Monday, July 27, 2009

Harmony Bazaar - Wow!

This past weekend was the 4th annual Harmony Bazaar Festival of Women and Song and was it ever fun! The whole enterprise takes a year long effort from a core board of directors plus an intensive 4-5 days of work from an army of town employees, summer students and volunteers.

This year's headliner for the Saturday evening main stage was Rita MacNeil - she had to be booked more than a year in advance. Rita was the original dream headliner of the Women's Fishnet when they originally dreamt up this festival, which started as a couple of women entertainer concerts in the Beach Centre, grew to the first Harmony Bazaar at the Osprey and now is a weekend long event held at SeaCaps park in beautiful downtown Lockeport. I'm glad that the festival finally grew to the Rita MacNeil level - she was totally awesome, putting on a marvelous show.

Friday evening the weather was atrocious - buckets of rain all day which hindered setup of the outdoor venue so the decision was made to move the opening concert into the Firehall. The weather likely deterred a few attendees but the 200 or so who came were pleasantly surprised to be indoors, warm and dry. Wayne and I lucked out as our assignment for the evening was the back gate which would have been very soggy if the event had stayed outside.

The evening began with a song-writers' circle hosted by Christine Crawford, along with Katelyn Surette, Norma MacDonald and Gina Symonds - great voices all and having the background to the songs they performed was interesting. Second up was Irish Mythen, Lockeport's adopted Irish sprite - I'm sure there are a lot of locals who would like to lure her away from Canso permanently. As usual, she blew us all away. Rounding out the evening was Melanie Doane - fantastic musician and singer (and very attractive woman). In all, this was a singularly talented group of women - great depth in this festival now.

Saturday and Sunday mornings the local Legion offered breakfast which was a nice addition to the weekend, particularly for those who came from out-of-town, We (Wayne, our guest Phil, and I) missed the Saturday one because we were working at the craft fair/fashion show being held in the high-school as part of the weekend events. From 8-2:15 we helped set up, carry crafters supplies in and out, answered questions and were just plain helpful. We also drank too much of the coffee the Baptist church was selling and ate too many of their home-made donuts.

The afternoon had a series of workshops about making CD's, balancing motherhood and performing, writing songs etc. As well there was an open mic session hosted by Julie Balish and then a series of performers up until 5:00PM. I missed several of the performances (we were in the gym still for the open mic and needed a break in the afternoon for a while), but Shelly MacIntosh was great as usual (what a lovely clear voice she has!) as was the group Woven. I didn't hear her myself but apparently Krystelle Leveque was very well received.

Saturday dinner is provided for the artists and various music industry participants in the festival - a good networking event for younger artists and the festival directors. After, at 6:45PM, the annual "Fishy" award was presented to Cathy Cook for her contributions to the local music scene, particularly her youth mentoring.

The Saturday evening stage show consisted of Christina Martin, Madison Violet and then Rita MacNeil. The evening stayed clear until about 1/2 hour after Rita was finished, when the Lockeport fog rolled in. A fabulous evening of entertainment!

Sunday was a blur - we were already pretty tired and then realized we had too many activities for the day. We started with the Legion breakfast, then a Morning Sun Ceremony (gospel music, mikma'q dances and traditions, a camp-fire) on the beach, then back to the Festival grounds for 2 hours of selling merchandise (T-shirts, hats, CD's), heard the beginnings of the Youth Concert and then we deserted Harmony Bazaar for other annual activities we enjoy - first the Shelburne County Garden Club Show and Tea and then we went on to Sandy Point for a lobster dinner.

It was a marvelous weekend - wonderful music, new friends, fun, laughter, good food. Wayne is now out (in the fog) planting the door prizes we won at the Garden Club's Show.

Cleanup will take a few days but I know that Errin has already booked headliners for next year (Quartette which features Sylvia Tyson). It was a lot of work, well done! Kudos to all who gave so much of their time to give us such a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Lately I've been only "reporting" - not "musing" - easy enough to do in a blog, particularly since I seem to get into trouble when I "muse". I noticed Dan made a comment about his "dysfunctional family" on Facebook about a week ago - if I said that I'd be crucified, even though it's (mostly) the same family. I guess having always been a straight-from-the-hip shooter stands Dan in good stead - everyone expects him to be brutally honest. I, on the other hand, spent most of my life trying to get along with everyone and keep the peace. Now, when I speak my mind, no one appreciates it - it's not who I'm known to be.

Having established that, I don't intend to offer any terribly insulting comments today (if you take what I say as an insult you are inferring - I'm not implying!). I am working hard at accepting others (warts and all) and realizing that we can't all share the same opinions, reactions, standards, goals, morals, ethics, or much of anything else. I'm trying to be happy with my life, the way it is, and with my interests and values which likely aren't the same as anyone else's.

Where am I going here? Not anywhere significant - just some musings on those common questions we (Wayne and I) get asked - "How's retirement?" and/or "How do you like living in Lockeport instead of Ottawa?". (please note I don't assume that what I write applies necessarily to Wayne's views)

Let me first make it clear that I love Lockeport. It is a beautiful spot with absolutely wonderful people, scenery, ambiance and most of the time I am very happy living here. Of course, I was mostly happy living in Ottawa as well - which is a lot to say for a glass-half-empty person.

I don't miss work as such although I do miss the camaraderie of the workplace, particularly Queenswood Public School (which sadly is completely gone now for all) and Lady Evelyn Alternative School. QPS had the edge in complete school adhesiveness but LEA was always great in small working together groups. From earlier days, Transport Canada holds some wonderful memories but I have no fond memories of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada whatsoever. I hated the regimentation of Taxation, and had a wild, over-worked, off-the-wall amount of fun with Elections Canada since I got along so well with Margaret Woodley and Barbara Reinhardus.

Things I miss about Ottawa (in no particular order):
- my kids (and their extremely well-chosen spouses) and grandkids
- my brother
- book club (for the people, not the books)
- R.B.C. (retired book club members) luncheons and outings
- easy access to health-care
- the Ottawa Public Library
- bran bread
- good bagels
- lots of malls and shopping centres to wander around in
- Friday breakfast with Joe at ESD
- when I wanted or needed something, being able to go out and get it without planning a major expedition
- driving along the canal (particularly early in the morning) or driving under Bank Street Bridge at night (I love those lights under the bridge)
- Sunday breakfast at Cora's
- Heather, Daoud, Marlene and zany get-togethers
- The Senators and all the hype of a hockey town
- restaurants that are open all year

Things I don't miss about Ottawa:
- traffic and traffic lights
- noise
- extreme heat and cold
- feeling closed in (more to do with living in a row house than Ottawa - I didn't feel that way on Pleasant Park)

Things I like about living in Lockeport:
- everyone is friendly
- beauty, peace, quiet, moderate weather, lack of snow
- our house
- fog (good thing I do like it!)
- immediacy of government - it's easy to get to chat with MLA, mayor, town councillors - you can wander into the town hall and talk to anyone anytime and it just feels like you have more say, that someone might actually listen to your opinions
- my friends at rug-hooking, great weekly meetings and lunches
- Fat Club
- our friends from away (Fred and Barbara, Herschel and Marian, Bob and Kathy etc.) who make the summers so interesting
- affordable entertainment (Osprey - $20 vs NAC - $100+ and the shows definitely aren't 5 times better)

Things I don't like about living in Lockeport:
- winter closures of so many things
- lack of choice when shopping (food, clothes etc.) - thank God for the web
- general unavailability of many things (I have lists for Shelburne, Liverpool, Bridgewater or Yarmouth, Halifax or Ottawa - when I can't find something in Shelburne, it gets moved to the next closest list and so on until we end up buying it in Ottawa on our next trip back)
- hunting season - can't go in the woods at the most glorious time of the year - no bugs, great colours, and lots of fools with guns

Our retirement lifestyle will continue to evolve I'm sure. After last winter (we spent 3 weeks in Ottawa over Christmas, January-February in Lockeport, then back to Ottawa for Ava's birth in March), we know we need to do something different this year, since winter was just too quiet here and the icy conditions (temperatures hovering around zero causes lots of melting and freezing) I found intimidating (rather like yard-duty in winter at LEA the last few years I was working in a small school-yard coated in ice most of the time). Consequently, we plan to spend January and February in Perdido Key, Florida in a beach-front, affordable condo. We'll have to see how that works out - it's a big move for Wayne since he loves to play hockey and will miss a good 3+ months of his season what with visiting Ottawa both before and after Florida.

Anyway, we're muddling along, most of the time fairly well. Our house is keeping us busy - still a few major projects to do - the "media" room and our bedroom - and millions of little ones. Where we'll be in 5 years and what we'll be doing, I have no idea. I just hope we are happy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wayne's New Toy

Need I say more!

Ragged Islands Historical Society

Living in one of the original Lockeport homes (built by Lewis P. Churchill in 1848), we have long planned to dig more into the history of the area.

Last night we took the first step - we attended a meeting at Fred and Barbara's and joined the Ragged Islands Historical Society.

Our first major event will be a Garden Party on August 8th at Fred's - an activity during the Sea Derby weekend for those not out fishing. Admission will be $5.00 (children under 12 free). Included in the price is the tea party as well as a tour of the Locke family home (the anchor house of our provincially registered streetscape) - should be a fun day.

Bob and the Blues

Bob Vacon and friends held an amazing blues concert at the Osprey on Saturday evening. Bob is a very talented musician with an outstanding voice. The show attracted quite a large crowd, downstairs full and upstairs about 80% full.

Others on the programme were Dave Alexander (mouth harp), Robbie Smith (vocals, guitars, fiddle), Merrie Howe, Katheen Glauser, Shelly MacIntosh (vocals) and Hubert D'Eon and Duke Greene - guitars. Duke was awesome - simply amazing guitar work!

This was also an opening night in the Coastline Gallery for a new show - didn't really get a chance to look at it - maybe next time we're in. We had planned to have a Chinese meal but Luong's was closed due to some propane problem so we managed to get into Lothar's but of course that took a little longer for dinner so we arrived at the Osprey just before show time. Excellent dinner though. Wayne and Tim had a lobster/scallop ragout and I had a lovely steak with Lothar's house salad (actually 4 small salads). Yummy!

Our Rugs Ride Again

Me with my "Loyalist Mall" - the Ross-Thomson Museum
Louise ("Birchtown Museum") and Marian ("Loyalist Scrip")
Rilla and her "Toys"

The Loyalist Rug Show ("Shelburne Then and Now") is making its final appearance at the Laing Gallery in the Rossignol Cultural Centre in Liverpool. If you haven't seen the show yet, it's on until July 15th and the mounting in the gallery is lovely - there is additionally a fabric art show of quilters' and fabric artists' work from across Canada (including Laurie Swim) in the attached smaller gallery.

Our rug hooking group had an outing to see the display last Friday and I managed to drag Wayne and Tim there this week as well. Friday's trip was fun and included a nice luncheon at The Woodpile in Liverpool.

The Rossignol is a fun museum - very eclectic collection based on the whimsical interests and travels of Sherman Hines, the photographer. Here are some pictures of Wayne and Tim in the cultural village.

Canada Day

As usual, Canada Day was a blast.

Fishnet had a yard sale to help finance their scholarship fund so I spent some time working there in the morning. Missed the opening ceremnonies as a consequence but Wayne said the speeches (for the most part) weren't too long-winded. Wayne appeared with some strawberry shortcake from the IODE sale - an annual tradition - one has to love days which start with dessert.

There were games in the park for the kids and the firehall had lovely crafts, assorted fundraisers and the firemen's BBQ - great sausages. I also had one of Peter's sausages at The Town Market (purely for comparison purposes of course).
Suitably dressed for parade watching

The parades had the theme "Year of the Lobster" and were as usual very entertaining. Cindy and Sherm watched from our place as usual - we were pelted with candy by those we knew on the floats. It seems to me the floats are improving a little each year - my theory is that the creative people at the pharmacy have such great floats, others are trying to compete.

We had dinner at the White Gull, listening to the Heavy Water set at 5:00, then Wayne and Tim went over to the South Wharf to watch the greased pole contest. There was a dance in the park from 8:00PM to 11:00PM with the fireworks at about 9:50 - watched from our kitchen window - it was clear and no breeze this year so the show was lovely. I keep wondering how a small town can afford 1/2 hour of fireworks - maybe Quebec doesn't get all the Canada Day funding anymore.

Lockeport Really Rocks!

I have been remiss in posting anything for the last week or so .. too busy enjoying myself I guess.

On Tuesday, June 30th, as part of the Canada Day Week Celebrations, Lockeport put on a fabulous concert in Seacaps Park. Jonathan Crouse from CKBW hosted and 3 terrific bands performed, Faded Blue (Liverpool rockers), Dirty Deeds (an AC/DC tribute group), and the Hupman Brothers -local blues favourites who now perform out of Wolfville. All the groups put on extraordinarily good shows and the concert went until almost 1:00AM. The weather cooperated - a little fog but it was warm!

Wayne and I worked the bar which was run by the Harmony Bazaar committee as a fundraiser. Tim (who is visiting us) was planning to help as well but woke up with a pinched nerve that morning so Wayne pulled a double shift serving and I sold drink tickets and checked bracelets. The layout for this concert was a considerable improvement over past beer garden events - this time the beer garden had 1/2 of the area in front of the stage and the actual bar was under the lights of the Farmers' Market roof. We were very busy (Lockporters (thanks Bonnie!) can sure drink!) - all of the coolers were gone by 10:30 and the beer by shortly after midnight.

A lot of fun, well-run, just about the best concert I've attended here. Good job Frances and Dawn.