And that’s no surprise considering the distance that I’ve travelled today.
This morning after the medication and checking the mails and messages I left my motel in Québec and headed to the library of the Department of Nordic Studies at Laval University to look for a thesis.
Then I went to the site of the battle of Sainte-Foy and then hit the road for Montreal where I spent a couple of days.
Leaving Montreal I went to Kingston in Ontario to see my cousin Sandra, and then crossed the border into the USA.
Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I then drove all the way down to see my friend Rhys in South Carolina.
After spending a few days there, I headed on south so that Strider could tell his friends that he’s been to Georgia and then we went to Myrtle Beach for a few days to rest.
Myrtle Beach brings back some very strange memories because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve BEEN HERE BEFORE on our way back from Rhys’s wedding.
When Alison and I worked at that strange American company, we had a colleague who waxed lyrical about Myrtle Beach and said how wonderful it was, not knowing that I actually knew the place.
So I produced all of my photos from 2005 and she never said another word. In my opinion, the centre of the town is like Rhyl but with sun, as the photos went to show.
After a nice rest in a cheap seaside hotel, I came back all the way up the Outer Banks and I forget how many ferries I took as I kept to the outside. Forget Interstate 95 – the Outer Banks is the way to go north.
Especially with all of the ferries. people have been saying that I’ve been all at sea for years.
We finally hit the mainland at Bridgeport in Connecticut having had that gorgeous sunset going over Long Island Sound, and then STRIDER, STRAWBERRY MOOSE AND I IMITATED JACKSON BROWNE and went “Rollin’ down 295 outta Portland, Maine” (although in my case, I was rollin’ up it).
That song, by the way, was actually recorded on Jackson Browne’s tour bus as it really was rolling down Interstate 295 and you can hear the engine in the background.
However, back to today and we ended up back in New Brunswick, parked up Strider, celebrated Thanksgiving (I think that everyone was giving thanks that I was leaving), caught the bus back to Montreal and the plane back to Belgium and the hospital.
So you can see that I’ve been a very busy boy today and I’ve finished sorting the photos. I’ve even made a start on rewriting the notes.
But my visit to Laval University was interesting.
An author by the name of James Enterline wrote a book arguing that the Norse didn’t actually sail down the Labrador coast on their epic voyage of discovery in 1000AD but instead, went to the west of Cape Chidley and ended up in Ungava Bay.
He quoted at great length from the report of Thomas Lee who had excavated at Pomiok Island in the bay and had found what he (Lee) claimed to be a Norse longhouse.
Lee’s research was funded by the University of Laval on behalf of their Department of Nordic Studies. Unfortunately though, Laval is one of the few Canadian Universities that doesn’t have its theses on-line these days.
So off I went to find Lee’s report and eventually it turned up in a dusty corner where it had sat untouched since the mid-1960s
To my surprise, it contained a note to the effect that Lee had seen Enterline’s arguments and he went to great length in this appendix to dismiss them out-of-hand.
The sad thing about this is that Lee’s style of writing was polemic and contentious to the point of being confrontational, certainly not academic. And presumably as a result, his request for funds to continue his excavations the following year was denied.
And no further excavations has been carried out.
This is the big problem with a lot of incestuous academia. Everyone starts off with all of the best intentions and attacks their work with gusto. They do quite a lot of good research, obtain their Master’s and then go to work in a Bank and that’s your lot. It’s all forgotten.
Meanwhile, in other news, my cleaner came round again this afternoon to try to bring order out of chaos. She told me some bad news about my neighbour who had a very bad fall a couple of weeks ago. It looks as if she’s done herself a permanent mischief. There are people much worse off than me, that’s for sure.
Tea was a half-portion of curry from the freezer with the fridge leftovers, some rice and veg and a naan bread. And I’m eating really well these days, that’s for sure. That was lovely.
And there are some lentils simmering in the slow cooker too ready for my lasagne tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that so it had better be good.
Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was round at some woman’s house and she had a lot of animals living in there, like a zoo. On one particular occasion a tiger took quite a fancy to me but in the wrong kind of sense. I had no intention of being a tiger’s main course meal so in the end I had to chase it away. She locked it outside the room where we were sitting talking. She went out with it and I barricaded the door. There was then a knocking on the door. It was her so I had to unlock it and let her in. another animal tried to come in too so I had to somehow chase it out, close the door again and wedge a sofa up against the door. She asked “if you’re doing all of that how are we going to manage if you have to go to the bathroom?”. I replied ” I couldn’t care less about going to the bathroom. I just want to keep away from these animals”.
Later on I was with someone whom I knew from my time in Stoke on Trent, and not any of the “usual suspect” eithers. We went into a pub in Hanley somewhere. We’d come out of work and there was some kind of discussion about how we never went for a drink any more, basically because there was some kind of atmosphere going on between a group of us and we’d decided that we’d go our separate ways. Talking to him, he said that he’s thinking restarting going to the pub early in the morning before coming into work. I thought that that’s not a particularly good idea. We ended up at the pub and that person whom I mentioned concerning the bad feeling was there playing darts. I couldn’t buy a pint for just the 2 of us, I had to buy one for the 3rd guy. I went to the bar to order while my friend and this lad stayed behind talking. The first thing that I noticed was that the Mild tap had been taken off the bar. I asked about that. The barman told me that they didn’t have any at that moment. I thought that I’d better order two brown ales or something and see what the 3rd guy wants.
Later on, L found myself driving towards Fredericton last night. While I was there I went into the Bulk Barn but I awoke before I remembered what it was that I was going to do there. Bulk Barn shops by the way are very exciting. Anyone who remembers “Weigh and Save” in the UK in the 70s and 80s will know the type of shop but in Canada it’s a huge chain and about 100 times better than Weigh and Save ever was. Of course Canada has a mush more rural population still carrying on the traditions of the 1950s (which I like) so a place like that does really well.
Finally I was doing another taxi job last night. I had to take someone to the hospital but via a medical centre type of place. I arrived and a couple of people helped the guy out. They said that I could leave him there and drive on. I tried to have someone sign the book for the account but no-one would. They all wandered off. In the end I just had to turn round and drive back into traffic.
Tomorrow, I’ll push on with my website stuff. I’ll see how far I get and whether I can actually complete this project without falling by the wayside. Then I have plenty more after that to crack on and finish. I’ve not even finished editing the photos from the High Arctic in 2019 yet and it’s almost 4 years since we set out on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in Aberdeen and alighted, after many misadventures, on the Canada-Alaska border.
High time that I extricated my digit instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself.