Canada Day

The first year I was in Canada on July 1 it was brilliantly sunny.  We went for a walk on the beach and stopped for ice cream.

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I missed Canada Day last year because I was home from Nova Scotia by June 18.  This year we’ve had fog and/or rain every day I’ve been here but one.  Today’s not the one.

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A check of the webcam reveals they’re doing their best to be festive down at the harbour.

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It’s even worse out at the lighthouse on the cape, but they’ve got their flags up, including one on the “big chair.”

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At least it was dry and cheery inside at the farmers’ market on Saturday.

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And a curled-up and sleeping cat can be restorative on even the foggiest, rainiest days.

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Especially if he wants to help with your knitting.

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We’ll see if it dries out and clears up enough for fireworks tonight.

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Little School on the Island

One of the reasons we went to Tancook was Ann and Paula thought I’d like to see the island’s school.  It is often billed as “one of the last remaining one-room schoolhouses in Canada.”  Currently there are only five students, in grades K through 5.  After that the students take a one-hour ferry ride each way to school on the mainland.

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The school is actually more than one room, but one teacher / principal is still responsible for everything.  The building sits next to the island recreation center and volunteer firehouse and emergency services building.

There’s the entryway / foyer . . .

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and a classroom

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which contains the library.

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There’s the other room where there is one-to-one computing (something most schools dream about).

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The computer room is also the music room

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where the Christmas pageant items are stored (the wise men are stock characters as there are not enough students to play them).

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Being sent to “the office” would only take a few steps . . . but there would be no one there if Ms. S. is already in the classroom!

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It was an unforgettable visit — as I am sure it’s an unforgettable experience for the students.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Sutherland for welcoming me to Big Tancook Elementary School, as well as Lesley & Peter Stephens and Hillary Dionne for their island hospitality.

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The Little Island

The ferry for Tancook departs from Chester, Nova Scotia, which is itself about a three-hour drive from Yarmouth.  Thursday’s trip included a stop in Shelburne at both the Tim Horton’s (Shelburne is a one-Tims town) and the Whirligig bookstore.  Paula bought a hummingbird whirligig and a chicken whirligig.  I bought . . . books.

After that it was supposed to be an easy shot to Chester and the ferry, except about halfway between Shelburne and Liverpool we noticed that we were about out of gas.  Now you can get gas in Shelburne or you can get gas in Liverpool but – you guessed it – nowhere in between.  We stopped at the Seascape Restaurant in the infamous Port Mouton (“Sheep Overboard!”)  and got directions for the shortest route to gas, as well as lunch while we were at it.  We coasted into Liverpool to gas and made it the rest of the way to Chester without incident.

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It’s an hour ferry to Big Tancook Island, and I spent both directions on the upper deck to avoid the motion sickness that moving and confined spaces bring on.  It was windy cold refreshing. Ann said I looked like a “real pink fisherman” (???) but I think I look like a giant Michelin Man with the wind-filled jacket.

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The island is only about five miles long and three miles wide.  None of the roads are paved, and the number of islanders varies from around 100 in the winter to about twice that in the summer.

We had the cutest little guest house for the night, owned by a friend of Paula’s.  It was just the right size and right on the water, with plenty of windows and lots of wood in its construction.  My ideal.  There was even an official portrait of the queen to greet you.

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The first night we went to get fresh eggs from Hilary Dionne who runs The Wishing Stones Studio and Gallery, which also houses the island lending library, game room, and museum.  (Check out the website, it gives you a great idea of the place!)  She is a photographer and craftsperson who has a wonderful little book called The Gallery Mouse.

Although it was chilly (for me) and rainy, we had a great experience.  Our time was filled with exploring the island, seeing Paula’s and Ann’s friends, relaxing with tea and knitting, and visiting the teeny tiny school.  More on the school tomorrow, as it deserves its own post.

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Off Down the Road

This morning we are off on a mini-adventure, an overnight road trip to an island down the shore.  I’m not sure of the internet availability there, so I’ll just post early today with a couple of recent photos.

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The Wonder of a Summer’s Day

There was brilliant, beautiful sunshine today and unusually warm weather in the mid-eighties Fahrenheit.  It was the perfect day for a leisurely lunch in town, a trip down the coast to a small family-run garden, and a stop at an antique shop.  It was also perfect for driving a winding coastal road and practicing the capture of constant surrounding beauties on camera.

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Warp and Weft

Today’s project:  break out the newly acquired loom, set up, and begin weaving, with help from Paula and Ann.

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Using the beautiful setting of Ann’s deck.

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World Enough and Time

Ah, my Nova Scotian home-away-from home.

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Time to slow down.  Listen to birdsong.  Walk the dog down a dusty country lane.  See a doe and twin fawns frolicking in the field across the road.  Knit, talk, and drink good coffee.  To just enjoy.

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