Ein bisschen Volkskunst – A Baroque Procession

While compiling the little slideshow of the Jubilee Cook Book I came across another slideshow I had created in 2011 after a visit to Innsbruck and it’s wonderful Museum of Folk Art. Innsbruck was a city of many surprises and treasures that it was always a joy to stop in on our way to and from Salzburg.

Willy Or Won't He

Often when I am in a museum I find myself by-passing something that is a “major” attraction to focus on a more obscure work.  Last month’s visit to the Tiroler Volkskunst Museum was no exception.  They have so many wonderful pieces on display but for some reason one relatively small work caught my attention.

In 1772 in the market town of Tefls – about 40 kms from Innsbruck – the Confraternity of the Scapular celebrated the centenary of the society’s founding in the region.   Though the Vision of the Virgin to Saint Simon Stock is reputed to have happened on July 16, 1251 the laity were not granted the wearing of the miraculous garb until the 1500s. Confraternities sprang up throughout Europe as the pious vowed to faithfully pray to the Madonna and received the small pieces of brown cloth with the promise of salvation that the Virgin had pronounced…

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The Hounds from Hell

Who knew there was a word for it?

Lately for some reason our Nicky has been seeing if he can get away with begging at the table – he can’t!  Every so often he tries to push the boundaries just in case: where food is concerned a dachshund is always willing try and push the boundaries.  When it comes to begging Nora lets Nicky make the effort and she just sits by with that look on her face.  It’s a look that both of them have perfected and that anyone who includes a dog in their family is familiar with.  It’s that silent staring at you as you eat, their eyes filled with the hope that you will share.

“Are you planning to eat that all by yourself?”

Now until the daily post on Facebook from Grandiloquent Word of the Day showed up last Wednesday I had no idea that the act of giving someone that look has its very own verb in the English language.


So do you think they’ve got groaking down to a fine art?

On this day in 1912: The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

Printemps boréal

The great American poet and literary translator Richard Wilbur died yesterday at the age of 96. He published his first poem at the age of 8 and was to continue writing and publishing until he was well into his 80s. He worked in traditional forms and in a style that emphasized wit, charm, and gentlemanly elegance. Nowhere was that style more apparent than in the lyrics he wrote for two of the best known pieces in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide: Glitter and Be Gay and Make Our Garden Grow.  And it is no small that his source and inspiration for the two pieces came from the French of Voltaire – an author equally known for his wit, and charm, if not so gentlemanly elegance.

I first became aware of Wilbur when the Stratford Festival presented his translation of Molière’s  Tartuffe  perhaps the best known – and most frequently produced – version of his ten translations of the French writer’s works.  His translations of Racine and Corneille proved that the tradition of Alexandrine couplets could sound as beautiful in English as they do in French.

In Spring of 2016 I created a small video of Wilbur reading his translation of a Rondeau written by Charles, Duc d’Orléans in the 15th century.  I offer it again as a tribute to the wit, charm and gentlemanly elegance of a great poet.

Willy Or Won't He

As we slept the sleep of the innocent this past night Spring crept over the windowsill, to quote Eliza Dolittle.  To celebrate I thought I’d post this little rondel that was composed to celebrate that event one spring in the mid-1400s by Charles, Duke of Orléans as he gazed out his window in the tower of London.

American poet and literary translator Richard Wilbur is famous for his ability to take the theatrical poetry of Molière, Racine and Corneille and make it sing as successfully on stage in English as it does in French.  Here he takes the thirteen lines of the good Duke’s medieval verse and gives them a grace, elegance and economy of language the equal to their original text.

The rondel was a popular French verse form in the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance: it’s a deceptively simple poem generally made up of two stanzas of four lines…

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We Gather Together

Slainte mhor agus a h-uile beannachd duibh
Good health and every good blessing to you!
(A Gaelic Prayer)

Thanksgiving 2017 L’action de Grâce


We truly have so much to be thankful for! Not just this weekend as we join with friends old and new to eat, drink and enjoy fellowship but for every day that we enjoy the blessings of our home, our friends, and our families.

On this day in 1763: King George III  issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing aboriginal lands in North America north and west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.


On The Waterfront

Originally posted on Sailstrait:
In recent years the residents of Charlottetown have become accustomed to the seasonal visits of cruise ships emptying their hundreds or thousands of passengers on a city hungry to sell meals, tours and Anne of Green Gables effigies. While this may seem to be a recent phenomena the first visit of…

It has been a busy cruise season here in Charlottetown and being a block away from the dock and cruise terminal we have seen most of them arrive and depart.  Our Nora, and lately Nicky, have met a fair number of visitors and had their photos taken numerous times.   There had even been talk of getting Nora a little straw hat and red braids but frankly she doesn’t need any accoutrements to make her lovable or appealing.

This year there are 82 ships scheduled into port with the majority (43) between September 1 and the final arrival on October 28.  Due to the new speed restrictions in the Gulf and Hurricane season in the south 11 calls have been cancelled but it still leaves us with a record 71 visits.   The largest will be the Disney Magic at 300m but the Crown Princess carries more passengers – 3080 – and crew – 1201.  The very last arrival on October 28 is the Victory I, the smallest  at 87.27m carrying 210 passengers and 90 crew, though slightly bigger the Pearl Mist has accommodation for the same number of passengers but 20 less crew.  These last two spend most of the summer cruising the Great Lakes from Chicago to Toronto and back. Holland America leads the pack with a total of 43 dockings over the season with their Veendam visiting port 18 times and the Maasdam on 16 occasions.

Most cruise ships arrived around 0800-0900 and leave at 1700 – a few like the Celebrity Summit leave after nightfall. It made me feel a bit like the townspeople in one of my favourite movies: Fellini’s Amarcord.

2017 has been heralded as the biggest cruise ship season yet however Harry Holman over at Sailstrait takes us back to June of 1913 and reminds us that the first cruise ship glided into harbour over a century ago:


In recent years the residents of Charlottetown have become accustomed to the seasonal visits of cruise ships emptying their hundreds or thousands of passengers on a city hungry to sell meals, tours and Anne of Green Gables effigies. While this may seem to be a recent phenomena the first visit of a purpose-built cruise ship to the port took place more than a century ago.
There had been earlier vessels fitted out for winter cruising but their chief role was as passenger and freight carriers and the cruising role was incidental. The Charlottetown Steam Navigation Company’sNorthumberlandwas one of the first in the Florida-Bermuda trade with its freight deck temporarily fitted with partitions to create additional cabins and several of the Plant Line Steamers such as the S.S. Halifax and Olivette had winter charters in the Caribbean Sea when ice ended their seasonal work as the Boston Boat.


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