This morning I went to the City Auditorium to get my first shot of Pfizer. Got their on time and was ushered in to see the nurse, the place is run by the Red Cross Volunteers and nurses from the PEI Health Dept. It was quick and painless and then you sit in another section for 15 minutes, nurse are present to monitor you in case of a negative reaction. After that you are free to go home.
So far 75% of all Health workers have been vaccinated, 90% of all people in long term care homes, 22% of the general population.
Will has been going through photos of our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam some 15 years ago, absolutely lovely trip and such fond memories of the place we visited.
Back then visiting such areas was more tranquil then today, less tourists and the various areas where still very much the way they had been in the past, excluding the war and the murderous Khmer Rouge. Very nice people everywhere and the scenery was beautiful. I was working in Beijing back then and this trip outside of China was a very nice break, different culture, cuisine and traditions.
The view of the man made terraces all around us, as can be seen the mountains are sculpted to accommodate rice culture. Truly back breaking work using water buffalos and an ingenious natural gravitational watering system.
Such a wonderful trip and so unusual on so many levels. To this day I think of this trip made to celebrate Will’s 60th birthday as one of the best we made.
Tomorrow at 11:45 am I am getting my first jab of the vaccine. Can’t believe the day has come finally. I will be asking also for proof of vaccination, there appears to be some confusion on how you get it, I will certainly enquire.
The weather here is definitely Spring now, which is encouraging. As of Friday many restaurants will be re-opening including the one across our street the Water Prince Corner Shop Restaurant whose specialty is lobster and mussels, with other seafood of course. We think of it as our very own restaurant. The year 2021 is there 30 Anniversary of Water Prince.
With the Merry Month of May, more promise of good weather and trips out to the beach and the countryside.
Today I replaced Will at the Farmer’s Market for the last day of the PEI Symphony Annual Orange sale. Because this is a popular sale and it was the last day we sold out very quickly. The Market is great fun, situated across the street from the University Campus and surrounded by the Government Experimental Farm. Lots of nice things to buy and great vendors, all genuine well known farmers. I got some nice tulips and some good cheese that you cannot find in a grocery store. I also had a conversation with the owner of Gallant’s seafood about Bar Clams which are very popular here and sold in a glass jar by Annands in Tyne Valley. I had no idea what you did with them, you can eat them right out of the jar with a beer or a glass of wine, they are also good on pasta dish or used if you make chowder, so now I know.
Today was a beautiful day, warm and sunny and tomorrow we will reach 18C which is truly Spring Weather.
Some months ago I started doing the weekly newsletter for the Club. I changed the format and introduced new topics, changing it each week with new info and graphics. It has done well and I spend at least 2 days a week putting it all together. So this one way of keeping me busy during this pandemic. As you probably know from the from Canada some of our Provinces are not doing well at all and in Ontario the Health Services and hospitals are colapsing with the daily numbers of people sick with Covid. Ontario went through years of closing hospital beds and not recruiting enough staff to replace those leaving so now with this catastrophy which could have been prevented had the Government of Premier Doug Ford listened to the Health experts and others who warned repeatedly of what was going to happen, to quote Doug Ford, businesses come first before people. Pretty incredible thing to say as people drop dead all around you but hey, his late brother the former Mayor of Toronto was a disaster and Doug is hugely incompetent in this case. Same in Alberta, the Texas of Canada, where Premier Jason Kenney is facing an open revolt in his own caucus, he too refuses to act and now daily cases are extremely high.
Here in the Atlantic, only PEI and Newfoundland are doing ok and all is pretty quiet. However we are isolated and the bridge is closed again to the mainland. Nova Scotia has increasing numbers which is very worrisome, the City of Halifax is closed down completely, another case of re-opening too soon. In New Brunswick same story and there too Premier Higgs has imposed lockdowns to try to stop the disease. So this means a very quiet Summer here with no visitors period.
We have made our plans to go to the Cottage by the sea at French River in the New London area. Such an incredibly beautiful area, for two weeks this year.
The New London rear LightHouse at French River. This is our view from the cottage and the beach is just a few feet behind it. Looking to the left we would see vast expanse of water. The sand bars in that area are impressive. The current is also swift since 2 rivers come into the sea in the area. To think that until about 30 years ago this lighthouse was lived in by a widow and her 3 kids and she kept it going 365 days of the year. I cannot imagine how she did it, it is isolated and very rural, dirt roads picturesque. The sky at night is impressive with an incredible blanket of stars and our galaxy the Milky Way.
I wonder if the family of Foxes will be there again this year.
From the New London LightHouse we can hike about 3 km to the Cape Tryon Lighthouse. It was possible to drive over but the road is not kept and it is dirt, unless you have a tractor you cannot get to it by car. So you can walk it, very nice and scenic, cliffs all the way and once you get there, you can admire the water and the Sunsets are spectacular. It is so quiet on that walk, all you hear is the sea, birds and crickets.
Today Will made 2 dishes, one is a pan cake vanilla and cherries, a recipe our friend in Greece, Yannis shared with us. The other is a Lancashire Lamb stew, it is Ramadan so now is time for lamb. PEI Lamb is very good and comes from the farms just minutes away from the Farmer’s Market.
Today is was Will’s turn to get his vaccine and he got a Moderna one.
The hockey arena has been re-purposed to give vaccines to Islanders and it is alldone on an appointment system. I drove him to his appointment which is a 5 minute drive and he went in. It is all very well organized and professional, impressive in fact. So far 18% of the general population has been vaccinated and 80% of all Health Staff are vaccinated. So at this rate things are going pretty well. Still no death and only one hospitalization in Ward 3, none in ICU.
Now he has to wait for his second shot in 4 weeks time. My shot is in 5 days and I am looking forward to it. You get a sticker on the way out stating that you have been vaccinated, people walk around proudly with them on their jackets.
In terms of Birthday’s today was the Anniversary of the Founding of Rome some 2774 years ago. Romans left flowers at the statue of Emperor Augustus in the Roman Forum. The Mayor of Rome left a giant flower wreath at the foot of the statue of the Goddess Roma at the Altar to the Nation, where the eternal flames burns. Happy Birthday to Rome the greatest city in the World.
Another Birthday today 21 April was for HM Queen Elizabeth II who turns 95. Poor dear buried her husband just days ago. She is now the longest living and longest reigning Sovereign in the history of Canada and the UK. This year is the 69 th year of Her reign, next year will be the Platinum Jubilee which has never been celebrated before.
To give an example of longevity Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years, George III for 60 years.
Yesterday on Radio-Canada on the classical music program they played what I quickly identified as classic old French lullabies. One is Au Clair de la Lune and the other is Fait dodo, Colas mon petit frère. Both are very well known and are probably the first songs any child will hear from his Mother or sibling. As a small child, I heard these two lullabies hundreds of times. It is the only two I know by heart to this day. This is the sort of thing you cannot forget because it is so tightly close to early life.
Here we have Angèle Dubeau, an international artist, a Canadian violin player, who I met in 1987 in Mexico City where she had come to give concerts with her Stradivarius, a beautiful instrument which was guarded due to its rarity and great age.
All this week, details of the Funeral of HRH The Prince Philip have been presented by the BBC and Sky News. I prefer the BBC because it is more accurate or factual. It is interesting to note that the British Army has also made several short video on preparation for the funeral, from the horse grooming to various details on the funeral itself, troops involved, what music will be played and all of it with comments from the soldiers and officers involved.
The guest list is very interesting, the Queen made the final decision on who would be invited and limited the number to 30 instead of the usual 800. Prince Philip’s German relatives are invited, he belonged to the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Family, this was his father Prince Andrew of Greece’s family name. His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg changed to Mountbatten after 1917, she was also the sister of Lord Louis Mountbatten who was so influential in the life of his godson Philip. His sisters all married German Princes and three of them had husbands who joined the Nazi party. In 1947 at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip, they were not invited. However in 1952 for the Coronation of now Queen Elizabeth, they were invited to attend and stood behind the seat of the Queen Mother at the service.
However his Royal Greek relatives including his Royal Spanish relatives or Royal Danish relatives or the Russian Romanovs where not invited due to Covid restrictions.
The invited German relatives are Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden, Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse, Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Prince Philip was their uncle.
At the service on the Altar of St-George’s Chapel will be 9 cushions with his British, Greek, Danish, Canadian and Australian decorations, there are also 61 other decorations received from various countries but they will not be displayed because it would be too much. Prince Philip chose the honours and medals to be displayed. Some have to be returned to the Sovereign after the recipient dies, the Order of the Garter returns to Queen Elizabeth and the Order of the Elephant of Denmark returns to Queen Margarete. All other medals and honours will be inherited by Queen Elizabeth. Same with his titles, that of Duke of Edinburgh now passes to his son Prince Charles.
His coffin of Oak lined with lead will be draped in his personal standard. The Oak comes from the Windsor forest and is made by the Royal Family’s coffin maker and embalmer, Leverton & Sons Ltd. The description below refers to who Prince Philip was. A Ducal crown, top with a Knight helmet and a Prince’s crown with plumes. Flanked by a savage or Hercules crowned with laurels.
