Tag Archives: george cartwright

Saturday 8th July 2023 – I’VE SPENT MOST …

… 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.

Friday 23rd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… morning today when I’ve been up before the alarm has gone off. And a good while before it too. I’ve no idea what’s happening right now about that.

So having had such an early start I downloaded a couple more programs that I’d overlooked, and then fine-tuned a couple of others.

A few directories that I’d copied back from the back-up drive were rather all over the place so the next task is to go through and tidy them up.

No time like the present, so I cracked on with them. That’s the one thing about doing a clean install is that it gives you an opportunity to tidy things up and eliminate unwanted files and programs. There must be tons of programs that I only ever use once every Preston Guild so they won’t be added back for a while.

And files too. I usually only like to keep on the computer the files that I need on a regular basis but I forget to weed the unused ones out.

Round about 10:15 I suddenly remembered that I needed to go into town so I threw the dirty clothes (of which there was quite a pile) into the washing machine and then staggered off into the wind.

First stop was at the doctor’s – or, rather, the receptionist – to pick up the certificate that the doctor had prepared for me. I can crack on and apply for my disability permit now.

Then I went to Carrefour for a bit of shopping. And amongst the bits and pieces that I bought was another head of broccoli. Ad for two reasons too

  1. I’ve been slowly working my way through the stock just now and it’s going down
  2. there was a lump in there with a nice thick stalk and I fancied some broccoli stalk soup again for lunch

Final stop was the chemist’s. And as soon as she saw me my favourite server said to her colleague “I’ll fetch Monsieur Hall’s stuff”. I’m not sure whether to be flattered that she was so interested, or concerned that people are beginning to recognise me.

Staggering back up the hill was agony yet again and it took me a while to make it to the top of my rock and back home.

But the climb is worth it because I do like my building and my apartment. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s the first place where I’ve ever felt actually at home.

Back here I blanched the broccoli and then made my soup. I fried an onion in cumin and coriander, added a pile of garlic and then the finely chopped broccoli stalk with a finely diced potato, stirred it all in and then added some of the broccoli water from the blanching along with a stock cube.

While it was doing, I took the washing from the machine and hung it up to dry. I’ll have some clean clothes for a change when they are all done.

When it was sufficiently done I whizzed it all up and ate it with the crusty bread that I’d bought. Totally delicious

Back in the office I almost fell asleep and my coffee almost went cold, but I managed just about to fight it off. And then I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with my niece’s husband last night cleaning out the kitchens of a couple of elderly people who had died in isolation somewhere in Canada. All of their things and possessions were simply abandoned and we were going through throwing most of it away because it was all old, muddy, sticky, an absolute mess. One thing that we were trying to do was to try to decipher why they had half of this stuff. With no labels we couldn’t see what it was. Even with labels on it was hard for us in modern times to understand the use to which they would have put these products back in the old days. But there was all kinds of things even down to old cough drops and boiled sweets, stuff like that, all disgusting really.

Later on I was being pestered by someone on the internet about something that I’d written. He wrote back with things like “see page so-and-so of this article” and when I looked, it had nothing whatever to do at all with the subject under discussion. I wrote back and told him. He sent back an e-mail saying something like “Oh God there’s obviously been some mistake in the page number or formatting of the book where this paragraph was inserted in here where it shouldn’t be”. Of course I’d heard this trick before so I sent him an equally-dismissive e-mail about that. He sent me a reply back as if he wanted to carry on the fight regardless. I had to sit and compose a mail telling him to basically clear off because he was wasting my time and that of everyone else with his nonsense

And then a whole group of us had been out somewhere and had come back to my house afterwards. The first thing that I did on returning was to switch on the heater. Everyone swarmed in and someone began to cook some breakfast, some bacon. They’d asked what we were going to have to eat but I didn’t really have much of an idea because I didn’t have very much in. Someone found some bacon and began to cook it. They were cooking it in a kind of oven that was like an old toolbox. After a while they complained that it wasn’t cooking correctly, asking me what I was going to do about it. I replied “nothing. It’s nothing to do with me. You don’t cook bacon like that and if you want to cook bacon anyway that’s entirely up to you”. They weren’t very happy about this but I wasn’t very happy about people cooking bacon in my house. I had a few things to do so I thought that I’d wander off in a corner and so them. But with all of this stuff going on in my house I couldn’t really do anything until everyone had left and I wasn’t sure when that was going to be.

Finally we were back in Canada around a camp fire making coffee with one of these plunger coffee makers but I awoke just as it was starting so I can’t think about what that was all about

The rest of the afternoon I’ve been back in Labrador trying to resolve a knotty problem.

At the back of the town of Cartwright is a hill called Flagstaff Hill where it is said that Captain Cartwright installed two cannon after his fishing station was raided by an American pirate.

So everyone says, and so I was having a peruse through his diary to find the date that the cannon were put there and, strange as it is to say it, he doesn’t mention the cannon in his diary at all. In fact he doesn’t even mention the hill.

That’s bewildering because he talks about just about everything else, including strange things like how many fish his team caught on certain days.

Something else that I found bizarre in his diary was that he records every little event of what happened the day that the pirates came, including all of the unpleasant details and he lists all of his employees who deserted his post to go with the pirates and concludes with
“A very fine day”,

But apart from that, he makes no mention of the guns so I’m intrigued now to find out more about how they came there..

Tea tonight was a breaded quorn fillet with chips and salad, and quite nice as usual. But there’s not much room in the freezer right now, especially since I bought the broccoli and a couple more peppers, so I shall have to be circumspect at the shops tomorrow.

Rather like when Kenneth Williams told Peter Butterworth “there are people around. We’ll need to be circumspect”
“Oh I was, sir. When I was a child.”

Monday 19th June 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED …

… that when Rosemary came to stay here for a few days a few years ago she installed a camera somewhere in the apartment.

Just when I was sitting down after having my tea tonight she called me on the telephone. And we ended up having another one of our marathon chats putting the World to rights.

Not that whatever we say will make any difference.

Last night in bed didn’t make much of a difference either. Although I was in bed at some kind of realistic time it took me an age to go off to sleep.

Once I did though I was well away with the fairies because when the alarm went off I was a long way away. But would you believe – as soon as I sat upright it completely wiped away everything that had been going on.

After the medication I went and had a shower and a general clean-up because the nurse was coming. The usual one was away today so he sent his deputy.

She’s quite a nice woman and I like her very much. Not only was the injection quite painless, she had no difficulty whatsoever taking my blood sample. And that’s a real surprise judging how things usually go.

For much of the day, whenever I felt in the mood because it wasn’t all that often, I’ve been wandering around Cartwright in Labrador. I’m out of the cemetery and I went to inspect the site of George Cartwright’s house and Samuel Fequet’s trading post.

But I also spent a lot of time talking about “Pinetree” – the early warning radar station that the Americans built in 1951 to detect and intercept nuclear missiles coming over the North Pole towards the USA.

Many people wondered how thick the plain brown envelopes were that were passed underneath the table that convinced Canadian politicians to be prepared to sacrifice the lives of their own Inuit and Métis citizens to protect the lives of citizens of someone else’s country.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was with 2 really old women who had lodged a complaint with a department about one of their acquaintances who had been defrauding the Government of thousands of pounds of money in respect of some kind of fraudulent claims. I went to meet them and they took me round all the joints that had been affected and how much this woman had claimed from here and how much from there. It was quite clear that these women were totally out of their tree quite happily pointing out places “this is where I came to grief when I claimed for something else” and the other one saying “yes I came to grief over there”. It’s obvious that they were just as crooked as the woman about whom they were complaining and had presumably been caught so were getting their own back. I was listening and making notes while they were rambling and we were walking around the town looking at these places. At one point we came to a big wide road and had to wait for ages to find a gap to cross. There were all kinds of vehicles going past including 6 Morris Minor Travellers driving to close to each other that I wondered how on earth they managed it. Eventually when there were some cyclists coming past I grabbed hold of them and we dashed across the road at that point. I told them that I had to go so I asked if they had their cameras ready we could take a photo of the place they wanted to photograph, I’d finish my notes and then go but I couldn’t hang around any longer. It was a really strange occurrence with these women.

Then I was at my German friend’s the other day. We’d been doing some work. I’d ended up with a pile of scrap paper, a huge mound of coins, loose change, all that sort of thing. It was late at night and everyone was quiet. He handed out some DVD Player things and we all sat and watched different DVDs. There was a football match on somewhere and I was hoping to be able to tune my DVD player into it so I could watch it but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. In the end we decided that I’d go home but try to pack away my stuff in the dark was quite impossible. I was getting the coins everywhere, the scrap paper everywhere etc. In the end I had to say to my friend “don’t worry if you find anything of mine lying around here. You can bring it to me tomorrow”. He said something about the coins so I said “that’s not important” and still tried to pack away everything in the dark and failing miserably.

At some point I’d been to Tubize in Belgium and saw some really nice houses there that were fairly cheap. I thought “why didn’t I buy one of these?”. We had to walk to the nearest town to do our shopping so I set off and followed a few other people who were doing this. We had to walk up a bank up some steps and across a railway line. That was extremely difficult for me with my knees. On the other side on the path a couple of girls were going that way so I began to talk to them. I asked if Tubize was in the Flemish zone because I wanted to learn Flemish. That would have been ideal had I moved there. In the distance was a big tower that looked at first like Blackpool Tower in the distance. It turned out to be a fire-watching post for the forest. I noticed that the distance from Tubize to this town was incredibly long, much longer than I was expecting. I thought that if I’d done all my shopping here how on earth would I carry it back? I should really have gone and covered this distance in Caliburn and I would have done had I known

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper cooked in the air fryer. And as it was an unfrozen one that I’d bought on Friday I only set the timer for 12 minutes. The stuffing wasn’t quite cooked and the pepper was slightly singed so I should really have cooked it for longer on a lower heat.

But like anything else, using the air fryer is all trial and error and I’ll have it right one of these days.

But for pudding it was more ice cream and cinnamon roll. That was a good deal, I reckon, buying that.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson but I’ll be going late because at 10:15 I have an appointment with the nerve specialist. I know what he’s going to tell me and it won’t be good news, but it won’t make much of a difference. Things are as they are and I have to make the best of it.

But in other news, while we’re on the subject of the Welsh lessons … “well, one of us is” – ed … the Summer School information was published on the internet this evening. I’ve wasted no time and signed up for a week in July.

A whole week’s Zoom lessons for £25:00 is good value in anyone’s currency and I should have to do it more often. It’s the only way that I can concentrate this days. I don’t seem to have the motivation when I’m on my own.

Sunday 18th June 2023 – TONIGHT’S PIZZA …

… was another excellent one and I seem to have got the hang of it now. The batch of pizza dough that I made was exceptionally good and if it’ll turn out like that every time I shall be more than pleased.

Just like my night last night, in fact. That was a much better night. And although I didn’t go to bed until after midnight I was awake again at 09:30 and I actually did for once feel much better.

Not that i’ve done very much today though. I’ve found it hard to get going today for some reason.

Whatever work that I’ve done has been done on the Canada 2017 voyage. And I’m still stuck in the cemetery at Cartwright.

Apart from having to track down some details for a couple of the original traders on the coast, Like Samuel Fequet and George Bird, the latter who died in 1869 aged 91 years for example

But I also came across the grave of Elizabeth Learning, known as Lizzie to her friends. When the orphanage burnt down in 1928 she had been confined to bed with an illness and was lucky to escape with her life. She wasn’t so lucky when the boarding school caught fire in 1934 though, poor girl

Tomorrow though, if ever I get out of this blasted cemetery, I’ll be going to look at the remains of George Cartwright’s house. He founded the town in the 1770s but once he settled in, he was attacked by American pirates from Boston who stole £14,000 worth of his goods.

And to look for Samuel Fequet’s shop, which was still standing although it had long closed down.

We’ve actually met Fequet before when we were at AT OLD FORT IN QUEBEC a few years ago.

The other day I mentioned that there were people in Sandwich Bay who were dismayed by the arrival of the Hudsons Bay Company. The Fequets were already well-established further south down the coast and could come to Sandwich Bay and withstand the fierce competition with the support of the rebellious locals.

They ended up with stores at Paradise River and Pack’s Harbour as well as at Cartwright.

As well as making the pizza dough I transcribed the notes on the dictaphone too. I was with a group of pseudo-Irish people like the Pogues last night. I was round at their house hoping to leave quite quickly but they were the type of people who weren’t in a hurry. They made me a coffee and a few of us had had something to drink. I went to wash my cup trying to chivvy them along a little but they didn’t really want to go I suppose. One of them said that he had a cough. I told him that he’d better take some cough mixture. they said that they had some. I made a mistake saying that they didn’t want to take it much before midnight. They replied “no? We’d better wait then”. I thought to myself that at this rate we just aren’t going to get away from here. Whatever it is that I have to do won’t be done. That’s the story of my life at the moment isn’t it?

