On October 11, 1882, Oscar Wilde who was then 28 years old came to Charlottetown and spoke in the Old Market Hall, which is now occupied by the Confederation Centre for the Arts. He was on a speaking tour of North America. The local press was present and on the look out, after all Oscar Wilde had a reputation and the press where waiting for him. He also spoke in Halifax and in St-John where he had to return by popular demand to deliver another lecture on Decorative Arts. Both the Daily Examiner and the Patriot sent reporters, both papers disappeared some years ago.
In Charlottetown, the local press showed clearly a strong prejudice against him in the article about his talk. The reporter wrote only about how effeminate he was, he manner and speech were unmanly, he dressed poorly if compared to a British gentleman, the press faulted him for not wearing evening dress. His hair was long though in a sleight to French Canadians, the reporter noted that some men in Quebec wore their hair longer. According to the reporter Wilde could pass for a mannish woman. Not one word about his lecture or the topic. In other words Wilde was dismissed as of no importance and what was all the fuss about this fellow.
Wilde was described as the Apostle of the Beautiful, you can imagine that on a poor agricultural island in the midst of a grave economic crisis with the steep decline of the wood ship building industry, he did not impress the locals. The audience was described as splendid and maybe too enthusiastic given that a similar welcome is never given to local Islanders. This prejudice against anyone not from PEI is still very much in evidence today.
The Charlottetown Central Market Hall 1823-1958 destroyed by fire.
Well this morning I returned to my dentist to have the molar wisdom tooth out. I am sure you have heard plenty of horror stories about removing molars etc. I take a philosophical approach to all this, it needs to be done so just relax. It is by far better than a blood infection and complications. I also have complete faith in my dentist.
The entire procedure took about 30 minutes, freezing and then out it came, only about 3 minutes of pulling on it and that was it. I did not feel much of anything, no pain and I went home.
So that was the excitement for today, it is also a nice sunny day, so I will just relax and enjoy the day. Oh, I got to keep my wisdom tooth, so I could get $$$ from the Tooth Fairy. I am not posting pictures of the wisdom tooth so as to not scare my readers.
My reputation as the Colgate smile poster child is being tested. The treatment of Monday did not work out, so tomorrow that molar has to come out. Oh well so is life.
Amongst the many things I read on the internet some topics I have been following for years. One such topic was the reconstruction of East Berlin from 1990 to today. It is quite amazing when you know that the City of Berlin in May 1945 was nothing more than a field of ruins, very little survived the intense bombing between 1942 to 1945.
At the end of the war the city was divided between East and West, the eastern part was given to the USSR and the western part was carved up between the UK, France and the USA. West Berlin was rebuilt, whereas the East, especially the old historical part of the City was left in ruins until 1990. The Soviet Union was making a political or ideological point. Only after re-unification up until now has major reconstruction taken place, transforming the city and bringing back its heritage buildings and parks.
Russia and the City of St-Petersburg has also seen major restoration since Vladimir Putin has ruled that country, he is a native son of the city and hundred of millions of rubles have been spent on rebuilding palaces, cathedrals, refurbishing palaces and its work of art and furniture. Millions of tourists visit the city each year just to see all the numerous palaces and churches and museums including the Hermitage which requires a whole week by itself for a visit.
Outside of St-Petersburg, going South some 24 Km away on the seashore, the various Tsars starting with Peter the Great built themselves Summer Palaces, Catherine the Great and many others did the same, then the nobility followed suit. So much so that this area was called the Tsar’s Village or Tsarkoye Selo. Many renowned architects mostly Italians came to design these palaces and gardens. Unfortunately, first the revolution of 1917 but more damaging was the occupation of the German army in June 1941 for 900 days ravaged the area so severely that only naked ruins remained.
After the war the government of the USSR spent time and money to restore some of the palaces, but mostly to turn them into dormitory for the poor or schools or government buildings.
