Today, the Monday, is Victoria Day, to Celebrate Queen Victoria, even though she is dead for over 110 years now, and we are celebrating the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (only a distant great aunt, hardly any relation to me). For the Parade, there are bands, and dozens of them come from Canada but mostly the USA, over on the Coho in school buses and other transport to be part of the Victoria Day Celebration. We are a Steam-Punk Town which still celebrates the eternal reign of her highness, Queen Victoria, long may she reign!
The apple and pear blossoms had started to fall making a carpet of flowers around the benches. A small flock of Canada Geese had arrived last week and camped out near the central pond (look down by the second bench to see them on the grass).
The squirrels we saw that day were either small and twitchy, or starving and fearless. Linda, sitting on her walk with her ski boot (no weight bearing), had a squirrel who would take his loot away for hiding.
However he was followed by a crow, who would watch where it dug and then after it returned for another peanut, go and eat the one that was buried. So the squirrel became more and more paranoid, pretending to dig the peanut multiple times, and sometimes disappearing over fields to hide his hoard. Sometimes going up a tree to see all potential enemies.
Cheryl found a young and tiny grey squirrel, a little twitchy.
His habit, like the messy boy gobbling his meal, got more and more exciting while eating a peanut that he literally stretched upward and back, sometimes almost falling off the root he was standing on he had his head so far back. He was ‘pounding down peanut shots.’
It seems she got the Frat Boy of squirrels.
I found a squirrel who would bound towards me, totally fearless. I even ended with a video of him coming all the way in to my hand for a peanut (to be uploaded later today, a still pic for now).
However, she would take the peanut and disappear so far away that after a few minutes I would give up on her returning. But she did. You just needed a book to read while waiting for her.
Meanwhile, three buses pulled up and at least one school emptied out, the students leaving the instruments by the stage while a small ensemble played various Jazz, band and mix pieces. The Double Bass player, like all double Bass players, kept dropping measures, and sometimes came in a beat off.
The bad part of being in such a small group was that your mistakes are evident, though the Bass Player was playing soft often, while the Tenor Sax was cutting it up, making the most out of the solos.
Our squirrels had been ousted by a Peahen and a male Peacock, with his iridescent blue to purple neck and breast and flashing colours putting the flowers to shame.
The problem with Peacocks are two: first they can’t open the peanut themselves so they DEMAND you crack the shell and open the peanut FOR THEM – at least the large male did. And second, with a wicked hooked beak and cobra-like jabbing motion of the neck toward your fingers, it can be a bit intimidating, particularly when you have a irritated peacock less than two feet from your face making the full haunting cry ‘AAAiiiiiiiiiiOWWWWWWWWwwwwww.’ It was telling not, ‘Hurry up please’ but ‘How would you like me to rearrange your face!’ – so moody!
The squirrel did return, and approached, just about to take the peanut from in front of the wheelchair when suddenly it started to retreat. I couldn’t figure it out until I saw the two peacocks, like battleships, strut past my chair so close they bushed the sides, silently telling crows and squirrels alike, “The one with the peanuts, She’s MINE now!”
During this, three teen girls from the band approached taking pictures on cell phones and ipods. As Linda had the bag of peanuts and I had a zip lock bag, I keep under my wheelchair for emergency squirrel feeding (be prepared!), I offered the bag to the girls, or specifically to Alto (she played the Alto Sax). The three girls were in a state of near hyperventilation and all talking at once frenzy usually saved for boy bands.
“Oh you’re so pretty, and you know it, you should be models, yes, you are a model aren’t you, you and your girlfriend.”
They called over their band teacher, who was either gay or a naturally camp Asian man. He coo’d over the peacocks and the squirrels and ran off to get pictures of flowers. I convinced Alto to take the rest of the peanuts and try feeding the squirrels who were across the green by the tree. For them it was exciting and wonderful wildlife. For us, having peacocks, ducks in overabundance, Canada Geese, squirrels eating from your hand, along with robins virtually hopping in your lap and giant Koi Fish in the ponds, all a block or two from downtown is just normal. We are Victoria, and host many different animal panhandlers. Worry not, the peanuts were no salt, and all bought specifically to be fed to squirrels, having checked out the types can cause problems with animals.
We went back to the apartment for our picnic and ended up watching a couple hours of BBC’s documentary on Planet earth, including the Elephants and lions of the Sand Dunes and Deserts as well as lizards like rainbows in South Africa. Linda and Cheryl had been to the farmers market that morning and picked up fresh cheese curds brought down from Parksville, 80-90 miles north of town, as well as a new citrus grapefruit soap to scent the room and freshly made donuts.
I sent out 80-90 postcards the last week or two to invite all to have a picnic or celebrate this week, having some fun to be glad for being alive.
If you are in Europe, I notice that this week is Eurovision with next weekend being the wonderfully camp singing competition that brought you Abba 30 years ago, as there is over 50 years of Eurovision. Here is the 25 finalists in under seven minutes in HD from 2011 if you don’t know about Eurovision. I like Finland, Hungary and Moldovia for just ‘out there’. A gay favorite, with people watching in large screen in most gay pubs in the UK and Ireland, I miss hearing the semi-closeted church music directors eyes light up at the word ‘Eurovision’ – the year we left, 2007, was when the lesbian heart song edged out the drag queen singer to win – that could only occur in Eurovision (LGBTQI performers are common).