Monday, October 18, 2010

Ahhh... I am back in Quesnel and back to tranquility

Saw the Vancouver Opera production of Lillian Alling on Saturday night. I must say I identify with the Irene MacDonald character: having a yearning for the wilderness and a wariness of the city.

I did have a nice time in Vancouver, but once I reached the sage-covered hills of the Cache Creek/Ashcroft area, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was back home in the Cariboo.

I left the Sylvia Hotel at 7 am, and arrived home at 4 pm. A long drive, but at least it was warm and sunny. I always overlay a huge historical map on top of the territory I'm driving through. I love looking for physical remnants of the past. I was thinking of Jean Caux, Cataline. He was first headquartered in Yale, circa 1858, then when Ashcroft got connected to the railway in the late 1880s, Cataline moved his headquarters to there. But he was all over the whole of the Cariboo and up north, too. I had a good time at VPL looking at the old newspapers and magazines. Next year, I'll visit his old trading and wintering spots and take some photos and soak in the atmosphere. I'm so intrigued by him.

I'll be back at the Lillian Alling writing in a few days (I need to go to PG tomorrow to pick up a van).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beautiful day in Vancouver

It's sunny and warm in Vancouver. I am staying at The Sylvia Hotel, which is fabulous... a heritage building right on the beach  in the West End.

Spent the afternoon at Vancouver Public Library, doing a bit of background research for a future project on the esteemed packer Jean Caux (also known as Cataline).

I am homesick for Quesnel and looking forward to getting home. I'm also looking forward to finishing my book on Lillian Alling, and sending it off to the publisher.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Website Stats

I should mention that my website is getting double the hits this month compared to last month. This is due to the Vancouver Opera production of Lillian Alling, so that's very cool. Thanks, Vancouver Opera!

My website:

What do we know about Lillian Alling's time in British Columbia and Yukon? Quite a lot, actually

My book's focus is about Lillian Alling's time in British Columbia and Yukon. From both primary documents and secondary sources, we can begin to built quite an interesting picture of both her personality and how she spent her time.

Yes, Lillian's origins are mysterious, but doesn't that make it all the more interesting? Not everything in this Google-world has a ready-made answer or an easy conclusion.

After all, aren't all the world's great mysteries great just because they remain mysteries? Oak Island and the Money Pit, for example. For a great example of how some mysteries remain unsolved, check out William Shatner's "Weird or What" show. They solve some mysteries, but others remain (duh) MYSTERIES.

Lillian Alling was known as "the mystery woman" during her time in British Columbia and Yukon. While I've been able to dig out some great anecdotes about her time in Canada, her life before and after that is shadowy. Will we eventually be able to illuminate those shadows? Maybe. Maybe not.

For an article in the Globe and Mail about the Lillian Alling book, click here: