I recently wrote about the new Berlin Brandeburg Airport opening this week. This report from DW is sobering.
Reading and reading a lot about various historical sites and discoveries and history, renovations and reconstructions, archeology and discovering ancient artifacts shedding light on the past.
Here are paintings on the topic of Pompeii, a resort city of ancient Rome destroyed in 79 AD by the spectacular eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Here a young peasant woman from the area of Naples admiring the frescoes of ancient villas as the site is unearth. Much of the frescoes discovered were then removed and placed indoors in Museums both in Naples and in Rome. A highly romantic painting but nonetheless it gives an impression of what workers saw.
The book of Teresa Demauro entitled Restauri a Pompei 1748-1860 is presented by the Parco Archeologico a Pompei. In her doctoral thesis she narrates through her research the story of the discoveries of the archeological work in Pompeii from 1748 to 1860 the last period of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. pompeiisites.org/en/projects-and-research/publications/
Pompeii and Herculanum are two very rich sites, though it requires some knowledge of history before you go otherwise it won’t make much sense.
Italian Universities and international teams of archeologists publish on a regular basis studies of findings, it really never ends because what we know, though important and somewhat extensive, is not complete and so the research goes on.
Martin G. Conde in his blog details archeological research and also for many years now the damage done to sites like Pompeii by the constant flow of mass tourism. https://romaarcheologiaerestauroarchitettura.wordpress.com/author/romaarcheologiaerestauroarchitettura/
Martin has also written a lot on the new Metro line C in Rome which has become one of the most expensive infrastructure project in the world. The Metro line C currently under construction crosses the Roman Forum one of the most rich archeological sites in the world. Metro Line C is also a decade behind schedule and no one is counting the cost overrun anymore in the billions of Euros. Eventually line A and B of the Rome Metro will connect to line C and everyone it is hope will be happy.
Other site I follow currently, The rebuilding of the Garnison Church in Potsdam built in 1735, blown up by the Communist regime of East Germany in 1968.
The Palace of Versailles multiple projects of rehabilitation, conservation and re-furnishing of various rooms, an unending process with dramatic results, not to mention the gardens and the rehabilitation of the numerous water fountains and sculptures.
The Berlin City Palace now Humboldt Forum built in 1445 and blown up in 1957 by the Communist regime of East Germany, rebuilt and re-opening on 17 December 2020.
Reconstruction work in Dresden old city centre which is almost complete and re-creates the city centre as it once was prior to its destruction by fire bombing on 14 and 15 February 1945.
Potsdam old city centre of the 17th and 18th Century and the palace complex and gardens around Sans Souci and the Neues Palais.
What is fascinating about all this is the number of stone cutters and sculptors, artists and artisans employed for this work using original techniques and finding inspiration in paintings, drawings and old photograph and archival records for their work.
So the idea of travelling now is somewhat a moot point, borders are closed, restrictions abound, the pandemic is everywhere and there are serious health risks. So we have to think of the future where would we want to go. Will we ever travel again, maybe, who knows.
In our case it is returning to cities we loved. That would be Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Rome, Granada, and somewhere in Sicily a lovely island, Trapani, Marsala?
Today, maybe this is the cooler weather around 0 C. and the Winter smell in the air got me thinking of Granada in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the fabulous palace of the Alhambra with its magical gardens.
We were in Seville and took the train up to Granada, the difference in temperature was striking, Seville was pleasantly warm whereas Granada was cool if not cold at night. The distance is about 250 Km. the city of Malaga is much closer to Granada. We had arrived in Seville with our ship sailing up the Guadalquivir River which is silting up and is no longer the great river that saw Admiral Cristofer Columbus return from the Americas with his ship loaded with treasures.
Queen Isabella of Castille (1451-1504) and her husband Ferdinand (1452-1516) both are buried in the Royal Chapel of Granada in what was formerly the great Mosque of Granada. From looking at their caskets they must have been no more than 4 feet tall. Both of them are recognized as the founders of the Spanish Monarchy by unifying the Iberian peninsula and defeating the Moors in Granada in January 1492 the same year Columbus travelled to the Americas. This is why upon his return Queen Isabella wanted to celebrate by having him come to Granada. The Pope Alexander (Borgia) whose family where from Valencia, awarded the Sovereigns the title of Catholic Monarchs. This is why to this day the King of Spain is known as His Most Catholic Majesty. King Ferdinand was also king of Sardinia, Sicily, Naples and Majorca. Sicily will be ruled by Spain until its unification with Italy in 1870 the same applies to Southern Italy or Calabria. To this day Sicilians see themselves as a separate people and not as Italians.
