new Coat of Arms for Meghan

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“The design of the Arms was agreed and approved by The Queen and Mr. Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England), who is based at the College of Arms in London,” royal reporter Omid Scobie wrote on Twitter. The press release for the announcement also gave the first glimpse of Markle’s official letterhead as a royal.

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Symbolism-wise, the Palace explained the meaning of everything in its press release: “The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words.” Markle did run a lifestyle blog, after all.

“Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace,” the press release continued. “It is customary for Supporters of the shield to be assigned to Members of the Royal Family and for wives of Members of the Royal Family to have one of their husband’s Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication.”

“A Coronet has been assigned to The Duchess of Sussex. It is the Coronet laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons of daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed to two crosses patée , four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves.”

Markle worked closely with the College of Arms during the design process so it’d be “both personal and representative.”

 

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She is known as Her Royal Highness Duchess Meghan and is styled as Duchess of Sussex. She is not a princess and is not referred as such, that dignity is reserved to those born in the Royal Family. She also has to curtsy to her sister in law the Duchess of Cambridge because by rank she is more senior than Duchess Meghan. Her husband HRH Prince Harry is now 6th in line to the Throne and is unlikely to ever become King. Order of precedence is very important at Court and rank decides the life you will have, where you will live and the functions assigned to you by the Sovereign.

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Family picture

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This picture was taken in the Green Room of Windsor Castle by Prince Alexi Lubomirski, of Polish nobility who is a well known photographer born in London but now based in New York.

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I find that Morning dress worn by Prince Philip and Prince Charles is always elegant and as the name indicates to be worn for events before 3pm in the day.

What a beautiful day

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This morning I got up to watch at 8am PEI time the wedding of HRH Prince Henry and Ms Rachel Meghan Markle in St-George Chapel in Windsor. Her dress by Givenchy simple chic and elegant, the Queen Mary Bandeau tiara created by Cartier in 1932 and worn again by HRH Princess Margaret in 1965, rarely seen but quite beautiful. HM the Queen loaned the tiara to Ms Markle.

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HRH Prince Henry was wearing military uniform of the Blues and Royals, a regiment of the cavalry formed in 1969. The Queen is the colonel-in-chief of this regiment – and granted Prince Harry permission to wear this particular uniform for his big day. His brother HRH Prince William is wearing a similar uniform.

Both uniforms were crafted at Savile Row tailor, Dege & Skinner. Prince Henry wears the breast star decoration of the Royal Victorian Order and his brother wears the breast star of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

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For the evening party at Frogmore hosted by the Prince of Wales, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the castle in a Jaguar E-Type Zero the world’s most beautiful electric car.

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It all went very well and it was a beautiful day. She fits in very well and we can wish them all the happiness in the world.

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 The wedding cake beautifully presented 

An air for Spring

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Today is such a wonderful day, full of sunshine and flowers everywhere, despite the cold breeze. Nothing better than to listen to this operette by Jean-Jacques Rousseau of 1752 to put you in the mood, so let’s all go into the garden  dansez sous les ormeaux!

 

Allons danser sous les ormeaux,
Animezvous jeunes fillettes :
Allons danser sous les ormeaux,
Galans prenez vos chalumeaux.
Les Villageoises répetent ces quatre vers.

Colette.

Répétons mille chansonnettes,
Et pour avoir le cœur joyeux,
Dansons avec nos amoureux,
Mais n’y restons jamais seulettes.
Allons danser sous les ormeaux, &c.

Les Villageoises.

Allons danser sous les ormeaux, &c.

Colette.

À la Ville on fait bien plus de fracas ;
Mais sontils aussi gais dans leurs ébats ?
Toujours contens,
Toujours chantans ;
Beauté sans fard,
Plaisir sans art ;
Tous leurs Concerts valentils nos musettes ?
Allons danser sous les ormeaux, &c.

Books I am reading

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Periodically I write about what I am reading. I just finished a biography of Cato by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni, the title is Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato.

Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis, commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather, was a statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy. Born in Rome in 95 BC and died by suicide in 46 BC in Utica, Tunisia.

He was the last of the Republicans, defending the old Roman Republic against the attempts by people like Pompey the Great and Julius Cesar to impose a dictatorship. To note that Pompey became the enemy of Julius Cesar and was assassinated by the men of the Pharaoh of Egypt, brother of Cleopatra and Julius Cesar himself would be assassinated in 44 BC while attending a sitting of the Senate of Rome. His death will open up the flood gates of a long Civil War amongst the Senate class which will engulf the 1% in massive killings largely amongst themselves only to see the end of the Republic with the death of Cicero in 43 BC and the rise to power of Octavian Augustus the nephew and adopted son of Julius Cesar become the first Emperor of Rome or Princeps as his office was known.

