Blue Rocks, Red Lobster

May 30, 2012 We are gratefully settled into our new seaside rental in a little fishing village called Blue Rocks.

A view from up here:



We have plenty to tell you and show you about our third annual Writing the Waves cruise in the Mediterranean, but, first, a little tasty tease from home...



We arrived home on the second last day of the season and bought them (live) from Captain Cecil--here, a 2 minute walk away:



If you can't make out that sign, it says: LOBSTER $5.00 LB.

We tried two steamed and two boiled. The taste test says ... steamed, in salt (always!) water, and not for long:

1-1/4 lbs.  7-8 minutes 1-1/2 lb.  8-10 minutes 2 lbs.  11-12 minutes 2-1/2-3 lb.  12-14 minutes 5 lb.  20-22 minutes

Keep a lookout for travel photos from Italy, Egypt, Turkey, and Greece!


EarthDream: A Peace Film Festival

EarthDream: A Peace Film Festival Fri Apr 8 to Sun Apr 10, 2011, Mahone Bay, NS  

The South Shore Chapter of the Council of Canadians presents: EarthDream 2011: A Peace Film Festival.

Friday Evening April 8 7:30 pm OUTSIDE THE WIRE –a timely appraisal of the situation in Afghanistan by Scott Taylor as he travels and interviews “outside the wire”- Scott Taylor will be at this screening for Q&A

Saturday Afternoon April 9 1:00 pm Youth Video Project - videos from local and international youth 2: 00 pm Selected Shorts & MOTHERS’ DAY AT THE WAR SHOW – contrasting images from the Ottawa Air Show and from Iraq 2:30 pm MYTHS FOR PROFIT –explores Canada’s defense industries Discussion with Tamara Lorincz

Saturday Evening April 9 7:30 pm VOICES IN WARTIME - experiences of war through powerful images and through the words of poets 8:45 pm – BREAKING RANKS – plight of US soldiers seeking sanctuary in Canada as part of their resistance to the war in Iraq

Sunday Afternoon April 10 2:00 pm Selected Shorts 2:15 pm SOLDIERS OF PEACE – this films illustrates the many ways in which people and communities are making positive change. + discussion


For more information: 

Contact Name: Marion Moore Phone: (902) 527-2928 E-mail: southshore.coc (at)

Home to Nova Scotia

We are packing boxes of books and belongs today. It is sad to think that our home for the last three years will be left in LA where we bought it three years. The bus will make a great home for some other family.

We leave LA Wednesday to head quickly across the country to cross the boarder and return to Nova Scotia.

We have met many wonderful people and seen the best of North America. On to other adventures. -L

Mabou and The Red Shoe

August 15, 2010 Mabou, Cape Breton, NS

The Highlands dip into the ocean on the Ceilidh Trail.

It was our first day without the Faires family. We were a bit sad and lonely, but consoled ourselves with some authentic Celtic music, Garrison Tall Ship Amber ale and a Pair of Shoes (Left shoe: bruschetta with goat cheese. Right shoe: hummus and pita) at the Red Shoe Pub. Members of The Rankin Family, a local multi-award winning musical family, own the pub and keep it lively with live music every day of the week.

A scene-stealing spoon player, two fiddlers (one left-handed), a pianist and (not pictured) several step dancers:

We made it back to the campground just in time for the sunset finale at the beach.

We had just one night in Mabou so set out first thing in the morning for a favourite hike along the bluffs of West Mabou Beach.

No bears or moose, just bunnies and blueberries.

Back on the beach we found a water-loving dog, ...

...a purply crab ...

... tide designs ...

... and these 'gems':

We highly recommend refueling with a great breakfast back in town at Shining Waters Bakery and, in the summer months, Tuesday Ceilidhs at the Community Hall across the street from the pub.


A Whale of a Time

Aug 14, 2010 Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton, NS

After the captain fiddled us a tune we were on our way and on the lookout in Pleasant Bay:

We spotted a pod of pilot whales, my favourite. Google images here.

The whales were shy and mostly kept their distance.

Once in a while they surprised us with a closer look.

Two popped up beside the boat and swam right under us then disappeared.

Captain Jay heads back to the harbour.

Pleasant Bay is one of the best whale watching spots in Nova Scotia.


Broad Cove, Cape Breton

August 13-15, 2010 Broad Cove, Cape Breton, NS

One of few campgrounds with full services for large RVs in Cape Breton, the Broad Cove Campground also offers a great beach just a short walk from the campsite.

We plopped down just before sunset to take in the hush of the tide, and an impromptu rock game.

Jay made his mark in the reddish granite sand:

A calm evening welcomed us on our first night in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.