The architecture and the panoramic view of the snow capped mountains makes for a beautiful city. We really enjoyed Granada, the highlight was the visit of the gardens of the Alhambra in their Moorish style and the palace which we visited late at night with no other light but that of a full moon, it was magical, something I cannot forget.
The walls are sculpted stone with intricate geometric details. It reminded me of the type of architecture I saw in Cairo from the period of the Abbasid Caliph architectural style. It was Mohammad Ben Al-Ahmar, Emir of Granada who built the palace we see today. It was so splendid that Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand made it into their royal Court. They had no such palace with running water, so this was a move up for them. After 1550 the palace is abandoned and falls for centuries into disrepair, occupied by poor squatters, only after the defeat in 1814 of Napoleon who tried to destroy the palace in retaliation against the Spaniards who fought him, it was British artists and intellectuals on the grand tour who rediscovered it and popularize the site. It is truly a gem of Islamic architecture.
The Parliament of Canada is debating a new Citizenship Oath under bill C-99 which is a Government bill. It would replace the old Oath, the one I took when I became a Public Servant back in 1983 and also when I re-affirmed my Citizenship in 1996 and got a nice certificate for it. This Oath is taken also by all people who wish to become Canadian Citizens at Citizenship Ceremony presided by a Judge. The Oath must be spoken by the Oath taker with your right hand on the Bible or other sacred book of your religion.
“I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
The current government is very invested into social politics and advocates a progressive agenda on many topics, reconciliation with Native groups, individual rights, minority rights, feminism, LGBTQ rights, BLM, etc…. Prime Minister Justin T. has made it the signature focal point of his government’s agenda since 2015.
We had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Native Canadians and their relationship with the rest of the population of Canada, we also had the Enquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women and girls and its recommendations. The PM marches in every Gay Pride Parade contrary to leaders of other parties who abstain. Trudeau has also appointed women to every position that comes under his purview such as judgeships, Head of Crown Corporations, various public service senior positions, etc…
This rewriting of the Oath of Citizenship was a recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s. Recommendation number 94, proposes a change to the oath of citizenship set out in the schedule to the Citizenship Act under section 24. Clause 1 proposes amending the text of the schedule, or, in other words, it proposes new wording for the citizenship oath, including the solemn affirmation.
Given that we have a minority government in the House of Commons at the moment, this means that in order for bill C-99 to become Law it will require the support of other political parties in the House when it comes to a vote.
The new propose text is as follows:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
I am afraid that this change may cause some reaction amongst those who believe that there is no need for such a change or who do not care to recognize the reality of Canada today. I had a chance last Summer while the painting exhibit of Kent Monkman was on show at the Confederation Centre Art gallery to hear the comments of visitors. Not everyone endorsed the views expressed by the artist in his paintings on Canadian historical events between the Government of Canada and Native groups, many were openly dismissive, even angry. Some said they never taught this in school to indicate that it may not have happened, just propaganda.
I also wonder if immigrants from around the world who are becoming Canadian Citizens will understand what this Oath means. Not knowing the history of the Canada and only knowing the happy message usually presented this may cause some confusion. Since education is a provincial jurisdiction and some provinces will resist changing the curriculum for various political reasons, how then do we communicate factual information.
Bill C-99 was read for the first time in May 2019. It is not clear when it will move to second reading. The Government has other pandemic priorities at the moment.
This Sunday 25 October Europe is setting their clocks back one hour and next Sunday 1 November, All Souls Day, we in Canada will set our clocks back, this means that Winter is around the corner. Today the weather climbed to 5C. which is not warm and the wind is cold, the air smells of snow. Just 48 hours ago it was still 12C and pleasant. The smell of snow in the air, you know that level of humidity with the salty sea air, the leaves on the trees are turning colour, a sure sign that colder weather is on the way.
The Sun is setting at the moment and the horizon is turning violet colour, a lovely shade, probably caused by the cloud bans and the reflection of the setting rays, it’s a half moon tonight.
Many wish to do away with the time change, I see their point this one hour fall back on the clock means it will be dark by 5pm and at the Winter Solstice it is around 4:30pm which is really early. But since I have lived with this all my life, I really don’t mind the time change. To me it means a new Season, Holidays and changing wardrobe, flannel sheets, etc. This is one thing about living in Canada, you need at least 2 if not 3 completely different wardrobes for the different seasons.
I think we got use to the idea of not travelling, a return to the time prior to the 1970’s when few people travelled internationally, when mass tourism did not exist. Going to the USA by car no less was common but for a lot of Canadians it meant the New England States. The wealthier people went to Florida and for a taste of the exotic Key West, you know all those artists living there. But I think that given the way things are going we are in this for at least another 12 months if not 24 or until October 2022. I am also not holding my breath for a vaccine, I think this is not going to happen any time soon.
