Bluenose II sitting pretty in Lunenburg

The newly rebuilt Bluenose II sits at Lunenburg Foundry at the innermost part of the harbour. Sails and rigging make the job seem complete from a distance, though I’m sure there’s lots going on below decks. She’s a beauty.

Bluenose II
Bluenose II at Lunenburg Foundry, October 24, 2013.
Photo by Heather Holm


Lunenburg MLA Pam Birdsall reaches out with her website

Pam Birdsall in Canada Day parade

Just wanted to put in a plug for Lunenburg MLA Pam Birdsall and her website.

I first saw Pam years ago when we both had booths at the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council shows. Pam was a force behind that organization, as well as local business organizations and community groups like Second Story Women’s Centre, all while co-running Birdsall-Worthington Pottery Ltd. and raising a family.

Among her other legislative duties, Pam is chairing the committee to set up Arts Nova Scotia.

Pam would like her website to bring government and people closer together. Nova Scotia being a small and friendly place, its can happen.

Cams Across Canada Fujifilm contest and the FinePix S1800

Blogging has brought an unexpected opportunity.  Out of the blue, I was invited, along with a number of other bloggers, to participate in a cross-Canada photography contest using Fujifilm digital cameras.  I was sent a Fujifilm FinePix S1800 to play with, and I’ve been happily shooting away, looking especially hard for beauty in a season when we tend to focus our attention indoors, chasing sunrises, carrying a tripod around and exploring the features of this fun camera.

The S1800 is a consumer-level camera, currently selling for under $200. It makes me look like a serious photographer as I walk around town, but it isn’t actually a D-SLR. Its range of features are a result of how computer technology has advanced. It certainly provides a lot of bang for the buck.

I can enter 10 photos in the competition. My submissions are included in recent posts, including an instructional article about taking panoramas with the Fujifilm FinePix S1800. Here are a couple of shots taken one evening in Lunenburg. I’ll be adding to some of the photo album galleries soon.

Other entries can be seen on Cams Across Canada’s site on Flickr.

St. John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg
St. John's Church, Lunenburg, with Lunenburg Bay visible in the distance. I like the contrast between the straight lines of the church's exterior decor and the curves of the branches.
J3 Pizza shop in Lunenburg, NS
Pizza night in Lunenburg. Even lobsters like pizza.

A picture out of time

draft horses and wooden sloop
On the beach, it could have been 100 years ago.

The wooden gaff-rigged sloop was on its way from Lunenburg to Mahone Bay.  But the cable used to raise the centerboard had broken.  So the sailor ran her up on Bachman’s Beach, on Second Peninsula, hoping to fix her at low tide.

The team of draft horses was in training, as usual, and was pulling a sledge.  Their driver brings them down to the beach to cool off.  We’d met them before, a couple of years ago, on this beach.

The hull of the sloop was built by David Westergard from a half-model he’d found.  (Westergard is currently building a couple of schooners at the Dory Shop in Lunenburg.)  Only after he’d built it did he learn that it was a particular Pubnico type of fishing vessel that was often fitted with a make-or-break engine.    The sailor (whose name escaped me; add a comment if you read this) had rigged the boat  himself and was bringing it to Mahone Bay for the schooner races.

“Are the schooner races part of Chester Race Week?” I asked, naively.

“Not at all.”

“Do the schooners eschew Chester Race Week?”

“Fiberglass Race Week!”

Right.  The folks who perpetuate the skills of wooden boat building live in a different universe from the carbon fiber and kevlar world of the most serious racers.  But they sail the same waters.

And so do we, on short overnight cruises in our 32-year-old fiberglass sailboat, not belonging to one group or the other, but glad to admire both, from a respectful distance.

Draft horses on beach
Draft horses cool down at Bachman's Beach, July 2008

Summer Day Camps at the South Shore Waldorf School

Children dance with butterfly wings at the South Shore Waldorf School. Click photo to visit camp descriptions.

Looking for activities for your creative kid(s) this summer?  Maybe you’ll be visiting Nova Scotia and would like something special for the children to do while you’re on the South Shore visiting Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Chester, LaHave, Rissers Beach etc.

Every summer, a group of creative artists, theatre folk and teachers have been hosting Day Camps at the South Shore Waldorf School in Blockhouse, near Mahone Bay.  For little ones aged 3-7 there is the “Morning Glory” program, and for an older age group, variously 4-12, there is “Summer Arts“, including a week for early teens aged 12-15 in August.   You can attend for just a day or for a week at a time.  Programs and teachers change from week to week, so check out the program.

The school is in a beautiful, natural setting with fields, woods, swings and other play structures, and an enclosed play area for little ones.  The school itself is a beautiful old building with lots of character, polished by 100 years of little hands and footsteps.  A new annex has expanded the school’s capacity to provide art and nature based education in the Waldorf tradition.

