Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hay Fever

Last night we attended the Basement Theatre's opening performance of Noel Coward's "Hay Fever" at the Osprey. Excellent set (several Shelburne homes must be missing a few antiques for a while) and costumes, good acting, lots of fun!

Judy Day as Judith Bliss, Pat Melanson as Sandy Tyrell and Angela Johnson as Myra Arundel were particularly good, as was May Lee Gonzaga as the maid, Clara. Appropriate 1920's music was played beforehand and during the intermissions.

A wonderful directorial debut for Ian Anderson - thanks!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cold and Sunny

Last night we went to a concert at the Osprey - The Hupman Brothers with the full band including Caleb Miles on guitar and Ian Sherwood on sax - Ian just won the Nova Scotia Music Award for best musician of 2010. A fantastic show - the Osprey was sold out. Ryan and Scott released a new CD - Loveseat Vol 1 - volume 2 is coming in the new year. Can't wait.

It was a cool, blustery night driving in to Shelburne and by the time the show ended at 11:00PM it was snowing lightly (not seriously). This morning I awoke to a dusting on the car roofs and the flatter house roofs and down in the shade at the bottom of the yard but it's all gone now. Sabine posted a picture of their deck in Sable River and it looks like they got 1-2cm - Jane in Truro says they got 2 inches and it's very pretty. Let me go on record as preferring green to white. Wayne and Tim both got up late enough to miss the first snowfall.

One of the great things about last night's concert was that so many of the people we know here (that aren't summer people) were there. Had some nice visits with folks, met another blog reader. Lester passed on the info that the pharmacy fire on November 11th was indeed caused by the pop machine which literally went up in flames - since it was close to the front door it was caught on 2 of the security cameras. Apparently there was smoke damage to things like the lighting fixtures, besides ruining all the stock. So it will be a while till they are back in the store - the temporary place at 16 Spruce, across from the Town Office seems to be drawing the "crowds" away from the Beech/North intersection - went to the bank and it was empty - the tellers say they have realized they are not the big draw - LOL.

I spent Friday in Bridgewater (or mostly in Oak Hill at Atlantic Fabrics). Wayne and Tim are rebuilding our North Parlour - walls, ceiling, trim and a new window seat. I was shopping for materials for the cushion part of the seat which I'll make next spring when we get back from Florida. Forgot a calculator and had a lot of brain stretching to convert the actual bench size into cushion sizes I could wangle out of what foam was available, particularly since I wanted firm foam. Then I had to recalculate the amount of cording needed for piping and the amount of fabric. Of course the fabric I fell in love with had only 4 1/2 yards on the roll and I needed 9 - so compromise fabric was bought - it's actually quite nice - a charcoal with white and gold mix branches pattern, I'm going to pipe it in gold and cover the buttons in gold too. There were a few flurries driving to Bridgewater as I drove through Sable River and again in Danesville - hope serious winter holds off until we can get back to Ottawa. I always worry about the Cobequid Pass drive and the northern part of highway 20 in Quebec from Riviere-du-loup to Quebec City, where the winds blow off the St. Lawrence, causing white-outs.

I've been gradually doing my Christmas baking - some to leave here for Tim and the rest to pack off to Ottawa to my family (kids and grandkids) there. Just finished the red and green pinwheel dough - once it chills and is baked I am done until we get to Ottawa in about a week and a half and I have to ice my cakes and bonbons - may have to make Bob more pinwheels too since the recipe I used seemed to make about half the usual amount of dough. My traditional recipe is in a cookbook in Ottawa, so I used one from one of my Mom's cookbooks that is 75 or so years old.

Lots coming up this week - my last hooking of the fall on Tuesday, Thursday we have 9 guests coming for our annual American Thanksgiving (thanks to Aunt Grace and my mother-in-law, Tommie, (both now deceased) for getting us started so many years ago). Friday we'll be back to the Osprey for a Basement Theatre production of Hay Fever by Noel Coward, Saturday it's Irish Mythen at the Sea Dog Saloon. Sunday is our 35th anniversary but we're celebrating on Saturday since Wayne has hockey on Sunday evening in Barrington. Our present this year is an Ottawa Senators game when we are back in Ottawa.

