Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Trip to Nanaimo, BC March 21, 2017 and other stuff

Yesterday, the missus and I dropped the dogs off at doggie day care and headed down island to Nanaimo. We've been finalising some of the work we've been up to in the house and thought it might be worthwhile checking out a couple of stores we like down there (they just aren't available here). It was a drizzly day so we knew the puppies would be mighty dirty when we picked them up on our way back home. (We were right)

As well as Home Sense and Urban Barn, Jo had found an article on a new antique / collectibles store that had opened in Nanaimo, that being Romantic Ruins (see the link for some photos and other info on the store), so she thought it might be interesting to check it out as well.

So off we headed, enjoying the opportunity to get away for the day and take a break on the work we'd been doing in the house. (more on that later). We hit Home Sense about 11 a.m. and had a nice morning wandering about. It is one of Jo's favourites, and, as usual, Jo found a few items and also a possible night stand for the extra bedroom. I wandered over to Pet Smart and a new leash for Clyde (one to try and keep him from barking at other dogs and people when we out for walks. About time probably... lol). I also got a sonic egg. It's supposed to distract dogs when they start barking. We'll see.

After Home Sense, we also tried Home Outfitters, which is right beside Home Sense in Nanaimo. Very disappointing. They don't seem to know what they want to do with the store anymore. We spent only a few minutes there. I guess if we wanted sheets or towels we might have been more interested. Mind you, they also sell those in Home Sense, just as good and probably cheaper.

We tried a new place for lunch. I guess any place would actually have been new as we don't often have a meal on our visits. Normally we would stop at Cuckoos in Combs on our way back home. Anyway, we saw a place called Cactus Club Café and gave it a try. It was very good, nice, friendly staff, clean and open, and excellent burgers. What more could you ask for?

After lunch, we headed downtown to Romantic Ruins. What a great place! You can see some photos of the layout of the store at the link in the 2nd paragraph above. We could have spent a long time there.. well, we did, in fact. Jo found another possible little table for the extra bedroom. She'll decide today which we'll go with. Both were very nice and will fill the spot perfectly. There were so many other neat things, including the book above, which was published in 1885 by Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan publishers, F.B. Dickerson and Co. More on that next. Needless to say, I had to have it. I told Jo she could put it in her new office that she's creating if she wants.

We finished off the day with a quick trip to Urban Barn, didn't really see anything there that we needed. So off we went, heading back up island to pick up the tired, dirty puppies and then head home. All in all, a lovely day, even with the rainy weather. The pups had baths when we got home, a good dinner and then we all relaxed for the rest of the night. Today, just for info, we're waiting for Aaron to arrive and do some tree trimming for us. Hope it doesn't rain too much for him to work.

Treasures of Use and Beauty

OK, now on to a couple of other things. Firstly, the book I found. It's called Treasures of Use and Beauty, an Epitome of the Choicest Gems of Wisdom, History, Reference and Recreation. It's so well preserved and taken care of for a book published in 1885. If I can read the inscription correctly, it belonged to Mrs. Alice Havill of Paris Ontario at one time. It's one of those odd combinations. Part 1 contains sections dealing with Making the Home Attractive, Home Decoration in Natural Flowers, Preparing Leaves and Flowers, China Painting, Bronze Work, etc. Part 2 contains a Pictorial History of Canada, Historical Discoveries, an Encyclopedia of Great Events, Science of Letter Writing, Letters of Affection by Eminent Persons, etc. I glanced through it and thought it was fascinating. I think over the next while, I'll try to highlight some of the sections of the book, especially the Great Events and the Letters from Eminent Persons. Here are a couple of the first to tweak your interest. (These are direct quotes from this book, copyright F.B. Dickerson, 1883)

The first items in the Great Historical Events -
"458. Chinese tradition alleges the discovery of Mexico
861. Iceland discovered by the Normans
889. Greenland discovered by the Normans
985. The Danes peopled Greenland under Eric Raud"

(Next segment starts at 1002. Exciting, eh?)

Letters of Affection (This from Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine. They were married in March 9th, 1796. Their marriage was dissolved Dec 15th, 1809. Bonaparte was taken prisoner to St Helena Aug 11th, 1815 - died May 5th, 1821 at St. Helena. The letter below was written from Bonaparte to Josephine Jul 17th, 1796.

Marmirolo, Jul 17th, 1796

"I have received your letter, my adorable friend. It has filled my heart with joy. ** Ah! I entreat you to permit me to see some of your faults. Be less beautiful, less gracious, less affectionate, less good. Especially be not over-anxious, and never weep. Your tears rob me of reason, and inflame my blood. Believe me it is not in my power to have a single thought which is not of thee, or a wish which I could not reveal to thee.

