Monday, March 26, 2012
During her travel from Southampton, Titanic's two radio operators, Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, received a number of warnings of a huge field of ice ahead of them, some of those warnings arriving as early as April 11. Standard procedure was that these warnings would have been logged as received and passed along to the officers on the bridge. Neither Phillips nor Bride was an employee of White Star; instead, they were employed by the Marconi Company and their function on board was primarily to send and receive private messages for paying passengers. On the night of April 14 as warnings continued to arrive, Phillips was busy sending messages to the Marconi station at Cape Race, Newfoundland. Out of frustration at being interrupted at his task by the wireless operator on the SS Californian sending yet another ice warning, he replied via Morse Code, "Shut up, shut up! I am busy; I am working Cape Race!" This message would be quoted later as an example of one of the factors that led to the Titanic disaster -- just fifteen minutes after Phillips sent it, Titanic struck an iceberg in that great icefield. Within hours, Titanic had slipped below the surface taking more than 1500 of her passengers and crew to a watery grave. Incompetence, unpreparedness, and arrogance had combined to create a tragedy that ranks among the worst marine disasters in history and arguably the most famous.
A number of events are planned to commemorate this landmark event; information about those taking place in Newfoundland can be found through Receiving Titanic; events begin on April 1st and carry on through the evening of April 14th, 2012.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
After my visit to the Seaside Adjunct I headed back toward the southwest, then turned down the
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
In 2009, my sister Sally Van Natta rented a cottage in Doctor's Cove -- check out her image of the village with morning sun peeping through the fog here, and while you're at it, stay around long enough to explore her wonderful photos.
This morning was exceptionally mild for March, the second day in a row when southwestern Nova Scotia awoke to clear skies and temperatures well above freezing, a combination not usually seen until sometime in May. The air was filled with birdsong, and light clouds formed a delicate tracery in the eastern sky.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
blog posts of Vicky Taylor-Hood. The other is
Monday, March 12, 2012
Winter can seem to last forever here in Atlantic Canada, but it brings with it an unexpected beauty; the angle of the sun at this time of year can create beautiful golden light in the early morning and late afternoon. It can give depth and definition to a scene that's otherwise fairly mundane, like a scrap of icy snow on the timbers of a wharf.
St. Patrick's Church, located at the western end of downtown St. John's, is situated in a spot that catches the light -- no tall buildings overshadow it, so the last rays of the winter sun find the church's tall spire and highlight it with rich, warm tones.
The colourful name of this business harkens back to the times when Irish immigrants from the counties of Waterford and Wexford were arriving in St. John's. The Wexford men were nicknamed "Yellowbellies" after a hurling team from that county sported yellow sashes when they soundly defeated a team from Cornwall in a challenge match. The nickname followed them to Newfoundland; since Wexford men gathered in this area, the intersection of Water and George Streets became known as Yellowbelly Corner, a St. John's landmark.
Friday, March 09, 2012
here. Back on Route 463, the village of Piccadilly is the site of Piccadilly Head Park, a camping and picnic park with white sand beaches and woodland walking trails. The Port au Port/Bay St. George area has a very active Folk Arts Council, which hosts a Folk Night on the last Saturday of every month in Stephenville as well as several instrumental sessions per week. There are accommodations in both Stephenville and Cape St. George and restaurants in several communities around the peninsula. The Newfoundland and Labrador tourism information website and local tourist bureaus can provide more information.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
I like those doors best when they're closed, because a closed door allows the imagination to create a separate world, forever unexplored. It holds the promise of things new and different and implies secrets that can't be guessed at. Windows are fine for looking through, for letting the sun flood in, for flinging open to catch a gentle spring breeze that carries the scent of wildflowers and salt water. Doors, on the other hand, are better for defining limits and creating boundaries -- for keeping the cat in and the dog out, or vice versa. What is beyond the door is not unapproachable or unattainable, instead, the closed door embodies endless potential for discovery and enlightenment.
I can't imagine how boring the world would be if all the doors were open.
Saturday, March 03, 2012
This early March nor'easter was followed by a warm front -- again, typical -- that brought with it lashing rains and high wind. A spur-of-the-moment side trip to Peggy's Cove revealed a whole new side of the village's personality. On a soft summer day, the winding road into the village is busy with cars, and
Sou'Wester Restaurant for a bowl of chowder or some warm gingerbread; the restaurant is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and there are almost always cars in the parking lot. That soft summer day certainly has its appeal, but there's definitely something to be said for a visit on a bracing day in March when you can see the bones of the place -- the simple, stark beauty that made this such a popular tourist attraction.
Friday, March 02, 2012
I love a good oxymoron -- an expression that seems to contradict itself. One of my favorite examples is personified by gannets; they're tremendously elegant and graceful in the air yet remarkably awkward and clumsy on land, so I tend to think of them in terms of awkward grace.
Their broad wings carry them effortlessly through the air; they sweep and wheel and plummet toward the sea with wings folded, knifing into the water in pursuit of fish with the grace of Olympic divers. They rise again into the air, returning to their nests to feed their young, and it's then that everything goes pear-shaped.
Just look at those splayed feet as this gannet puts on the brakes, flaring for landing. Could anything be more awkward than those big, black paddles set so far back on the body? They're useful for propulsion under water or when paddling on the surface, but when it's time to set them on the ground they've got all the delicacy and finesse of clown shoes.
It's small wonder, then that the gannet's raucous cry of grrr-aaah grr-aaah sounds for all the world like a warning cry of "Look out! Look out!"