Friday, September 25, 2009

1066, and all that.

The big news for me this week has been the discovery of an absolute tsunami of Anglo-Saxon treasure.

I'm excited about this, the way that space buffs are excited about the prospect of a Mars mission. Like, if had been announced today.

In my third year of university, I was mentored by the remarkable Dr. Elizabeth Epperly, who advised me to drop the education program (which I was enrolled in because I loved English literature, and the only way to study the subject you loved in Newfoundland was to become a teacher of it, because purely academic pursuits of a subject were unknown to us - you had to "learn a trade") and enroll in the English Honours Programme.

What a world opened up to me then! I learned to read and write Old English. I read - and understood - Beowulf. I learned about the Romans, and the Angles, and the Saxons, and the Normans. I learned about "1066, and all that". I learned about the thorn, and that "Ye Olde Publick Howse" was actually pronounced "Thee Old Public House". I learned about Æthelred, and Æthelred the Unready (what a monicker to go down in history with), and the Venerable Bede, and all they had left for us to study and learn.

My life after graduation took me away from all that, and for the past 20 years I've been immersed in the non-profit sector, and these days, government.

But the news of this discovery has thrilled the hell out of me, and I simply can't get enough of reading about the details of the incredible - literal - treasure trove that has been discovered.

There is writing engraved on many of these pieces. Imagine what this will teach us about Old English. And about the life and culture of the Anglo-Saxons.

I want there to be a book. Right now! I know it will take at least a year for them to produce a gorgeous coffee-table book with loving photographs and explanations of what each artifact may mean. But I want it now!



Saturday, September 19, 2009

The circus is in town.

So, it's the annual Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, which has been happening for - iuhknow - 13 or 14 years now. The astonishing thing about this festival is that they made a profit almost from year 1. So it's been a remarkably successful festival.

And what do successful festivals attract? Everyone and everything, but most importantly, SPONSORS.

Every year, more tents (each named after some company), more bands, and more publicity stunts.

So, bring on the clowns. Here's a trio of girls in some kind of PVC dresses who were handing out coupons last evening.

This morning while having breakfast at our usual place, we spotted the Bell Segway dudes (who have been annoying pedestrians up and down the downtown streets) taking a breather.

They're promoting the amazing news that Bell will now run fibre optic cables right into our homes!

It's awesome! Except that Bell (which ate our local telephone/cable supplier a couple of months ago) still hasn't told us how much this INCREDIBLE advance will cost the average consumer.

Never mind. It's just the circus, after all.


Saturday, September 12, 2009


A much lovelier view along the same piece of highway where I took this shot in February.

A curious fox. I took this just outside my home town with my Sister riding shotgun.

The famous Ziggy Peelgood's chip truck, Water Street, St. John's. A must-do snack stop after closing down George Street. Every St. Johner knows the tune: "Ziggy Peelgood's makes you feel good..."

I've taken so many photos like this in Newfoundland, none of which come even slightly close to doing justice to the actual view. Perhaps some things are too beautiful to actually be captured on film.

Back to my other home tomorrow.


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Friday, September 11, 2009

Today is under construction. Thank you for understanding.

engrish funny today construction


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

A little more St. John's

Did I mention that I learned to drive a stick in this city? That's trial by fire. son.

A much nicer view than the last picture I posted of Cabot Tower on Signal Hill.

My beautiful St. John's Harbour.

Cape Spear - the most easterly point in the Americas - from Signal Hill.

Tomorrow: On to the boonies!


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St. John's

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

En route to St. John's

This was actually the first leg of the trip, from Fredericton to Halifax. It's a Beech 1900D operated by Air Georgian. Air Georgian is an Air Canada Star Alliance partner, which means they sometimes handle flights booked through Air Canada on Air Canada routes. Except you're not told until after you book that you'll actually be flying Air Georgian on a plane which fits 18 passengers and 2 crew. And which feels, in turbulence, a bit like riding a wrench in a blender.

Before my first flight on one of these aircraft, the First Officer came back into the cabin to politely note that we had a bit of a weight issue with the luggage, so if all the ladies could please move to the rear of the plane and all the gentlemen please move to the front, thank you very much.

The joys of life in the outback.

Also, on my first flight in this Beech, we skipped all over the runway on landing like a 7-year-old-girl on Adderall. Yesterday whichever of the crew handled the landing set it down smooth as silk in Halifax.

The pip - the absolute pip - of the flight from Fredericton to Halifax was that when I checked in online the night before, the flight details - which didn't mention the make of aircraft - listed my seat - 6A - as an "aisle". I prefer window seating, so requested a change. Fine, the webpage said - 7B.

A window.


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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Potstickers and pilot lessons

An interesting day! It started out with a wedding party for friends of ours who tied the knot in a civil ceremony a couple of weeks ago. (There will be not one, but two, massive wedding ceremonies in China in a couple of months.) Today they invited some friends to their home to celebrate, and brought in two Chinese chefs to prepare an incredible spread for us. It was a really fun time and we got to try some new foods ("prawns on a snowy mountain" was very impressive).

It was all the nicer because the happy couple are just the sweetest, nicest people you'd ever want to meet. They're perfectly matched temperamentally - both sunny kids who are just genuinely happy to be experiencing life. It was exactly what a wedding party should be - a joyful celebration of two good people starting off on what gives every indication of being a wonderful life together.

That wrapped up late afternoon, and it was such a beautiful day that Husband decided he wanted to try out an RC plane he bought a while back.

This is the Sky Fly, and consistent with my knowledge of RC aircraft, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Husband has never done this before. He was fully prepared for the thing not to fly at all, and completely prepared to crash the thing dramatically if it did.

He hand-launched it, and... flew! Oh boy, did it flew!

Husband was astonished as he really didn't think the thing would fly at all the first time he tried it.

Here's another launch (the landings were... um... sudden and occasionally unanticipated, but the plane was always game for another go).

Except after several flights it started to respond wonkily...

...leading to the final landing, which wasn't so much a "landing" as an uncontrolled, spectacular, cartwheeling crash across the grass.

The crash didn't bother Husband in the slightest. The wings and tails on these things are meant to be replaceable to the point of being disposible. He was just thrilled that the thing flew at all.

It's a lot more fun than you'd think, actually!

Replacement parts on order, Captain.