Category Archives: new brunswick

Monday 9th October 2017 – HAPPY THANKSGIVING

And everyone around here is celebrating and giving thanks – for tonight I’ll be on the bus back to Montreal – always assuming that it doesn’t forget me like last year.

I’d had a really early night again last night – alone again, as it happens, and I’d been off on my travels again. back in Virlet as it happens, and everyone was poking fun at me, although there didn’t seem to be any reason why. But I approached the Secretary of the Commune and she explained to me that I was wearing odd shoes. I had a look, and it took quite some doing, even on a close inspection, to see that they were different. How anyone else had noticed from a distance away at a casual glance was beyond me. I asked which “pair” she preferred, and she replied that the “dark blue” shoes were preferable. However they looked the same colour to me and while it might have been dark blue in reality, on my travels last night I reckoned that they were black. So off I trotted back home to look for a matching shoe, but instead found a pair that were a real pair, but were black, and nothing like as highly-polished as the ones that I was wearing (because they really were highly polished). And so, do I ignore the catty remarks, do I carry on hunting for “the other shoe” or do I put on the black, dirty shoes and if so how would everyone else in the village react?

When my alarm went off I went off to ride the porcelain horse, and encountered Cujo the Killer Cat on the way back. I went back to bed seeing as no-one else was stirring, and she stayed there with me for a while before disappearing off.

Eventually, the clatter of dishes from the kitchen told me that Rachel was up and about so I went to help her prepare the breakfast brunch. Famous the whole world over, as I have said.

My share of the breakfast was the beans on toast with hash browns and one of my vegan burgers.

In the afternoon, Amber’s boyfriend came round and we all chilled out and did precisely nothing at all. Round about 14:30, Hannah and her friend left to go back to University at Antigonish and the rest of us, having said goodbye, carried on chatting.

Tea for me was the rest of the vegan burgers, the rest of the beans, and some left-over potatoes from the Thanksgiving meal, followed by rice pudding ditto. Then I went for a shower to wake myself up.

At 19:45 I took my leave of everyone and Rachel drove me to Florenceville and the bus stop. We were an hour early which I preferred after the dreadful performance last year that inconvenienced just about everyone except the bus driver.

We weren’t alone either. One of Rachel’s neighbours was there, putting her son on the bus back to Montreal where he’s at University studying aero-engineering.

maritime coach atlantic riviere du loup quebec canada september septembre 2017We were there quite early, as I have said.

And so, as you might expect, the bus was late arriving.

And Coach Atlantic is spending its money too, so it seems, because this was a modern, clean, comfortable coach, which makes a change from one or two that we’ve travelled on.

Not to say that they were ever dirty or uncomfortable – far from it. But they were starting to become rather long in the tooth. This one was brand-spanking new, with wi-fi, but, alas, still with no power points.

And no data tracker too. Most buses and coaches these days have data trackers fitted so that you can go to the website of the company and see where the bus or coach is. Once Coach Atlantic fits these to their coaches, there won’t be any of this “missing the bus” or waiting around for well over an hour in the pouring rain.

Because pouring rain was what we had had all day. I’d never seen anything like this rain. Heavy, yes, but not persistently so all day.

So having dozed all the way to the St Lawrence, I’m now at Riviere du Loup waiting for the bus that’s coming from the Gaspé that will take me on to Montreal.

It’s always a long night on the overnight bus but at least I don’t have far to stagger from the bus terminal to the hotel where i’ll be staying until tomorrow evening.

8th October 2017 – CUJO THE KILLER CAT …

… didn’t come to visit me last night.

And that’s just as well, because I wasn’t there.

I’m not sure where we started off last night, or even who I was with, but I can tell you exactly where we finished – and that was where we have finished quite a few times just recently, with Ford Cortinas scattered across various lock-ups in various parts of Crewe. It’s a few times that we’ve been in this situation, and I’m not sure why.
We moved on from here. I was an undercover policeman working in a partnership with a female policewoman. We had booked into a hotel undercover as man and wife in order to have a close look at the hotel’s security arrangements. But it all went wrong when I caught a young guy trying to steal a car – a Hillman Minx V or VI, and left-hand-drive too, from the hotel car park. He had a “health crisis” when we was caught, and it became obvious from my response to it all that I was a policeman and not who I was pretending to be.
And if that isn’t enough, I was in digs in a dingy seaside town when I heard that Michael, a boy from my school, was also in digs there. I went round to see him and his landlady knocked on his door to say that he had a visitor. He came out and, not recognising me, walked right past me. From there I ended up sitting in a church. It was a multi-denominational one and I was getting married, at the same time as someone else.They were catholic so they were on the right side, and I was a protestant so I took up my position on the front row to the left of the aisle.But there was only me, and more and more of the others so I was gradually crowded off my bench. I ended up outside with a fold-up chair with another few people, chatting to a young girl, and we watched a girl of about 5 go past in a full-length burqa. I made some remark about the “photographer” to this girl. Just then my bride arrived. It was Nerina. I offered her my fold-up chair but she went to sit on an empty bench nearby, near this girl who was sitting in a sand heap. I introduced them and much to my surprise Nerina was being sociable, chatting and playing cards with her. Not like Nerina at all.

But the second reason was that I was in bed by 20:00, curled up with the door closed, fast asleep. Even if Cujo the Killer Cat had wanted to come into my room, she wouldn’t have been able to.

I had to go off a few times during the night as well – down the corridor to ride the porcelain horse. And that’s just as well because I would probably still be in bed right now.

Everyone else had a lie-in this morning – there wasn’t much movement around until about 11:00 – not that that is unusual for a Sunday around here of course, as well you all know.

No Sunday brunch though. The Taylor breakfast brunches are famous the whole world over and people travel miles to participate. But today we are going out for lunch. Tonight will be my last night here (and isn’t that a shame? Hasn’t that gone quickly?) and so I’ve invited everyone out for lunch.

We crossed over into the USA and fighting the rainstorms, headed off for Presque Isle, Maine. There’s a Chinese restaurant there, the Oriental Pearl, that everyone likes that does a Sunday buffet lunch, and they do a vegetable and tofu stir-fry for me.

That took us several hours, and then Darren had a surprise for me. They have been expanding the shopping mall down the road, and one of the new businesses that has installed itself in there is Harbor Freight. Huge auto and tool suppliers they are, and I’ve visited their stores on many occasions. But it’s nice to see one in this particular neck of the woods.

Our exit coincided almost exactly with the exit of the girls from JC Penney’s – that couldn’t have been timed better – and we went across the road to Marden’s.

Marden’s is one of those chains of shops that buys up bankrupt stock, fire-damaged stock, all that kind of thing, and they are veritable Aladdin’s Caves of all kinds of things. Most of the tools and accessories in Strider come from there.

We had the usual complications at the border coming back, and then we all launched into something exciting.

A while ago, Hannah and Darren sent their DNA away to be analysed, and the results came back today. Their roots are clearly identified with Darren having Irish/Scandinavian ancestry (which ties in with the Viking settlements over there) and Hannah, as well as that, having British ancestry with a bit of Mediterranean thrown in for good measure (which ties in with what we know about her mother’s side).

That’s led of to a massive ancestry search and there have been all sorts of exciting things being thrown up the research. Mostly on her father’s side and some on ours too, which is interesting.

Anyway, I’m off to bed and I’ll leave them to it. Doubtless there will be more surprises being thrown up during the night.

Saturday 7th October 2017 – STRIDER’S FIRST …

strider towing tralier centreville new brunswick canada september septembre 2017… tow job.

And it very likely was too, because all of the electrics on the trailer plug were totally corroded. It took an hour to clean them off and grease them.

And in the end, we only had direction indicators too, but that was good enough to go.

Here in Canada, recycling is big business. And I do mean “business” too. Most of the glass bottles and plastic containers require a deposit, and there’s cash to be earned from aluminium soft drinks cans too.

But remembering where you bought each article and taking them back to the correct shop is a nightmare, so some enterprising people have set up central collection points where you can take your empties, they redeem them from you, and they handle the returns to the various shops.

Amber is fundraising for a school trip to Washington DC in the Spring so she’s been collecting from friends and neighbours. Today, we loaded everything into the small enclosed trailer, under the careful supervision of one of the mill cats, and took it down to the Centre in Bristol.

And you’d be surprised how much we earned too!

It wasn’t as easy as it sounded too. The trailer was stuck deep in the undergrowth and I had to attach a chain to Strider to pull it out.

And then the tow ball was the wrong size so we had to find a smaller one and swap them over. And then the electrics.

Rachel came with us so Strider also had his first rear-seat passenger. There are a couple of pop-up dickey seats in the half-cab at the back and Amber perched on one of those. She refused to travel in the cage.

Another thing as well was that despite being out of practice, not having done it for years, I reversed the trailer exactly where I needed it to be, and on several occasions too, quite often into very small gaps. I was proud of that.

I wasn’t quite right about last night though. Cujo the Killer Cat didn’t come to bed after me. She was in fact already on the bed and waiting for me, which was quite nice. And she stayed for quite a while too.

But I didn’t though. I was off on various nocturnal rambles during the night.

We started off last night somewhere out on the Outer Banks but I don’t now remember exactly what I was doing out there. But anyway I quickly moved on to driving a coach full of young school kids to some kind of science laboratory where they were having some kind of lessons. I had to clean out the coach and found a huge pile of animal hair in the form of a long grey and white tail. It was many metres long and quite valuable too so I collected it up to put in one of the lockers at the side. Having done that, I went into school to say that I was ready to leave, and gave my journey number, which was one of the 6 that began with a figure “4” but the receptionist had said that all of the “4” journeys had gone -which was definitely not the case, for my next trip to the laboratory was another one of the “4” trips, so that hadn’t even arrived.
A little later I was in a car heading to the north of Manchester – a rough area – so I had a CB radio with me. I was chatting to a few people and they began to ask me questions, about what my car looked like and so on. I knew that soon I would have to stop for fuel so I started to give them all kinds of false details about me and the car so that we wouldn’t be recognised.
The discussion moved on then to another erstwhile taxi owner who had never been particularly successful and had fallen foul of the taxi licensing laws. He had been allowed to start again with just one car but hadn’t been successful and I was trying to buy him out. But the discussion concerned his own ineptitude and incompetence.

After our return from the Recycling Centre, I had to go shopping. And come back and go again because, in the kind of thing that only I can do, I forgot to take any money.

A shower, shave and clean clothes were next, and then we attacked the Thanksgiving meal. 14 of us, there were, and we made tons of food, much of which wasn’t eaten and went into the fridge. And then Rachel and I attacked the mountains of washing up.

Although it’s early, I’m in bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’ve crashed out twice already. I managed just enough effort to put a pile of clothes in the wash, and that’s my lot until the morning

Friday 6th October 2017 – I WAS NOT …

… alone last night!

There I was, all curled up under the covers last night, and I felt a weight settle down on my feet. Yes, Cujo the Killer Cat needed some reassurance and company.

It’s a long time since I’ve had a good cuddle with a cat in bed, and she didn’t stay too long either, but it was still nice. It hasn’t happened for a long time.

And despite having a disturbed night’s sleep, I was off on a mega-ramble that took me miles, and the sad thing was that as soon as I awoke – “PAFF!” – Gone With The Wind.

But there was a reason for that, I reckon. It was a noise upstairs that awoke me. And when I glanced at the time it was 07:15! The battery had gone flat in the ‘phone (I hadn’t noticed) so the alarm hadn’t gone off.

and so today, I’ve done … errrr … just like my namesake the Mathematician, three-fifths of five eighths of … errr … nothing.

And quite right too. In fact, it wasn’t until about 22:00 this evening that I actually set foot outside.

But the rest has done me good and I’m feeling a little better, which is just as well because there is work to do tomorrow.

Tea was a stir-fry in tomato sauce wit one of the vegan burgers that I bought the other day. And not only was it excellent, there’s enough left over for tomorrow too.

So now it’s bed-time. An early night ready for some work tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have company tonight but if not I’ll have a really good sleep. I deserve it.

Thursday 5th October 2017 – FOURTEEN HOURS.

I told you last night that I was just off to lie down for half an hour or so to rest.

And indeed I did. But not for half an hour though. I hit the sack round about 18:45 and it was just before 09:00 that I awoke. That’s just over 14 hours of sleep. I must have needed it – I’ll tell you that!

So 09:00 it was that I awoke. But it was … errr … somewhat later that I crawled out of bed. And if it hadn’t been for the necessity to go and stroll the parapet, I would probably still be in there now.

I was on my travels too during the night. Hanging on underneath a bus watching the prop shaft revolve around to see where the problem with it was – a highly dangerous occupation perilously close to the ground. And my brother was there alongside me, giving me “solidarity”, something that would never ever happen to me in my life seeing that members of my family wouldn’t share a bus shelter with each other during a monsoon.
And from there we progressed onwards to me confronting a Border Crossing person – a very young female who was carrying three small teddy bears hugged to her chest. Despite the altercation, I did have to admit that I found her extremely attractive and when I confessed this to a friend he suggested that I go and chat her up. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. But even on a nocturnal ramble I could work out that a 40-year age gap was a mountain too high to climb, despite the encouragement from everyone else.

So, a “somewhat late” breakfast, and then I loitered around here foe a “somewhat late” lunch – not doing too much to exert myself.

But after lunch I stripped out the back of Strider, collected up about three tonnes of rubbish which found its way into the incinerator, and sorted out the stuff that wouldn’t survive the winter, and brought that inside for Rachel.

Tonnes of stuff left over for food – I didn’t eat all that much while I was away. The tinned stuff and vacuumed stuff will keep, though, but the stuff in glass bottles and the easy-open tins that can burst when they freeze up in winter, they came inside.

And here’s a surprising thing. Strider has travelled over 12,000 kilometres in just 5 weeks, and as well as the dramatic improvement in fuel consumption, Strider didn’t consume a single drop of oil.

There’s still the same amount in that there was when we set out. And for a vehicle with 209,000 kilometres on the clock that’s pretty much extraordinary.

I didn’t do too much later. I reckoned that that was enough. Darren and Rachel came back from work and we had a good chat, and then Hannah turned up from University for the weekend with another cat that she cares for.

Of course that was a big mistake. The cat here is not called “Cujo the Killer Cat” for nothing.

So I’m off to bed now. It’s past my bed time. I’m going to have another relaxing day tomorrow as well. Apparently there are “plans” for the weekend.

Friday 7th October 2016 – ABSOLUTE, COMPLETE AND UTTER TOTAL B*****D

And that’s putting it mildly. There has been a major blow-up here tonight and there are going to be some serious repercussions about all of this.

But first, let’s put things in the correct order.

This morning, I was totally dreadful. I wasn’t going anywhere at all. Despite Hannah having returned from University last night I wasn’t up to very much – just leaving my bed to tell Rachel that I was going back to bed again. I was totally incapable of functioning.

I struggled to my feet again round about midday and Amber, who was staying at home told me that I had a few things to do, such as going back to the border and handing back my entry pass to the USA. That was quite important as I’ve had problems about forgetting to do that in the past.

