Tag Archives: paradise river

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 – ALL OF THE …

repointed wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… scaffolding has gone from the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I noticed today.

It looks as if all of the repointing of the wall has now finished, they’ve dismantled the scaffolding, picked up their tools and, as Longfellow once wrote, “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away.”.

As for the quality of the work, they’ve mixed the mortar too dry by the looks of things. It won’t percolate into the stone and so will eventually solidify and drop out and they’ll have to do it all over again.

christmas market place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021You are probably thinking that that means that I can now take the short cut and go down the steps to the street.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Christmas market is in full swing down there and the whole area is cordoned off. There’s just one entrance and that’s at street level, where there’s a security guard checking Covid passports.

As I type out these notes I’m actually supposed to be down there. A group has been in touch with me about doing a live show for my radio programme and they are playing there tonight.

But if anyone thinks that I’m standing outside in a bitter wind for 2 hours with a temperature of minus 1°C they are mistaken.

And it was freezing this morning too. Winter has come with quite a bang just now. I was freezing when I awoke – at 06:45, about 45 minutes before the alarm went off.

At least I managed to leap out of bed with alacrity (and you all thought that I slept on my own) and dress rather hurriedly before I froze to death.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After the medication I came in here to check my mails and messages, and then went back into Ice Station Zebra to make the bread for this coming week now that I’ve finished off the bread that I’d brought back from Leuven.

Another 500 grammes of flour, a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and this time I remembered the Vitamin C tablet too. It all went together really well and kneaded up quite nicely.

It went into the oven and 75 minutes later I had a beautiful, soft loaf of bread with a nice even texture. One of the best that I’ve made so far. My bread-making technique is improving, so it seems.

While I was at it, I cleaned, diced and blanched the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought on Monday. They are waiting for some room to be made in the freezer so I can file them away for future use.

One thing that I needed to do was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I’d been invited out again for a meal with some people whom I knew. I went off and turned up at this restaurant. I didn’t know these people all that well. There were 2 of them, a guy and a woman who weren’t a couple. We were having a chat and at that moment another girl came down to join us. She was a young girl and dressed so simply but really well, really beautifully that it took my breath away. I made a few complimentary remarks and she blushed I suppose, and sat down. They asked about when the others would turn up. I had heard that someone I used to know and his wife and daughter (who was actually Zero) were coming but they had to go to the dentist’s first so they may not make it depending on what had happened at the dentists, which was going to be something of a shame. They were asking “should be order?”. I replied “no. We’ll have to wait until everyone else turns up and we’ll have to order together, I suppose. That seems to be the normal way of doing things”. However, I did have another reason for not wanting to start until everyone (well, at least one person) was present.

At some point during the night I was walking around the fish docks at some fishing port in the UK. I was doing something at one end of the port where there were a few fishing boats at anchor but I had to walk round the other side of the port where everyone was and that was where you could really smell the fish. Then I had to walk all the way back again but I can’t remember why and I can’t remember what was happening about it all.

As I was off to the physiotherapist this afternoon I needed a shower so I had to wait until the oven had finished backing as I needed the heater in the bathroom. And as a result of everything I ended up having a very late lunch.

freezing fog port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to brave the freezing conditions and head up to the physiotherapist.

And you can see how cold it is by looking out beyond the outer harbour into the bay. You can see a layer of freezing fog that’s obscuring the view of the Pointe de Carolles.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked round the corner to the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And although it’s only 14:45 the sun is pretty low in the sky as well, as you can tell. It’s not the kind of weather to be out unless you have to.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But talking of being out, the port was quite empty of fishing vessels.

They all must be out at sea this afternoon, except for Jade III that is doing something exciting, having reversed up to the wharf by the fish processing plant. Unfortunately, I can’t see what she’s up to.

There wasn’t much else of any excitement going on around the town so I had a slow, weary trudge up to the physiotherapist. For some unknown reason I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit.

At the physiotherapist she put me on the cross trainer for five minutes and then we did some kinetic exercises, finishing off with 5 minutes on the tilting platform. The exercises that I had to do on there were agonising but I suppose that if it hurts men it’s doing me some good – except that it’s hurting me in places where I have no problems and not where I have the issues.

It was a very weary and painful me who staggered into the street when my half-hour was up. And also a very destitute one because it’s the year-end and I had to pay her.

Outdoor Market Place General De Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way back I noticed that we had a little mini-outdoor market going on in the Place General de Gaulle.

It usually takes place on Saturday of course and that’s Christmas Day so it looks to me as if they have brought it (or, at least, part of it because there aren’t all that many stalls there) forward to today.

There weren’t all that many people there this afternoon which is really no surprise in this weather, and I felt really sorry for the stallholders who are obliged to stand outside without any real form of shelter from the cold and the wind.

Spirit Of Conrad Aztec Lady Anakena charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My weary trudge continued on up the hill towards home. However I stopped to have a look at the charter boats in the port.

On the left is of course our old friend Spirit of Conrad in which we sailed down the Brittany coast in the summer of 2019. To her right is Aztec Lady who has now been liberated from her stay in the chantier naval.

The large blue boat to her right is Anakena, the big boat that is planning to sail up the Norwegian coast next summer if conditions allow, and alongside her under a tarpaulin is CHarles Marie. She doesn’t look as if she’s going anywhere any time soon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It goes without saying that before I can go in, I have to go for a look at the beach.

And to my surprise there was someone taking a long, solitary walk out towards the water’s edge. all alone down there without another soul around him (or her). That was a lonely stroll.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had work to do. Someone at the University of Newfoundland is writing a thesis on Paradise River, a settlement of sorts on the Labrador Coast. I’ve visited it on several occasions and have dozens of photographs of the area.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … he’s written to me and asked me if he may use some of my photos to illustrate his thesis. So we agreed a trade – I’ll send him some photographs and he’ll send me a copy of his thesis to add to my pile of Labrador literature.

