What did you learn today?

August 5, 2019

I learned, much to my dismay (selfishly), that today is Civic Day in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Nova_Scotia flag

(Photo credit: flagmartcanada.com)

I know this because my car broke down last night after I got off the ferry and most businesses (including car mechanics) are CLOSED today.  An inconvenience for me, but there are many positive aspects of it.  It happened in a gas station parking lot, not on the road (and not out in the middle of nowhere in a spot with no cell service and no place to walk to for help (and perhaps very little traffic)), the weather ended up being ok and not stormy, I was able to get in the same Airbnb I stayed in for three nights before taking the ferry north 10 days ago (there were people with reservations but they cancelled), and it is nice today so I walked to the store for two days worth of food.  My original hostesses, one over in Sydney, where I was supposed to stay last night, and one for the first of 4 nights in the same house over on Prince Edward Island, were very understanding.  The woman in Sydney even offered to come get me, and tried to help diagnose the problem over the phone!  CAA (the Canadian equivalent of AAA Motor Club) towed me to a garage within walking distance of where I am staying and I will be there bright and early when they open at 730am tomorrow.

Someone told me last night that today was Boxing Day in Canada but that is, in fact, the day after Christmas.  Civic Day is celebrated in certain Canadian provinces on various dates based on each province’s “birthday” or other significant event.

So HAPPY CIVIC DAY Nova Scotia – I will celebrate it by getting caught up on my blog!!



More Jellybean Houses

August 1 & 2, 2019

Here are more of the colorful Jellybean Houses I saw while in St. John’s last Thursday and Friday (see previous post).  These were in spots where utility poles and wires distracted somewhat from their beauty.







In this environment even a white house looks great:


And evidently some folks paint their stairs & railings and put pretty flowers out – and some don’t:



Jellybean Houses – St. John’s, NL

August 1 & 2, 2019

Thursday and Friday I spent the day in and around the large town of St. John’s in northeast Newfoundland. This is one of the posters currently being distributed by the Visitor’s Bureau promoting the town.


These are called Jellybean Houses because of their color and variety.  They actually call it Jellybean Row (because they are rowhouses) but that isn’t an actual place, just the concept.  These colorful houses are everywhere in the city of St. John’s.  I took lots of photos, and could have taken lots more, but I will try to only share the better ones. While the pictures on the posters are pristine and clear of vehicles and utility poles & wires, real life is a little messier.  I do have some relatively “clean” shots which I will post first, followed by more cluttered shots in another post. Many of the residents plant pretty flowers which often complement the color of the house and it is unfortunate that parked cars often block the view of them.  I guess we can’t all live in Disneyland…..


I tried to take photos of the houses on the sunny side of the street, though sometimes I took them of the shady side but at an angle so the sun wouldn’t distort the shot.  You will also notice that many buildings are level, whereas others are staggered in height, sometimes quite a bit.  The streets parallel to the waterfront in St. John’s increase in altitude very quickly and walking up or downhill is very steep, like being in San Francisco.




I waited in the shade across the street in front of this yellow house for a few minutes as a well dressed man methodically scraped at a sticker on the door using his fingernail. When it became apparent it was going to take a while I decided to go elsewhere and come back later. I walked to his side and commented “that looks tedious” not to be a wiseass but just to acknowledge his effort. He explained that he owns this house and just had a new front door unit installed, with glass side windows. He basically said “You’d think that for $ 4,000 they would have at least removed the barcode!”.


I did come back later and as you can see, remnants of the sticker are still there.

More houses:


If you look closely at the blue house in the photo above you will see that even the mailboxes have multi-colored house designs on them.  This was what I was referring to in a post I made several days ago of an old building located in a fishing town with one of the sides painted to emulate the Jellybean Row concept.






I saw many other things in St. John’s which I will address in other posts.




Southern Avalon Peninsula, NL

July 31, 2019


After visiting Salmonier Wildlife Park I continued south on Route 90, driving the “Irish Loop”.  Newfoundland has many scenic drives indicated on their provincial map and they all have names and pictures to keep you on course while traversing them. Canadians like pictures on signs, not just words and numbers.

It was a beautiful drive, most of it inland until I got down to the southern tip of the peninsula near the town of Trepassey.  Then I was near the water and for the first time this trip – coastal fog. I am actually quite surprised that as close as I have been to water for the past three weeks that I haven’t encountered more fog.

On the southeast end of the peninsula I stopped in at Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, which includes the lighthouse out on Cape Race.  It was here (just a lighthouse and communications shack at that time) that a radio operator received the CQD call from the Titanic.

CQ is a radio communications term, still used by amateur “ham” radio enthusiasts, meaning “General Call”.  Operators will sometimes broadcast that general call and talk (either by voice or using Morse Code, as Titanic did) with whomever answers. CQD means “General Call – Distress” and pre-dates the now more commonly used emergency call SOS.

This is the lighthouse at Cape Race:


Let’s try that again – THIS is the lighthouse at Cape Race:


As I was driving back out to the highway from the lighthouse I saw this waterfall not far from the gravel road I was driving on:


As you can see, it was a nice day but for the fog by this part of the Atlantic Ocean.

I continued north on what had now become Route 10 and saw signs for the S.S. Florizel disaster. Not knowing anything about it, I stopped to take a photo of the view from the memorial site and read a brief recap of the event.


On February 23, 1918 the S.S. Florizel set sail from St. John’s, Newfoundland (my destination for the night, north of where this happened) headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia and ultimately New York City.  It was the flagship of the Red Cross Line, one of the first ships specifically designed and built to operate in icy seas.  On board were 138 passengers and crew.



(Photo credit: beothic.blogspot.com)

The journey began at night and the Captain gave orders to get out to the open sea and sail south at full speed. It was very stormy and they couldn’t see any of the lighthouses to let them know where they were. This was obviously before radar and GPS.

After considerable time had passed the Captain ordered that the ship be turned west, assuming they had cleared Cape Race. After the accident the Captain was charged with neglect, but was later cleared when it became known that the Chief Engineer, who controlled the ship’s speed, had ignored the order to operate at full speed at the outset because he wanted to delay the arrival and force the stopover in Halifax to take place overnight so he could visit his family. Consequently they weren’t nearly as far south as the Captain assumed they were and they sailed directly into the rocky coast near the small town of Cappahayden.  The ship hit the rocks at approximately 450am local time on the 24th.


(Photo credit: facebook.com)

Once the townspeople were made aware of the accident, and at first light a short time after it had occurred, residents and rescue workers watched helplessly from the shore as the passengers and crew flung themselves into the frigid water.  94 people died.

A brief moment of silence, please…..

I continued north and when I got to Ferryland saw this great view (a restaurant just to my right as I took this photo was understandably called “Million Dollar View”):


I continued on north to my ultimate destination of St. John’s, where I would be spending the next three nights.


How’s it goin’, eh?

August 5, 2019

After more than three weeks in Canada I finally heard a Canadian utter the interjection “eh?” at the end of a sentence!  For those of who are too young or not familiar with the skits that Canadian comedians Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas used to do on SCTV back in the early 1980’s (there are lots of them available on YouTube.  They’re hilarious), at the beginning of each 2-minute episode of “Great White North,” their skit, Moranis would say “G’day everyone, I’m Bob McKenzie and this is my brother Doug” – at which point Thomas would always say “How’s it goin’, eh?”.  Like the “Weekend News” segment on Saturday Night Live, or Seth Meyer’s “A Closer Look”  segment, their bit was something I’d always stay up to watch on late night TV.


(Photo credit: mentalfloss.com)

As I was preparing to disembark from the ferry which brought me back to Nova Scotia yesterday I overheard the young man who had prepared my smoothie earlier in the day at the little snack bar on Deck 9 of the ship say “So, you finally found a box of paper straws for me, eh?”  to a co-worker.  I’ve been wanting to post about this since the beginning of my trip but was waiting for the right time.

And I’ve only heard one “aboot” so far during this trip.  That was uttered during a conversation I was having with the kid in Truro, NS at the Tidal Bore place aboot three weeks ago (as Shawn would say – Ha!).  He was giving me directions to a restaurant he was recommending and said to go “aboot” 4 kilometers up a certain road.  I never knew Peter Jennings, the late anchor of the weeknight ABC News broadcasts, was Canadian until I heard him say “aboot” one night during a story.

PLEASE understand, I’m not making fun of Canadians, or if you think I am it is good natured fun.  My mother was from West Virginia and I can say “y’all” with the best of ’em.  And I have added “fixin”” to my vocabulary since moving to North Carolina.  I’m sure other people have observed that about me, too.

Hey – different is what makes the world go ’round….

Photo added 8/6/2019 after original post

I was in Walmart today to buy a fire extinguisher for my car (see separate post) and saw this: