… of the day reading.
Browing around in the depths of various on-line libraries I came across a pile of interesting books that I’ve downloaded for future reference.
The first one was by Admiral Sir William Kennedy who when he was a young captain was in command of a vessel that was on fisheries patrol around Newfoundland and Labrador in the second half of the 19th Century.
He goes to great lengths to describe the wretched conditions in which the inhabitants of the Labrador coast were living during this period and ends up by saying
“these poor trampled-down folk, who never see a coin of the realm, are told they are British subjects. It’s an idle mockery … On our visits round the island, we met with sights enough to sicken us, and make us ashamed to think that these poor creatures were British subjects like ourselves.”
There was an account of visits to the Labrador coast by people like Wilfred Grenfell, whose voluntary charity was the only medical service on the Labrador coast until 1974. On his first visit to the colony (because Labrador was a British colony until 1949, not a part of Canada) in 1892 he was shocked
“with the ruling terror of poverty and semi-starvation implied by the conditions then prevailing”
After that, there was the report by the geologist Albert Low who explored much of the interior of Labrador in the 1890s which runs to over 400 pages, and includes such delightful entries as “Notes on weather during previous 24 hours – Sandy Lake 14th June 1894 – Thermometer broken”
However he is much more famous for his maps, which can be best described as “misleading”. He was a geologist, not a geographer, but was the first person to create comprehensive maps of the area that led several people, the most famous being Leonidas Hubbard in 1903, to their deaths in the Wilderness.
In fact I’m reminded of a comment of the guy in Cartwright who runs the petrol station who said that many of the place names recorded on the maps are not the names by which they are known locally by the inhabitants and more than one tourist has come to grief by misunderstanding a place name..
And then several other rather inconsequential 19th-Century books on Labrador which are interesting in what they omit that wasn’t known back then.
The one book that I wanted to find though is unavailable. George Cartwright, after whom the town of Cartwright was named, was a trader who worked the Labrador coast in the 1770s and 1780s until his enterprise was looted by pirates. He kept very comprehensive diaries about his activities and it’s thanks to them that much of the early life out on the Labrador coast and that of the Innu and Inuit is known.
However in 2013 a dramatic discovery was made. When he was back in London in retirement he wrote a series of books about his stay on the Labrador coast and they turned up in the collection of someone in South Africa.
They have passed into the hands of an academic at McGill University who has written a report on their contents and in what can only be described as Incestuous Academia, will make copies available to private researchers for a fee of $115
I spend hours, days, weeks, months, researching stuff and it all goes on-line free gratis and for nothing, and if anyone ever uses one of my Amazon links to buy a product and generate a little commission for me as a reward, I’m absolutely delighted. But I’m obviously doing it wrong.
As, obviously, are everyone else who make their work freely available to anyone and everyone and spread the knowledge pool around.
You’ll probably gather from the foregoing that I’ve not been to the shops today. Stocking up with stuff at Lidl on Friday meant that I didn’t really need anything and if I did, then it’s rather too bad.
It was a horrible night and I don’t think that I had much sleep at all. You want to see the distance that I travelled during the night. There were 3 of us, me, someone else and a young girl going somewhere by sea. We were actually in the water walking, pushing some kind of floating device in front of us and carrying some things on our backs so we had to be very careful. At times it was OK but occasionally we’d go round a headland and have the full force of the wind. I’d always go first and the young girl would come second. When we had to get into the water where there was all this wind, I’d stop to make sure that everyone was in the water and bunched up tight before we set off to walk through the stormy bits. We all had woollen gloves because it was really cold. every time she kept on dropping hers. I would make remarks like “I see that you’ve dropped one” etc. We pushed on against the storm all the time making progress although it didn’t seem as if we were actually accomplishing anything.
There was something else involving battleships. They all had names that they’d inherited from other ships and were allocated several colours. The names were written in that colour and that was the official colour of things on the boat etc. They were used along the south coast to defend the south coast against some kind of attack. They undertook quite a considerable amount of rehearsals and preparation that many people thought was pointless but nevertheless they did them all the same on board the ships just in case.
I can’t remember much about this but I was in a car with a boy I knew from school. It was his birthday. Someone had bought him a tape player. We stopped and he bought a couple of cassettes. We listened to them while we were driving to wherever it was that we were going. We went inside for his birthday. His friends were there. Some girl bought him some more cassettes. later on while we were washing up he was humming a tune. I vaguely recognised it. I asked him if it was a song off one of the albums that he’d bought to play in the car. He said “yes”. There was a discussion about the music. A girl with us thought that we were talking about some that he’d received as a present and wanted to know when we’d been in the car since we’d had them. While I was polishing some really dirty stained glasses he was talking about playing some kind of puzzle that he’d be doing at about 03:00 tomorrow. Everyone was really surprised that he’d be up and about at that time but he seemed to think that it was a fairly normal thing to do.
On the subject of school I was in school, but it was a different school than mine – pretty much the same but modernised and an extension had been built on it. I was on the top floor and had to go down to the ground floor for something. I went downstairs in part of the new building down to the ground floor to do what I had to do. To come back I had to climb up this kind of tower so far. There was a telephone box at the bottom with all kinds of lists in there of courses that were taking place virtually to which you could sign up. I was extremely interested in this even though I was no longer a student. I tried to work out how i could join some of them. I was climbing back up this tower. There was a guy climbing up there too, a student. We were talking. he was saying that we climb the tower so high and then go inside and up the steps. You can’t go to sleep while you’re climbing up. I said “that’s a shame. What if you wanted to?”. we had a joke. It turned out that for some reason or other coaches weren’t allowed to use the tower for radio. He had an exemption because there was something the matter with his connection service so he was allowed to have an aerial on the tower and could use it. We kept on climbing. The extension on this school was really expensive and luxurious. While I was walking through it there was a crowd of people having some kind of lecture on art, all standing around. I had a quick look in there and a quick look in the toilets. It was clear that someone had spent a lot of money on the place. It was never like this when we were students there
Finally there was something else about a blood test someone had had. It was a huge test and they were told to file it away. They said that they hadn’t read it yet. The other me who was there then said “that’s why you have a smaller place where we can file away the documents that we’d read. In order to do that, just read it now and file it away. That way you’ve done everything that you need to .
It’s no wonder that I had a hard time leaving the bed before the second alarm went off, and why I had such difficulty actually doing anything this morning.
My mushroom and potato soup with crusty bread was delicious though. It was the usual onion and garlic fried in olive oil with cumin, coriander, turmeric and chervil. Then the mushrooms were fried in, a couple of small diced potatoes, a stock cube and some water to cover it.
After it had simmered away for half an hour I added some vegan soya yoghurt and whizzed it up. And I’ll do that again.
Tea tonight was a breaded quorn fillet – one of the batch I bought a couple of months ago. And it was really nice too cooked in the air fryer with the chips and a salad on the side
The radio notes are finished so I’ll dictate them before I go to bed.
Here’s hoping that I have a nice lie-in tomorrow because there’s a lot to do. There’s no pizza dough so I’ll have to make some more, and I’m pretty low on biscuits so I’ll have to bake some more tomorrow while I’m at it. I reckon that I’ll go for honey, ginger and oatmeal biscuits tomorrow. They should be delicious.
There is a big pile of digestive biscuits, I know, but I fancy having a go at making another batch anyway and see what that brings me.
One other thing that is going through my mind is to go back to making my own drinks. Since I’ve had the sodastream I’ve stopped doing that because fresh fruit juice with fizzy water is so much nicer, but I ought to make more of an effort. I enjoyed my little drinks production line when I did it before
But I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Right now I’m going to finish off the radio stuff and go to bed.