The Alexander palace which sits across from the Catherine Palace, so named for Empress Catherine I in 1717 and then enlarge by Empress Elizabeth I a few years later. A third Empress Catherine II the Great will again beautify and enlarge it.
Catherine II decided to gift her grandson his own palace called the Alexander Palace built in 1792, he later became Tsar Alexander I who defeated Napoleon during the Russian campaign. The last Tsar Nicholas II and his wife and children lived in that Palace away from St-Petersburg, for reasons of safety. This will be the place were he and his family are arrested by the Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky and deported to their death in Siberia. Until 1941 the palace was a museum to the Tsar and his family. However with the arrival of the German army, many of the treasures were moved to Moscow and the palace was abandoned to the Nazi who quickly destroyed it. It sits in a very large park with many pavilions and other attractions built for the pleasure of the Imperial family.
When the Arts council of St-Petersburg decided to start rebuilding the Palace in the 1990’s it was under the direction of Vladimir Putin who also decided to rebuild other palaces and churches making of the entire area a showcase for the world.
In the case of the Alexander Palace, the building had to be rebuilt, new roof, new floors and extensive historical research to present the palace as it was in 1917 when the Imperial family still lived there. No small feat, given the extent of the destruction, luckily large archives of photos and other documents helped greatly the historians.
The Alexander palace will re-open in 2022 and all the work will be completed by 2024. Some wonderful photos have come to us from the Tsarskoselskaya Restoration Workshop http://@tsarskoselskaya_workshop
They reproduced, tiles for the bathrooms and fireplaces, curtains and wallpaper, plaster work, chandeliers, woodwork and furniture, all of it had been destroyed. A gigantic piece of detailed and historically accurate work, all matching the historical photos of the rooms. Any visitor will be able to appreciate how the family lived in their private family palace. A very different place than the Winter Palace which was used for Official functions only.
Hopefully one day we may return to St-Petersburg to see it again.
Well I had a quick appointment this morning with my dentist over some pain I had been having for about 10 days and it would not go away. It turned out to be my very back upper molar, way back there, a tricky part it is so far back. But it had to be fixed and he identified the problem in no time at all and went to work, one hour later it is fixed. If for some reason tomorrow there is pain or his intervention today did not solve the problem, then he will remove it. But he believes the molar can be saved, so there we go. I am to call him in the morning with a progress report. I simply notch this up to having to suffer to be beautiful for my public, a regular Diana, candle in the wind kind of thing.
Today Canada has a new Governor General and Commander of the Armed Forces, etc, etc, etc. Mary Mae Simon is the 30th Governor General of Canada and represent the Queen of Canada.Amongst her many duties, she ensures that we always have a functioning government, signs all Laws into force once passed by Parliament, she advises and warns the Prime Minister on any course of action. She also represents Canada at all State Functions, receives Ambassadors, performs many other diplomatic functions like State Dinners and other State functions as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, etc.
It is very irritating to hear our idiot and lazy press go over the same nonsense over and over again. They are so incompetent at the CBC and Radio-Canada that they could not even tell you who was present in the Senate Chamber. It took them no less than 2 hours to identify her husband, the guy next to her. Come on folks why are we paying you 6 figure salaries for this type of garbage on TV.
The Senate is currently sitting in the Old Train Station in Ottawa across from Parliament and the Chateau Laurier Hotel. The Parliament buildings are being completely renovated until 2030 so the old train station which looks like a Roman Temple inside and out, think roman bath house was refurbished for hundreds of millions of dollars, no expense where spared.
The Installation ceremony takes place after the Queen designates a candidate on the advice of the Prime Minister. This was done 3 weeks ago and all the Letter Patents were issued by the Privy Council and the Queen bestowed several honours of Mary Simon including her own Coat of Arms designed by the Royal Herald. They also met formally through zoom.
