|So, at the appointed time, we all got decked out in our finery and appeared on the steps of the James Bay Inn for pre-tea picture taking.
In afternoon, we all dressed up for High Tea at the Empress. Horse-drawn carriage. Terese made her late entrance with black dress and top hat.
|When our carriage arrived, our driver asked who we were and, when told, said that he had just read Pride and Prejudice. When quizzed, he knew that Lydia had run off with Wickham and we gave him a round of applause.|
After various posts back and forth with Mrs. Golda Allen, I was really hesitant to meet her, but carefully dressed in my finest orange and purple shirt to make a good first impression. And you know what, I liked her very well indeed! Golda was quite a resource in plant identification while we toured Butchart Gardens, and she was simply stunning in her tea outfit. Nice hat, Golda!
|The ride was short, but fun. We travelled down to the Parliament building and around the block to The Empress Hotel which stands right near the water.
We went to see All's Well That Ends Well. Sharon & I left with Cheryl and Myretta, who found the play less than inspiring (but we cast the "King" in the play to play Mrs. Bennet someday, for he showed great skill at hanky waving).
|Our driver was charming and considerate of his horses. We enjoyed the short drive and arrived at the front entrance to the Empress looking windblown but ready for tea.|
I remember how lovely it was to see Barb and Laraine coming down the lane toward Barton Cottage. Hugging is a vastly underrated activity.
|The tea room at the Empress is elegant. We
were welcomed and seated at three tables. Tables one and three were
served by a charming waiter. Table two drew the Tea Nazi. |
I loved the cottage signs Barb made and pics Laraine put up and Laurie's messages that showed we were thinking of absent friends, as well as our toast at the Empress to absent friends.
|Each place had a dish of
raspberries and whipped cream at it when we sat down. Some of our
party wished for tea right away, but we were informed by the Tea
Nazi, that she would not serve us tea until we had finished the
raspberries.Most of us dutifully ate our raspberries
but someone did insist and was brought tea. Our server was not shy
about showing her disdain for such a gauche request.|
Our table certainly has something to remember, n'est-pas? I think we all looked very nice in our finery. The hats of Golda, Clare and Terese were especially admired. I really like the carrot-ginger tea sandwiches. Carolyn
|Tea was followed by a little shopping at
the hotel and a picture taking session in the rose garden. It took
us a while to get everyone out there, but once we were together, we
found our two perfect strangers who graciously took pictures with
every camera in the group.
Then the next day it was goodbye, but not before I was treated to one of Cheryl's hugs. It was a great experience, and I'm so happy I was able to make it.
|Sunday night included a power P&P showing. We all sat in Barton Cottage and watched the tape Cheryl had made - two hours of the best of P&P2. We drank wine, collected addresses, teased Darlene about Mr. Darcy and generally made a mess. Some of us went to bed early, but many stayed into the night, enjoying each others' company.|
A valiant clean up attempt on Sunday
morning made the drawing room ready for the Pemberley Committee
business meeting which was short and sweet.
Everyone who was around had breakfast at the James Bay Inn restaurant and lingered, first at Barton Cottage and later on the sidewalk, saying good bye.
|Some stayed another night and
joined Candace and Barbara at the Victoria Shakespeare Festival's
presentation of All's Well that End's Well. Unfortunately, it did
not end well and only the brave stayed through the last curtain.
Nevertheless, it was fun, as are all the Pemberley gatherings.
And, like all the Pemberley gatherings, it left the participants with indelible images of each other and of the community. We hope we have been able to share some of them with you, here.
After breakfast we went back to our room, which just happened to be across from the cleaning crews headquarters. We could hear them laughing and talking. "Ladies, we hit pay dirt!" for they had just cleaned out the cottage kitchen, and were enjoying all our leftovers.
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