Fortress of Louisbourg

August 12, 2010 Lousibourg, Cape Breton, NS

Louisbourg RV Park on the waterfront:

From the wharves we can see the Fortress of Louisbourg looming over the sea.

Louisbourg is the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America.

The French came to Louisbourg in 1713 after loss of territory to the English in Newfoundland and Acadia (Nova Scotia) in the War of the Spanish Succession. Louisbourg soon became France's most important stronghold and seaport in the Atlantic on account of trade and the thriving fishing industry.

In addition to arms and imported goods, livestock and gardens were integral to the community's health and survival.

By 1760 the English ruled and the fortifications lay in ruin. The reconstruction and reenactments are based on life as it was in 1744.

Red Coat and Blue Coat interpreters march, pipe, drum and fire off a cannon.

Lloyd buys bread the size, and half the weight, of a cannonball. And about the equivalent in flavour.

Jay's workout for the day: cannonball presses.

The crier reads aloud from a scroll which states that the guy in white stole a bottle of wine. The French officers will parade him through the streets, drumming all the way, then fasten him to a pole with an iron collar where he will serve his time: 2 hours a day for several days. In fact, he served five minutes before the interpreters ignored the unsympathetic crowd and let him go.

Jay writes his name with a quill pen next to the recently freed thief.

Since we couldn't elect Eric for public punishment we ordered him into the lime kiln for a time out. ;)

Back at the campsites, the boys strum it up. It's difficult to see, but Jay and Eric each trade a hand to play: Jay's left hand plays Eric's fretboard and vice versa (their right hands strum their own guitars).

In the evening we attended a ceilidh next door at the Louisbourg Playhouse featuring Jason Kempt, Beverly MacLean, Erin Martell, Lyndon MacKenzie, and Troy Young. Celtic music is expected and oatcakes hoped for, but this ceilidh included a box drum called a cajón and comedic costumed sketches too.

In the morning we had time to enjoy the sun and cereal by the sea.


Up the Canal

August 11-12, 2010 St. Peter's, Cape Breton, NS

Battery Provincial Park

After Deb and I drove around in circles, we chose a seascape and a site large enough for both busses.

All five of us took a morning walk to St. Peter's Canal, just outside the campground, and arrived in time to see the canal in action.

The bridge our busses crossed to turn into Battery Provincial Park is high enough for small vessels, like Reel Happy from Antigonish, NS.

The bridge swings open ...

... to accommodate the biggies. A park employee mans the controls on top of the bridge.

Three boats arrived close together. They're corralled behind a lock until everyone's ready to go.

Her sailboat secured by bow and aft lines, a sailor from Donegal chats with Jay.

Aphrodite from the BVIs waits her turn:

The final lock opens.

Everyone's free.

The 800 metre canal links Bras d'Or Lake to the Atlantic Ocean. St. Peter's Canal is a National Historic Site and the only functioning lock system in Nova Scotia.


Waypoint Halifax

August 10, 2010 Halifax, NS

I hoped we could explore the Canadian School of Lutherie with George Ryzsani, builder of Voyageur, a Six String Nation guitar built from 63 pieces of  Canadian wood "representing many different cultures, communities and characters from all across the country", "including a piece of decking from the Bluenosoe II, a piece of Wayne Gretzky's hockey stick and wood from Pier 21". One of goals for the Six String Nation project is "to tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and to encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music".

George ran luthier workshops at the Canadian School of Lutherie, a centre for studying guitar building that specializes in building hand-made, custom guitars. He has made guitars for James Taylor, Keith Richards, Sting, Peter Gabriel and more. However, George is on his last guitar building project for the centre and will retire from his line of guitars. I believe his last is the only with a built in vile of ashes--the ashes of a beloved friend and musician. The upright guitar on the far right:

George put me in touch with Jeremy. Jeremy et al were fine hosts, happy to explain their projects and processes, answer all of our questions, and allow Jay to try out their wares.

Project central:

The Faireses left feeling like they could finally tackle the guitar kit they have back home.

We left the school for waterfront Halifax and found a Buskers Festival we didn't expect. Normally, the waterfront makes for nice strolling grounds peppered with the occasional musician or painter, but festival goers crowded the wharfs.

We watched boats cruise by in the harbour and wandered the wharf for a bit.

We found some local music, but, tired of crowds, we broke away for a seat and a drink ...

at The Old Triangle, one of several great pubs in Halifax.

Jay had another chance to say goodbye to Carmel Mikol; she was just outside on the pub patio.

We had been working up to dinner since morning, when we decided we wanted good Indian food for supper. The private circle room was a perfect fit at Taj Mahal, open just two days following a six-month closure due to fire:

We feasted and waddled away.