A thousand kisses

Interesting stuff. "

Josephine's marriage dissolved Dec 15, 1809. The beautiful palace at Malmaison was assigned for her residence. She retained the title of Empress and received an income of $600,000 a year."

Home Reno Update

CD shelf and my Cadfael books
So where are we now you ask? The study is now about 95% complete. We've got the wall units stacked again, have put up the floating shelves that contain our Cd's and my Cadfael books.

My 'I Love Me' wall is sorted. I went through all the various plaques and certificates that I've received over the course of my career and Jo put them up. The new wall lamp (right side of the photo above) is perfect and much nicer and more substantial than the one we used to have there. We still have a few things to do. Jo says she'll probably move most of her decorating books and magazines up to her new office upstairs when she's finished setting it up. We still have a couple of things to do; get a new end table maybe beside the orange chair and also clean out the closet and put up some proper shelves in there.

The front hall - picture by Spinning Compass
We're so very pleased with the work that the Spinning Compass kids did in the front hallway. It looks fantastic. It's not quite finished. New carpet down the stairs still to come in the next couple of weeks. Although it doesn't look like if from the photo, we still need to paint the walls; just sorting out what colour we want it (white, anyone?). And then there will be new floors in the hallway, the lounge and into the dining room. Looking at May sometime for that. But, I'm sure you'll agree that it looks beautiful at the moment.

Starting to put books and other things in the shelves now
The extra bedroom is pretty well done. Jo is working on the boxes you see bottom centre that Jay, from Spinning Compass, made for us. She's painting them and they'll sit in those little cubbies. We still need a small table for the other end of the room. And then basically just organise the shelves, make sure the bed is ready and the room will be done. It really has been transformed. Jo also repainted our old dress and put new knobs on it to refresh it perfectly.

My Conan books and some others
Since this is first and foremost a book Blog, I thought I'd highlight what I've put in the shelves so far. Jo will reorganise as she sees fit and also add some of her fine touches as the finishes them off. This little stand is located at the top of the room in one of the cubby holes there. Jo repainted them and gave them a new lease on life. In this one, I've got my Robert E. Howard Conan series, which I've had for many, many years. Also a couple of older books, one from my childhood, the Rupert annual, which unfortunately has seen better days. The ice bucket, drink mixer, Jo and I got at an antique fair down in Qualicum Beach a few years back.

The other shelf still needs a bit of fleshing out. I could add more books.. :).. but I'll let Jo fill in the top shelf. The bottom shelf includes some of my hard cover mysteries and some history/ biography books. Lying down are some of my favourite graphic novels. I have too many stored in boxes that I will eventually have to deal with.

The rest of the books in the room are stored in the built-ins. I am almost ashamed to say it but I'd hazard a guess that I haven't read about 90% or so. They are books I'm looking forward to reading. The shelves above are bottom left and are mostly mysteries. Some of my series that I'm working on; Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series set in Norway, Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen mystery series set in Italy, Stanley Evan's Silas Seaweed series set in Victoria, etc.

On the bottom right are most of the Science fiction, fantasy and horror series I'm reading, including Iain Banks' Culture series, Joe Haldeman's Forever War, Hugh Howey's Dust series, etc. 2nd from the bottom is more of a variety of books, fiction, biography, etc. The shelf above, on the left side contains my Inspector Brunetti series by Donna Leon and on the right side of the shelf is another variety, some mysteries, etc.

Top middle over the window holds most of my Penguin books, a very wide variety from A - Z, left to right. You've got my Graham Greene books and authors like Nevil Shute, Somerset Maugham, John Wyndham, etc. I love Penguins, especially the traditional orange covers.

The top shelves on the left side are a bit better organised as Jo has added a few things. Just to the bottom left you've got my Oliver Potsch Hangman's Daughter historical mystery series and also my James Runcie Sidney Chambers mystery books. Middle of the photo is a newly published series of Jane Austen novels that I got Jo for Xmas this past year. And the top shelf has my Charlaine Harris books; Sookie Stackhouse, Harper Connelly and Lily Bard books.

Finally, on the right side, top shelves, you've got the following. I already mentioned the bottom shelf. Above that are a number of Jo's design books, many that I got her for the Xmas's we've spent together. Far right beside the 'J' are my Alan Furst, Night Soldiers series, various spy stories set during WWII. The top shelf is another varied set of books, some history and biography and my Barbara Cleverly Joe Sandilands mystery series set during the Raj in India.

So there you have it, a bit of an update on what's been going on in our happy lives. The work we've had done so far has brightened up and updated the rooms we've finished. The ceiling in the study makes the room look totally different and is one Jo's favourite things. The front hall is welcoming and rich and the extra bedroom is now cosy and comfortable; probably my favourite so far.

Enough for now. Have a wonderful day!

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