On our trip to Norway a few years ago, we visited the City of Bergen where composer and pianist Edvard Grieg 1843-1907 and his wife Nina Hagerup, 1845-1935, a soprano, lived. We visited his home at Troldhaugen dedicated to his legacy. A beautiful wood building and by the lake in the rock face the couple’s tomb. A very romantic place, quiet beauty. This visit to Troldhaugen was the high point of the visit to Bergen.
A view from the back of the house.
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in Bergen, Norway. His parents were Alexander Grieg (1806–1875), a merchant and the British Vice-Consul in Bergen; and Gesine Judithe Hagerup (1814–1875), a music teacher. The family name, originally spelled GREIG, is associated with the Scottish Clan Gregor. After the Battle of Culloden in Scotland in 1746, Grieg’s great-grandfather, Alexander Greig (1739-1803), travelled widely before settling in Norway about 1770 and establishing business interests in Bergen. Grieg’s paternal great-great-grandparents, John (1702-1774) and Anne (1704-1784), are buried in the abandoned churchyard of the ruinous Church of St Ethernan in Rathen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Edvard Grieg was raised in a musical family. His mother was his first piano teacher and taught him to play when he was aged six. In his lifetime he became friends with Franz Liszt and Percy Grainger.
Throughout his life, Grieg’s health was impaired by a destroyed left lung and considerable deformity of his thoracic spine. He suffered from numerous respiratory infections, and ultimately developed combined lung and heart failure.
While we visited his home, we heard a beautiful concert of his music in a specially constructed concert hall concealed in the garden of his home. Tonight I found on YouTube 37 pieces played on the piano by Walter Gieseking, such beautiful music and so Scandinavian.
Today was the first day of 4 advance voting days before the 7 November date for the Municipal Elections in PEI.
I follow the candidates most of whom I know at a certain level to have spoken to them or met with them since 2018 when I ran for office in Charlottetown. I do remember their stand on various issues and do we ever have lots of urgent and pressing issues in Charlottetown, from housing which is in an acute crisis no matter how much money you have to buy, rent or build. Homelessness in a city of 40K and infrastructure in general in a state of decay or in complete fail mode. A city council that is completely dysfunctional, financial scandals and nepotism on the grand scale.
We also have elections in other towns like Cornwall, Summerside, Stratford and in many small settlements in rural areas. In the smaller settlements, it has been very difficult to find anyone who wishes to run for office, this means the Province has to step in and put those area into trusteeship.
The media in general does not cover much of the election or the candidates, a lot of fluff pieces and roundtables where the candidates make nice statements and every one smiles a lot. You have to appreciate that the media in general in PEI, this includes the National Broadcaster CBC are very gun shy when political topics come to the forefront. The population being so small, you cannot speak of someone without bumping into a relative or an old school chum. People can loose jobs for not voting for a certain candidate, this is why people never want to say who they are going to vote for. The political actors are also pretty much the same gang, related to business or political parties. This year because of FIONA and the tons of debris still laying around, many candidates have no signs. They go door to door instead, but there is a strange apathy amongst the population.
In Charlottetown, we have 3 candidates for Mayor of the Capital ( a big village) one is the incumbent whose own family have been public office holders for several generations, they are also in construction and are well known. The other fellow is someone who is the head of the Landlord and Owners association, a group devoted to defending the privileges of the powerful who are so often maligned. He is also a housing crisis denier. The third fellow is totally unknown and speaks non-stop about abortion which is clearly NOT a municipal issue.
In my Ward which is the old town of Charlottetown of 1779, we have 3 candidates, this is probably the most important Ward in terms of population, tourism, businesses and political power. The population has attracted more and more wealthy people and wide gentrification is underway, tourism yes all the hotels and Air B&B are in Ward one, the cruise ship port is also here and the Legislature and all the government buildings including City Hall. So we have the incumbent who is closely allied and employed by the most powerful business family in PEI. The other candidate is a young women, who made her name by creating a group who organized help in PEI for everyone needing it after FIONA, her efforts have been widely appreciated, the Government being largely absent and totally disorganized or unable to help. The Premier Denny King, a former comedian, thought he would give money to people, a cheque for $250. for anyone asking for it. The Red Cross is handling this charitable endeavour, problem is, the Red Cross has virtually no staff and cannot really do this. The other problem is that a lot of Islanders have no fixed address OR we should say they have 2 addresses, one is formal but they do not live there and the other is informal where they actually live. It makes things complicated when you want to check on the home address of people for official purposes. So the Red Cross has a tough time cross referencing who lives where and who is the the real beneficiary? Ah! the Island way.
The third candidate in Ward 1 is a fellow who believes that the first priority is to build nuclear silos on the docks to prevent an attack by Russia. Yes we always have kooks in every election it provides entertainment.
So I voted and I was the only one there with 6 employees of Election PEI, they were not very busy this morning. In all it took me 3 minutes, in and out. It is all paper ballots with a pencil. I always preferred paper ballots so simple and old fashion and no fuss. There is also a register where you sign your name to indicate that you did come in to vote. All very civilized.
Today I also gave a bath to Nicky and Nora, they don’t like it and Nora knowns something is wrong when she sees us get their towels and soap and run the water. She gets this look in her eyes, too funny. Both needed it and they feel better afterwards. All their blankets were also washed.
Tonight is home made pizza night, fresh made pizza dough, toppings, Fontina and Parmesan cheese, sliced tomatoes, sauté mushrooms and a green pesto sauce. I always prefer a white sauce or a pesto sauce, I am not big on tomato sauce on pizza. In Italy, the variety of pizzas is interesting and ever changing and tomato sauce is not common. Again it looks like it is an Italian immigrant cuisine invention. The pizza is cooked in the oven in a black cast iron skillet pan at 500 F. for a few minutes.
Pizza ready to be cooked toping is arugula Pesto, Mushrooms, slice fresh tomatoes, red onion, Fontina cheese and Parmesan.
You know how sometimes you listen to some piece of music and you wonder what is it. You don’t know and you search.
The other day I was listening to the CBC radio Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel who has the most beautiful radio voice she was interviewing this award winning French author Hervé Le Tellier on his latest book. It was a fascinating interview on his life, his family and on his book. At the end of the interview they played this music and I thought I know this but could not name it. A few days later I found out it was Brahms Intermezzo op 117, no1, 2 and 3. Brahms composed the three Intermezzi of Opus 117 in the summer of 1892 while staying at the Spa town of Bad Ischl, Austria. A lovely area of Austria, it is close to Salzburg and the River Traun crosses the city.
If you listen to it at night before going to bed, it is very relaxing.
Well the weather in PEI so far and despite hurrican Fiona has been very very mild, take today 27C with humidity, that is NOT normal folks and points to a climate crisis. Despite this our politicians will not speak of it, except in bland generalities so as not to scare the horses. Everyone complains about the price of gas and when it is suggested they look at EV cars they claim they are too expensive to buy despite a rebate of $15,000. They also drive a fossil fuel car worth $45,000 so that is not much of a logical arguments and they will wait 30 minutes, motor running, at the drive through for a coffee. Yes people are funny.
I had a bit of a difficult day yesterday, the weather was bad but mild and I was really depressed. I always try to be up and smiling for Will, he is the one who is sick. So being positive is important, though as I told him I do not like to go to the Cancer Treatment Centre, it is a depressing place starting with the lighting and the beige colours. The staff is great and very good. It is also a quiet place unlike the hospital next door which is a zoo.
Our friends on the Island have been great, bringing home made foods and giving support. A friend brought some Borscht, it was excellent, the beets on the Island are very sweet, it makes for a very good soup. Another friend brought a Persian Beef Stew and that too was very good. Others have brought vegetables from their garden and zucchini cake and a very nice piece of paté.
Speaking of food, I saw another spike in food prices yesterday at the grocery store, a few months ago any item was $5 or at least it started at that mark. Now its $10. despite the supply chain arguments, this no longer bear any credibility and it has been revealed that the grocery chains are making record profits in the billions. The Federal Government is finally looking into the matter.
Today the good news is that Will has put on 3 lbs the doctor was happy and he has to put on more. So fatty foods is the solution. Will also made today his spaghetti meat sauce, which is a combination of Veal, Beef, Meat of Italian sausage no casing, there is also carrots, onions, herbs all put into the food processor. Then into the slow cooker for 5 hours and voila. So for dinner I will have spaghetti, looking forward to it.
Today in Potsdam in the Province of Brandenburg just outside Berlin, restoration continues on the various monuments of the city. Potsdam was the un-official Capital of Prussia, the Royal family lived in Potsdam.
I started visiting the city back in 1998 when posted in Warsaw, there is a direct train link between Warsaw and Berlin. Back then the old city of Potsdam was still in ruins from the bombing of 1945. The Communist government of East Germany had done nothing to restore the city and had in fact inflicted more damage by destroying some monuments considered contrary to communist ideology and building instead a very cheap version of brutalist architecture.