We plan to head to Ottawa on the 29th of November and I plan to arrive on the 30th (I just have to convince the driver (Wayne) we're stopping overnight instead of driving 16-17 hours straight). Tim is staying in Lockeport to look after the house and cats so I may have news passed on occasionally over the winter - otherwise you'll be hearing about Canada's capital and the Pensacola area.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November News

Well, as usual for this time of year, we are back to very few restaurants. In Lockeport, only the Parrot's Pins is open now (Tuesday-Saturday). The White Gull and Town & Country (A-1 Pizza this summer) are closed and both up for sale again/still. Although A-1 seemed to be doing well leasing the T&C, apparently the family member running it has moved to the Valley or something, so they gave up the lease. The Town market offers some take-out meals and the Lydgate Corner Store has some sandwiches and such

The Chef's Table in Sable River is closed and may not reopen in the spring since Zaari is opening a restaurant in Liverpool near the Best Western. The Bayman in Upper East Green Harbour remains open 7 days/week as usual (we won one of their excellent pizzas for our Hallowe'en costumes!)

In Shelburne, Lothar's closed in early September as Lothar was asked to return to Halifax to do the catering on a movie set - the restaurant is now for sale. As is the old Shelburne Cafe/Pastry next door (still). Charlotte Lane closed very briefly for medical reasons (Roland) but he's all fixed up and they are back in business until Christmas (Tuesday-Saturday). The Loyalist Inn has a liquor license as of late September and is now open for all 3 meals 7 days a week - and looks very nice since the renovations - of course it's for sale too.

The BeanDock, Luong's, Scotia Lunch and Sophia's are all going strong. Sophia's is closed Sunday, Luong's Monday and I think Monique closes the BeanDock on Sunday as well. The SeaDog is still open and presenting entertainment one evening most weeks - this is continuing until at least November 27th (Irish Mythen show). It will likely be closing down for a while as soon as Christmas party season is over.

The Quarterdeck and Seaside Seafoods in Hunt's Point are both closed for the season - very early for Seaside this year.

Port Mouton's restaurant seems to be closed - hard to tell when it's also the office for the cabins, the liquor store and a convenience store.

On the encouraging side, Peter Swim has bought the building in Lockeport between the Town & Country and the Legion and is renovating it - rumour has it it will be an ice-cream parlour next summer.

Yesterday, a new business opened in Lockeport - Vanessa's Flowers and Gifts - in the bottom floor of the building that housed the Little School Museum this summer (under Donna Crosby's apartment). Vanessa has fresh flowers and lots of very nice gift-ware - particularly candles, Christmas items, vases, picture frames etc. Lovely presentation - I hope she is successful. One thing that may help her this year is that there was a fire Thursday morning in the pharmacy and there apparently was a lot of smoke damage although the structure seems to be okay. It was an electrical fire and the shop was closed for Remembrance Day so I guess it smoldered for a while before setting off the alarm. It looks like Bevin has grabbed the bottom floor of the Masons' building to use as a temporary pharmacy - Bell Aliant and Lester (our electrician) were working in there this morning and an alarm company was there yesterday. Hope they get it up and running - we'll need to renew our prescriptions before we leave for Ottawa and Florida in a couple of weeks.

Recently the weather has been simply AWFUL - buckets of rain and very strong winds. The flooding has been terrible and who knows how much infrastructure damage will be revealed when it finally recedes. We went out to dinner in Liverpool at Lane's Privateer Inn (always open, thank God) last night with Gail who lives in Little Port L'Hebert down the East Sable Road - she has to drive through water to get out to the highway for the last week or so. The same is true of the West Sable Road and many others - not to mention the already obviously washed out roads in Yarmouth county, the washed away Tusket bridge and all the flooded homes and cottages. A theory is developing that the extreme flooding is a direct consequence of the interior clear-cutting in Nova Scotia - there is nothing left to contain the run-off.

Today is beautiful though - mid teens, clear blue sky, no wind - a very welcome break.

There was a meeting last week to discuss the future of the Little School Museum (it was going to be moved into the middle of town after the ravages of Hurricane Bill last year). Harlow's didn't seem to feel it was going to survive an attempted move and the front porch and back annex would not have been moved anyway. So the town citizens decided to go back to the previous plan to raise the building a few feet (above where the flooding occurs during storms) since it appears that the Town will be able to do some repair work to the rapidly disappearing dunes behind the Museum (and in other parts of the beach too) - permission for the work has been granted by the powers that be in Halifax and Ottawa, big rocks are available, now they're working on conning some level of government into funding the whole thing. Historically the Little School has always sat where it is and people really wanted to keep it where it is - time will tell if this is the right decision. The Town also plans to look at some pumping system to direct water to the back harbour before it can accumulate into deep puddles or lakes.

An additional item of interest at that meeting was that there seems to be growing support for a Lockeport Museum to house all the many items in storage that are not-school related and for which there is simply not enough room in the Little School. This would be good news for the Historical Society which is also looking for a more suitable home.

That's all for now folks!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Harmony Bazaar 2010

Harmony Bazaar 2010 Headliners - Quartette
L to R
Caitlin, Gwen, Cindy, Sylvia (now 69 yrs young)

A truly fabulous weekend!! Thank you to Errin Williams-Spidle and the rest of the Harmony Bazaar Board of Directors/Committee for yet another wonderful festival - they get better every year.

Welcome Tea - first guest Alice Lloyd

Friday's events began with a Welcome Tea in the Anglican Church Hall. The tea was put on by the Ragged Island Historical Society - scones, clotted cream, lemon curd, jam, fancy tea sandwiches, raw veggies, fancy desserts, tea, coffee, lemonade. Even if I did make some of it myself, I must say the food was very good and visually very appealing.

Guests entered through the church itself where we were playing a selection of CD's by some of the musicians performing this year at the festival. By sheer coincidence, Irish Mythen's CD was playing when she arrived for the tea and Pat Watson's was playing when she came in.

We could have accommodated 72 guests - we had perhaps half that number - we'll need to reassess for next year considering the amount of preparation involved.

Friday's Rising Stars Stage - hosted by Christina Martin (L), Kate Surette, Molly Thomason, Natalie Lynn

Performances began at 7:00PM on our beautiful new stage - those musicians who had been part of HB in previous years were very impressed with the new facility. The weather was wonderful, warm, sunny, little breeze (very helpful to the mosquitoes in finding their targets). When the sun went down, we had a lovely full moon shining down on the stage. There was a good crowd on hand too. The area directly in front of the stage has been concreted over - no more gravel underfoot or mud. The town has also bought another 200 patio chairs so seating was comfortable, easy to stack and move around. Saturday was another great weather day.There is also a wonderful system of 16 ft square canvas walls designed to be hung around the pavilion walls on huge grommets to keep out wind and rain from the audience when needed - a marvellous addition and used fully on Sunday during the windy, foggy, rain storm.

The festival headliners this year were the group "Quartette" - Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church, Caitlin Handford and Gwen Swick. Their performance closed out the Saturday lineup - a lovely professional concert, particularly pleasing to me were their a cappella songs with their amazing harmonies.
But there were TONS of other wonderful artists on the bill - irrepressible Irish Mythen performed all 3 days, including a CD release Friday evening - she loves to encourage the younger musicians and to bring her friends (new and old) onto the stage to perform with her. She and Coco Love Alcorn and Theresa Doyle were outstanding together
Friday - Christina with Coco Love Alcorn, Irish Mythen and Theresa Doyle

We had offered to billet 2 performers and were thrilled with our assigned guests - Christina Martin and Norma MacDonald. Both are very talented and very nice young women - we hope they will return to visit us again. Christina's partner, Dale Murray, from Cuff the Duke stayed with us too. (Christina has decided to join our family so we now have a fourth Chris boys.)

Norma MacDonald hosting the Home Grown Showcase Saturday afternoon

Christina and Dale - Saturday evening

There were 2 breakfasts provided by the Legion and a baked beans and Ham traditional dinner provided by the IODE Saturday evening. Also, at noon Sunday, there was a BBQ and corn boil by the Sable River Volunteer Fire Department. Sunday, an Aboriginal morning sun ceremony was held at the Beach Centre (too much fog and then rain for being out on the beach unfortunately). There were also a craft fair and a vocal workshop and chances for aspiring musicians to meet with industry professionals for advice and some coaching. Saturday there was a late night after-hours dance (we missed that but Tim was working security for it).

Other than the tea Friday, our only real work was on Sunday setting up the Green Room (there is a real one now in the new stage building with a lovely washroom for performers (shower and all), a kitchen area with sink, cupboards, fridge etc. and a lounge area and there are 2 washrooms for the audience on one end of the building as well. The rest of the year, the space will be used by the First Responders (and there is a garage area for their vehicle as well). Because of the weather the entire Sunday show was moved into the Pavilion area so Wayne helped pack up and move the electronics to the smaller protected venue.

We had a marvelous weekend - great shows, good friends, wonderful house guests. Looking forward to next year's Harmony Bazaar - plan to be in Lockeport for the last full weekend in July!

PS - for supper on Sunday we headed out to Sandy Point Community Centre for a creamed lobster dinner - another great meal with the added highlight of a minck whale frolicking in the harbour around the lighthouse - neat!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Current State of our Little Universe

We're heading back to Ottawa for a couple of weeks of family events, but before we leave I thought an update on what's going on would be a good idea.

Restaurant News

The Parrot's Pins and the Bayman are open as usual. Thank God for them both. And for Sophia's, Scotia Lunch, the Bean Dock and Luongs who carry on almost all year long.

