This, That, and the Other Thing

Those windows on the second floor would be nine of the seventeen that will need spring cleaning.

I have been missing in blogging this past week, mostly because of a rawther busy schedule. However the following is a brief update on life above the Dentists’ Office in the old Lennox Nursing Home Building on Water Street.

“How did I get up here? It’s really better that you shouldn’t ask. It will only upset you!”

First things first – Nora! Well we had a bit of a set back more than a week ago when Nora woke up shaking, whimpering and afraid to move. She snuggled against me and wouldn’t stir. A quick call to the Atlantic Vet College Clinic brought the suggestion that she may have overdone it (who our NORA!!! NO! NEVER!) and that we go back to more kennel rest and the pain killers. At a visit to the Vet several days later a week of Medicam, for inflammation, was prescribed. I don’t particularly like Medicam, the dosage has to be very exact based on the dog’s weight and an overdose can do great harm. The vet also wanted to give her a sort of doggie prozac and increase the dosage of pain killers. We nixed that big time as a doggie druggie is not my idea of what my girl should become. She is back to some kennel rest, pain killers twice a day, and attempts, often futile, to stop her running, jumping and tussling with Nicky.

Officially spring began March 20 when the sun reached the equator at sometime around 1748 ADT. In our house our first sign of spring came two or three days later when the first fly came in through the door as I let Nicky out to prove to him that it was too cold to lie on the deck in the sunshine. The fly obviously felt the same as I did!

With the incredible talent that is Tara MacLean during a radio interview for our PEI Symphony Fundraising Gala.

Much of my time the past two or three weeks has been taken up with preparations for our PEI Symphony Orchestra fundraisering Gala: A Night at the Races. That involved going begging bowl in hand to various businesses and individuals asking for donations to our auctions – and I’m please to say that so many came through with a great variety of items. A few that were approached via email and letter just didn’t respond which puzzled me. One did respond with a very polite refusal explaining that they did not feel our demographic was a fit for their products. I can accept that but to not reply at all just seems to be not only rude but incredibly short-sighted of a business in a small community.

I did a short radio interview for a local afternoon show with the incredibly talented Tara MacLean who was our host and headliner at the Gala. She is begining an association with the PEISO that will lead to a full length concert with the orchestra in 2020 – and launch a tour of appearances with orchestras throughout North America.

If you’d like to hear the golden tones of yours faithfully shilling for the event CBC saves this sort of thing for posterity – or a few weeks, which ever is longer. A left click here will take you there.

The gala was a great success – a record number of people, many who took the Races theme to Ascot heights. Sadly I cant’ find any photos of either Laurent (in full Captain Von Trapp drag) or I (vested, watch-fobbed, tuxedoed, and top hatted to the nines) so there is no evidence of our sartorial splendour.

Yes we are feeling guilty about leaving the HFH for a few days – so Mission Accomplished Nicky! And before anyone starts castigating the humans our friend Marie treats them even better than we do – and that’s saying something.

Our Nicky was not a happy camper yesterday morning – he saw the bags being dragged out and went into full panic mode. Even the arrival of Marie to look after the HFH for a few days did not calm him down. Nora was a little less concerned – Marie will cuddle, pet, coo, and deliver the biscuits so what’s the big deal. We decided that a few days in the bright lights and big buildings of Halifax would not go amiss – when did I ever think I’d consider Halifax “the big city”???? So we packed a few things – 10 shirts, four sweaters, 11 changes of underwear, socks etc – for the three days and head out on the drive to the mainland and the waters of the Bedford Basin. The weather promises to be sunny if cold but a change of scenery for Laurent’s birthday, the wind down to the winter projects, and just a change of scenery will do us both good.

The photo on the left is the beginning of the 11 km (7 miles) span of the Confederation Bridge that joins the Mainland to the Island. That’s New Brunswick in the distance across the ice packs of the Northumberland Strait. Ten minutes later we arrive in NB and Halifax is only another two and a half hours away.

March 28 is a day with two possible celebrations that I initially thought were related: Weed Apprication Day and Something On A Stick Day. I thought that second one was “Clip” when I first read it. Turns out they mean “weed” like in dandelions not …. never mind.

Recorded in Stone

In which three tombstones tell their story.

