When we first visited the Island we heard people refer to “Island distance” or terms to that effect. And on our first trip outside Charlottetown I noticed that often none of the road signs indicated how many kilometres it was to the place we were heading, just the direction. And it seemed that when most people were asked they would say that such-and-such a place was about 40 minutes away. Now we know that isn’t quite true, many things are an hour or more away but we find we are now using 40 minutes as almost a standard. Suffice is to say that distances are compressed and as my friend Don says “It’s all a matter of scale.” And you begin to adapt to “Island distance” as a norm.
A few weeks ago I realized that I had adapted more than I thought. Our friend Cathy was visiting and Laurent suggested we should go to The Mill, Emily Well’s restaurant, up to New Glasgow. I was surprised. “All the way up there?” said I with an air of incredulity. “But… but…. it’s ….” I sputtered in my normal articulate manner. “Twenty-five minutes away,” said Laurent, trying not to use that tone that reminds me of my mother when I made a foolish statement. Well now didn’t that stop me in my tracks. He was right, it was a twenty-five minute drive, maybe thirty if you got behind an Amish horse and buggy. I know people who drive more than that twice a day to and from work. Still it was 25 minutes away!!!!
Several of our friends suggested that I had indeed gone “Islander”.
Red Head Harbour
Once you’ve travelled that 40 minutes (give or take 30 minutes or even two minute outside our door) you’ll find some glorious sights and sites. Sights and sites that lend themselves to a painter’s brush. Though red is not an unknown hair colour here to the best of my knowledge Red Head Harbour does not derive its name from a predominance of gingers in the area. A mere 32 minutes from our place it is nestled in a corner of St Peter’s Bay and as well as being picturesque as all get out is the home of a major PEI Mussel processing centre. And we all know there is nothing like a big feed of PEI mussels steamed in white wine and herbs served up with home cut french fried PEI potatoes with a dollop of garlic mayonnaise .
Unfortunately the day that my friend Catherine and I were there it was cold, grey, cold, wet, cold, windy, and did I mention cold? But fortunately I was able to find a photo of Red Head Harbour on a more pleasant day.
And better yet I was able to come home and bask in a sunny day at Red Head Harbour as captured by Wendell Dennis in his oil on wood painting Still Water. And even better, on a grey, dreary day I can see this hanging in our dining room and be reminded of the beauty that surrounds me.
Dennis is one of a number artists who shows at Details, Past and Present, a gallery on Victoria Row only blocks way from our place. This particular painting caught my eye and … well there we go, I don’t have to make that long thirty-two minute drive – I can see Red Head Harbour from my dining room table!
On this day in 1798: The Battle of Oulart Hill takes place in Wexford, Ireland.