Thanksgiving in L.A.

We made the trek from Victoria, British Columbia on the southern tip of Vancouver island to Lethbridge, in the southern reaches of Alberta to celebrate Thanksgiving with  family. By car, it’s a ferry ride and fifteen hours of mountain driving – or, three hours flight time. We usually put our air miles to use and fly, as we did this time. We flew to Calgary, stayed overnight  at a hotel near the airport, and the next morning took the connector flight to Lethbridge, Alberta – or L.A. as it’s often referred to.

That flight is an experience. From the departure gate, we board a bus that takes us to the far end of the apron where our ride awaits. The aircraft is a Beechcraft turbo prop that holds about eighteen people, and it’s full. It’s a cosy experience.The seats look like they were borrowed from a kindergarten class, but  every seat is a window seat. The flight from Calgary takes forty-five minutes.

Lethbridge is also my home town and soon familiar landmarks appear on the horizon. Our flight path takes us over the high level bridge that spans the mile and a quarter river valley carved by the Old Man River. It’s difficult to get a decent photo from the aircraft window, but here are some ground photos of the big bridge.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Under the bridge

The modern City of Lethbridge, with a population approaching one hundred thousand, is located near the site of the original settlement, of Fort Whoop-Up. The fort was a trading post established in 1869 by two American traders. Originally named Fort Hamilton after one of the founders, the fort earned a wild and lawless reputation.

One type of alcohol sold by the Whoop-Up bandits was known as Whoop-Up Bug Juice, a highly prized alcohol spiked with ginger, molasses, and red pepper. It was then coloured with black chewing tobacco, watered down, and boiled to make “firewater”.[5] 

The reputation of Fort Whoop-Up led to the establishment of the North West Mounted Police and their famous march west in 1874. Reminiscent of on present day ‘war on drugs’ efforts.

Fort Whoop-up has been re-created in Indian Battle Park in the Riverbottom near the big bridge.

This photo overlooks the river valley towards the site of the original fort near  the junction of the Oldman and St. Mary’s rivers. The Rocky Mountains are just visible against the horizon.

Coulees near Lethbridge

Looking towards the original site of Fort Whoop-up

We often stay at Paradise Canyon, a timeshare and golf resort in the valley. It’s a beautiful setting, and we’ve been here so often that it feels like our home away from home  – but the weather is subject to rapid change at this time of year.

This photo is from our timeshare unit two days ago.

dscf0361

This was the scene when we looked out today.

dscf0367

We enjoyed a wonderful thanksgiving feast with family, and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Save

Kate and Will’s Farewell

It was an action packed week for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two young children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. It was the youngster’s first debut into the celebrity status that they’ll have to endure all of their lives, but by the time they left, both seemed quite comfortable with the adoring crowds and cameras watching their every move. George and Charlotte spent most of their time at Government House in Victoria, where they they were made to feel quite at home. Royal watchers caught glimpses of the children at play. The kids even spent some time at Gyro Park in Cadboro Bay.

Meanwhile, from their Government House base, their parents did a whirlwind tour of British Columbia, spending time in Vancouver in the Downtown Eastside, taking in wineries in the Okanagan. up to Haida Gwaii,  and then up to Whitehorse. Their itineraries have been well covered in local and national media, and I won’t dwell on them in detail here.

Here in Victoria, there were two main opportunities to see, and if one was very lucky, to interact with the Duke and Dutchess – Wills and Kate. When they arrived offered the greatest opportunities, but huge crowds made it impossible to get close. Some people staked out their spots along the royal route hours in advance.

On their final day, we went to the Ogden Point breakwater. Kate and Wills were scheduled to ride a tall ship. It was a situation of hurry up and wait, but being part of the crowd in a celebratory mood is a big part of the experience. As their motorcade drove by, I did manage to get a shot of the royal couple in their limo. Following are some photos of the scene at the breakwater.

dscf0314

Here they come!

dscf0312

Here they are! “Hi John”, Wills calls out.

dscf0318

The Breakwater was packed

dscf0330

A tall ship off Ogden Point

dscf0325

Lots of interesting people.

A few hours later, we went to the Inner Harbor to bid farewell to the Royal family as they departed via float plane for Vancouver, and then home. I’ll bet they were exhausted, with all of the meeting and greeting, handshaking and talking they have to do, all the while looking attentive and happy.

dscf0358

A fond farewell –  Christy Clark  in red

 

The Royal Buzz

Victoria is eagerly awaiting the arrival of their Royal Highness’s, William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, the Dutchess of Cambridge – fondly known as Kate and William. The royal progeny, Prince George of Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge will accompany their parents – and undoubtedly steal much of the spotlight.

William and Kate married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Prince George, was born on 22 July 2013, and Princess Charlotte on 2 May 2015. Various media sources have reported that a third royal offspring is in the plan. Incidentally, Kate and William will have a night away from the kids when they visit Vancouver – just coincidence, I’m sure.

They royal family and entourage arrive tomorrow (Saturday, Sept 24) at the airport via military helicopter. The motorcade will proceed to Government House where the family will check in – probably no credit card will be required, but there may be a damage deposit required, what  with the young prince roaming around among  all those expensive and breakable trinkets.   T

The royal’s public debut in Victoria will begin  tomorrow afternoon  at the Legislature at 5:00 pm. Thirty to forty thousand royal watchers are expected to swarm the legislature lawns and inner harbor. Setup crews and media outlets have been out in full  force over the past couple of days. Here are a few photos of the pre-visit preparations taken last night and this afternoon.

 

dscf0298

Queen Victoria awaits her relatives

dscf0295

The red carpet runway is ready

dscf0296

Taken from the main media camera platform

Continue reading

Authors’ November Afternoon Nov 15

I was one of the authors selected to participate at the Author’s November Afternoon event at the Victoria Public Library. The following content is from the Victoria Writer’s Society website. It promises to be a fun time. Hope to see you there!

Meet Victoria’s Writers at:

Authors’ Afternoon
2 to 5 p.m., November 15, 2014
Central Library meeting room,
735 Broughton Street
Victoria Writers Society’s

Are you writing a book? Are you a writer?  Would you like to be?  Why not join others who love the written word. Meet others of like mind, do some networking, find out who is publishing what, get the inside scoop!  Drop by to chat with members of the Victoria Writers’ Society who will  be showcasing their books throughout the afternoon. Books will be available for purchase. No registration required.