It was all a bit sad to see and already efforts were made to rebuild and restore the old city and its many canals. Potsdam through the centuries and especially after 1700, the Prince of Brandenburg at the time, was Freidrich I who made himself King of Prussia in 1701 and started building Potsdam as his seat with largely Italian influences, Venice was a model and all things baroque with a great deal of chinoiserie. He built a city palace which stood until 1945 when it was utterly destroyed. I remember visiting the centre of Potsdam then and where the palace stood once only a field of weeds. All around there were some old architectural fragments of palaces and great houses but nothing else. The Church of St-Nicholas had been restored quickly and around it the GDR government had build ugly buildings with a strong utilitarian look.
Prince Charles now King Charles III came in 1998 to visit the city based on an invitation by the German government to see their plans to restore the City Palace. The new function would be as the Provincial Parliament of Brandenburg. Queen Elizabeth II also came a few years later, it is good to remember that they are related to the German Royals, first cousins.
The palace was rebuilt and inaugurated in 2008, the outside is in the baroque style. All paid for by donations from the public. The inside is very modern since the use is for the seat of the legislature. On the side of the building there was originally a staircase called the angel or flag staircase. It was used to gain access to the cedar wood room where regimental flags of the Prussian regiments were stored. King Friedrich-Wilhelm, known as the sergeant king renovated the staircase but made it plain and austere, he was more interested in his army than baroque architecture. It was his son Friedrich II the Great who remodelled the staircase with 9 putti (angel) in gold plate and a very ornate bannister. It quickly became a curiosity for visitors to Potsdam. However the staircase like the palace was destroyed in 1945.
Since 2000, a massive program of restoration everywhere in Potsdam has taken place and various groups of friends of the city have contributed to the restoration of various buildings. Many corporations and wealthy donors have also rebuilt or restored buildings. The Prussian Foundation also undertook to restore the great royal park where several palaces are located including Sans Souci.
So this picture shows the taste of Freidrich II who designed the staircase. The putti are playing instruments of music. All the palaces of Freidrich II have this extravagant baroque look, there is always a lot of gold and his favourite colours where green and gold, black and gold, white and gold, pink was also fashionable and this is the colour of the Armoury building in Berlin. Here the city palace is a salmon pink and built in a classical style. The work is not complete and will be completed once more funds are donated by the public. In all another 5 million Euros for all the other ornamental elements.
Well we are at the end of week 3 of treatment. We have 3 more weeks to go. There is progress and that is good news. Thank you to all who have sent good wishes, it is very much appreciated.
We are coming to the end of October already, time is flying so quickly, I am surprised by how fast events come and go.
We had a visit today by a friend and we sat outside it was such a beautiful day. She lives with her family in the St-Peter’s Harbour area, quite a lovely area of the Island, it is also where the Greenwich National Park is located. They have a large garden and we got some bounty of vegetables. So this evening I am having a large salad for dinner.
Will today made a Sweet Potato Cake, it is very good and an easy recipe to follow.
Our friend also brought some zucchini cake and it is wonderful. The weather is cooler but the brilliant sunshine makes all the difference.
We are in the midst of a Municipal Elections in the various villages and towns on the Island. The vote is on 7 November, but we can vote as early as 29 October. In some municipalities no one wants to run for Office and the incumbent is retiring, the question is who will govern such places? Would they come under trusteeship of the Provincial Government?
In Charlottetown, we have some Councillors who are retiring, some are re-offering and should not. In the 10 Wards many are single candidate meaning they you are elected by acclamation, not a good thing. For Mayor there is 3 candidate but only one is very well known and a previous unsuccessful candidate, one is totally unknown and of course the out going mayor who is not very popular, due to too many scandals and mistakes not to mention a lack of judgement.
We received our voting cards today, people here are automatically registered to vote based on their home address and health cards and or driver’s licence, very simple process. NO there is no voter fraud. At the voting place you have to show your health card or driver’s licence to get a ballot. Strangely enough, a lot of people do not bother to vote, but municipal government is the closest thing to the citizens and the city provides basic services like garbage removal, snow removal, public works. Also in Charlottetown, this being a big village everyone knows the Mayor and his family and the Councillors, you may have been to school with them. So it is very direct democracy.
This time of the year is squash time in many sizes and types of, selling at many farms for $2 or so. Squash are very good to eat and very filling. Last night found an easy recipe with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice. I also cooked some chicken thighs in the oven and drizzled pesto over it. Made a nice dinner.