The crest with the 3 blue lions and 9 hearts represents Denmark on his father’s side the white cross on blue is for Greece,Philip was Heir to the Greek Throne, the castle is for Edinburgh castle and the black and white stripes is the imperial colours of Prussia and Saxony, his German ancestry. His motto was God is my Help and the other motto Honni Soit Qui Mal Y Pense, is that of all British Sovereign.
All the decisions about the Funeral were made by the Queen and followed instructions given over a period of 16 years by Prince Philip who planned his own funeral including the design of the Landrover which will carry his coffin.
The Queen will sit by herself in the chapel during the service in what is designated as the Sovereign’s chair. Every male will wear Morning Dress or a dark suit, no military uniforms, this to avoid having both Andrew and Harry out of uniform since they no longer have any association with the military and the rest of the Princes in uniform, a wise choice. However they will all probably wear their military medals.
After the funeral the casket of Prince Philip will be lowered into the vault of St-George’s Chapel to rest with the other kings of the Hanoverian Dynasty ancestors of his wife the Queen, until the day both are laid to rest in the small chapel where Her father King George VI and her Mother and Princess Margaret are buried.
Also this week some interesting personal details about Prince Philip, he loved good food and was a foodie and a master at the Bar-B-Q. Many of the dishes he liked were simple and easy to make, one dessert Crepes Islandaise, a recipe from Iceland, is a simple paper thin crepe stuffed with plum jam and fresh whip cream. He also spoke fluent German, French and English. He loved all kinds of sports and was good with people, though he could not tolerate fools and could then be quite rude.
I will be watching the funeral tomorrow at 10am my time, London is +5 hours ahead of us.
If you only listened to the CBC from Toronto, you would believe that the whole country is doing poorly with the Covid pandemic. The problem being that CBC at the English Mother House in Toronto has the sad tendency to report all news in a Toronto Centric way, but Toronto is only one city in Canada and not the whole country. We have 6 time zones in an immense geographic area.
The Atlantic provinces New-Brunswick, Nova-Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador is almost never mentioned in the news, Quebec is only mentioned if something derogatory makes the news. In other words the news are skewed in Toronto’s favour. It was not always like that but in decentralizing, the Federal Government allowed the National Broadcaster to leave the Capital Ottawa, the English service went to Toronto and the French service to Montreal.
At the moment with the Pandemic, Ontario is definitely a NO GO area, with 4500 cases per day, the Provincial Government who is responsible for Health Care has made a terrible mess of things by putting the priority on businesses instead of public health, the result, the health service is collapsing and doctors have to decide who will live and who will die, not a good situation.
Here in Atlantic Canada, PEI has a handful of cases, all at home, Newfoundland and Labrador another handful, Nova Scotia a few, the problem is New Brunswick because of its border with Quebec. So the opening of inter-provincial borders expected for next week is not going to happen. The Premiers are playing it safe and prefer to wait until May 3 to see if we can re-open our border to visitors from other Atlantic provinces. We will definitely NOT re-open to any other Canadians from other provinces or the USA.
Either way Will and I are getting our vaccine next week, the Pfizer one.
In the local news yesterday on PEI, the head of the Nurses Union said that 250 nurses had either changed jobs or quit and we were very short staffed. That is a huge number for PEI. Many have gone to work for the Federal Government at the Dept of Veterans Affairs, better pay and better benefits and a lot less stress. The pandemic has created a scenario where nurses are expected to work 7 days a week, we do a lot of testing, sometimes 1000 per day or more and then the inoculation of the population is going great guns. So nursing staff is worked hard and many are tired.
Mental health also appears to be the flavour of the month, we only have 2 psychiatrists on the Island and we need a minimum of 10. Most of the work in this field is done by nurses who do a lot of counselling, but that is not the same thing as having a doctor see you. Also you can easily wait 3 weeks in an emergency situation.
The PEI Government talks a lot about reform but little is being done and it all hinges on salary and benefits which keeps a lot of doctors away.
Almost every Saturday morning we go to the Farmer’s Market, we are lucky here on this Agricultural Island that we do have a lot of farmers, real ones, none of the phoney farmers seen in so many urban markets. We are also lucky that many people shopping around have developed a personal relationship with various suppliers for their eggs, poultry, lamb, beef, cheese, fresh produce, etc..
Today I bought some very nice cheeses and some fresh lamb for stew and a leg of lamb to roast. The various farmers have developed their products to be natural and free of hormones or other nasty products usually found in grocery store supplies.
