Friday, July 31, 2009

The new ferries

We were on the new Coastal Celebration again coming back from Vancouver and once again very impressed with the ship. Along with great views it seems to glide through the water and you seem more like on a plane than on a boat.

I felt sorry for this poor little was a hot day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another perfect day

This weather is so relaxing I didn't even take any photos yesterday! John and Carole came here at noon and we went to a local restaurant called Cafe de Paris for a very French bistro style lunch. Jim and I had steak-frites...delicious. Then off to Third Beach for a swim this time and a different view of Vancouver. You see the seawall action and Siwash rock...very pleasant.

The idea for dinner was to go to the revolving restaurant on Robson since we do love that view but it was just too lovely a night to be inside. So relaxing the the balcony here watching the world go by...amazing number of people walking their dogs. One person came out of the next door apartment with three! Then we wandered up Robson and ended up at Vina Vietnamese and sat outside and had a light dinner, beer, and ended up by sharing deep fried bananas and ice cream which they even flambed. This restaurant is a real mainstay and we've often dined there over the year. Always good value and lots of interesting tastes.

We've had a wonderful time here and sounds like Katie, David, and Harmony had lots of fun in Victoria as well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another day in paradise...

Drove Jim out to UBC where he got some very interesting research then I went to Granville Island via Spanish Banks where I took lots of photos. I think I must paint this view. Of course Oyama Saucage was an important stop and I bought some dry saucage, the big specialty in France, some British style bacon that we had for breakfast today, and some duck pate with B.C. Bing cherries, and some Comte cheese from France which we love.

Now, Don, get ready for the link saucage I bought...Butter Chicken, Teriyaki Beef, Tequila Lime, and Lemon Lamb...mouth watering yet? Maybe we should think of a bar-b-q Thursday night?

I think everyone in Vancouver took the day off to go swimming at hope of getting a parking place so went to English Bay and parked at the Sylvia. Wonderful warm swim but we were hot. I think we'll go to Second Beach today in Stanley Park.

Have a super dinner with Richard and Claudia at L'altro buca...a new trattoria in the Buchan Hotel. Fabulous food and service and a wonderful night to be out on the patio.

I liked the name of this sailboat...Allons-y (Let's go) The woman just told her family not to go wandering around the market...guess they were sent on a special buying mission.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A perfect summer day in Vancouver

We began Sunday by wandering around the local neighbourhood and reading the menus of all the many interesting restaurants around here. Then off to Kits Beach to have lunch at the Watermark restaurant there and then for an ocean swim...quite warm really.

Then to Donna and Neil's for a great dinner and a perfect calm summer night in their backyard...quite a difference from last night with the natural and artificial fireworks and rain! Great to see Linda and Cec again. Having so much fun talking I forgot to take photos.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vancouver Exchange

We had a busy day yesterday seeing Katy and David and Vicky and Maddy from London in the morning. They're all doing great and Vicky starts her first year at St. Andrews after a gap year travelling and working in interesting places like Spain and Costa Rica. She doesn't golf yet but they give the St. Andrews' students a tremendous deal to play all 7 courses...something like 100 pds a year. Maddy is looking forward to going to a school with boys next year and still very interested in fashion. Jim has some research she can do at Vogue in London so she's looking forward to that. Meant to take some photos but with last minute organizing for our trip I just didn't think of it.

Then our Katie and David from Vancouver arrive with the ever wonderful Harmony and we had a chance to visit and show them the house. We caught one of the new ferries over and were very impressed with the panoramic dining room...fabulous unobstructed view. And the other eating area is also on the end and has great views too.

Big firework night in Van but the fireworks started long before !0pm with a pretty spectaular thunder and lighting storm so we watched the fork lightning from the condo and saw the fireworks too...some of them at least. Pouring rain so wasn't inviting to go out.

Great area down here at Robson and Denman so look forward to exploring around and hope to get an ocean swim but looking pretty dull at the moment. They seem to be getting the weather pretty wrong these days.

Oscar had a relaxing day as you can see.

David, Harmony and Katie.

View from our table in the ferry dining room.

Not my photo but the beautiful red sky and the lightning were just what we were seeing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Language of Bees"

"The Language of Bees" by Laurie R. King

It wouldn't be summer without a good mystery and King never fails especially with her Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. Always a pleasure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Paella night

I made paella on the weekend for Don and Elaine and Patty and Terry. I used the live spot prawns I bought at Finest at Sea...fabulous addition and now I think a July paella should be a tradition when live spot prawns can be had. The end of the season now so will have to do it in time.

Don made a fabulous sangria and Patty and Terry made a super local B.C. cherry clafoutis so we were definitely eating local as much as possible. I should have taken a lot more photos especially of the food but I was too busy cooking...

Patty and Terry meet Oscar.

Don and Elaine at the Finest at Sea presentation the day before.

Edmonton cleans up after fierce storm

I emailed Kerry asking how her brother-in-law and wife were doing since they are in the Kelowna area. For the moment they aren't affected since they are on the east side but still worried. Then she went onto tell me about this big thunderstorm in Edmonton they experienced Sat. with gusts up to

Edmonton cleans up after fierce storm

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wildfires force 17,000 to flee homes in Canada - Telegraph

Wow...the wildfires in Kelowna made the Telegraph in the UK. Pretty harrowing to watch the local news tonight. I hope there's some good news soon.

Wildfires force 17,000 to flee homes in Canada - Telegraph

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The rest of the catch

Bob with a yellow eye rock fish...the most valuable...even more than halibut. Will be sold to the Asian market in California.

Even though the main goal is halibut, other fish aren't thrown back these days and here is a very colourful selection of rock fish and ling cod. When we went fishing on Gabriola at our summer place there was a big kelp bed in front of our place so we could always jig for cod if we got skunked on salmon. Not much fun to catch but delicious eating. I remember once we were up there with Roger and Kerry and Roger made the most fabulous fish and chips.

A few little videos of Bob doing a "show and tell" of the different cod.

Off loading a halibut boat

As part of the Victoria Taste events this weekend the Curlings and I (Jim was playing golf) went to this fabulous presentation put on by Finest at Sea Seafood Productions.

Victoria Taste

The owner Bob Fraumeni and partner Paul Chaddock treated us to a tour of their plant and store but the real highlight was being able to watch the off loading of a halibut boat at Fisherman's Wharf. They usually off load in Prince Rupert so this was a very special occasion and an amazing experience. And we got to taste all their smoked!

We learned a lot about the current fishery and I was very impressed with the commitment that Finest at Sea has in terms of freshness and participating in a sustainable fishery. Their products are excellent and they supply many of the best restaurants in Victoria including the Hotel Grand Pacific. Elaine and I always order the seafood special if there is one offered on our Wednesday lunches so we can attest to the quality.

Finest at Sea Ocean Products

This halibut weighed 106 pounds with the head off.

Halibut just off the crane.

Halibut being hauled up from the hold of the boat.

Halibut heads...they take the cheeks out then use the rest for soup.

Like Cuba...?

When Richard was in town the other week he was loving seeing the number of old classic cars around Victoria. He figures it is almost like Cuba after Vancouver. I'm not sure I had really noticed there aren't a lot of old cars in Vancouver these days. He thinks it's because people in Vancouver are more into the status of a new car but I think it could be because we don't have the same emission controls like Vancouver and also because people are driving to the burbs and perhaps need a newer car. Interesting observation. I loved this old Malibu that was parked at the library the other day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My amazing cacti

As I think I mentioned before these cacti were left out all last winter in all the cold and rain and have just done amazing things this summer. The purple flowers have been blooming for quite some time and show no sign of abating and the yellow ones on the other cactus just came out and more are to come.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blue Bridge Theatre in Victoria BC

We saw Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" last night and we agree wholeheartedly with Adrian Chamberlain's five star rating. It was a wonderful production and a very fine cast. Kyra Harper as Linda Loman was electrifying. Interesting that she was in the original McPherson theatre company in the 60's and 70's.

We did see "Death of a Salesman" in our early days in Victoria in the 70's. Jim teaches the play quite frequently but I hadn't read it since university days and not seen it since that production. It certainly is a very powerful play and demands a tour de force from the cast and they were up to the task.

The play ends this Sunday and I would encourage everyone to see it and support this new very promising theatre group in Victoria.

Blue Bridge Theatre in Victoria BC

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Curlings meet our Oscar

Don and Elaine came over with a birthday gift for Jim yesterday...a small little book and a big book called "501 Must Read Books". Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" is one featured on the cover. We'll both look forward to reading it.

Of course, Oscar gave these cat lovers a warm welcome. In fact, Oscar was sitting on the front porch meowing to get in but Jim didn't hear him. Oscar told Don what he thought of that...not very complimentary!

Love at first sight.

A nice comfy lap.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cowichan Bay

Quite a change in the weather today but yesterday was just fabulous and so glad we took full advantage of it and drove up the Cowichan Bay in our convertible and had lunch.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Thirteenth Tale"

"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield.

"Farndale, North Yorkshire Moors" Artist: Peter M. Hicks

This is our August choice for our bookclub and I must say it is certainly an engaging story and quite a page turner. Some what like Dan Brown in that respect but more literary merit and there is half decent character development. Not undying literature but certainly would be great reading on a plane. I liked the the fact that most of it was set in the Yorkshire moors...certainly a good setting for a mystery and ghost story. This is her first novel...she is a former academic specializing in French literature.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fun with Oscar

When I came back from swimming, Oscar was helping Jim proofread. Elaine had suggested a catnip mouse and I gave it to him but I think it's perhaps a bit much for him. He got a bit of a dazed look then went to sleep on the sofa.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Birthday x two

My birthday was July 7 and Elaine's was July 8 so we celebrated our birthdays with our usual Wednesday swim and lunch at the Grand Pacific. Our usual servers, Tina, Donna, and Teresa made up this special birthday treat for's such fun going there!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Two documentaries

We don't usually rent documentaries but I was quite interested in Annie Leibovitz "Life Through a Lens" and found it very good. It didn't seem like she ever used a tripod...guess she had a steady hand. The other one was Bill Maher "Religulous" which was a comic send up of religion. We had seen a preview and it looked funny and it was.

I thought this was a pretty amazing photo of Willie Nelson that Leibovitz took.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The amazing leaper...

We've noticed that Oscar is a pretty good leaper but were amazed he managed to jump in the bathroom window. We'll have to make sure this is shut from now on. It was only open this far when he jumped in.