Saturday, March 21, 2015

Butchart Gardens

I just realized that I've had this blog for at least seven years and I haven't yet posted about Butchart Gardens, arguably the most famous sight in Victoria.

That could be because as residents here we consider it to be a tourist attraction and too expensive to visit ourselves.  But several of our friends have a seasons pass, which costs only a little more than two regular admissions and it allows you to visit as many times as you want for a year. What a deal!

We went there in December to see the lovely Christmas light show and now that we're back in town we're planning to go often. Today being the first day of spring seemed an auspicious time to visit. A bonus is that you can bring your dog on a leash so we took Geordie along.

Here are a few of the sights we saw.  Blossoming trees and mossy bears among the cedars...

Plantings in the sunken garden (with the fountain as a backdrop)...

 Mossy tree trunks and elegant buildings and cheeky fountains...

some of the most beautiful Camelias I've seen....

Scenes in the Japanese garden...

The famous bronze boar with the shiny nose from all the visitors hands...

And of course lovely spring bulbs (crocus, tulips, daisies, hyacinths and daffodils)

And finally a peek inside one of the greenhouses

I'm planning to go back at least once a month with my camera so I'll keep you up to date.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring on Yukon Street

Spring has arrived here on Yukon Street. The coral bark maple in front of our house is leafing out. This photo looks through it across the street to where the plum trees are just finishing their blossoms

Here's the apartment across the street. The plum trees are leafing out in their plummy colour and the kids are starting to hang out on the steps leaving their toys behind. Soon the snowflake designs will come off the window to be replaced by Easter eggs. 

And down at the end of the street is Nomi's house with her exquisite pink magnolia in full flower. The street is a study in pink and green.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Another protest

I guess I'm fully back at home now. We marched in another protest today in downtown Victoria. Harry and I joined tens of thousands of people all over Canada who peacefully demonstrated today against the federal government's evil secret police legislation, Bill C-51.

Yet again we are aghast at the actions of the Conservatives who will stop at nothing to silence the voices of opponents.

One poster said:  If you're not appalled by Bill C-51, you're not paying attention.

If you want to know more about it, take a look at this one and a half minute video by clicking here: video

Fortunately this morning's rain ended in time for a good turnout. Here are a few photos to give the flavour of the rally.  People of all ages and walks of life were there and I'm happy to see that there were rallies all across the country working hard to keep Canada a free, inclusive and democratic nation.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Last views of Mazatlán colour and textures

Before we are fully immersed in our lives back in Victoria I want to post this gallery of images from the streets of Mazatlán.  Many, but not all, of these buildings are vacant. And you can't always tell which is which by looking.  This one is being repaired and restored I think.
Some have more than one address number (showing that street addresses have changed at least twice in the centre of town).

 Here's a contrast between on that is falling into ruin and one that is very well kept.

So many of the buildings have arches above the door filled in with a variety of wrought iron details.

Here's a closeup showing peeling paint colours on an abandoned building.

I just love the found juxtaposition of colours.

We admired the circular corner on this building and the elegant details above the windows. Sadly this one has trees growing through the walls and is likely beyond redemption.

These two little ones are definitely occupied. The one on the right is a dark above that looks to be about nine feet wide with no windows at all.

This building was a huge mansion on the corner that appears to be semi-occupied.  One or two apartments have lights on at night and there are plants in pots and a resident dog.  

More wall art where the paint has worn away.

In the image below I can't stop looking at the transition in this photo from elegant and almost pristine on the left to the underpinnings on the right.

Behind this wall is a parking lot created when the roof collapsed.

And one final look, the last water colour painting I did there, showing an occupied house on the left and one where the roof is gone allowing sunlight to shine out the empty windows. The flags across the top of the street are left over from one fiesta or another.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Home again in Victoria

We arrived home to brilliant sunshine on Saturday. Everything at home was fine and Geordie was happy to see us if a bit confused about the change in residents.  He has gained a little weight while we were away so has to go on a diet. Well, he's not the only one. I did the same thing and am undertaking some serious healthy eating.

Harry was sick with a cold on the plane home and took to his bed for three days once we arrived. He's only now surfacing. We are glad to be home and are finding many signs of spring here. (And feeling very lucky in comparison to people living on the east coast.)

It's such a different climate from Mazatlan. The temperature and humidity there in February were such that when we went outside we kept to the shade, and we spent the middle part of the day in the coolness of the apartment.  Here it's the opposite. The sun draws us outside around 10:30 and from then until about 4:00 is the energetic time of the day.

Here's a little contrast in colours between the two cities.

A couple of homes in Centro with the setting sun highlighting their brilliant colours....

And a Victorian house with the pale blue sky and pink blossoms.

We are gradually getting back into our Victoria life, catching up with friends and family and filling the calendar with errands and appointments. I've moved into my little studio. I've decided to try sharing the space with the woman that sublet it from me for January and February. We'll see how that works. I'm looking forward to getting back to work on the acrylic abstracts.

If you've been enjoying the photos from Mazatlan, don't worry. I am planning to post some more photos of the old part of Mazatlan as I came home with hundreds of images. Some I may use for future water colour subjects.

After spending two months in the tropics we've decided that we don't need such a long winter break. We had a great time and enjoyed our visitors and lots of activities, but after about three weeks you're not on holiday, you're living in a foreign country. We've done it before but we now realize there are so many places int he world to visit that we don't want to just keep returning to the same spot.

Next year we're thinking about the possibility of Spain or Cuba or Sicily. So many destinations, so little time.