Yesterday the conditions for dining on the outdoor patio at Bon Sushi on Hampshire were perfect: sunshine in a blue sky, only wisps of occasional wind, temperature likely around 5 degrees.
First time this year!
I was suitably dressed with a later 'parkette and crow experience' in mind. The crows saw me on the patio and dropped by. Man showed up with his daily offering of dry cat food for them.
Wonderful music added to the ambience. A man was sitting on the south-facing bench on Oak Bay Avenue by the Pharmacy playing an accordion. "Playing an accordion" is a great understatement. I have never heard an accordion played like this before. I felt gifted by the music, complementing the pleasure of eating outside in the midst of nature, human and otherwise.
This got me thinking about how, when I was checking out Victoria more than twenty years ago, a major factor in leaving my beloved Ontario for here was - in November - seeing the number of people sitting outdoors: reading, eating, simply sitting, chatting . Joining them. Enhanced sheltered areas. Dressed for the weather.
In Toronto we had put down warmth-retaining flagstones in a south-west facing area of the garden, backed it with a protective grape stake cedar fence, created a suncatcher where we could sit and eat and read and chat - weather permitting with our inducements. But this was a unique situation. In Victoria it was the norm.
As I sat on the patio yesterday I thought about the other places where I could sit outdoors thusly. I counted eleven along the two blocks of the Village itself - cafes, delis, coffee shops, restaurants. Oh, just remembered three more.
It's an attitude, I guess, fostered by a more temperate climate. It extends to people's gardens, balconies, park benches.
When I was finished my lunch I strolled up to the Avenue and sat on the bench surround near the musician; watched and listened. Many others paused or stopped. Some spoke with him.
Finally my journalist background got me moving to perch beside him on the bench. He continued playing as I learned that he is from Calgary, a regular visitor to Victoria, used to be in a band, now plays for his own and others enjoyment.