Because Mary Simon is the first Inuk to serve in this function, She speaks Inuktituk, part of the ceremony was in Inuktituk. She was greeted at the door by drummers of the Algonquin nation, Ottawa is located in their territory. Then a Inuk drummer escorted her into the Chamber. It is important to note that as Mary Simon did in her speech, her people the Inuk who were known formerly as Montagnais, a name given to them by the French, live in the far North of Quebec and the people of the South are the other native nations living thousands of kilometre where all Canadians live. Its a North South thing, the Inuk culture and that of the other indigenous groups is vastly different and they don’t really get along given the difference in food, culture, language, beliefs, legends and myths and traditions. Then you also have the Inuit (eskimo)who are another group living in the Canadian Polar Circle.
Mrs Commanda who is Algonquin, and the Chief of Native groups in the South welcomed Mary Simon on Algonquin territory. Mary Simon thanked her acknowledging that her people the Inuk and the people of the South can work together. Commanda would not use that expression, for her it’s Native people and the non-native people (white). Language matters in defining perspective.
I am pretty sure that Mrs Simon will meet with criticism from the indigenous First Nations (people of the South) who view her with suspicion. The Natives in Canada are not united and there is much conflict amongst them, diverging agendas.
So once installed there was a 21 gun salute and the Flag of the Governor General was raised on the Peace Tower of Parliament replacing the Canadian Flag. The same is done at Westminster when the Queen goes to Parliament, her Personal Standard replaces the Union Jack.
Other differences today, only the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was present instead of the full 9 Judges, there was no Chief of the Defence Staff, the position is vacant currently. Only some Senators and a handful of Members of Parliament. Her sons and step child and the rest of her family were present. All this of course is due to Covid 19, sanitary precautions are still being enforced.
was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik (Quebec). She is the 30th Governor General of Canada. She lives in Ottawa at Rideau Hall, the Official Residence of the G.G.
If New York is the Big Apple, Charlottetown is the big potato. The ride home was nice and quiet on deserted country roads about 50 min all together. We arrived on the Pride Weekend and the parade, well more like a walk really, went by our house and ended in the park across the street, every politician was there. The Pride festival and the walk/parade is unlike other such events, here it is more of a human rights, affordable housing, BLM, Trans, Native rights, anti-racism, Feminist rights, #Me too, etc sort of thing, not really what Pride was or is suppose to be. No party boys here and no floats or the sort of thing you see in other cities.
The tourists are back in town, a lot of plates from elsewhere in Canada. Some Americans but not many given that the requirement is to show full vaccination certificate at the border. Probably a lot more will come after 9 August, the official date for the re-opening of the US-Canada border.
The weather at the cottage was cool at night around 15C and one night around 12C which is cold and we put on the heat to warm up the place. Nonetheless it is a very nice place and we already booked for next year but later in August. I was happy just to sit in the sunshine or read a book, go for a walk on the beach or go for lunch and enjoy the seafood off the fishing boats as they come in, you cannot get fresher than that. People are also more calm and pleasant than here in Ch’town. Compared to the extreme weather elsewhere in Canada, Maritime weather is fine and enjoyable.
Posting below some of the pictures I took of our vacation.
For the last 2 weeks we have been at the Beach, so this is why there has been no blogging. What I cherish most here is the perfect quiet, the only noise is nature itself, the many variety of birds and the surf. We are surrounded by forest, marsh and the sand dunes of the beach. It is so pleasant that living in the city you forget how it can be.
The nearest small town is 10 minutes down the road where there is a liquor store and a small grocery store with all the conveniences. Many nice cafés and little restaurants here and there in and around Kensington. The big town is Summerside 20 minutes away, pop 15K, we go there for the Ice Cream at Holman’s which is located inside the former mansion of the Holman Family with its beautiful garden of old trees and plentiful flowers. By far the ice cream at Holman’s is made daily and in small batches, once sold that’s it. The taste and texture is wonderful and the owners follow high standards to produce it, it is well worth the drive down the road to Holman’s.
In PEI usually you hear a lot about COWS ice cream which is owned by a big Corp. ADL and is a major producers of dairy products. The quality is industrial and it is flogged at the tourist crowd.