And then there was a young girl. She wasn’t all that young but a very small, petite girl, somewhat on the wild side. i’d been working with her at one time. We’d met up by accident in Crewe and ended up walking around together. She was certainly not my type of girl but we had a lot of things in common when it all came down to it. We started to see each other much more. It was another one of these extremely nice, comfortable dreams roaming around Crewe, the two of us, all through the town centre and down West Street and everywhere. On one occasion we were in a shop and met a girl with whom we’d worked. The way she was behaving and acting she didn’t recognise us which was probably a good thing. She had a few things to say and we had a few things to say. Then we carried on again with our walk. It was one of these very nice warm comfortable satisfying dreams.

There was a restructuring of properties in Edleston Road in Crewe reallocating families. Some families were too big for the houses that they’d been allocated. There were all kinds of problems and the rent commissioners had been involved. They examined the site and found that several houses had hanging basements – the houses were built above ground and there were basements hanging down underneath the floor. They found that in some of them they could install a kind of window to let light into the basements. That way it would be possible for people to use the rooms as living accommodation. They made a ruling that half a dozen families would benefit from this although none of them were very happy at all. It certainly looked to me to be a strange, dark, gloomy situation for anyone but the Commissioners agreed. They authorised the improvements, authorised funds available for the owners to improve their properties. It looked as if it was ready to proceed despite most people’s feeling that it was completely inappropriate.

Finally I was with my old drummer last night. We’d got together after a few months and were in a sauna somewhere. He had his drum kit set up and I had my bass and we were supposed to be practising but he didn’t feel in the mood bearing in mind how things had finished the last time we were together so we just sat and talked for ages about things. I decided that I’d go for a walk around the grounds. He said that he’d join me. I went off first and had a wander around. I saw someone with a cigar enter the property. A security guy grabbed hold of him and took his cigar from him. While I was sitting down in the café taking a rest my friend came up carrying a cigar. I asked him what he was doing with it knowing that he didn’t smoke. He replied that the guy at the reception had given it to him and told him to go and deal with it. He’d brought it into the restaurant to put in an ashtray. We had a little chat about things like that too. He told me that he’d joined Weightwatchers in an attempt to lose some weight. Not that he needed to but he’d lost 2 kilos over the last few weeks since he’s been with them studying whatever it is that you do.

Having finished my notes, I’m going to bed. I’ve had enough of today. It’s not been a very good one. I’ll start again tomorrow when I hope that I’ll have much luck. That burst of energy that I had 10 or so days ago seems to have evaporated again and I’m really dismayed by that.

Friday 16th June 2023 – I’VE BEEN DOWN …

… in town this morning.

Not that I walked, though. I think that I’ve had that for good.

Instead I hopped on the bus with a neighbour who just happened to be waiting.

The bus took me down to the port and I staggered off to the Carrefour where I bought some mushrooms and peppers as well as a bit of bread to make some cheese on toast.

And then back to the bus stop where I met my neighbour who had done her shopping elsewhere, and we came back together on the bus.

It was actually quite nice out there today as well. It was the first time for ages that I’ve felt really warm. There wasn’t much wind about either. In fact it would have been the kind of day where I would normally have gone for a nice long walk. However …

Anyway, during the night I went for a few long walks. Despite my nice, new, clean and fresh bed I don’t think that I spent much time in it.

I was in North America again last night in a fishing community preparing a lot of things ready to go somewhere the following day. By 16:00 I’d finished. I said to the people at the counter that I’d finished. If they would send someone into town to pick up some fishing tackle for me I’d be grateful. They weren’t paying a great deal of attention so I didn’t really say much. Next morning I came in and asked for my stuff. They replied that they didn’t have it. I sighed and said that it was important and I’d told them yesterday etc. They were all extremely apologetic. Then the little girl who hung around there, whether she was someone’s daughter or not I don’t know, skipped into the back and came out with a packet that she handed to me with a big smile on her face. Everyone else began to laugh. I told the girl that she ought to have a good spanking and they all laughed at that. And I had my things

After that I’ve forgotten what I was going to say now with having to mess around with the batteries and dictaphone at some crazy hour of the night. Everything has just slid out of my head but there was something about a woman with a yellow handbag thing on the quay, a handbag having just been on the market. There she was with an enormous one on her shoulder obviously well in advance of everything else around here

