Tag Archives: bay of fundy

Friday 25th September 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… you were wondering – there has been a change in the weather.

It’s deteriorated.

You might not thnk so from looking at the photos but in fact these photos are taken at about the same time as yesterday, which means that the tide was half an hour or so lower than yesterday.

The wind was totally wicked, and just for the record, there was a gust of wind recorded during the night at 121 Km/H. It’s a good job that they dismantled the beach changing cabins earlier in the week.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt must have been the gust of wind that blew me out of bed this morning because by the time that the third alarm went off, I was already out of bed

And despite the fact that there was much less time in bed last night, I seem to have travelled quite far during the night.

We started off filming a western in the POWDER RIVER COUNTRY last night. There was a scene in it whereby the hero had to do something – travel a couple of hundred yards and do something on his horse and then get back to the main body of his troop and at the same time a group of native Americans was attacking him. There was this woman out in front. There were quite a few pages of plot line about this with speech and stage directions rather about how this was to be performed. But when we actually got round to performing it, there wasn’t really enough time to do these stage directions about how to handle the approach of these native Americans so in the end he did the basis of what he had to do and fled back to the main body. The natives led by this woman pursued him and was captured. It ended up being quite a different plot than the one that they were trying to film in the first place.

And I’m sure that there was much more than this, but I can’t remember it.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on last night I was at the football. TNS were playing and we must have arrived late because when I arrived, to my surprise they were already one goal down. A couple of minutes later someone passed the ball back to the keeper but it was one of these high balls that was bouncing around and then keeper had to trap it. But as the ball bounced to the ground is swerved with the spin and went into the back of the net (this brings back an unhappy memory of a match in which I played in goal 50 years ago) and TNS were 2-0 down. People couldn’t believe this so they had a look and it wasn’t the usual goalkeeper but some young lad they had in goal. As if TNS would ever concede two goals with Paul Harrison in goal.
Someone else counted the players and TNS only had 10 on the field so we began to wonder what on earth was going on here.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I’d been at school or college or somewhere. We were in a big room taking notes on something. It was something like a free study period. I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and there was a load of girls busy looking at maps. They kept on picking up these maps looking at them. In the end it was time that the lesson was over so they put these maps away. We all had to move off. I moved off behind a girl of mixed race with curly hair. There was some dry toast lying around so I picked up three or four slices to take with me to eat on the way. A few days later there was another free study period taking place outside. Everyone was sitting there around these little tables in this square surrounded by these old ruined houses. I found a vacant seat, sat down and started to look through my papers. I was feeling hungry so I was thinking of going to see if there was any food again. The guy sitting at our table facing me who had chosen his seat first – I mentioned to him that I was going to go. What I had also seen were some pictures of people jogging around in another square nearby. I thought that it was ages since I’d been jogging so I thought that I’d go and do some jogging and then get some food and then come back. This guy said to me “is your chair comfortable?” I replied “yes”. He said “you don’t mind if I sit in it for 10 minutes while you aren’t here. It’s a bit hot where I’m sitting”. I didn’t say much about that. I stood up and took my camera off the table. I noticed that there was a really nice cool breeze so we moved the table a little so that it would be in the centre of all this breeze

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallNow that the arrears have been dealt with, instead I carried on with some other work, of which there is more than enough.

Much of the morning was spent alternating between two tasks. Firstly, the photos from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad and also some rearranging of the kitchen. I alternated between one and the other as I became bored.

A pile of the photos bit the dust and I’m beginning to sense that I’m reaching the end of this batch (still plenty more batches to do though) of photos and all of the storage jars that I bought are now out of the bedroom and stacked on the shelves.

Some of them even have things in, and if that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

Even more exciting, a couple of weeks ago the metal retaining clip on an old one broke. And when I was sorting through the jars back in the Auvergne, I had a jar with a broken lid. So the idea was to fit the lid off the one with a broken clip onto the jar with the broken lid.

And if that sounds straightforward, it might be if I had a set or two of mole grips, because trying to keep two very strong spring metal clips in tension at the same time with your bare hands as you wrestle the one over the other is not easy.

At one point one of the clips soared off down the whole length of the apartment and it took me 20 minutes to find it. But it’s all done and assembled now, and I wonder what my next trick will be.

After lunch, I rekindled another old project of mine. Rewriting the web pages from the early days. I’m somewhere round by the Bay of Fundy in Canada at New Year’s Eve 2001/2002 and that’s making me so nostalgic you couldn’t imagine (or maybe you can). And I incorporated something from the course that I did a couple of weeks ago too.

While I was doing that I was continuing with the tidying up and also recording LPs with the USB turntable. Another 4 of those have gone the Way of the West.

But I’ve been giving more thought to the issue about the recording of cassettes. Knowing that my ZOOM H1 will record off the hi-fi via a direct line from the headphone socket, I wonder if it will record from the cassette unit from the old hi-fi stack via the RCA plugs and a suitable adapter.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk outside this afternoon was horrendous. So much so that I elected not to hang around too long. Particularly after my hat took off in a gust of wind and I had to run after it.

The waves were being whipped into a frenzy by the storm that was raging flat-out right now. Trying to walk up the path towards the lighthouse was incredibly difficult in the teeth of this howling gale.

Round the other side of the headland at least I had the wind behind me. And you saw for yourselves earlier what it was doing to the waves and the sea wall for the tidal harbour.

You can tell how bad it was out there too by the fact that I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the pathetic parking at the College Malraux.

After the guitar practice was tea. But before I mention that, I found myself spending my half-hour bass session working out the bass line to one particular song.

And writing it down too. Not in proper musical notation – that’s a bit too far – but I’m amazed that I can still remember something from that music course that I did earlier this year too.

place d'armes porte st jean eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a curry out of the fridge, followed by rice pudding. And then I took my life into my hands by going outside.

Here’s a photo that you don’t see too often. I notice that they’ve managed to find a shilling at the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou because at long last they’ve illuminated the church spire again.

The Porte St Jean is looking quite nice too in the dark and lit up by the floodlights. I have to say that this is a really nice area to live despite the wind.

buttress medieval city wallsgranville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else about at all, which was hardly a surprise so I didn’t have much company tonight.

The wind on the footpath underneath the walls was swirling around something wicked and running was extremely difficult. I made it to my mark though, which much effort and on looking back behind me I could see one of the buttresses illuminated by the street lights from the street above.

Despite the headwinds, I managed my two other runs all the way back here – and not without some difficulty. Not simply because of the winds per se but also because of the overturned street furniture, panes of glass (some second-home owner is going to be in for a shock when he returns) and the like littering the place.

Still, what do you expect with winds gusting well over 100 Km/H?

It’s shopping tomorrow so I imagine that not only will we have the gale-force winds but also a driving rainstorm and plagues of locusts too.

We’re definitely heading for winter now.

Saturday 23rd February 2019 – WITH HAVING WHAT …

… can only be described as “disturbed sleeping patterns” just recently, going to bed at 23:30 was never going to be a good idea. By about 01:00 I’d given up the struggle and by about 02:30 I was up and about, working. I must be feeling better, to say the least.

Round about 09:00 I went back to bed for a couple of hours. By 12:00 I was up and about again working and at 13:00 I attacked a bowl of porridge. Even more surprisingly, it managed to stay down.

Another even more surprising thing is that I managed to attack a little bit of tidying up. Not much, it has to be said, but the fact that I was able to do something is already … errr … something.

It was such a beautiful afternoon that I opened all of the windows in here.

I was tempted to go for a walk, but then I had another thought instead. I carried on doing some work and then at 17:00 I girded up my loins and hit the streets.

low tide baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIt’s that time of the year again.

The Baie de Mont St Michel and the area around here has the highest tides in Europe. Not quite on the Bay of Fundy scale but impressive all the same.

This weekend the tidal coefficients are the highest of the year and the sea right now is the farthest out that we are likely to see it.

It’s certainly impressive.

football stade louis dior us granvillaise fc mantois 78 granville manche normandy franceIn the beautiful weather it was a sweaty trudge through the streets and a weary climb up the hill, and even though I took my time I was at the Stade Louis Dior in good time for the match against FC Mantois 78.

I’ve not seen them before, and they are currently adrift at the foot of the table. So I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to see them this time

Having witnessed US Granville’s dramatic loss of form just recently that has seen them plummet down the table like a Led Zeppelin, I knew exactly what the outcome would be.

football stade louis dior us granvillaise fc mantois 78 granville manche normandy franceFrom the kick-off, it was clear that the US Granvillais left-back was playing in a match on his own. In the first five minutes I counted three times when he wandered miles away from his opponent, allowing his opponent to get in behind him.

After 10 or so minutes, I mentioned to my neighbour that he is going to cost the team dear if he doesn’t concentrate on his game – at that point he was a good 25 metres away and in front.

Sure enough, just a couple of minutes later, the left-back was miles out of position as the n°7 soared down the wing and put in a cross to the centre where a forward slotted the ball home.

And he kept it up too. Another ball down the wing, another cross, a header onto the post this time. I’ve not seen anything like this for years. We had no coaching whatever at school but even at Primary School it was drilled into us by our 11 year old team captains not to let our attackers get between us and the goal, even when they didn’t have the ball.

football stade louis dior us granvillaise fc mantois 78 granville manche normandy franceAfter half-time there was no change whatever.

It took 60 minutes for the coach to realise the problem. He eventually took off the n°3 and the defence tightened up – but only just a little.

US Granville pulled one back too. A quick throw-in, a long one into the penalty area from the right-back with the long throw – which caused uproar from the Mantois players and some of the crowd who are clearly unaware that you can’t be offside from a throw-in (or a goal kick either for that matter).

And then Granville pushed forward for a winner. And who knows what might have happened had we not had a moment of total madness as we entered into injury time.

sunset stade louis dior us granvillaise fc mantois 78 granville manche normandy franceThe Mantois goalkeeper’s kicking was dreadful and they were just wild, aimless lunges down the field. One totally aimless kick right upfield fell to a US Granvillais defender, totally alone and unmarked with no-one anywhere near him. He turned to face upfield, took his time, and took a really good hard kick – straight into the midriff of a Mantois player charging down on him about 20 yards away.

You’ve no need for me to tell you what happened after that. The attacker controlled the ball, took half a dozen steps forward, rounded the keeper and that was that.

All hopes that Granville had of catching the game disappeared into the sunset.

A long painful walk back here – in time to watch a top-of-the table match in the Welsh Premier League between Y Barry and Cei Connah. Winner takes all tonight, and so quite obviously we had a draw.

A good goal from Jonathan Hood for Barry was cancelled out by a goal from Michael Bakare for the Nomads.

