Last Saturday evening Matthew and I went to a local Shakespeare festival called 'Bard on the Beach' at Vanier Park, which is right on the point where English Bay becomes False Creek. It took about 25 minutes for us to walk from our apartment near Granville St to Vanier Park. Our performance was in the main tent. Behind the stage the tent had an open view from people walking their dogs in the park to all the way across the water to the city. As the sun set, it reflected boldly off a city tower for 20 or so minutes, and backlit the stage.
We saw As You Like It because I was studying it for university last week, and also because Matthew has been in two productions of this play (backstage for one, and playing Sylvius the desperate lover in the other). I had only just finished reading the play a mere two hours before the show, but even so, at the end of the evening I was still thinking 'what the hell is going on here?' It was totally daft, but we had a lovely evening out, in the beautiful weather.
During the interval we perused the merchandise stall, where there were lots of t-shirts with Shakespeare quotations. But my favourite was the shirt which read 'Bard on the Beach' on one side and 'It's In Tents!' on the other. As Matthew can testify, I regularly fail to laugh at his puns, and have been known to say miserly things like 'they are the lowest form of humour'. But I have been giggling at inappropriate moments at this one for five days now. I think it's hilarious.
Matthew and I walked home along 4th Avenue, which is a very happening place, and settled into a cake shop on West Broadway named 'Death by Chocolate' for a late night feast.
On Sunday, after pancakes and maple syrup with blackberries hand-picked by Matthew, we got our skates on again at the UBC Thunderbird Arena. I believe I am improving! Some things which increased the difficulty level:
- a crazy conga-line of fresh-faced young Chinese students in miniskirts
- lots of kids about as tall as my knees shooting out from nowhere all the time and going anti-clockwise in an otherwise clock-wise lap circuit
- a weird old guy wearing a helmet covered in bright fluttering ribbons who would stop and give lessons to people who did not know him.
In Vancouver there is a craft supermarket chain called 'Michael's'. Although I have not hitherto been a crafty person, I am soon to become one. This store is the size of a large food supermarket but filled with everything from fake flowers to cake decorating to painting to picture-framing to beading to knitting to model-building... everything you can imagine, Michael's has. There is an entire 'bride' aisle! There is an entire ribbon aisle! Bliss!! On Tuesday evening Matthew and I walked to our local Michael's on West Broadway and (after a loooong time browsing) got a picture frame for our 'Cult of Beauty' postcard set which British Cousin Elinor gave us as a souvenir from her work at the Victoria and Albert Museum. We have hung it above our dining nook.
The postcards actually came in a set of seven, and as you can see there were only six spaces. This is good news, because it means we can revisit Michael's for an individual frame at a later date. I am already sizing up appropriate small walls in our apartment which might benefit from a postcard-sized sample of William Morris fruit-themed wallpaper circa 1862.
I started university officially last week. I have two seminars, each two hours long: Ecocriticism and 18th Century British Literature. I am also teaching a class in Canadian literature one hour a week, and taking a 'Pedagogy workshop' teaching certificate. The first week's readings for Ecocriticism included William Gilpin's 'Observations on the River Wye'. Such a gentle and meaningful introduction to the course! I spent several hours recalling our scenic, dare I say 'picturesque', road trip from Cardiff to Powys and up to Whittington, especially that cool and drizzly morning poking around the ruins of Tintern Abbey. In our class this week I was asked to read aloud from Wordsworth's 'Lines Composed Above Tintern Abbey'. The class kind of ripped Gilpin to shreds and didn't seem too impressed with Wordsworth either, but I couldn't summon any truly negative criticisms, because I found the texts evocative and a true pleasure.