When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents up the coast of Vancouver Island in a little place called Beachcomber near Nanoose Bay. In those days it was the wildnerness (since turned into a suburb of that stinking pesthole Nanaimo) and was glorious. My grandparents bought their property in 1964 and built their house to be a little paradise of English colonial tranquility.
Every morning my grandfather would rise at 7 and bring tea (Twining's Earl Grey) and toast to my grandmother in bed. I would hear tea cups rattling on the tray as he passed my room and would get up and join them. Grandpa would sit on the counter with the cat on his lap, his back to the big window looking out over the veranda and down onto the inlet where little sail boats would usually be plying back and forth. Grandma and I would sip our tea and eat our toast and we would discuss the day's plans.
For me, these almost invariably involved climbing around on the rocks at the beach either at the bottom of the cliff on which the house sat, or down at The Park where there were fossils. Sometimes it would be a trip into Parksville for shopping and sometimes, a rare treat in summer, one of the local ladies would be hosting a garden party. This would mean croquet and tea and cake and all manner of heavenly pleasures.
All my life I've assumed that there could be no greater happiness in this life or any other than the times spent Up Island with grandma and grandpa.
Italy is coming close though.
The Daily Tyrrhenian Sea report:
Choppy today, with a fresh breeze and quite a bit of mist.
Whitecaps and the palm trees waving vigorously.
Domestic Bliss Report:
Tea. And it's Twining's Earl Grey.
Habits of a lifetime, not likely to die out soon. Flowers collected on Monday afternoon on what I hope will be only the first of many happy country stomps up the hills behind the village and around the farms. (Next time, I'll bring camera).
Where to eat your tea and toast in mid-April.
Winnie has developed some new habits. She spends her days burrowed under the covers sleeping, and her evenings charging madly around the flat. Every day, I pat the lump under the covers and she gives a little squeek to let me know she is still alive in there. I have wondered for some time why she doesn't smother. Cats are mysterious.
Mr. Bear, being of a more stoic mind, does not approve of all this feline lounging about. He likes to get up early and get on with his day.
(Yes yes. I know I promised pics of the countryside today, but the train was ridiculously crowded and it made me cranky. Tomorrow maybe.)