The Longest Night

As the sun set this evening at 4:29 we began the longest night of 2021 – over 15 hours of darkness in my part of the world. I’ve been trying to think of any sort of profundity I could come up with to celebrate (?) the Solstice but nothing came. It seems that the dark times bring only dark thoughts. Then I read my dear Spo’s reflection for the Winter Solstice 2021 and he had put into words many of the feelings I have been having these past few days. A left click on the picture will take you to his thoughts.

A left click will take you to Dr Spo’s Reflection for December 21, 2021

I am perhaps a little more optimistic than my dear friend but as I was reading some of the comments on the latest COVID news here those last sentences hit home:
“We will do what needs to be done and do the Right Thing. That is my solstice message for 2021. Persevere.”

The word for Winter Solstice 2021 is:
Persevere /ˌpərsəˈvir/: [verb]
To continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty perhaps with little or no prospect of success.
Late Middle English: from Old French perseverer, from Latin perseverare ‘abide by strictly’, from perseverus ‘very strict’, from per- ‘thoroughly’ + severus ‘severe’.

Beaching – In Other Times

While I have been waxing prosetic* on outings to the beaches of PEI over at SailStrait Harry Holman has been looking back on outings in the days when beaches were not as accessible as today.

Prince Edward Islanders gather for a picnic by the shore – circa 1880
Photo: Canada’s History Magazine

So pack up your picnic basket, bring out your sunshade, dust off the straw boater and make sure Aunt Maev has her shawl for later in the day. We’re heading down to harbour for an afternoon’s outing one sunny August day in 1877.

*Yes I’m aware that it isn’t a word but it should be! If I can wax in verse I should be able to wax in prose.

Sailstrait

On hot summer days it is refreshing to think that for many of us getting to the beach is only a matter of jumping into a car and heading out. This ease of access to the sea shore is a relatively recent phenomena for Charlottetown. In spite of being a port the shoreline is remarkably inaccessible as there is not a really good beach within the city limits. There was bathing at Victoria Park and Kensington Beach and for the uninhibited there was always the attraction of swimming off the wharves. But this was hardly a family or social activity. Accessing a real beach meant a train ride to Hunter River or Bedford and then by wagon to Rustico or Tracadie where there were summer hotels, a round trip that could easily take all day.  Or one could take the Southport ferry and then go by carriage to Keppoch or…

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A Royal Obsession – Part II

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales at the time of his visit to North America in 1860.

Reading a bit on the life of Albert Edward Saxe-Cobourg and Gotha (Edward VII) one can only imagine the field day the tabloids would have with him in this day and age. Though there were gossip magazines galore in Victorian England they tended to be chary in their handling of royal “affairs”. If Royal scandals surfaced – and scandals there were, I mean did you know he had mistresses???? Including the grandmother of Camillla… well enough said about that – it was in the Welsh, colonial and U.S. press seldom in the English newspapers or journals.

A few weeks ago in Sailstrait, his rich historic site on Island things nautical, Harry Holman told us about the American presses’ reporting on Albert Edward’s visit to Prince Edward Island in 1860. And though they were respectful to the Prince of Wales they were decidedly less so to our fair isle. This past week, to balance the scales, he told us about the visit as reported by the a far more circumspect British chroniclers of the age.

Sailstrait

“Thy grandsire’s name distinguishes this isle;
We love thy mother’s sway, and court her smile.”
Banner hanging in the ballroom of the Colonial Building, Charlottetown 1860.

A recent posting on this site featured American accounts of the 1860 visit of the Prince of Wales to Charlottetown and highlighted, perhaps unfairly, the carnival-like atmosphere, overcrowding  and drunkenness which the journalists from the States chose to make a centerpiece of their reporting.  For the Americans, the Prince’s visit was a unique experience and their florid accounts strained to find moments of interest in what was oftentimes a repetition of the rounds of addresses, salutes, dinners and balls which would characterize the events across two nations as the Prince travelled to Canada and the United States.

Prince of Wales receiving addresses at Colonial Building 1860. London Illustrated News

For the English media, royal appearances were less of a one time event and more…

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A Royal Obsession

A recent look at the tabloids – oh come on you all read the headlines at the supermarket and you know it!!!!! – suggests a rather unhealthy obsession with our Canadian (Britian has some claim to them too) Royal Family. The details of suspected peccedillos, fusses and feuds amongst various members of the House of Windsor-Mountbatten seem to fascinate us lower classes as we tug at our forelocks and cry “Will they not leave poor Princess Megan alone?” Most totally unaware that she will never be “Princess” and isn’t exactly “poor” on any level.

But this obsession with British Royalty is nothing new for members of the fifth estate and their readers, particularly our American cousins. In 1860 Queen Victoria’s eldest son Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales visited the British Colonies and it appears that almost every breath he took was recorded by journalists and breathlessly read by their subscribers.

In his, always fascinating, blog Sailstait PEI historian, archivist and writer Harry Holman recounts the heady days in August 1860 when the visit to our Island by HRH was the news not only locally but internationally. Fine proof that the obsession with our Royal Family is nothing new.

March 29 is the 88th day of the year and a piano has 88 keys so naturally today is International Piano Day.

Sailstrait

It was not a pretty sight and the correspondent for the New York Tribune made  it the centrepiece of his reporting of the event.  And what an event it was. The biggest thing to hit Charlottetown in its history. The first visit ever of a member of the Royal Family. Today it has become commonplace as every decade one or more Royals cycle through the province. It was not always so.

View of Royal Fleet at Charlotte Town 1860. From Journal of the Progress of the HRH Prince of Wales through British North America and his Visit to the United States. 1860.

When H.R.H. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Victoria, came to North America it was a major event wherever he visited. Not only did he visit the British Colonies, still four years away from becoming a nation, but he also travelled to the United…

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Librarian Pervert

Well my Lusty Librarian Lunedi Lunacy (see what I did there – alliteration!!!) inspired (if that is the right word) my blog buddy Old Lurker to bare his soul about a deep dark secret. I am humbled, if a bit smug, that what was largely a literary lark tapped into his libidinous library lust and led to a true confession much in the manner of the pocket books that inspired it.

And having no sense of propriety I thought I’d share his admission with you.

On this day in 1757: English poet Christopher Smart is admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.

Old Lurker

Willym recently posted some salacious book covers, which is as good an opportunity as any to commence the “shocking disclosures of sexual perversion” phase of this blog. Today’s shocking disclosure is: librarians.

I do not know how I ended up this way. Probably it is because I have an unhealthy fondness for libraries. Libraries are full of delicious books that (in principle) I am allowed to sign out and ravenously consume, provided that I don’t slobber on the pages and/or accumulate too many late fines. I know that some freaks purchase new books and develop long-term loving relationships with them; I do not understand these people. A passionate three-week romance is plenty for me, and then back to the shelves you go, delightful reading material. Maybe we will have a second go-around, but until then there are plenty of books in the sea.

That makes me a bookslut AND a…

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Jerry and I get around. In 2011, we moved from the USA to Spain. We now live near Málaga. Jerry y yo nos movemos. En 2011, nos mudamos de EEUU a España. Ahora vivimos cerca de Málaga.

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