Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last weekend on the island

Saturday, we were naughty and slept in -- the excitement of the week and Friday night's adventure without power had done us in.  Plus it seemed kind of scandalous to check out of a hotel room mere hours after we'd checked in.  :-)

We checked out of the hotel and headed back to Patricia's for a quick visit and good-bye -- and to pick up the gear we'd left at her neighbour's, since we couldn't see it all the night before!  Unfortunately, the power and heat issue was not any more resolvable by daylight -- hopefully it has been figured out since.  We bid adieu to Patricia and her beautiful Golden Retriever (this was the tour of the loveable Retriever, I tell ya -- everywhere we turned!), got back in the Jeep and headed back to Sandra and Landon's (and Amber, the other loveable Retriever) in Victoria.

It was a slightly overcast day, although the views were still magnificent -- I tried taking some photos from the car, but they didn't do anything justice, of course.  Instead, I got wrapped up in writing my own blog on the laptop (don't worry, Don was driving!) about the workshop.  Which I managed to finish just before the battery died -- our luck with power seemed to be improving!

When we got "home" to Victoria, we were greeted by a very excited Amber, a chipper Sandra, and... a very sick Landon.  Uh-oh...  Saturday was going to be our night to take them out on the town as a thank-you for putting up with us for so long, but in Landon's current state, that didn't seem to be something either he would appreciate, nor would the tables around us!  Plus, they had to go to a meeting on the mainland the next day, and were planning to drive up to stay with her mother that night so they didn't have to get up so early the next morning.

So... PLAN B!  We'd do an early dinner at the house, and just do take out from the restaurant we were planning to go to.  Called them in the afternoon to make sure that was a possibility, then spent the afternoon chatting with Sandra while Landon took some meds and tried to sleep it off.  Don spent the afternoon visiting Neil Russell, the maker of his baritone slide, at Celtic Cross instruments, plus haunting chapters to buy Victor Wooten's "The Music Lesson" and a few CDs for the rest of the tour.

He woke up feeling quite a bit better, and wondering why we were all sitting in the same places he'd left us, doing nothing but chatting, nibbling and drinking?

And so, ready for more chatting, nibbling and drinking to begin, we gave the restaurant a call.  Ack!  They just had a huge party show up, their kitchen is swamped, and there's no way they can prepare take-out.

So... PLAN C!  A few more calls around town to a few more very busy restaurants, and we found one that COULD make us take-out, as long as we didn't order anything too complicated.  Phew!  Turned out to be a great choice, even if we didn't make it ourselves -- Cafe Mexico.  The menu was incredible, it was hard to choose, but we each got something different and shared -- well, except with Landon, because we didn't want to get sick on tour!

And so, dinner done, Sandra and Landon packed up (see, Mom?  I'm not the only one who packs last-minute) and headed out, leaving us to dog-sit Amber for a couple of days.  She moped around for a little bit, but then made herself comfortable on Don's feet, as we got some planning and work done for the rest of the trip.  When it was time for bed, she stared pitifully at us... and stared some more as one paw gently came to rest on the foot of the bed... and stared some more...  Yes, we're dog sucks, we ended up sleeping three in the bed -- although Amber is pretty good about not hogging room, considering what a large breed she is!

We awoke Sunday, nicely rested and smelling of dog -- ah, dog!  Spent the earlier part of the day entertaining Amber, and then headed out mid-afternoon to visit with my old friend Ruth (well, she's not that old, but you know what I mean...), and later head to the weekly Victoria Folk Music Society meeting.  Juliana and Douglas had told us about it when we'd played at Pondside the week before, and encouraged us to introduce ourselves to more people at the open stage -- since we didn't have another gig on the island that night, we figured it couldn't hurt!

But first... visiting Ruth.  The last time I saw Ruth was when she brought her then-toddler, Courtenay, to visit her Toronto friends.  Courtenay is now living with her boyfriend and couldn't come visit with us because she was working -- boy, do I feel ancient now!!!  So, it's been... uh... one or two years.

