As much as I’ve neglected this blog, I’ve been even worse with my other blog … the one for my Vivero Glass jewelry business. Finally I’ve updated it with some more recent photos and links to the bricks & mortar stores selling my work. And naturally there is a link to my Etsy shop as well. Today I fired a whole batch of new buttons and pendants, mostly destined for St Andrews NB, but some will end up on Etsy too.

Have a look … and send all your friends there too ;o)

It’s a long time now since we came back from Newfoundland. Writing all those long-winded descriptions of our trip and uploading all of the photos wore me out. Tonight, two months or so later, I could barely remember how to log into my blog.

This fall I’m not expecting to write frequent updates. It’s a very busy time at The Loop, as the last of the cruise ship passengers filter through Halifax. (Cruise ship visits to our fair city are highest in September and October.) Everyone else seems to be starting to think about holiday knitting, so that, along with a full schedule of knitting classes, is keeping us hopping.

In the evenings, or some afternoons when I don’t have to be at The Loop, I’m spending a lot of time working on my glass business. My Etsy site is going well and I’m doing my best to update it (while trying not to make too many purchases from other Etsy sellers!). For those of you in the Halifax area, my pendants will soon be available at a very cool new shop on Birmingham Street called “Love, me”. Love, me Boutique sells a lovely range of hand-crafted clothing, jewelry and household items, all Canadian-made. I expect to have my pendants in there by the end of October. Swing by and check it out – it’s only a couple of doors over from Woozles.

It’s also a busy fall for my (decidedly non-crafty) consulting work. I’m helping to develop a collaborative planning process to develop and implement an integrated management framework for activities taking place in waters off the south coast of Nova Scotia – ESSIM, for the acronym fans among you. It’s a fascinating process that I’ve been involved in for years, in my former incarnation as a person with a real job, so I’m glad to be able to continue helping it move forward.

Let’s see, what else … I’m on a couple of boards, one for my condo and I’m also a new member of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s Board of Management. The DHBC work is fascinating, and it’s increasing my knowledge and curiosity about the city and the things that happen here. Tomorrow night I’m even going to sit in on a city council meeting to hear the presentation the DHBC will be making to council. (You can bet I’ll bring my knitting!)

So these are my excuses for neglecting this blog lately. But I still might be reading yours now and then ;o)

I can’t even find any photos to go with what I wrote above, it’s just not visual enough. Once a long long time ago I threatened to write posts about a box of my old correspondence I found. So here are a couple of scans of a postcard I received when I was much much younger and my life was even less settled and more unpredictable.

I love how what’s written on the postcard seems very cryptic or esoteric or something, like a secret language.

As you can see from the front of the card, it is the language of skydivers. I was a young skydiver way back when. I had forgotten this postcard and when I found it, I was pleased to recall that I used to know someone who would mail me to tell me about where he had left his Cessna aircraft engine and how he was getting a new one. This was the guy who first taught me to freefall. Ah, those were the days, when there was nothing better than getting to abandon yourself to the utter freedom and thrill of gravity, for 30 seconds or more at a time. Once you get to know what you are doing, 30 or 40 seconds can be enough time to get a lot done. In particular I was into three-ways … that is, jumping with my two buddies and we would practice our relative work (RW) manoeuvres, seeing how many positions or “points” we could complete before it was time to open our chutes.

Good times. I wonder if I’ll ever get to jump from an airplane again.

So much for reminiscences, I should be working (or sleeping) shouldn’t I.

In Gros Morne National park, there are many hiking trails that range in difficulty from wheelchair-accessible to remote unmarked backwoods trails. One of the major challenges for the average visitor is the climb of Gros Morne itself. I knew I was going to do it again (I did it in 1998), but I can’t exactly say I was looking forward to it. Molly the dog was not allowed on the mountain, so we were puzzled at first about how we would manage the climb, since we couldn’t leave her in a tent all day. In the end Bill’s older daughter J made the sacrifice of staying back at the campsite with Molly while the rest of us went for the climb.

 

The day we chose turned out be a perfect clear, sunny summer day. I was psyched and ready. The parking lot was overflowing when we got there around 11:00 a.m. and started off.  Gros Morne trail consists of a 16 km loop. The first 4 km rise about 300 metres up through mixed forest to the base of the mountain itself.

Thar she blows!  

 

“The Gully” comes next, and is the ascent up the mountain. It presents the most strenuous part of the hike (or so I remembered). This section is pretty much a 45 degree slope, consisting entirely of loose scree and small boulders. I am not in very good shape so that part took me probably close to 90 minutes to climb.

 

Bill and M were way ahead of me, and had plenty of time to kill once they got to the top, waiting for me.

 

I insisted they not wait with me. I just took my time and climbed at my own pace. I ended up having a lot of time alone, just me and the mountain. That surprised me a bit … I expected to have other climbers catching up and passing me now and then, but I ended up having a solitary climb which I enjoyed. I even got to see a little mouse scurrying among the rocks during one of my rest stops. 

 

The Gully, about 3/4 of the way up 

 

 

That black speck is me … Bill took this one from the top of The Gully. 

 

The summit was beautiful, as I remembered. The day was sunny and overall quite warm, but on top of the mountain we were all glad we had brought another layer of clothing to put on in the chillier wind. The trail is stone on stone, hard to see at some points. We enjoyed a little picnic overlooking a fjord then carried on strolling along the flat trail, surrounded by spectacular panoramic views

 

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The flat terrain was a relief, after the grueling climb up The Gully. We didn’t see any of the resident caribou or arctic hares, but we did see a mother ptarmigan with two chicks. Before long it was time for the descent. I found the descent pleasant at first, but it just seemed to go on and on and on. The footing was rocky and uneven for what seemed like hours; it must have been two or three kilometres. I didn’t take a photo during that stretch because I was so busy watching every foot placement on the way down, and I wasn’t really enjoying this part of the trail.

 

I was so glad to finally get back to the base of the mountain. After that, the 4 km return through the original forest trail was a piece of cake. Hikers are advised to plan for 6 to 8 hours to complete the 16 kilometre trail. We took seven hours, though without me Bill and M could have done it in six. Needless to say, I slept well that night.

 

The next day we were ready to leave Gros Morne and start making our way south toward the ferry home. We had one more night and hadn’t yet decided where to stay. Rain was coming, so we knew we wanted to be indoors again for our last night on The Rock. We wanted to rent another cabin so we could stretch out and reorganize our belongings, and just cook some of the food we had left. All the cabin places I called from the car had their answering machines on! So I called an inn even though Bill and I aren’t usually “inn” people. The folks at the Inn At The Cape out on Cape St George were actually answering their phone. The owner confirmed that they had a room for four people (the under-12-year-old was free), one small dog, with supper and breakfast included for $115 plus tax. Too good to be true? Sounded great to us. We headed for the Port-au-Port Peninsula, a part of western Newfoundland I had never been to before.

 

A beautiful scenic drive for a couple of hours brought us to the inn. We were warmly welcomed and had about half an hour to settle in before supper time. We had a little stroll and checked out the view of the ocean from the balcony. No whales … but we did see some the next morning.

 

 

We hadn’t had a proper lunch so we were more than ready for the incredible buffet set out, with half a dozen hot meat or seafood entrees, at least half a dozen delicious salads, and homemade wine that tasted just fine.

 

Our room was spacious, immaculately clean, and had homemade quilts on the beds.

 

 

Bill and I couldn’t get over how pleased we were to have found the place, and wished we were staying for three nights. I had one of those nights where I just didn’t get tired, and I stayed up knitting my Hedera lace sock until 1 a.m. while everyone else slept.

 

 

Next morning, we enjoyed a hearty buffet breakfast before we set off on the drive to Port Aux Basques.

 

If you ever go to Newfoundland, you really should stay at The Inn At The Cape. We will definitely be back there.

 

Our ferry wasn’t leaving until midnight, so we had a full day to explore. Did I mention that there is only one alpaca farm in Newfoundland, and it was right down the road from the Inn, in Felix Cove?  

 

 

A rainbow of natural alpaca colours

 

 

“I’m a llama, thank you very much. Now where’s the food?” 

 

We enjoyed a lengthy stop there to visit the alpacas and their guard llamas. I was disappointed that they didn’t have any yarn for sale from their own animals; they were only selling finished goods (knitted and woven).

 

But they had Scotsburn ice cream which made up for it a little tiny bit.

 

From fibre animals to folk art! Continuing our exploration of the peninsula, we saw this house, and I was impressed.

 

 

Then a few kilometres down the road, this one was even more amazing.  

 

 

I could see someone touching up the paint, so I had to stop and let her know how much I admired her lawn. She said that the red and white place back down the road was her ” ‘usband’s fadder’s” place. She told me that her husband builds the structures, and she paints them. They add new ones each year. Notice the colour coordination with the shutters on the house. Later on I was wondering if they ever change the accent colour. It was clear that they paint them every year, because every single sculpture was brilliant glossy white and pink.

Click to enlarge. You know you want to.

 

While on the Port-au-Port peninsula, we also visited Picadilly Beach, a lovely sandy beach that does not match most people’s mental image of Newfoundland. We all enjoyed it, but Molly had the most fun. We could hardly get her out of the water when it was time to go.

 

 

Once we got  Molly back in the car and drying off, it was time to say goodbye to the Port-au-Port peninsula and head south again.

 

We had heard that the road to Rose Blanche was a must-see, and we didn’t manage to head that way until nearly dusk. We had a take-out supper at the little restaurant at the Burnt Islands Hook & Line fishing museum. The museum featured this mural of old-style hand-line fishing.

 

The landscape along Route 470 was strikingly stark and beautiful, and that’s saying a lot after ten days in western Newfoundland. Unfortunately the light was fading and I could hardly get a decent photo.

 

 

At the very end of the road, the historic Rose Blanche lighthouse was a mysterious hulk glowing red in the dusky distance. The Parks Canada site was closed so we couldn’t get closer to it than this.

 

This tantalizing glimpse (photo by Bill) seemed like a fitting end to our trip, making sure that we left with the feeling that we must come back! Next time … the southern coast of Newfoundland, visiting the remote roadless outports by ferry?

 

Heading south from St Anthony, we figured we would stop for the night wherever our fancy struck us. We wandered along the French Shore (on the eastern side of the Northern Peninsula) but nothing struck us, so we found ourselves heading back toward the west coast as night was falling. The tourism guide showed us a private campground called Three Mile Lake Campground and we made that our destination, arriving at 8:30 as dusk was just starting to fall. At first it looked like a nice campground. The rope gate was down, and a note at the gate said to go ahead and find a site, and someone would be around at 9 p.m. to collect payment. Good timing. But as we drove through the campground, to most of us it became quickly evident that something wasn’t right.

 

The individual campsites were attractive, well-designed, nestled in the woods above the lake. But they clearly hadn’t been used in a long time. The grass in each site was a couple of feet high, growing right up into the bbq-pit-on-a-stick fireplaces. The road was in terribly rough condition. Not a soul was about, nor any sign of human activity. The dusk was growing and it was spooky. Since a ghost story or two had made an appearance during our previous three nights camping, our reactions to this scene were natural. In particular, the girls and I began to imagine all the worst case scenarios. We would get back to the entrance to find the gate closed, locking us in, and the 9 p.m. reappearance of ‘someone’ would not be favourable to us. We concocted gruesomely silly scenarios until we even got Bill spooked. We made it safely out of there before 9 p.m. and now the pressure was on to find a place to sleep before dark.

 

Bill’s wish came true, that we would do at least a little bit of ‘gravel pit camping’ which is a Newfoundland tradition. I spotted a likely road on the map so we followed it until it ended at the coast. We found a nice secluded beach not far from Plum Point where we pitched our tents as the last light left the sky. The thing about a northern Newfoundland summer night is, unless it’s actually raining, it doesn’t really get fully dark. The wide-open sky above the beach, with the lights of New Ferolle winking in the distance, provided a peaceful backdrop.

 

 

We enjoyed the morning alone at our beach campsite, but a rain shower brought breakfast to an end and it was time to head toward Gros Morne – after a detour to see the thrombolites at Flower’s Cove.

 

The old wharf at Flower’s Cove had the saddest collection of old fishing boats I’ve seen. They were perched optimistically up on their stilty things, which seems to indicate that their owners anticipated that the cod moratorium would only be a  temporary setback. Fifteen years later … these boats were positively ghostly, appearing almost ready to head to sea.

 

We continued south to Gros Morne National Park, where for the next three nights we camped at the Berry Hill campground. The campground has three or four sections, and for some reason the one we liked best had no other campers in it. None, for all three nights. The sign indicating the road into it was missing from its post, so that might have been the reason. We were slightly puzzled by this but enjoyed having the whole area to ourselves.

 

 

Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site on account of its unique geology. The Tablelands are a striking feature of the area. They are formed from a layer of the earth that is normally way underground, but the movement of tectonic plates forced this mass up onto the surface. It was once attached to land masses that now are part of Africa and Europe. It is a truly striking landscape, quite distinct from the landmasses all around it.

 

 

Yes that is snow on the Tablelands, in early August. This was the only place we got a photo of all of us together.

 

 

One day we explored a coastal trail out to Green Point. The trail skirts the ocean along the edge of the ‘tuckamore’, which is the name given to the dense growth of spruce that is typical of the region. \

 

 

Some of us enjoyed exploring the hobbit-like habitat that had formed under the tuckamore. This was an easy trail, a little wet in spots but completely flat. A pleasant walk but not much of a warm-up for the Gros Morne trail.

 

Next: Part 3, in which we tackle Gros Morne mountain, explore the Port-au-Port Pensinsula, then head for home.

A couple of notes about this post: 1. it’s quite long. But parts 2 and 3 will be shorter. 2. I don’t know why there is so much random white space. It doesn’t appear that way in the editing interface, so I don’t know how to get rid of it.

Right at the end of July, we went to Newfoundland to explore its western coast. Fifteen hours before our planned departure, we decided to rent a car: a Toyota Camry. Between its huge trunk and the additional space inside, it held as much stuff as the Civic with a storage thingie on top. This was to be a camping trip, so we had lots of stuff. The four-door format made it really comfortable for everyone: Cathy, Bill, Bill’s two daughters, and Molly the dog. Can’t forget Bob and Patrick. They go everywhere in Bill’s Civic so it didn’t seem right to leave them behind.

 

 

Our destination was the west coast of Newfoundland. Our ferry departed from North Sydney a few hours late, and it wasn’t until we had nearly arrived in Port-aux-Basques that we learned that the delay had been caused by a bomb threat. Lovely. The upside was that instead of arriving at 2 a.m. or so, we arrived at 7 a.m. and didn’t have to drive in the dark, which everyone recommends you do not do in Newfoundland. Because of the moose, you see.

 

We had a general plan for the trip, which was: drive, drive north, until we could drive north no more. Spend a few days in the northernmost part of the Great Northern Peninsula, then head back south to Gros Morne National Park for a few days. Then mosey back south to the ferry home. Ten days total. (My written rambling is pretty long so I have divided this up into three parts.)

We started to drive north and since the forecast was for rain, we decided to spend that first night under a roof. It was also a good idea because of our long and not very restful night waiting for, and on, the ferry. We decided to stop in the Corner Brook area and it soon became evident that this was going to be my kinda town.

 


Shelter, Food, Gas, and Knitting!

We went a little past Corner Brook, to Cox’s Cove where Islandview Cabins provided us with a lovely place to cook, sleep, and shelter from the rain for an extremely reasonable price. You should go there.

 

The next day we drove north to Pistolet Bay Provincial Park, which is almost as far north as you can go. We found a campsite then had supper in Raleigh at the Burnt Cape Café. I was pretty pleased to see a few business named after Burnt Cape, because of a visit I made there in 1998. In 1998 I had the privilege of traveling the Northern Peninsula with the Braya Recovery Team, as part of my work supporting projects to study and protect species at risk. Two tiny plant species – Long’s Braya and Fernald’s Braya – are found in very few places in the world. They thrive in harsh limestone barren habitat, and Burnt Cape is one of the few places in the world that both occur. In 1998 I learned that Raleigh was struggling in the wake of the closure of the commercial cod fishery. On that earlier trip I met some folks who used to work in the fishery who were restoring a former gravel quarry site to facilitate the recovery of the rare plants. Now Burnt Cape has been designated as a provincial ‘ecological reserve’, and a few businesses in the small community of Raleigh cater to tourists who like a rugged, off-the-beaten path destination.

Frost polygons are formed as the gravelly substrate thaws and freezes repeatedly over centuries. Larger pebbles form a ring around the centre of the smaller rocks.

We stayed at Pistolet Bay Provincial Park for three nights so we would have enough time to visit the whole area. It is a small campground with good facilities, and ample evidence of moose. This was our kitchen platform:


This is the moose poop that was right beside it.

We saw at least two moose wandering through the campground one night; later, at 5 a.m., Bill and Molly and I lay as still as we could in the tent, listening to a moose chomping on leaves right outside our tent. It seemed that we saw at least one moose every time we got in the car in the Raleigh / St Anthony area.

 

We spent a day in the St Anthony area. It was cold and windy when we got to Fishing Point, which is the end of the road through St Anthony’s. There is a scenic lighthouse, a restaurant and a couple of hiking trails. On the day we were there, the sea was teeming with whales. It seemed that everywhere we looked, we could see the backs of whales slipping through the surface of the water accompanied by the spray from their blows.

 

The water behind me was practically churning with whales.

 

After watching what seemed like dozens of whales from the top of the cliff, we found ourselves heading up the “Daredevil Trail” which was an effective way to warm up in the chill wind. We wanted to do some hiking every day to prepare for our anticipated climb of Gros Morne mountain in the days ahead. The dreaded Gros Morne … I climbed it in 1999 or 2000, and it was very difficult for me. In 2004 I wimped out and let Bill climb it himself. This time I thought I wanted to do it, but can’t say I was looking forward to it.

But I digress. At Fishing Point, Daredevil Trail itself wasn’t too difficult because it mostly consisted of a very high, steep staircase.

 

The view from the top was, of course, worth the effort.

 

The next day in the farthest north part of NL had a Viking theme. We went to the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site to learn about the only Viking settlement in North America. We enjoyed the archaeological evidence and the ruins, and had a nice time hanging out in the longhouse with the Vikings. The ladies were working on some handicrafts – embroidery and nallbinding – which were naturally of interest to me. And the chieftain’s wife had some pretty nice bling that I was coveting.

Above: Covetous glances at the Viking glass beads

On our way out of the site, we saw the ultimate Newfoundland scene. We saw many moose during our trip, and we saw several icebergs, but this was the only time we saw iceberg and moose at the same time. And not just A moose, but THREE moose: mommy, daddy and baby. This is a real photo. Should be in National Geographic don’t you think?

 

 

Our next Viking stop was Norstead, [link] another recreated Viking village. This one had a larger population and included a greeter, Lamby, who was the resident fool/wise man. He was entertaining and persistent, and the magic wasn’t really spoiled all that much by our sighting of him in the local Foodland the next day. Because Norstead is a private enterprise, the atmosphere in the longhouse was a little more relaxed than at L’Anse aux Meadows. Lamby showed us his boat. This recreation of a Viking boat has been sailed from Europe to Newfoundland, and also along the coast of Newfoundland.

 

 

We chatted with the young blacksmiths, and with a large group of women who were working on their sewing. Everyone was quite friendly, alternating between their Viking personas and their convivial Newfoundland personalities. I couldn’t help but reflect that it was interesting to see the jobs created by these places for people who formerly probably worked in the fishery. We enjoyed a nice walking trail that led up from the village to the top of a big hill. I was stylishly attired, as usual, in matching camouflage pants and bat bag.

 


 

Before heading back to our campsite, we went to see what Cape Onion was like. The name on the map drew us, and the setting hooked us. Another iceberg, spectacular scenery, and a lovely walking trail provided by the owners of the Tickle Inn through their property. The photos speak for themselves I think.

 

 

After our few days far north, it was time to head south toward Gros Morne and the big climb. I was still wondering if I would be up to it.

In just a few days Bill and I and his daughters are leaving for Newfoundland. Bill and I went there in July 2004, on our motorcycles. That was a fun little adventure. We loved being there, exploring the backroads and remote little communities on our bikes. After staying for a few days in St. John’s in a house owned by well-known (in Newfoundland) writer Des Walsh, we headed off with a vague plan to make our way toward Gros Morne National Park and eventually to the ferry at Port aux Basques. After our comfortable stay in town, we camped for most of the rest of the trip. In Newfoundland you are expected to practice “gravel-pit camping” which means camping wherever opportunity strikes.

Searching for a campsite

While we never camped in an actual gravel pit, we pitched our tent in several scenic locations that were not graced by the usual infrastructure of a campground.

 Very picturesque … until that foghorn starts blowing in the pre-dawn hours!

We loved every minute of our visit, but our favourite had to be Fogo Island. It is like a microcosm of everything that is beautiful, breathtaking and tragic about Newfoundland. We spent a few days there and it felt odd to think of Newfoundland as the “mainland” when we took the return ferry from Fogo.

Some of the most beautiful hiking trails I’ve ever seen were on Fogo Island. On this day, a family was out for a picnic on the beach, down where you can see the boats. They had a boombox that was blasting accordion music,and the sound was clearly audible up where we were. I loved it because I have a secret wish to be able to play the button accordion.

We mostly went where our fancy took us, but one place I had insisted we include on our itinerary was Glover’s Harbour, Home of the Giant Squid. This was definitely off the beaten tourist path, despite the attraction of the Giant Squid. Here we had a truly Newfoundland experience: after spending a night or two in the only campground we actually paid for (a lovely campground, with an iceberg in the background) we were looking for a breakfast spot before heading back toward the Trans-Canada highway. We made a second stop at the Giant Squid museum for a souvenir purchase, and I asked the nice ladies working there where they recommended we go for breakfast. They informed us that the one and only restaurant in the community did not serve breakfast. When they saw my dismay, they whipped out their own supplies and fed me Purity crackers and margarine. Yumm! Newfoundland Giant Squid ladies to the rescue! That was such a good snack, we later bought the same crackers and margarine for our ferry crossing when we returned to Nova Scotia.

We spent a few days in the Gros Morne area, camping for free near Cow Head. Free camping is great and adventurous but after a while I miss the finer things in life like furniture. Even just a simple picnic table seems like a luxury. So I have to admit that I was a little relieved when heavy rains were forecast and we decided to find a place with a roof and furniture. We were scrambling for a rare motel room when I bumped into a fellow motorcyclist. To be specific, I was riding along on my own, heading back to our campsite to start packing up while Bill completed a hike. A guy on a fully tricked-out Goldwing pulled alongside me and waved me over, so I pulled over. I didn’t know if he was trying to pick me up or what (so I made sure to mention that my boyfriend was on his way somewhere behind me). It turned out that he was just a friendly Newfoundlander (imagine that!) who noticed my Nova Scotia licence plate and wanted to say hi to a fellow biker. I explained that we were hurrying to try to find a room before the inclement weather struck. The only one available was in Woody Point, half an hour’s ride from where we were camping. Didn’t it happen that this guy had a house he rented out to tourists, that was available, and only two minutes drive from our campsite! So for a very reasonable rate we had a whole house with a kitchen and a laundry room, right in Cow Head for the next two nights.

This summer’s trip will be a different kind of adventure. Bill’s two daughters are going with us, for their first trip to Newfoundland, so we won’t be taking the bikes. All four of us, plus Molly the dog, will pile into Bill’s tiny little car. It will be a challenge for me to be confined in a small space with anyone for that amount of time (planned trip duration: 10 to 14 days). I’m trying to be optimistic about how I’ll manage my personality flaws during those long drives. But of course we will spend lots of time in the great outdoors too.

*Vehicle may not be exactly as pictured

Each of us has a personal MP3 player so I think that will help create the illusion of personal space when necessary. It will be fun to show the girls what The Rock is like, I think they will enjoy it. Also it’s the longest stretch of time I will spend with them, so it should be a bonding experience for all of us. I can’t wait to get there again!

If you are from Halifax and reading this, you probably know that last Friday was White Stripes day in Halifax. Jack and Meg had been playing free secret shows in most towns during their cross-Canada tour, so anticipation had built to fever pitch by Friday the 13th, the date of their Halifax show. That afternoon hordes of fans were seen scuttling between Citadel Hill and the Public Gardens, as laptops and cell phones buzzed with rumours of where the show would be. Some lucky Haligonians witnessed the White Stripes as they (well, Meg) supervised the firing of the daily noon gun.

I had given up on the possibility of seeing the freebie show, because a friend I hadn’t seen in years was in town for an all-too-brief visit. But while was wandering the waterfront with my friend and her cousins, admiring the tall ships, we got a phone call. It was Bill who said he was standing outside Locas Bar and I was all like, yeah so what? Then it hit me and I knew exactly why he was calling before he said another word. So I temporarily ditched my dear pal and scuttled up the hill and there we were. Bill and the girls had happened to be passing by and overheard people saying this was The Place. They had gotten there early, but the crowd was getting really big. We were not too far back and if the rumour was true this time, we thought we might have a chance to get in.

We were so close, we were touching the door when they stopped letting people in. Drag. It was annoying because of the little shits who butted in the line and got in ahead of us, but since we had tickets for the show later that night, we weren’t too upset.

I hope this makes The Loop a little bit cool by association. The Loop is already super-cool, but now that The White Stripes played in the building next door – even cooler.

The show that night was really good. Loud, energetic, fun. If you really want to you will be able to find eloquent reviews elsewhere. One thing I found interesting about the experience is that several people (mostly family) asked us “Who are the White Stripes?”. If they don’t know, how do you explain it? “They are a blues band.” “They are a really loud and talented rock band. But it’s only two people. They used to be married to each other, but now he is married to a supermodel.” It’s almost easier not to try to explain them to people who don’t listen to “alternative” music. It was a great event in part because bands like this – probably as ‘big’ as it gets without being mainstream – don’t come to Halifax much.

Bill took a lot of really good photos. Here are a couple.

Meg looking deceptively peaceful

Jack lookin’ kinda hot in a skirt