Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wedding on Vancouver Island

We have now been home five days from our wonderful trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island for a very beautiful and touching wedding. The wedding was held outside on the grounds of Victoria University, a most perfect setting. It was my first trip to the West Coast and very exciting for me.

After having a week of sunshine every day and with temperatures in the mid-twenties, I'm "almost" tempted to move out there. But of course we are retiring in Prince Edward Island and I'm not about to give up that dream. I think we will have the best of both worlds for as long as Jim's son and new wife live in Victoria as they have a spare room! We are already hoping to make it out there in another three years just before we retire. The new bride and groom are visiting us next fall on the island again, to help with our renovations so we had better hurry and finish our spare room!

It is hard to put into words how I felt flying over and seeing the mountains for the first time. Inspiring comes to mind, awesome, glorious also describes how they looked. My first sight was of snow covered peaks all floating in blue..I couldn't look away for a moment. Later they turned granite colored and I saw so many blue or green tinged lakes and rivers among the mountains. It made me think how fortunate we are in Canada to have so much water.

The first word that comes to mind on seeing Victoria is lush. Even though many lawns there had burnt because of lack of rain like here at home, there was greenery everywhere, trees I've never seen before like a Monkey Puzzle Tree or Arbutus tree and flowers everywhere downtown by the harbour. For a gardener like myself, all the gardens I saw and toured were full of new ideas for me.

The wedding rehearsal supper was very enjoyable, we got to meet many of the bride's relatives, some of which flew in from Scotland. The wedding day arrived sunny and warm, perfect in all ways. Our little granddaughter Claire made an adorable flower girl, the outdoor setting was relaxing and we enjoyed a few dances after the delicious meal.

We managed well in the condo we shared with hubby's brother and wife, within walking distance of a grocery store and other shops. I spent my birthday in Victoria and was given complimentary tickets for Butchart Gardens. Again as a gardener, it was the most perfect birthday gift ever, we were escorted around the gardens by our new daughter-in-law as Jim's son had a return of the flu bug which had attached itself to him before the wedding.  Jim seemed to love the gardens as much as I did..I could tell that Jenn was making sure we didn't miss anything!

Another garden site we visited is Glendale Gardens or HCP, Horticulture Centre of the Pacific gardens where Jim's son volunteers..It's a garden for gardeners and the Zen Garden there  was such a calming place, a place to relax and cool down from the heat of the day. We also had a guided tour of China Town learning many interesting facts. We had rented a car so we toured Sydney-by-the Sea also going the opposite direction to Sooke and over the mountains to Lake Cowichan and Duncan.

We toured Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse another highlight for me as I love lighthouses..we went beachcombing there and yes, I did bring home some shells, few stones and beachglass to add to my already growing collection from P.E.I. We seemed to squeeze in a lot of sightseeing into such a short time, just wetting our appetite to go back and see more..while viewing Butchart Gardens, Jim's brother and wife went zip-lining, loving it so much they wanted to do it all over again..

We visited great pubs, had great meals and now I must start my daily walking again as a few lbs. came back on..I ate fish at every opportunity, the flavor so much better than here at home. I had made a bucket list of things I wanted to see before flying out and was surprised how many things I could cross off the list..We also enjoyed seeing deer, seals, eagles and rabbits on a hillside outside of Duncan. Jim's son is not so happy to see the deer as they eat many things he doesn't want them to in his yard..he said: "they are like squirrels out here"..

There were two little bumps in our trip, I left my favorite grey hoody in the airport in Toronto on the way out, then forgot to ask for it at a Lost and Found on our return. Also hubby lost one of his best black all weather jackets at a pub in Victoria the night of the bachelor party..we called several times, went back twice to no avail. I did get a new plum colored hoody for my birthday to replace my grey one and my new daughter-in-law bought me two new purses at the gift shop at Butchart Gardens. So a happy ending for me. The real downside of Jim losing his jacket was there was 4 complimentary tickets in the pocket for Butchart...someone is having a good time on his son's gift to us.

Victoria is a very beautiful place to visit and we realize they can get a lot of rain out there but we lucked out on a week of glorious weather, great adventures, a memory filled wedding, while meeting many new people. I find the flight a bit long, five hours out and four and a half hrs. back but with movies to watch, books to read and perhaps a nap thrown in, the time went fairly fast. Plus we were happy to get all our luggage at both ends. My sister-in-law Caron had a bit of bad luck, her zipper broke on her large suitcase about twenty minutes before the trip to the airport at 4 a.m. but my hubby came to the rescue by dumping out our suitcase on the couch and presenting her with it..thankfully we had lots of time before our flight and purchased a new hockey bag at Canadian Tire..

Caron also gifted me with a heather plant which I got home all in one piece. She transported a small Monkey Puzzle tree back to her home. All in all it was a wonderful experience, one I can look back in by reading my travel diary that I keep and viewing pictures we took and postcards I purchased. Once home it was back to reality, turning on the furnace, lots of rain and putting extra blankets on the bed. Our maples are starting to turn color so many tourists will be arriving to tour our country roads for the fall foliage..

We are looking forward to returning to the West Coast and my brother hopes to return there with his wife, so who knows, perhaps we can travel out together on a train and fly back. New memories to look forward to so I'd better start saving!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

East Coast, West Coast

In a few years hubby and I will be moving and retiring to the East Coast, to the gorgeous island of Prince Edward Island..We are restoring an old farmhouse which involves a lot of work but it's a labour of love, my husband might call it something else, he has to do most of the hard labour.

I asked my step-son who joined us on the island this year to dig up some of my plants here in Muskoka.  He and my husband then transported them in wash tubs out to the island..my husband filled the tubs with earth that had broken down from our black plastic composter..I received a funny email from my sister-in-law on the island this weekend, her and her husband keep our grass cut while we are not there..They have been very busy with work on their own property so our grass had gotten quite long before they had time to cut it. So Caron had quite the surprise awaiting her..

Caron informed me I had tomatoes growing, small cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes in a flower bed... some of which she picked and will return to pick more once they ripen..she couldn't believe I'm not even there and we have vegetables growing on our property..as soon as I thought back to my transported plants in the tubs I realized what had happened. It was seeds from the soil in our composter as I have the same thing happen here, tomatoes plants pop up all over my garden and flower beds, even window boxes. Just like the dill plant, once planted it reseeds for years and years. As does my strawberry spinach plant if you leave one alone.

So I was very pleased to know Caron will enjoy tomatoes from our yard that we didn't plan on, a little bonus for all their hard work on our behalf. Her and her husband keep a good eye on our place when we aren't there and oversee the people we hire to put in new windows or do other jobs for us.

Caron and her husband Frank, Jim's brother will also be joining us a week from today for a wedding we are attending in Victoria, British Columbia. My husband's son is getting married outside on the grounds of Victoria University. It will be like going home for my husband as he lived many years in Vancouver B.C. in his early twenties. So he was able to visit Victoria a few times. For me, it will be a brand new experience as I've never been to any of the provinces out West.

We have a rehearsal supper to attend Friday night, the wedding on September 15th and then the rest of the week is ours to explore as we like. I will also be celebrating my birthday out there this year. I know the week will speed by and we won't get to see nearly all we'd like but I know several garden tours are on the agenda. My step-son is an arborist and also very interested in gardens so he has arranged one tour for me he said to Bushart Gardens. He has just returned from working for 6 weeks in London, England in different venues, doing tree work even at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House...It will be exciting to see his hundreds of photos from England, especially as he was there during the Olympics.

My hubby Jim and I are recovering from bad summer colds, which don't seem to want to leave us but we hope we are 100% well by the time we leave. We have had to discourage visits from our granddaughter which has been very disappointing just another reason we want to be well..the spare room bed is totally covered with clothes to be sorted and packed for the wedding... its just a bit harder when we don't know what the weather will be like..as I look at weather reports for Victoria this week, the weather seems quite warm with cooler evenings. Let's hope that continues.

To be honest I'm not looking forward to the five hour plane ride out and back but once we take off I tend to relax and the landing is my favorite part! I find the flight from here to P.E.I. just about perfect, not too long with a nice small airport at the other end. I always feel I could get lost at the airport in Toronto, it overwhelms me..Well I'd better be off and get the ironing board out, brush the cobwebs off it, as I use it about twice a year! Try and resist packing everything I own and remind myself, we only needs clothes for a week not six months..I have a reputation for overpacking so I challenge myself to pare back...of course if I cut back on my husbands clothes I can take more of mine!