Many people saw Bakare’s goal as controversial but not me, not the referee and not those people equipped with slow-motion facilities and a camera behind the goal. Mike Lewis in the Barry goal was clearly “fouled”, but by his own player who pushed him hard into the patch of the Connnah’s Quay n°10. When the highlights go on line, I’ll post a link.

It was an exciting match that pulsated from end-to-end but Connah’s Quay had the better of it and the Barry woodwork knew all about it. A couple of goal-line panic-stricken clearances too but the Nomads couldn’t get the bal over the line.

So now it’s rather late, I’m rather tired but I’ve kept on going. And if that’s not impressive, seeing as how I’m feeling, then I don’t know what is.T

Tuesday 29th August 2017 – AND SO …

… having had a reasonable night’s sleep last night, it took the alarm to summon me out of my stinking pit this morning.

But I’d been on my travels last night too. There had been a court case and this big gorilla of a man had been found guilty of several violent offences and sent to gaol. He was accompanied from the van by a policeman and a policewoman, neither of whom could be called “powerful” by any means and the inevitable happened – that he broke away from them. We then had this stand-off in that he couldn’t run away but they couldn’t lay hold on him and they were dancing around this car park for quite a while.
A little later I was in my house and I had visitors. Someone knocked something through the window (we were only 6 floors up) and I asked what it was. “A stuffed toy thing” was the answer. When I went down to let them out I picked up the stuffed toy – a stuffed cat as it happens – and began to stroke it, and it transformed into a real kitten. I went for a walk around the town, which was similar to the “old town” of Granville, all the time stroking this animal that I had against my shoulder. Under the archway where people were passing, they suddenly closed it off and a group of schoolchildren led by a teacher came there. He was giving them a talk about the history of the place but they were all distracted by me and my cat.

bay of fundy saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017As it grew light, I nipped out to Strider to pick up some stuff and there dieseling down the Bay of Fundy in the distance was a nice big ship.

Saint John is quite an important port, not just for bulk carriers and containers, but also for oil tankers due to the presence of the huge Irvings oil refinery on the edge of town.

I was quite optimistic that we might have a good ship-spotting morning here today as I went on my errands.

And I wasn’t wrong either.

msc kim bay of fundy saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017Heading into town and down the big bank, I noticed a huge MSC container ship in the harbour.

This is the MSC Kim, all 41,000 tonnes of her. Built in 2008, she’s 265 metres long and 32 metres wide. She’s come in from a tour around the Gulf of Mexico, last stop being New York.

Her claim to fame is that when she was unloading in Antwerp a couple of years ago after a trip from Ecuador, Belgian police discovered almost half a tonne of cocaine in her cargo.

bay of fundy london bus double deck saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017But this was far from being the only excitement here on the docks.

While the Silly Brits are busy selling off their heritage in order to raise cash to pay off the massive debt that the country has, other countries are happily snapping up the bargains.

Here on the quayside recently unloaded is a fleet of AEC double-deck buses to add to the ones that we have seen parading around the streets of Montreal.

Won’t be long before the Brits have nothing left to sell, and then the fun will begin.

bay of fundy railway locomotives saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017And that’s not all either.

The way that the Canadian government works, railways are a thing of the past in the country. Seeing a Canadian train is a rare event.

And so no-one was happier than I was to catch a train of three locomotives, two power cars and a partridge in a pear tree go clanking through the port pulling a load of oil tankers

From there, I went off to pay the insurance for Strider. And here we had some bad news – and some worse news.

It seems that I’m not entitled to a No-Claims Discount, having a foreign driving licence. That’s pretty miserable.

And secondly, there has been a substantial (and I do mean substantial) hike in insurance premiums over the last 12 months.

I bought Strider because it worked out cheaper than hiring a car for two months – and it still is, but the gap is narrowing rapidly again. I need to think of another plan.

Licking my wounds I went off to Service New Brunswick to join the massive queue for the new licence tags. Luckily they haven’t increased in price – that’s the only consolation that I can offer.

The insurance company offices are close to the Irvings refinery and I’d seen a tanker unloading there.

palanca luanda bay of fundy saint john new brunswick canada aout august 2017And so off i trotted to find a suitable vantage point to take a pic of her.

She’s the Palanca Luanda from the Marshall Islands where they have more ships than people (due to the 3% Corporation Tax rate). 11,000 tonnes and built as recently as 2012.

She’s come in from a trip down to Baltimore and Wilmington.

Having had a dismal morning I wandered off.

I stopped for lunch at a petrol station on the way to Moncton. In the gorgeous sunshine and warm weather I had a little snooze too, and then fuelled up.

Strider’s fuel consumption has improved a little, which is good news, but only to be expected after he’s had his overdrive fixed, but not enough for me to ever recover the money that it cost me.

But then, off to Moncton.

Missing my turning into the Value Village car park so turning round in the Costco car park up the hill and not being able to find the (only) exit, which then decanted me back the wrong way and I had to turn round again.

But at least I had some luck. A tin opener, a knife, fork and spoon, a proper pyrex microwave bowl and a couple of books.

But nothing at the Salvation Army shop, nothing at Home Depot and I didn’t even bother with Princess Autos.

bay of fundy memramcook new brunswick canada aout august 2017I was back on the road – the old road out of town across the Tantramar Marshes.

On the outskirts of Memramcook I found this beautiful girder road bridge, so I stopped for a photograph.

There’s a vestige of the extant Canadian railway network behind it too – the line from Halifax to Montreal which runs passenger trains a couple of times per week.

And here we have a calamity.