Tourists are very welcome at the Day Camps.  Some of the teachers speak German or French.

Nova Scotia Fridge Magnets from CafePress: A Hostess Gift

Nova Scotia fridge magnets
Rectangle magnets from Café Press

If you’ve ever clicked on “Gift Shop” at the top, you’ll know that I’ve set up a CafePress shop with Nova Scotia gifts. I’ve ordered products from the shop myself, and have generally been pleased with the quality.

My favourite item is the rectangle fridge magnets. I just had a bunch made up with a Lunenburg scene in the background and the satellite image of Nova Scotia in the foreground. I’ll be using them as hostess gifts when travelling outside the province. They just arrived in the mail, and they’re really nice. The photo shows one of them along with others I’d ordered previously.

CafePress ships by mail from the US. Depending on what and how much you order, and perhaps on luck, you may have to pay duty and taxes on items shipped to Canada. In my limited experience so far, small packages of printed materials come right through. I ordered some T-shirts and had to pay what seemed like a lot of duty. Same with mugs. But the package of 10 fridge magnets arrived in my mailbox directly. And with the Canadian dollar near par, it’s a good time to order.

Community Theatre: The Three Musketeers

Boo the bad guys, cheer the good guys and coo at the young lovers. That’s the traditional British Pantomime style: no stiff upper lip, no hoity-toity “theatah, dahling,” just good Fun for the Folks in a form that dates back centuries. And no, it has nothing to do with the gentle “mime” of Marcel Marceau. Except that this year’s play takes place in Paris, where you might go to that windmill place to dine on a Folly Burger, and see a tower that’s quite an eye-full. (Get it?)

South Shore Players‘ all-new, original, “The Three Musketeers” has finished its two-weekend run to full houses in the Pearl Theatre in Lunenburg, amazing us again at the wealth of talent around here. The sheer volume of effort that goes into such a community production contributes hugely to local spirit and culture, and the quality of the result instills pride and loyalty to the place.

Written by Jon Allen and Dave Brumwell, two transplanted Brits with fine comedic skills and a love of playing to a crowd in outrageous costumes, “The Three Musketeers” was full of cleverness and punnyness. Cross-dressing was so prominent that it seemed not to matter whether a part was being played by a man or a woman. Never mind that there are always more women trying out for parts than men, this is a traditional feature of “panto” that gives a delicious freedom to the imagination of both actors and audience, and makes for a lot of laughs.

Half a dozen musicians formed a very fine orchestra which endured numerous disparaging jokes from the actors, all in good fun.

Students from local schools were encouraged to contribute jokes and the winners each had a night to participate in the play, in costume and makeup, thus gaining a first experience on stage.

The Christmas Pantomime has become a multi-generational family tradition for us. Maybe one of us will someday take part….

Helping a friend

Jennifer Collins with two friends who shaved their heads on Sept. 12 to raise money for her
Jennifer Collins with Laurie Flavin and Ann Miller who shaved their heads on Sept. 12 to raise money for her

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.

You can read more and donate money to Jennifer at

Larinda rises again

Larinda's figurehead frog in a new coat of paint
Larinda's figurehead frog in a new coat of paint

The highlight of the Tall Ships visiting Lunenburg was seeing Larinda. She’s a replica of a 1767 schooner, built over a period of 26 years by Larry Mahan of Barnstable, Mass.  She was a labour of love, full of wood carvings and fancy and fun. Mahan sailed her in many Tall Ships events, where she was much admired. Then in 2003, having taken shelter in Halifax Harbour during Hurricane Juan, she was rammed by another ship during the storm and sank, right next to a sewerage outlet. It was a big mess, and Mahan despaired of ever being able to repair her.

Larinda's stern, reflected in the water
Larinda's stern, reflected in the water of Lunenburg Harbour

The salvaged boat was bought by a Nova Scotia couple who live on St. Margaret’s Bay, and is being carefully restored.  Larinda didn’t actually make it to the Halifax Tall Ships event, and hasn’t been fully rigged yet. But she was towed to Lunenburg and rafted up alongside the schooner Unicorn, from whose deck we could admire her. Larinda is sporting a new colour scheme of black, white and bronze instead of green and off-white (see photos of Larinda before the sinking).  Her distinctive red battened junk sails were irreparably damaged, and her new sails will be white. The frog in the tricorner hat still graces her bow, and her brasswork is shiny.

Larinda truly is a special ship.  It will be exciting to see her sail again.

Larinda's deck, with graceful carvings, is being restored.
Larinda's deck, with graceful carvings, is being restored.