot passenger from Port Angeles. If you like, Budget Car Rental has 2 lots in pOrt Angeles where you can leave your vehicle. The lesser expensive is at the corner of W. Front Street and N. Oak Street. The coast is $6.00 per day.
From the lot it is about a 5 minute walk to the ferry terminal. There is another Budget lot right across the street from the ferry terminal but the rate is about $12 per day. You have to pay if you want to be closer to the ferry terminal.
The ferry terminal is on W. Railroad Ave. You get your tickets at the front office which is just off the street, but from here you then have to walk quite a ways to the ferry and go through US Immigration. Don’t be late. Get here at least 30 minutes before departure or you will find yourself running.
Leaving Port Angeles, you will see the spectacular Olympic Mountains in the background. The trip to Victoria is about 1½ hours. But after you allow some time for unloading and getting through customs, you should allow 2 hours and a bit.
As you approach Victoria, you will pass Fishermans Wharf where a number of house boats make themselves at home.
Fishermans Wharf is worth a visit. Barb’s is a very popular fish and chip restaurant right on the dock and it is not uncommon to find harbour seals coming up to see if there are any handouts.
A very little bit past Fishermans Wharf, you will see the entrance to James Bay and the Inner Harbour. The channel is really narrow at this point and it is a tribute to the crews of the Coho Ferry that in all the years that they have been operating there has never been an accident.
Albion Manor is in the neighbourhood of James Bay in Victoria, just a few minutes walk from downtown. Our namesake, however, no longer exists. The bay of James Bay was filled in for the construction of the Empress Hotel.
This is a photo of the terminal where the Coho docks. It is a tricky maneuver and one that you will have the opportunity to watch if you are a foot passenger. Unfortunately, if you are in a vehicle, you have to be in your car by this point and will not be able to watch.
The Coho after entering the Inner Harbour and moving, slowly, towards the dock.
The Coho arriving at the dock.
After leaving the ferry you will have to go through Canadian customs and immigration. Everyone, doesn’t matter where you come from, except other Canadians of course, has to have a passport. The old days of Americans entering Canada with just a driver’s license are nothing more than fond memories of a more trusting past.
When you exit the terminal you will see a set of stairs ahead of you. You have to go up these stairs to the street. Once on the street, which is Belleville, go to the right to Oswego Street, one block. Turn left and go 3 blocks to Superior. Turn right on Superior and come to Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast in Victoria, BC, at number 224.
View Coho Terminal in Victoria in a larger map
March 22, 2010
I had an epiphany today. The clouds, had there been any, would have opened and bright rays of sun shone in. Well, the sun was already shining and there were no clouds, at least none in the sky, but the clouds in my brain burst open and this oft foggy mind was flooded with light. For the past few days, the news broadcasts, radio and television, and the newspapers have been obsessed with Tiger Woods’ first interview since it was revealed to the world that he was having sex with someone other than his wife. This information comes just after news about the Afghan detainee scandal in Ottawa, but before information about the Paralympic Games.
Today, in a blinding flash of clarity, I realized that I am not interested in Tiger Woods’ sex life. I have not (until this moment) even thought about Tiger Woods’ sex life. What Tiger Woods’ does in bed, and with whom, is of absolutely no interest to me. None whatsoever!
There. I’ve said it. I’ll even say it out loud…. Done. I think only Fernando heard me so I am not sure if that counts, but I have now gone public with the news that I have no interest in Tiger Woods’ sex life. I feel so liberated. One fewer thing to worry about.
This is Narcissus Suada growing in the new bed in front of the cottage. I got them planted last fall. Unfortunately there is nothing else growing there so once Suada has finished, things will look pretty bleak. Must get on to that.
In the background is our concession to Fernando and Seville: a jasmine vine, something that flourishes is Seville and southern Spain. As you can see from all the brown, I don’t think it did very well over the winter even though it was a very mild winter. I’ll leave it and see if it comes back, but at this point I am not optimistic.
March 21, 2010
Brief showers this morning and a bit cool, but it looks like it will clear later on. This photo is of yet another type of daffodil in the garden. I don’t know what the name of this one and am not really sure that it is a daffodil but I expect that, given its overall size and shape and the time of blooming that it is a daffodil. A narcissus perhaps.
Well, after the trip to Port Angeles to get the faucet repaired, at a cost of over $200 when you consider ferry trip, hotel and car rental, I got the repaired unit installed in room 3 only to find that it now leaks from the top of the faucet. I have called Vintage Hardware, with some frustration as you can imagine. Unfortunately their technician is not in again until Monday, tomorrow, at which time he is supposed to call me. We’ll see. I’ll ask him to come here since I made the trip there last time.
It has been quite busy the last couple of days and we were full last night. That is, we would have been full except for a no-show. These are always frustrating because you have no way of knowing why they didn’t arrive. And there is always the rush to get their room ready, which I know has to be done anyway, but none the less. And the waste of food. Oh well, I guess I can’t complain. They have to pay anyway when they don’t give any notice. It’s frustrating though.