Going to Kensington on country roads where you share the road with farming machinery, surrounded by farms, you should know to slow down once you see the sign up ahead for the town, the speed limit drops from 80Km to 50Km and the police cruiser is hidden in the field, they watch for speeders. In fact the small police force of Kensington (5) has a FaceBook page and they are well known for their humour.
The weather of our first week was quite nice with walks on the deserted beach. Now since yesterday a big storm has come in and it is windy and rainy with big waves. It appears that it will be like this for the next day or so. We return home on Saturday, I wonder how I will find the city with its noise. Both Nicky and Nora will be happy to see us and probably will stick to us like glue, creatures of habit that they are.
Last night 21 July was our 14th Wedding Anniversary, we married between assignments, I completed my Beijing posting came home to Ottawa, the house had sold and in those few days we prepared for our next post Rome. Got married with our long haired dachshund Reesie present, he would be coming with us to Italy. A friend had offered her beautiful garden for the event. It was small and simple and with a few friends present. Then a few days later we flew to Rome and wonderful years in Italy. Now all this seems so far away.
For our anniversary we have this habit now in PEI to go to The Mill in New Glasgow, the award winning chef is Emily Wells, her food is beautiful and the dishes always very well prepared. She is a chef who knows how to bring out the flavour of each ingredients and balances it all carefully. The restaurant was once an old mill built in 1874 on the banks of the Clyde River, simple but beautiful dining room on a quiet river surrounded by parkland. The meal was great and so happy to see Chef Emily again.
So at the beach I brought one book to read, but while we went to Summerside we discovered a bookstore Seaside Books owned by a lady called Nancy, it is a second hand bookstore on Water street, the selection was eclectic and very interesting. I found books by John LeCarré and by Lord Jeffrey Archer. However the style of LeCarré I like because it reminds me of my former life. Archer writes about detective stories and it has the feel of a TV script which I find annoying. I also bought a book on Jung and his mystic approach to psychiatry. Though Jung himself often said he was not a mystic and did not believe in it.
The greatest find came from Nancy who showed us a book of paintings on Venice over a period of four centuries, with accompanying text. It’s a big coffee table book, cloth binding weighs about 20 pounds, in mint condition. A spectacular book which Will loved at first sight.
Tonight we are going to the theatre in Rustico which is a fishing village further East from us. The Watermark theatre produces great summer stock plays, we are going to see the Gin Game by D.L. Coburn.
Such a nice staycation just 50 minutes from home but feels like we are thousands of Km away.
Today the Chief Medical Officer had some very good news for Islanders, given our high proportion of vaccination at 85% and climbing fast, and the fact that we have 1 active case now and no new ones for quite a while, it will no longer be mandatory for people fully vaccinated to wear a mask. Though she did say that everyone should evaluate their personal circumstances and health status.
It also looks like people from other provinces will be able to come to PEI if they are vaccinated and seek permission to enter much sooner now than previously thought. The situation in Canada is good now and as a country we lead the world in vaccination. Good job on the part of the Government of Canada all around. The economy is also doing very well and job growth is strong.
The house is in order and we are leaving tomorrow afternoon for French River. The post tropical storm Elsa is a non-event it did rain but really not much and it was not heavy. It has stopped raining now and there is some clearing. According to the radar it will have past us by noon time tomorrow and then its sunshine.
The babysitter will stay home with our little ones, so this is a vacation for us. I do not know how much I will blog while at the beach. The photo shows our beach and the little lighthouse of New London. A very quiet and pleasant area, with the French River and the South West river emptying into the sea.
Yes, spaghetti like in Pasta. Living in Italy I became fascinated with the variety of regional dishes. There are 21 regions in Italy, mostly composed of former Dukedoms and Principalities. All developed their own distinctive cuisine and Rome has its own cuisine very typical of what Romans ate 2500 years ago, which includes the Jewish cuisine of Rome which has nothing to do with anything seen anywhere in Europe or North America and was a surprise and a great culinary delicacy.
