Sunday, 16 November 2014

Back to the Rock

A few more views of the coastal communities of Newfoundland. And of course, Newfoundland is a rocky island surrounded by the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, so there's a lot of rugged coastline to photograph.

The landing stage at the community of Bauline, just to the north of St Johns. It was a sunny day, but really windy, with the sun sparkling on the choppy waves.

Bringing the fishing boat on shore for the night, away from the dangers of the waves.

Ferryland on the Southern Shore. There's been an archeological dig going on here for over twenty summers, uncovering one of the first attempts to build a settlement in Newfoundland. George Calvert, better known as Lord Baltimore, landed here in 1621 and founded the Colony of Avalon, close to rich fishing grounds. But Lady Baltimore wasn't happy.... it was cold, life in the colony was hard, and the Baltimore's moved south to found another colony in Maryland, which grew into the city of.... yes, you guessed it...  Baltimore.

Some of the foundations of the harbour and the walls of the houses and the cobblestone streets built in the 17th Century as the Colony of Avalon. When I first visited Ferryland in 1996, most of the site consisted of private houses and gardens which have now been purchased and removed, and the actual excavations are revealing a large settlement. An Interpretation Centre has been built where you can view all the finds... fascinating stuff!

Look closely and you'll see tiny white dots on this island. Sheep! The flock is ferried to the island in the spring and spends the summer grazing on the grasses, before being brought back to the mainland in the fall. No fences, no predators. And sheep hate swimming!

A perfect day by the ocean. No wonder I love visiting Newfoundland when I see views like this.

Monday, 10 November 2014


Frankly, my dear.... I don't give a damn!

It's the 75th Anniversary of David O. Selznick's 1939 classic movie Gone With The Wind, and the local Cineplex was showing the film on the big screen to commemorate the occasion.... WOW! What a great movie. I had never seen it before, or read the book, or even seen snippets of it on the telly. I always thought it had a happy ending, but apparently not!

The film started at 12:30 and goes on for 3 hours and 42 minutes with a very short intermission, so I took my lunch to the theatre.... a yummy raisin bun, some slices of cheese and a banana. No need to starve in the name of cinematic art. GWTW is the longest running movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also walked away with awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress in 1940.

The lovely Vivien Leigh was not the first choice for the role of Scarlett O'Hara. 1,400 actresses were interviewed for the part, and 400 were asked to do readings. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood made screen tests, but the role eventually went to Vivien Leigh, who was at that time a comparatively unknown British actress. Vivien Leigh is in most scenes in the film. She worked for 125 days and received about $25,000. Clark Gable worked for only 71 days and received over $120,000. Double standards back then!

Some classic GWTW quotes:
Rhett Butler: [to Scarlett] Open your eyes and look at me. No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing badly.
Scarlett: You low-down, cowardly, nasty thing you! They were right! Everybody was right! You - You aren't a gentleman.
Mammy: Jes' get them britches in the boilin' pot!
Prissy: Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies.
Mammy: It ain't fittin'... it ain't fittin'. It jes' ain't fittin'... It ain't fittin'.
Scarlett: After all... tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Flatrock - Newfoundland

It was the first day of the recreational groundfish fishery, which is a limited length of time when the public can fish for their own use, with a daily bag limit of five groundfish per day (including cod) and a maximum boat limit of 15 fish when three or more people are fishing. 
Inshore commercial cod fishery is still under a moratorium, to increase the cod stocks after years of overfishing.

It was a rare sunny day,  so we took a trip to the community of Flatrock, just north of St Johns. Flatrock is a pretty little village, with yes, you guessed it.... a lot of flat rocks, although the rock in this picture doesn't look very flat! You can read Flatrock's colourful history here

This gentleman was planning to go out and catch a few fish for supper, so he spent about 20 minutes preparing his boat and getting his fishing lines ready.

 Not a view of his best side... but he probably won't read this, but just in case he does.... I'm sorry!

Off he goes, out into the harbour. I wished him good luck. Nothing like fresh fish straight out of the ocean for a tasty supper.

More pictures of Newfoundland to come.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Fine Dining on The Rock

If you are lucky enough to take a trip to Newfoundland, you have a taste treat coming to you.  Some of these traditional foods are definitely an acquired taste..... so I'm not actually recommending them.... just saying....