We buy our meat from Steerman, he is the old style farmer, you buy from his farm and he can give you which ever cut of beef you want. Same with chicken from Larkin or lamb. With every purchase comes also a bit of a chat, it is customary to do so.
So we bought lamb for a stew and found this really fun recipe and one that looks easy to make. On YouTube at KITCHEN SANCTUARY, the recipe is called Lancashire Hotpot.
I also bought a turkey pot pie from Larkin’s and we will have that for dinner tomorrow.
Of course, we are still thinking of the death of Prince Philip yesterday, it seems that many thought he would live forever. He was for me a mainstay all my life. We did have the Queen Mother but this was different, she belonged to the time of her husband, King George VI.
Philip and Elizabeth were married 73 years, next week the Lieutenant Governor of PEI is coming to the Club to re-dedicate a portrait of HM taken in 1951 some 70 years ago when the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on their first visit to Canada and PEI, Her Father only had about 3 months to live. What was not mentioned yesterday, it was the 16th Wedding Anniversary of Prince Charles and Camilla. The Queen’s birthday is in a few days and she will turn 95.
It was explained yesterday by the College of Arms or Heralds, that the title of the Duke of Edinburgh now passes to his son Charles, who is also Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay. When Charles becomes King, the Dukedom will be extinguished until such times as he gives it to another member of the Family. It is fully expected that the title of Duke of Edinburgh will go to his younger brother Edward the Earl of Wessex.
At the moment Prince Philip is lying at rest (not in State) in a chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Royal Memorial Service (not a State funeral) will be held at St-George’s Chapel at Windsor castle and not at Westminster Cathedral. Those were the wishes of the Prince who did not want any fuss as he put it. However he will have his Statue on the empty plinth at Trafalgar square in London in a few years time.
For the time being his coffin will rest in the vault of St-George’s Chapel until the Queen dies and then they will be buried together in a mausoleum on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Prince Charles now will assume even more responsibilities, he has taken over much of every day duties delegated by his mother the Queen, we have entered what seems to me as a transitory period. The video was made a few hours ago at Highgrove the Residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, about 90 minutes outside London
The first news I heard this morning in a special news bulletin on the CBC was of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Her Majesty the Queen. It really is for us Canadians the end of an era. After 70 years of distinguish public duty at the age of 99. The longest serving Prince Consort in Canadian and British history.
His childhood was one of adversity, his family was forced from Greece into exile, his parents Prince Andrew and Princess Alice separated and he spent his childhood moving from one relative to another and going to many different schools.
Born at the Palace of Mon Repos on the Isle of Corfu in Greece on June 10, 1921, Prince of Greece and Denmark, Philip’s four older sisters were Margharita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie.
He was born in Greece, but his family was exiled from the country when he was eighteen months old. After being educated in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old, Princess Elizabeth whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets. After the war, Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, he renounced his Greek and Danish titles and styles, changed his religion from Greek Orthodox to Anglican, became a British Subject and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten. He married Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was granted the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King George VI. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander of the British Navy, and was made Prince of Great Britain, on their 10th Wedding Anniversary in 1957 by his wife Queen Elizabeth.
Philip had four children with Elizabeth: HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Heir to the Throne; HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal; HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
A sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president, or member of over 780 organizations, and he served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a self-improvement program for young people aged 14 to 24. He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. He retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.
The Queen referred to Prince Philip in a speech on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as her “constant strength”.
His favourite Hymn called the Sailor’s Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save.
We have been to La Serenissima as the City of Venice is known in Italy, many times.
It is a city we saw change from being a real live city to slowly becoming a tourist trap, from selling beautiful objects, books, beautiful paper products for wrapping, to letter writing and papier maché masks to basically going whole hog with cheap chinese plastic crap putting out of business, many Venetians. Good restaurants becoming fast food junk and hotel prices in the $400 dollar range and up. Far too many cheap tourists tours, garbage everywhere, a truly sad situation.
There are still pockets where in this small lagoon city you will find the quiet pace of old, but it is becoming increasingly rare. Only the pandemic put an end to the onslaught and emptied the city.
These are photos of one of our visit in Venice, having tea at Café Aurora on an afternoon, having tea, sandwiches and pastries. The last time we were visiting Venice we stayed in Mestre which is on the mainland but not the same. We did discover that Padua is only by train about 20 minutes from Venice and a good alternative for an hotel when visiting the Veneto region. Padua is a beautiful small city, and tourists do not go there in hordes, probably because it is known for its pilgrimage sites devoted to Saint Anthony, who was Portuguese. Padua is also a university town.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown