Wedding Wednesday: the aftermath

I had intended to write something the last Wednesday leading up to the big day; seems the final countdown means all sorts of last minute running around and the day ran away from me! It was not until the next day someone in the family mentioned they had not seen a post. (Nice to note some of them read my posts) However, now that the momentous day has come and gone I am free to include photos!

Big however here, I only took the first two of the following photos although they were taken on my phone. Why did I not take many? The mother of the bride should not be hiding behind a camera or iPhone. There were so many people with phones I knew I would not have to worry. I am waiting for some to be sent to me as I write – which tells the tale I started this before Wednesday. Just in case I am overwhelmed with exhaustion. Ensconced in my room, with AC and a fan going full blast I hope I can capture some of the magic of the day and chaos leading up to it.

My eldest, the bride, and two of her sisters

I had only managed two paragraphs before I started to doze off. Perhaps becoming a wedding coordinator is not in my future. Although I am quite sure I could teach the person in charge of the venue a few things about appropriate attitude when working with a bride. Fortunately nearly everything went smoothly. The worse incident was with a special glass pumpkin my daughter bought with their names and the date of the wedding engraved on plaques, As she said, “Seems wheels and boats don’t mix.” Funny considering we were on a paddle wheel.

My daughter, her soon to be husband (photos done before ceremony) and me

The bride was beautiful. The groom was handsome. The ladies and men were perfect. The venue was as ready as it would ever be. Guests arrived, listened to the piper (yes, there was a Piper), had a photo taken at a ship’s wheel and boarded. To add some humour water came running, taplike, from the roof above us just as the bride and her father were to walk down the aisle, right in the middle.

A wonderful gift of Scottish piping from the mother of the groom

The set up was lovely, once my daughter and a friend of her sister, stepped in to assist. We had fishbowls, minus the fish, (my grandson suggested goldfish crackers) with orchids and fairy lights flanking small, white bouquets in mason jars (these are actually great as decorative vases and found in nearly any cupboard). I never did understand if it was a fishbowl or a mason jar that was broken during the set up. The blue table runners and chair sashes were carefully laid and tied. Try ironing 100 sashes and 20 table runners, the. Keep the, from becoming creased before the big day!

just a bit of chaos before everything was boxed for the ride to the venue

We partied like there was no tomorrow. Anyone with slippers was happy to have remembered them – that includes me. The bride and groom serenaded the guests for the last song/dance. She lost her voice. Four days later she is still hoarse! Perhaps it was just as well the bridal table did not have any wine served to them during toasts – many drinks were being bought for them. That is said in jest, fortunately the bride snagged a bottle from the parents table – I had one short glass of red wine that I promptly gave to my youngest at the table across from me after the first toast. The rest of the toasts I had to use my water glass. Oops.

It is difficult to convey in words how wonderful everything was and even photographs will only provide a glimpse of how to do a wedding right. With lots of family, love, laughter and dancing to the hours. I hope everyone enjoys the photos I have been able to gather.

Wasn’t that a party?!

Advertisements

Mini Adventure: Transformation

After being deterred from visiting the Hatley Park Gardens due to the rather hefty fee I was pleased to discover that Father’s Day was slated for free entry. Gardens only, the castle was closed to the public. All we had to pay for was parking, $3.00 for three hours seemed like plenty and it was. I ended up passing along my parking receipt to another visitor. My friendly good deed for the day.

I stand by my beliefs that entry was free due to all the film paraphernalia and areas close to the castle, as well as some garden sections were closed off. My astute daughter took a quick look at the recently added embellishments hanging from the castle and flowers tucked into bushes before stating this was the setting for the Disney TV film Descendants. She was even able to provide some background information about the show. I had no idea she still harboured interest in the film industry. Look closely at one of the banners to see the Beast. The blue flowers in the bushes and front garden are all fake. According to my daughter blue flowers are the go to choice for the movies! (We do get blue hydrangea) The castle itself, and it is a real castle, depicts the school where the children of well known fairy tale characters attend. Ergo, Descendants. The fact the whole space was – since the 1940s -and remains, a university is a fun fact. The history is interesting, more can be found at http://hatleypark.ca/

Unfortunately the Italian Garden was closed. Most likely the most appropriate section for filming outdoor scenes: walled in, formal and a lovely loggia and pergola make this a romantic or eerie setting depending on lighting and the imagination. I can see Belle hanging over the balustrade dreaming of home; or the prince from Sleeping Beauty grabbing a low hanging wisteria to pull himself over a low sandstone railing to discover the castle glimpsed was not a vision.

There are benches dedicated to individuals for visitors to have a pleasant rest or to drink in the fragrances and feast the eyes. One couple commented on the filming, they said the helpful security person told them the set was for the Big Sleep. When I expressed doubt, it being a well known Bogart & Bacall movie and that this is a Disney film they were adamant. I mentioned this to my daughter who laughed before she told me many film settings have a false title to prevent crowds from descending on the setting. She did say, however, it may be the title of the latest installation – so I looked it up and indeed that is the case. Even at 60 I am learning things.

who needs fake flowers when nature provides beauties like these!

The castle had not been our focus so we were not too disappointed, I had already been inside on a few occasions many years ago. We headed to the rose garden, an enclosed space to keep foraging deer from decimating the rose bushes, a delicacy for them. Although beginning to look a little worse for wear as we approach the final days of spring the bushes and vines had enough colour and fragrance – without overwhelming allergies my daughter has – to encourage guests to linger before leaving through the rose handle gate at the far end into the fruit bearing garden. We found apple and pear trees roped along the fences, beginning to plump up, yet again having missed the full glory of flowering. This bounty does not go to waste, all the fruit is donated to food banks. I guess students are not considered in desperate enough need for fresh fruit in mid-September. (Student loans tend to last at least to mid-October)

We returned through the rose garden, remembering to carefully close the door behind us, to head to the Bog Garden and Japanese Garden. My daughter was not about to miss a Bog Garden! For some reason I was expecting something more along the line of a peat bog, but this was far more interesting for how clear it was. The underwater flora was just as interesting as the variety floating atop the water. Swift dragonflies and smaller insects did not always outrace the small birds skimming above, slight splashes indicated a successful catch and meal. These were some very happy birds. In addition to the splashes there were tiny bubbles rising from the depths – although we tried to figure out what caused these we really had no idea. We could see to the bottom, we could not see any living creatures. I was intrigued by the thin green spines rising from the water, they appeared to be horsetails. Upon closer inspection we were convinced they were, albeit much thinner, and not at all spread out as ones along banks of ditches.

No idea what this giant leafy plant is – it looks dangerous!

As with most of the plants in the various gardens the Japanese Garden was no longer as full of flowers as it would have been even two weeks earlier. However, it is still rather magical with its three hump curved bridge to a pavilion sitting on the manmade lake. The quiet, trees, slight breeze and water had me wishing I still lived in the little cottage at Grouches Lair (of course the name enthralled me) I rented for several months now nearly ten years ago. How fortunate we are to live so nearby such lovely gardens and wilderness.

Despite missing the rhododendrons in full bloom, the cherry blossoms and wisteria the gardens still remain welcoming. Perhaps the giant, ancient Douglas Firs providing natural shade, and soft ground for laying down a picnic blanket, the rugged appearing paths that are actually easy to traverse, and the mountains in the far distance beyond the ocean are enough. It was a pleasant, easy afternoon wander.

All it needs is a Prince, or these days a princess, to scale the walls

Farewell Bike

After agonizing over the best action to take regarding cycling I finally hit the dust with the permanent decision to focus on giving my meniscal tears heal without feeling guilty that Bike was dripping oily tears from its gears. Not that gears are supposed to drip or be oily. We did try, Bike and I. A tune up and new front tire, nice cozy spot in the bike room, sturdy lock but no trips this season.

My first attempt was in February – we generally have great cycling all year round unless there is a rogue snowstorm. Chilly, knee highly sensitive. Fine, I could wait. Finally, May arrived, the weather has been great and I had gone for an x-ray and an MRI. The results were positive – actually worse than what I thought. All because I tripped on the road in Beijing. I also refused to go to a doctor, which meant my travel insurance was not used. Oh well. It also took several months to convince a physiatrist and my GP I had really done some possible major damage. I figured the cut, and now lovely scar, on my knee should have been a clear indication it was more than a scratch.

Dropped the physiatrist (that was for my other knee) insisted my GP do more. So, now that we know the extent of the damage – I also managed to pull the medial collateral ligament, damaged (not broken) the patella, and tore those darned menisci I am waiting to see a surgeon to discuss if surgery is necessary. It is amazing just how much injury a person can do just by walking! Put me on a bike; go on a hike; climb umpteen steps no problem – well, until recently.

Bike looks rather forlorn – I had not realized I was so attached.

So why give up riding? Why not wait? Go back to the guilt. Bike belonged to my mother, she could no longer ride I took the bike. She had named it Bike because it was rugged and zipped. My mother was never a keen cyclist and, like me, eschewed riding on the road. Bike is meant to be ridden. Bike is also, like me, getting on in years. I decided Bike should live out its remaining years being ridden. I contacted Island Metis Community & Family Services – in the same building where I once worked – where there is a donation ‘cupboard’. Larger items are not usually taken. However, it was decided that a sturdy bike, two helmets, etc. would be quickly snapped up.

As for me, I have a sturdy stick and walking poles. I also still have my stubborn streak. Perhaps I will see bike zipping by when I am walking one of the trails.

Mini Adventure: Francis/King Park (path less travelled)

The Victoria Day long weekend tends to make me want to stay put. The long waits to catch a ferry, longer lines of vehicles clogging the highways, and crowds downtown do not mean a relaxing time. Fortunately we do have places to visit that are within a 5-15 minute drive and many of them can be visited without seeing another person. Expecting a slightly clouded over lazy Sunday I had hoped to visit the Hatley Park Gardens – once a family castle and gardens, then a military college and now the Royal Roads University I had enjoyed the gardens a few times over the 33+ years I have lived in Victoria. It was not to be – the summer months now see a fee being charged to see the gardens. Plus parking unless walking or transit. Thank goodness we always look for a second possibility when making plans.