I have always freely admitted to being a taphophile – I have a fondness for visiting cemeteries and looking at graves. Often they are a revealing snapshot of a time in the history of a place and its people. The stories of peoples’ lives, their loves, their achievements and their family are traced in many ways:  carved on stone, in elaborate iron work,  simple wooden crosses, ornate marble vaults or unadorned plaques.  What ever the form a story is told.  It may be a simple one: they were born, they had a name, they died; or it maybe a fulsome description of their life and achievements. Laurent and I still chuckle over an overblown epitaph of a British consul at San Michele in Venice.

On our recent visit to Halifax The Old Burying Ground proved my point and revealed a wealth of history of the city and its people during the near to a century (1749-1844) the Ground served as the first cemetery for the Colony.  As you enter the Triumphal Arch commemorating the British victories in the Crimea and two Haligonians, Major Welsford and Captain Parker, who died in the Siege of Sevastopol, is impressive but was built in 1860, sixteen years after the cemetery was closed and speaks to European history.  It is the rows of stone markers – many of them overgrown with moss and lichen, or battered and worn by time and the elements – that tell the story of the people of Halifax.

There are some 1200 headstones in the Old Burying Ground but I found three in particular intriguing.

Many gravestones record names, dates and include a memorial epitaph requesting peace, prayers or suggesting penance for the departed in the afterlife. However some bear admonitions to the living to give pause for thought.  One such is on the stone “Sacred to the Memory of Zerviah Barratt”.  Zerviah, a variation on the name of King David’s sister Zeruiah, departed life on October 11, 1815 at the age of 72 and left behind these words of warning:

Your Parents and your friends are gone
My Children know this Doom your own
Feeble as ours your Mortal Frame
The same your way your House the same
From vital air from chearful light
To the cold Graves perpetual night
From scenes of duty means of grace
You must to God’s tribunal pass

Perhaps one of the saddest gravestones in the Old Burying Ground records just names, dates and ages.  It is the resting place of the four Wright children whose combined ages were 3 years and 11 months.  It speaks to the harshness of life in the military post of Halifax in the 1790s- early 1800s.  At the foot of the memorial is a second smaller stone simply incised with the children’s initials.


The large stone records their passing and perhaps a little of their parents grief. That strange short hand that often appears on monumental masonry of the time omits their father’s full name (In?) but we know that Barbara, a military wife, buried Mary, Charles, Maria and Isabella between 1795 and 1803.

In Memory of 4 Children of In.& Barbara
Wright of the R. Artil. Mary
Depard her life the 3rd Aug.
1795 Aged 1 Year & 4 Months.
Charles Depard his life Sep
3 1798 Aged 2 Months. Maria
Depard her life 11 Nov. 1800
Aged 1 year & 3 Months. Isabella
Depardher life 14 March 1803
Aged 1 years & 2 Months.
Farewell dear Babes
While Nature prompts A tear
Parents love shall pay the tribute here

An intriguing epitaph on Captain John Westmacott’s tombstone brings to light a strange story of a bag of stolen salted mackerel, murder, a large reward, a snitching fence, a botched execution, and perhaps an innocent man hanged. The legend tells us that Westmacott:

Died May 4, 1816 in the 29th year of his Age
His death was occasioned by
Wounds he received from two
Villains in possession of Stolen Goods
Whom he attempted to Secure
While he was doing Military
Duty in Halifax early in the
Morning of 17th April 1816.

Westmacott’s story is one of those vignettes that we can only wish had been in our history books at school.  The full story is told in Dianna Marshall’s True Stories from Nova Scotia’s Past and is more than worth the read.

While downloading the photos of the Old Burying Ground I found – as one often does – that an oversensitive iPhone had taken an unintended photograph.  But in this case perhaps not an inappropriate one.


On this day in 1995: Quebec citizens narrowly vote (50.58% to 49.42%) in favour of remaining a province of Canada in their second referendum on national sovereignty.

Lunedi Lunacy

Nova-Scotia-eh“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men an’ cruise ships, Gang aft a-gley” said Robbie Burns.   Well okay he might not have mentioned cruise ships specifically but I’m sure if he had been around during last week’s hurricane’ on the Eastern Seaboard of the US he would have.  At least one liner ended up heading to Eastern Canada to join the thirty-odd that are plying that route on the Fall Colours circuit.  There’s always room for one more!

However it appears not everyone was happy with the chance to explore the wonders of Nova Scotia.

Well now we were there last week and it wasn’t that bad!  I mean it could have been a Costco run to Moncton!

On this day in 1852: The first airship powered by (a steam) engine, created by Henri Giffard, travels 17 miles (27 km) from Paris to Trappes.




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