So I set off down there, with my head slowly clearing the farther along the road that I drove. And at the Canadian border post I had a piece of luck in that I could hand it back there without having to cross the line.

On the way back down the road into Centreville I stopped by the river and ate my butty in the sunshine, having a little doze as I ate. But I can’t stay here for ever – I went back to the tyre depot to say goodbye.

Much to my surprise, my permanent insurance certificate has arrived. I put that in Strider and now he’s 100% legal (not that he wasn’t before of course but now I have all of the paperwork to prove it). I was able to fax to the insurance brokers the registration certificate and a copy of my French driving licence so they now have all of the information that they need. All I need now is for this insurance company not to change its rules and regulations and to keep me insured.

Just so that there’s no mistake or misunderstanding, with what I would have had to pay for hiring a vehicle over the last two occasions that I’ve visited Canada (2015 and just now), then if you calculate the cost of buying Strider, taxing, insuring and maintaining him, I am now in front. And if I do come back next year, I shall start to be well ahead. Buying Strider was definitely the right decision, as I knew that it would be.

And not only that, I have had an e-mail from the insurance company to say that anyone with a Canadian driving licence and with their own vehicle insurance can drive Strider too. I printed out a copy of that and stuck it in Strider just so that it’s there for the record.

But by now it was 15:00 and I had gone again. Completely. To such an extent that I fell off the chair on the office. Rachel picked me up, dusted me off, gave me the key to the house and sent me home where I crashed out completely. I should have gone to Darren’s sister’s husband’s birthday party at 18:00 but I was going absolutely nowhere.

I had to haul myself out of bed at 20:45 because this was the time that I had to go to catch my Maritime Bus back to Montreal. It leaves the Irvings petrol station at 21:3O so I wanted to be there by 21:15.

And so we were. And so we waited. And 21:30 came round, but the bus didn’t. And neither was it there at 21:45. The petrol station closes at 22:00 and so I went over to the girl to ask about the bus and … it had arrived at 21:00 and because there was no passenger there, he had cleared straight off without waiting for me.

The b*****d.

So we rang up the Maritime Bus headquarters using both the numbers provided by the girl in the petrol station – and as you might expect, “we are now closed. Please call back during office hours” – which is of course absolutely no use whatever when you are running an overnight bus service with overnight passengers waiting in overnight bus stops in isolated locations.

And so we phoned the Maritime Bus stop at Grand Falls. And he had just left there too, half an hour early. I thus called up the coffee-stop at Edmundston (a mere 140 kms away) and asked them to hold the bus, and we set off to give chase.

Rachel drove like the wind – I shan’t tell you how fast we were going in case the farces of law and order are reading this – but when we arrived at Edmundston he had left. It seemed that he had refused to wait.

The double b*****d.

We stopped for a coffee at Tim Hortons and Rachel had some business to, which must be done before midnight. And then we set off for the next 110 kilometres to Riviere du Loup. Here is the bus interchange where I need to board the Orleans Express that comes down the Gaspé Peninsula to Montreal. I usually have an hour’s wait there and so at least we had plenty of time to do the final leg.

Although the Coach Maritime Bus was at the bus depot, the driver had long-gone to his hotel, so I wasn’t able to tell him what I thought of him. But the ticket agent was quite interested in my story. He wondered why the bus had arrived at 23:50 instead of the more usual 00:15.

The triple b*****d.

Rachel ended up having to drive a total of 520 kilometres and a journey whereby she would be home at about 21:50 took her until 04:30 the following morning, just because some Coach Maritime Bus driver wanted to get to bed half an hour early. By the time that I finish with him and his company he can have as many early nights as he likes because he won’t be driving a bus again.

The quadruple b*****d.

So now I was ensconced in the bus terminal waiting room waiting for my bus back to Montreal. There would be no confusion about this one.

Thursday 6th October 2016 – I FELT THE PAIN …

… this morning of the last two days on the road. It was a struggle to crawl out of bed and start out.

but I had to do it because I have a very long day tomorrow and so if I’m going to take a break, tomorrow during the day is the best time.

So we went off to the tyre depot, in another load of fog and hanging cloud, to say hello again to everyone and for a coffee. And once that was accomplished, there was work to do. Rachel had some deliveries that needed to be made in Florenceville. Everyone else was busy and so I volunteered to go. “Sing for your supper” and all of that.

Next stop was Woodstock, and so I set off down the road on the eastern side of the Saint John River. Not that I could see anything because the fog billowing off the river was blanketing everything.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, so it was rather crowded in Strider. The fog was lifting too. I went into the Atlantic Superstore for some shopping for lunch, and here I hit the jackpot. Not only were hot-cross buns on sale, but there were a few packets reduced by 50%. As you know, I have a long way to go tomorrow night and also, the food is pretty miserable on Air Transat. The hot-cross buns will fill in the gap quite nicely.

river meduxnekeag woodstock new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There’s a grassy area and boat slipway at the back of the Council car park in Woodstock, overlooking the River Meduxnekeag, and this is one of my favourite places to stop for lunch. And here I am yet again.

In the sunshine, eating my butty, reading my book, chatting to the boaters and … errr … closing my eyes to relax in the beautiful weather with the glorious autumn colours on the trees on the opposite bank of the river, there’s nothing more pleasant than this.

river meduxnekeag woodstock new brunswick canada october octobre 2016Once I’d come back into the Land of the Living, I had work to do. Tomorrow, Strider is being laid up for the winter and so I need to have everything sorted out.

A huge pile of rubbish went into the bins for a start, and then I tipped everything out of the back, sorted and stacked it into the boxes where it will live for the winter (and threw away another pile of stuff) and then slid the boxes back under the bed.

Some of the foodstuffs won’t keep, especially as I’ve no idea when if ever I might be coming back, so I made up a box of all of that to give to Rachel. And then there was some stuff that I wanted to take back to europe with me.

On the way back I stopped at the car wash and gave Strider a good going-over with the pressure lance ready for putting away. And once I’d arrived back at Rachel’s, I took out everything that was to come out. There wasn’t anyone about though and so I settled down in the sun to read a book. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Darren came back and I had a guided tour of the garage. While I’d been away he’d tidied up in there and the place was looking quite impressive. It won’t be long before he’ll be in a position to strip down the engine on Perdy in the Pink.

Once Rachel and Amber returned, we had tea and then we chatted for hours about this and that. After all, I have to be realistic and say that I’ve no idea if ever I’ll be able to come back to Canada. This might be my last chance to see them.

But I was soon in bed. I hadn’t been up to much all day and by now my batteries were really flat. I’m struggling along now and I can feel everything – all the aches and pains all over the place.

Wednesday 5th October 2016 – BRRRR!

o'regal restaurant and motel kedgwick new brunswick canada october octobre 2016When I awoke this morning, bright and early, I went out to grab the cereal and soya milk from the back of Strider. And by heck, I wish I hadn’t!

Winter has definitely arrived, that’s for sure. Just look at this lot outside. It’s just like back home in the Auvergne isn’t it, with the hanging cloud, the cold and the freezing fog that has blanketed the Appalachian Mountains round about here on the edge of Kedgwick.

I had had a bad night last night despite just how comfortable it was in my nice big bed in my nice big room.

I’d crashed out by about 21:00 but I was tossing and turning all over the place and was really uncomfortable. Somehow I was tired and completely fast asleep and somehow I wasn’t, and I’m not sure that you’ll understand what I mean. But anyway, I was wide awake at 01:00, with the radio still playing, so I turned it off and this time I managed a decent sleep, until about 05:00

I’d been on my travels too, with the welcome return of Nerina, who hasn’t set foot in these nocturnal rambles for quite a while. We were at my house, in its usual state of papers all over the floor and we were looking for some papers that really ought to have been there but weren’t and this was all becoming far more complicated than it ought to have been. At he same time, Zero was at the kitchen sink doing the washing-up. She was being her usual cheerful self and we were discussing smoking. She said that she had tried a cigarette once, so I smacked her bottom for her.