March 14, 2010
Cloudy today and not much hope for sun. In fact, it is now raining. Not really raining, but that wet air state that we sometimes have here. The rain drops are so small that it is more like mist in the air than real rain falling.
After the guests left this morning, Fernando and spent the day working on room 8. It is at the frustrating point: lots to do still, but lots of waiting to be done- paint one side of the door and wait; stain the casing in the bathroom and wait; paint the wall and wait. Oh well, most of it will be dry by tomorrow and we should be full steam ahead. I am actually hoping to be done by Wednesday with any luck.
So I don’t have much to write today. I’m a bit tired. Never the less, we are taking Hugh out for dinner tonight. He gave us tickets to see Mariachi de Sol last night so it is the least we can do.
March 13, 2010
Beautiful day yesterday with lots of sun and warmth after the big rain. And this morning is again bright and sunny. Not warm yet, but it will be later on. It’s going to be a beautiful day.
This is rhododendron PJM Elite, slightly past its prime, on the front steps.
Well I have got to decide if I am going to be truthful in this blog or if I am going to edit things for the sake of our guests. I guess I might as well be honest and tell the whole unsavoury truth: we have a mouse problem. There is a mouse somewhere in the wall in room number 1 and we’re having a devil of a time getting the little bugger out. Fortunately, Fernando has been sick for the past couple of weeks, which is not to say that it is fortunate that he has been sick, but it is fortunate that he has been sleeping in room number 1 during his illness and so he hears the little scratches in the evening when I guess they are the most active. The thing that gets me is that I don’t know how it (they?) have gotten into the house. When we first moved in I did a thorough inspection all around the house and fill and stuffed and caulked any crack where any little creature could get in and, luckily, we have been mouse free. Until now. So there must be a little crack or opening somewhere.
I am going to go out this morning to buy a video surveillance system to install around the house so that I can try to determine how it is getting in. I will probably have to move it around each night and then watch the recording in the hope of spotting the movement. At the same time I can use the system to watch the activities of our local racoons that are a real problem. They will be looking for places for nesting at this time of the year and the last thing we want is a racoon family growing up underneath the studio. In Burnaby we had a racoon family in the attic and it was not fun. Reaching in to that small place and taking the baby racoons in my hand, one at a time, while Fernando tried to keep the mother at bay with a stick, was, shall we say, exciting. We took them to the SPCA who assured us that they would be releasing them back into the wild when they were old enough. I wondered if they released them in the wild wild, or in one of the local parks where they would undoubtedly make their way back to our house.
Final texture coat on the plaster today as I try to match the rough texture of the existing walls. After years and years of coats of paint the walls in the house are anything but smooth as drywall walls are today. These have a definite texture. What I do is put on a light coat of plaster and they go over it with a clean paint roller to rough up the surface. I than take a large plaster knife and go over it lightly to take the tops off the texture and soften it a bit, aiming to duplicate the texture that is there. This has been very successful in other areas of the house.
March 12, 2010
Holy smokes did it rain overnight. You could hear it pounding on the roof. I’m amazed this morning that there are any flowers left in the garden. But already the rain is lessening and I expect that the afternoon will be sunny. Yes another photo of another daffodil today. These while lovelies bloom in the border on the west side of the property. They don’t fall into the house shadow so they get all the morning sun. Their numbers have been diminishing over the years and I suspect, again, the Narcissus Bulb Fly has been doing its destruction. I am not yet reconciled to accepting the damage they do and will try to be conscientious about catching them if I can find a butterfly net. If not, I will just have to accept that I will have to be planting daffodils every year. Unfortunately they attack other bulbs as will so maybe the planting will have to be an ongoing task.
A busy day today with shopping for the bed and breakfast (we have guests tonight for the first time in 4 days) and continuing to work in room 8. Victoria is a great place for shopping because it is a very accessible town: nothing is very far away. You can drive from one side of the city to the other side in probably less than half and hour. Unlike Vancouver, traffic jams are very rare, expect on the highway at rush hour and it is easy to avoid travelling at that time.
The plastering is almost complete with one more coat today and the final tomorrow. I took a template of the window in the door so that I could have a sealed unit made. The template is required because the opening is not quite square. That should be ready on Tuesday for installation which will mean that there is nothing standing in the way of completing the room. Not that there is anything standing in the way now, but this is the one remaining job that required outside input and I am glad that that will be finished. Unfortunately I can’t complete the casings and baseboard until the plastering is finished because some of the plaster will have to run behind the casings, so that’s a bit frustrating. But there are, of course, lots of other bits and pieces that I can be working on.
Fernando is up and around today and feeling much better. He really has had a hard time of it since he got back from Spain. I hope this will be the end of the cold and flu season, at least for him, and us.