Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A little delay isn't a bad thing

The wood debris and the soil and the plant material were all removed last week and work went well on the cement base for the stone terrace and paths and for the brick wall.  Here you can see the base of the trough for the fountain and markings on the wall determining placement of spout and basin.

But there's a bit of a problem with the wall beneath the parking lot.  You can see in the photo below the crack that's causing concern.  I know it's been there for 30 years because I remember it from when the ivy was planted.  It has opened up a bit more and the owner of the apartment (whose wall it is) worries about where it's going to go.  The more I look at it the more I think it's a good thing to investigate it. We wouldn't want the wall to collapse.

So sadly the brick work which was to have started yesterday is now on hold until a structural engineer can come to assess and determine what repairs might be needed. It will mean a delay of a few weeks maybe, depending on the recommendation to the apartment owner.  But better to get it fixed now than to build a beautiful brick wall and water feature that may have to be taken down later.

In other news, our trip to Venice is right around the corner.  We leave tomorrow afternoon and join the bike and barge tour on Saturday.  We are just about finished our packing and only now are we starting to get excited about the trip. My friend Sue will be here in the house with Geordie.

Some work on the garden project will continue; the stones can be laid and stairs built but the water feature and the wall and the plantings will wait until we return on the third week in May.  I think that's actually better because I want to see it all happen.

Meanwhile, stay posted for photos of Venice, Mantova, Padova and the Veneto region of Italy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Garden destruction

We're having a new garden put in at the back of our house. But before you can build the garden anew there's the destruction phase, and that's what we're into here at Yukon Street this week. In just three and a half days things look very different out back.

Here's the old deck and the wall of ivy.  It looks kind of pretty but the ivy had taken over and was threatening to overwhelm the space, not to mention toppling the fence behind it.

Here's the deck emptied of furniture. You can see that the wall of ivy sheltered us from the view of the apartment behind.  Our plans are to redo the wall in brick with a privacy screen above it.

The ivy comes down revealing the 30 year old fence behind it. This fence was being pulled over by the ivy.

Behind the fence is another fence completely entangled in ivy.  More destruction is required.

The deck is removed to reveal the cement pad beneath it completely covered in soil after 30 years.

Finally here's the second fence removed showing the ugly parking lot behind us.  That wall of ivy did a good job hiding it.  The tree roots and plant material will be hauled away along with a lot of earth. 

The destruction is complete.... and now we begin the process of rebuilding the new design. The old soil is being taken away and will be replaced with new, amended soil. We will have a stone terrace and a brick wall topped by a privacy screen.  And on the wall, just about where that dark square is there will be a wall fountain and a water feature along the edge.  I'm hoping it will have the feeling of a private courtyard.  

I just hope it looks as nice as I'm thinking it will as there's a lot of effort and destruction involved here.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quite some time ago

My childhood friend Heather posted this on her Facebook page and it brought back memories from when I was 12 years old.  That would be in 1958!

Three of us are posed in front of Heather's house with our bikes.  I'm the chubby-faced one on the right with the too-big jeans, the too-big bike and the saddle shoes.  I'm not sure why it is that I'm the shortest one but my bike is the biggest. Maybe it's just that the sidewalk slopes down?  It didn't seem to bother me then though, so I'm trying not to obsess about it now.

I remember that bike.  I saved up my money and bought it for $27 when I was nine years old.  Just think how it must have dwarfed me then.  I had that bike until I was fourteen. 

I think we were in grade 6 in this photo and heading out to the Commonwealth Pool at UBC where we used to go swimming. Heather and I were best friends from Grade 1 through grade 7 when my family moved away.  We reconnected about 15 years ago and were able to pick up from where we were.  Isn't it wonderful to have friends like that!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Geordie's new home

We've been here almost a month now and Geordie is getting used to his new home in the city.  It's been an adjustment because there are a lot more people and dogs here in the Fernwood than there were up on Haliburton Hill.

At first Geordie was hesitant to even go out the front door but after a few weeks he's happily trotting down the hill and over to the nearby high school where we can play ball on the grass.

Since our other dog Maggie left us in January, Geordie has been benefitting from additional love and attention and he is turning into a very sweet (and spoiled) dog.  It's working out very well having Geordie with us by himself.  He gets to come with me in the car as I do errands and we take walks all over different neighbourhoods.  He's getting more and more used to passing people of all kinds (even on skateboards) and other dogs on our outings.

I think that dogs who live in the city are much more socialized than suburban dogs.  We are really enjoying our time with Geordie.

In this photo he's on the carpet in front of the sink waiting for his dinner.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spur-of-the-moment travel plans: Venice to Mantova

Our friends Liz and Ritchie are leaving today for Europe on a trip they've been planning since last summer.  They fly to Amsterdam for a bike and barge trip to view the tulips, then spend two weeks in Paris and end in Venice for another bike and barge week.  They wanted us to do the Venice part of the trip with them but last fall we said no to the plan because we were going to be selling our house and moving.

Well, about a week and a half back they were visiting us in our new home and we looked online to see if the trip was sold out or if there might be space for us to come along. And there was.  So, on the spur of the moment we signed up.

Last week was spent sorting out details and making travel plans for a three-week trip.  On April 30, we will fly to Venice and spend seven days on the boat with our friends on the canals and rivers in the Veneto area.  Each day we will bike a ways and explore small towns and villages and farming areas in the flat Po valley.  The trip ends in Mantua and from there we'll spend another two weeks visiting Padua, Trieste and the northern Croatian Istrian peninsula.

While we're away we will be having some work done in the back garden area.  Our friend Sue who lives upstairs will be taking care of Geordie.  Meanwhile we continue settling in and sorting out our new home.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Settling in at Yukon Street

It's hard to believe how long it is taking for us to settle in.  But I think I'm remembering moves when I was a young woman and didn't have so much stuff.  Just now,  ten days after our move I'm starting to feel settled here.  The kitchen is functional ...

and my desk and computer are temporarily set up in the alcove (also known as the guest room, the art room, and Harry's dressing room).  Taking that wall down was the best thing we ever did!

Geordie is getting used to his new neighbourhood and so are we.  It's a very different vibe than our suburban home.  Surprisingly it's actually quieter though as we're on a cul-de-sac and there's not much vehicle traffic except when there's a shift change at the old folks home next door.  Across from us is a little park where the moms from the family housing apartment across the street take their little ones to play.

Here are a few more images of our new location.  It has the feeling to me of a European apartment, but it's right here in Victoria.

Today we get the proceeds from our sale and this is the payoff for all our work over the past year.  We now can eliminate our line of credit from the renovation and make some travel plans.