Rainy ride

Bundle up and

Get something warm and

Get your keys and

Stand and wait sip your drink and look out traffic

Pull your hood close and

Wave your pass and

Wait in shelters

Bleary burn stained glass

Look for the white white roof of the

Crosstown connection.

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Victoria’s Hidden Gems – Fairfield

If I tell you about a place with long beaches of little sunset coves, interesting local history, people watching, shopping and great food you might immediately be thinking I’m describing somewhere in the Mediterranean, maybe near the high end living of Monaco.

But no, in this first installment of Victoria’s Hidden Gems, we start in my neck of the woods… Fairfield.

With a history that goes back to literally the first landing by Victoria’s founder James Douglas, where the sounds of our early streetcar trams echo, the just-out-of-town pleasures of our community are just minutes away from your cruise line or hotel lobby. The title of Fairfield itself covers quite a large area, from the vibrant fun of Cook St Village to the Observation tower where this photo gazes down to the soft sandy beach cove of Gonzales Bay. This sames waterfront curves all the way around to Beacon Hill Park and eventually the downtown Victoria harbor, creating some amazing walks perfect for sunset romantic strolls past turn of the century homes. Along this same waterfront, near Clover Point when you near the corner of Dallas and Cook St, you are actually near an old military post used by Canadian forces during World War One, with it’s only evidence being the slightly wide fields and the round concrete stairway that can take you down to the beach facing the Salish Sea and the distant snow-covered peaks of the Olympic Peninsula.

For food we have absolutely got you covered as well, with lots of great little pubs like The Ross Bay situated across from the austere Ross Bay Cemetery which is the resting place of James Douglas himself along with other famous names like artist Emily Carr, there is the Oxford Arms in Cook St Village, a variety of small Cook St restaurants serving everything from Italian to Ethiopian food and speaking of Cook St Village, it should be almost be called Coffee Street Village as you can get the dark brew in about 10 places in 3 blocks. No lack of places here to sip and watch the world go by, all a two block stroll through the leafy sidewalks to Beacon Hill and especially it’s bandshell where you can hear world class talent or in summer weekends take in one of our “Free B Film Festival” movies in the park.

I’ve really only cracked the surface of things to do in Fairfield too. It’s amazing for hiking as you’re at our Island’s southernmost point so it’s easy to navigate your way about and if you check out online sites like Harbourliving.ca you can see what activities are happening right now, including live music and the Moss Street market which takes place all summer and is definitely not one to miss, or the Moss Street Paint-In just down the street from the Victoria Art Gallery and around the corner from the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle which was the home to a wealthy Scottish Coal Baron and a place to not miss especially around Christmas where it is decked out in all it’s festive colors and music travels through every curve in it’s oak panelled interior.

If you stop by Cook Street grab a coffee and send me a wave. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

😉

Tom

5 ways to pass time in Transit / Morning Transit

Off we go

See what I did there? If not that’s probably ok 😏

But seriously, stay tuned for my upcoming 5 things to make use of time in transit when there’s no wifi. I’ll put that down there after the first bit.

Kind of miss my other headphones. I’m using more normal earbuds but they’re not wireless, oh… nevermind. Just realized I could flip the phone the other way. Still gets a bit in the way when holding to type in landscape.

…what? Don’t look at me like that. It’s all about details. …what?

Ok enough of that. Today is mowing the parent’s lawn which is also in Saanichton so it’s on the 72 bus like I did on Monday. If you go two back you can go on that Fab journey. Yesterday was rehearsal which was fun and I got to try out my new bass which will be debuting on this weekend at the Victoria Highland Games. Here’s one of me back in the day with my old Peavey Fretless…one sec, I have that photo around here somewhere…

There we go! Now you can find out more about my band/music on the music part of my site or simply go to cookeilidh.com which I know is a bit old school for some so here’s a link to our Instagram too. I’d do our other stuff too but there’s a lot and that could take a whiiiiiile lol.

It’s actually kind of interesting being on the 72 as it’s the one bus in Victoria that connects to both the airport and the ferry, so like the 75 that goes to our famous Butchart Gardens…ok, one sec…lol

There we go! And trust me, that barely does them justice. Look them up too when you get a chance! Anyways the 72 and 75 are the two (feels like a Monty Python bit here) rides where you run into lots of folks from other countries, some with suitcases and some with backpacks. I’ve done it too which brings me finally too…

Five ways to pass time in Transit (no wifi)

Wi-Fi’s an easy out but imagine your in, like, the BC interior or somewhere with nada. Maybe it’s diff now…anyways…

1) Writing.. Not only this now but I have worked on entire stories and characters on the bus.

2) Scheduling with note pad app. Already doing something so it’s such a bonus.

3) PDFs. Predownload and read any classic. Presently doing Boefius and the Consolation of Philosophy

4)classic car games. I spy and so on. You can do it to yourself. See anything blue? Red?

5) Reach out! Take off the headphones and let the world happen. Not forcing it but you might get in a conversation with the most interesting people. Just like the discussions on liminality, it’s in these nuetral places in life where you could make a life changing connection.

Laters!

Tom

Discovering Georgia’s Eden

georgia-signagui

This is something that I have always meant to blog about since it first captured my imagination.  From simply doing research for a book project I was working on, I have always wanted to travel to the country of Georgia.  To venture into the Caucasus Mountains that form its northern border and roam the streets of it’s capital city Tbilisi.

Set between the Black and Caspian Seas, Georgia first caught my attention in a series of videos called Vintage : A History of Wine which are narrated by the author of the original book by Hugh Johnson.  It is in this small, beautiful country that the story of wine begins.

In his film, Hugh explains that not only is Georgian Wine still made by the same ancient process of aging in gourds underground but that the history of winemaking there goes back to 10,000 B.C.

Gori_reis_08_(10)

I could almost finish my blog there and just let your imagination take things from that point.  This country on the border of Europe and Asia was making wine, something that requires patience and planning (and most importantly, civilisation) before most of the great empires of history took their first steps.  As an example they were making wine long before the construction of the first of the Egyptian pyramids with the earliest being the Pyramid of Djoser between 2630 and 2611 B.C.

The vineyard owners that Hugh Johnson interviewed were very humble and friendly which is exactly what I experienced myself when I made contact with people from this country myself.  Long before the Internet was what it is today I emailed some folks for more information on Georgia.  I was sent not only the phrasebook I sent for but a sheet of Georgian recipes and another sheet that contained facts about the country.  I still have my copy of this wonderful book by Patricia Hall and Tatyana Bukia which goes over everything from basic survival phrases to what to say at a Georgian Dinner.

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What is also interesting has been the increase of archeological discoveries in the countryside.  They have found the existence of dinosaurs in the area, ancient caves and more importantly, the evidence of human activity.  Near the town of Dmanisi, sixty kilometers south of Tbilisi that go back 1.7 million years.  For those who believe in the accounts of the Bible, Mount Ararat of the story of Noah’s Ark is a stone’s throw away.

What ever one believes I am personally enchanted by the wonder of Georgia as one of Europe’s most fascinating treasures.  Due to its military position as the border between two continents, its truth may be locked away under centuries of soldiers, horses and the endless scouring of time. 

If you are a Victoria, BC based reader you can find Georgian Wine as I have at the BC Liquor Store at the corner of Fort and Foul Bay.

Thank you for reading!   

Tom