The motel where I had chosen to stop – it’s now private flats and apartments. Two others were closed down, one in Sackville wanted me to buy the building, not stay for the night (I didn’t pay that much in Labrador!).

So I moved on to Amherst.

The cheapest place was fully-booked, and the only rooms on the town were, well, even worse than in Sackville.

But then this is what I have a mobile internet connection for.

A room was available at a slightly less ridiculous price at Pictou – only 90 minutesdrive down the Trans-Canada Highway. But at least it’s in the right direction so equipping the ship for silent running, off I set.

90 minutes later, I was there or thereabouts. But the motel wasn’t where the satnav said that it was. And so I spent another half an hour doing some detective work and I eventually arrived there, beaten, bedraggled and bewildered.

And I know now why the room was free. A genuine 1950s design, with furniture, decor and musty smell to match. Had I not been thoroughly exhausted, I would have walked away.

But at least we had a microwave so once I’d figured out how to use it, I could cook some of the pasta meal that Rachel had prepared for me.

And grateful I was too.

Tuesday 22nd September 2015 – HERE IN THE NICE AND QUIET …

canadian national railway locomotives fort beausejour new brunswick canada … isolation of my litle spec on the edge of the marshes I was having the best night’s sleep that I had had for quite some time.

However, as I have said before, one of the things that you need to do when you arrive somewhere to stay for the night in North America is to check the immediate area for railway lines, and I forgot to do that yesterday, didn’t I?

This isn’t the train that woke me up of course, but it is one that is very much like it, shuddering, clanking and blowing just about 100 yards away from my quiet little spec

bay of fundy fort beausejour new brunswick canadaWhen I did finally heave myself out of my stinking pit this morning, this is the beautiful view that greeted me. I’m shrouded in a fog rolling in off the head of the Bay of Fundy, something that many Ancient Mariners would tell you all about.

I’m shrouded in condensation too inside the truck cap – or at least, the truck cap is. I’m going to have to do something about this in the long term because as the weather cools down even more, the condensation will become worse and worse

I’ve had a little play around inside the back of Strider too and I’ve made piles of extra room. I can actually move around in there now, as well as unfold my chair and sit down. What with that and my little fold-up table, I’m really comfortable in there now. Next trick is going to be a solar panel on the roof and a battery inside so that I can run some lights in there and a little inverter to power a couple of things like my slow cooker.

I still have a couple of plans about the bed too and I shall put them into practice given a nice afternoon and a quiet spot in which to work.

bay of fundy fort beausejour new brunswick canadaThat’s Strider way down there, in the spot where I parked for the night. And beyond it is the head of the Bay of Fundy. I’m actually standing on the ramparts of Fort Beausejour and you can see why the French chose this site for the building of their fort.

We’re on the southern shore of the narrowest part of the isthmus of Chignecto, on the edge of the Tantramar Marshes – and you may remember if you were with us on our voyage in October 2010 we went to Fort Gaspereaux, on the northern shore of the isthmus.

fort beausejour new brunswick canadaFort Beausejour was built in 1750 under the orders of the French Governor the Marquis de la Jonquière, and with these two forts, the French could bottle up the isthmus.

Nothing could pass by here without the French knowing about it and so quite naturally they became prime targets for the British Army during the mid-18th Century. The British under Robert Monckton laid seige to Fort Beausejour in June 1755 and it fell after 13 days. Fort Gaspereaux fell a couple of days later and that was the end of French rule in Acadia.

fort beausejour new brunswick viewed from site of fort lawrence nova scotia canadaThe British had built a fort – Fort Lawrence – in Nova Scotia across the marshes from Fort Beausejour in order to put pressure on the French fort.

The fort didn’t last very long – the British preferred to occupy Fort Beausejour once they had captured it – and so there is nothing left of Fort Lawrence. But the site is well-known in the area and so I went for a wander over there for a look. And while there is nothing of the fort left to see, there’s a splendid view across the marshes to Fort Beausejour

fort beausejour new brunswick viewed from nova scotia tourist information board offices canadaBut that’s not the best view of Fort Beausejour by any means. From the offices of the Nova Scotia Tourist Board’s information office, the view of the fort is even more spectacular. You can see its five-star pointed design and it earthen walls quite clearly from here with a good telephoto lens.

In fact, such is the dominance of the site where I am standing over the surrounding area that I’m surprised that the British hadn’t occupied and fortified this point instead. I know that this is the point that I would have chosen.

chignecto ship railway nova scotiak canadaFrom up here on this eminence, there’s another good view – this time of an object that is just as spectacular as the fort, even though it’s much less well-known.

Right in the centre of the image, surrounded by cows, is the dock that was intended to the the entrance to the Chignecto Ship Railway and had this been built, it would have been a really impressive structure.

As I said, this is the narrowest part of the isthmus and if ships could find a way across it, they would save hundred of miles and several days, as well as avoid many of the risks of shipwreck, as they sailed between the Gulf of St Lawrence and the eastern seaboard of North America.

chignecto ship railway nova scotia canadaThe plan was for the ships to sail into the dock, to be raised up by a hydraulic ramp and loaded onto railway wagons, and then transported by train across the isthmus to the other side – to the dock near Tidnish that we visited in October 2010.

Unfortunately the works on the southern side of the isthmus are on private property and not able to be visited, but what we are looking at here are the earthworks that would have carried the track bed of the railway, which were completed for several miles.

Why this all went wrong was that the same technology that enabled the construction of the engineering works of the railway also enabled shipbuilders to build bigger and bigger ships – and so the railway quickly became clear that the railway would be inadequate for the task, and funds could not be raised to rebuild it to larger dimensions.

trans canada highway nova scotia canadaAfter lunch I set off down the Trans-Canada Highway through the mountains towards Antigonish. Hannah is at St F-X University there and I hadn’t seen much of her while I’ve been over here so I went to visst her.

We went out for a meal and a chat for a couple of hours, and then I hit the road again. There’s a big Irvings truck stop down at the Canso Strait and while I’m not a big fan of truck stops these days for sleeping purposes, it’s the nest place that I can think of to settle down for the night.

At least all of the facilities are there.

Monday 21st September 2015 – IT WAS COLD …

… last night in Strider. Firstly, the temperature had dropped outside during the night, and secondly, the aluminium sheeting provides nothing in the way of insulation – in fact quite the reverse. I’ll have to do something about that because the condensation was terrific too despite the rear window being ajar.

But as for the bed, it was indeed comfortable enough and once I did manage to drop off I was fine except for the noise from the lorries that awoke me every now and again as they went moving about the lorry park.

This morning I fitted my shelf up in the roof. It took ages to do as it had to be cut really fine and so I took four or five goes to cut it precisely to size, and then I screwed a front batten to it to stop the tins and everything sliding off. I’ll put the saucepan and the tin opener up there too so that they are to hand.

After a coffee and an internet at Tim Horton’s, I hit the road and headed to Moncton. First stop was the Salvation Army thrift shop where I picked up a book, a CD and a tin opener, seeing as how the one that I have doesn’t seem to want to do anything.

Second stop was not the second stop at all. Princess Autos is just opposite the Salvation Army thrift shop, but not any longer. It’s all closed down and they had the builders in. However the builders directed me there and although they didn’t have what I wanted, I ended up with a 19mm spanner (at last), a set of offset ring spanners and a big set of torx and torx-E drive sockets.

Value Village was a disappointment. I ended up with just a (rather expensive) book although it did produce a decent old saw and a tenon saw. The saw that I have is rather flaky and I need to do better. God second-hand tools are much better value than cheap new stuff, that’s for sure.

At Home Depot I bought a pile of insulation as well as a couple of sets of screwdriver bits for back home, and then I went off to have a look at the new music shop that has just opened across the car park.

And then I set off.

railway line across freeway dieppe moncton new brunswick canadaYou may remember a while ago that I wrote something about a railway line that crosses the big freeway at Dieppe (just outside Moncton) on the level and made a comment about the M25 in the UK.

So just so you know that I wasn’t pulling your leg about this, Strawberry Moose took a photo of the railway line as we passed over, so that you know that it’s there.

covered bridge tantramar marshes new brunswick usaOne of the things that I’ve been trying to do as I pass by here is to find a way across the Tantramar Marshes. There’s the freeway of course, but finding another road is not easy. This time however, with the aid of The Lady Who Lives In The Sat-Nav, whom I told to take the quickest way to Amherst without using the Freeway.

She found me some exciting roads, including passing over this delightful little covered bridge across one of the many drainage ditches that criss-cross the marshes.

The Tantramar Marshes have been described as “The Largest Hayfield In The World” and quite rightly so.

largest hayfield in the world tantramar marshes new brunswick canadaYou can see from this photo that I took from the ridge on the northern edge of the marsh that it lives up to its name. Especially at this time of year when the “rolos” are everywhere.

The marshes were originally drained by the first Acadian settlers here so that the hayfield could be created, and you can see everywhere the traces of the old drainage ditches running through the fields. You can also see traces of the old Acadian dykes and I took you to visit the remains one of them a couple of years ago.

wind turbines amherst nova scotia canadaMy route took me past the wind turbines across the border in Nova Scotia (there’s not a one in this area in New Brunswick) and down to the site of old Fort Beausejour. This is situated at the head of the Bay of Fundy where I would watch the sun set.

But as for this insulation, it’s no good. It’s far too thick, far too heavy and not flexible enough, so it would do for the roof. I’ll have a go at the sides tomorrow but I’m not hopeful and I can see all of this going in the bin even though it cost a lot of money.

I’ll have to think again about this.

Monday 12th September 2011 – THE FUNDY SHORE

After I pleasant day at Colleen’s, I was back on the road once more

ossies fried clams southern new brunswick canadaBut I didn’t get far. It was lunchtime and I found a fish and chip shop.

And this place is noteworthy for two reasons

  1. it sold real chips. Nice proper lumps of potatoes, not these horrible matchstick things
  2. it was the first place that I have ever encountered in North America that had real malt vinegar on offer.

And they were delicious too. And it was really nice sitting outside in the sun.

blacks harbour ferry terminal grand manan island southern new brunswick canadaFirst stop this afternoon was at Black’s Harbour where the ferry goes over to Grand Manan Island. And look what’s parked up over there. I’m sure that it’s the ferry that was under repair in Pictou last October when we there there.

And as a matter of fact, she is. It appears that there are two ships that ply across the waters, but only one in winter. And last winter she was laid up as her replacement was due in the spring. However the arrival of her replacement was rather late, and then the other one was involved in an accident back in May, so she was pressed back into service.

Her ultimate destination seems to be hauling gravel for a company in Quebec – the usual fate of many old ferries out here.

lighthouse road beaver harbour southern new brunswick canadaWhenever you see a road called “lighthouse road”, that’s a cue for a deviation – or, at least, it is in my case.

And I’m glad that I came down this road too because some of the scenery is magnificent. According to the church in the distance, this area here is called Beaver Harbour and if so, that’s an old Quaker settlement where a bunch of United Empire Loyalists came to settle.

And you can see why they came to settle here, cant you?

The road to the lighthouse was all closed off so I couldn’t go down there, but a thing like that isn’t likely to put me off.

drews head lighthouse beaver harbour southern new brunswick canadaWhere there’s a will there are relatives, and so here I am round on the next headland down with a telephoto lens.

It’s Drews Head lighthouse, so I’m told, there has been a lighthouse on here since as recently as January 1876 although this is not the original. It was replaced by a skeletal tower-type of construction in the late 1960s and the fibreglass skin that you can see dates from 1984.

point lepreau nuclear power station southern new brunswick canadaWhat we see right out there is the nuclear power station situated out on Point Lepreau. It’s the only nuclear power station in Atlantic Canada and is something else that was quite controversial in New Brunswick.

After years of debate, the New Brunswick Prime Minister Richard Hatfield announced that it was going to be built, regardless of whatever conclusions an Environmental Assessment committee reached. It was built in the early 1980s and cost three times the estimated amount.

It’s suffered all kinds of problems caused by, amongst other things, poor maintenance and employee sabotage, and there has been a variety of work-related accidents and illnesses. An 18 month overhaul, started in March 2008, took four and a half years to complete.

I went out there for a drive around to see what I could see, but it’s hidden in a forest so you can’t see it from close up.

point lepreau river waterfall southern new brunswick canadaInstead, I went off to see if I could find the famous waterfall on the Lepreau River.

The river is only about 30 kms long but has quite a descent over that distance, culminating in a drop of about 6 metres over this granite ledge.

Below the falls is the tidal limit of the Bay of Fundy and on the incoming tide you’ll find salt water down there. In fact, you can’t see it in this photo but the tide is coming in as I’m standing here.

island view saint motel john new brunswick canadaWhen I was here ten years ago, I arrived after dark and left before light so I didn’t take a photo of my motel that night.

So here we are. This is the Island View motel where I stayed, on top of a hill to the south of the city of Saint John. I seem to remember that there wasn’t that much to write about this motel, but I don’t remember criticising the price either so it must have been a reasonable deal.

saint john new brunswick canadaThere’s a convenient hill just a little way around the corner and so I wandered off to see what I could see.

And sure enough, there’s a beautiful view down the river towards the city of Saint John (and you mustn’t forget to always write the name in full – that’s quite important).

You’ll notice all of the modern skyscrapers there. Saint John is the second-largest city in Atlantic Canada (after Halifax) and also one of the wealthiest

reversing falls saint john new brunswick canadaI can’t believe that I’ve managed to time my arrival so badly – when the tide is at mid-point.

Over there are the Reversing Falls – at low tide the level of the tide is about 4 metres below the level of the river and at high tide, it’s about 4 metres higher. Consequently, at either high or low tide, you have a spectacular spectacle right underneath the bridge.

business sector saint john new brunswick canadaI took thousands of photos here at Saint John, and one day I’ll post them all somewhere for you to see.

You’ll remember just now that I posted a photo of the city taken from distance, and showed you the tall modern buildings on the skyline. And so here, right in the centre of the city, we can have a view of them from closer up.

tropical containers saint john new brunswick canadaWith there being water around, there are bound to be ships. And I’m not disappointed either because this is a huge harbour and there are dozens about.

However, never mind the ship for the moment – take a look beyond it at those shipping containers with the word TROPICAL written on them? They are, would you believe, going to feature in our story in a few days’ time.

saint john new brunswick canadaBut I hope that you aren’t expecting to see anything really historic in the city because, beautiful as it might be from this perspective on the waterfront, there’s very little in the city dating from before 1877

In that year, there was, for the benefit of those of you who know very little about the history of Canada, a devastating fire raged through the city and destroyed 1612 properties and caused $28,000,000 of damages.

Not like the fire that raged through Bentilee in Stoke on Trent, destroying 1612 houses and causing £30 worth of improvements.

Saint John was in the front line during the disputes with the USA. In the early days, the border between Canada and the USA had not been resolved, and the USA was claiming as far up the coast as the mouth of the Saint John River.

fort howe saint john new brunswick canadaOf course, Britain was having none of that and the mouth of the river, especially on the shore, was quite heavily fortified.

This is Fort Howe, built during the War of American Independence following the Siege of Saint John in 1777, the “Howe” being the Commander of the British forces in North America at the time. It has the distinction of being the first site in Canada to be designated a National Historic Park.

carleton martello tower saint john new brunswick canadaWay over there in the distance (thanks to the zoom lens) is the Carleton Martello tower, one of only 9 now remaining in Canada.

This dates back to the War of 1812 and was built to guard the entrance to the harbour. It was in use during World War II as an anti-aircraft gun tower (the Canadian Government had more faith in the Luftwaffe’s technical abilities than the Luftwaffe did) and observation post, and during World War I had been a prison for deserters from the Canadian Army.

old city market saint john new brunswick canadaI did say that Saint John was one of the wealthiest cities in Atlantic Canada, and you can tell that by looking at some of the buildings around here.

This is the old city market, situated on Charlotte Street. and dates from 1876. It’s the umpteenth Market Hall in the city, and regular readers of this rubbish don’t need to be told what happened to the others.

The building deteriorated considerably after World War II but underwent a major renovation between 1987 and 1990.

trinity anglican church saint john new brunswick canadaChurches are always a good indication of the wealth of any community, and no-one is going to be disappointed by this church. This is the Trinity Anglican Church in Germain Street and was founded by United Empire Loyalists who fled here in 1783.

This imposing pile dates from 1880, and you don’t REALLY need me to tell you what happened to its predecessor, do you?

king edward 8 bandstand kings square saint john new brunswick canadaThere’s a beautiful park right in the centre of the city – King’s Square, it’s called. And right in the middle is a bandstand, the King Edward VIII bandstand, dating from 1908.

It’s not very well-known, (so I shall publicise the fact) that I once made a bandstand. That’s right. I set fire to all of their chairs.

I’ll get my coat.

poorer areas of saint john new brunswick canadaI said that there was plenty of evidence of former wealth in Saint John. And there is also plenty of evidence of current poverty too. This street here would not be out of place in any industrial city in the north of England.

If that’s not all, I stumbled upon a bingo hall which had a game actually in progress. The hall was pretty full too. Just how sad is that? It really did remind me of Stoke on Trent on a bad day.

And some ageing hippy has just come up to me. He was having a good look at my telephoto lens and, pointing to it, said “hi – you must be one of those long-distance photographers”.
“I’m from the UK” I replied. “Is that long enough?”

k c irving oil refinery LPG processing plant saint john new brunswick canadaBravely battling against the lack of light, I rejoin my vehicle and head out of the town, continuing my journey to the north-east and leaving behind me a load of photographs that I must deal with some time.

Just outside the town is the immense KC Irving oil refinery and LPG processing plant. It really does look like a desperate scar on the landscape, but as long as people want to drive around in cars, what do you expect?

A phrase involving omeletttes and eggs springs to mind.

And now it’s dark, I can’t see what I’m doing, but there’s a truck stop ahead. That’s going to be as good a place as any for me to lay down my weary head.

Saturday 10th September 2011 – I’M OFF ON MY TRAVELS AGAIN

mars hill windfarm maine usa new brunswick canadaAnd not before time either because if I stay too long in one place I put down roots and that would never do, would it?

And that’s the view behind me – the plains of New Brunswick with the wind farm at Mars Hill over to the right of the photo. And my little share of Canada is on the very extreme right-hand edge of the photo, on the down slope of the mountain.

How happy am I?

highway 630 new brunswick canadaThe road beyond Woodstock is fairly uneventful until I turn off onto Highway 630 and then I’m presented with this road. 58 kilometres of it too and isn’t this just like old times on the Trans-Labrador Highway?

It’s so much better going this way than going by the motorway. I’m not in any particular rush and can take my time, and quite right too. But never mind what might be on the other side of the hill – I can’t even tell what might be just around the bend

highway 4 railway line USA new brunswick canadaI arrive at a junction with Highway 4 which is for some reason or other not on the SatNav. The turning to the left is signposted for the USA so I must be very close to the border, so I’m where I want to be;

As for the railway line, this is probably the line that runs from Saint John to Montreal via the USA and was used quite heavily in the winter when Montreal was frozen up in the days before icebreakers and all of the produce was shipped by rail to Saint John.

bayside ferry wharf terminal sant croix river new brunswick canadaThis is the Bayside wharf and ferry terminal judging by the sign. It’s private property but seeing as it’s open, I go for a wander around but there’s no-one about to ask any questions.

The drive down to the gates is quite secluded and so I’ve pencilled in a little place in the back of my mind in case I can’t find anywhere better to park up for the night. That gap in between those two trailers looks quite inviting

ile sainte croix river maine usaOver there is the Ile de Sainte Croix, Saint Croix Island. It’s significant in that as far as I can tell, it was the first coastal colony of the French, being settled in 1604 (all previous colonies were in the St Lawrence).

Of the 79 colonists, 35 died and so many others were close to death that they all moved away to Port Royal across the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.

Ironically, Champlain described an autopsy that had been performed upon one of the deceased, and when a cemetery was discovered here fairly recently, one of the bodies uncovered had suffered the “injuries” in the post-mortem that were so well-described by Champlain.

And modern scientist, on examining the remains, concluded that most, if not all of the deaths, were due to scurvy

st andrews by night new brunswick canadaNow that I’m within touching distance of St Andrews it won’t do any harm to go for a look around, even if it the sun is setting quite quickly. Still, I can always do my best to take a photo to give you an idea of how it looks.

And I’m pretty disappointed in that there’s a 1920s type of Ford, which is probably an A-type, parked up at the side of the road and it’s too dark to take a photo of it. I hope that it will be there tomorrow.

mysterious red light st andrews new brunswick canadaBut wait a minute – whatever is this?

There’s a red light here up in the sky – in the top right-hand corner of the photo is a steady red light (otherwise it would never have come out in the photo) rather than a flashing red light that you might see from an aeroplane.

I thought that it might be a radio mast – a Loran-C or something like that, but I came back here in the morning and there was nothing that could have been my red light. So it’s a mystery.

And in the absence of a better proposition, I’ve gone back to the wharf and that’s where I’ll be staying the night.

Tuesday 26th October 2010 – NOW LIZ, WHO READS THIS BLOG …

rainstorm pictou nova scotia canada… saw my photo of Pictou last night and asked me what the place was like and how it looked in broad daylight.

And the answer to that is “no idea”.

I came here the first time in 2003 and it was absolutely p155ing down so I didn’t stay long. And today, as if in keeping with some kind of tradition, it was likewise p155ing it down. And how.

main street pictou nova scotia canadaBut this time I’m made of more sterner stuff and went for a nosey, getting thoroughly drenched in the process.

We’re lucky in that many of the buildings are quite substantial – made of stone, not your usual timber framed stuff. North American urban settlement is famous – or infamous – for being ravaged by fire and these stone buildings will have resisted that quite well.

However, escaping from the ravages caused by human modernism and “progress” is another thing, and Pictou has suffered some from that.

Now for those of you familiar with North American history, you will know that Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts is significant as it was there that the Pilgrim Fathers landed in late 1620 in the Mayflower.

replica hector pictou nova scotia canadaAnd Pictou has a similar kind of significance for Canada as it was here in 1773 that a group of Scots landed in the Hector – a replica of which is on display here – and laid the foundations for Nova Scotia – or New Scotland.

Look at any of the graves of people who were born in this area during the following few years – there are dozens of people called Hector interred there.

And after that it was a drive to Springhill to do something else that I … errrr … overlooked when I was here before.

memorial springhill mining disaster nova scotia canadaI didn’t visit the Anne Murray Museum this time (so I didn’t meet Anne Murray this time like I did the last time) and I didn’t have time to visit the mining museum even though it was open today.

Instead I tracked down the monument to the hundreds of miners who died in the dozens of mining explosions and collapses in the shameful situation that passed for coal-mining here from about 1820 until just a few years ago.

If you know Peggy Seeger’s song Springhill Mining Disaster – made famous by U2 – then that is about one of the explosions here.

mural wall amherst nova scotia canadaNext stop was Amherst to look for something interesting and really I must have been asleep the two times I’ve passed through here and not noticed anything worth photographing.

Apart from the fact that it’s a beautiful sandstone-built town, there’s tons of other stuff that’s well-worth seeing.

I was having health issues both of the times I came here and that’s my excuse anyway.

fort beausejour amherst nova scotia canadaWhen I was here in 2003 I went to visit Fort Beausejour – the second-last bastion of the French army in Canada, not the last one (despite what most history books tell you – that dubious honour belongs to Fort Gaspereaux across the isthmus).

Here they hung on grimly to a toehold at the head of the Bay of Fundy as the French possessions all around them crumbled away into nothing, and eventually they too were swept away with the tide.

fort lawrence amherst nova scotia canadaThe British built a fort – Fort Lawrence – about 5 miles away from Fort Beausejour in order to blockade the latter and so I went in search of that.

It appears that this is in fact the site of the Nova Scotia Tourist Board offices and once I had realised that, it wasn’t all that difficult to track down. It’s not easy to miss all of those flags fluttering away up there.

acadian dyke tantramarre marshes chignecto isthmus nova scotia canadaFrom up on the heights I noticed what looked like early Acadian dykes across the Tantramarre marshes. The Acadians had done their best to drain the marshes and ended up with, what one commentator called “the largest hayfield in the world”.

So I had a wander out across the flats and, lo and behold, indeed they were, complete with a handpainted sign, displaying the Acadian flag. That’s the “Stella Maris” there on the pale blue background.

In the 19th Century, technology began to catch up with human ambition. And one of the ambitions was to make a short-cut across the Chignecto isthmus between the Strait of Northumberland and the Bay of Fundy so that ships would save days of sailing time and all the risks of circumnavigating the Canso Strait.

Someone had the idea of building a ship railway, where ships would sail into a canal and then be loaded onto railway trucks in order to be transported to the other side of the isthmus.

chignecto ship railway canal nova scotia canadaBut just as technology made this a feasible proposition, making larger ships became more feasible too and the ship railway was overwhelmed by events.

Work had actually begun but was soon abandoned. Nevertheless there still remains considerable evidence of the earthworks and I managed to track them down too. This would have been quite an impressive achievement had it been completed, judging by what remains.

nova scotia nouvelle ecosse canadaWhenever I see this sign, I always end up laughing, even though I know that I shouldn’t. Coming from an oppressed minority myself, I can understand the feelings that minorities have about defending themselves and their cultures. But this sign is the kind of thing that brings this policy into disrepute.

I often ask about this sign – what’s the purpose of the “Nouvelle Ecosse”?. I’m always told that Canada has a policy of bilingualism (except in Quebec where their Anglophone minority is oppressed much more than the French minority ever was, but that’s another issue) and so every public sign in English has to be translated into French.

And I always wish that I had a camera handy to photograph their faces when I explain to them that “Nova Scotia” is Latin, not English, and so under the terms of the bilingual policy, there needs to be an English translation.

railway port elgin pivoting bridge new brunswick canadaI’m now in Port Elgin just down the road.

Port Elgin is famous for its hand-cranked (so much for modern technology in the 1890s) pivoting railway bridge that moved so that ships could enter the harbour here.

Just on the edge of the town is not darkness but a motel, and next to the motel are the remains of Fort Gaspereaux. This is where i’ll be staying the night (the motel, not the remains of the fort).

There’s also the Confederation Bridge, the world’s longest bridge across iced-up waters. I saw that in 2003 but taking a photo of that with a compact digital was … errr … interesting so I’m going to do it again.

I hope that it’s still standing – I don’t seem to have much luck with bridges over iced-up waters – and that will be effectively my tourism over. It’s all downhill from here.