What I want to do now is keep comfortable and cosy, surround myself with the familiar and shut out the world, there is too many disagreeable things going on in Canada and elsewhere. We have the puppies to look after and God knows they are demanding little monsters and they talk back. We use to say they did not like children, but nooooo Ms Nora and Mr Nick talk back quite a bit and are insisting. Oh well, if that is all we have to complain about, we re doing ok.
This photo of the old puppies was taken a few days ago, Nick got a nice grooming since and does not look so disheveled.
I found quite by accident this you tube channel by Luke A. Ranieri, Scorpio Martianus
This is a fun take in Latin of the beloved song from Danny Elfman and Tim Burton’s 1993 “The Nightmare Before Christmas” incorporates *both* Ecclesiastical and Classical Pronunciations. The initial narrator (the voice of Santa Claus) uses Classical Pronunciation, as do all people from Christmas Town, while the people of Halloween Town use the Ecclesiastical Pronunciation. The text has been rendered masterfully by Stefano Vittori in true Ancient Roman poetic meter, the very soul of Latin, so well as to surpass the power of even the original lyrics.
Here is the translation of the text if your Latin is a little rusted. The pronounciation is very clear and correct.
World Be it!
Treacherous arcane rise night; oculî watch; quiet voice. Surround crossroads; An old dog, open world. The world is open! The world is open! Breaks the silence, the sheds for vegetables! The world is open quickly for fear of courage, no cookies to give good gifts to whom you wish. All the people already fear! The world is already open! It was me, the snare laid for his bed, rutilānsque tooth sparkling eyes. It was me, the snare laid for a ladder: snake tool, Lycosa count. The world is open! The world is open! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! Now you make us sing Cucurbitoideae blown! HYMNUM now not abandon this: A new number of the rebound stage. Take heed to thyself from this water in a bucket: life is concealed a murderer; And now the pressure on to exclaim: "Ah! me! ". Well implications lūbricet trees. Formīdāsne? These things will happen. Shoot twice lie times can "steal four times. Triceps Hecate take you tonight. O TIME! O TIME! It is now time, the world is evident! As long as myself, I used the face of the rapiō, Here then, there now? I flee. Say "Who is here?" and "Here," I am. I am the whirlwind of the Aura, even a hair of your head. I am a black mask lunar world; 'Sleep well: nearer to you, a watcher. The world is open! The world is open! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! The child may be sweet to you could be wherever you are, Younger tired of not fussy. Our technique is - does not make bad; For devices the world. HYMNUM now not abandon this: A new number of the rebound stage. Titus is Taphius lemur homirapius; owl as grinding and human life ēvel- -lit! Well clear! O TIME! Open is a good way to be led. Titus, yourself, TAPhA, Colocynthidorīx; 'Well, triumph, Cucurbituāns! The world is open! The world is open! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! Now you make us sing Cucurbitoideae blown! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it! Be it!
Well the weather here in the Maritimes is gradually getting colder but it is still not the average / normal temperature for this time of the year, the weather guy is reluctant to call it climate change but says it is not good. Which is about the same as not being positive without not wanting to alarm the population. People have other worries, one being the pandemic and the other a possible national election and the economy.
In Parliament we have spent 5 long years now with the Conservative aping the GOP in the USA and constantly attacking the Prime Minister and now attacking his elderly mother, his brother and his wife, all private citizens who have no role in public life. All the while never mentioning the Pandemic as a source of concern for them as a party.
Today Tuesday 21 October we will find out if the Opposition Parties in the House of Commons force an election on the minority Government of PM Trudeau or not. The Conservative are proposing an investigation into alleged corruption and want to set up yet another committee. So far we have had 3 months of investigation and much defamation of family members of PM Trudeau and innocent bystanders but nothing proven and this frustrates the Opposition. The Government shot back that this is a Confidence motion and the Prime Minister is willing to go see the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and go to an election now. Confidence of the House in the ruling party is everything in our system. No confidence no government, it’s that simple, however the Conservatives are aware that Canadians do not want an election now in a second wave of the Pandemic. Polls also suggest the Liberals would probably win a majority this time around. It is all discouraging because this is a ploy for power and naked ambition by the Conservatives to win power at any cost, voters are taken for patsies. Sad state of affairs all around, I have no confidence in the Conservative party given the type of white extremists they attract and the failure of their leader Erin O’Tool to denounce them.
On another topic all together, after Will made his green tomato pie last week. Mrs Lori Brown in Imboden, Arkansas came up with her own recipe yesterday on You Tube. I liked her recipe a lot, the results according to Mr Brown is like a Granny Smith Apple Pie, a little tart but good.