The Chef's Table in Sable River is now open 6 days/week - Tuesday through Thursday Zaari is serving lunch only and Friday to Sunday he's doing both lunch and supper.

Seaside Seafoods in Hunt's Point has been open about 5 weeks - they are always the first to reopen and stay open the latest in the fall. We stopped for their amazing milkshakes and a few shrimp and scallops a couple of weeks ago.

The Quarterdeck is opening May 8th.

The White Gull is hiring - date of opening unknown but soon.

The Town & Country has not been sold but is being leased by A1 Pizza (in Shelburne) for the summer. They are opening in June and supposedly will serve the same menu as Vonda did - not just pizza.

The Lockeport Legion is having monthly breakfasts.

Friday, the Canada Day Committee held a fundraiser luncheon of corn chowder, chili, drinks and dessert in the Rec Centre.

In Shelburne, Charlotte Lane catered the Osprey fundraising dinner on April 10th and will reopen for the year on May 7th (including Mother's Day).

Lothar catered a fundraiser for his daughter's nursing volunteer trip to Africa this summer - a great meal. Still don't know when he will be opening again though.

The Loyalist Inn is open for breakfast 7-11 with their lovely renovated premises. They are still fighting their way through Nova Scotia bureaucracy to get their liquor license, before opening for the rest of the day. A welcome addition however.

Construction Projects

The new stage is coming along. It appears to be a massive space - a really good government grant I guess.
The new stage from our kitchen window

The stage from the back yard

The stage from the park

The boardwalk extension behind the elementary school and the playing fields is almost complete - the board part is in, joined to the existing boardwalk at the gazebo. Walking along it yesterday, we discovered there are cement bases poured for street lighting all the way along.

Boardwalk along edge of Back Harbour - against the playing fields fences.

Closeup of entrance to new section of boardwalk

The widening of Brighton Road into town is complete - there is now a good 5-6 feet wide path on the outside of new barriers almost all the way along the walking trail section of the road. Now it would be nice if the town would add 2 or 3 benches for walkers to pause and enjoy the views across the Back Harbour and out to Carter's Island Lighthouse.

More pictures of Lockeport in the 1800's/early 1900's have been posted as murals on many town buildings. They look very nice and are a good tribute to the local heritage.

Several board fences have appeared around town, improving some of the not-so-interesting views like the Clearwater parking lot. There are also new planters at the corner of Hall and Beech along the edge of the parking lot - lots of nice dirt was sitting there yesterday waiting to be shovelled into them.

The museum is supposed to be being moved to the corner of North and Spruce - no preparation on the lot yet. Hopefully this will happen before any more rogue storms or hurricanes inundate it again. The annex is not going to be moved apparently so its expected lifespan must be very short at this point.

Atlantic Waves has become the Beech Street Studio and Cafe - there have been many renovations to the 2 buildings, roofs, doors, siding, interior - very nicely cleaned up.

A few other areas in town have been cleaned up too - the town sent out notices of unsightly properties and if the owner doesn't fix them up the town will or tear them down. It's worked in several cases so far. The old bank building is still a major eyesore.

In other news, the silly piping plover signs are back on the beach. In the last 5 years the plover habitat has been completely washed away by storms, the beach is much narrower than it was at high tide, the dunes are almost gone and likely this year our road into town will be completely breached by a storm and we will truly be an island again. This is the result of Natural Resources refusing to let the town do any work on shoring up the dunes along the road because of the plovers - they were wiped out last year by Hurricane Bill (the one pair which was nesting there) and the habitat reduced by about 75% in one day. No sign of any birds (or anywhere for them to nest either) but the signs are back "just in case" and in the meantime the museums flood, the road floods, the schoolyard floods, the playing fields flood, and the local economy is 1 storm away from devastation - the waves break over the dunes now when there is simply a high-tide at a full moon.

Harmony Bazaar has been sponsoring a lot of concerts - small local ones and some in Yarmouth and at the Osprey in Shelburne - last night it was a female comedy lineup called Hot Mess. They are providing lots of opportunities for an assortment of performers to be seen and heard, growing the Festival and its reputation.

The Farmers' Market is returning in Sable River at the end of May - this year the meat, produce etc will be sold on Thursdays at Deckers and the yard sale, baking etc will be sold Saturdays at the Irving. Hope the Thursday works out since it conflicts with those who still work for a living, but it was the only day Meadowbrook Farms could come and they were the cornerstone of the market last year. We'll definitely go - fresh meat, honey, produce, homemade pasta, freshly caught fish, baking, jams, jellies, plants, hot soup, BBQ - lots of good things and a great social event every week. Looking forward to it.

There is actually a NEW store in Shelburne - Bev's Cakes and Sweets - in the Loyalist Plaza by the Home Furniture Store. I'm assuming it's the lady from Sandy Point who makes the fabulous cakes - Cindy brought one to our Thanksgiving dinner last year. This fills a void left when Shelburne pastry closed 2-3 years ago.

Lobster news- the price is still depressed, around $4.00/lb or less to the lobstermen. This is just when the local season moves back into high gear usually as the weather and water are warmer and the lobster are moving again.

That's all for now - talk to you again in a few weeks when we get back (unless I flood my blog with grandkid news from Ottawa) - :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Harmony Bazaar 2010

Early bird tickets are available now until April 30th for $40. Come join us for fantastic music July 23-25, 2010. Main Headliners are Quartette (with Sylvia Tyson). Let me know if you want me to get you tickets.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pictures Around Town

View from the Lookoff - looking south, note absence of old derelict building on Water St. - improves the view.

Quiet at the beach, low-tide and pristine today.

The new cottage at the east end of the beach - being built for 2 lawyers from Yarmouth - it's lost its shingles a couple of times with storms apparently. Looks nice, but dangerously close to high tide mark.

Side view of cottage

Where the old building on Water St sat - demolished by town after nor'easter in early March destroyed roof. The town offered to knock down the old bank building too -as you can see in the picture below it suffered a great deal of damage in the storm too - holes in the roof, front supports demolished - I doubt it can be saved in the long run but the owners turned down the town.

The area of the old bank building repaired earlier this winter - too little too late, methinks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nose to the Grindstone

I've been admonished because I haven't been writing anything - there is a good reason for that. We have been away for 3 1/2 months and just got back to Lockeport last week. I guess I should have posted some Ottawa and Pensacola musings to keep the masses happy. Anyway, to keep Annette and Fred happy, here's some info on the state of things in Lockport.

On the up side here are some positive items:

1. Construction on the new stage beside the Firehall is going ahead.

2. Brighton Road is to be widened for some sort of improved walking path/sidewalk which will make the Lockeport Walking Trail much nicer.

3. Construction of the boardwalk behind the playing fields to downtown is set to start soon.

4. Harmony Bazaar (July 23-25) now has an office in the Post Office building - Errin is doing another great job. Headliners this year are Quartette with Sylvia Tyson. Advance tickets are on sale ($40). There have been several extra events this year sponsored and promoted by HB, which have improved the social life over the winter apparently.

5. Some preliminary repairs have been made to the old bank building on Water Street - the back porch area was repaired. Still a lot to be done but maybe the McFarlane's are going to do something to preserve it - we can only hope: it's such an interesting looking building and a prime location.

6. Some real estate seems to be moving - there is an offer pending on the Mason's building on Spruce (where Atlantic Waves used to be) and the house beside the post office on Beech has sold.

7. The SHYC completed renovations to install an elevator and also the building for the long boats - both were very well done. The boat house is very attractive and the elevator (actually a stair chair lift, all that was really required) goes straight up into what was the back room used by the sailing school which has its own space since last year and is no longer needed. The 2 rooms were blended into one very nicely. I think it was On Shore Construction that did it - if so, it's an excellent recommendation for their work.

8. The Lockeport schools have become UNESCO partner schools which will enrich the curriculum and future for the students - this was a proposal that came out of the Revitalization Study (Dayle Eshelby) for the town - I'm glad such an innovative suggestion was acted on so quickly. A government study has suggested that the schools here should STAY OPEN because of their contribution to the community - that is good news, now we need to find something to keep young families here.

On the down side:

1. There was an enormous storm (nor'easter) in early March before we got back - winds of 133km/hr. Lots of trees down, waves over the dunes again (they are really getting beaten down now), one of the old buildings on Water was severely damaged and has now been taken down, we lost a piece of fascia (actually it was down by Bill and Phoebe's house so we have a template), the new "cottage" at the east end of Crescent Beach lost a lot of shingles (most of the locals don't seem to care too much about that!).

2. Tourism will be decimated this year with the demise of the Cat Ferry and the refusal of the NDP government to provide any subsidy to a ferry service. The whole South Shore will suffer a great deal, I am sure.

3. The lobster season has been very poor apparently and the price is depressed again. December was stormy and little trapping could be done when the lobstermen usually earn about 70% of their annual income. Not good for the local economy and future.

4. Everything is very quiet here still - The Parrot's Pins and The Bayman (Upper East Green Harbour) are the only restaurants open. I heard a rumour that The Town & Country is not opening at all this year (unless someone buys it) - hope that's not true.

I'll wander around and get some pictures to post when the rainy weather improves. Listening for additional news too.