“After receiving a 100 year old Blüthner piano, I became fascinated with its long journey to Mayne Island and Shavasana Gallery. Here is a story of how to sleuth the wandering path of an “accidental” piano.” (to watch a 5 minute compilation video which I made called “11 Pieces for the Blüthner” go here: https://youtu.be/f_o4JUtccH8 )
It was the last few minutes, of the last day, of the final weekend of my Fall/Winter season, before I closed up Shavasana Gallery & Café for the year.
On this particular day – unlike all the others – I was shutting down an hour early, at 3 o’clock, to give myself enough time to do a detailed cleaning of the Gallery in anticipation of hosting my family there the following weekend, for Christmas dinner. It was Sunday Dec. 18, the first day of Hanukkah, exactly a week before Christmas, and I could see a light snow falling through the steamy single pane windows. The few customers I had left were fine with an earlier closing, except for my neighbour Billie who had just sat down to a plate of cookies and a Brown Betty teapot full of English Breakfast & Mint. “Don’t worry Billie, you’ve got a pot of tea there”, I said, “you can hang out while I do some cleaning”. After all, it was “Island Time”, the loose rules and flexible schedules that seem to govern any notion of time on the Gulf Islands. Billie could sip and nibble and chat while I dusted, swept and mopped. I brought in my roadside sandwich board, and my Easel Signage, and put up my “Closed” sign to dissuade any latecomers.
As the light began to wane, and the flurry of snow gathered pace, Billie noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a couple walking towards the front door and said, “Oh oh…here come some people, I’ll tell them you’re closed.” She got off her chair, opened the door and said, “Sorry, the café is closed for the day.” I couldn’t see who it was outside but I could almost feel their dismay at being turned away. Realizing that I still had a supply of hot coffee in the Zojirushi, and lots of hot water on hand for tea, and the ever-present supply of cookies, I said, “Hang on there a sec Billie, maybe they’d like a hot beverage to go” I went to the door and greeted a 30ish couple – dusted in snow – and invited them in, explaining that I was indeed closing down but could set them up with a hot coffee or tea – if they liked.
Thrilled to be invited into a warm space with the prospect of a hot drink, they joined us inside, expressing thanks and gratitude for not having been turned away. They had no car and – despite the weather – were on a walking adventure around Mayne, cherishing a chance to get away from the city and unwind a bit. I would soon find out how far they had come to unwind.
Shavasana Gallery was the third place they’d gone that was either closed or shutting down – an unfamiliar experience for a young urban couple having their first foray to a Gulf Island. As I prepared a couple of hot chocolates for them, Billie decided to pay up and go so I wished her a Merry Christmas and gave her a little hug as I was unlikely to see her when I returned the following week.
While I stirred their hot chocolates and chatted with them about a myriad of things, I could detect accents that I was unable to place, so, as is my nature I asked where they were from. “Kazakhstan”, replied the young woman, “And Ukraine” replied the young man. “Wow”, I said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone from Kazakhstan, very nice to meet you”,…”and Ukraine”, I said, momentarily at an, uncharacteristic, loss for words. Although I have known Ukrainians, and had Canadians of Ukrainian descent as friends all my life, I don’t think I have been in the presence of a Ukrainian since the horrible invasion of their country began earlier this year. All that I could do was place my hand over my heart and express my profound sympathy, support and compassion for the suffering that he and his fellow Ukrainians have been going through…”I’m so sorry for what has been happening to Ukraine since the invasion” I said, “how are you doing?” “I am doing OK thanks”, he said, “I’ve been in Canada for a while now, and have recently managed to bring my family over – so for this I am happy” he said, smiling
I can only try and imagine his relief.
“Even though Mayne Island is far away from the war in Ukraine,” I said, “the people here do care and try and help where we can.” I drew his attention to a book by Julie Emerson which I had on display for sale on the main table. “Julie created this book of stories and illustrations – all about Ukraine – and we are donating 100% of the sales to Ukraine Relief efforts.” He picked one up and flipped through it, admiring Julie’s work. “And another one of my artists, Famous Empty Sky, donated 10% of all sales of her art to Ukraine Relief …I think we raised several hundred dollars”. “That is wonderful,” he said, “every little bit helps…”
As I was handing them their hot chocolates and preparing to send them on their way – back out into the snow and gathering dusk – I found myself hit by a case of “the feels”. “Can I give you a hug?” I asked, “Yes, of course,” he said, smiling, arms outstretched. As we embraced, his lovely Kazakhstani wife – smiling broadly – opened her arms and said, “Me too!” As a hugger, it doesn’t take much convincing for me to hug everyone in a room. I gave her a big hug, shook both their hands and wished them all the best for a peaceful, gentler 2023….and said goodbye.