Consequently I had to sort back through my photos for September 2014 and September 2017 to dig out some good ones for him.

Tea was taco rolls with the leftover stuffing, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And now, as it’s cold and I’m cold, I’m off to warm myself up in bed.

Tomorrow I have to tidy up in my bedroom as I have someone coming round on Friday to record something or other for the radio so the place needs to look as if it’s habitable.

Tuesday12th September 2017 – I’M IN GOOSE …

bed labrador canada september septembre 2017… Bay right now, and this bed-and-breakfast is far too posh for me. Even the spare toilet rolls in the bathroom have little hats on.

But then I shouldn’t even be here. I should have been staying somewhere else but according to mine host here, the guy whom I’m looking for is “out of town” and that’s a huge disappointment.

It means that yet another one of my projects has tombé à l’eau, as they say back home in France.

Last night, I had another disturbed night’s sleep – maybe crashing out for an hour or two in the afternoon yesterday didn’t help. But it took ages to go off to sleep, and I was tossing and turning all night.

But I was on my travels too. Back running my business and it was a Saturday morning, really quiet, and so I wandered away. I ended up at a house ful of people who were visiting someone who was quite ill.People were being let in to see this person two at a time, and there was a lot of noise coming from that room. Eventually it was my turn, and found that the sick person was another former friend of mine. She had a puppy with her – apparently her cat had died. She wasn’t interested in talking much about anything serious – just chatting about nothing. I asked her why her house was surrounded by scaffolding and she gave me a weird look. The other person there said that the house was a wreck and falling down, and this was apparent, although the house wasn’t as bad as the one next door.
Somewhere along the line I was in my bedroom when I noticed a young rat in there. That filled me with dismay.

cartwight experience labrador canada september septembre 2017After breakfast, I set out to tidy up my living accommodation, and that took me longer than i intended too.

And then I had to take it all out and load it into Strider. Luckily I’d tidied him out the other dayso that didn’t take too long.

I could also take a photo of the caravan too. Expensive, but it was the only thing available and I was quite comfortable in there.

cartwright experience labrador canada september septembre 2017And so I went to cash up, and it wasn’t quite as painful as I was expecting. But then again, to do things like this you need to bite the bullet.

It also gave me an opportunity for Strawberry Moose and me to say goodbye to our crew.

Nothing had been too much trouble for them. I was made very welcome and I’ll be delighted to go back and carry out a further exploration.

labrador canada september septembre 2017The road into Cartwright the other day was beautiful and well-worth a photograph. But with it being late afternoon, I had the sun in my eyes to the west.

Not so this morning though. I have the sun at my back and the view is even better.

That’s Main Tickle over there again, I reckon.

muddy bay labrador canada september septembre 2017Somewhere down there, I reckon, is Muddy Bay where the orphanage was.

It’s impossible, apparently, to go there by road and so we were obliged to go by boat the other day.

But the weather was nothing like as good as it is today and so the photography wasn’t as good as it might have been,
and that was disappointing.

paradise river labrador canada september septembre 2017At a certain point the Métis Trail goes over the brown of a hill and just for a brief moment there’s a view in the distance of what I reckon might be Paradise River.

You can see why Cartwright gave it its name, can’t you?

This new zoom lens that I have bought is doing really well and while it’s not as sharp as I like, it’s producing the goods fair enough.

native living paradise river labrador canada september septembre 2017Cartwright wasn’t clearly the only one who considered it to be Paradise.

It looks as if a native Canadian has chosen this spot for his homestead and, honestly, who can blame him?

It’s the kind of place where most of us would like to settle if we have the chance – and I’ll show you my preferred spot in due course.

labrador city 813 kilometres canada september septembre 2017This is one of the places where we always stop to take a photograph as we drive by – it’s where the Métis Trail rejoins the Labrador Coastal Drive.

It’s the first place where Labrador City appears on the signs – only 813 kilometres away – and it’s only another 500 or so kilometres from there to the North Shore of the St Lawrence and Highway 138.

And I’m not going to be there for a good while yet.

rest area labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Although this is one of my favourite spots on the Labrador Coastal Drive, this isn’t my ideal place – at least, from a personal point of view.

But with a stretch of 414 kilometres without fuel and any kind of facilities whatsoever, this would be the ideal spot for a couple of fuel pumps, a small motel, a little food shop and coffee bar.

But of course they won’t let me in live permanently in Canada, will they?

police interaction lorry labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Around here on the dirt road the speed limit is 70kph. And although I was doing … err … about 70 kph I was passed by a lorry as if I were standing still.

A few kilometres further on, there he was on the side of the road, receiving the care and attention of the local Highway Enforcement Office, a member of which was busily writing out a ticket.

It’s the first time EVER that I’ve seen Highway Enforcement out here, and if anything is a sign that times, they are a’changing, then this is it.

highway labour camp labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Somewhere hidden in those trees is another sign of the times – a Highway Labour Camp.

And they need it too because the road – bad when it was new in 2010 – was even worse in 2014, worse still in 2015 and absolutely disgraceful this year.

They can’t let it disintegrate much more than this, surely?

arctic meadows labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017One of the main arguments put forward about the veracity of the Norse sagas of Vinland concerns the cattle.

The Norse are said to have brought cattle with them, and how they had them grazing in the meadows. This is dismissed as fantasy by the critics.

But there certainly are peri-Arctic meadows in this region – dozens of them in fact, and from what I have seen there are more and more of them developing as the forests are cleared, whether by fire or other means.

labrador canada september septembre 2017Another thing that there are plenty of are eskers. These are like sand ridges and stretch for miles.

But they aren’t brought by rivers but by glaciers. The stones caught up in the glaciers rub against each other and are slowly reduced to sand.