When I sat down to breakfast I found that I had forgotten to fetch the spoon so I ended up eating my breakfast cereal with a fork and trying my best not to crash out again. I’m clearly not well at the moment.

o'regal restaurant and motel kedgwick new brunswick canada october octobre 2016Still, I can’t sit around here all day moping about the bad weather. I need to be moving on despite the fog. And this time, I didn’t forget to go and take a photograph of the night’s lodgings just for the record.

I’d been low on fuel too last night and there was an Irving’s next door – one of the reasons why I had stopped here – so I went off and fuelled up. I now have 97 Air miles after that – isn’t that good?

When I was on my way in the other direction 10 or so days ago, I’d stopped at the supermarket in town where I’d discovered baguettes on sale at half-price. I popped back in there on the way past this morning to see how the land lay and, sure enough, baguettes were on sale again. And so with what I had bought yesterday at Matane, that was lunch organised.

On the way through St Quentin the other day I’d noticed that there was a railway station in the town, on the old abandoned Canadian National railway line between Campbelltown and St Leonard.
narrow gauge steam locomotive railway station st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There were a few railway artefacts on display outside, and so I’d pencilled the station in for a visit on the return trip and so here I am.

The little locomotive had caught my eye and I wondered if it really was a narrow-gauge locomotive that had been rescued from a mineral line somewhere. But in fact it was built in 1985 out of scrap and recycled materials by a couple of Canadian National employees from Campbelltown.

platelayers trolley railway station st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016That wasn’t the only thing to catch my eye either. What do you reckon about this?

It’s a platelayers’ trolley but enclosed (a necessity given the severe winters around here) and with a petrol engine rather than a pump-action handle, which is a bit of a cheat. They were used by the track maintenance crews during their duties, which included fire-watching because sparks from the steam locomotives setting the forests alight was a real problem.

So much so that it will come as no surprise for any regular reader of this rubbish to realise that the station building here at St Quentin is not the original one. That, just like any other building here in Canada, caught fire and burnt down.

railway bicycle st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016However, the most exciting exhibit here at the railway station must be this weird machine.

I’m not sure of the proper name by which this machine might be known, and I certainly have never seen one of them before, but I think that it’s magnificent and I definitely want one of these.

There were lots of other stuff actually inside the station, which was by the way not only a museum but the local tourist information office and the offices of the local Chamber of Commerce.

caboose canadian national railway station st quentin new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There was some kind of collection of railway wagons here too and so I went for a browse.

This caboose caught my eye – and not just because it’s a caboose but because of the message that’s on it. It reads “Dessert tout le Canada” which, crudely translated by Yours Truly (and if there’s any “crudely” involved, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney, “I’m your man”) as “serves all of Canada”.

However, that’s clearly a spelling mistake. It should read “Désert tout le Canada” which means “Abandons all of Canada” – which is certainly true these days.

This is why I have to mess around on buses and rely on Rachel to pick me up in Florenceville when there’s an abandoned Canadian National railway line that passes at the bottom of her garden and an abandoned Canadian National railway station right next door to the tyre depot.

By now the hanging clouds had gone, the sun was out and I was coming out of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a beautiful day now so I headed to St Leonard and the Saint John River to find a place to eat my butties.

le rendez-vous des artistes st leonard new brunswick canada october octobre 2016I found a nice place to park up for my lunch – the car park for the Rendez-vous des Artistes in St Leonard. It was closed up so I didn’t think that anyone would mine.

What appealed to me about this place was that it had a good view over the river and right by one of the few remaining railway lines in New Brunswick. And I thought that I had heard a locomotive whistle too and so I prepared the camera, but nothing came by while I was here.

saint john river van buren maine usa october octobre 2016That over there across the Saint John River is the town of Van Buren, which is in Maine, USA. I was sitting right by the border crossing on the Canadian side of the river admiring the view and taking advantage of the beautiful weather.

And I wasn’t alone either. They say that there’s one in every village, and the one in St Leonard sought me out for a chat. He was speaking French and what with his accent and a speech impediment that he had, I couldn’t make out one word in every ten that he was uttering.

Nevertheless, we put the world to rights for half an hour and then, in the words of the reporters of the long-gone and long-lamented “News of the Screws”, I “made my excuses and left”.

Back up the hill and I hit the highway southwards, and aren’t I grateful for speed limiters and cruise control? I set the speed to 108kms and settled down for the drive back to Centreville, and it was then that I noticed in my rear-view mirror a County Mountie slowly closing up on me. But with the speed limiter I didn’t have too much to worry about in the normal run of events. He eventually passed me, having a good glance as he went by, but with the cruise control in operation he had no reason to pull me over and he eventually pulled away in front.

I was having visions of David Crosby and his
“It increases my paranoia”
“like looking at my mirror and seeing a police car”
“But I’m not giving in an inch to fear”
“‘cos I promised myself this year”
“I feel like I owe it to someone”

and reckon that it applies to me – I certainly owe it to myself, that’s for sure after all that I’ve been through this year.

I tracked down my mailbox too. And talk about a local postal service – my mailbox is about 7 or 8 kilometres from my plot of land. It’s astonishing. How I’m supposed to go and get my post in the middle of winter is totally beyond me.

But there was some really good news for me. Regular readers of this rubbish might recall that the motor insurance on Strider was cancelled about my head last year when we had the driving licence issues. There was a cheque in my mail box for the refund of the cancelled policy, minus the time on risk value, and this was not far off the total premium of the new policy. The cheque had timed out and so I took it back to the brokers in Florenceville and they wrote out a new one.

Waving that around in my sweaty little mitt, I went to the Scotia Bank and paid it in. I did a few more financial manoeuvres … “PERSONoeuvres” – ed … there, and now I reckon that I could keep on going over in Canada for a good while if necessary.

Back at the tyre depot I met up with everyone, had a coffee and a chat, and then we went back home to Rachel and Darren’s. Rachel made a lovely tea and we had a good chat, and then I crawled off to bed at some really early, ridiculous time.

This six weeks gap between treatments is evidently too much, but I’m not complaining. Despite the health issues that have now caught up properly with me, I would never otherwise have come here and I wouldn’t have missed my trip to Canada for the world.

Tuesday 4th October 2016 – I’M BACK …

… in New Brunswick tonight.

And I’m not sure if that is disappointing or not. I wanted to stay in Godbout, that’s for sure. But I also wanted to head off. I was having itchy feet and needed to feel the road again.

Last night though was bizarre. I thought that I had had a very disturbed night but when I sat down and analysed it, it wasn’t quite like that at all. I was late going off to sleep and, just for a change, I’d managed to close everything down, and I’d only been off down the corridor once. When the alarm went off too, I was stark out, so it couldn’t have been that bad.

But I had been on my travels though. Caliburn had an electric fault and the cigarette lighter socket was no longer functioning. So I took him to someone’s house where there was an old man whom I thought could help me. I had to reverse him all the way down the drive at the side of the house (it was a bungalow) into a wooden shed that was there. I knocked on the door and the guy’s son (he reminded me of the son of Labbe -the farmer who uses the field behind my house) came to the door. I asked him if his father was there and he replied that he was, but that he was asleep in bed. His sister (of the son, that is) came to the door and climbed into Caliburn. I drove her into town because it was market day. We walked around the market together and after we were half-way around the circuit she asked me if we had seen any wheelchairs (this was the first time that she had spoken during the entire trip). There had been a couple of people with what looked as if they might have been wheelchairs that we had passed right at the beginning and so we went back to see, but the people had gone and so, presumably, the wheelchairs (if they were wheelchairs) hadn’t been for sale.