Here’s hoping and praying, that all of our wishes for Peace in Ukraine 2023 come true.
“We laughed…we cried…we moved. Listen to one family’s journey through dog-barking hell”…October 25, 2022
I should probably be out shovelling snow or Christmas shopping, but I feel compelled to finish posting the last of my Podcasts on this site and on my Clay and Bone website:https://clayandbone.com/ I’ve only got three left until I’m all caught up, so I’ve put on my heavy winter gear and trudged through the snow-clogged streets to my local Starbucks to complete the task. As I’ve got this process down to a fine art, it’s not terribly difficult, just a little time consuming, which – on this snowy December 20th in Vancouver – seems in short supply. Here’s the Podcast:
“A casual Friday night pursuit of pubs and pals in Ottawa turns into an unexpected apprehension of an armed robbery in process” August 16, 2022
I should probably be out shovelling snow or Christmas shopping, but I feel compelled to finish posting the last of my Podcasts on this site and on my Clay and Bone website: https://clayandbone.com/ I’ve only got three left until I’m all caught up, so I’ve put on my heavy winter gear and trudged through the snow-clogged streets to my local Starbucks to complete the task. As I’ve got this process down to a fine art, it’s not terribly difficult, just a little time consuming, which – on this snowy December 20th in Vancouver – seems in short supply. Here’s the Podcast:
“A personal account of the Student Uprising in Athens, November 1973, which led to the overthrow of George Papadopolous and – ultimately – the return of Democracy” – May 27, 2022
I should probably be out shovelling snow or Christmas shopping, but I feel compelled to finish posting the last of my Podcasts on this site and on my Clay and Bone www.clayandbone.com website. I’ve only got three left until I’m all caught up, so I’ve put on my heavy winter gear and trudged through the snow-clogged streets to my local Starbucks to complete the task. As I’ve got this process down to a fine art, it’s not terribly difficult, just a little time consuming, which – on this snowy December 20th in Vancouver – seems in short supply. Here’s the Podcast:
Shavasana Gallery & Café will be re-opening this coming Thursday December 15, Friday, Saturday & Sunday the 18th for it’s last pre-Christmas showing before closing for the Christmas break.
Come on down and check out the fabulous collage work by Famous Empty Sky, paintings by Bill Maylone, carvings by Wayne Thomas, and ceramic masks by myself (George Bathgate), plus a great selection of cards by local artists: Famous Empty Sky, Stephen Cropper, Linda Dzus, Deborah Strong and Toby Snelgrove.
We also have a beautiful selection of Necklaces, bracelets, bangles and Earrings by regional and out-of-country artisans, as well as an eclectic selection of antiques, curios, and additional local crafts.
Shavasana Café is also a sweet spot to come and have a cup of what is arguably the best coffee on Mayne Island and a baked goodie, or a cup of tea from Mayne’s best tea selection (please correct me if I’m wrong on this! 😊)
…and, for those that have been pining since they disappeared from the menu several months ago…the Raspberry Crumble Cookie and Mini-Cinnamon Bun are back!
I’m intending to re-open Shavasana Gallery/Café for a few days this coming weekend – Dec. 2, 3, & 4 with my usual hours of 9 – 4 Friday & Saturday and 10:15 – 4 Sunday….there’s a possibility of staying open an extra day – Monday – if weather permits.
As I write this it is snowing in Kitsilano and the forecast seems to be changing hourly with regards to the amount and timing of the coming snowfalls. Because I divide my time between here and Mayne, my plans can change with where and when and how much snow is in the forecast – but I’ll do my best….because I’m jonesing for a little MI time😊
….although, my little menagerie of neighbourhood birds will miss their daily supply of seeds & sugar water!
I’m sitting at PureBread Café in Kitsilano on November 20, 2022 – a full year since I created this Podcast – and just carrying on with my plan to transfer all of my Podcasts onto my Shavasana Gallery website and my Clay and Bone site: https://clayandbone.com/ . It’s not a terribly difficult process, very cut and paste, but, as in many things I do online, I’m only vaguely – if not at all – aware of this reaching anyone or having any grand significance. Actually, as to “grand significance” I think it’s safe to say there is none…but I still feel compelled to continue. If you haven’t already listened to this recording, give it a shot, I think it’s a fun one…😊
“If you run a Gallery Café, anyone can walk through your doors…if it’s on a small island without police anything can happen – November 10, 2021”