Monday, December 9, 2013

Like a Waiting Room in...?

I have to admit, my B&B makes me think of that waiting room in "Beetlejuice", the one where Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin wait once they're newly dead, to try and figure out what comes next.
Not because there are dead people floating by (at least, not that I can see), but because it's old, quiet, and almost utterly devoid of other people. Like a waiting room. The couple who owns it doesn't live there. There is a housekeeper who comes and goes, and other guests, but we rattle around in this 3-story mansion like pinballs, never meeting. The huge living room has 2 desktop computers (a huge relief to me, who couldn't manage to fit my laptop into my luggage), and instrumental Christmas music playing softly through the speakers, and a lovely Christmas tree in the corner. The loudest noise is the sound of my fingers hitting the keys as I type this. In the mornings, between 7 and 10, a 'continental'-style breakfast is laid out (by whom?): bread, jams, cereals, coffee. I come down around 8:30 and munch, and this is when I meet company: an avuncular retired businessman from Ottawa who's here to visit his pregnant daughter. We chat, he's fascinated by my gypsy lifestyle but tells me he wouldn't want to do what I do- too little security. I tell him that sometimes I feel the same way. We share stories as we look out the windows at Craidarroch Castle, which is literally right behind the B&B. A castle in the backyard!
My bedroom is at the top of the house, filled with a king-sized bed on which I do a gleeful somersault the first night I'm here. I have arrived just in time for a day off and a technical day in which the musicians are not needed. Sigh of relief: I can finally practice this damn score, which is hard. And I can walk around this beautiful city which I almost never visit because well, I don't really know why. The ferry ride makes it seem inaccessible, which of course it isn't.
Is there anywhere more lovely than Victoria in December in a cold snap? I roam the streets at night carrying only my camera and snap dozens of pictures: old houses, Christmas lights, Chinatown, the legislature, and of course, the castle in the backyard, built (if I remember rightly) with the ill-gotten gains of a family who exploited the miners of Vancouver Island and had a tragic history. The perfumed air and sweaty heat of Hawaii seem far away and that's fine. This northern girl is revelling in holly berries and chill night air and a magical, quiet bed and breakfast that seems almost too good to be true.

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