Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Some where over the rainbow

political integrity lies. Oops I mean lies.

Yesterday we had a nice little spell of rain, then in the evening the rainbow appeared.

We arrived back in Nain Sunday morning, taking a little time to re adjust and catch up with things, sure nice to be home.

Monday, July 30, 2007

So the kids and I were taking a leisurely stole along the Rennies River Trail when we came upon these folk blocking our way. We hightailed it into the water, noticed later that the same folk were stealing our wild strawberries.

But that is not the worst of it. A little way along the river two Labrador dogs attacked [no pictures] our little group, I thought there was a city by-law demanding that all dogs be on a leash, and what about that poop and scoop by-law, some one should enforce that too. Any way back to the dogs, they gave my ducklings a bit of a what for, the human owners [arse holes] were making feeble attempts to entice the Labs out of the water, I got a few licks in, but it was touch and go for awhile.

A nice human on the other side of the river gave a nice verbal abusive tirade against the human arse holes, who seemed to find some difficulty rounding up their dogs while with heads bowed and red faces. Where’s Andy when you need him?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Winding down in the city.

Fran’s smoking sanctuary across the road in the court yard of the delta. Nice peaceful spot, especially at night with the fountain and mural lit up. While we have a smoking room Fran prefers to go outside for her smokes, I think that is very considerate of her, but I did point out the opportunity of blowing the smoke out the window.

Also today we have some modes of transportation here, not shown are skate boarders. Peddle power is really big, bikes/bikers of all sizes and shapes; some take there lives with disdain it seems to me. One lady was in peak traffic on a bike, one hand on the left handle bar and the right hand dialing a cell phone and not looking where she was going, crazy stuff. Sort of like horizontal ice wall climbing.

Lots of people of all ages use back packs here. Hello back in the land of “in touch with the environment”. Plastic bags are still used in stores, but back packs are a small step towards sanity. Then I guess there are longer walks from store/office to home, still no excuses when it comes to protecting the environment.

Last day here, of to the Island portion again early tomorrow.

I see our outgoing MHA has been charged. Shame, but it does go some way towards finality for Wally, but more importantly IMO for the citizens.
Still some way to go though before citizens can feel some comfort and trust in the way members and the system work for them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday round up [briefly].

Had a busy weekend, two friends from Vermont and one from Quebec City came up/down to spend some time with us, and shop.
A wet soggy Friday evening we went out to a Greek restaurant, very quite on the streets and eateries, but we had a good meal and catch up.
Early Saturday morning we took in the market. Wow what a place, what choices, and what fresh local grown/made food. Also food from all over the world, we were all blown away by this place.
Said adios to our good QC friend after the market, the rest of us did some tourist stuff, down to old port, over to the Islands, had a swim in hotel pool, out to eat again in the same area as Friday evening. What a contrast, people out on the streets like capelin. Some waiting for up to 45 minutes to get an outdoor table at some restaurants.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In the big M.

Seven hours on the concrete did some serious wearing on the old joints yesterday. Included in that was about an hour at “Nickels” on St Catherin’s. Wow what a great meal of smoked meat, pickle, coleslaw and fries.
Took in a visit to the underground shops, up to the Bell Centre or whatever [where Canadians play] to buy some souvenirs.

Later had some nice oysters and other sea food, nice bottle of Italian Roseta, very good wine indeed.

Today was a more relaxed start, had a swim some washing of cloths then a cab up to the top of Mount Royal. Had a walk around the lake, on some trails back and forth, finely made it back down to hotel rather soaked. Not with sweat though, it started to rain while we were at the pavilion, a nice warm rain so no big deal.

Now we await the evening and walk around and look for a place to eat.

Fran in Nickles.

Fran the model.

Duck n chicks, sea gulls were giving the brood a hard time.

Duck n Fish, photo copyrighted.


Bow to me.

Jut a few of the visiting ships to St.John's Harbor taken on 17th July.

The one with the chopper pad has been a dockside for quite a bit, she is involved in the search for the 'eldorado' of the sub sea bed.

