Anne of Green Gables

25 07 2010

Last week we visited Prince Edward Island with our friends Sandra and Bob from Scotland.

We did a tour of the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Cavendish. Anne of Green Gables  is a bestselling novel by the Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. The story tells the tale of a couple who wanted to adopt a boy, but were mistakenly sent an orphan girl. Despite their apprehensions they decide to keep her.

This is the house that the Green Gables stories were based on.

The house has farm buildings with all the usual old farm machinery- including a thresher.

And a nice old barrow.

Sandra and Helen enjoyed milking the Jersey cow.¬† This was no problem to them; after all they are ‘Anne of Green Gables’ girls from a farm in Scotland.

Inside the house there was a pantry.

With some Keiller’s marmalade!

A sewing room.

And the usual bedrooms.

The gardens were beautiful and filled with lovely flowers, like these blue Delphiniums.

Then there were walks down ‘Lovers Lane’ and the ‘Haunted Wood’.

I was sorry that this little bird wouldn’t stay longer for me to get a better picture. It is an American Redstart – a warbler and unrelated to the European Redstart. The female is yellow where the male is orange.

It was an interesting museum, but for us it was not too far removed from what we remembered from our youth. We must just be too old for museums in Canada!

‘Outlander’ – A Scottish Tale

23 04 2009

Someone here in Lunenburg thought that I should know about the Scottish writer Diana Gabaldon. I was directed to the Outlander series of books, which seemed to be about time travel in Scotland. On looking up the author on Google I found that she was not Scottish but American! I headed to our local library and found the first book in the series – ‘Outlander’ or ‘Cross Stitch’ as it is entitled in the UK.

outlabderThis novel starts in Inverness in 1945, just after World War 2. The main character, Claire,has been a nurse in France and is now on a sort of second honeymoon with her husband. For a Scot reading this book there are so many factual errors, it makes it difficult to keep going. Claire is excited because the shelves in Scotland are replenished after the war and there is so much to eat! yet even I remember rationing until 1954. The minister’s housekeeper makes Oolong tea after only being able to buy Earl Grey during the war! And the Scots are made out to be a superstitious, pagan race, where women dance around the ‘Henge’ in sheets! This is really the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever read, but I skimmed my way through it as I just hate to give up on a book.

The time travel comes when Claire falls through a stone in ‘the henge’ and goes back to 1743, meets a rough Highlander, marries him…… is beaten by him with a belt!!! and so it goes on.

I tried to write a review on Amazon and an ‘Outlander’ site, but there is so much emotion in the readers of this series that I only met with extreme opposition. It seems people like reading books with sex and violence in them. There are a few ‘bad’ reviews and warnings against reading these books, but they are put out of sight and only the 5 * ratings are shown at the top.

So, don’t waste your time with this book, unless we make up an Anti-Outlander Group.

Stuart McLean and ‘Dave Cooks the Turkey’

14 12 2008

Hi Folks,

I thought today I would like to share with you one of the most important, if not critical, aspects of my life. I have never taken anything very seriously, preferring to find an irreverent, facetious, quirky, exaggerated, or any other form of humorous take in any situation. Those who know me will have had to suffer their conversations being interrupted by some quip or seemingly funny remark. I offer no apologies for this, I cannot help it. As the Viennese trick cyclist would have us believe, it really is all the fault of my childhood.

I am sufficiently old to have grown up in the days when radio was king and the one eyed monster merely a dream of another obsessed Scotsman, John Logie Baird. The greatest magic as a child was to go to bed early, that being one of the few warm locations in those pre-central heating days, and listen in the dark to the radio. There was the thrill of Sherlock Holmes stories and the adventure of Dan Dare’s space exploits, but the greatest delight lay with; Round The Horne, Hancock’s Half Hour, The Glums, Whacko and of course, The Goon Show. It was the latter, with its anarchic take on life, and British society in particular with its snobbishly inflexible social structure, that appealed.

The onset of adult life did not result in a more adult view of it. The slow development of television gave us some comedy shows, but mainly of the crudely slapstick variety. Although living in an age of visual media I am stuck in the age of the word and for me it is that that is critical in humour. Eventually television produced some acceptable comedy with Not the Nine O’Clock News and Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, but not until the the BBC found the visual equivalent of the surreal take of the Goon Show in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, did it match its radio output. But with the passing of that series, comedy on television virtually died and radio all but abandoning the field, I am left yearning for the “good old days”, like any other sad old sod.

Happily, some ten or so years ago I discovered an hilarious series of books by an American called Garrison Keillor. It transpired that he was a radio comedian in Minnesota, and all of his books are based on his broadcasts. During the broadcast of , A Prairie Home Companion, he describes a “town that time forgot and decades cannot improve, where the women are strong, the men good looking and all the children above average.” He, like all good comedians, is an acute observer of life as many of his tales clearly indicate. One of his stories describes a very old couple, married sixty odd years and the wife has to go to the hospital. Living some forty miles away means that they have to drive themselves there. Halfway to town they stop at a diner for coffee and a piece of pie, after which the husband goes to the rest room. When he comes out of the rest room, he exits the diner and drives home, wondering why his wife isn’t in the house. In his book, ‘A Radio Romance’, a radio show is taken on a road trip of small towns, the cast traveling in a bus. The toilet is no more than a closed in space that has a seat and a hole down onto the road. When a new member of the cast uses this facility, the driver steers onto the gravel verge of the road, sending a shower of stones into the posterior of the greenhorn.

Apparently Garrison Keillor is still doing his weekly radio show and although I now live on the edge of the American continent here in Atlantic Canada, we unfortunately cannot pick up that station’s signal.


However, last year, not long after we arrived in Nova Scotia, we had driven out one cold, snowy, December day and treated ourselves to a picnic in the car at some lonely shoreside location. The radio was switched on in the hope of catching some lunchtime concert to accompany the tuna sandwiches. Instead we listened to this very funny seasonal tale. Just recently my little apple blossom has researched extensively and discovered that this story was called, Dave Cooks the Turkey, by Stuart McLean.


Stuart McLean is a Canadian version of Garrison Keillor with his roots firmly in radio. His Radio show, ‘The Vinyl Cafe’ features stories of Dave, owner of a second hand record shop and his wife and family. It is the family that is the focus of his humour, often highlighting situations that will be all too familiar to many of us. The link below is to this riotous Christmas episode and is our gift to all of those who will receive nothing else from us.

This ‘link’ does not seem to work so to open this present simply cut and paste the address below into the destination bar. And for those of you who, like me, are challenged by the cutting and pasting bit, simply copy very carefully the address into the address bar. Otherwise you will have to buy the CD from Amazon.

Please note that you will need about 20 minutes to listen to this tale, but it is well worth it.

Wishing everyone a very merry holiday season, Jeff and Jackie.