Traditional Jiggs Dinner. Consists of salt beef, potato, turnip, carrot, cabbage, and peas pudding. A few years ago, OlderSon and I went to a Sunday Jiggs Dinner at the Irving gas station cafe in the Donovan's Industrial Estate. A gas station restaurant doesn't sound like the perfect location for fine dining, but there were people lined up outside for their Jiggs Dinner, and very good it was too! As they say in Newfoundland, some fine scoff, b'y!

Seal Flipper Pie. I haven't actually sampled a seal flipper pie, but maybe one day, when I get very very brave. Or very very hungry. I think it would taste really fishy.

Cod Tongues. These are not actually tongues, but are a small muscle from the neck of the cod. Usually breaded, then fried in pork fat with cubes of salt pork. I've eaten them..... but once was enough.

Salt Cod Vins. I have to admit I don't have a clue what this is, or how it is cooked. It looks like fins and tails and bits of cartilage, all the leftover bits after preparing the cods tongues and the flipper pie. Maybe for soup? I think I'll pass on this one.

 Ginger blueberry cake with brown sugar sauce. Now this looks a lot nicer. This was dessert when we stopped for lunch in Brigus. Highly recommended!

And now the dish that Newfoundland does best.... Cod and chips, the fish straight from the ocean. We went into the little restaurant on the harbour at St. Philips just to get a coffee, but the aroma of fish'n'chips proved too much to bear, so we stayed for supper.  Delightful.... especially with this view of Conception Bay from our table.

More pictures of Newfoundland to come.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

City of St John's - Newfoundland

The City of St. John's was incorporated in 1921, but it's one of the oldest settlements in North America.  St. John's got its name when Venetian explorer John Cabot (or Giovanni Caboto to give him his proper name) sailed into the harbour in the morning of June 24, 1494, the feast day of John the Baptist. English fishermen crossed the Atlantic to fish in these waters throughout the 1500s, and a permanent colony was established in the 1630s.

The Cabot Tower is a landmark in St. John's, standing high on Signal Hill at the entrance to the harbour. Construction of this stone tower began in 1898 and completed in 1900. In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message here, and a ham radio station operates there today.

There's a gift shop on the main floor, the ham radio station and a display about Marconi up the very narrow twisty stairs, and even more narrow twisty stairs up to the roof. Just don't go out there in a high wind, you'll never get the door open!

The view of the city from Signal Hill. The two stone towers in the centre are the Basilica of St John the Baptist, construction started in 1839, and the Basilica was finally consecrated in 1855.  The large house shaped building on the top left corner is The Rooms which opened in 2005, and houses the Museum, the Provincial archives, and the Provincial Art Gallery. I described a previous visit here.
When The Rooms was first under construction, I thought it was the ugliest building I'd ever seen, but I like it now.... especially inside. But that's another post....

St. John's Court House, built in 1901 of local granite and sandstone. The steps to the right connect Water Street and Duckworth Street, and are on a site that was once a produce market and a public gallows. Not to worry..... Newfoundland's last public hanging occurred there in January 1835, when John Flood was hung for robbing the St. John's-Portugal Cove stagecoach. Crime definitely does not pay!

One of my greatest pleasures is to wander around the streets of St. John's, browsing my way through tourist trap shops and walking up and down some of the extremely steep streets, which are lined with colourful wooden houses, like these. Stopping for a coffee at the local Timmy's and watching the people go by. My idea of fun!

More to come about Newfoundland.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Brigus, Newfoundland 2

A few more memories of a visit to the small fishing community of Brigus.

St. George's Heritage Church was constructed in the Gothic Revival style in 1876. It was built of wood by the men of Brigus. Significant interior features include the open gable beam and timber ceilings, plastered walls and the fact that it is in nearly original condition with only a few additions. It's a landmark in Brigus, both from the land and sea, and became a Registered Heritage Building in 2004.

Visitors to the church can see the beautifully carved altar, pulpit, choir pews and frontals, communion rail and pews (all made of pine) and the christening font, all of which are original to the building. I have no idea why the gateposts and gates are painted bright red. But I like it!

Hawthorne Cottage was the home of Captain Bob Bartlett, who commanded more than twenty Arctic expeditions. Captain Bartlett accompanied American Commander Robert Edwin Peary to the North Pole in 1909, and again in 1914.  During the Canadian Arctic expedition of 1913-18 under Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Captain Bartlett walked 700 miles across Arctic ice and down the Siberian coast to save 14 people on the ill-fated Karluk from certain death.

The quiet streets of Brigus are lined with charming colourful houses and secret gardens. I love the oil tank in this picture!

More pictures of the picturesque communities of Newfoundland still to come.