our New Year's weekend
As I mentioned in a comment in the previous post, we went away for the New Year's weekend - to the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Once there, we first had a wonderful visit with my elderly uncle and aunt, joined by a cousin (from another branch) and his lady friend.
Then we went to the home of very good long-time friends with whom we have spent many a New Year's eve when we lived in the same neighbourhood. Since they moved to Victoria in retirement, we had them as house guests last New Year's, and this time it was our turn. We truly enjoyed their cosy old seaside home and our many walks - around a bog the first evening, along the beach on a sunny and warm New Year's Eve morning, and up Little Douglas Mountain in rain and wind on New Year's Day.
The highlight was our magical early New Year's evening walk through The Butchart Gardens, all lit up with thousands of lights and decorations for the holiday season. Special displays on the theme of "Twelve Days of Christmas" are tucked away in the huge gardens and we'd be challenged to guess each as we tried to remember the song. We particularly loved the more subtle garden displays using uplighting to highlight the gorgeous branches of eucalyptus, Japanese and vine maples and of course the giant evergreens in the background. The deep quarry lake with its fountains in changing colours were mesmerizing. The men had their cameras and took numerous photographs but without tripods, it was challenging to capture the more subtle displays in the dark. Here are a few of my favourites, plus there are a few more images on the Garden's website.
Back at the house, we were warmed by delicious hot soup and dinner, followed by our Christmas gift exchange, a little TV to watch a Canadian New Year's Eve comedy show, then a board game, snacks, chocolates, Christmas baking and finally champagne and kisses at midnight. I think we were up until 1:30 in the morning on a sugar high! A wonderful end to the year, and a happy beginning to the new one! We are grateful and blessed by such good friends.