The book is about Cato’s life and what a dangerous life he led from childhood in what was a very brutish Rome. We have to remember that the nice filters of Judeo-Christian morality did not exist, Romans had very different values and culture and their own morality was based on myths and superstition on the survival of Rome as ruler of the known world.  The constitution of the republic embodied term limits; separation of powers; checks and balances; due process; habeas corpus; the rule of law; individual rights; and elected, representative legislative bodies, including the famous Senate. All of this was hanging by a thread in the first century BC.

Before the age of 30, Cato had become a supremely disciplined individual, a devotee of Stoicism in every respect. He commanded a legion in Macedon and won immense loyalty and respect from the soldiers for the example he set, living and laboring no differently from day to day than he required of his men. He first won election to public office (to the post of quaestor, supervising financial and budgetary matters for the state) in 65 BC and quickly earned a reputation as scrupulously meticulous and uncompromisingly honest. He went out of his way to hold previous quaestors accountable for their dishonesty and misappropriation of funds, which he himself uncovered.

Later he served in the Roman Senate, where he never missed a session and criticized other senators who did. Through his superb oratory in public and deft maneuverings in private, he worked tirelessly to restore fealty to the ideals of the fading Republic.

It was Cato’s fierce and relentless opposition to Julius Caesar that made him most remarkable. He saw in the ambitious, power-hungry general a mortal threat to the republic and tried to block his every move. He filibustered for hours on end to prevent a vote on Caesar’s bid to attain Rome’s highest office, the consulship. Caesar eventually got the job, but while in office, Cato vexed him more than any other senator. Caesar even ordered Cato dragged from the Senate in the middle of one of his orations, whereupon another senator declared, according to historian Cassius Dio, that he “would rather be in jail with Cato than in the Senate with Caesar.”

Cato stood in the way of Caesar’s ambitious agenda but couldn’t prevent his postconsulship appointment as a provincial governor. In that post, Caesar mustered his forces for an assault on the very republic he had governed as a consul. In 49 BC, he famously crossed the Rubicon River and headed for Rome to seize power.

As a sign of strength and magnanimity, Caesar might have pardoned his old foe. Some contemporaries and present-day historians believe that was, in fact, Caesar’s intent and would have been a politically smart thing to do. Quoting again from Goodman and Soni:

But Cato would not give Caesar the gift of his silence; he had scripted his own scene. He would not recognize a tyrant’s legitimacy by accepting his power to save. As Cato saw it, Caesar broke the law even in offering pardons, because he offered them on no authority but his own. To accept forgiveness would be conceding Caesar’s right to forgive, and Cato would not concede that.

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So in April 46 BC in Utica, using his own sword to do the deed, Cato committed suicide rather than live under the thumb of the man whose power lust was about to extinguish the old republic. While Cato lived, “every Roman who feared that the traditional virtues were guttering out, who saw the state’s crisis as a moral crisis — as the product of terrifyingly modern avarice or ambition — looked, in time, to Cato.”

Putting ambition in the service of principle instead of one’s own glory or power or wealth: now that’s a virtue to which every man and woman in public office — in any walk of life, for that matter — should aspire today.

A very good book on Cato, ambition in the service of principle.

 

Lobster

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Lobster Spring Season opened 2 weeks ago and the boats went out to sea. Lobster fishermen live on the North Coast of the Island about 25 minutes from our house. At the moment lobster bought from Fishers at the dock on arrival go for about $5 a pound, in stores like at Mr Seafood https://mrseafoods.com  you will pay $7 dollars per pound uncooked or $8 dollars cooked.  In the restaurant you will pay about $40 dollars per pound.

So today being Mother’s Day which is apparently a Feast invented in the 20th Century, grocery stores and Mr Seafood were offering a special on Lobster and we bought 2 one pounder for $16 dollars, a good price really.

For dinner we are having Lobster Newburg which originally was called Lobster Wenburg. The story goes that Mr Wenburg was a client of DelMonico on Beaver street in New York and he asked the Chef to prepare the lobster according to a recipe he provided. Later a dispute arose between Wenburg and the management of the restaurant so they changed the name of the recipe to Newburg. This was the age when restaurants did not have a formula or a Corporate set menu and were courting clients and trying to cater to their taste. A good restaurant will cater to their clients taste, though by today’s standard it is a rare thing.

