Canada / USA

Published: September 3rd 2014
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It's hard to believe we've only been away for one week! We are staying in Victoria on Vancouver Island with my cousin Lorna and she has planned a very full itinerary for us! Victoria is a beautiful city with a very attractive, lively inner harbour area where everything seems to happen. We experienced our 2nd whale watching trip on Thursday with the 'Prince of Whales' and saw two pods of killer whales - amazing! When we returned we were taken on a complimentary tour of the harbour and gorge in a dinky little ferry by Lorna's friend, Christopher, who made it very informative and entertaining for us.

This weekend has been particularly busy as it was a public holiday marking the end of the summer break. The children were due to go back to school today but teachers are on strike, a dispute which started in June so you can imagine how popular teachers are over here. There were a lot of classic ships in the harbour which we could look around and yesterday there was a free blues festival where we could enjoy the music, the sunshine and the beer!

As well as exploring Victoria we took a trip up the west coast to Sooke and visited China Beach and French Beach which are both unspoilt and rugged. On the way back we visited Sooke Potholes, a dramatic river gorge with waterfalls. Saturday was a busy day as we managed to fit in a visit to Chemainus, a small town which used to rely on the logging industry for its livelihood but has now reinvented itself as a tourist attraction since the sawmill closed. The murals on the sides of the buildings depict the history of the town the first nation people and the development of the railway. We then stopped off at Cowichan Bay, an interesting waterside development of house boats and shops - very organic! Next stop was the Mill Bay ferry to Brentwood Bay where we had a lovely meal overlooking the harbour, before going to a spectacular firework display at Butchart Gardens.

Last but not least we have enjoyed our eating experiences this week! Lorna is a fantastic cook and is trying out all her specialities on us, including beer chicken which we enjoyed on uncle Ken's 87th birthday. There are also plenty of eating out opportunities which we are working our way through. I will have to start my diet as soon as we get home!

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3rd September 2014

Well the text ran out after "Chemainus is a " so I am left wondering, but the photo suggests it might be an Native Indian settlement that has a waterwheel providing energy ? Anyway it all looks very exciting and stimulating and how clever of Lorna to arrange a firework display in your honour! Seeing the Orcas must have been really special - awesome is appropriate here I am sure. After a few damp days the weather is returning to summer temperatures and clear skies. The road to Westbury Wiltshire today (where we were having lunch with friends) was edged with bright red flashes as all the hawthorns seem laden with berries. It has been a good week. I have made some drypoint etchings with my new etching tools which I absolutely love - the tools that is the work was OK and I am sure will get better, now that I am using the correct tools. Liz and I had a very energetic dance session last Tuesday with a different young thing who let's say didn't seem to be patronising us on account of our age. Liz seemed fine she has told me about her recent episode. We are off to Norwich next week for Rosie's birthday, and have just booked a week in a cottage in St. Ives Cornwall from 17th October. It looks perfect- almost on the beach the bay window overlooking the waves. Thank you for sharing your blog, it is really interesting hearing your news and seeing photos of the different places. I am looking forward to the next installment. Keep enjoying yourself, love Maureen x
4th September 2014

got it
Got the whole blog this time! Sounds like a feast for all the senses and your culinary adventures have surely got to be something you share with us on your return.
4th September 2014

Lucky you!
Just read your blog, it all sounds good. I'm trying to imagine it all. You are obviously having a whale of a time....geddit? I'm enjoying the fact that I don't have to school. Julie arrived yesterday. Keep the blogs coming,it's lovely to hear what you've been up to! Xx
5th September 2014

Hi guys, love the blog & the photo's, this week has flown bye can't believe how much you have crammed in! All looks amazing glad you are having such a brilliant time. Love to you all G & H xx

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