Archives for category: Travel

For as long as I can remember – since I was a tiny child – I have been obsessed with the United Kingdom. I have planned and wished and dreamed to be there. When I was very small I would draw and paint scenes from my imagination of rolling fields, hedgerows, sheep and ponies. I have felt forlorn. I have felt hopeful. I am a citizen, yet I have not set foot on her verdant land… until now. September 26 is the day I will arrive. A dear friend has done all the planning, found all the accommodations, and she and I will spend a month traveling in the south of England.

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As well as being a time for self-reflection and adventure, I plan to use this month to work on my art practice, and gather material for future projects. I recently began using a simple technique with a pasta machine to do small etchings, embellishing the finished pieces with watercolour and gouache. A recent series of scenes from Victoria’s Chinatown was quite successful. I will work on a new series later in the autumn which will be based on sketches and photos from the towns we visit on the journey.

With encouragement from friends, I have set up an Indiegogo Campaign, giving people the opportunity to support this next phase of my artistic development. Thanks to lovely patrons, within a couple of weeks I had reached 29% of my goal:

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I am happy to report I am now at 37% and plan to the extend the campaign for a few more weeks.

I have been spending a bit of time preparing for fulfilling the perks I have included in my campaign – sketching and painting at various spots around Victoria in the warm spring sunshine. It will be so amazing to have a month dedicated to my art. The historic villages, friendly people and spectacular countryside of England will provide inspiration for years to come.

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My travel companion asked me, “Won’t you be homesick traveling for a month?” I know I will miss my beloved, and our little cats, but I replied “How can one be homesick when one is finally home.”

 

 

One of my many jobs is with the Land Trust Alliance of BC. A few weeks ago the Executive Director and I took a field trip to visit one of our member land trusts, the Salt Spring Island Conservancy. Their office is situated at the Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve. We enjoyed very pleasant ferry rides to and from, a lovely lunch in Ganges overlooking the harbour, and a wonderful walk around the reserve. With the local bus, it’s easy to explore Salt Spring Island without a car. It was a most enjoyable day!

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The approach to Fulford Harbour. It’s just a 35-minute journey from Swartz Bay.

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Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve, Salt Spring Island. Once farmland, then a 9-hole golf course, now dedicated to nature and home to many species of animals and plants, many of which are endangered.

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A beautiful pond near the lake.

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Spring flowers all around.

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A shady spot by the creek. It was here I heard the song of a bird I had never heard before.

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Sitka columbine is just one of the many wild flowers growing at Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve, which has a native plant nursery on site.

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A fuzzy bee on a very beautiful iris. We had a few minutes to shop for snacks in Fulford Harbour before boarding the ferry home.

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Farewell Salt Spring Island, until next time.

We are having a deliciously warm May in Victoria. Yesterday was a bit cooler, perfect for a cycle. I rode for a few kilometres along our Galloping Goose regional trail to run an errand, and discovered that I almost missed the blooming of the wild roses which line a section of the trail near downtown. I smelled them before I saw them, their intoxicating sweetness calling to all who came near. How remarkable is nature to give us such delights?

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I don’t know enough about bees to identify any of these busy ladies. There were so many bees it was almost impossible to take a photo without one. They make me so happy.

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I’m planning something big for the autumn and I couldn’t be more excited. This adventure will involve a lot of walking and so much drinking of tea. To prepare I am walking – taking little mini-adventures through the beautiful spring days in Victoria BC.

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Back in March I walked about 12 kilometres to Oak Bay and Fairfield. I collected our friend Annie along the way and we made a few stops in Oak Bay before ending up at Abkhazi Garden for tea. We enjoyed a delicious repast in the teahouse, seated in the window overlooking the garden.

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The garden was not quite at its peak of colour and vibrancy, but still beautiful. We enjoyed walking along the winding paths and meeting a feline visitor.

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Abkhazi Garden is owned and managed by The Land Conservancy (TLC). Read the story of “the garden that love built” here. Check out the teahouse here.

All around, the colours of spring! Flowers of white, cream, yellow, pink and purple.

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I took a long walk today and noticed that the temperatures on the Canadian west coast are just beginning to turn towards spring, which is lovely. I look forward to the blossoms, but autumn and winter are my most favourite seasons.

Autumn in 2017 had many highlights. A dear cousin was visiting Victoria with family and friends and we all went to Pagliacci’s for great food and live music.

Pagiacci's with live music.

There was fun with an international flare to be had right in our beloved neighbourhood of Chinatown.

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All Hallow’s Eve was spooky and filled with scary surprises around the city. We had a blast with tricks and treats visiting friends in Oak Bay.

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In late November we spent two days in Vancouver for a tiny vacation and rendezvous with my sister and Randy. Day one we enjoyed the festive lights of the big city, ate at the always-delicious Bao Bei, and were mesmerized under the Grand Chapiteau for Cirque du Soleil’s show Kurios.

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Day two, more wandering before a delicious dinner at Vij’s, then off to the last ferry home.

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Victoria, so pretty with festive lights, window displays, and a very impressive “Whoville” gingerbread village at The Empress Hotel.

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I catered dessert for a private Holiday party, and saw an impressive Santa and Mrs Claus at a local diner!

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Christmas arrived with lots of treats (including Glerup slippers), and tissue paper and gift bag fun for the cats.

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And the best gift of all, snow for Christmas Eve and Day!

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The summer of 2017 was perfect in Victoria! Lovely weather, and the city was alive with events and festivals of all kinds. Work life kept me very busy, but I made some time to enjoy the season.

We were honoured to be invited a second year to join friends for a big birthday party on Saturna Island. We had an amazing time! We rode our bikes again this year which was definitely part of the fun. Breezy Bay BnB is amazing!

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On the next weekend we had a quick day trip to Vancouver followed by the Victoria Pride Parade, which was so joyous and colourful.

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Of course, there were many long walks and some beach time with Annie. Another high fire season again this year in British Columbia, and more locally on Vancouver Island, brought some smokey days and eerie sunsets.

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And, of course, we rode our bikes! We had a few rides with friends which always includes a packed snack of tea and cake, and participated in the Tweed Ride which raises funds for Bicycles for Humanity.

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