Recently I developed a taste for Sweet potatoes and Red Sweet Potatoes, Will has a recipe for sweet potato cake and we are making that tomorrow. I find that a sweet potato has more taste than the regular potato. Easy to cook in the oven and just good as is.
Speaking of Will, he has now completed week 3 of treatments and it is going well. So 3 more weeks to go.
This picture is of the Norwegian Cruise ship arriving in Charlottetown this morning, carrying 3800 passengers + crew. It was raining so we saw no one on the street until 11am.
I have to wonder why they even come there is still debris everywhere from FIONA and tonight 4,700 are still without power 3+ weeks after the hurricane.
We are told cruise tourism is very important, really? Well maybe we should go out in our canoe and welcome the rich foreigners with trinkets for sale, sing and dance to get money. The whole tourism industry is such a joke in PEI, it’s all about gouging the tourists. Since FIONA many restaurants and shops have closed early and will not re-open before May 2023. So what is the point?
Well the tourists can visit our solution to homelessness in Charlottetown, since the police refused to beat them up and push them off Island as it had been suggested by some politicians in Charlottetown. We have stark looking containers where they can sleep at night during winter months behind a nice barbed wire fence. Security will also control their movements. They will only have access to the shelter at night after 8pm. This is how much our political class think of anyone who is poor. I am sure they will not mention that to the tourists in Charlottetown a village of 40,000 people.
Well this has been a super busy weekend, though Will got good news on Friday from the doctor at the Cancer Centre who upon examining him, said that the mass on his tongue had shrunken, a very good sign after 8 sessions of radiation and 2 Chemo. What she did not say and we discovered today, was that as the cancer cell die they become unstable and bleed. So this afternoon Will was spitting blood, so off we go to Emerg, a place I do not like because the wait time can be upwards of 10 to 12 hours. Today they had one nurse and 3 doctors. However being a cancer patient you do not wait because Covid is back with a vengeance now and the wait room is full of Covidiots who still did not get their shots 3 years later.
So we went in directly, which was nice, they do not want you to be expose to anything when you are on cancer treatment. The young doctor, they are all gym buffs now, looked at him, ordered blood work, it was all good, and told us about how cancer cells die and what happens. So we had a scare but now we will know. Tomorrow is a full day at the Cancer Centre with another round of Chemo and then radiation. We have 4 more weeks of this regimen.
This weekend was also the anniversary dinner at the Club and it was very nice, the food was good, it was held in the Culinary Institute Restaurant across the street from the Club. It was a great evening and the weather was just perfect and still very mild.
I also want to say that because my time is fully taken with Will and his treatment, I have little time to look at blog. I have often been reading your blogs at the Cancer Centre while he is getting treatment. Unfortunately the Internet service is poor and spotty, which I do not understand for such a big hospital.
I found these photos on a site I follow from Germany dedicated to the city of Potsdam, the former Royal Capital of Prussia, Berlin was the capital of the Empire.
Potsdam is a mere 20 minutes from Berlin, a suburb really and a easy commuter train from Berlin.
At the end of the Second World War, the centre of Potsdam was heavily bombed and much of it was totally destroyed. However anything not in the centre was spared, so it kept its 18th Century appearance of the time of King Frederick II the Great. This includes many palaces and gardens, though the Russians did a lot of damage and looting once they arrived in town in April 1945.
I would love to visit Potsdam again, what was destroyed in the centre of the city has been faithfully re-built and restored in the last 25 years. The Palaces of Sans-Souci and the New Palace completely restored including the many other palaces, orangerie, gardens and statuary, after all it was all in the prussian baroque style, when too much is never enough.
The view here is of the front ceremonial entrance to Sans Souci, it is not often photographed, you usually see the back or garden side with the terraces and fountains. It is quite nice to discover this half-moon colonnade and its step path designed for horses to gallop to the gate.
The windmill belonged to a fellow who refuse to sell his property to the King, so Frederick had to put up with it and there it remains to this day.
As recorded by historian Franz Theodor Kugler in 1856, the legend goes that Frederick II the Great was being disturbed by the clatter of the mill sails and offered to buy the mill from its miller, Johann William Grävenitz. When he refused, the king is supposed to have threatened:“Does he not know that I can take the mill away from him by virtue of my royal power without paying one groshen for it?”
Whereupon the miller is supposed to have replied:“Of course, your majesty, your majesty could easily do that, if – begging your pardon – it were not for the Supreme Court in Berlin.”
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