Of course, we could spend a week or more in the city, but with just one night's stay we had time for just a few highlights.

We also highly recommend the maritime museum, Neptune Theatre, Paper Chase cafe, The Wooden Monkey restaurant, Opa! restaurant, Maxwell's Plum English pub, Pogue Fado pub, Split Crow pub, The Economy Shoe Shop cafe/bar and any live music you can find.


Peggy's Cove

August 9, 2010 One of the most photographed sites in Canada:

We love watching the waves slam and spray over the cliffs.

There's something on the horizon?

A slew of buoys caught our attention from the edge of the village.

Apparently they make excellent bouncy balls.

Not pictured: Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, a moving and haunting installation.

Back at King Neptune Campground we were pleasantly surprised to learn about the lobster pound within a minute's walk from our sites.

We didn't expect a lobster handstand either, nor a one in a million ...

... blue lobster!

We chose the less talented of the lobsters and ate 'em later with Jim and Nancy who popped over from Prospect.

Ah! Can't forget. Debbie whipped up Brandy Alexanders. Sinfully delicious. It's a 1:1:1 mix:

1 oz  Brandy (good stuff)

1 oz  Creme de Cacao

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Beat it up in the blender and it's win:win:win. :) Yum!


Folk Fest Sunday Finale

Lloyd and I skipped out on the last session of the afternoon for a recharge at The Knot. Keith's ale, caesar salad, potato skins, mussels, and peanut butter pie. That ought'a do it. The boys outside the tent: Scott, Nik, Eric and Lloyd.

Scott made us beautiful rings for my birthday, despite "no gifts" allowed. Yes, we lashed him. ;) Well, I think he got kisses and hugs from me... Anyway, we love our rings; they're carved from wood with gorgeous grains. Just our style. We've looked for rings for a while now and never did we find rings we liked so much as the ones our own friend made for us as a surprise. Thank you, Scott!

All of us seated in the wind tunnel/exit row (note the extra layers, extra blankets and extra tongue sticking out of Scott):

One more time, the Mainstage Evening Concert lineup (I guess I was too cold to take photos):

Carmel Mikol - glad for another performance. We like everything about her musically.

Tom Chapin & The Chapin Sisters - a family with local ties. Tom is a Grammy-award winner, but is probably best known as Harry Chapin's brother. He often sings Harry's "Cat's in the Cradle" in tribute.

Maria Dunn from Edmonton sang a haunting song called "We Were Good People" about a 1932 Hunger March in Edmonton where peaceful protesters were met by police wielding clubs and running even women and children off to scatter the march. View the lyrics and learn more here. Maria has a clear and commanding singing voice and award-winning songwriting talents.

Artisan - a zany a cappella trio from England.

Suzie Vinnick & Rick Fines. Suzie and songwriting partner Dan Kershaw won the International Songwriting Competition - Blues Category this year. She's said to have a "crystalline voice", even a voice "spun of gold". We like it, however you describe it.

Matt Andersen won this year's International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He makes a fitting finale, especially when joined by a variety of the festival's top performers.

As always, the festival evening ends with the singing of Nova Scotia Song.

Our dear friend, Deb, stops by for a post-festival visit and a photo opp with Jay. We miss you already, Deb!

Another Folk Harbour Festival done, another reservation at the Blockhouse Hill Campground (Lunenburg Board of Trade Campground) for next August. If you want to join us, please make your reservations soon!


Folk Fest Sunday: Jay Faires Edition

August 8, 2010 Lunenburg, NS

This one's all about Jay. :)

Surrounded by Grass Mountain Hobos.

I don't know if you can see the smiles on their faces, but they're lovin' Jay!

Huge grins all around for Jay's second performance:

A little bit closer now (look at them jam!):

I wasn't the only one taking photos. The lady in red is a journalist for PEI's (home of the Hobos) major newspaper.

Red Molly, Ken Whitelely and Ben Whiteley, The Grass Mountain Hobos, and the centre of attention: Jay Faires! Whoohoo! :D

Jay, just part of the gang.

These are just a few of the 250-300 pairs of feet standing and hands clapping for a true musical talent.

Not one, but three standing ovations for Jay! And some hollerin' and hootin'.


But it's not over.

Jay and the Hobos are ushered outside for photos.

Jay's a natural.

PEI journalist requests some fun pose with Jay front and centre:

Just the first of many photo shoots, we presume.

One more chat before the Hobos leave for home.