When the glaciers recede, the sand is dumped along where the edges of the glaciers would have been, and they are spectacular where roads have been cut through them.

myI mentioned earlier where my ideal spot in Labrador would be.

If I could settle here, I would be extremely happy. But also extremely isolated too because it’s miles from anywhere.

Situated at N52° 52′ 30″ and W58° 19’52” in fact.

peri-arctic meadow labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017You can see what I mean about these peri-Arctic meadows. They are all over the place these days.

And assuming that the climate was kinder in the 11th Century – in the middle of the “Medieval Warm” period, there would have been many more too.

Bringing cattle here would not have been any problem whatever, especially if the cattle had been used to life in Greenland.

valard eagle camp labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017There’s another enormous work camp here at the side of the road.

We’re currently up on the Eagle Plateau and so it’s called, rather imaginatively, “Eagle Camp”.

I thought at first that it was something to do with Highway maintenance, but closer inspection revealed that it’s all “Valard” – the company that is constructing the electricity transmission cables across Labrador.

labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Mind you, the highway DOES need attention. It was resurfaced with loose gravel in 2015 and it’s already been ripped to pieces.

At one point I hit a hidden dip, the rear end of Strider lifted off the road and I was going sideways heading for the drop off the verge.

We had an exciting couple of seconds (which seemed like a couple of hours) as I wrestled for control of the vehicle. But we are still here.

clouds of dust labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017I mean – you can see what the labrador Coastal Drive looks like simply by glancing in the rear-view mirror of Strider.

At this point we have loose gravel being thrown about everywhere and clouds – and I do mean clouds – of dust thrown up behind us.

No wonder that you spend so much time fighting for traction if you are thrown off course by the lumps and potholes.

But at least it’s not like the time in the Utah Desert where the trail was so rough that I was travelling slowly and the wind was so strong and in the wrong direction that I had the unnerving experience of being overtaken by my own dust-cloud.

asphalt highway labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017But oh! Wait a minute! Look at this!

When we were here in 2015 we noticed that the asphalting of the highway had started – but had come to a sudden stop with patches of gravel road in between.

But now, the asphalting has extended far beyond where it was back then. There’s the sign telling you to prepare for the gravel road, and there’s the guy cleaning off the edges of the road.

Another 5 years and it will be asphalt all the way.

labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017But despite how good the road might be, there are still challenges to face, such as the incessant climbs and descents.

We’re travelling from south-east to north-west and all of the river valleys around here are going from south-west to north-east.

You can see over there the line on the right – that’s the road back up the other side of this valley. On the left is the track of the Valard cable from Muskrat Falls.

churchill river labrador canada september septembre 2017But here is the final descent for now. That’s the valley of the Churchill River, and to the right are the towns of Happy Valley and Goose Bay.

That’s not quite my destination for tonight though – I’m driving on to North-West River where I have things to do.

But I’ll leave you here to admire the beautiful scenery.

muskrat falls protesters labrador canada september septembre 2017But a little further on is the entrance to the controversial Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project.

And opposite is the camp of the protestors. Not quite as big as the Faslane camp, but it’s limited by law, and here all the same.

I’m not going into the rights and wrongs of the project, because everyone has his or her own opinion about it, but it’s one of these things where, from my own point of view, the environmental and cultural objections outweigh the profit considerations.

But then again, as I keep on saying, I don’t have to live here

churchill river labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017But leaving aside Muskrat Falls for the moment, I clatter across the metal bridge over the Churchill River.

It’s been known by several other names, such as the Grand River (which it certainly is) and the Hamilton River, but it was renamed the “Churchill” upon the death of Sir Winston.

But whatever name it might have, it’s certainly the most famous river in the whole of Labrador,and probably the most important too.

goose bay labrador canada september septembre 2017As usual these days, arriving in Happy Valley, I find a different dirt road heading east and follow it all the way that I can.

And on this particular road, I can’t go any further. But it certainly brings me to a spectacular view over Goose bay and the head of the Hamilton Inlet.

It’s very easy to picture the scene as the first European explorers – maybe Louis Fornel the fur trader or maybe John Davis of the Davis Straits – or maybe even the Norse explorers – made landfall here.

birch lane farm happy valley labrador canada september septembre 2017But hats off to this guy here at Birch Lane Farm. It’s not everyone who would attempt commercial farming in a place like this.

But he seems to have plenty of crops and a good growth of hay, so it looks as if he can make a good go of it.

It totally undermines the opinions that people have about the “Frozen North” – just as it did when I saw the shipping container marked “Alaskan Agriculture”.

fairlane terrington harbour goose bay labrador canada september septembre 2017A quick call in to the port here at Terrington Basin in Goose Bay to see who’s about.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a “Ship of the Day” and we strike it lucky here. We have the heavy load carrier Fairlane who left Shanghai on 12th July and came here via the Suez Canal.

That’s a long way to come for any ship and it makes me wonder what it was that she was bringing in.

At North West River we hit a temporary setback. My contact isn’t answering his telephone so that rules out my accommodation and my project for tomorrow, which is a disaster.

Not only that, the B&B in the town is fully-booked up.

The motel has a room, but it requires me to drive all the way back to Goose Bay to pick up the key as the unit here is unstaffed. And the girl at reception is particularly unhelpful.

So badger that for a gale of soldiers. A quick telephone call (thanks, Josée for the ‘phone) conjures up a bed in a B&B in Happy Valley, at a price rather less than the motel. I can do that so I cancel the motel room.

bed and breakfast goose bay happy valley labrador canada september septembre 2017But it’s frightfully posh in here – way out of my league. The spare toilet rolls in the bathroom have hats on.

I’m more used to the kind of place where you can “spit on the deck and call the cat a b@$t@rd” as you know, but beggars can’t be choosers, not by any stretch of the imagination

At least I can use the microwave here, so it’s beans, sausages and spuds for tea. And then an early night.

I’m whacked!

