Lunenburg

We’ve been in Lunenburg for almost three weeks now. There have been a lot of cute dogs, numerous bike rides and beach visits, a birthday, a little work, a celebratory lobster roll, lots of coffee, creepy fog, blue sky days, sunsets, and christmas trees on the run.Image

See? Cute dogs. This is actually former-MP Garth Turner’s dog, lolling on the dock. As Garth Turner is not as cute as his dog, he got cropped from the picture.

ImageBeautiful sunset in the harbour.

ImageIt was meant to look like that lobster was eating my head….

ImageWe rode our bikes to Mahone Bay and learned the importance of commas, although personally, I think hunting Christmas trees could be very satisfying.

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It was super hot. I honestly wish that I could have just fallen in the water here because biking home was like 3 hours of derby in the barn kind of sweaty.

We went on another (longer) bike ride a couple of days later though to LaHave, which was really pretty. It also boasted a ferry ride, an amazing bakery, and… on the third floor of the bakery a skate bowl. Seriously! You could hear the skateboarders all through the bakery!

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ImageSkate bowl! On the third floor!

We totally stopped at the bakery twice. Once on the way there and once, 30 minutes later, on the way back.

ImageWe met up with my colleagues Bridget and Tony in Kingsburg and took the dogs for a walk on Hirtles Beach. I completely nerded out there, because apparently it’s a living beach that turns entirely from sand to rocks each winter and then back in the summer. So cool.

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ImageThere was an awesome b-day cake.

ImageAnd b-day celebrations.

ImageWe took the nephews painting in the park,

Imagewent to Shelburne too see some living history,

Imageand lobster crate races with Ernie, Bert and Elmo (basically small children in lifejackets and hockey helmets run over lobster crates until they fall into the ocean).

ImageWe visited the Black Loyalist Museum in Birchtown (made famous by the Book of Negroes).

Imageexplored a pretty amazing book store in Lunenburg, run by a nocturnal former fisherman,

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who sailed around the world three times,

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then possibly became a book hoarder in Lunenburg.

In any case, between our adventures, much work was done. We had a celebration when I finally sent in the copyedited proofs of the book that I wrote with Laura Murray and Tina Piper.

lobster celebration

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Dingwall to Lunenburg to London to Lunenburg

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We had to leave our cute cabin on July 5th. None of us wanted to leave.

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The last shot of Cape Breton wild flowers as we left the park.

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We landed in Lunenburg where we’re staying with Tim’s parents. But I was only there for a day before I left for the IVSA conference in London.

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Gratuitous shot of grumpy dogs.

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Gratuitous shot of very un-grumpy cat. So, London. It was hot (how is it possible that the underground can be like 20 degrees hotter than it is outside?), but awesome. I decided I’d airbnb it, and ended up, SO WEIRDLY, staying with someone I’d never met, who turned out to be my third cousin, from the same teeny tiny town in the north of Scotland (population, 191). I had spent an entire summer playing with her first cousin and my second cousin when I was 9 and, even more weirdly, I had told Tim about her (the second cousin) just before I left (she was the only other person I’d ever met named Kirsty). Anyway, I ended up talking to a long lost auntie on the phone, and it felt very bizarre to be in a city of 7 million with someone from Achiltibuie who I’d almost met when I was a kid.

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Things I love about London:

1. The crowds, the bustle, the liveliness of it all.

2. The dogs there are cuter than dogs I have ever seen anywhere else (Lucy excepted, of course). And none of them ever seems to need a leash. And they all seem to be named after kings or posh people.

3. It is always easy to buy good cheese.

Things I hate about London:

1. Black snot

2. I always seem to have a bad encounter with a pigeon

3. The crowds, the bustle, the intensity of it all

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The conference was a sociology one at Goldsmiths. I heard a few good papers, and made as many jokes as possible about committing sociology (which no one got). My paper was on surveillance, satellites and astrology – I’m not sure how the sociologists felt about that, but it went over well with the Goldsmiths crowd! I met up with some friends of mine, which was fabulous, and then decided to go to Margate to see about a walrus.

Specifically, I went to Margate to see an exhibition called Curiosity at the Turner Contemporary. Margate (this will make sense to the Londoners) is sort of like the people on the number 2 Dundas bus took off 90% of their clothes and went to the beach. And there isn’t a whole lot of beach, so it is immensely crowded. Anyway, it was an experience, and the exhibition was pretty amazing.

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Remember these Nina Katchadourian photos (Flemish paintings using airline toilet seat covers) that made the rounds last year? The whole series was there … super funny.