We wanted an easy walk. Francis/King Regional Park, a 15 minute drive without highway driving, is the perfect spot with its accessible, cedar boardwalk and gravel, Elsie King Trail, to the moderate Centennial Trail that has more difficult offshoot trails. After passing 2-3 interpretive sidebars (pleasant seating, excellent information, and space for more than one stroller, scooter, or wheelchair) we tripped past a post pointing towards a Shooting Star Trail. I could not resist latching onto the trail of a shooting star! We were leaving the comfort of the manmade trail for the depths of the less travelled yet still within the limits of safety for us and the forest. With eleven trails in this 107 hectare park there is enough nature, ranging from 500 year old Douglas Firs to tiny meadow flowers and giant skunk cabbage, to please all visitors. A small, largely untouched, oasis surrounded by farms and modern life.

We enjoyed a peaceful, enchanting two hours, roughly six kilometres, accompanied by the light thunk thunk of a lone woodpecker, the far off call of a raven, light birdsong and many insects. Everything seemed muted by the soft sphagnum mosses in meadow, Grandpa’s Beard moss hanging from trees and the deeper green mosses wrapping the branches of grand, bare limbs. Roots and rock provided natural steps and designs far more original than any paintings. I was on the hunt for fungi knowing this was perfect weather. I hit the mother lode! To add to the perfect day we also discovered a small, floral clad roof cave – I could almost see the magic beginning to peek out.

There were a few trees that appeared to have been hit by lightening, shot through their cores and split; the remains of one lay across the side of the path, already renewed with growth. Although we did not seek out Skunk Cabbage Loop Trail we were happy to find that Shooting Star Trail closed the loop. The leaves reached up and across 2-3 feet up and over one foot across, out of a relatively small marsh. These beautiful plants (even the smell) always make me think of the arrival of spring, we had entered the stage of full renewal. (No photos, I could not figure out how to do the leaves justice)

I love looking up when on walks, in the notch of this host tree a holly plant was growing.

One of the still standing split, blackened trunks with a gnarled tree to its right that I only discovered when going through my photos

Sometimes taking the path less travelled, or at least giving the sense of unexplored, makes for the best adventure.

Wedding Wednesday: 45 Days

I have not written about the ups and downs about the planning for some time now. Not that the event has ground to a halt, just me having a bit of writer’s block. Which is rather silly when writing an update.

A week ago my daughter told me how excited my grandson is about the wedding. I thought that was very sweet. He even asked if his girlfriend can go. There will be a few of his friends with their dates. Rather an upside down wedding. Also rather fitting. His mother was not quite one when her father and I married ; of course she was included in the wedding party. Come to think of it I probably have some photos of her that I can give her. We are anything but conventional.

My grandson hanging out on a country road fence

Another interesting development is rings. Her dear fiancé does not want a ring – I wonder if it is more accepted for younger grooms to wear them. The bride had the brilliant idea to use the ring her father gave to me when we married. As she so perfectly said it was important to us at the time. Over the years she wore it as wedding band, often when her fiancé was away at sea. Being the kind person she is she asked how I felt about it – I had given the ring to her when she was a teenager. I said of course! That settled she went search of it while we discussed various items to cross off or add to our lists over the phone. That was a couple of days ago. Sad to say she has not found the ring yet. The groom may have to do some quick planning as a ring is one convention my daughter does want.

We recently had a very long phone conversation to go over everything! High on our list was the budget. It is always sobering when the numbers are crunched and do not fit into an allotted amount. The question of where to shave a few loonies and twoonies can become overwhelming. This week the largest deposit for venue will be paid. Perhaps my daughter should take a paper bag with her.

In addition to the deposit she is going to have a dress fitting the same day. The lace has been raised, now it is all the other work. I forgot to ask if raising the lace means the dress has been shortened. I assume it does. At first the fitting was not supposed to be until the beginning of June which means some trepidation on the part of the bride. She has a positive outlook, at least it will be done. Now all she needs to know is how much for the alterations so far. She thought maybe I should call if an estimate is not ready. I do know how to ask in Chinese, or could have her sister call. Not that either of us can ask too much about dressmaking in Mandarin.

多少钱?

Everything is falling into place – nearly. The band still has to call back to set up a time to meet again to discuss the music, playlist and anything else. Lengthy lapses to return calls (or these days texts and emails) tend to make brides nervous. It is also difficult to maintain control when questions go unanswered. In my opinion no more than three business days should go by if a client has questions when a contract has been signed and money handed over. Even if just to acknowledge the message has been received.

Of course there are vendors who have to remind customers payments are due. We had to go over our paid out list to check if the cake lady was already paid a second deposit. She was not. It may have been around this time my daughter asked if it was too late to elope. Or move everything to their front yard. I can see it now, a little sign on the dock informing guests they are to head to the country instead. Hm, I wonder if it is too late to rent an event tent.