We were then back on the subject of these old cars again. I had old cars scattered around here and there over the town. I came to one place where there were 3 or 4 of mine. The first thing that I noticed was that a Volkswagen Beetle that I had there had gone since the last time I was here. The MkII s-type Jag was still there although one of its rear wings was missing. I went round and found the person for whom I was looking, sitting on the terrace outside the building. They gave me the key to go inside. They told me that I needed to go in through the second door but to be careful of the animals and the cow in there that wants to come out. We talked about the cars and what we were going to do, not that I had any real plans but I just said anything. he said that the Jag was looking very sorry. I said “yes, we’ll have to bring it back to my place, take the engine out”. He wanted to know how we were going to do it because for some unknown reason the car wouldn’t tick over. It was going to be complicated to move it and take out the engine. I didn’t really have a clue how I would make it work.

Finally on the way out of Sandbach they’d built this huge new petrol station. It wasn’t open yet but things were progressing rapidly. There were scores of people around there. I knew a lot of them too from Crewe. It seemed that they’d recruited the labour force now and were preparing to open. I went over there, said hello to a few people whom I knew and asked if they could introduce me to the boss. They thought that I was touting for work, which I was. Eventually after much hunting around I found the boss. I explained about my taxis and how we’d be available if ever they needed any here for running the staff around or anything like that. She thought that I only had some plates for working in Crewe but I told her that I had some plates for working in Sandbach which quite surprised her. She said that she’d bear it in mind if anyone ever needed anything

When the alarm went off I was actually already up and about again. I’d awoken with a start at about 06:50 and I’ve no idea why. However it did take me quite a while to gather my wits this morning, not that I have many wits left to gather these days but here we are.

In fact I almost missed the bus into town and had to dash. Well, relatively speaking.

Back here I made my cheese on toast and some strong coffee but regrettably I crashed out and awoke to a mug of cold coffee. That’s what I call “embarrassing”.

This afternoon I’ve been pressing on with my Canada 2017 trip and I’m just leaving the cemetery at Paradise River. I had hoped to have been in Cartwright by now but trying to match up the names on the headstones with the poor handwritten entries in the Censuses is complicated

As well as the Census records I’ve been trawling through George Cartwright’s diary. The influenza epidemic that ravaged the Labrador coast in 1918 was devastating, but Cartwright mentions an outbreak of influenza that occurred in 1778 and an occurrence of smallpox a couple of years earlier that played havoc with the native population

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s no surprise to anyone that Canada took such strict measures about the Covid rules and regulations when you see what happened in the past in these isolated communities where even today there’s no medical service.

Something else I’ve come across is some kind of diary where people who lived around Sandwich Bay have added little pen-pictures of their lives going back 100 years to the period of the 3 Fs – Fishing, Furs and Forestry that were the mainstay of life on the Labrador coast.

All that has changed dramatically today. Even as late as 1961 there were as many as 161 people living in Paradise River. At the Census in 2021 there were 5.

When I visited the place in 2017 there were 10 inhabitants, and I think that every one of them turned out to watch me drive to the quayside.

Tea tonight was potatoes baked in the air fryer with a salad and some of those vegan nuggets. It was absolutely delicious.

But we’ve hit a tragedy. I finished the very last of my HARRY POTTER COLLECTION of films. That’s a shame because I really enjoyed them. But like most films of that genre, they really only scratched the surface of what could have been something really powerful.

What I’ll probably do for my next teatime film sessions will be the SAINT TRINIANS films. These are of course a completely different kettle of fish.

But they do include some of the funniest lines ever recorded in British traditional comedy, all delivered by Alastair Sim of course
“when girls usually leave school, they find that they are not ready for the big wild world. When our girls leave this school, it’s usually the big wild world that is not ready for them”
and when one of the girls burnt down the school Sim said with exasperation
“there’s far too much arson around in tis school”

They don’t make films like that any more in the modern PC World where everyone is so easily offended and there’s no humour around any more. I’m just not cut out to live in this modern world, I’ll tell you that.

However, that’s tomorrow. I’m going shopping and I’m debating going to Noz after my little accident a fortnight ago. I suppose I really ought to make an effort but it’s probably a lack of confidence after my fall. I was like this after my fall on the boat coming back from Jersey, I seem to recall.

But there’s bound to be a change in my state of health. There’s plenty of room for things to be worse.

Thursday 15th June 2023 – IF I EVER LAY …

… my hands on whoever rang my doorbell at some stupid time of the morning, like 04:00 or something like that, they won’t ever do it again.

What made matter worse was that despite what I’d said yesterday, I didn’t go to bed until quite late. Much later than usual in fact.

And when I did, I couldn’t sleep for ages afterwards. And then we had all that nonsense.

At least, I thought that it was the doorbell because that’s exactly what it sounded like. But there was always the possibility that I’d dreamt it. I’m not ruling that out.

And strange as it may seem, I was up early too. When the alarm went off I was sitting on the edge of the bed looking for my clothes. That was something I hadn’t done for a good few days.

After the medication I had another slow start to the day and it wasn’t until I’d had my mid-morning coffee and fruit bun that I was able to start work – that is, when I wasn’t curled up asleep on the chair.

And by the time that I knocked off I was in Paradise River poring over the diaries of George Cartwright, who in 1775 was the first European known to have visited the area and ” sent the people on shore to build the wharf on a point which I named Paradise”.

However what intrigues me is Carl Rafn’s “Antiquities Americanae” from 1846. I’ve been poring over them as well.

Rafn was the first scholar to take seriously the Norse Sagas of the visits to Vinland and his translations refer to a visit by Thorvald to an area and who was so pleased with this place, that he exclaimed “This is beautiful and here I should like well to fix my dwelling”

Thorvald describes in great detail the area where he is and it corresponds pretty much with what I see on a map when I look at Sandwich Bay. In fact, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I was near there I went out in a small boat to look at the geographical features along the coast there.

Rafn though made several miscalculations and ended up putting the Norse ashore in Massachusetts, something that confused people for 70 years.

Firstly, he calculated the distance that a Norse longboat would sail in an hour, multiplied that by 24 and then by the number of days to arrive at their destination.

However, in my opinion, it’s out of the question that, experienced sailors as they were, they would have sailed into unfamiliar waters and kept going through the hours of darkness. They would almost certainly have heaved to until daylight.

Secondly, Rafn calculated the distances based on the speed of a longboat. However the Sagas state that they bought a boat from a trader who put in to Erik the Red’s camp at Brattahlid.

It wasn’t until they carried out some excavations at Roskilde in the early 1960s that they came across a Norse trading vessel, or Knǿrr and that has completely different sailing characteristics

The physiotherapist came round this afternoon and had me walking up and down the stairs. And it’s difficult, that’s for sure. Nothing like as good as it was two weeks ago and that’s a real disappointment. I thought that I was making decent progress until that latest fall.

But still, no matter how bad I’m feeling, there are always people worse off than me.

With him coming I went and had a shower. And while I was at it I went one better than Dave Crosby. probably because I had the ‘flu for Christmas and it was increasing my paranoia. Sill, I’m not giving in an inch to fear because I promised myself this year – I feel like I owe it to someone.

This evening I was stuck for an idea for tea. But having a rummage around I came across some vegan bolognaise sauce with soya mince that I’d completely forgotten. The expiry date on the jar was about 100 years ago but in for a penny in for a pound and it was actually quite nice.

There’s half a jar left so I’ll have that next week with some more pasta and veg.

But a tragedy here – I’ve run out of brussels sprouts now after all of that pile I bought and froze at Christmas. I mustn’t forget to buy some more at the weekend, but I have a feeling that ready-frozen ones might have to do.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. Whenever whoever it was rang my doorbell, if that’s what it was, I was in Canada again, down at the end of a headland looking out to sea where there was another island. There was some kind of pond there. We’d measured it and it was 10kms across and ever so deep. There were all kinds of grids around, all marked with yellow paint as if there was something going to happen to them. There was talk about this island joining up with the part of Canada where we were. That would have happened much earlier had there not decided to be a vote on it. We made some kind of remark about how people complained that it was democratic where we were and not democratic on the island yet the agreement to unite had been taken by the mainland without any kind of vote at all yet the people on the island had been allowed to have a vote on it. We thought that to be extremely ironic.

Later on I was doing something for some kind of investigation. We had to go to Edinburgh so I went on the back of someone’s motorcycle. When we arrived in Edinburgh I couldn’t remember my way. Nothing in Edinburgh looked like anything that I ever knew. We became confused at a road junction on this motorbike and ended up on the pavement trying to work out our way. There were all kinds of people hanging around. The driver of the motorbike said “put your feet up on the pedals and hang on tight. These people don’t look very safe to me”. We set off still going the wrong way and came to an old house. We went in but couldn’t find what we wanted and lost our way again. We ended up back in a Government library with all kinds of old documents. We described this house to someone. he came up with several suggestions and showed us photos but none seemed to resemble this particular house, situated set back from the road on a corner by a railway line with a statue in front. While we were there we started to go through their records for something else. I found loads of interesting things like squardrom flying books from World War I. The papers we wanted we couldn’t find. They kept bringing us files telling us that these were the correct ones but none of the references matched. But I was having a whale of a time going through here reading all the old notebooks, pencils and Court reporters’ books. I thought that I could have moved in and lived here with all of this but none of this was actually finding the information that they wanted. He kept on coming up with stuff that he said was the correct reference but when I looked at it, it was nothing like the information that we wanted.

So now I really am going to bed. But I’ll change the bedding first now that I’m all clean and tidy. It’ll be nice to have some clean bedding. I really ought to change it more often than I do. Usually it walks into the linen basket on its own so I need to organise myself better than I do.

But not much hope of that. As Guildenstern said in “Hamlet” “dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream”

But as an anonymous writer once said about the father of George Cartwright whom we discussed earlier,
He had a genius for encountering difficulties

Friday 5th February 2021 – I’M NOT GOING …

… to tell you about what time I awoke this morning.

Just let me say that I would have been dismayed if I had awoken at this time on a Sunday, never mind a day when I’m supposed to be working.

What was even worse was that I’d made every effort to have an early start, even down to going to bed as early as 22:30. But it just didn’t seem to work. However, it did mean that there was plenty of time to go walkabout during the night. And that I most certainly did.

I was having to go to Court for something or other and a friendly accountant said that he had come to help me so we arranged to meet at 17:30 in a local pub. Some solicitor said that he would help me first as well. I was talking to the solicitor and we arranged that he would come round and photograph all of my cars to prove that I was just driving around in old bangers “as long as you don’t photograph the fact that not a single one is taxed” because things really were tough and all these vehicles that I had weren’t taxed. Nerina and I were doing some cleaning or tidying up and I had sat down for a breather and in walked this accountant. I’d completely forgotten about him. He’d brought a pile of forms from the Musicians Union – apparently to be a musician you needed a licence and it cost £55,000. Of course there was no chance whatever of me paying that. He started to ask me questions all about the group – what songs did we play? Where did we practise? How often did we perform? He gave me a huge list of songs “do you play any of these?”. I made some facetious remark “these must be the only members of the Musicians Union then, the groups in this list”. All the time Nerina was wandering around – we were in the Rockwood in Alton Street by the way at the time and I’m sure that she was totally bewildered as to who this guy was and what I was doing and why I wasn’t helping with the tidying up or anything. This conversation continued more on the lines of filling in these Musicians Union forms than any help that he was going to give me for the issues that I was having.

Later on I’d gone to meet TOTGA – she was working for another taxi company in Crewe but in the old Up The Junction building. I went into her office but she was actually downstairs and I could hear all of the talk that was going on through the radio monitor. They were talking about all the financial affairs of the company going wrong. Basically they had committed to buy a new fleet of taxis right at the time of the Miners Strike when there wasn’t much money circulating around and people in Aberystwyth who had undertaken to buy the previous taxis let them down. I ended up talking to a guy who had been a driver for me, a young guy. He’d written a book and was going through the book with me telling me all the issues that this taxi company was having. The boss of the company came up. he came up with Derek Guyler who had been some kind of office manager. Guyler was arguing for a pay rise for the drivers and a taxi to take the kids to school. The guy running it was extremely angry and laying into Guyler verbally about all kinds of stuff so I thought that this was the moment to leave before he turned on me. I went downstairs but lost my way and ended up in the basement. I had to climb out through a window onto the track. There were 2 boys who were very keen to find out what I’d been doing so I explained and they wandered off in their direction and I wandered off in mine.

Later still we were all off to Blackpool or some seaside resort – it wasn’t Blackpool. I was with an old couple and we rented a room and another small room for me. She cooked a meal which was disgusting but I ate some but not all of it. They went off to buy some tickets for a performance but I stayed behind to try to clean up everywhere because it was really dirty. I was doing fine and I had my 3 cats there. A little girl came in to give me a hand. We were laughing and joking and I had a close look at her – she was a lot older than she ought to be, a bit like a Jimmy Clitheroe kind of character. We were laughing and joking while I was cleaning this up. Then my partner turned up – I can’t remember if it was Cécile or Nerina. A while before this I’d been talking to a guy who was a bit of a singer – we’d been in a club somewhere preparing things for a concert and he was telling me about his stage performances. I thought “yes, well I’ve heard all this before”. When this couple came back they brought piles of people with them, all an extended family. My partner was there. We all had to go outside because this guy was going to give a concert. We all had to wait and we waited for hours. In the end they brought up some vehicles so that we could sit in these vehicles, American-type minibus things. He came out eventually and announced that he didn’t have a licence for the concert to take place on this particular stage so he was only allowed 2 minutes. In this 2 minutes he just told us about his future concerts and his career. I thought “yes, well, I’ve heard all of this before” and I wasn’t particularly impressed.

So welcome back to TOTGA who has been conspicuous by her absence for the last few weeks or so.

As you can imagine, with this really late start and all of this to type out, there wasn’t any time to do anything else before lunch. But there was still something to do – a friend of mine who is the “panicky” type has just learnt that her boyfriend has come down with Covid. She’s panicking about this so it’s been necessary to do something about it.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had another good friend who went down with Covid along with her husband and son, although her daughter who shares the same facilities didn’t, and the infected ones all made a good recovery. I spent some time putting the two of them in touch with each other so that the one can reassure the other.

After lunch (more of my leek and potato soup with home-made bread) I caught up with a pile of correspondence. I’ve had a pile of e-mails hanging round here that needed answering and it was the plan to deal with them today and I really can’t postpone them any longer. And a couple were extremely lengthy too.

As well as that, two other issues reared their heads.

Firstly, Canada has closed its borders to cruise ships of over 100 passengers until Spring 2022. I’d been offered a place on an expedition for this Summer but I hadn’t said anything much about it because I thought it most unlikely that it will travel this year. And now, of course, I’m proved right – although it really was an odds-on certainty, this. I imagine that the cancelled people from 2020 and now 2021 will be offered first dibs at the voyage for 2022 so I wrote to the organisers to stake my claim for 2023, along with the necessary information. I’ll get to Axel Heiberg Island yet!

Secondly, I’ve sold another one of my photos. I used to sell a lot of them at one time and even had one on the front cover of an issue of “Now Toronto” 20 or so years ago but I’m being pushed further and further down the rankings by the more established agencies. The last one that I sold was of THE MEMORIAL TO GEORGE CARTWRIGHT 6 or so months ago which is used as a still IN A FILM.

This photo that has been bought today is of AN OLD COMMUNITY ON THE “FORGOTTEN COAST” OF QUEBEC.

In case anyone thinks that I’m blowing my own trumpet unnecessarily, I’m under no illusions. It’s not the quality of the images that is the selling point – it’s the fact that I’ve been to places where few other people have been and that my photos are easy to find.

And when they are found, they have my contact details on them. I’m very particular about that.

That all took me up to my afternoon walk

seagulls sitting on rock place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a really beautiful afternoon – it really was, and you can see from this photo of the rock just offshore here that there were a number of people enjoying it.

Not humans because, surprisingly there were very few taking advantage of the warm, sunny Spring-like day that we had today. I was dressed up for midwinter yet I could quite comfortably have gone round in my shirt sleeves had I so desired.

There was very little wind too and at long last the paths had dried out sufficiently so that in most places you could walk around without too much discomfort and mud.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I did say that there were no humans out and about in the lovely weather. That’s not particularly accurate because there was someone out there offshore in his cabin cruiser having a little swan around.

He swanned off and so did I, because there wasn’t anything of any importance or note happening anywhere else.

However I did bump into the guy who organises the radio and we had quite a chat about this and that and a couple of little projects, one of which was particularly appealing to me because it involves one of my favourite musicians.

Back here I managed to drink my coffee without falling asleep, and I attacked the photos from Greenland in July 2019. I really must push on with those as much as I can.

Guitar practice was interesting because I found a better way to play the bass line to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Down on the Corner” and with the acoustic guitar I worked out the chords to Tom Petty’s “Too Good To Be True” that I am keen to add to my little repertoire.

Tea was veggie balls with pasta and veg followed by apple pie and now having written my notes, I’m going to go to bed. “Must do better” is the phrase that comes to mind, although I wish I knew how. It’s all very well having some kind of problem and knowing that you have some kind of problem but when you don’t know what it is, it’s rather difficult to deal with it.

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.