The blue hull is one slick baby. 209 ft of pure luxury, not sure why she was in port. "Turmoil"does not seem an appropriate moniker for such a craft, or maybe it does.

Not sure why the ancient yellow rust bucket was there either, I was told she was being readied for service in Trinidad, the name Caribbean Rose would lead one to believe that. It's previous name of Island Princess may ring a bell with some folk in Labrador.

The orange hull was from Aberdeen, nice little jaunt across the Atlantic for the owner. I have no idea why it has a polar bear over the name 'Aurora magnitica'.

Wally over at has a series of stories of his travels on the boat that services Labrador from Newfoundland. Wally should get out more often, stuff like this has been going on for years on the that run and the North Coast runs. Maybe a conservative island based blogger could do the same run, love to read their views of the trip.

Sure belies the WST Ministers claims of "improvements" to the service since he has taken on the portfolio.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Phase III, holiday.

So yesterday we bid farewell to the sun drenched capital…. well it was overcast, but warm and muggy, garbage day too, not sure of any significance in that??? We did notice on our stay the state of many of the roads, you get quite a jolt if the driver does not know the street and is driving a wee bit faster than is prudent. A good move on our part [at Fran’s insistence] was to get to the airport way too early. For some reason we had ‘business class’ tickets, so we had the code to the ‘maple leaf’ lounge. What a cool place, both for the air-conditioning, the free goodies and the free bar.
Then on the flight there were the wide seats, major leg room, free food, more booze. It all made the short wait on the [Montréal] tarmac to get to the gate, then the overly long wait for our luggage more tolerable.

The smells of the big city never fail to test the senses, fortunately the other delights soon take over, we spent a pleasant hour listening to live jazz before retiring late.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I know, it’s getting monotonous these reports of fine weather, alls not lost as the forecast has hints of a change.

Yesterday was the last of the three get togethers of Fran’s re union. A brunch [of sorts] at “The Rooms”, a tour [little familiarization] then your on your own.
The 10 minute walk up the hill in 24 degrees seemed like a half hour walk, and that six way crossing! good thing it was a Sunday. I have noticed that most drivers will stop to let pedestrians cross the road, alas many do not use their car turn indicator lights, At a six way crossing this can lead to confusion to say the least.

The building interior is quite nice, lot of open space, glass and marble. The exhibits did not excite us, but then we are not big museum buffs.
There is still a lot of material not yet moved to the new building, so maybe then.
IMO the first priority should be to unearth the ‘fort’ under all that ‘green space’ at the side of the building and incorporate that into the exhibit. But then that may be asking too much.
The views are to die for, and on such a clear day, wow!

All in all a pleasant few of hours. The girls had their final hugs, laugh, pictures taken and promises of keeping in touch more often, and they will.
After 40 years 23 girls out of a class of 27or28 at this weekend is not bad, other classes should be so lucky.

These two photos taken at the BBQ Saturday, the first one was taken by Bruce Shelswell.

Up date:

Last evening we located/touched base with a couple from NY. Earlier in the month they had been attempting to get up to Nain by boat from Cartwright. Ice prevented that so they headed back to the island and spent the rest of the time touring, camping and working their way to St. John’s.
We had a pleasant meal with them at a restaurant overlooking the harbor.

They are still heading for Labrador, will end up in Nain for a week in August, neither ice nor sleet nor fog is going to prevent them. Perhaps engine trouble with their VW vanagon may, but not the other stuff.
Seems the van has been giving some trouble, the couple are impressed with local help in outports in keeping them on the road, even had one guy locate a distributor cape in a day one time.
They were not impressed with the weather in their travels, seems it was not as good as here on the Avalon, they are still enjoying the trip though.
They are off to a mechanic this morning to try get some other little kinks sorted out, no shortage of assistance from locals as to the ‘best place’ for these things.