Sunday 10th September 2017 – HAVING FALLEN …

… asleep listening to the radio yet again, I stayed asleep until about 05:30 and remember very little – including where I went to during the night. I know that I went somewhere though – but not quite where.

Something did disturb me though – I’m sure that I heard the siren of a large ship. It might have been Northern Ranger on her way to Black Tickle – if so, I’ll see her when she comes back later. (In fact that was her return trip – she’d gone out on Saturday).

It looks as if it might be a nice day for later, so I enjoyed the sunlight while eating my porridge.

But it didn’t though. Apparently there was a howling gale blowing outside and small boats weren’t leaving the harbour. That put paid to the whole reason why I’m here.

Just 10 kms away across the mouth of Sandwich Bay is a huge stretch of white sand – the Porcupine Strand. Having studied the Norse Sagas of Vinland and also having studied several maps, my theory is that these sands are excellent candidates for the Furdustrandir – the magnificent white beach that they saw on their travels.

It’s long been my ambition to go there, and this was the plan. But, unfortunately, not today. And I am as malade as a perroquet, as a French footballer might say.

But it can’t be helped, and there are plenty of things to see here in Cartwright – not the least of which being to spend more time sorting out the back of Strider which has once more become totally disturbed after all of the roads that we have driven over just recently.

cemetery cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017First place to visit is the cemetery. In there is buried Garnett Lethbridge. He died in in the influenza epidemic of November 1918.

His claim to fame is that he encountered a certain young Clarence Birdseye who was trying to run a fur farm out at Muddy Bay. Lethbrodge showed Birdseye a technique that he knew about the rapid freezing of food which was practised here.

Birdseye made copious notes and when his fur farm failed, went back south and commercialised the technique, making millions.

But Lethbridge received an unmarked, pauper’s grave here in the Cartwright cemetery, along with dozens of others who perished in the epidemic.

john hamel elizabeth hamel cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Not all influenza victims are buried in unmarked graves though.

I have no evidence to suggest that John and Elizabeth Hamel were victims of the influenza outbreak but their ages (31 and 23) and dates of death (10th and 14th November 1918) are certainly suggestive.

These seem to be the only headstones from that period.

monument to george cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Pride of place – if that’s the correct turn of phrase to use – in the cemetery must go to this monument.

George Cartwright was the founder of the town in the late 18th Century and it is thanks to him that the area developed.

He’s not buried in there but back in the UK but nevertheless his niece thought it important that some kind of monument should be set up in the town to commemorate his exploits.

john lethbrodge cartwright cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017Famous names there are a-plenty in the cemetery, but none more famous than John Lethbridge there on the right. He’s much better associated with the town of Paradise River, being one of the first Europeans to settle there.

He was a tinsmith from Devon and when a salmon-canning plant was opened at Paradise River, he was recruited by the Pinson and Noble and later the Hunt and Henley companies to work in the canning factories.

He married a Metisse girl (half Welsh, half Iroquois-Micmak) and all of the (numerous) Lethbridges and many other families can trace their ancestry back to him.

When the Hudsons Bay Company took over Hunt and Henley in 1873 and closed down the canning plant, Lethbridge was so bitter that he refused to have any dealings with them.

And on his deathbed ordered that all of his possessions, including his boat, should be burnt so as not to fall into the hands of the company, much to the chagrin of his son who had travelled 40 miles on foot to rescue them..

helicopter taking load out cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017While I was up at the cemetery, my musings were interrupted by this manoeuvre.

Seeing a helicopter take off is not an unusual sight, but seeing one take off with a load slung underneath it is an unusual sight for someone from the less-isolated parts of the world.

It’s an expensive way of transporting goods, to be sure,

cartwright caribou castle labrador canada september septembre 2017We mentioned George Cartwright just now.

That huge rock there, Caribou Rock, marks the limit of Cartwright’s concession of land, and it was just there that he had his home, which he named “Caribou Castle”.

Nothing remains now, unfortunately, and there’s not even a sign to tell you about the place.

fequet's store cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017One of the big rivals to the Hudson’s Bay Company in the area was the company known as Fequet’s.

According to the sign on their premises they’ve been going since 1800 but that was in various outstations around Sandwich Bay. They came to Cartwright in 1918 but they aren’t going any more.

The place is closed down, locked up and up for sale – the end of yet another epoch in history.

flagstaff hill cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Returning to our explorations, A trip out of the back of town brings me to Flagstaff Hill, and you can see why it earns its name.

And the painted stones to mark the footpath are painted in the colours of Labrador. We have blue for the water, green for the forest and white for the snow, all of which there is plenty in Labrador.

The Labrador flag consists of all three colours in horizontal bands, with a green twig with three branches to represent the three communities – Innu, Inuit and European.

cannons flagstaff hill cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017We’e back to George Cartwright again, aren’t we?

He made his fortune here in Sandwich Bay but before he could cash in on his profits the bay was raided by American privateers and, quite naturally, he was the target.

He lost almost everything and, as a result, he arranged for two cannon to be installed up here to guard the entrance to the bay

cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017The view from up here is tremendous and you can see why Cartwright chose this area to be his headquarters.

The bay is deep and sheltered by a couple of large islands that protect it from the fury of the onshore winds.

And if the wind up here just now is anything to go by, I can fully appreciate why we didn’t go to sea today in an open boat because it’s devastating even here.

cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Over there on the left of the image, thanks to the zoom lens, is the former settlement and now summer fishing station of Main Tickle – a ‘Tickle” being a sheltered stretch of water.

And way, way behind it to the right and in the far distance are the Porcupine Strands – the Furdustrandir in my opinion, where we should have gone today had the weather been any better.

But unless something dramatic happens, then this is a close to them as I am going to be, I reckon. We need good weather and the right tide and we don’t have either right now.

cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017But not to be outdone – the guy here needs to go out to Muddy Bay up the coast so I seize the opportunity to tag along for the ride.

It’s quite sheltered all the way up there, although you might not think so from looking at the photograph, and so equipped with flotation jackets and sea gear and all of that, off we set.

I feel like,Captain Birds Eye dressed like this, but where I’m going to find him I truly have no idea.

muddy bay cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017Muddy Bay was another thriving little settlement along the coast and even at one time had its own trading post (which might have been a “Fequet’s”).

But the Resettlement Programme cleared it out and the inhabitants were moved out to Cartwright.

There are still a few cabins here, but these are used as summer fishing cabins. No salmon, and no cod either. Restrictions are so tight on the quantities of these that can be taken. Today it’s mainly trout.

muddy bay cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017But my interest in Muddy Bay is much more bizarre than that.

After the Influenza epidemic, Sandwich Bay was left with a pile of orphan children who had lost both their parents. An orphanage was built for them here at Muddy Bay

That concrete wall over there behind the cabin is all that remains of the orphanage today. Like most places in North America, it burnt down.

cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017And so after circling around the bay and nearly being sunk by a minke whale that surfaced just by our boat (and I didn’t have the camera ready) we head back into Cartwright.

I may not have been to the Furdustrandir but I’ve done all that I can do about it – no-one can arrange the weather – and I’ve been able to see at least something on my list that is inaccessible by road.

A mug of coffee to warm me up and then more baked potato, vegan sausages and the rest of the beans for tea.

Not to mention a little “rest” for ten minutes or so. I’ve had a hard day today.

Now it’s bed-time. Tomorrow is another day and we’ll see what that has in store for me.

Saturday 9th September 2017 – I AWOKE WITH …

… a start this morning when the alarm went off – to such an extent that reaching out for the telephone I knocked everything onto the floor. And that made more noise than the alarm did.

I can see me being really popular at breakfast later.

But at least it shows you just how comfortable my bed is. That really was a good night.

During the night I’d been on my travels too but don’t ask me where too. Waking up like that, it had all gone completely out of my head … “well, not that there’s much to stop it, is there?” – ed.

For breakfast I sampled the local delights. Partridgeberry jam and cloudberry (bakeapple) jam. Bakeapple jam is apparently the thing out here and people go wild for it, with the berries fetching as much as $80 per gallon due to their scarcity and the very short growing season. But to me, the jam tasted of cheese and I much preferred the partridgeberry jam.

My landlady tells me that she is half M’iqmak on her father’s side and also on her mother’s side too. And that the precious metals prospectors who I met here in 2014 did actually find enough to make exploitation a profitable enterprise, but they can’t raise the capital to start – something that totally surprised me.

port hope simpson labrador canada september septembre 2017After breakfast I did some work on the laptop and then I went off to explore the village.

I’ve been past here on the main road on several occasions as you know, but I’ve only ever stopped for petrol at the garage up on top of the hill.

I’ve never ever taken the time to come off the road and go for a look around.

port hope simpson labrador canada september septembre 2017I was surprised at just how big the town is. There may not be a great number of people living here but it certainly covers a lot of ground.

Down there is the fuel oil store for the harbour and, presumably, the residents.

I hadn’t realised that the harbour was so far out of town – in the opposite direction to the main road.

harbour port hope simpson labrador canada september septembre 2017I drove right the way through the town (and that took a while as I said) and to the quayside.

And at the quayside I fell in with a couple of locals. They told me much of what I needed to know.

Most importantly, this is indeed the quayside where the coastal boats used to tie up and also where the commercial boats used to tie up.

port hope simpson labrador canada september septembre 2017And coastal boats-a-plenty used to come here in the olden days.

Port Hope Simpson is a comparatively modern town and, surprisingly, it wasn’t due to the Resettlement programme but for commercial considerations.

Just like many towns that we have visited in Quebec in the past, Port Hope Simpson was founded as a lumber town, with the aim of exploiting the natural resources of the area.

port hope simpson labrador canada september septembre 2017A survey in the 1930s revealed that the area had a huge potential for the exploitation of timber products.

A really impressive deep, natural harbour was an added bonus and so a small town was created to house the workers who came to exploit the forest.

Unfortunately, the timber exploitation did not last as long as it might have done. By 1968 Bowaters had gone but in 1956 the first of the resettlers had arrived

They had come from the community of Kerry Cove which was abandoned. And other resettlers followed on subsequently from other isolated communities.

alexis river port hope simpson labrador canada september septembre 2017Port Hope Simpson is situated on the Alexis River, and it’s certainly one of the most beautiful places to be in the whole of southern Labrador.

And that’s saying something because there are many beautiful places around here as you know. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having visited plenty of them with me in the past

And I might be lucky with the weather too – the sun is doing its best to peek out from behind the clouds. We might even have a nice day.

work crews labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Lucky with the weather we might be – but lucky with the roads – well, I’ll let you decide that. It all depends upon which side of the fence you are sitting.

But you’ll notice that a great deal of work seems to be going on right now on the highway and there are work crews about in many places.

In five years time travelling this road will be a completely different prospect, and I can’t help thinking that this will be a bad idea, although of course this is written from the point of view of someone who doesn’t have to battle with the natural environment 365 days per year.

heavy duty lorries labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017There’s a quarry a little further up the road and they are digging out loads of rock.

And so they have a whole fleet of these huge dump trucks fetching the rocks down to the stone crusher.

Why they can’t move the stone crusher to the quarry is something that bewilders me. That would make far more sense, for the stone would only have to be moved by road once.

time zone change labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017So here we are again, at the time-zone changing point.

I can understand why Newfoundland would have a time zone all of its own (but not one of 3 hours and 30 minutes) but I could never understand why only part of the mainland – and a small part of that – followed Newfoundland time and not Atlantic time.

That was how come I had MY FERRY ISSUES IN 2010 – because I hadn’t realised this.

Mind you – in a couple of years time there will be a sign up at Dover “You are entering the United Kingdom. Adjust your clock by subtracting 150 years”.

paradise river eastern arm labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017After a while we cross the Paradise River Eastern Arm – something which implies that there’s a western arm somewhere.

I would have expected it to have been flowing towards the sea, which is to the east, but in fact it’s flowing to the west i.e. inland, and that’s something that causes more than a little confusion.

I suppose that it goes in a great big loop round inland and then doubles back on itself and into Sandwich Bay.

metis trail labrador canada september septembre 2017After lunch, which I take at the Transport Department’s snowplough store and where I’m attacked by a swarm of blackfly, I turn off onto the Metis Trail and Cartwright.

There’s a few things that I need to do at Paradise River, and then I’m going to Cartwright.

I’ve not been to Cartwright since MY JOURNEY IN 2010 my journey in 2010 and I have an outstanding project to attend to there too, about which you’ll discover as you read on.

metis trail labrador canada september septembre 2017When the sun comes out from behind a cloud the view is really nice here.

It’s not quite lighting up the mountains as much as I would like or as much as we have seen in the past, but that can’t be helped I suppose. It’s still beautiful.

And I’m lucky that I made it here at all given my health issues.

According to a Pilots’ Handbook that I downloaded from the internet (and I make no apologies for the spelling) –

paradise river airport labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017“There is important and usefull airport in Paradise River. It is important for people and goverment of Canada.
Paradise River Aerodrome is the most important airport of Paradise River, Newfoundland And Labrador, Canada.
It is modern and one of the largest airport of the North America. Paradise River Aerodrome is important for people and goverment of Canada.”

What more can anyone say?

Happy landing

paradise river labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Down to our usual spot right at the end of the road to see what’s happening.

According to legend, the entrepreneur George Cartwright was one of the first Europeans to come here and when he arrived, on 27th June 1775, he was so captivated by its beauty that he gave it its name.

And you can understand that, can’t you?

paradise river labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Paradise River was one of the largest settlements in this area, and certainly the largest in Sandwich Bay, but it was devastated by the Spanish Influenza outbreak of November 1918.

The Reverend Gordon, minister at Cartwright, wrote in 1918 that “Paradise (River), once the largest settlement in the Bay, is a veritable city of the dead”

Today, just a handful of families cling on, although there are several summer fishing cabins.

paradise river cemetery labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017One of the reasons for visiting the place again was to look for the cemetery to see the victims of the Influenza epidemic and to see if anyone from the 1945 census was in here

The cemetery took some finding and I had to rely on a very vocal local yokel to point me in the right direction.

Here lie Maud and Robert Mesher (Mesher is one of the “big” names of this region) who, according to the census, had 6 children in 1945.

The cemetery, despite being really overgrown and quasi-abandoned, is quite modern. And despite a great amount of searching I couldn’t find an older one.

Subsequent enquiries revealed that it’s across on the other side of the river and there’s no way of crossing if you don’t happen to have a boat handy.

cartwright labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Next stop – in fact the end of the road – is the town of Cartwright. And while I was taking this photograph, a funny thing happened.

Malcolm the Mountie and a friend pulled up alongside me.
“Have you come from the Highway?”
“As a matter of fact I have”
“Did you see anyone walking along the road just now?”
As it happened, I did, and so the Mountie asked me to describe him – and so I did.
The Mountie broke out into a big, beaming smile, shook my hand (he really did, too!), leapt back into his pickup (I was rather disappointed that he didn’t have a komatic) and shot off down the road towards the highway.

Cartwright is looking sadder and more derelict than I remembered, which is a shame, and I noticed something straight away as I entered town that filled me with foreboding – the big hotel has gone, and the petrol station opposite has closed down.

Like most things in Canada, the hotel has been the victim of a fire – in 2011 so I was told, and the petrol station, run by the same owners, closed down when the owners moved away.

There’s another motel in town right on the docks – where I stayed last time that I was here – but doors wide open, stuff lying around, and as deserted as the Marie Celeste. The girl in the supermarket tracked down the owner and told me to go back and wait.

Eventually, after quite a while, she turned up. But she needn’t have bothered. She could have told the girl on the telephone that the motel was fully-booked. And with Cartwright now being abandoned and off the beaten track since the new road has been built, there’s no-one else in town offering accommodation.

So that was me snookered.

But not quite.

There’s a place across the bay that does these tailor-made adventure tours and they have some kind of accommodation over there. This is, would you believe, the place that I’m looking for anyway and so I went hot-foot over there.

cartwright labrador canada september septembre 2017So now I’m installed at an astonishing price in a caravan on the site of this adventure tour place, across the bay from the town.

It’s dark outside and rhe view across the bay to the town is quite spectacular.

As for me, I eating baked potatoes, beans and vegan sausages (at least the kitchen is worth something) and tomorrow I might have some good news, depending on the weather.

Right now though, I’m off to bed.

Tuesday 22nd November 2016 – NOW HERE’S A THING

I’m trying to think (which I know is difficult) whether I’ve been out today.

And actually, I have. Twice. Once to Caliburn to fetch some cheese for lunch and again to forget a bag of trail mix that I had forgotten.

And that’s my lot.

Last night It took me ages to drop off to sleep and I don’t know why, because I was fairly tired. But once I was asleep I stayed asleep and didn’t move at all until the alarm went off.

I’d been on my travels too during the night – off to Labrador where I’d been fishing and generally living off the land, and looking after a couple of young boys although I don’t know why that was either.

It was something of a struggle to wake up this morning and although I was alone in the breakfast room, someone had already been and gone by the looks of things.

Back upstairs, I tidied up all of my notes for the Paradise River in Labrador that we visited in September 2014 and then came down here for the comfortable settee where I attacked the web page that I’m writing about it, seeing that the internet has been behaving itself (but not so the noxious brat).

We’re up to a mere 4,157 words – a meagre 38 kilobytes of data (that’s without the embedded files) and it’s not possible to shorten it either and keep the story of the tragedy of the settlement that nature and Joey Smallwood managed to see off.

But it will be on line soon, and you’ll get to read it in all its gory … "and you don’t mean “glory” either" – ed … detail.

So now I’m off to have a shower, make my evening butty and then go for an early night. I have an early start and a long way to drive tomorrow. So I need all the sleep that I can get.

Sunday 20th November 2016 – I’VE HAD …

… a better day today.

Mind you, having been deep in the depths of despair yesterday, almost anything would have been a better day.

What helped matters greatly was that I had a really good sleep. In bed early and straight to sleep too. With a brief awakening to switch off the radio, I slept right through until 06:30 without a single interruption at all.

I managed a shower of sorts too, getting half of the water all over the floor as you might expect, and I washed some undies too. Don’t want to run out of them.

Breakfast starts at 08:00 and I was down there at 07:55 . But the place was locked up and they didn’t open it until 08:05. I was first in too, and first in by a long way too. That’s not like me, is it?

I was also first out too, and I went back upstairs and cracked on with the stuff that I’m writing about Labrador.

By about 10:30 I needed to change tack and start to attack Paradise River in Labrador. I’d found tons of stuff about that before, but it all went when I had that hard drive crash in May 2015 and so I had to start again.

Luckily, the internet was working and, furthermore, it kept on going for almost all of the day. The noxious brat seemed to have been confined to quarters and most people have left too, so I was pretty quiet in the lounge. I accomplished a pile of work and found tons of interesting stuff on the internet too.

c s sugny football vresse sur semois belgium october octobre 2016I’d seen a football ground in the village of Sugny when I’d been on my travels the other day. It is the home of RCS Sugny and looked well-maintained and up-to-date so braving the wind and the driving rain I went out this afternoon to see if there was a match on.

If there’s any football played, it would be played this afternoon, I reckoned. But the ground was closed up and there was no-one about which was a shame, so I turned round and came back the pretty way.

With no-one else about, I carried on working on my Paradise River stuff and that kept me out of mischief.

With having some vegan cheese left, I went off into Vresse sur Semois and organised a pizza at the hotel down there. And quite good it was too. The staff there was very friendly and the customers were quite sociable too. I had quite a good evening down there.

And now back here, and the internet has gone again. Or, rather, it’s there, but there’s a “hidden network” that keeps on appearing, and when that appears, it keeps on pinching all of the limited bandwidth.

That’s a shame, because I was much more like it today and I’ve done tons of stuff quite comfortably on the big sofa in the lounge.

Fix the internet and keep the noxious brat under control and I’d be much happier here.

Monday 29th September 2014 – I HAD A QUIET DAY TODAY.

It was an early start, however, because Darren and Rachel had things to do, places to go and people to see prior to setting off to work and of course they would want to make sure that the house was properly locked up before leaving.

That’s not a problem to me. I went off in search of a car wash as the Dodge was rather dirty.

dodge grand caravan paradise river cartwright labrador coastal drive trans labrador highway canada september 2014I didn’t think to take a photo of it before I washed it, but this is what it was like at Paradise River in Labrador after 500kms of dirt road. There was another 1400kms to travel after this photo so that you can work out for yourselves how the Dodge ended up.

That little search took me to Perth Andover where for just $3:00 I gave the Dodge the works and it looks a little more respectable now.

From there, I found a little spot by the Saint John River to write up my notes and do some work on the laptop before finding a convenient Tim Horton’s by the Trans Canada Highway to upload everything.

pierce graves cemetery church lahue road clearview new brunswick canada september 2014On the way back to Centreville I went for an explore down a couple of old sectors of “Trans Canada 1”, the first go at the Trans-Canada Highway before the road was widened and realigned.

There was a church there in Lahue Road, an old cut-off sector, that caught my eye and so I went for a prowl around the cemetery. It seemed that everyone in there was called Pierce. That’s hardly surprising – these areas were opened up after the resolution of the border issues with the USA in 1847 and it would be quite common for just one pioneer family to open up the first farmstead and as the sons came of age and married, the surrounding forest would be cut down and the area of farming land would expand to provide work and produce for the new families.

remains railway bridge lahue road clearview new brunswick canada september 2014What had caught my eye however were the foundations of an old bridge. There was a railway line up the Saint John valley I remember reading somewhere that it came to grief when the railway bridge was swept away by a huge ice floe.

Of course, I have no evidence to suggest that this might have been it, but I can always make further enquiries at a later date.

And I almost bought a vehicle to day, and I bitterly regret that I didn’t because apart from one small thing, it would have been perfect for me. When I tell you what it costs me to hire a vehicle every time that I come over, you would die of shock, as I regularly do. In the 5 years that I’ve been coming here I could have bought several new ones.

But a local garage owner, whom I know, phoned me to tell me of a vehicle that he had just taken in part exchange. It’s a 2008 GMC Canyon extended-cab pickup, 4-wheel drive with off-road pack, underguards and side fenders and all of this kind of thing, and a 6-foot pickup bed. It would have been mine for something like $6,000 or so, and so I immediately dashed round.

But there’s an issue with these vehicles. A straight-6 engine wouldn’t fit in the wheelbase so they had to chop off a cylinder to make a straight-5, and this causes the oil pump to be off-centre. Consequently, there’s not enough oil reaching one of the end cylinders and so they are notorious for burning out a valve after about 160,000 kms and this manifests itself in a chronic misfire that costs thousands of dollars to fix (it’s a waste of time rebuilding a standard cylinder head and even a bigger waste of time buying a second-hand head).

So Darren started it up and, sure enough, it has a misfire and 167,000 kms on the clock.

You’ve no idea how disappointed I am because this would have been exactly the vehicle that would have done me for all around Labrador and places like this, and with a pop-up camper on the pick-up bed it would have been perfect. Apart from the misfire it was in perfect condition and a credit to its previous owner.

Still, if it’s a suspect vehicle, it’s a suspect vehicle and that is that.

Tuesday 23rd September 2014 – I SPENT LAST NIGHT …

esker lodge bay labrador coastal drive canada september 2014… sleeping in an esker.

I mean, I don’t mean sleeping IN an esker like that arctic explorer and fellow former Nantwich-dweller Jack Hornby and his companion James Critchell Bullock back 90-odd years ago.

They actually burrowed in like rabbits and built themselves a cave. I actually spent the night sleeping in an old quarry that has been formed where a load of sand had been removed from an esker.

And an esker? It’s like a sandbank but has been deposited by a glacier rather than a river or a sea and the whole of northern Labrador is covered in them. This one is about 10 miles north of Lodge Bay.

And I was up even as dawn was breaking, and on my way. It was quite cold and damp and so I needed to warm up the Dodge before I could do much. A good drive for half an hour would sort that out

A sign of the times is how the raffic is on the roads around here. Back in 2010 you could drive for hours and not see another vehicle. Here on Iceberg Alley at the moment, at just 07:20 it’s like the M6. There’s a car coming towards me and there’s a car coming behind me too

st lewis iceberg alley labrador coastal drive canada september 2014At the end of Iceberg Alley is a small town called St Lewis and as I have said before
it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, and this is where I’ve come for breakfast.

But they were quite right about the storm worsening today. I’ve tried to open the door to go out and take a photo but I physically can’t open the door against the wind. I had to turn the Dodge around. And the coffee that I made went down well too. I needed that.

sign next fuel 408 kilometres port hope simpson labrador coastal drive canada september 2014Fuel is also 152.9 cents per litre at Port Hope Simpson so I fuel up again. Not that I desperately need it but as I have said before, you should never pass up a reasonable opportunity to fill up your tank when you are out here

The reason is that it this sign that you are up against in areas like this. And if I’m going to look at Paradise River, something that I overlooked to do in 2010, then I’ll need an extra 100 kms of fuel at least for all of that

paradise river metis trail labrador coastal drive canada september 2014So this is Paradise River. It’s another place that could qualify for one of the most beautiful places on earth.

I can see how it got its name but as for the village itself, there’s no focal point or hint of any urban node – It’s a linear village and just stretches along the road on the shore of the river with a house here, a house there.

It was once a very much larger village but 1918 flu epidemic swept away a good proportion of the inhabitants and others have slowly drifted away. That’s quite evident by empty lots and abandoned property and state of one or two of the houses. Then again, people living in Paradise River would have an 80km round trip to the shops and to get fuel. How isolated is that for a village?

rest area labrador coastal drive canada september 2014There’s an area right by the junction where the road to Cartwright leaves the Labrador Coastal Drive that I’ve had my eye on ever since 2010. It would make a perfect motel, shop, cafe and fuel station.

However, it’s been usurped by the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourist Board as the principal tourist rest area for the trail. It weems that people have indeed been reading my notes but lack the capital to invest in the plot.

Now I’m heading right into the mountains. And the weather is fluctuating like no-one’s business. We’re having bright sunlight, then clouds, then torrential rain, and then back in the sunlight and it’s changing faster than it ever does in the Auvergne.

motorcyclists labrador coastal drive canada september 2014And if you want to kno the meaning of “intrepid”, have a look at this photo. These are two motorcyclists and they’ve come all the way round from Goose Bay, and probably from further round too.

A motorcycle doesn’t have the range to do this leg of the trail and these motorcyclists are stopping to fuel up their bikes out of cans. This is certainly adventurous.

rough road labrador coastal drive canada september 2014This is sample shot of the road where I stopped on one occasion and look how much this road has deteriorated compared to how it was in 2010. And this is far from being the worst part of it either.

It was never ever like this 4 years ago and I’ve no idea what might be in their heads letting the road deteriorate like this in just 4 years. It doesn’t say much for the long-term future of the road if it’s ended up like this.

lunch stop labrador coastal drive canada september 2014This is my lunch stop for this afternoon and isn’t it beautiful? The river doesn’t seem to be carrying a nameplate so I don’t know what it is, but the bridge is dated 2008 if that’s of any use. I could quite happily settle down here in this spot.

And just look at the poor Dodge. It’s looking as if it could do with a really good wash but it isn’t going to have one for a while yet.

labrador coastal drive canada september 2014This is the Valard Construction camp and there are enough mobile homes here to house a thousand people.

It seems that the Muskrat Falls at Goose Bay are to have a hydro-electric dam. The power is going to come this way on pylons and there will be side roads built to service the pylons. The power is togo all the way through to Forteau and then under the sea to Newfoundland and then under the sea again to Cape Breton and then Maine.

Its primary purpose is to provide electricity to the Province, earn revenue by exporting the surplus to Nova Scotia and the USA, and freeing themselves from Quebec Hydro’s oppressive grip.

And there’s talk of asphalting the whole length of this highway – in fact an asphalt plant has already been built.

labrador coastal drive canada september 2014Standing in the middle of the road, acting as if he owned it, which he probably did, is our old friend Mr Moose.

He stood there as if challenging me to a contest but he was no match for Strawberry Moose and so he slowly lumbered out of the way to leave me with a clear path to drive all of the way down to Goose Bay. That was very good of him

north west river labrador coastal drive canada september 2014I didn’t stop in Goose Bay but went right through to North West River, the farthest northern point of the Province that it is feasible to reach by road.

This is a beautiful place to visit, especially in the setting sun. And it really did look this good too.

So now that I’ve accomplished this task, another one that I didn’t do in 2010, I retraced my steps to the docks at Goose Bay and I’ll settle down here for the night. This will do me