I find that classical soft piano music can work wonders for me. This morning while having my coffee I was listening to Schubert piano music, it was peaceful and relaxing, helps you wake up. Same late at night, piano music can work wonders. Reading also before bed as long as it is not a thriller or a murder mystery or some political tome, it should help to relax.
I read many different authors, I currently have 7 books on my night table.
One week ago FIONA was in town and it left a heavy mark, 7 days later still 35% of the Island population is out of power, it is becoming ridiculous, some streets will have power except for 2 houses on one block, why? They are on another grid. There is no rhyme or reasons to the way power is restored, one fact is clear, the authorities need to bury electrical cables and better manage the urban forests.
We are now in October and next weekend it’s Thanksgiving and my sister is coming for a visit, really looking forward to this.
I was saying this week that since January 2020 it is as if we are pursued by bad omens, first it was Covid and its variants and all the turmoil it created in society, exposing the divisions amongst people and the level of ignorance in matters of public health. Then the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in what is nothing more than a war of aggression with loads of war crimes against civilians. The supply chain disruption and inflation on all products in society, except for bananas and lemons according to a recent price study, it is true that bananas are still 0.49 cents a pound and lemons are 0.99 each. How to explain that one both are imported to Canada from the tropics. Also the effect of climate change and more violent storms and the rise in temperature both in the ambient air and in the sea has been very noticeable. This year per example there was no jelly fish at the beach, none, very strange but the water being very warm apparently affected them.
We are not even thinking of travelling anywhere simply because of all these factors. So we do suffer from cabin fever and remain hopeful to be able to travel in 2023. However with the news from Ukraine and with President Putin appearing more and more mentally unstable, threatening a nuclear attack because he is clearly losing this war, it makes everything look bleak. Where will we be in 6 months? I wonder about the future.
This is why listening to classical piano music is soothing in the morning and evening. There is a choice from Schubert to Debussy, Grieg, Couperin, Respighi, Saint-Saens, Ravel.
Speaking of music at the Funeral of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the funeral march no.1 by Beethoven and the two Scottish pieces, Mist Covered Mountains and Mull of the Mountains were very beautiful and well chosen for the occasion.
Finally this quote from the UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres given the moment we are in now with Russia is a propos.
After 6 days post-Fiona, some 45,000 Islanders are still without electricity in PEI. The electrical company Maritime Electric does not give any timeline. The main reason is the amount of damaged due to fallen trees, there are so many it is mind boggling. Some 500 telephone poles carrying the high voltage lines collapse and must now be replaced and this takes time. The main garbage collection and recycle centres are receiving on the hour and every hour hundreds of cars carrying all the food stuff spoiled which will be burned. The tourist season is at an abrupt end, though the port of Charlottetown would love to have the cruise ships return next week. We all know this is pure nonsense, there is nothing to see but devastation, are we now into natural disaster tourism? Our Provincial Government and Municipal authorities had no plan despite saying otherwise. It is up to people to get resourceful and organized. It is embarrassing for some of us who got our power back on Sunday afternoon the day after Fiona while just a few feet away on our street neighbours have nothing. We offered to help out by brewing coffee and laundry.
The weather since the Fiona has been lovely, sunny and warm.
So today is Friday, I started to write this post on Thursday night. Hopefully by Monday Morning everyone will have electricity. Funny how we are so dependent on electricity for heating, internet, phone, ATM, refrigerating food, life in general.
Some people are pushing the notion that we should promote disaster tourism, come to PEI see the devastation and beaches ruined, are forests flattened, people struggling. Some politicians claim that we will be ok not to worry. Behind this train of thought is profits, greed. It is bad enough that some operators are soaking the tourists for every dollar. Sad situation and I am glad I am not a tourist. This was the worst storm ever to hit this Island province in our history. Storms are getting worse each year because of Climate Change and our geography does not help. Ian now is coming, we are hoping that it will only be some rain showers. However the crops are rotting in the soil turned to mud by Fiona, farmers are desperate and some will probably leave farming all together.
Well the clean up continues in PEI and there is a lot to do and it will take months to fix it all. Sadly some majestic ancient trees were lost, most 125 yrs old. That will change the perspective on many streets of old Charlottetown but more so in the countryside, beaches and all national park where forests have been flattened, it is difficult to imagine but that is the reality of it all. Today Tuesday still 65,000 people are out of power, 4 days after the storm, meaning no hot food or drink, it is dark at 6pm and no access to phone, internet etc.
The big news this week was the new Cypher of the King, each sovereign has it’s own cypher which appears on Coats of Arms, military badges, all Official State Documents, coins, Royal flags, etc. The big difference this time is that King Charles III has decided to use the Tudor Crown instead of the Crown of St-Edward his mother used on her cypher.
The coat of Arms of Canada for the last 70 years used the late Queen’s Cypher with the Crown of St-Edward, now all this has to change. The cypher is a personal signature of the Sovereign and represents the authority of the Monarch.
The Tudor Crown, also known as Henry VIII’s Crown, was the imperial and state crown used by the monarchs of England and Great Britain from the time of Henry VIII up to the English Civil War in 1649. It was described by the art historian Sir Roy Strong as “a masterpiece of early Tudor jeweller’s art”
Thankfully, Henry VIII servants wrote detailed inventories which documented the construction of the crown and we owe our stunningly accurate replica entirely to them.
Their inventories documented the size and position of each of the 344 rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls, along with the five sculptures that decorate it.
A portrait of Charles I, painted by Daniel Mytens in 1631, serves as a clear visual record of the shape of the crown and the patterns created by the hundreds of jewels and pearls.
Harry Collins, Crown Jeweller (2007-2012), and his team of skilled goldsmiths were able to take our research and, largely using the same techniques as their Tudor predecessors, create a very accurate replica of Henry VIII’s crown at Hampton Court.
The Tudor Crown Imperial has been hand-crafted in silver gilt with fine metalwork detail – the original was made from 84oz of gold.
The rubies, sapphires, emeralds, cultured pearls and rock crystal have been selected to reflect the colour and shape differences we see in existing late medieval jewellery, ensuring the crown looks as spectacular and authentic as possible.
For the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster, it will be interesting to see what changes He brings, it was said that He was looking for a more simple updated service than the one His late Mother had in 1953. I would speculate that the Crown of St-Edward will be used as per tradition for the actual moment of crowning and afterwards the Imperial State Crown used at Parliament.
In Canada if you look at buildings of the period prior to 1953 you will see the Tudor Crown sculpted. After 1953 it is the Crown of St-Edward. The cypher below has the letter C for Charles, R for the latin Rex (King) and the roman numeral 3. This is the new official cypher to be used from now on.
If you look at the Coat of Arms of Canada you will see the crown is that of St-Edward. That will have to be changed in the coming months.
What is interesting the Kingdom of Scotland also has its own new cypher featuring the Crown of Scotland dating to 1540 and kept at Edinburg Castle to be used in all official documents in Scotland only.
More pictures are emerging now of the devastation on the Island. The picture below of Stanley Bridge and area around Cavendish on PEI very bit spot for summer cottages and the Anne of Green Gables story. I was there this summer and the restaurant Carr’s is famous, it all appears gone now destroyed by Fiona.
For all lot of tourists coming to PEI they will not recognize the Island after this storm. It will take many decades to see nature in a more picturesque setting. The tourist season took a abrupt halt on Friday and now it is truly over until at least May 2023. After two years of shut down because of Covid now this, it will push many into bankruptcy. Farms have lots their crops, buildings and machinery, a total disaster and harvesting of potatoes and corn had not even started yet. Many farmers will be out of the business all together and probably forced to sell farm land to build tourist cottages and homes. But with the great shortage of manpower, I do not see how any of this can be done. For sure some savvy entrepreneur will buy land cheap from desperate farmers.
Currently what I cannot stomach is our Premier Dennis King constantly telling us how good we are and how we can overcome this, he loves to talk down to people as if we were 5 year old kids. Uncle Denny will explain it all to you, why does he not tell us what his government can do or is doing. Same with the smiling clown Philip Brown Mayor of Charlottetown who tells us he spoke with the Prime Minister in Ottawa, so what! Why is the City not cleaning up the mess already, what are they waiting for. The Federal Government has already sent the army, 100 soldiers, teams of people are arriving to clean up and funds are available. So now I want to see what the Provincial Government will do, to improve infrastructure to bring it up to 2022. Or like in the past will they simply line their bottom line and make us believe in a budget surplus.
Stanley Bridge same area this Summer, the before picture, all gone now. The red roof building above under water.
We had been warned all of last week that Fiona was coming, it was to be an historical storm never before seen in the Atlantic Provinces ( Nova-Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoudland), indeed it was history and a horror show. The worst parts was the direct hit in Cape Breton which is an isolated area and in Newfoundland in Port aux Basques where 20 houses where swept out to sea by the raging surf. Incredible to see sand dunes on the North beaches of PEI simply washed out like sugar, where beaches use to be covered with sand dunes now it is a flat even surface, a lot of severe erosion everywhere on the North side of the Island caused by the left hook tail of the hurricane. Thousands of trees destroyed and property damaged. North Rustico suffered greatly and its famous lobster harbour damaged my the surf and giant waves never seen before. At one point 95% of the Island population was without electricity. Flooding was also severe everywhere, Charlottetown where we live had deep water pockets at major intersections, driving was difficult, enough water to float a car away and drown your motor. People had been told repeatedly to stay home, everything was closed, nothing worked, you could not pump gas because of power cuts, no ATM machines worked, phones landlines were dead, no internet, and no cel phones either. We lost power at home around 5:30pm on Friday all of a sudden, due to a tree falling on an electric line. No power until Sunday at 4:00pm. when our area of town, which is considered strategic by the government Prince and Water streets and Riverside Drive were the first to get power back. But as of writing this tonight, an estimated 77,000 people are still without power and it may take 3 weeks to re-establish the electrical connection due to severe damage caused by falling trees and remote rural area.
The worst part of FIONA was after 10pm Friday night when the wind coming from the North suddenly raged across the Island and the sky had frequent flashes of white light. The rain was also violent lashing at buildings and shredding the leaves off the trees. In our neighbourhood we had many giant trees, some 125 years old. many were weak with disease and should have been cut down years ago. They were the first to fall blocking streets with their huge trunks, some trees are 60 feet long or more, luckily most fell in the street and not on houses. Though one friend of ours had one such old tree fall directly on his house and split the building in two. Our friend is uninjured, not a scratch, a miracle. Charlottetown without its old trees will look very different. The same can be said of many nature areas and national parks where Fiona devastated large areas to the point where it is not safe to go there and will not be for years to come.
We were lucky, yes the major inconvenience was the lack of electricity and this meant eating only cold food and drinking water. Funny how not having tea or coffee for 3 days becomes a major problem. Our front door is also electric, it opens automatically when approached, now we had to remember to bring our keys at all time to open the door. Many friends sent us messages but we could not answer, could not phone anyone, nothing got through.
I did go out once Friday night just before the rain and wind arrived to walk the dogs, they could smell something ominous in the air, and the air did have a heavy smell of seaweed which is unusual. After that on Saturday at the height of it all, it was impossible to leave the house with all the debris flying around, so they had to use the south balcony which is protected and out of the way. Still they did not like it at all.
Finally by Saturday 5pm the worst had passed us and the wind started to fall rapidly and the rain stopped all together. Saturday night was bright with stars and only a light wind, at the same time the city was in complete darkness, no street lights, nothing. It was so dark you could not see pass your nose. It was also eery no sounds, no cars, no one anywhere. I did venture out with a flashlight to walk the dogs at that point but stayed close to the house and did not venture far, afraid of down power lines and big tree branches dangling over head.
