Here And Now
We had something to celebrate this week. For a special occasion demands a special location – we celebrated our first wedding anniversary at the majestic Empress Hotel in Victoria. More precisely: We enjoyed their famous afternoon tea. What a bliss it was – and how delicious! We were served several treats, just as tradition demands: 1. finger sandwiches, 2. scones with jam, 3. cakes, and of course tea. We had the vegan version of it which included the best chocolate cake we’ve eaten so far.
Our first afternoon tea outside the UK was a feast and an amazing experience. If it wasn’t so expensive, we would go there once a week for sure! The Empress opened its doors in 1908, and if you like „Downton Abbey“ or „The Grand Budapest Hotel“, you surely will love this place with its old-fashioned charm.
After we tuned in so delightfully, we even spent one night at the Empress and thus turned this day into our first mini holiday since … a very long time. Have we mentioned that we were in good company? No other than the Queen of England and Canada, as well as Queen Mum once slept under this hotel’s roof.
Prepared for emergencies
Actually, we were not so sure if it’s such good idea to stay at the hotel for the night. In case of an earthquake it is „arguably one of the most seismically unstable buildings in the entire city“, as an article recently stated. The Empress is a „sickening combination of unreinforced brick built atop reclaimed swamp land“.
What effect an earthquake would have on brick buildings in Victoria we not only learned in this article, but also at an „Emergency Preparedness Workshop“ last week. The city of Victoria organizes those for free regularly. You learn what to expect if the „Big One“ finally hits the island. As a matter of fact, it’s not a question of „if“, but rather of „when“. Experts assume that it will have a magnitude of more than 9. We also found out that earthquakes with magnitude 9 are 1000 times stronger than those with magnitude 7. Now we know why they call it „big“.
Most people survive earthquakes. We might too, since we now know what to do:
- stay inside,
- do not stand beneath a doorway,
- „drop, cover, hold on“,
- count to 60 after the shaking stops,
- check if you are okay, then help others.
Since we are on an island it may take a while until rescue teams arrive. Therefore, it is strongly recommended having two kits ready:
- One grab & go bag with the important stuff to survive in the middle of nowhere. We already have our 72-hour emergency backpacks.
- One home / shelter kit. One should be able to survive at least one week without energy, water and the opportunity to buy something.
The next day we went shopping. Among other things we now store more than 60 litres of water, lots of food in cans, dried fruit, energy bars, waterproof matches, emergency candles, first-aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries, power banks for the computer, a tool with a crank that you can use to power up your smartphone, a camping cooker, gas bottles – and all that within quick reach.
Groceries are best before certain dates. When having a shelter kit you need to know the expiry date of each item so you can replace them at the right time. That’s why C1’s digital calendar has many more entries now to remind us of eating canned food.
Let’s hope we won’t have to live through such an emergency scenario. But if we do: At least we spent one night at the Empress and enjoyed our time on this astonishing island, always here and now. Cheers to that!
Too happy too soon
P.S.: We also had some fun this week with our new washer & dryer. In short: The dryer stopped working * a technician came buy * he checked with a ladder, a mirror and a flashlight (since the machines are too heavy to just pull them out) * he saw that the venting hose was bent * he decided the machines have to be pulled out again * we decided that we had enough hassle since no one could guarantee that the hoses won’t be bent again as soon as the machines were pushed back in the closet * we talked to the store and swapped the huge machines for two smaller models (regular European size) * those are very rare here * bonus: the new dryer is a condensation dryer without a venting hose you have to clean (in our case: on the roof) * those are also not common here * two plumbers arrived a few days later * they pulled out the big machines (astonishingly easy this time) and put in the smaller ones * the machines work just fine * so far * hopefully, this story ends here *.