The topper: a new fan tracks Jay down to buy a CD. Jay wasn't selling CDs, but we think the man insisted. He wanted to be the first to buy Jay's first CD, but someone beat him to it. Still, he can say he's the second to buy Hunstville City Limit.

Jay didn't stop there. Remember, there's an After Hours Party every night of the festival. After his first "in" he was in. He was welcome and he was having a great time. We're sure jamming with some of Canada's best folk, blues and roots musicians and singer songwriters was the highlight of Jay's Nova Scotia trip and we were honoured and thrilled to witness it, and we're hoping for a repeat. What do you think, Jay?


P.S. - Jay, we miss your (live) music and your smiling happy ways. We had sooo much fun with you! Great memories. And now we wish you the best of luck at your new school. See you at camp!

No Rest on Folk Fest Sunday

August 8, 2010 Lunenburg, NS

Folk Harbour Festival Sunday begins with a rocking Gospel Concert on the Main Stage.

Here's Ken Whiteley et al with Red Molly:

Sunday's featured musicians, including Jay! You can just see Jay's jeans and black jacket (far left).

Though we were a movin' and a shakin' and a singin', we were chillier inside than those outside of the tent in the sun. We chose to sit in the "wind tunnel", the exit row, every night because it had more room, open flaps to outside and, uh hum, fresh air. We were pretty chilly at night.

Matt and his Mom sing a lovely gospel song together.

By noon things are back to normal and everyone makes for the various venues to catch final performances.

We catch the Capo Connection at the beautiful St. John's Anglican Church with Suzie Vinnick, Matt Andersen, Rick Fines and Kat Danser:

Then I zip back to the wharf for more of Connie Kaldor in the whipping wind ...

... and race back to the church for the Bountiful Bluegrass session featuring ... Jay!

Here's a sneak peek, but I'm posting other pics in a separate post. Check it out: all eyes on Jay.

Stay tuned!


More Folk Fest, Folks

August 7, 2010 Lunenburg, NS

We crammed the day with music, from 10am 'til after 4am at the After Hours Party.

Saturday's Mainstage Evening Concert lineup:

Gordon Stobbe & Greg Simm - an always comedic hosting musical duo accompanied by rubber chickens and witticisms.

The Graham Wells Group from Newfoundland.

Kat Danser, Queen of the Swamp Blues. She's Edmonton-based but just back from ethnomusicology research in Ghana. Her soulful voice can fill a room, and we love her bawdy humour too.

Ken Whiteley and band:

James Keelaghan - multi-award winning (including a Juno) Canadian singer-songwriter.

Connie Kaldor - a three time Juno award winning singer-songwriter with a fantastic sense of humour and storytelling talents.

The After Hours Party (please excuse the photo quality; I'm not the photographer in the family):

Hint: Jay's in the ball cap below Ben Whiteley on upright bass.

Rick Fines far left. One of my favourites. He has a truly unique voice (much like Louis Armstrong's), loves slide guitar, and recorded his Solar Power CD in his off-the-grid cabin in the woods.

Jay played with the man himself, Ken Whiteley. Also pictured below: Ben Whiteley on bass, Mike Goodfellow on harmonica (behind Jay), Abbie from Red Molly (right of Jay) on dobro, and some I can't make out:

Jay's dad squeezed in for a view.

A brief break. David looking a little ... scary.

Jay played every instrument on his CD. Here he beats a drum next to David (in dreadlocks and bare feet and shirtless on a cold night) from House of Doc. Also, two or more musicians from Jay's favourite at the festival, The Green Mountain Hobos. Jay jammed with the Hobos late into the night on Friday (Saturday morning technically) and they became fast fans of Jay's musical abilities. More on that later.

The five of us arrived back at our respective busses at 4:18am so you know we had a grrreat time!


P.S. - A celtic jam session takes place in another room, strategically located by the beer tap and food, and sometimes a third group moves the music outside.

Folk Harbour Fest: Friday

August 6, 2010 Lunenburg, NS

Decision making. Who to see?

We started with a "Preserving Foklore" workshop, another worthwhile edutainment event.

Next decision: easy. Cape Breton-based Carmel Mikol, whom we met at 30A Songwriters Festival in Seaside, Florida, and larger than life Matt Andersen, a festival favourite, at the Opera House.

The wharf is one of my favourite music venues, especially on a beautiful weather day.

First up: soulful, bluesy, Canadian roots music legend Ken Whiteley and band, including Ken's son Ben on upright bass.

Matt Anderson again. We just follow him around sometimes.

A sailboat settled in at the wharf during a song. Hard to beat the flow of music and sail together on a gorgeous day in Lunenburg.

Evening concerts take place on the Main Stage in the big white tent just a few paces from the campground. Friday's lineup: A Celebration of Traditional Music with folklorist-singer-songwriter Clary Droft and Jeff Davis et al, Red Molly's bluegrass and gospel harmonies, Shane Philip and his one-man band didgeridoos and drums, the return of the very funny and super-talented Mennonite family of folkies House of Doc, and also very funny David Francey. Folk Harbour is often blessed with a heavy dose of humour which keeps us laughing, even moreso on the night's CBC broadcaster Shelagh Rogers hosts the main stage, even when she's so hot she's "growing mushrooms in (her) shorts".

The most exciting event of the day happened after hours at the After Hours Party. A special, dear friend (Thank you again, D! xox) gifted us with two passes to the musician's and volunteer's party on the waterfront. Lloyd and I attended before and can tell you it's a blast. Not only can you expect phenomenal non-stop jam sessions, but free beer, great eats and fast friends too.

Friday, though, was Jay's opportunity to get in on the action. We assure you he made an admirable impression on other musicians and various festival coordinators and volunteers. Luckily, Jay (a.k.a. had a few copies of his CD on hand to share. Check Jay out (recorded in the Faires's Prevost):


That was the first of three After Hours Parties. Photos to come!


Pre-Fest Events

August 5, 2010 Lunenburg, NS

(Dupe photos)

Not to be missed: the Lunenburg Farmers Market every Thursday.

Front and centre: my lobster béchamel crêpe (WOW!) and Laughing Whale coffee. Jay and Lloyd munched blueberry-stuffed waffles:

Moving on to the cookies:

An abundance of local and organic produce to choose from:

Art too. We left with a long cherry wood tray built by our friend Jamie. It sits on our table, for my stray papers and such, and I love it. Beauty and function.

Not pictured: This year, the 25th year of Folk Harbour Festival, included a Traditional Music Conference in addition to the usual schedule of workshops and performances. A panel of musicians discussed local music history, song writing and research involved with preserving traditional music and demonstrated a variety of music like Mi'kmaq drumming, maritime sea shanties, gaelic songs and reels, sea-inspired storytellers, etc. A bagpiper and his stepdancing daughter closed out the day. Did you know you don't blow into all bagpipes? Instead of inflating the bag with breath, a player inflates uilleann pipes via a bellow pumped under the right arm. A fun and informative event that may become a permanent event in the festival lineup.

Joined by Jim and Nancy and Doug just in time for a little jam before the evening concerts:

Spoiled by fresh local scallops and dear friends:

Thursday's concert lineup: Bill Plaskett & Friends, Acadian musicians Gadelle, local banjo-songwriter fave Old Man Luedecke (looking younger than last we saw him), The Grass Mountain Hobos (Jay's favourite) from PEI, the amazing harmonies of The Good Lovelies, and The Barra MacNeils from Cape Breton.


Preparing for Folk Harbour Festival

After a few days of getting things done locally, like vehicle inspections, doctor's visits, and moving a few more books into storage, we settle it to get prepared for the first day of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. First thing was to hit the Farmers market early to get fresh crapes to sustain us through out the day. We then stocked up on last minute food items.

Too many choices at the recycling area.

Then Jim and Nancy Smith arrived from Halifax and the music stated again.

Finally before heading to the big tent for the evening entertainment we had a great meal of fresh scollops (Debbie stood in line at the fish store with the local earlier in the morning) and pasta with salad.

We are suffering through as best we can. -L

Happy Birthday Pamela

Monday, August 2, 2010 - Lunenburg, NS

We celebrated Pamela's birthday with an all day party at the buses. We invited all our friends to come for noon to whenever and they did. John Carroll from Kingsburg was the first to arrive at the decorated buses.

Music was needed and Nik came and played with Jay and Eric.

Friends came and went throughout the day and into the evening.

WE enjoyed good music, good conversations, drinks, snacks, and cake. Debbie and Pamela gave tours of the buses and the party ended just before midnight. Happy Birthday Pamela. -L

Oak Island Treasure Mystery?

Saturday, July 31, 2010 - Mahone Bay, NS

Mystery has surrounded the "Money Pit" on Oak Island for over a 100 years. We were curious and since this was the first tour since 1995 we decided to expand our imagination and join the 2-hour guided walk.

Below is a cross section of the "Money Pit."

Being skeptical by nature, I remain unconvinced, you will have to ask the others for their opinion. -L

Cardboard Boats

Saturday, July 31, 2010 - Mahone Bay, NS

The participants were given 90-minutes, cardboard, styrofoam, duct tape, and there own creativity to create a racing boat for two.

Five teams entered in this heated competition.

Luckily everyone finished despite taking on water. -L