The brightness of the sun and the clear blue sky on Sunday morning was dazzling. I did finally get a coffee at the Holman Grand Hotel, they have a very good restaurant, they were on their generator and gave out very good coffee to anyone asking. The Confederation Centre for the Arts also offered to recharge your phones for free and also gave out coffee. Both are just 3 blocks away from the house, however I got to see walking on those 3 city blocks an incredible amount of trees totally destroyed, once the area cleaned up there will have to be a plan to re-landscape it all. In the past hurricane Juan in 2003 and hurricane Dorian in 2019 left in the Maritimes a lot of devastation but nothing like Fiona, not even close. All three happened at this time in September. What PEI also needs is a serious infrastructure update, we are not prepared for such disasters and living on an island there is nowhere to go.
Halifax which is 3 hours by car from Charlottetown was the first to get it by Fiona it then moved across to us and then to Newfoundland. I did not hear what happened on Les Iles de la Madeleine which we visited in June, this is nothing more than a sandbank with 12,000 people living there. I will have to look at the French media stories to see what they have to say.
We had media crews here on the island and in typical fashion they travel together and all try to make their stories interesting with the same shots of down trees, always looking for a dramatic angle. This is what I never liked about the media in general. The radio station carried non stop reporting but then it must have been for people outside the region, we had no electricity so how could we hear them?
I did go to my car to recharge my phone at one point and then heard the news and what it was well they phoned people at random asking them to described what they saw. Again the people they phoned obviously where out of the hurricanes range and it was second hand stuff, not very helpful really.
Here are some photos taken today on the streets of Charlottetown.
A storm is coming our way, currently in Porto Rico and coming up the Eastern Seaboard should arrive here in the Maritimes around Friday night. Very high wind maybe hurricane like, the trees are still full of leaves so this means down trees and power outages. Heavy rain storms, some flooding maybe. I live in the City and we will see the wind and rain but beyond that I do not know. I will do the usual get a roasted chicken, chips, some wine and just sit tight. When Doria came by a few years ago, we were in Norway, we heard about it but did not see it, a lot of damage was done all around with down trees. I was told that a power outage did occur for a few hours in my neighbourhood but because it is the Capital, the Electrical company is quick about repairing damages. Then again the storm may miss us but we will get the rain. For sure the bridge will be closed due to high winds and the ferry service suspended. Stay tuned!
In the funeral procession yesterday in London, the RCMP led the cortege, I was wondering about the horses, had they been transported to the occasion? It turns out, they had been given to Queen Elizabeth II by the RCMP. Over many decades Canada gifted our Sovereign several horses, the most famous was Burmese which she rode in many State functions. The horses are called Darby, George, Sir John, Elizabeth. There was a special relationship between the late Queen and the RCMP over her love of horses.
Yes the weather is truly Fall like now, cooler and windier. Looking forward to Thanksgiving on October 10.
Today is a holiday in Canada to mourn the late Queen. I did not get up at 05:30am but decided to watch on YouTube and chose the BBC Coverage which is best. I have been a very long time fan of the BBC and BBC World Service, never a CNN fan even in the 1980’s.
I watched the Service from the start at Westminster Hall to the Abbey across the street and then the procession to Wellington Arch where the hearse was waiting to take the coffin to Windsor Castle for the Committal service in St-George’s Chapel. The service in Windsor was simply one of internment much more simple and more sombre. Only Family members, staff and senior military officers attending. The staff of the late Queen were all present. When the hearse arrived the maids, kitchen staff, the footmen, butlers and her two last Corgies Muik and Sandy were present.
There was a difference in the invited crowds in both services. At Westminster Abbey were all the Heads of State 121 in all, Kings and Queens most of whom are cousins of the Royal Family. Did you notice the King of Bulgaria, Serbia, the Queen of Romania, none of them rule but are nonetheless seen by their governments as legitimate and re-established now the Communism is gone. They represented their governments. The other European Royalty like The King of the Netherlands is close to the Royal Family at many family levels and political levels. The Danish Crown, Norway, Sweden also. All the Arab Princes where present. Also many politicians and Staff of the Royal Family. At Westminster it was the State Funeral Service with all the Pomp and ceremony this entails. At Windsor it was subdued and solemn, it was the moment of transition, now the Sovereign is King Charles III. The last act when the Regalia was removed from the coffin and placed on the Altar and then the King deposited the Queen’s company flag on the coffin to indicate the passage of powers and the Chamberlain of the Queen broke his staff in two and placed it on Her coffin to indicate that his service was at an end.
Well we went from a nice 22C to 10C in just 12 hours, this is how Seasons change in Canada. It is still sunny but breezy and the wind at sea is strong enough to stop ferry crossings and close the bridge to all trucks. We are still in September and already the high winds are closing the bridge. We also have this year 2022 the longest period of warmer than usual days in one year. This beats all previous records, so though it is nice to have warmer weather, it brings a host of other problems.
The corn is in and this year it is very good, sweet and not starchy, I think this is because I bought it within a few hours of being harvested on a farm near by, I never buy corn at a grocery store, it is too starchy and it is more expensive also, usually about 50 Cents more. This year a ear of corn sells for about .50 to .69 cents each at the farmers market, in the grocery it’s more like .69 to .99 cents and not very fresh.
The international shellfish Festival is on and Martha Stewart is in town doing something with seafood. One of my favourite floating restaurant in town the Cork & Cast won the prize for the best potato seafood chowder, happy for them they are such nice people. They also have the best funky cocktails.
Today I saw this picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his first audience with the King at Buckingham Palace. Charles III being the King of Canada, such meetings happen regularly and does consultations on various topics.
I also saw on YouTube a post on the Crowns at the Tower of London where all the Regalia is kept. It turns out that there are more Crowns than I imagined. The only one seen very regularly is the Imperial State Crown and on Coronation day St-Edward’s Crown for a few minutes at the moment of the crowning of the Sovereign. But now we have a Queen Consort and she gets to wear a Crown also and it turns out that Queen Camilla will have a selection of Crowns she can choose from or she may just decide to have a new one made to her liking. Then the new Prince of Wales HRH Prince William and HRH Princess Catherine also have Crowns to wear when they will be invested in their new role. Again they have a choice of previous Crowns or they can have new ones made. The thing is that Crowns are usually made of precious metal and incrusted with precious gems, so they are really costly. Some are the private property of the Sovereign and all others belong to the British Government.
A lot of information is circulating on the upcoming Coronation of King Charles III and His Queen Consort Camilla probably next Spring of 2023. In Westminster Abbey, you have the Coronation Chair of St-Edward which is very ancient and used for the service itself.
During the Coronation Service it will be placed on this very old mosaic floor in front of the High Altar in the Abbey. The floor was created at the time of the reconstruction of the Abbey by Muslim Arabs who lived in Rome, all tradesmen who created this floor in 1268 on the order of King Henri III. The pattern is called Cosmati and can be found in Rome in many early Christian Churches.
On Monday the public service of the Funeral will take place in the Abbey, then the coffin of the late Queen will be taken to St-George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and in a private ceremony for the Members of the Royal Family it will be placed in the King George side Chapel built in the 1950’s to serve as a final resting place for King George VI, the Queen Mother is also buried there and Princess Margaret ashes are also in that side chapel. Now HRH Prince Philip and Her Late Majesty’s coffins will also be committed in the side Chapel. This way the family of King George VI will all rest together. I remember visiting it some 50 years ago and was surprised at how small the space was and how plain or modern it is.
Monday 19 September will be the day we bury Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In Canada, the Prime Minister has decried a once in a lifetime Holiday to mourn the Queen. The PM and the Governor General have already left with their entourage for London. Yesterday at Buckingham Palace, the King and other members of the Royal Family held a reception for all the Governor Generals from the 14 Realms. The Prime Minister had a private audience with the King at the Palace. They know each other well. Canada plays the heavy here, since we are the first Dominion (Kingdom). A large delegation of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP will participate in the Funeral, which is a single honour for Canada. The late Queen closely identified with Canada and some of Her children studied in Canada on top of Her 24 visits/ Opening of Parliament in Ottawa, etc. As Queen, she was The Head of State and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, a title her son the King now assumes.
The Prime Minister’s Office has announced: “The day of Her Late Majesty’s State Funeral in the United Kingdom will be marked in Canada with a National Day of Mourning and a national commemorative ceremony held at Christ Church Cathedral, the Anglican cathedral in Ottawa. The ceremony will be attended by former prime ministers the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney and the Right Honourable Joe Clark, and all Members of Parliament have been invited. The ceremony will be broadcast live for everyone to watch.”
Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as the following regiments of the Canadian Armed Forces will participate in the service:
The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers The Governor General’s Horse Guards The King’s Own Calgary Regiment Royal 22e Régiment (Quebec City) Governor General’s Foot Guards The Canadian Grenadier Guards The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders Le Régiment de la Chaudière The Royal New Brunswick Regiment The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment 48th Highlanders of Canada The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada The Calgary Highlanders Canadian Armed Forces Legal Branch Air Reserve
The Imperial State Crown, the Orb and Sceptre resting on the coffin of Her Late Majesty in Westminster Hall.
We have had daily arrivals of giant cruise ship with thousands of passengers, pollution and garbage, but our politicians say this is so nice and so important to our economy, really? No one in business has spoken favourably of this disgorging of thousands of people for 5 hours daily. The only one that profits are the Port Authority a private corporation, Anne of Green Gables amusement park, and a few cheap souvenir shops.
The weather as been very good and sunny and looks like it is going to continue for a while which is very pleasant. I have to say that I am not sure some days of the month we are in, is it August or September and what day of the week. I am very preoccupied right now with a serious matter and maybe this is why my mind is wandering. I do keep busy with Club business and the new Fiscal year and renewal of the Club membership. Happy with this distraction.
Monday 19 September will be a National Day of Mourning on the occasion of the Funeral of our Late Queen Elizabeth II. In Canada it is a statutory holiday declared by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Because Canada was the putative home of the Queen, she came 24 times during her life as a Princess and then as Queen, Canada will play a large role in the ceremony with military detachments, the Governor General and the Prime Minister will be present. The Queen knew Justin Trudeau as a child when his father was Prime Minister.
This week also the Conservative party of Canada has elected a new leader who may be popular with his party but not with the population in general, Pierre Poilievre has embraced all manner of right wing extremist movements and individuals. He has been a politician all his life and he closely identifies with Donald Trump. The man believes that his caustic approach will allow him to become Prime Minister, if he wins the election in 2025. That is a long time off and I really do not see it as a possibility, however in politics anything is possible.
To counter him Prime Minister Trudeau has announced several programs which will help millions of Canadians, one is a free dental plan for children, a rental financial supplement for people with low income to allow them to get out of poverty, people who qualify with low income can claim twice the rebate on General service tax (GST). All these measures will make a big difference in the lives of a lot of people. Our new leader of the Opposition Pierre Poilievre who is also known by his nickname Skippy has already said that he does not believe in any of this because he is a conservative. He believes in Freedom, what ever that means. His voting record in the last 20 years in Parliament is telling, he voted against abortion rights, he voted agains any supplements to help the poor, he voted against rights for Trans people and against marriage for gay couples, despite the fact that his own father is gay. Pierre Marcel Poilievre was born June 3, 1979, to a “teenage unwed mother who had just lost her mother,” he said in an interview. He was adopted by French Canadian school teachers from Saskatchewan: “[They] adopted me and raised me and basically gave me a life,” he said. Now in his first news conference he silenced the journalists call them hecklers and took questions for QAnon. Does that remind you of someone south of the border.
Tomorrow Thursday I am taking the 2 puppies for a good grooming in Kensington, so I will be gone most of the day. Nicky is quite blind now and we have to be very careful with him when we go for walks. I am going to go again to the vet to have an assessment made again. I do not think much can be done given his age.
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