Charles D. Maginley of Mahone Bay (who happens to be my stepfather) has been collecting old flags and plates featuring the heraldry of Canada for some years. He’s a former naval officer and Canadian Coast Guard instructor, and has authored some books on the history of the Canadian Coast Guard, so the flags are a bit of a sideline.
He put together a talk about the Canadian Red Ensign, formerly the official flag of Canada before we got the Maple Leaf Flag in 1965. He has presented the talk, along with real flags and pictures of ships sailing them, to several groups such as the Master Mariners and the gatherings of sailing aficionados one finds around Lunenburg.
It’s a specialized window on history which true history buffs find interesting. I thought his talk should get immortalized on YouTube so that such people who are not so fortunate to live in our local part of Nova Scotia will be able to find it.
One of her tunes, “Stone and Sand”, from the Rose Vaughan Trio’s 1993 Fire in the Snow album, is featured in this video:
Rose’s songs have been going around in my head lately, as well as on my DVD player, because she recently hired me to get her songs online so people could buy them digitally.
I was delighted to be asked, as I’ve known Rose since the 1990s and even played a little accordion on her Winter Rose album. Cathy Porter, a consummate musician who did most of the Trio’s arranging and has gone on to be a sought-after side performer with some of Nova Scotia’s biggest stars, also enhanced the sound of bands I was in back then – much smaller stars in the firmament, I assure you.
Their music was part of my life in the years after I returned to Nova Scotia and before I had my family. They’re lovely human beings whom I feel privileged to know.
Each of Rose’s songs paints a story. The music is gentle and melodic, and the lyrics thoughtful and introspective. I can’t claim to be objective because of the nostalgia factor, but I’m truly enjoying listening to the albums again.
It has been a cold winter, except when it thawed of course, as it usually does once in January before the snow locks us in again.
The snow we had in December, which made us happy at Christmas, had melted completely by January 15, exposing the coldframes and mini hoop houses in my garden.
Peeling off the layers of plastic and row cover on the mini hoop house showed that there was lettuce within, still looking perky after the deep freeze.
No wonder; its name is “Merveille de quatre saisons” – which you could translate as “Four-Season Wonder”.
If you pick your plants well, plant them at the right time, and shelter them adequately, you can indeed eat from the garden year round.
Niki Jabbour, who lives and gardens not far from me, and also has a radio show on gardening, has written a wonderful guide to year-round gardening (left). It is inspiring many people like me to expect more from our gardens.
When the hoops are iced up, however, and the coldframes piled high with snow, I yearn for a greenhouse.
Wynand was sporting the sleek street Segway model while Max was roadtesting the fat-tired all-terrain version, complete with racey fenders. The knobby tires give an advantage on rough roads, but there’s a sacrifice in range compared to the street model of these electric-powered standup vehicles.
I tried out a Segway some years ago in PEI (left). While it was fun, I wondered where it would find its market. It’s slower than a bicycle and faster than walking, and usually I want the exercise.
Wynand pointed out that he goes back and forth between the Kayak Shack and the Hotel many times a day, and a Segway would be more convenient than a bicycle and save walking time.
Large airports and warehouses are other places where a Segway doesn’t go fast enough to cause accidents but can increase efficiency.
Furthermore, you can wear it with anything, though high heels might handicap your ability to maneuver it.
The Kayak Shack will be offering guided Segway tours this summer! From the hotel, which overlooks Oak Island, the rail trail leads nicely to Crandall Road which is 1.4 km long and ends at the Oak Island causeway. Tours of Oak Island itself may happen, but the view at the causeway provides a great destination itself.
So I expect to see groups of these quiet vehicles humming down our road this summer. They’re quiet enough that you can have a conversation, so we’ll hear the voices before we hear the hum.
Here’s a little video illustrating that effect. You can even hear the birds!
The other day I was contacted by a local chiropractor, Laurie Flavin, who asked if I could help with setting up a web page with a PayPal “DONATE” button so people could help her friend, Jennifer Collins, who lives just outside Lunenburg.
Jennifer, an active mother of 3 boys in their 20s, broke her neck in a freak accident while horsing around with one of her sons last February and was instantly rendered quadriplegic. As she says, she knew right away what had happened because her body went numb, but she stayed calm for her son and asked him to call 911.
Jennifer is blessed with good friends, a supportive family and a positive attitude towards getting better. Right now, as she leaves rehab, her needs are material: a specialized exercise bike that stimulates muscle-nerve connections electrically, and a wheelchair van. Her dream is to get stem cell treatment, but that will involve a trip out of the country. Ultimately, she hopes to be able to take golf lessons as she had been planning before the accident.