I had my breakfast and took my leave of my landlord. I’d had a really good stay and enjoyed myself there. And it turned out that I had had a good deal there too. I hadn’t even made the slightest enquiry as to the price of the room, and in the end I was charged $75:00 plus taxes per night for my seven-night stay.

That was what I call real value. I was well-impressed with that and, having seen an “Orleans Express” bus passing through the village, that gives me a cunning plan for the winter, if I’m up to it.

caravan st lawrence ferry terminal godbout quebec canada october octobre 2016When all was said and done, Strider and I headed across the road to the ferry terminal.

And I was ever so impressed with this caravan that was parked up in one of the lanes. I wouldn’t mind having one of those to tow behind Strider. But seriously, I reckon that it really was some kind of garden shed that was being delivered across the St Lawrence.

We didn’t have to wait too long for the F A Gauthier to set sail. Bang on time, in fact which was impressive. I took a comfortable seat right at the front of the cabin and settled down for the journey.

ship st lawrence river ferry quebec canada october octobre 2016I didn’t stay settled down for all of the journey, though. I had seen a pile of ships sailing along the St Lawrence River and so I went for a closer look.

There were three of them, miles away so that I couldn’t read their names, not even with the zoom lens on full magnification. This was one of the ships, that looks as if it might be a bulk carrier. The second was a container ship and the third might have been a tanker.

Going back to my seat, I was distracted by the smell of chips coming from the galley. I did say that I wouldn’t have anything to eat until I left the ferry, but I was overcome. So much for the strength of my willpower.

We docked bang on time too and I headed off to the IGA supermarket to stock up for the last time. A baguette of course, and some hummus, tomatoes and lettuce for my lunch. I’d decided that the chips that I had had were nothing more than a snack.

And then The Lady Who Lives In The SatNav led me on a merry, mazy way through Matane – and I do have to say that I had more of an idea where I was going than she did. I overruled her on a couple of occasions.

My route took me up the riviere Matane valley and then over the top down to Amqui. I have mentioned before that I have to stop by water to eat my lunch, wherever possible, and for some reason or other there was nowhere suitable. It wasn’t until I reached Causapscal that somewhere suitable hove into view – a nice little park by the bridge over the river.

I had a nice lunch, a good read of my book and a little relax there, with leaves falling upon me like autumn rain. All of that did me the world of good and I ended up being so relaxed that I forgot to take a photograph of it.

All the way down the Matapedia Valley I had noticed that there were railway wagons loaded with sawdust parked in almost every railway siding along the railway.

canadian national locomotive pick up goods train restigouche river quebec canada october octobre 2016All of this was explained, rather surprisingly, when I passed over the bridge into New Brunswick. In the distance on the old line on the north shore of the Restigouche River I could see a train heading my way.

Could this be the first moving train that I have seen this year? I couldn’t remember so I had to stop and photograph it. And not only that, the idea of a train on this run-down line, and the existence of what might be described 60 years ago as a “pick-up goods” – well, they were all things that made this train and its locomotives well worth photographing.

And when I do find five minutes, I’ll tell you all about the locomotives too. But I find myself estranged from my Jane’s Train Recognition Guide at the moment.

Nearly spearing a passing vehicle as I exited my parking place, I set off again and headed into the hills, direction St Leonards. You probably noticed the shadows lengthening in the previous photograph. Time was drawing on and I was tired, and I knew that there were several motels along the way.

Funnily enough, nothing appeared for a good few miles until I reached the edge of the town of Kedgwick. I was looking for fuel too as I was about to drop into the final quarter of the tank. An Irvings loomed out of the gloom, and right next door was the O’Regal Restaurant and Motel.

$71:00 taxes included was the price, and although there was no microwave and the place was rather tired, the value was stupendous. There was a lovely, comfortable sofa and I could have held a ball in the room, so big it was.

They rustled up a pizza for me (I still had some cheese left) which was rather expensive, but there wasn’t a lot of competition about and I didn’t want to wander far. This will suit me find.

The bed seems to be comfortable anyway, and so I’ll make the most of that.

Thursday 29th September 2016 – DO YOU KNOW WHAT?

I had the best night’s sleep that I had ever had.

I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and I remember absolutely nothing until the alarm went off at 06:00 – with the radio on the laptop still playing. That was a deep sleep.

f a gauthier st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016I came back up here after breakfast (today’s home-made jam was mango, ginger, maple syrup and saffron) just in time to see the F A Gauthier coming into view, with a bulk carrier in the background.

By the time that I had grabbed the telephoto lens she had steamed into a beautiful position and the bulk carrier was continuing her way upstream.

I wonder she is.

I didn’t do too much this morning – it’s not really possible to do too much with the internet connection here but I did what I could. Despite having had a good sleep through the night, I dozed off at some time and so was late going out. I ended up grabbing a bag of crisps instead of my butties.

oldest grave cemetery st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016I went for a walk in the other direction today, towards the west, and I came across the cemetery of the village.

I had a good nosey around at some of the graves, as I always like to do in places like this, and this lady seems to be the oldest inhabitants of the cemetery. She died in 1880, aged 27. There was a gap of a good few years between her and the next-oldest. Maybe there weren’t too many people living around here in those days.

cemetery st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016But that wasn’t everything apparently. There was some kind of stele in the cemetery giving a list of names of people who are interred in here and whose last resting places would seem to be lost. It’s a shame that so many names haven’t been remembered too.

But this stele was clearly erected in the olden days when the original inhabitants were still being referred to as “Indians” rather than First-Nation Canadians.

By the way, it’s an error to believe that the word “Indian” when applied to people in Canada refers to the Indian sub-continent and the belief that this might have been the Indies. Jacques Cartier knew full well that it wasn’t.

The word “Indian” when applied here is an English-language corruption of the word “Indigène” which is the French word for “native inhabitant”.

church st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016Godbout has a small school here, and also a very impressive church with a presbytery. It dates from about 1908 and much to my surprise, its predecessor of 1840 didn’t actually burn down like everywhere else in Quebec but managed to survive until it was demolished at the end of 1903

I forgot to have a close look at the statue to see who she was. As you know if you have been a regular reader of this rubbish, the different saints are identified by the object with which they are depicted. This might be Saint Mary – but then on the other hand it might not.

parc intergenerationnel st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016There is a park down at the end of the road – the “Parc Intergenerationnelle”. This must be a paradise for young children, with all of the attractions that are available.

I myself would have made a bee-line for the pirate ship. This is an ideal place for the extreme youth of the village to hang out and many British people would find themselves at home here, for having voted for the Brexit they will soon find themselves all at sea.

parc intergenerationnelle st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016As for the adults who didn’t vote in favour of the Brexit, there are things to do here too. My friend Liz saw the photo and asked me if this place was a playground or a gymnasium. It can quite easily be both, without any trouble at all.

I was keen to go over and have a look, and maybe a play on the apparatus but I’d wasted so much time already and I had plenty of other things to doso I couldn’t afford to hang around.

st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016At the side of the park is the second of the two rivers here at Godbout. This is the bigger of the two, called (as you might expect) the Riviere Godbout, and nicknamed (as you might equally expect) the “Grande Riviere”. According to mine host, it’s a famous salmon river and some good fish have been taken out of it.

But the climb down the bank to the sandy beach was quite something. The steps down to the water stopped half-way down and it was quite an undignified scramble the rest of the way.

st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016There is a reason for this, as the people whom you can see on the right-hand edge of the photograph explained to me.

Apparently there has been something of a storm that has eroded away a good part of the banks of the river, hence the beach at the bottom of the steps has gone.

However, it’s good news for these people. They are archaeologists and apparently some kind of considerable cache of seashells has been uncovered. There’s a possibility that it might be an old Innu rubbish dump and so they were busy excavating it.

sandspit st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016The sediment that comes down the river is caught by the current of the St Lawrence River which is quite slow-moving at this point and so there’s quite a magnificent pair of sandspits.

I’ve told you before where the sand comes from. But in case you have forgotten, it’s the debris from when boulders have rubbed together as they have been transported by glaciers during the various ice ages, and when the glaciers melted, they deposited the sand on the ground.

sandy beach st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016It’s for this reason that the St Lawrence River up here, and many other rivers in the sub-arctic regions of the world have such magnificent beaches, and those of Godbout are amongst the best that I have ever encountered.

Had the wind dropped, I would have been quite happy to have sat down here with my book to relax for a while by the sea. However I had to knock that idea on the head, for I had already discovered that I had forgotten to pack my booK.

wood that might be a shipwreck st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016This piece of wood lying here on the beach caught my attention and I went over for a closer look. What had drawn my attention to it was that there was a good deal of what looked like worked joints in it – the kind that a carpenter might make if he had been using the wood as part of a construction.

And not only that. There were huge nails and metal pegs sticking out of where the joints are. I ended up wondering if this had been part of a shipwreck or an abandoned boat.

thepi au bec sucre st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016My guest house is called the Thépi du Bec Sucré and so it comes as no surprise to find that we have a teepee in the back garden. In the summer it’s used as a tearoom for tourists but right now it’s closed until next summer.

It does however remind me of the story of the chief of a Native American tribe who once took part in a tea-drinking competition. He broke the record, as you might expect, but was found next morning, dead in his teepee.

cruise ship st lawrence river godbout quebec canada september septembre 2016When I returned to my digs, I made myself a coffee and took it up to my room. Glancing out of the window I noticed something big sailing upriver towards Quebec and Montreal.

Grabbing hold of the big zoom lens and with some judicious enlargement, I was able to identify it as some kind of cruise ship.

In case you are wondering, by the way, the river is wider than it looks. So much so that during World War II a couple of U-boats were operating right here between Godbout and Matane, scoring several hits and sinking several ships in the river before making successful escapes.

And so I’ve had my tea – baked potatoes beans and hot-dogs – and now I’m having an early night.

I deserve it.

Monday 26th September 2016 – I MUST HAVE BEEN …

… tired last night. I was in bed at 20:00 and away with the fairies straight away for a good half hour. It didn’t take long. But I couldn’t stay asleep and the next hour or so saw me lying there reading a book. Eventually though, I closed my eyes and there I was, gone. And apart from one trip down the corridor, I remember nothing whatsoever until the alarm went off at 06:00.

It took me quite a while to gather my wits and then I set to and tidied up my things because I’m moving on today. I’m feeling better today so I want to take advantage of it while I can. Rachel and I had breakfast together and then I loaded up Strider and we set off.

A brief stop at the tyre depot for a coffee and chat with everyone there, and then I hit the road northwards. At Grand Sault I stopped for fuel and then headed off cross-country towards the Baie des Chaleurs. At Kedgwick I stopped to buy a baguette and I’m glad that I did because they were at half-price in the sale. I stopped off a little further on at a nice quiet spot off the road, right up in the hills, and ate lunch.

Near Atholville I came out of the mountains and this was where I had to make a decision. I was planning to look for a motel here – it’s been a long drive from Centreville – but as I was still feeling up for continuing so I diverted myself up the Matapedia valley and into Quebec.

One thing about Quebec is that no-one obeys the speed limits. It’s 90kph on the main roads and I had the cruise control set accordingly. And after about 30 miles through the mountains I had a queue of about 20 vehicles – lorries and all sorts – right behind me in a long crocodile. But when I turned off at Amqui to head north, I left them all behind.

Matane was my destination, and how peeved was I when I pulled in there. The ferry across the Gulf of St Lawrence was just pulling out – wouldn’t it have been something had I arrived here an hour earlier? I could have been well and truly gone, and quite by accident too. But never mind, hey?

I had a little errand to do here, and then I went to look for accommodation. My choice of motel – the cheap one on the waterfront, was closed for the season, as you might expect, and so I had to look elsewhere. By now I was feeling rather out of it, having driven about 450 kms today, and so I ended up in somewhere expensive. And expensive it was too, because I have stayed in many better places and for much less money too. And I would even miss breakfast, because that starts at 06:30 and I’ll be gone by then.

There was no microwave in the room either, and so I had to look elsewhere for food. A tour around Matane, which took me past a few motels that would have been much better than where I was staying, found me a pizza place where they did me a pizza – one which was quite expensive but which was one of the best that I have ever eaten.

So now I’m settling down in my room (and I do have to admit that the bed is super-comfortable) ready for my really early start tomorrow.

Sunday 25th September – I MUST HAVE BEEN TIRED …

…last night. Crawled into bed round about 09:30 and I remember nothing whatsoever – not even going to ride the porcelain horse – until the alarm at 06:00.

But being awake is one thing, being out and about is quite something else and I couldn’t summon up the energy to leave my stinking pit for a considerable number of hours. It was definitely something of a strain this last few days.

In the living room Amber was watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and so I went to join her. Darren was there too so we had a good chat about this and that too. When Rachel came back we attacked a huge mound of washing up followed by a pot of coffee but I couldn’t keep going and it wasn’t long before I was back in my room again and that was that for a couple of hours.

Later in the afternoon we had to empty the trailer of everything that was in it. The pulling season is over and everything needs to be cleaned, tidied and put away. I grabbed my tote box with all of my stuff in it and put it back into Strider and then joined in the general mayhem.

The garage needed to be cleaned and tidied too because the engine is being taken out of the pulling truck. Every year or so it’s taken out and dismantled to be checked for wear and tear. After all, it’s an impressive high-performance alcohol-fuelled racing engine and subject to incredible strain. The garage has to be scrupulously clean so that dust doesn’t enter any of the working parts and so that wasn’t the job of five minutes either.

Eventually we had the garage clean enough and we could winch the pulling truck out of the trailer and have it ready for dismantling, but by this time it was tea-time so we all knocked off. I had a lovely vegetable stir-fry.

We had quite a chat later – about all kinds of things but mainly about what I intend to do when I return to Europe. Of course, I have a few ideas but they are all unpleasant ones and quite disappointing but it helps to put things on the table and discuss them. But by this time I was out of it again and after a brief attempt to watch another film with Darren and Amber I was back in my little room.

And for good this time.

Friday 23rd September 2016 – I WAS OFF …

…so early and in such a rush this morning that I forgot to take a photo of my motel at Caraquet last night. I’d had a communication during the late evening to say that the lorry had been fixed and the tractor pull was on. It’s only about 350 kilometres from here to Centreville but it’s over some dreadful roads through the mountain and they were planning to leave at 15:30 so there was no time to hang about.

Not only that, the weather was dreadful. It was freezing cold and the gorgeous sunny day that we had had yesterday was now miserable, grey and wet with this freezing rain that was getting in everywhere. I wasn’t going to enjoy this drive one little bit.

But stil, the sooner we start, the sooner we finish and I hit the streets. Leaving behind me my breakfast cereal as I was to discover later. There’s always something that I leave behind me, isn’t there?

The drive as far a Bathurst was quite uneventful, apart from the dreadful weather, that is, and I found a cheap Ultramar service station where I could fuel up Strider. Shortly afterwards I found a huge Atlantic Superstore where I could stop to lay in supplies for the next few days, and where fuel was even cheaper that at the Ultramar – but then, that kind of thing always happens, doesn’t it?

mount carleton provincial park new brunswick september septembre 2016The road from Bathurst over to the Saint John valley goes right into the mountains and through the Mount Carleton National Park and some of the roads through there that we will have to take are quite dreadful.

It’s all up and down, through the rainstorms and the low hanging clouds and with a good length of dirt road that I remember driving on back in winter 2003 through the pitch black and the snow … "no you didn’t – you came a different way" – ed

mount carleton provincial park new brunswick canada september septembre 2016Further into the mountains and the weather hadn’t improved any. In fact I was beginning to wonder if we would be having snow any time soon – that was what it was looking like to me.

In fact I was starting to become rather worried. If the weather doesn’t improve any, we can forget all about tractor pulling and I will have had this long and exhausting drive for nothing. And after a good spell on the dirt road, Strider was looking disgraceful. He’ll be needing a wash.

Hitting the Saint John valley I drove along the old route of the Trans Canada Highway for a while and found a place to park for lunch right by the river, at the back of the seasonal camp site. And having demolished my butty I was back on the road again for Centreville, completely forgetting that I needed to go to the bank at Florenceville for some US money. I shall just have to do without, I suppose.

amber taylor perdy in the pink millinocket maine usa canada september septembre 2016We went back home and sorted out the tractor and Amber hopped into the driving seat to move it around.

It’s the first time that she’s actually been behind the steering wheel under power so Darren kept her under close supervision. After all, it’s a mere 3,500 horsepower so I was told, and it’s not every young girl of Amber’s age who will have the opportunity, never mind the confidence, to handle that kind of power.

She was doing really well too. She wasn’t just along for the ride

Eventually we set off and had the usual histrionics at the USA border. There’s an extremely long and complicated (and expensive) procedure to be undergone and as a result no-one has really bothered with it in the past. But a Canadian tractor-puller took his vehicle across into the USA – and sold it. And these things are worth hundreds of thousands – the engine is worth $80,000 on its own. And because the border crossing wasn’t registered he escaped paying the import duty and the sales tax.

As a result, the people at the border post had their derrieres very soundly kicked by Head Office and so now everything is done by the letter of the law. And it takes ages to do.

But we were soon back on the road and headed off down towards Millinocket, stopping off for diesel and also for some food. And as we headed south, the clouds blew away. By the time we arrived, the skies were clear and you could see millions of stars.

It was also freezing cold.

What might have been a major problem was that the raceway was all chained up and padlocked – there was no way in. But regular readers of this rubbish will remember from several events that have occurred in the past that a chain and padlock isn’t going to keep me out for long. Five minutes and we were inside, and no-one would ever guess how we managed it.

Darren set a methanol fire – about two inches of methanol in an old saucepan and he tossed a lighted rag into it. The liquid doesn’t burn – just the gases – and the evaporation is slow enough that it lasted for about an hour or so. We were crowded around it to try to keep warm and that wasn’t easy. After a while I could smell something burning, and I was shocked to realise that it was me! I had to move my chair back into the cold.

By now I was pretty tired and so I sloped off to bed. Darren is having the front seats of the lorry, Amber the rear and so I’m having the mattress in the trailer.

I’m glad that we are only staying for the one night.

Thursday 22nd September 2016 – WHAT A HORRIBLE NIGHT!

There I was, lying in bed trying to go to sleep, and time was drawing on. I remember 02:30 and I remember 02:45 and I hadn’t been to sleep at all. I’m not sure when I finally dropped off.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 as usual, I was wasted. It was a good job that there was a repeater at 06:15 and that was almost as bad. But nevertheless I crawled out of bed and ended up chatting away to a friend of mine on the internet.

I managed a shower and that was excellent, especially the shampoo which was the best that I have ever used, and then I hit the streets.
fundy line motel miramichi river acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016Before I left the hotel, I went down to the end of the drive and took a photo. The town of Miramichi is on the Miramichi River, one of the longest in New Brunswick, and it flows by on the other side of the road from where the Fundy Line Motel is.

It was such a nice day too as you can tell from the photos.

Having handed in the key I headed off to Tim Horton’s down the road – the first time that I’ve been to a Tim Horton’s this year. I treated myself to a coffee and a couple of cinnamon and raisin bagels, and then went out to face the world, still not feeling too much like it.

french fort cove park acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016First stop was only a mile or so up the road towards town. This chimney here had attracted my attention and so I pulled up for a butcher’s.

There was a park here, called the French Fort Cove and I didn’t remember this at all when I was here before. But that was easily explained – it wasn’t here.

Where we are is in a former quarry that was mined, and there were also iron workings here (hence the chimney) with all of the output being loaded onto ships just down there at the cove. These workings eventually closed down and the land was given to the town in 2002, being subsequently developed as the park.

While I was here, I heard in the distance the familiar wail of a diesel locomotive. No idea where it was, which was a shame, otherwise I might have gone a-chasing after it.

centennial bridge miramichi river acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016Instead, I continued on into the town to find a parking place by the river where I might be able to have a good shot of the bridge across the Miramichi river.

And if you are thinking that the bridge looks familiar, we have seen something like this before. The Seal Island bridge on Cape Breton Island over which we have driven on several occasions was built to the same design.

centennial bridge miramichi river acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016This is the Centennial Bridge, so called because it was opened in 1967, the centennial of the formation of the Confederation of Canada in 1867. Previously, there was a ferry, latterly the Romeo and Juliet, that plied its trade across the river here.

I suppose that I must have travelled over the bridge when I came here in 2003 but I really don’t remember it. And do I decided that I would put that right today, and to take a photograph to prove it.

centennial bridge miramichi river acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016And so off I went, onto the highway and across the bridge. And when I reached the other side, I turned round and came back, with Strawberry Moosetaking a fine photograph of the view from the top.

But coming back wasn’t as easy as it might have been. Half of the population of Miramichi was in Tim Horton’s, and the other half was driving across the end of the road where I was trying to turn round.

Having done that, I headed off down the coast for a nice leisurely drive to the sea, seeing as it was such a beautiful day

tracadie shiela acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016Round about 13:00 I stopped for my butties at Tracadie. I found a really nice spec at the side of the river where I could sit in comfort and read my book.

And it was such a nice day that I closed my eyes for a couple of minutes to relax in the sun. And there I was, gone, for a good half-hour. In fact, it took me quite a while to sort myself out. And that’s not a surprise seeing as how I’d had such a bad night previously.

church near shippegan acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016But I was eventually back on the road continuing my drive along the Acadian Trail, and took the deviation out towards Shippegan. After all, if there’s anything to do with deviation, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man!”.

The road down to Shippegan leaves the main highway near a beautiful church situated on the banks of a large river and the scene was certainly quite photogenic.

old jaguar saint simon acadian trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016We’ve noted before that Canada seems to be littered with old Jaguars and we keep on stumbling across them. It did occur to me that we haven’t noticed one yet this year and so here’s the first, at Saint Simon, with a boat painted in the “Star of Acadia” in the background.

We can’t miss out an opportunity to photograph it – just to prove the point that, as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … at one time the UK was selling its cars all over the world. 20 years later, it couldn’t sell a single car in its own country.

The collapse of the British motor industry is a spectacular example of the decline and fall of the United Kingdom, and those Brexiters hoping to bask in the glory of the United Kingdom’s future in a free market economy are are heading for an extremely nasty shock.

From here, I headed off to the coast and Caraquet. I’ve found another cheap motel, the Motel Bel Air, and I’ll be staying here for the night. No microwave unfortunately, so I’ll have to eat out tonight, but apart from that the room looks as if it’s another one of these “good value for money” places.

I hope that I can have a good sleep tonight.

Wednesday 21st September 2016 – I’M BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN

After something of a disturbed night last night, I was up and about fairly early on. And after a light breakfast, I started cleaning the motel room and tidying up the place, as well as chatting to a couple of people on the internet. And by chucking-out time, 10:00, I was ready to go.

I dumped the rubbish and took back the keys, and then headed off into town and the Sobeys supermarket for some shopping for lunch. And as most North American motels these days have microwaves, I also bought a bag of spuds and some more beans. It’s as well to be prepared.

cap caissie arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016I headed off northwards along the Arcadia Trail, and the first place that I visited was Cap Caissie. This is a small fishing port at the mouth of Shediac Bay.

It looked as if the tide was going out here so we’d be having a beach here in a couple of hours. And if you look at the weather that we were having this morning it would have been nice to have hung around for a while and done some sunbathing. But I had other things to do.

harbour cap caissie arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016There’s a harbour here at Cap Caissie were no boats in there this morning, but there was a refrigerated lorry standing by.

Talking to the driver, it turns out that it’s lobster that is the catch here, and all 14 boats registered at the port are out at the catch. The driver was telling me that the catch hasn’t been so good this summer but over the last week or so things have been pretty good.

lighthouse cap caissie arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016From the port at Cap Caissie there’s a good view of a lighthouse half a mile or so away. And so when you see a street name – Chemin du Lighthouse or Lighthouse Lane, you have to go for a look (or, at least, one of us does).

And if you think that Lighthouse Lane is going to lead you to the lighthouse you are mistaken because nothing could be farther from the truth, as you can see in this photo.

cap cocagne arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016Further on round the trail is the mouth of the Cocagne river, and guarding the entrance at Cap Cocagne is another port.

This is another small commercial port and there is plenty of lobster fishing, judging by all of the lobster pots out there in the estuary, but there’s a considerable presence of pleasure boats here too.

cap cocagne arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016As an aside, the word Cocagne in France has several meanings, two of which are completely contradictory.

You have the Pays de Cocagne, which is the Land of Milk and Honey where there are abundant harvests, a warm climate and all that kind of thing, and then we have the Mât de Cocagne which is the greasy pole that you try to climb up but you always keep on sliding down to the bottom

One of the games that we play while we are out on our travels in North America is “100 uses for a redundant school bus”.

redundant school bus arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016School buses are only allowed by law to carry school kids for a certain number of years and then they have to be retired from school operation. There’s not much of a market for old school buses and so you find them littering the North American countryside not doing very much.

Here’s one from the 1950s or 1960s that’s been painted white and is being used as a summer house by the side of the sea. That’s certainly a novel way of making use of one.

After lunch by the river at Bouctouche I went for a drive around the Bay of Bouctouche. We’ve been here before a few years ago and so instead of the famous sand spit, I’ll show you something else.

woodchuck carving anchors bouctouche arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016This is actually a shop that’s been extended by the addition of a bow and a stern from some kind of wooden seafaring vessel and a couple of masts have been plated in it.

I was hoping to find out more information about it so I went to make enquiries, but despite all of the doors being open and the stock being lined up outside for inspection, there wasn’t a soul about. That made me think that maybe this was what became of the Mary Celeste.

old cars 1928 Dodge prevost motor coach bouctouche arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016That wasn’t all that there was to see around here either. Just across the road were a coupe of old motor vehicles. We’ve not had too many of them to date.

The coach is an old Prevost that looks as if it might have been built in the late 1940s or something like that, and the car is a Dodge that dates from 1928. It’s been painted in the colours of Arcadia, which was the name of the area around the New Brunswick – Nova Scotia border during the time of the French occupation.

wind farm turbines price edward island arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016Further on along the coast you can catch a glimpse of Prince Edward island away across the Northumberland Strait.

With a telephoto lens you can come up with some kind of shot of the coastline over there, and the Prince Edward Island wind farm. And note the wind turbines too because one thing that you will notice about New Brunswick is that there aren’t any, despite the magnificent weather.

New Brunswick is still tangled up in the mess of the Lepreau Nuclear Power Station and trying desperately to go to any lengths to justify the massive expenditure that has been poured into yet another one of the Province’s white elephants.

falling down derelict wooden bridge rexton arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016We saw this bridge near Rexton back in 2013 and so I won’t post it again, but I do remember making a remark about the state of the carpentry.

And so I can show you a photo of one part of the bridge as it is today, and you cans ee how much it has deteriorated. and I thought that it was bad three years ago. I wouldn’t like to be driving on this bridge in another three years time

ship skeleton rexton richibucto river arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016I stopped off on the edge of Rexton to fuel up – Strider still has his unhealthy fuel consumption – and this ship in the Richibucto River caught my attention. I went across to photograph it.

It’s not a real ship of course. it was constructed in 2003 as a symbol of Rexton’s ship-building industry. They reckon that in a period from 1819 to the turn of the 20th Century some 105 ships were built here, of which 94 were built in just one shipyard – that owned by the Jardine family.

arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016My road north took me to the town of St Louis de Kent, a town that has a claim to fame in that the world’s largest Acadian flag is flown in the town.

St Louis de Kent is quite a hotbed of Acadian nationalism, a movement that took hold at the end of the 19th Century, mainly due to the efforts of Marcel-François Richard, to resurrect the heritage of the Acadian settlers – the French settlers of the mid-18th Century who were abandoned by the French empire during the Seven Years War.

Whilst no-one will deny the events that occurred subsequent to the fall of Acadia, no-one should lose sight of the fact that we are discussing a period of history 250 years ago and it’s a mistake to judge historical events by today’s standards.

Many colonists of French origin were indeed expelled from Acadia, but only those (at first, anyway) who refused to take an oath of allegiance to the King of England. But there was nothing unusual in asking citizens of captured colonists to take such an oath and even more so when a war between the two colonial powers was still taking place.

Displacement of recalcitrant colonists was nothing but normal behaviour back in those days and if you remember being with me in the Czech Republic last May, we discussed the displacement of recalcitrant Germans of many generations of settlement from the Sudetenland as late as 1948 – 200 years after the displacement of the Acadians – and no-one thought that what took place in Eastern Europe after World War II and which affected 30 million people was a major issue.

That’s not to take issue, of course, with the cultural traditions of the descendants of the Acadian settlers – I’m all in favour of celebrating culture and tradition – but St Louis de Kent is another place where all of the information on the tourist information boards is written in nothing but French – and that’s in an officially bilingual province too.

marguerite bourgeoys arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016There’s a statue here to Marguerite Bourgeoys and we all know who she is. We visited the house of her birth in Troyes in 2014 and we’ve mentioned her many times on our journeys round Montreal.

She organised the women and girls of Montreal with their religious and educational needs during the crises of the early days of the colony there, and it was the organisation that she founded, the Convent of the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady, that was asked to open a convent here in the late 19th Century.

fundy line motel miramichi arcadia trail new brunswick canada september septembre 2016You’ve all seen this place before. It’s the Fundy Line Motel in Miramichi where I stayed in winter 2003 and this is where I ended up last night.

It’s quite basic and a little tired but then so are its prices, and it’s scrupulously clean. It scores very highly on my value-for-money index and I’m happy to stay here for the night.

It has a microwave, which is good news, for I have a bag of potatoes and a can of beans, as well as a vegan burgerleft over from when I was in Shediac.

That’s me organised for tonight anyway.