This month of October is the 50th Anniversary of the FLQ Crisis in Quebec which saw martial law imposed and the Canadian army march and occupy the city and surrounding areas and the Capital Ottawa. The British Commercial Counsellor in Montreal, James Cross and a senior Minister of the Quebec Government Pierre Laporte were kidnapped in broad daylight. The FLQ had been for many years prior to those events on a bombing campaign around Montreal targeting mainly Mailboxes. The events had a dramatic end with the murder of Pierre Laporte and the release of British diplomat James Cross. The FLQ cells were dismantled and the culprits exiled to Cuba at their request. The most dramatic moment was when the Government of Canada allowed the reading of the FLQ manifesto on television. Many French speaking Canadians agreed with the claims of the FLQ. A few years later the Parti Quebecois would become the government in Quebec and hold a referendum on separation from Canada. As for the leaders of the movement they returned to Canada a few years later and some found public service jobs. It was a dramatic period in the history of Canada which changed the dynamic of the country forever. My family was living in Montreal at the time and I remember going through army check points every day to go to school. We were too young to understand or appreciate what was happening. All this seems so far away now.
BREAKING NEWS!!! The nail-biter 146-180 vote in the House of Commons came down in large part to the NDP. Its 24 representatives voted alongside the Liberals and the Greens’ three-member caucus in defeating a Conservative motion that would have precipitated a snap election amid the second wave of the pandemic. So the Prime Minister J Trudeau and his government will continue to govern, no elections for now.
On this beautiful Sunday, took a drive to Point Prim to see the 1845 Lighthouse still in operation as it marks for ships the entrance to the bay of Hillsborough into Port Charlottetown. We usually go to Point Prim every Summer but we did not this year instead going to New London/French river where another lighthouse is located.
This old map shows Point Prim that long extended point of ground at the tip of if since 1845 is the Lighthouse built by private interests and the Colonial Government of the Ile Saint Jean (John) as PEI was then known. The channel for ships sailing in is very narrow though it appears as a wide bay of water the reality is it quite shallow and full of rocks and sand bars. More lighthouses at the narrow entrance again to direct ships. Interesting to watch lakers and barges including cruise ships follow carefully that path.
A beautiful area with lots of trees and farmland all around. Many beautiful farm homes with vast gardens. Point Prim is about 30 minutes from Charlottetown on Hwy 1.
All the lighthouses are now automated and all maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard. In Winter the Ice breakers of the Canadian Coast Guard will open the way for the fuel ships coming to PEI, all fuel is imported since the Island being a sand bar has no natural ressources.
It stands 60 feet (18 metres) tall and is built of brick covered with wood cladding and painted white.
There is also a nice restaurant only open in the Summer time and very rustic. The seafood is great and it is worth going but you need a reservation, they have about 25 seats. The Chowder House sign is also fun, it is made of sliced US licence plates, apparently American tourists are happy to give up their car plates, you can see NY plates, Michigan, Mississipi,
In the distance is the entrance into the Hillsborough river and the port of Charlottetown.
PEI Red sandstone not very good against sea storms. To protect the lighthouse from the waves the Government of Canada imported shipments of granite rock from the Mainland and built a barrier all around the area.
Lots of pine trees everywhere along the coast. They seem to do well as a species.
Looking towards the coast of Nova Scotia around 2:30pm, very quiet, deserted area. Just nice to sit quietly by the sea. The silver colour of the water is blinding.
I also love to drive by this house on the way to the Point, the tree is always decorated with these colourful buoys. This is the road on Mount Buchanan leading to Point Prim. Note there is NO Mount, it is just a fanciful figure of speech in PEI.
This is the view from the road across the street from the Buoy Tree. The land belongs to this family and they have cottages for rent on the coast facing the Strait of Northumberland and the view across the water is Nova Scotia in the general area of Seafoam and Cape John.
and back at home with our Fall flowers and pumpkins.
At the initiative of PEI Tourism, the government of the Provice PEI decided early into the pandemic that as people drove over from the mainland and exited the Confederation bridge in Borden, they would be given a bag of PEI goodies as a welcome gesture. Thousands of bags were assembled and everything was top quality products. Whoever came up with the scheme really thought about how to do this and put their best foot forward. In the bag which looks like a bag of russet potatoes, hey PEI is known for its potatoes, you also found a pound of coffee from Receiver Coffee Co., some jam from the PEI Preserve Co. of New Glasgow, a bar of natural soap from the Great Canadian Soap Co. some COW Chips from the chocolate store on Queen Street. etc… There was also a Potato Chocolate Cake Recipe that I am happy to share with you all.
I am sure that those of you who enjoy cakes and pies will love this one. The following recipe can serve up to 12 portions. The first ingredient on the list is one cup of PEI Potatoes mashed and hot. Enjoy!