A great recipe

I tried this at home tonight. The Halibut cost me $6.50 for 2 very nice pieces. Very good.

Garlic Parmesan Baked Halibut
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Total time: 13 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Topping:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp green onion, finely chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • .
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 halibut filets (~1″ thick)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Season halibut with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place filets in a baking dish. Bake for 6 minutes.
  2. Mix all topping ingredients together. Remove halibut from oven and spread Parmesan mixture over top and sides of fish. Turn oven to broil and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately
  3. I made a green salad instead of rice and veggie.

 

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Beautiful work restoration

I find this type of work in restoration fascinating, it requires a lot of patience and expertise. It brings back to life old works of art.

This is taken from the Bowes Museum Blog. Enjoy!

 

During the last few months a painting has undergone extensive conservation in the Conservation Studio. The painting of interest is a Spanish portrait from the beginning of the 17th century. It is a portrait of Fray José Sigüenza, a Friar and Prior of the Order of Jerome, Librarian at El Escorial, historian and counsellor to […]

via Exposing of a Worn Painted Surface — The Bowes Museum’s Blog

Some surprises on PEI

This morning we decided to go to Point Prim Lighthouse built in 1845, it is one of my favourite spot on the Island it also has a seasonal restaurant called the Chowder house.

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This 2017 photo shows the Lighthouse with the re-built guardian’s house which had been torn down when all lighthouses on the island were automated some decades ago. This recreated guardian’s house is now a very tasteful gift shop focused on the Prim Point Light House. The Federal government also rebuilt, re-claimed about 30 feet off the cliff with a huge pile of rocks, soil erosion is a problem. The rocks are granite not the red sandstone of the Island which melts like sugar in Sea water.

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We had lunch at the Chowder house which is just down the road, the sea was choppy today and the wind from the Sea was fresh it was so nice. Depending where you look the view looking back is Charlottetown in the far distance, Rocky Point the  entrance to the harbour and straight ahead is Nova Scotia across the Strait.

On the way back we decided to stop in Orwell which is a very small place. Some years ago the Provincial government decided to turn the old village into a museum, it is surrounded by forest and next to the Estate of Sir Andrew MacPhail.

I knew nothing of Sir Andrew, except that one year ago in the Art Gallery where I work as a guide, I noticed his bronze bust, made by a famous Canadian sculptor 100 years ago.

The house of Sir Andrew is down a narrow road made for carriages in a thick birch and Red Oak forest, you turn off at the great stone gate to his home. The house is beautiful all wood panelled inside. Built in 1864 it is typical of the Island homes of the time and is quite large, surrounded by the original farm, which is now the MacPhail Woods Forestry Project. The area is very peaceful and quiet, very few tourists come here, it is secluded and not on the main tourist track, which is a good thing, since the farm is full of rare flowers, plants and the last stand of the original Acadian forest.

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Macphail was born in 1864 in Orwell, PEI, on the family’s newly purchased 140-acre farm. His father was William Macphail, a schoolmaster; his mother was Catherine Moore Smith formerly of Newton, P.E.I. The parents of Sir Andrew belonged to the Church of Scotland and were strict protestants.

Macphail was educated at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, and then at McGill University in Montreal, where he received his medical degree in 1891. “During his studies at McGill Macphail wrote reviews and articles for various newspapers, including the Montreal Gazette and the Chicago Times, and saved enough money to finance a trip around the world.” He resumed his studies in England, where he became “a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians. He returned to Canada in 1892.”

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A side view of the house with the bell in the garden which was commissioned by Sir Andrew to commemorate the death of his grand-father, father and eldest brother. The bell has a crack in it and could not be used. Sir Andrew had a second bell created and it is installed in the Valleyfield Church in Montague, PEI.

He married Georgina Burland of Montreal in 1893, she died in 1902, a tragedy in the life of Sir Andrew. They had two children, Jeffrey and Dorothy. He and his family lived on PEI in the Summer months at this point. He did not like the labour of farming but was very interested in the subject for study and advancement of techniques.

From 1893 until 1905 Macphail practised medicine and taught at the University of Bishop’s College. At Bishop’s, he was professor of the diseases of children. Beginning in 1895 he also served as a consulting pathologist at the Montreal Western and Verdun hospitals.

In 1903 he became editor of the Montreal Medical Journal; “when it merged with another medical periodical eight years later to establish the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Macphail was made editor of the new monthly.”He was editor of the Journal until the outbreak of World War I.

He was appointed McGill’s first Professor of the History of Medicine in 1907, and held that position until 1937.

Macphail enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1914 at the age of 50, and served at the front with a field ambulance corps for 20 months. Assigned to the Sixth Field Ambulance, he served with distinction at a number of battles including Vimy Ridge.

He wrote and published a lot of books on various topics of interest to him.

Macphail was knighted for his literary and military work in January 1918.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from McGill. He received the Quebec government prize for literature in 1928.

Macphail was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1910. In 1930, the Society awarded him its Lorne Pierce Medal.

He was friends with Rudyard Kipling who visited him and with whom he had many conversations on Farming and agriculture both shared similar views. On this topic he is the man who introduced modern potato farming to PEI, it was an obvious success. He was also the person who encouraged Colonel John McRae, the author of the famous poem In Flanders Field to claim authorship and not leave it anonymous. He was friends with the great Internationally known Canadian Author Lucy Maud Montgomery of PEI, who visited him often at the house.

Amongst his many talent Sir Andrew was an author and essayist, he published a lot.

Macphail’s book The Master’s Wife was published posthumously, in 1939. It is the book to which Macphail devoted most care, and which he considered his best. Part biography of himself and his family (“The Master” was his father), part history of their community, Orwell, the book has been called “an excellent description of 19th century life on P.E.I., a very important social history of P.E.I.’s past.” I bought the book at the house and am looking forward to reading it to see how similar or different it is from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 8 books on Anne of Green Gables, which are also a social commentary though fictional of life on PEI. 

The house itself is very interesting and shows how Sir Andrew was an eccentric man. In the morning he would eat a bowl of porridge in bed with a dram of single malt Scotch. His favourite grandchild was allowed and only her, to sit on his bed while he ate. He loved solitude but he also loved dinner parties and invited a lot of people to his home. However no one could stay the night at the house, so he had a guest house built for his guests to sleep separated by a barrier of trees, for privacy.  So his children Dorothy and Jefferey did not bother him during the day, he built them large play houses in the garden. They are made of wood and are quite handsome.

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His daughter’s Dorothy playhouse, inside there is a simple table, a chair and and toys of the period.

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He would not install electricity, running water, indoor plumbing or any modern convenience. When Sir Andrew was a child 13 members of his family lived in it, and this does not include the servants who worked at the house, all this prior to the extensive extension being built. His daughter lived in the house until 1961 and then gave it to the Province to be a memorial to her father. It was only in 1992 that the government finally installed electricity and running water with modern washrooms for the staff looking after the estate. He refused modern conveniences because he profoundly disliked modernity and the rapid changed brought upon Canada after 1919. He simply could not see why life could not continue as always.

He so wanted to live on his Estate as the great man he had become, so a Post Office was set up just for himself, this was a very great privilege. It was located behind the house beyond a row of trees, again to preserve his cherished privacy. When the postmaster would receive mail often 3 times a day or a package he would run a white flag up the pole to signal to Sir Andrew that mail had arrived, who then would send a boy to fetch it.

The Estate is quite large and would require several hours to explore. It is well worth it and beautiful. In one area where there were lots of flowering bushes, you could hear the bees buzzing and see them rubbing themselves with pollen.

The house today serves lunch and tea in the great glass veranda, everything is made on the premises and uses local ingredients and produce from the garden of the Estate.

I really enjoyed this visit and discovery and hope to return for lunch. There are lots of interesting things to see and do on the Island, outside of the well beaten path and again just 20 minutes from home.

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Sir Andrew MacPhail (1864-1938) painting by Alphonse Jongers, c.1924

So this week

As you probably heard Canada is getting a new Governor General in September.

So this week the retiring Governor General was in London to tender his official resignation from the Office to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. At the same time H.E. the Right Honourable David Johnston presented Canada’s gift to our Sovereign on the occasion of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation (1867-2017).

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The Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch was presented to Her Majesty The Queen on July 19, 2017, at Canada House, in London, England. The brooch celebrates the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee, marking 65 years as Canada’s Sovereign. No Sovereign has ever celebrated a Sapphire Jubilee.

The brooch is adorned with 48 Canadian sapphires of various colours and sizes. The sapphires were discovered by Innuit brothers Seemeega and Nowdluk Aqpik in 2002, on Baffin Island. It is currently the only known sapphire deposit in Canada. The design takes inspiration from the Canadian Arctic and, more specifically, from the hamlet of Kimmirut, on Baffin Island, where the sapphires were discovered. The brooch’s centre is elevated and set with diamonds to represent the rocky hill located across the water from Kimmirut. The shape of the brooch is also emblematic, celebrating the snowy landscape of the Canadian Arctic and the unique nature of the snowflake.

Presented in a momentous year that marks both The Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee and Canada’s 150thanniversary of Confederation, this brooch celebrates the historic and profound relationship between Her Majesty and Canada. It serves as a companion to the maple leaf brooch given to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother by her husband King George VI, to mark their visit to Canada in 1939; it was inherited by Her Majesty in 2002.

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Here is the Governor General, H.E. the Right Honourable David Johnston presenting the brooch to Her Majesty, with Prince Philip looking on at Canada House on Trafalgar Square in London.

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Earlier in the day at Buckingham Palace.

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From the rooftop of Canada House on Trafalgar Square, with Saint-Martin in the Fields in the background.

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Canada House is the Embassy of Canada or has we call it our High Commission in London.

Point de Vue

What do we read, well years ago, I discovered this magazine called Point de Vue, it was created in March 1945 at the end of the second world war in Paris by Officers of the Free French Forces under General De Gaulle who would later become the President of France.

It was initially a magazine about professional photography by the great names of photography and was quite popular in photographic circles, winning recognition for the quality of its photo-journalism.

Many of the founding circle of this magazine were senior French Army Officers, turned politicians, author, film makers and member of the French intelligentsia. Many were married to well known artists. The initial idea of Point de Vue was to present after the war years the renewal of France under a new elite promoting Republican ideals from a centre to right of centre political point of view. www.pointdevue.fr

In such circles, if you look at the names of the individuals, you see quite a few people belonging to the old French Aristocracy, the Orleans and Bourbon families are well represented, adding to that group the Bonaparte Family and other Royals. A very strange mix of old and new regime. Which often leads me to believe that France is not really a Republic because of its still close association in various Official circles with the Families of the Ancien Regime, an example the Académie Française. The French Revolution abolished in 1791 all rights and privileges of the Aristocracy in France but in 1852 under Emperor Napoleon III, all those rights were re-established and are part today of the French Legal System, in France your title means something.

In 1952 Point de Vue presented a special edition dedicated to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II which sold at 900,000 copies. The editors then decide to focus on the Crown Heads of Europe and present photos of social events dedicated to them. They find a new public who is fascinated by such reporting and articles on the lives of European Royals. In a way it is an early version of People’s magazine, but it is exclusively dedicated to the Aristocracy and the Gotha, a French word meaning people who belong to the financial and political elite in society.  In 2016 monthly the magazine sold 200,000 copies, it is only published in French.

Today Point de Vue is all about what is considered the best in Art, fashion, interior decoration, members of the Aristocracy in Europe and their lives and social events.  The editor is Adélaide, Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre who is the grand-daughter of the Princess of Orleans and sister to the Comte de Paris (Heir to the Throne of France).  It is a magazine read by many including people in the Diplomatic Service, it is useful gossip to know, since you might bump into someone with a name at a function. It is one of those magazine you look through and read quickly, the photos are still wonderful. If you are bored you can play the game of name that Royal or what medal or order are they wearing.  Who is married to whom and what were the circumstances of the divorce, was it scandalous? You will also notice in the articles that the jobs occupied by Royals who are not currently at the head of their country is usually in Investment Banking, for women they study in general Arts fields waiting to marry of course another Royal. Everyone is loving, happy, surrounded by a wonderful family, rich in history and tradition and dressed in great style, looking dignified. The only ones who do not exactly fit that picture are the Grimaldi Royal Family of Monaco, scandal is their middle name. Spain came a close second, until Cristina the sister of King Felipe of Spain was booted out of the family when her ex-soccer player husband went to jail for embezzlement.

