April 26, 2009

In a Victorian age

So I gave the cliché about women being like wine as they get older some thought this weekend and decided it’s not true. Why? Because the older a wine gets, the more money it will fetch. That’s definitely not the case with women. Not to imply that I want to be bought or sold. Most certainly not. But if I did…

This weekend I reached the pivotal point in life where I have to give in and accept being called ma’am in stores and restaurants. Although it’s been happening randomly already, I fought it off on the premise that it wasn’t wholly justified. On Friday, my Birthday, the leg that argument stands on just got a bit more wobbly.

We celebrated the bitter sweet event by going to Victoria, a place with, appropriately, lots of history and wrinkles both literal and figurative. The city is a Mecca for 50 something people at leisure spending money on British-Isle-style offerings. Tea houses, candy shops, boutiques selling Shetland wool sweaters, horse-drawn carriages for sightseeing, stuff like that. But that’s not really why we like it. We may be “of the age” but we’re definitely not of the “mind-set”.

We go to Victoria because it’s beautiful. Because there are Arbutus trees and an ocean walk where, on some days, the breakers leap up and over their stone retaining walls and land at your feet on the walkway 10 meters above them. And yeah ok, because the buildings in the downtown core have an old-world charm, even if much of it is contrived to be old-world charming. And, finally, because Victoria also has lots of young people, it is a university town too, and enough of a holistic core to offer up some awesome vegetarian cafes and restaurants. So pretty much, it has it all: lovely scenery, lots of great places to walk to, lots and lots of fantastic places to eat, and even a gay night club where R and I went dancing on Robbie Burns day a couple of years ago so that I could recapture a sense of my wayward youth. But that’s another story.

This year it was a more sedate affair. Highlights? A visit to my favourite bookstore:

A hunt for images for possible future prints (somewhat limited because I HATE looking like a tourist and taking pictures in public).

And a hunt for what's supposed to be, according to Will Ferguson in Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw, Victoria's ugliest mural. We walked up and down and around pretty much every street in the main core trying to find it and failed.

We found lots of other murals, in varying degrees of aesthetic appeal, like this one with black bears and Ralph and Ed from the Honeymooners:

and this one, which I'm not sure is finished yet:

Nothing that even remotely resembled the one WF described in the book though. We even asked a couple of locals if they knew where Victoria's ugliest mural was but they didn't. Or maybe they did know it but, with the whole beauty in the eye of the beholder thing, they actually liked it and didn't think it could be be the one we were looking for.

I'm considering writing WF a letter and chewing him out for not mentioning the address.

On our last day, leaving one type of structure for another, we went to see Beacon Hill Park. Most of the park was very manicured but we found a small grove of fantastic trees and meadows full of wild flowers and took more pictures that will, one day I hope, become prints.

It was an excellent trip and an excellent way to recognize another year's passing. May they all be as good.

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