Our last full day will be a relaxing one for a bit, then off to do a bit of business this arvo.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


It's really getting to me not being able to do the St.John's weather jokes, five days of just amazing weather.
We were out at CBS yesterday afternoon and evening [more later], what an amazing sunset out there.

In the absence of the weather jokes I give you the worm. Little buggers are hanging off the trees in yards and on side walks.

Sure hope they don't get out to this area.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Holiday day4.

We did the flat section of our hiking expeditions yesterday, the Avalon Mall!
Only 21/2 hours but still hard on the feet.
I must have not spent thousands of dollars on great deals, how does one get all that stuff back to the Labrador?
Fran found what she was looking for, so that’s all that matters.
We had a spell with a quick bite at the food court. Normally Fran likes to people watch, not so in food courts, “too many people and too noisy”

Prior to the Mall we spent an hour or so at NIFCO [Newfoundland Independent Film Co Op]. They work in close liaison with OKS in the video area. The building/buildings NIFCO is in is undergoing major interior renovations and up grade, it’s going to be some awesome space, not to mention technically modern.
Thats NIFCO's Steve Cook with he visitor.

After a nice meal at Giovanni Cabot’s [GC], Fran along with 22 of here nursing class of 67 convened at a condo overlooking Quidi Vidi Lake for a wine and cheese do. This is the main purpose of our visit to the capital this trip.
This afternoon we go to a BBQ out in the burbs, then tomorrow its lunch and a tour of “The Rooms”.

While the girls did the re union thing I took a good walk along streets and down to waterfront.
Back at the abode I had the cheese cake cake from GC. GC does a lot of take out pizza, cakes, and cheese cakes. The staff are young and energetic so it’s a good place to have a meal, the beers are good, Quidi Vidi Brewery on tap and the décor casual Mediterranean.

This cake was originally intended for Councilor Shani Duff’s daughter wedding. Unfortunately it collapsed on cooling down, so a replacement had to be made. The collapsed one was not a total lose, half was dumped but the good half was salvaged and sold as afters, it was not that great a cake, but at least they were honest about its origin, or name dropping. Something I'm not prone to.

Better give credit where due, it's mainly blue sky and another warm day in the offing out there, keep it up fog city.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Holiday Day3.

Starting out warm, might be some showers later. Looking at Nain weather it seems things are shaping up for a long coolish summer. Ice as all but gone off the coast so boats should have no problems.

We did the walk up Signal Hill yesterday; part of it was on the side of the road, then onto some groomed trails, then onto rough track. Fran was right at home on the roughest parts [shades of her youth in Hopedale].

The “re enactment” of some battle and how they lived back then was getting under way on our decent, Fran not keen on this type of historical stuff, no puzzle to me but seems to be to others.

I better fess up before Fran blows the whistle; we did not actually make it to the top look out.
Just below the peak I started to get vertigo, the trail was getting close to the edge, with the entrance to harbor and the ocean begging I started to feel dizzy. I stopped a few times and started up again, but with the trail winding around even closer to the edge I decided to go back down. No argument from Fran, but she did seem to get even closer to the edge and talked about all the big climbs up Hopedale hill when she was a kid.
It’s a dam shame I could not do some more of the trails up there, the net work is quite extensive and I can see why people often have to be “brought down”, especially if it was foggy.
[I got to just below the knob to right of the tower, truust me, it's a steep drop off]. I know Aimee will have a good laugh when she finds this out.

Any way we had a good work out, including the shops and the gawking and the heat it was good to get back to the abode for a cool down.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Day 2 from the city of sun.

The front door [blue] and back door to our “suite” on Gower Street. We are on the second of three floors. An oldie but a goody for sure, central location, huge space, bed room, living room, dinning room, kitchen, very large bathroom, utility room, all for under 100 bucks tax n all. Unless you are extremely fussy or of royal blood you cant go wrong with Alcoves Suites in the city of sun. Well maybe those last three words are a stretch, but it is over 24 hours now and not a sign RDF, touch wood.

Third picture is from the back veranda and the forth is from the car park of a building across the road, it’s the “Rooms” for them not in the know.

We have a third staying with us, a Newfoundlander from Ontario, once we mentioned the great fish n chips at the “ship” we had to go there again tonight, not disappointing. I had pan fried cod with a greek salad, some shocking good me love!

Holiday Stage2.

We left Goose Bay yesterday a few minutes behind schedule but made up time into Deer Lake, then more time into St.John’s. We were the only arrival at the time so in very short order a taxi was whisking us down town to Gower St. We settled in [more later] and did a short walk to a corner store, nice to browse around a well stocked store for a change, purchased some breakfast stuff and some honey ale.
After dropping the stuff off we took a turn down the dock area, on the way I was trying to get my bearings, a lady sitting in her car asked us if we needed directions, I explained why we looked like lost souls. After a bit of banter we/I were better situated as to the down town.
After the brief run along the dock I made a bee line [through lane ways] to the steps leading up to “the ship”. “A pint of Guinness and a pint of Stella please in keeper”.
After satisfying our thirst we ordered pan fried cod for her and two pieces of fish and chips for me. The lady on the street had recommended the fish and chips as the best in town. Well to date I have no argument with that, it’s amazing how much better fresh cod taste compared to frozen, man it was a good scoff.

Before I forget to mention this; the sky’s have been mainly clear the whole 14 hours of our stay, no fog, no drizzle, amazing.
I have not taken one picture yet, looks like a good day to change that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In the Valley2.

So the day is looking good for getting to St.John’s. Fran been worried some time that weather would play some role in preventing her getting to here nursing class 40th reunion, at this point the fears seem to be unfounded, but then it is NL.

Yesterday was a busy one, visiting Fran’s mom, my second chiro visit to get some kinks out. Banking and getting Fran’s picture ID renewed, then a visit to the CBC studio for Fran to get some ideas as to what will be required for the new CKOK studio that hopefully will begin construction this month.
Temperature got up to about 24, as everywhere the weather, ice conditions, tourists are the top of the casual conversation.
Did get a fairly good indication that Wally Andersen will not be running for re election in the district of Torngat Mountains come later in the year, but then it is NL.

The picture ID is an on going problem for many on the coast. People still ask me to take their picture on the miss conception that all it takes is for you to have a picture of yourself. I have gone to great pains over many years to explain what is required for people to get an “official picture ID”.
It still baffles me why the people who are elected along with the high paid officials of Nunatsiavut have not sorted this issue out yet, or supply some one to explain to and help the people navigate the process, see July 6 news brief.

Running into people from the coast all the time, one of the hydro plant monitors from home is in the room below us, he is here with a bunch of other monitor/operators for some sort of meeting.

So it’s out to the airport for mid day madness, I have not been out of Labrador since all the new security has been implemented, a total new experience awaits.

Monday, July 09, 2007

In the Valley.

We left home this morning a little later than expected, but the weather was nice, smooth flight, big crowd of planes and people at GB airport.
Got picked up by one of the usual good Samaritans, dropped off at the hotel, over for a quick bite at the Daybreak café, visit to the chiropractor, over to see Fran’s mom. While Fran there I took a quick run out to get some minutes added to a borrowed cell phone and pick up a rented lap top. My first time for both, so please be gentle with me.

So we are on the first leg of our holiday, two days in HV-GB. Lot of coastal people out and about, everywhere we went some were around, nice weather encourages that I guess. Hotels are fairly full, looks like a few tourists around.

Wednesday we are off to the capital on the second leg, cant say were the third leg is until we get out of reach of The Danny, don’t want to be stopped by the anti #$^&*#@ police at security. Then if I had several millions to hand out maybe they wont hassle us.


Weekend-done with that.

There is some sun out there this morning man, yahoo. Lousy weekend; birds relied on my feeder for their sustenance, sweeping down before I’d even had it back up in couple of instances.

Looks like the mv Northern Ranger is leaving Goose Bay tomorrow for ports to Postville, good for them, maybe by next week we will get a boat.

Some more reactions from down under on the big land grab. Why should it worry some one in Canada one may ask? Well the perpetrator is a role model for the Canadian prime Minister is why.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

G'me your sun burnt country.

Not like you are using it or nufink, dig a hole or put up a fence for Christ sake.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday round up.

First up.

WOW. My hat goes off to these people, every one from the fishers who raised the alarm to the Captain of the ship and the crew of the boats, especially the divers. Man what an experience that must have been, not to mention dangerous.
Closest I came was in a 15 ft tinny off the Labrador, exhilarating and scary at the same time being in the middle of a pod of Humpbacks.

Second up.

Well the Minister for WST made it up the coast. Mr. Hickey met with Nunatsiavut first minister and others yesterday afternoon and then with Community Government and others last evening, which I attended.
The attendance was larger than is the norm for these things. One thinly disguised narrow agenda, one openly narrow agenda, but hey, all fair in a democracy, right?

I’m still digesting and mulling over what was said during the 21/4 hour meet. It was not a love fest, nor an attempted buy off {that comes on the next visit}, but I think it was more positive than negative. It was political for sure, lot of past regime bashing from the minister, not surprising considering the Liberal bent up this way.

I am tending to lean in the direction that things will change for the better on the marine shipping front; the next several months will be the proof in the pudding. People are listening and admitting that changes are needed, that is a far cry from some of the past {regime} meetings of this type.

Air traffic got a good going over too, the province has less influence in this area, it can use it’s influence in the provincially funded food subsidy program vis a vis freight problems. Also committed to was a review of the subsidy program that will get underway soon, this is welcome by all, especially the consumer.
Another commitment was for a consultant to do a feasibility study for a new air strip for Nain. Considering that most of the money for this {construction} would have to come from the feds {unless change is in the wind} then there is a good deal of politics here too. At least it is on the table and openly being talked about.

Meeting finished off quite well from my perspective. Minister got a good {deserved} kick in at past so called lobby efforts for a new air strip by the thinly disguised narrow agenda people. Bottom line folks, ya gota get things down in writing and get it to the right people.

Lastly the minister threw me a bouquet; knock me over with a feather!
Seems one of my lobby efforts may bear fruit. Minister has ordered his people to review and overhaul the Marine Shipping section of the WST web site, make it more “user friendly”.

Then again maybe the last two paragraphs are conjoined, who cares as long as things improve for the rest of us.

So on the general front: First priority is to get fuel boat up the coast, if ice breaker needed then will be asked for. Then in about another, week with no ice movement, will think about assistance in getting freight boat up. No chance of getting assistance for the Ranger, liability issues.

Important omission:

The minister indicated that phase two review of the freight rate structure is underway. This would be the long haul rates to the Labrador Coast. While everybody present was ecstatic that the container rate from Goose Bay to Rigolet went down over 400 bucks, way more people are affected by the long haul rates, so too would be Rigolet with a container from Lewisport.

Under review also are the passenger fares and cabin rates on the Northern Ranger to the North Coast. These are very very inequitable compared to rates from GB south and when compared with the Marines Atlantic ferry rates to the mainland.

And, to throw a spanner in the works of all above.

Anecdotal evidence this morning from a store operator of freight destined for Nain, off loaded in Rigolet 3 weeks ago, no sign of it yet, something in the 40 package range. Also of freight for same store off loaded in Natuashish, no sign of it either.
Today, same store, told to get ice cream out to GB air terminal yesterday, today gets phone call to get some one to go get it as no can get it to Nain any time soon.

As all can see, it will take more than words.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fine run of weather and coincidences.

Last several days it’s been up in the mid to high teens with cloudy to sunny sky man it’s nice.

For those wot believe in coincidences, or the cynical, the food by mail [fresh food] arrived in town early last evening around 3.30.