A recent edition had a spread on the wedding of the Prince of Hanover and another one on Prince Jean-Christophe Napoleon Bonaparte who is the great-great nephew of Napoleon I. He is also Head of the Bonaparte Family. In recent years articles and photos have appeared on the German Imperial House, the Hohenzollern, who are still very much part of the social scene in Germany. Other notables the Austrian Imperial House, the Hapsburg, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Sweden often appear in Point de Vue. Monaco is a favourite and other less known Royals like Greeks, Romanian, Serbian or Italian Houses are mentioned often because they are cousins with the British Royals or Spanish Royals. The articles are all written to give the reader the impression that despite the fact many European countries are now Republics since 1945, many would prefer to return to a Monarchic system, that is fanciful thinking by the editor and her team.

Point de Vue is the sort of magazine you read when you want to forget the grubbiness of life and dream of a different world.

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http://www.pointdevue.fr

Of foreign adventurism

On Sunday I was reading an article on Iraq in the New York Times, it mentioned that after $1 trillion dollars spent and 4500 dead US soldiers, Iraq which was suppose to be a beacon of modern democratic American style governance had slipped squarely into Iran’s orbit out of reach of any US governmental influence. A very sad situation for US Foreign policy and illustrates again poor analysis of the history and development of this region of the world over centuries. Henri Kissinger wrote an excellent book on China and how on the whole Vietnam policy in the 1960’s the US advisors around the President had it all wrong all along, which explains that disaster. Unable to learn from France’s mistakes and their own war 1946-1954.

The article brought back for me a flood of memories going back to the first Gulf War in 1990-91 and the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Of conversation I had in Cairo with colleagues and their perception of what would happen. Again the USA had given the wrong signal to their ally President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, he thought it was ok to invade with impunity only to find out too late that the US Ambassador had not been clear at all. Suddenly an ally like Saddam against Iran becomes an enemy because Kuwait is more important because of Saudi Arabia. I remember our American colleagues at the US Embassy in Cairo telling us they were sure that once the Iraqis were defeated they would rise against Saddam and overthrow him and Kuwait in turn could be modernized and Kuwaitis would become happy consumers, eat Mcdonald’s burgers and shop in malls. How simplistic and wrong all along, the uprising in Iraq was crushed in the South of the Country with its Shia majority. Kuwait remains to this day a backwater.

There was no sympathy in the region for Saddam who was a thug but also importantly a factor of stability in the region and a barrier to the ambitions of Iran which meant a great deal then to the USA who was unable to repair for multiple reasons the broken relationship with Iran since 1979. Saudi Arabia which is governed by what were a bunch of desert robbers, the Al-Saud Clan turned Royal Family, does not inspire in the region any love but with their money can finance and help many, who look to them for help. The Al-Saud have also proclaimed themselves the Guardian of the Holy Sites in Mecca and uphold the Sunni majority interpretation of Islam. Think of it as Christians divided between Lutheran VS Catholics. Iran an ancient country holds the Shia interpretation of Islam. The Iranian are also non-Arabs so ethnically, they are not part of the Arab World. Their ancient civilization is part of the Indo-Aryan world.

Iran is feared by many like the Saudis because in past centuries it dominated completely the whole region, from an artistic and cultural point of view and a military one also.  Just one example of their domination is the introduction of Persian numerals replacing Arab numerals which we use to this day.

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It seems the US Government, the CIA, the State Department and the White House forgot that they were dealing with a complex world, were historical realities are very different from ours. The name of Paul Bremer comes back to mind, his total lack of understanding of the situation despite being the most senior American on the ground with vast powers, his arrogance and his fatal mistake of implementing a policy to destroy the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein with the backing of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, both equally incompetent and negligent of their duty to protect US interests created what we know today as the Islamic State. In 48 hours, Bremer created a formidable enemy in Iraq by depriving  many in the middle-class of a lively hood and pushing them to the margin.

In dealing with my American counterpart, what I remember most is how they were often unable to see the other point of view, so sure they were of their truth as leader of the Free World, their authority unquestioned. The fatal flaw, which returns not only on this question of the Middle-East but on so many other questions. Today we see the same phenomenon with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Accord, NAFTA, the world is moving ahead and the USA is left behind more and more irrelevant.

It should be remembered that other countries have also made similar mistakes, naive and poor political analysis, optimistic over simplification, broken promises and bad faith. Britain and France with their secret 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement which spawn a century of resentment in the Middle-East.

The resulting order inherited by the Middle East of the day sees a variety of states whose borders were generally drawn with little regard for ethnic, tribal, religious or linguistic considerations.

Spain, Holland, Portugal, Belgium, made equally disastrous decisions in their Imperial expansion, it seems that everyone thinks the natives will be happy to be governed by us. The British thought they were on a Christian Missionary agenda to civilize the little people, the French spoke of a Civilizing mission to the world. All faded one by one like flowers in a garden while other nations took up the mantle of domination.

Iran, I believe in the end will prevail, because it has the will, but also the historical connection with that part of the world, an a deep understanding of the people. This is what is lacking on the American part.

I feel sorry for all those poor soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam and now in Iraq and Afghanistan, for what? Canada did not participate in Vietnam nor in Iraq, we were in Afghanistan for 12 years and one has to wonder what we were doing there in the first place.

 

 

 

 

The beach

I should say beaches since we have several all around here. The North Shore about 20 minutes away from me, has several beaches inside the National Park, Stanhope, Brackley, Dalvay and Blooming Point. Today was a beautiful day and there was steady traffic going to the beaches. No traffic jams no, but it was difficult to park. I did finally find a spot down a little road probably missed by the multitudes. A easy two minute walk on a sandy road crossing the sand dunes to the beach. Despite the large number of people I thought I was going to encounter, in fact I was almost alone, the beaches stretch for several kilometres so it is easy to be on your own.

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The Dunes are covered by grasses, shrubs and Atlantic pine trees. Many birds live here and they are protected, you cannot walk on the dunes.

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The beach is quiet and clean, you can walk and walk, just sit here and looks at the water of the Gulf of St-Lawrence.

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Yes these are jelly fish on the beach at the water’s edge. They appeared in the last week, and more float in the water. Apparently they are not dangerous and most people do not feel any ill effects.

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More dunes seen from the road, it is quiet and you can hear all kinds of birds singing.

 

Film Festival

The PEI Fest or film festival 13-16 July is now open. We went to see a movie/documentary this evening entitled, GIRL UNBOUND, by director Erin Heidenreich, it is the actual story of a young woman who is the Pakistan Squash champion. Squash was introduced in India during the British occupation, Officers played the game. Today, Pakistan is one of the great producers of Squash World Champions a game that has become a passion for many. It is also the story of her family who is from Waziristan, a province of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan and within it, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with its Capital Peshawar. In the mountainous area the Taliban is active, the Taliban is clearly described here as a criminal mafia like organization who extort money from people by using terror and murder, it is not a religious movement at all.

The girl squash champion is Maria Torpakai Wazir now 26 yrs old, lives between Toronto and Peshawar. A story of courage and the story of her family who support her against grave and dangerous odds and constant death threats by the Taliban against her father and other members of her family. Her faith in Islam and belief that through prayers good will come, hard work will be rewarded, acceptance of what is written, Fate, are the tenets that allow her to continue despite the threats. A very human documentary and a touching one, it is easy to relate to what she is experiencing and what she is striving for as an athlete. Her father supports her at great personal risk and so does her mother a school principal, she too is a target because she is a teacher, something the Taliban hate. Her sister is an elected Official in the Parliament of Pakistan, Ayesha Gulalai, she too is a target of the Taliban. Educated women and men who resist the Taliban are a threat to the goals of this criminal organization.

This movie brought back memories of my life in that part of the world, watching the images, the people, their reactions to daily situations, how they dealt with hardships and uncertainty, the tribal culture, much of which is totally unknown to us here, we really have no concept of living under such conditions. Though Pakistan has a developed democratic system and healthy debate within civil society, a sophisticated society, it also has pockets of backwardness in Tribal Areas where poverty is endemic.

The images of the city traffic, people, markets, contrasting Peshawar a provincial Capital with Islamabad the Countries Capital, built as of 1960, modern and sophisticated is quite intriguing.

In the documentary the director Heidenreich also touched upon the fact that this is a Muslim family and we see Maria and her family at prayer, we also hear her speak of how they view their faith and how it guides them in their life. You get the gentle approach to Islam with its core message on leading a good life and doing good works, being respectful of others.  A message we almost never hears from the Media today and the tired cliche we constantly get from our Politicians here at home to sell the idea of fear and division. Pakistan is an ancient culture it has some beautiful mosques, the architecture is stunning and in Islamabad there is also many modern buildings like the  Faisal Mosque.

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In the documentary you hear the call to prayers from Minarets, I became quite use to them, 5 times a day from early dawn to early evening. I could recite them by heart in Arabic, having heard them so many times.

Allahu Akbar
God is Great

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah
I bear witness that there is no god except the One God.

Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God

Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah
Hurry to the prayer (Rise up for prayer)

Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah
Hurry to success (Rise up for Salvation)

Allahu Akbar
God is Great
La ilaha illa Allah
There is no god except the One God

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General view of Cairo from the Citadel 

It also brought back to mind, the point made over and over again in this documentary, that the key to end the misery in countries like Pakistan and elsewhere is education.

Education is key, something I observed for years in the Middle-East and elsewhere. When you have a young population, all those countries have a large majority of people under 25 yrs of age, opportunities must exist for them to grow. Frustrations at the lack of any future will only engender conflict and spawn despair and terrorist groups.

Maria Torpakai says it herself, as she looks at Waziristan, look at the children, they cannot read nor write, live in small villages isolated from the outside world, they know nothing of the world, they have no future and no opportunities, they will fall victim to the violence of the Taliban with the false promises and lies all based on terror. If the children are educated and shown a better future with opportunities, the Taliban will no longer be able to control them and will fade away. The director of the film Erin Heidenreich, an American from NYC, I had a chance after the movie to congratulate her on this documentary, which is not preachy but simply presents the story of this family and their struggle in Pakistan.

Also present was the son of Robert Redford, Jamie who was here with his wife, a very nice person, discreet and approachable.

 

 

 

 

 

Island

Many years ago, I should say 2 decades ago or more, I was sent on Temporary Duty to work at our Canadian High Commission in Trinidad & Tobago that little Commonwealth Nation in the Caribbean. I stayed there for 6 weeks at the Hilton which was said to be upside down because its reception was on the roof of the building and the hotel itself was built downwards hanging on a cliff at the bottom of which was the pool and terrace. The hotel had one restaurant and every meal was a buffet, nothing but buffet food, three times a day. Going elsewhere was out of the question for security reasons. There was also few guests at the hotel, so it was a bit of a golden cage.

It was a very boring time, lots of work at the Office, our manager Brian would often disappear after lunch to go play golf, being a young Officer I found that unacceptable, not realizing that this is the way a lot of managers ran their offices at our Missions. After work  there was nothing else to do but go to the beach which after a week was starting to feel very limiting. The only interesting sight where the vultures who walked along the beach looking at people but not disturbing anyone.

I was told then that vultures only pick the bones of the dead and they know when you are dead, so they will not peck at a sunbather sleeping, a reassuring thought I suppose.

I did  fall asleep on the beach one day, only to wake up and see about 8 vultures looking at me from close range, they are ugly birds and they were startled when I shoo them away looking annoyed as if to say, oh well we have to move on.

The only thing they had to eat at the beach restaurant was a sandwich called shark bait which was a piece of bread or bun stuffed with a piece of grilled fish and hot sauce, it was tasty and different.

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One weekend I decided to fly to the other island Tobago which is all of 10 minutes away in a 737 airplane, imagine the waste of fuel using such a plane for such a short flight, I flew on BWIA, it was Trinidad and Tobago airline and went bankrupt in 2006.  Tobago was even more quiet than Trinidad, if not more so and the only people I met were ex-pat Canadians who drank far too much all day and every day, who operated small motels and they rented rooms to people like me who came over for the weekend. It all had an air of old colonial setting, the Sun had not quite set on this part of the British Empire.

When my duty time was over I was very happy to leave and return to Canada, I promised myself never to live on an Island, to confining I thought, but that was almost 30 years ago.

Now we live here on PEI, an Island, the difference is that life here is quite lively and numerous activities and things to do. We do have the loveliest of beaches but alas no vultures, I do not miss them, don’t worry. We have instead lovely foxes which are far more congenial.

The other day Will said to me, you do not want to leave the Island, strangely enough, I don’t and I do not know why. Maybe after a life of travelling around the planet and living here and there, I simply want to stay put. Am quite happy with the current state of affairs, I am not saying that we will always be here and not travel anywhere else, no that is not true. I would love to visit Halifax and see other spots in the Maritimes. It’s just that I do not have the travel bug anymore.

Then I saw a photo in one of the last posts by Sophie who had a blog until a few days ago on Mali where she lived for 11 years owning an hotel in Djenné. In this photo she appears in our friend David N. apartment in London with Susan, of course J. is not in the photo because he prefers not to appear or in this case he is the photographer. Looking at the photo taken in May, I thought we have been to London many times but I never saw David and J. apartment which looks absolutely lovely and comfortable, full of books and stuff.

So maybe we will have to return to London one day if for no other reason but to look at that apartment.

A new G.G. for us

Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced the name of the new Governor General for Canada. The PM was in the UK last week and he met with the Queen at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh where he discussed with her the possible candidates for the position.

Because Canada is a Kingdom, the Prime Minister must confer with the Sovereign on such matters. The Queen chooses a person and the Prime Minister announces the choice.

Canada will have an accomplished female astronaut and scientist, who speaks 6 languages. Julie Payette will be just the fourth woman to be governor general. And her appointment will keep with the tradition of alternating between a francophone and an anglophone.

But she is also an incredibly accomplished woman involved in science.

Science also happens to be a field P.M. Trudeau has tried to embrace, both as a mark of his government’s own wisdom and as a vision for the future of the country’s economy.

The first Canadian to hold the post was Vincent Massey in 1952. Prior to that date, the position was held by British Aristocrats and prior to 1759 by French Aristocrats.

Jeanne Sauvé became the first woman to occupy the office in 1984. Ray Hnatyshyn, appointed in 1990, was a first-generation Ukrainian-Canadian. His successor, Romeo LeBlanc, was the first Acadian governor general.

Adrienne Clarkson, born in Hong Kong, was the first Asian governor general, the first immigrant to hold the title and the first person to come to the office from somewhere other than politics or the military, she was a broadcaster.

Michaëlle Jean, a black woman, had fled to Canada as a refugee with her family from the Island of Haiti.

Julie Payette OC, CQ (born October 20, 1963) is a Canadian Astronaut, engineer and administrator. Payette has completed two spaceflights, STS-96 and STS-127, logging more than 25 days in space. She served as chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and has served in other roles for both NASA and CSA, such as capsule communicator.

In July 2013, Payette was named chief operating officer for the Montreal Science Centre in the Old Port of Montreal. In April 2014, she was appointed a director of the National Bank of Canada. Payette speaks French, English, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian.

She plays the piano and has sung with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and several others.

She is divorced from Lt-Colonel William Flynn (ret), they had two sons Brett and Laurier from their union.

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Julie Payette, 53 yrs old to become Canada’s Governor General and Commander in Chief.

 

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H.E. the right Honourable David Johnston, 76 yrs old, retiring Governor General, in Office from 2010-2017.

The role of the Governor General, he or she presides over the swearing-in of the prime minister, the chief justice of Canada and cabinet ministers. It is the governor general who summons, prorogues and dissolves Parliament, who delivers the Speech from the Throne, and who gives Royal Assent to acts of Parliament.

All executive authority is understood to derive from the Sovereign, who is Canada’s formal head of state. The state is embodied in the Sovereign; therefore every one of Canada’s Members of Parliament is required to swear allegiance to the Queen. This is also why the state, in Canada, is often referred to simply as “the Crown”.

Canada is, however, a constitutional monarchy, founded on the rule of law and respect for rights and freedoms. Therefore the Sovereign actually has very few powers and prerogatives. The authority of the Crown is delegated to the various branches of government according to the provisions of the Constitution.

Elections are called and laws are enacted in the name of the Crown. No bill may become law without Royal Assent. Formally, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are the Crown’s council of advisers. They govern in the name and with the consent of the Crown. The Sovereign is represented in Canada by the Governor General.

Although officially the Sovereign is the head of state, almost all of the Sovereign’s powers over Canada have been assigned to the Governor General. As the Sovereign’s representative, the Governor General is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.