Some kids playing in the courtyard showed Don and I which door belonged to Ruth... eager anticipation... ring bell... more eager anticipation... door opened... and... geez, she hadn't changed a bit!  It was so lovely to just fall back into that old familiarity -- Don having to catch up a bit, having never met her before, but we had a bit of time with just the three of us.  Then Courtenay's "little" sister, Phoenix -- who I'd never met -- dropped in.  And what a lovely woman!  (I was going to call her a girl, but... as I said, it's been one or two years, so I don't think she qualifies as a kid any more, or has for a long while!)

Some more visiting, and then Ruth's new husband (well, new to me, not so much to her!) Brian came in with their eldest, Aidan -- who, fortunately for my sense of ancient-ness, still qualifies as a girl.  Aidan's looks are pure Ruth, and I'm guessing her personality comes much from Brian -- very calm, sweet and soft-spoken (of course, I've only met either of them once -- they might both be totally wild once you get to know them!)  She seems to carefully contemplate everything she says -- when asked a question, she'll ponder for a while, then speak slowly, as if she hasn't quite finished thinking it through and wants to make sure she hasn't left anything out.

Contrast this with Gabbie, who later EXPLODED in from the playground and didn't sit still or stay quiet for more than ten-second bursts.  Gabbie is a force to be reckoned with.  A great source of entertainment and joy, but holy cow I hope she calms down before she becomes a teenager, or her parents are going to have to invest in some heavy-duty restraints.  :-)

The seven of us had a lovely fish dinner together, lots of stories and laughs.  Then it was time for the girls to finish up their valentines for school the next day -- both had procrastinated, oops.  Don and I had to head out early to make sure we got a spot at the open stage, and Ruth and Phoenix were going to join us there later.  Phoenix had practically grown up at the Folk Society, so they were really looking forward to going back, as it had been a while.  And we were looking forward to spending a bit more time with them, and getting to know Phoenix a bit more back in grown-up land (not that Don had any trouble joining in the knock-knock jokes at dinner -- he finally had a new audience for his old classics!).

We headed over to Norway house to sign ourselves up for the open stage -- and good thing we got there early, because it was a full house that night!  One of their long-term volunteers was moving away, so they were having a bit of a celebration that night, and everyone wanted to be there -- turned out, there were about 180 there that night!  Juliana and Douglas arrived, plus Neil Russell, and we were introduced to a number of new folkies.

The first part of each week's gathering is an open jam at the back of the hall, for anyone who feels so inclined.  The group was quite welcoming of these two newcomers, so we joined right in!

Next is the open stage -- their policy is that each act signed up gets 10 minutes or two songs, priority going to out-of-town visitors, people new to the VFMS, then members who haven't played in at least a month.  We were among the furthest out of town (we were beat by a woman from the Maritimes!) and had never played before, so we were put in the second slot.

You could see the eyebrows raise as I brought up my cajon... "that ain't folk music!"  But as we finished the final scats of "A Good Day", the crowd went completely nuts (uh, in a good way...).  Went a bit more mellow with the second one, playing "Live Love Dream", but got the same whoops at the end.  Only two songs, but we sold 14 CDs that night, introduced ourselves to over 180 Victoria folkies, and got an invitation back to play as a feature the next time we're out.  One of the most lucrative non-gigs we've ever had!  (And far better than our next "real" gig, but I'm getting ahead of myself...)  At intermission, we were also approached by a number of other bookers, and chatted away with some new-found admirers.

Now that the "must impress" part of the evening was over, we were able to sit back with Ruth and Phoenix and enjoy being entertained for the rest of the evening!  The feature act that night was Greg Madill, in a trio that included his son, Jevan.  Nice energy and some good songs.  Greg was gracious enough to have Jevan play a couple of his originals too -- would love to hear more someday, because I really enjoyed what he was doing!

The night over much too soon, we gave Ruth and Phoenix huge hugs good-bye, promised to be back, and headed home to let a very patient Amber finally go outside.  Oh yeah, and we stole some of Landon's beer to toast a job well done.  :-)


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