Now one could ponder if this has anything to do with the fact the Minister for transport is traveling the north coast, he is due in Nain this afternoon.
Some evidence the cynical could offer up is the fact that the last two weeks the food by mail has arrived on a Saturday, the goods are taken up to the airport in Goose Bay on Wednesday mornings.
Add to that the numerous times over the last months that the shelves have been left almost empty because the airline did not have enough planes, I posted on that with photographs.

So for a nice change the fresh food shelves in the stores are brimming with nice fresh looking fruits and vegetables on a Thursday morning, maybe we should just thank Yahweh and Minister Hickey…………or could they possibly be one and the same?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Best laid plans II

The WST Ministers office has the latest in the Ministers planed trip to the North Coast. A small plane has been found, so the trip is back to two days, first up the coast with overnight in Hopedale, then next day to Natuashish and overnight in Nain.

CBC HV-GB morning show had an interesting little piece this AM. A gentleman in GB had discovered that his favorite pop, Diet Pepsi, purchased at a certain store did not have best before date stamped on it as required. Said gentleman was sure that the pop he was drinking was old stock. So a reporter and the gentleman had a blind taste test, a known date Diet Pepsi and one with no date stamp,the guy picked out the older pop quite easy.
The story was more involved than that, but the bottom line was that expired Diet Pepsi was being sold in HV-GB.
I got a chuckle out of that sure. Living in a remote community there is more than out of date Diet Pepsi to be wary of.
But just for the lark I checked the bottom of the four cans of diet 7up I purchased from Northern this morning. Would you believe it said DE 25 06. So I checked the cans of Coke that Fran purchased from Northern. No date stamp, just the date the can was made, which is similar to the problem the guy had in Goose Bay.

Some people would speculate that “well, the stock was brought in on the last boats of 2005”.
I would say to these speculators, “no, this stock did not come in on the boat last year. Northern ran out of all sorts of supplies including all pop. This out of date stock has been flown into Nain, most likely in the last couple of months”.
Northern also has out of date deli meats in their coolers, best before June 14 on one three pack sub meats. Some flavored cream cheese has best before Dec 27.
No sales to get rid of stock before expiry, no warnings.
I could go on, but why bust my arse. Eh?

Post holiday.

The holiday yesterday was a nice cloudy mild day. Many people were fishing along the shore, off the dock or gone off in boat. We spent about two hours wetting a line off the dock, no luck but some good casting practice.

Matthew is getting quite good with the rod, can handle left or right no trouble.

Sun shining this morning, that east wind or calm is not contributing to us getting fresh supplies of basics in.
This late is not an anomaly, unusual but happened before. Looking back last 20 years we have had boats earlier than this more than not. A small sample is; 1999 and 2000 we had the Ranger in on 6th June, freight before that. In 2001 we’d had two freight boats by July 4. In 2005 an oil boat came in June 1 through thin ice and Ranger in by June 15, she was in June 14 in 2006.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Best laid plans of

Before finishing that off, it cleared nicely for the Canada Day festivities yesterday. Broken cloud, nice little breeze. A parade followed by a BBQ, games of chance, ball game all were held at the ball park. Fire works later.

So now; the TW Ministers office is saying “due to unavailibility of chopper to visit all communities this Wed and Thurs Minister Huickey will now come to Nain on Wednesday, July04”. Those Blackberries eh?

The plans seem to be that the Minister and four others will overnight in Nain, no indication if Minister will get to other communities on this trip.

Here is the weather forecast for those two days:

Wednesday NightChance of Rain. Partly Cloudy. Low: 41° F. / 5° C. Wind SSW 8 mph. / 14 km/h. Chance of precipitation 20%.
ThursdayChance of Rain. Overcast. High: 43° F. / 6° C. Wind ENE 6 mph. / 10 km/h. Chance of precipitation 20%

Still no sign of any boats getting through to here anytime soon. Maybe some smart accounting types could do cost-analyses of the extra cost to consumers with all this food being flown in. It would seem the airlines are doing great out of it for sure.
Lots of icebergs out there, if the Northern Ranger does get up here soon there should be amazing sights for the passengers.