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So to start you need 2 one pound lobster cooked. 

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break them up and take the meat out carefully, the shells seen above can be use to make a very good stock, which can be used for chowder or bisque.  

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One pound lobster will give you this much meat, remember the recipe calls for heavy cream, sherry, eggs, nutmeg, cayenne. So it is rich.

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Voilà, Lobster Newburg served on hot puff pastry. Just a simple little Sunday dinner and your guests will think you fussed. To be enjoyed with a Chardonnay, Pouilly -Fuissé.

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Because we must have them, here are 2 tourists across the street waiting for a table inside this seafood restaurant to have their $$$$$ lobster. Note their accoutrement the Anne of Green Gables hat with pig tails. Ah, Summer!

 

 

Because it’s Spring

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The weather is most Spring like now, mild winds and sunny days.

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A photo by Paul g. our official provincial animal the Red Fox with her little cub. The big black crow which is also plentiful in Charlottetown is nesting in the tree beside our house and we can also hear the little ones.

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Beautiful white magnolias just around the corner from us. Flowers everywhere.

 

St-Viateur Bagels, Montreal

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Montreal a metropolis of 4 million people, the second largest French speaking city in the World after Paris, has a Jewish population that has been part of the fabric of the city for over 200 years. Almost every neighbourhood of the city has a Jewish population with its businesses, schools, synagogue, restaurants, delis, institutions and the Jewish general hospital. As a child I lived in Snowdon where there was a large Jewish population, other neighbourhoods like Hamstead, Côte Saint-Luc, Westmount, NDG and Outremont all have their Jewish enclave and because the population has been there for such a long time, it has developed its own character and ways of doing things. Jewish owned businesses in Montreal, you always have service in French, English and Yiddish.

Montreal is known for the quality of its Smoke Meat and its bagels. I could not leave Montreal without a dozen bagels. So I went to the St-Viateur street in Outremont, the area has, for as long as I can remember, a large Orthodox Jewish population dressed in the famous black garb and fur hats. Outremont is a wealthy French speaking neighbourhood and the Orthodox Jews are simply part of the fabric.

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Bagel St-Viateur  (since 1957)

263 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Montréal, QC, Canada

Ouvert 24h/24, 7 jours sur 7

(514) 276-8044

It is an institution in Montreal and a remarkable one at that, the bagels as you can see in this photo above are hot, fresh, just out of the oven. Even when they but them in a bag, you feel the heat and that wonderful aroma of just baked. A Polish Jew, Myer Lewkowicz who immigrated to Canada in 1946 learned the trade of making bagels from Hyman Seligman who was already in the business. Mr Lewkowicz explained that when he arrived in Canada, he knew nothing of bagel making, it became his lifelong trade.

The Montreal Bagel is different from the New York one, first it’s smaller, sweeter and the  hole is bigger. Quality ingredients go into making them, the pastry is hand rolled, they are boiled in water with honey, they are cooked on a wood tray in a wood oven, they are turned over once and taken out at just the right moment when crunchy. They make 3 dozen bagels per hour in the oven. A perfect bagel takes 20 minutes to cook, a slow process but what quality! Same family, same recipe and the original shop on St-Viateur.

St-Viateur Bagel is world famous and today in Montreal there is 2 bakeries and 5 coffee shops where sandwiches and salads are served just like in 1957 when they first opened.  WEBSITE http://www.stviateurbagel.com

 

 

 

Setting Day

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Today 30 April is the last day to do your income tax report in Canada and pay whatever you may owe, it is also Setting Day in PEI. This is the opening of the Lobster Spring harvest Season. At dawn from all the ports around the Island, lobster boats went off to set the traps, they will do this every day until 30 June. Setting means laying down the traps to catch Lobsters. It will be interesting to see what prices will be set for 1 lbs. In the supermarket today a pound lobster was selling at $14.99 I do not know if this price will fall or rise. Of course you can go down to the dock and buy your lobster directly from any fisherman and it is likely you will pay a lot less probably around $5 to $7 dollars a pound. Will see…

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Many people come out to see them go, it is quite the sight. This also means that the Summer tourist season is about to open, in 48 hours the first cruise ship will arrive in Port at Charlottetown. I believe the first is a Holland American ship. Tomorrow morning the restaurants catering to the tourist crowds open at 11:30am for lunch.

 

 

My recent trip

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I travelled to Montreal my hometown for a week’s vacation away from PEI. Islanders will tell you that you need to get off the island especially between November and end April for mental health reasons. I did not listen to them and I should have, everyone I know goes away for a minimum of 2 full weeks in that time period.

I was born in Montreal and lived part of my childhood there from 1956 to 1960 and 1965 to 1974, only returning occasionally afterwards for family matters or to see friends.

I witnessed great changes in Montreal during the period of Mayor Jean Drapeau who had a grand vision for the Paris of the New World, Montreal is the second largest French speaking city in the World after Paris. It also was the metropolis of Canada until 1977 a title she lost to Toronto but regained as the other Metropolis after 2008.

The Metro system was opened in 1966, then we had the World Exposition in 1967, then the Olympics games in 1976. Montreal is also the seat of IATA and several international organizations, fine museums, art centres, great dining, etc.

It had been 4 years since my last visit when my father died and that visit was all about death and cleaning out my parents home, so not exactly a fun time.

I flew from Charlottetown on a regional jet (small plane) that is all that flies here to the island, the flight is 75 minutes so fairly quick. Montreal is a city of 4 million people and growing, construction everywhere, including the road system and a new bridge across the Saint-Lawrence river. People everywhere, traffic, very cosmopolitan and French.

I was staying with an old friend in the Côte des Neiges neighbourhood, near the Jewish General Hospital and the Université de Montréal. Montreal has 4 universities. The neighbourhood is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, though everyone speaks French and all signs are in French, you will hear a multitude of languages from around the world.

On Monday we went to a German grocery store which sells all manner of product from Germany and Austria but also has a great lunch counter with specialties as you would find them in Europe. It seems that many customers spoke German with the staff and French with everyone else. The food was very good, this business has been on the same corner of Queen Mary and Côte des Neiges for 60 years.

Then I went downtown, to look around and was very surprised at how much familiar streets where my parents lived and worked had completely changed to the point I could not remember what was previously there. The area around the old Windsor Station which is now a complex of tall stylish condo buildings, there is about 9 new towers. The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, my Mom’s favourite in Montreal has been completely redecorated for its 60th anniversary and it is very nicely done. The old Birks & Sons Jewellery store on Phillips Square is being remodelled into a luxury hotel but is keeping the famous jeweller on the ground floor.

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Birks and Sons Jeweller on Sainte-Catherine street at Phillips Square under renovations.

A new Four Seasons Hotel is being built next to Ogilvy’s department store which is now amalgamated with Holt Renfrew. I thought of Dad when I saw this project, he knew all about it, it has been in the works for 10 years and is now coming to completion. My father opened the first Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal back in the 70’s, how he would have love to see this one, a tall tower of black glass.

I also walked by the former Mount Stephens Club which was the home of Sir George Stephens the builder with Sir William Cornelius Van Horne of the transcontinental railway in Canada in 1888.  Today the mansion has been restored preserving the rare and exotic wood panelling and original decor and is used as meeting rooms and bar, dining rooms  and joined at the back to a new hotel tower part of the Leading Hotels of the world collection.

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Detail of the interior of the house, top is the former reception room panelled in Lemonwood or Degame, beautiful soft yellow colour. The other bottom photo shows the top of the staircase all in mahogany, the windows have Tiffany glass, it is very dark despite the very large windows, giving the house a very formal atmosphere.

Then on Sherbrooke Street I went to the Musée des Beaux Arts also known as the museum of Fine Arts to see what was on show. The museum has 2 new wings, one called Le Pavillon pour la Paix, a gift of Michal and Renata Hornstein and the other is the Pavillon Claire et Marc Bourgie, a gift of the Bourgie family, the premier undertakers for funerals of distinction in Quebec. The Museum was founded about 120 years ago by art lovers in Montreal on the same location it is now but with the years it has grown into a 7 building complex. What is interesting about its expansion is how organically it grew, incorporating other landmarks around it like the Erskine & American United Church with its 17 famous Tiffany Stain glass windows of 1897. I love this museum, the collections are superb and if you go to Montreal you really should make an effort to visit, even if just for one hour. The restaurant of the museum is also wonderful, I had lunch there and the food is very good as is the wine selection, I had a grilled octopus salad accompanied by a Pouilly Fuissé Chardonnay and then a Magret de Canard, very good indeed.

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I return by Métro to my friend’s home, tired but very happy for this first day.