Time Traveling on a Saturday Morning

It was really too early for garage sale season. But the column in the paper did have a couple of possibilities. One, a “Giant Jumble and Plant sale” looked promising. Just say plant sale and I’m there. It was at Point Ellice House, and was a fundraising sale for this little gem surrounded by what is now an industrial area.

We were so lucky to arrive, just as a woman dressed in a long black dress and a black straw hat with feathers, invited anyone interested, on a free tour of the house. Bill and I gave each other a glance and both quickly fell in behind the lady in black, the tour guide by the name of Gail.

Now hopefully I’ve got my facts right.  Ellice House was originally built by the Warks for their son and his wife as a wedding present. Later, in 1867, it became the property of Gold Rush magnate and Commissioner, Peter O’Reilly.


In 1974 the house and all its contents were sold to the BC government. When they said all its contents, they meant it. From the dishes and cutlery, linens, the stove, the games and even letters. According to the brochure, “it is now one of the largest collections of Victoriana in its original privileged Victorian home.”

We entered by the back door, just off the verandah and were lead into the scullery and then the kitchen. We weren’t allowed to use a flash, so could only take photos and keep our fingers crossed that they would turn out.


All the pots waiting on the work table by the window, glowed in the morning light.

I’m kind of proud of the this photo, taken in the butler’s room, of the silver service catching and bending reflections of the curtains in the window. Sometimes you can get lucky.

Imagine the staff scurrying off at the sound of the bells, to wait on one of the O’Reillys.


The dining room, a Victorian period piece, all set for a gracious meal, perhaps with the Prime Minister or some other members of the elite of Victoria at the time.


If we were to follow this path it would take us to a set of stairs that would lead to the Gorge Waterway dock below where visitors embarked on boats to take them back to the Victoria harbour.


After the tour, we shopped the Jumble and found a few treasures, a little rag rug for the kitchen floor, a bright yellow throw for the couch or a daybed. No plants though. Nothing there that we didn’t already have. Ah well.

Then on to a flee market in Esquimalt. Tables and tables of treasures. And we found a treasure too, an album by Joni Mitchell, called “Wild Things Run Fast”, one that we had somehow missed! From 1982! I’m listening to it as I write. All new songs to me. Sorry Joni, don’t know how we missed this one.

And then back to the car and what did we see? Goats! Baby goats! In a little impromptu petting zoo set up in the parking lot.

So there was a morning’s travels in time, from Victorian times and the privileged classes and their servants, to 1982 and jazz with Joni, to the present full of exuberantly bouncing baby goats or should I say kids?
Now I’m off to pick more Spring rhubarb, a Crisp with oatmeal this time I think…


A Lovely Walk on a Muddy Gray Day


Yesterday it finally stopped raining. We’d been cooped up in the house working away on the computer together. Suddenly tired of work, we poked our heads up and realized that we could really use a nice walk… without an umbrella.

Usually we either walk different routes around our own neighbourhood or we jump in the car and make our way to the Gorge Walkway. But today, we had to pick up a special cat food or suffer the consequences of a ticked off kitty. And that led to our realizing that we hadn’t walked the Selkirk Trestle for ages and only once before, at that. So since we were close and traffic was easier if we turned that way anyway…. off we went.

If you live in Victoria you’ll know the Selkirk Trestle which is part of the Galloping Goose Trail. It used to be a railway trestle and is now used exclusively for walkers and bike riders. There is something special about walking on this boardwalk, made of wide wooden planks. It invites you to slow down and look around. The feel of smooth weathered wood under your feet is so good, wish I could come up with the perfect description.


Seagulls perched on a post are a ubiquitous bit of tourist kitsch in Victoria. There are racks and racks of seagulls glued to posts in the tourist shops on Government Street . But to me seagulls are such handsome birds that I just had to take some photos. Don’t you love how they seem to pose majestically for the photo?



We carried on to the end of the bridge and followed the rather muddy path to the park. And we cannot resist seeing what is around a bend, can you?


Seeing this little houseboat anchored on the Gorge, we couldn’t help imagining living in it, all cozy and bobbing up and down with the tides.


Further on in the park, which was full of all sorts of birds feasting on berries, we found this little grotto. Now doesn’t the reflection of the rocks in the water make it look as though they are round and floating on the water?  Oh maybe, it’s just me.


Then it was time to go back home again. We took our time, walking slowly, not really wanting to go home and work. But the walk had cheered us and given us a meditative space. I wanted to catch some good shots of the structure of the trestle. I love the look and pattern of all those big posts sunk into the inlet.


We moved here from sunny Alberta and many Albertans and also many many native Victorians moan about gray days, preferring instead sunny blue skies. I decided long ago to accept this place as it is, and enjoy it, gray skies and rainy days especially. And it’s easy to do…. I love nothing more than the smell of a wet day, the smell of wet cedar and ocean cannot be beat. And gray skies? Oddly, I will not tolerate gray as color in my artwork hardly ever, but gray skies never ever really bother me.


Meeting the Christmas Dogs

There is absolutely no way that Christmas Day could have been any better. At least for those of us who DON’T subscribe to “Dreaming of a White Christmas” or go around singing “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”. Oh no, Snow is a four letter word to me. I love a green Christmas most of all. But yesterday was a bonus, it was a Green and Sunny Christmas in Victoria, the place where lawns green up in winter!

So after all the gifts were opened, the mince tarts eaten and a hearty brunch had by all, Will and I went off for our Christmas Day Walk. We chose the Gorge Walkway and were rewarded with Great Scenery either way, going up

or down the walkway.


And then as an added bonus, we got to meet the Christmas Dogs. First was this cute little guy in a red sweater sporting reindeer yet.


Next we met the little black poodle, a quiet fellow, dressed up in red.  Such a good color on him.


Our next meeting was with a little black and white with a curled up tail.

Who soon drew the interest of another dog.


This quickly became a great tangle of leads as each twirled around trying to get a good sniff. You’ll just have to imagine it. We were having enough trouble trying not to get caught up in the leashes.

And then there she was….the tiniest little charmer in a Santa suit. She had so much energy that we had quite a time trying to get a photo. Almost got her entirely in the shot here…

Oh only the nose here…

And finally a cute photo looking up at us.

The Christmas dogs made the day. All dressed up to celebrate by their proud and loving owners.


Finding the Wonderful, Whimsical, Just Silly and Fun

Sometimes I think that garage sailing is the most fun when you find the unexpected, whimsical, odd or wonderful. As in odd juxtapositions of the beautiful and spiritual with the junk. For instance, we were out looking for good stuff and wandered into a flea market given by the Tai Chi society here in Victoria. And there, amongst all the dribs and drabs of goodies was this wonderful shrine.

A shrine amongst the dribs and drabs.
A shrine amongst the dribs and drabs.
The shrine without the distractions
The shrine without the distractions

It was beautiful, replete with offerings of fruit carefully piled up in bowls.

Another day, over in the Vic West area of Victoria, we found this rather whimsical and thought provoking and well, just silly front yard sculpture. A bike supposedly growing out of the rock? Or had it dissolved into the rock? Who knows but obviously someone was having some fun and having a creative moment.

A bike "set in stone".
A bike “set in stone”.


And I have to admit I rather liked this sign. I sometimes feel like my garden is an Experimental Dandelion Farm too. Too bad the sign wasn’t part of the garage sale offerings or I would have snapped it up.

Love this sign!
Love this sign!


As for fun, we always find that we just can’t ever pass up an opportunity to pet a dog. And this one has the facial expression down to an art.

Can you resist me?
Can you resist me?

Who can resist those ” pet me, pet me” eyes. Not us.