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Here’s the walrus. It was actually a gift from Canada in the 19th century. The taxidermist had never seen a walrus, so he didn’t realize that they have wrinkles – now it’s more like a walrus balloon.

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I spent most of the rest of the trip going to galleries and museums, so if that bores you, you should probably skip the rest of this post. There are some cool things though – like a jar of moles, and an anaconda skeleton.

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Interactive wallpaper from the MFA show at Goldsmiths. I pretty much agreed with this review, but my favourite work in the show was also one that fits Prolapsarian’s critique. I liked Juju You’s tin foil, napkin and paper plate museum display. There were very few other works that caught my attention though, it seemed altogether overly precious and predictable at the same time.

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St. Paul’s and Millennium Bridge from the Tate.

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This doesn’t show the 300 person line-up waiting to get their photos taken.

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Petrie Museum. Exciting for me because it was established by Amelia Edwards, who was definitely the inspiration for the Amelia Peabody character. Those novels were my PhD candy!

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The museum is moving, which I guess isn’t surprising given that it spills out into the stairwell. But I hope they don’t change the crowded cases – I love that stuff.

Which brings me to the Grant Zoological Museum, my new favourite place.

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Super awesome display cabinets. Check.

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Creepy things in jars. Check (this is a jar of 19th century moles, if you’re wondering).

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Giant anaconda skeletons. Check.

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Examples of how terrifying nature really is. Check. OMG!

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Great displays (this is the microscope slide collection)

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Sense of humour – pickled things in the cabinet on the right

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pickled things in the cabinet on the left

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and these dudes watching over everything from above.

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On my final day I visited with my grandad (99 years young), and then made my way to Heathrow where I had a typical Heathrow experience … delayed 3 hours, nightmare security line up etc. etc.

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And now we’re in Lunenburg for most of the summer. Sooooo pretty.

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Dingwall

 

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This was the sky over Cape Breton as we arrived. Very By the Power of Greyskull! Fortunately the sky did not rain its wrath down upon us, and we enjoyed a relaxing (or mostly relaxing week).

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Lucy, showing us how it’s done.

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And again (also, I can’t get enough of the wildflowers)

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And wild strawberries!!!! I was walking around picking them wondering which animal had eaten them all when I realized that the animal in question was a certain husky lab, two feet away from me and delicately picking off strawberries by the dozen.

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So… we went on a bike ride. This is what Tim said: “Oh, it’s on the coast, it’s sure to be flat.” WRONG! I have never seen hills like this, much less tried to ride up them on a bike. Here is a picture of me at the top of a hill that was practically vertical and went on for EVER! That is, here is a picture of me at the top of the hill, which was at least the 4th vertical, never-ending hill we went up, refusing to go any further. The views were spectacular though. And riding down the hills was super fun.

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Fortunately, the beach was available for post-biking relaxation.

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The next day we went for a hike. Apparently hiking in Cape Breton is dangerous, as not only are there numerous wild animals that will eat you, but you stand a good chance of falling off a cliff or being eaten by a wave. Fortunately, I have heard that making a lot of noise scares animals away, and I have an extensive repertoire of show tunes, kid’s songs, pop songs and (weirdly) old hymns that I managed to sing without break for a two and half hour hike. I imagine that the animals of Cape Breton are now suitably annoyed and everyone should feel safe hiking for the next week or so. It was truly beautiful … I managed to pause my “I am a city girl who does not know how to behave in the wild” for long enough to take pictures of the jack pine forest and the coast line. 

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Tim was, of course, suitably stoic and feared neither man nor beast.

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On July 1, my sabbatical began. Cape Breton seems like a good place to kick things off. That’s me, finishing up Chapter 3 of my book, with a giant box of books to read (it takes up fully a third of the Yaris’s trunk space. Priorities, priorities).

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We stumbled on a farmer’s market, and bought a giant hunk of a gargantuan haddock out of the back of someone’s pick up truck. Totally above board. And totally delicious!

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Cabot Landing

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Bay St Lawrence – so pretty.

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Exploring 4 Mile Beach (it really is 4 miles long)

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Moody lobster boat.

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We did spot a moose in the end! It’s the cabin owner’s kid, but whatever.

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We ended at the North Highlands Community Museum, which was small but pretty fabulous. Key attraction: when I asked the tour guide what her favourite artefact was, she brought us here – a drawer full of a small number of the fish hooks pulled out of people at the local hospital, from 1970-1990. Amazing.

Tomorrow we leave for Lunenburg.