Most dishes in Italy and what is considered proper Italian cuisine is based on meats, beef, veal, poultry, lamb and 8 week old lamb cutlets, fish, seafood, rabbit, boar.
There is very little pasta as such, reason being that pasta is the poor man’s diet and pizza is truly for the down and out of society. Pasta is only a few centuries old so it entered the Italian cuisine fairly late in its history.
I was speaking with a friend at the Club and she mentioned to me that she loved spaghetti with clams (alle vongole) these are small white clams. Did I know of a recipe to make such. Well it is a favourite of Italians in the Summer and you can find it on any good restaurant menu. So I consulted two well known and well rated Italian cooking books. The first one is called the SILVER SPOON (Il cucchiaio d’argento) printed in 1950 and still in its 9 th edition the most sold Italian cooking book in the world. The book has over 2000 recipes.
The other one is the famous book by Marcella Hazan,(1924-2013) The Classic Italian Cookbook, a wonderful book and a classic, James Beard loved her book.
I counted 29 recipes with various sauces to accompany your plate of Spaghetti. Please note not one with meat sauce or meat balls, that is strictly speaking an American invention by poor Italian immigrants, you will not see it in Italy. You cannot mix meat and pasta in Italian cuisine as they are seen as two separate components of a meal on separate plates.
You can have your spaghetti with sauces of tuna, anchovies (the fresh fish), green onions, clams, lobster, shrimp, eggplant, raw tomato, garlic and chili oil, artichokes, capers, broccoletti, zucchini, breadcrumbs, capers, brocoli etc. I have eaten many of those dishes and they are wonderful.
Here is the recipe for Spaghetti with clam sauce (alle Vongole).
For 4 servings
1 1/2 dozen littleneck clams 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced paper thin 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 fresh, ripe, firm plum tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice with its skin on, but drained of juice and all seeds removed 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 pound dry pasta 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into 2 or 3 pieces
Recommended pasta:Spaghettini, thin spaghetti, takes to clam sauces more successfully than other shapes. A close enough second is spaghetti.
1. Soak the clams for 5 minutes in a basin or sink filled with cold water. Drain and refill the basin with fresh cold water, leaving in the clams. Vigorously scrub the clams one by one with a very stiff brush. Drain, refill the basin, and repeat the whole scrubbing operation. Do this 2 or 3 more times, always in fresh changes of water, until you see no more sand settling to the bottom of the basin. Discard any that, when handled, don’t clamp shut. Put them in a pan broad enough so that the clams don’t need to be piled up more than 3 deep, cover the pan, and turn on the heat to high. Check the clams frequently, turning them over, and remove them from the pan as they open their shells.
2. When all the clams have opened up, take them out of the pan, using a slotted spoon. Try not to stir up the juices in the pan any more than you must. Detach the clam meat from its shell, and gently swish each clam in the pan juices to rinse off any sand. Unless they are exception- ally small, cut them up in 2 or even 3 pieces. Put them in a small bowl, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over them, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and set it aside for later. Do not refrigerate.
3. Line a strainer with paper towels, and filter the clam juices in the pan through the paper and into another bowl. Set aside for later.
4. Choose a skillet or sauté pan broad enough to contain the pasta later. Put in 3 tablespoons olive oil and the slice garlic, and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook the garlic, stirring it, for just a few seconds, without letting it become colored, then add the parsley. Stir once or twice, and add the diced tomato. Cook the tomato for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring it from time to time, then add the wine. Simmer the wine for about 20 to 30 seconds, letting it reduce, then turn off the heat.
5. Cook the pasta in abundant boiling salted water until it is very firm to the bite, barely short of being fully cooked. When you bite a piece off, it should feel slightly stiff and the narrowest of chalk- white cores should be showing in the center of the strand.
6. Turn the heat on to high under the skillet or sauté pan, drain the pasta and transfer it immediately to the pan. Add all the filtered clam juice, and cook, tossing and turning the pasta, until all the juice has evaporated. If the pasta was not too underdone when you drained it, it should now be perfectly cooked. Taste it and, in the unlikely event it needs more cooking after the clam juices have evaporated and been absorbed, add a small amount of water.
7. As soon as the pasta is done, before you turn the heat off, add the cut-up clams with all the oil in the bowl and the torn basil leaves, toss in the pan 2 or 3 times, then transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.
We are in preparation for our vacation to the beach. The weather currently is cold about 14C which is not normal for this time of the year at all. It also has been foggy and somewhat drizzling rain on and off. So looking ahead we have to plan accordingly.
Now Will got his second shot of Moderna and I a got mine (Pfizer). So we will be fully vaccinated and we are both happy about it. More tourists have been arriving from other Atlantic Provinces but I have seen also an influx of Ontario plates which means these are people who have family here and are vaccinated so they can cross the bridge from the mainland. However the Prime Minister did say categorically that tourists, Americans and others cannot enter Canada if they have not been vaccinated. So the message is clear, if you want to come here, get your 2 shots.
The Bar-B-Q at the Club went very well, I was manning the 6 burner barbi and cooked up a storm. Was very happy with the results and my fellow members loved the burgers and bratwurst. The cake was also very good and we got the Mayor who is our Club Patron to cut the cake.
I did not have to pay for my drinks last night, several people bought me drinks, which was nice. It was great fun.
Nicky is doing much better, I am relieved because I worry about him. The Vet was very nice, she was fully booked but told me to come any way and she would examine him. He poisoned himself by eating a begonia, a flower which is dangerous for dogs. He would not eat at all and could not keep food down. However years ago I was told by the Vet that it was important for a dog to stay hydrated and he had access to a lot of water and slivers of ice. We also gave him chicken broth which he loves. It was so funny when I went to pick him up at the Vet, he ran to the car and jumped in as if to say, now let’s get out of here quick. Got home and all he wanted was to snuggle and sleep.
The Lobster fishing season has come to an end and now for July it’s Lobster Fest with many restaurants presenting their version of the Lobster roll. The trick is to know where the best lobster roll is and with the most lobster in it. Usually it’s 4 oz of lobster per roll, but some restaurants will add a bit more and some claw meat. The bread also is important, freshly baked and crusty is very good, the old hot dog buns just don’t cut it. Terry at the Wheelhouse restaurant in Georgetown has a pretty good lobster roll, the best I think.
So yesterday I got my second shot and now I applied and received by proof of vaccination and I am also getting my PEI PASS which allows me to travel to the other Atlantic provinces and back without quarantine. After 18 July we will be able to travel to other Canadian Provinces. All of this took only minutes, no waiting whatsoever, the system is very efficient. Now the question is, can we travel internationally? To Europe? The USA border is still closed but it is pretty certain that by August it will re-open to those Americans who have proof of full vaccination. All the people who bitched and said no to the vaccination are now out of luck, every government wants proof of vaccination, no proof = no travel for you. Some have seen the light finally.
Other than that we are waiting for Post-Tropical Storm Elsa, but now it looks like she may miss us or at least we will get some rain or wind but not much else. The path of the storm appears to be moving to the middle of the Bay of Fundy. By the time we leave for the Cottage on Saturday it looks like Elsa will be near Newfoundland having passed PEI.
I bought new blankets for the two little dachshunds, they love them, it is like a lambswool fleece and they love to sleep in them. It appears to calm them down. So I put them in their kennels where they sleep at night since their puppyhood. They are quite attached to their sky kennels from KLM. It is their home and they have travelled with those kennels around the world.
Now Nora is a bold girl and she is not shy about setting the tone and Nicky just better behave or else. She simply stole his new blanket and put it into her kennel, thus monopolizing for herself all the blankets. This is too funny. Female Dachshunds are usually very assertive compared to the male dog.
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