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Friday, May 17, 2019

It's The National Day Of NORWAY

May 17 is the National day of Norway and our Norwegian flag is out front. Like the flag of Canada it is a flag I am proud of and I will always display on official flag days. 
Today, many thoughts and memories of wonderful years come to mind. First of all there is the beautiful landscapes of Norway. Especially on May 17 the colours are so magnificent. Green meadows, blue fjords and skies and the blinding white of snow-covered high peaks and glaciers will for ever stand out in my mind. But it is also the way Norwegians are displaying their National unity, their pride of their identity. Instead of rolling out military vehicles they bring out the happy faces of small children, together with their proud young parents and smiling grandparents. 

They are singing their National anthem "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (Yes we love this country) They have music in the streets and when the parades are over people go home meeting with family members, friends and neighbours to celebrate the day with the most delicious food. It is a day nobody in Norway would like to miss. In many ways, Canadians are doing the same as the Norwegians, which is the reason why both countries feel like home for us.

We congratulate Norway and the people of Norway to their National Day MAY 17!


Monday, May 13, 2019

Wow...We Made It!

Once in a blue moon, you feel like you have accomplished something extraordinary, something that stands out maybe as a milestone into future.
Today, our outstanding crew here on Campobello has handled about a 100 passengers from a visiting cruise ship. Yes, we have had cruise ships visiting here before, but none of them having more than 60 passengers. The Pearl Mist of the Pearl Seas Adventures has a capacity of 210 passengers. We sure got a little taste of half of that number. 

             Pearl Mist and Grand Manan Ferry side by side


             Pearl Mist at Head Harbour Lightstation

We had been up early this morning and Bea had used marinetraffic.com to find out where exactly the Pearl Mist would be at the time. Well, she was already on the east side of Campobello so we jumped in the van and drove out to Head Harbour Lightstation. After waiting for about 5 minutes she appeared around the eastern point and took course towards us. The weather was still grey and it was really cold. Her first stop would be the "Eastern-most City of the U.S. - Eastport, ME. From there she would come across the bay to Welshpool at 1:30pm. 
                  Running along Campobello Island

The ship is about 380ft long and doesn't fit into our harbour, so had to stay at anchor, tendering their guests in, 40 at a time.
 1st Tender arriving and (below) Declaration of Security signing with Ship Security Officer.

        It was low tide and the walk up the gangway steep.

All of them wanted to visit the Roosevelt Park. It's only about 3 minutes to drive from the harbour, but it took 4 buses to get them there.

All of the folks had a great time and before they went back to the ship they turned into our community hall where home-baked cookies and coffee was waiting for them.

As the responsible person for transportation I got a full plate today organizing the steady flow of buses, making sure nobody had to wait too long for the next bus to arrive. Weather had turned out clear and sunny, even though it could have been a lot warmer. The Nor-Easter was bitter cold and nobody was hanging around outside any longer than necessary.

When the last passengers left in the tender we were all shaking hands. A crew of security volunteers had guarded the wharf, others had been way guides and yet others had set up the hall so welcoming that people found it hard to leave again.

Tonight we go to bed happy and content.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Ghost Army: The battalion who fooled the Germans

The fake army remained the secret of government for decades after

June 6, 1944 is a date that has etched into the history books as the date of one of the greatest military operations carried out during the Second World War. The landing at Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast is referred to as the D Day and formed the start of the secret allied invasion of France.

Two weeks later, however, another invasion took place when a top secret battalion arrived in the same area.

Among the American soldiers who set foot for the first time on French soil, was the 19-year-old student Bernie Bluestein. He had been handpicked to participate in what was called the "ghost army".

"We did not know what to expect and did not know what our assignments were," said the 95-year-old veteran at the EuroNews interview.

False troops and tanks
The "Ghost Army" was officially known as special troops of the 23rd headquarters and counted a total of 1,100 men. The battalion was so secret that even the American soldiers already fighting on European soil had no knowledge of it. The secret army mission was as taken out of a screenplay in classically enjoyable Hollywood style:

They were to be decoys that imitated the Allies' forces with the aim of fooling the enemy around with the help of fake weapons and vehicles.

The American Special Army consisted of more than 1,000 actors, artists and sound engineers. Here it was more important with creativity and intelligence than raw muscles and accuracy, so recruitment first and foremost took place in art schools, in advertising agencies and similar establishments that encouraged creative thinking.
Instead of real goods, the battalion used inflatable tanks that looked real at a distance. They carried out fake radio broadcasts, used speakers to give the impression of the 1100-man battalion counting at least 30,000 soldiers, and staged more than 20 fake battlefields - often as close to the front as possible.

"Here I am, shoot me!"
Today Gilbert Seltzer is a retired architect of respectable 104 years. In 1944 he was one of the officers in the "Ghost Army" and Seltzer still remembers how they learned to produce, blow up and repair the fake tanks.

Their job was to create illusions to lure Nazis into the wrong area, which they did with great success. But even ordinary people were fooled, even though they got an unexpected look behind the curtain.


- We had an event where two Frenchmen saw a tanks lifted by two men. They turned to me and asked, "How can two men lift a tank?" I answered that the Americans are very strong, and they took it for good fish, he chuckles.

In the "ghost army" it was more important with cleverness and intelligence rather than muscles.

The Special Army performed its missions right up to the last weeks of the war. The latter took place in connection with a battle in Germany where several thousand lives were at stake.

"We caught the attention of the Germans by fanning our arms while we shouted" Here I am, shoot me! ", Says Bernie Bluestein while he is waving his arms.

The diversion maneuver was a success and ensured that 30,000 American soldiers barely faced any resistance where they were one and a half miles away.

Got great influence

When the war ended in 1945, the soldiers of the "ghost army" could return home to the United States. All of them came from the war with life intact and received several awards, and several of the soldiers would later have great influence on American art and culture in the post-war years. Among these were the artist Ellsworth Kelly, illustrator Arthur Singer, photographer Art Kane and fashion designer Bill Blass.

But neither the soldiers nor the officers received any form of public recognition for the efforts they had made on European soil. Even decades after the end of the war, the "ghost army" remained secret.

Only in the early 90s did American authorities choose to publish documents relating to the squad.

The battalion's job was to create illusions to lure Nazis into the wrong area. Here, a soldier keeps moving an inflatable car on his own. Screen shot: EuroNews

Strictly guarded
Documentary filmmaker Rick Beyer believes they are the heroes who were not honored.

People wonder why the missions were secret. I think the reason was that it worked and that the army wanted to keep that solution secret.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Waiting For Bea

Dixie and I are anxiously waiting for Bea to return from her trip to Germany. Thursday she had to say a final Goodbye to her mom. My mother in law just turned 90 and she might pass at any time now. I have gone through the same with my Dad last year and I know how hard this is.

Bea has been at Frankfurt International since Friday night at 0:00 Hours. 


                                            Midnight at Airport in Frankfurt

Her flight to Montreal was not scheduled to leave before 9:55am, but even in Germany there was no public transportation to get her to the airport in time for check-in. Hanging around at the empty airport from midnight she decided to check in at 4am. There she was told that there was no booking for her on AC875, but of course, she had a copy of the booking in hands.

In fact, while I was checking her flight schedule on www.flightaware.com there was no AC875 logged or even in existence. I was quite alarmed.

Bea was further told that she would have to wait until an executive from Air Canada would arrive at 6am, so that she might be re-booked on a Lufthansa Flight to Montreal.

When said person finally arrived around 6am, she had to negotiate to be allowed on LH488. Luckily, the flight was not fully booked and space was available.
The plane lifted off at 10am and at this time Bea is almost across the Atlantic.


I will drive to St.John, NB in the afternoon to pick her up. Dixie is gonna come along and I can imagine there will be much pleasure for all of us to be re-united.

So why and how could Bea have been booked on a non-existing flight?

I can only think of one reason. When Boeing 737 Max were grounded by the hundreds, Air Canada might have eliminated Flight AC875 WITHOUT informing travel agencies and passengers.
Otherwise, I cannot even begin to understand how a computerized booking system can have passengers booked on a Phantom-flight. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Bea is Gone And I Deal With Lamp Oil And Candle Lights

Bea has been gone to Germany for what feels like almost a week, though it’s just 4 days ago I brought her to the airport. Ever since she left, it has been pouring down, or at least it was drizzling all day. The weather has been gruesome to say the least. When Bea landed in Frankfurt she was met by 26C and extremely muggy weather, while we just another snow shower yesterday.

I could hear the storm raging around our house, when I was still in bed. But then I wondered why it was so extremely dark in the hallway. Usually we have a night light on downstairs and it helps finding my way down the stairway. Well, entering the kitchen I quickly found out why the night light wasn’t working. We had a power outage. Amazingly, this was the only outage we’ve had all winter. By now the ground has thawed out and with all that water in the soil tree roots have lost their hold. The nightly storm had probably blown a tree across the lines and voila..left us in the dark. Now, this time of the year day light comes early, and it shouldn’t be a big problem. However, the sky was very dark because of heavy rain clouds.

I made my breakfast on the woodstove, made toast and boiled coffee water. Not as quick as the coffee maker or microwave, but the old technique still works. I found the petroleum lamp and a few candles and let the storm be storm. It rained heavily as well and there was no use to let Dixie be outside for any extended period of time.

Checking the internet on my cell I found the page of the power company. Supposedly they can’t fix the problem until about 4pm

This is gonna be a day with lots of naps on the couch. Can’t even read a book, cause it’s so dark outside.

For lunch I made myself a nice tomato soup on the woodstove and slept some more afterwards. I must really say that Dixie is a very nice dog. Instead of flying off the walls, she is just following what I do – sleeping – and she seems content with that.

Weather for tomorrow seems much better, with sun most of the day, but the long-term forecast speaks of rain every day from May 4 – May 10. If that means there will be no drought this spring it would be something good coming out of this.

UPDATE: IT WASN'T THE STORM
Nope, it wasn't the wind knocking over trees. It was a rather drunken idiot hitting the power pole at 4:30am. One can only guess what kind of party he's been at.

Power was restored after 12 hours. It came back at 4:10pm.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

When The Steeple Came Down

We have all watched in horror when Notre Dame of Paris burned yesterday. The sheer force of the developing fire attacking such a historic structure known as the Must-Visit in Paris and the heart of France moved many people to tears. It is the feeling of a tremendous loss, and the uncertainty about whether this magnificent building from the 13th century can be rebuild. 

French President Macron as well as Paris mayor Ms. Hidalgo have already given statements that the Cathedral will indeed be rebuild. But the re-construction will most certainly take decades and many of us will not live the day that Notre Dame will be reopened.

To me, it was the moment the iconic steeple fell that my thoughts went to 9-11 and the moment Tower 1 of the World Trade Center came down. It simply struck fear deep into my body. I guess it is the moment of realization of a huge disaster, when we feel shaken to the bones.

And it was a moment of relief as we learned that the fire at Notre Dame was not the act of a vile terrorist, but an accident.

In 1976 I traveled through France, and though I never got to visit Paris, I have seen many of the architectural master pieces of Gothic and also Roman-style Cathedrals and Basilicas of the country. They represent European heritage and each of them has played a role in history. We know that early European history houses a terrible cruelty, much of which was imposed through the Catholic Church, Emperors and kings on common people, which ultimately led to thousands seeking peace in a new continent - America. But it was also a time when the arts of constructing awe-inspiring buildings reached a zenith, which we still have a hard time to understand how they did it.

Europe has already pledged to help the French to rebuild their landmark. Poland has promised to send experts in historic reconstruction, Money has been pledged.
Notre Dame will rise again, bearing witness of the willingness to prevail.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Electric Cars Are Not The Answer

The Wiener Zeitung Die Presse reports on a consumer who has been driving an electric car for just over a year and is charging it in his garage. 

The newspaper: "But just a few weeks ago, the first shock came: The network operator sent a bill for under one thousand Euros, (USD1,300) for the extra power takeout, because the family man was suspected of burdening the power grid with his electric car more than agreed. Everything is legally covered and not an isolated case, it says from the E-Control organ. "

The case is unlikely to be an isolated case - and it will not be confined to Austria. Electric cars like the Tesla can not be meaningfully used without a quick-charging device. The press has found that a fast charger takes as much power out of the grid as six houses in two to three hours". The boss of the Austrian regulation E-Control, Andreas Eigenbauer told the newspaper: "Whoever needs six times more than the average, will have to pay for it in the future." Since this problem poses world-wide, it can be assumed that the regulators in all countries are pondering similar plans. Studies from Germany show that if only 20 percent of electric cars use fast chargers, the network load will double.

Monday, April 8, 2019

April, April Does What's His Will

If I told you that we just had the most beautiful weather on Sunday and that temps rose to above 50F and that I threw off my winter-style long-johns because it was just too hot, well then you would think that spring had arrived north of the border and you would start planning your vacation in Canada. 
              Above: Weather for today, Monday April 08

Well, let me tell you, you would have different thoughts today. That is if I tell you that we have an effing snow storm going on outside. It started right after noon and it will continue through the entire night with falling temperatures. And it gets even better as we will have to "enjoy" more snow Tuesday night onto Wednesday. So much fun!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth! Really?

On Tuesday, during a sit-down with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Donald Trump said something that wasn't true. About his own father.
"My father is German -- was German," Trump said. "Born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany."
Fred Trump was, of course, born in New York City. (His father, the President's grandfather, was born in Germany.) It's an easily checkable fact, but this is at least the third time that Trump has claimed that his father was born in Germany when he, well, wasn't.
Why does he do it? Because facts have always been a fungible thing to Trump. He has, throughout his life, bent them to fit the narrative he is telling about himself. For most people, getting something factually wrong -- especially in a public setting -- is disconcerting and embarrassing. Trump doesn't have that gene. Facts are whatever he wants them to be. And they can change, depending on his own circumstances. He tells himself a story of his life in which he is always the hero, always the winner, and then repeats that story over and over again. He doesn't care if objective facts get in the way.

That is troubling, but not terribly hard to understand. What is more difficult to wrap your head around is why Trump's towering record of distortions and falsehoods seem to have zero effect on either a) his willingness to keep lying or b) how people perceive him. Those two ideas are intertwined, of course -- he lies because he feels he can do so without penalty -- and I have a few theories about the seeming total lack of concern among many people for a President who has said more than 9,000 false or misleading things in his first 802 days in office.
1) It's baked in the cake: It's not as though Donald Trump started bending (and breaking) the truth when he was elected President. He spent much of the 2016 campaign doing almost exactly what he has done as President: Exaggerating, distorting and, at times, flat-out lying. And voters got that! Just 33% said he was "honest and trustworthy," according to exit polling in 2016. But even then, a number of them didn't seem to care. Almost two-thirds of voters (64%) said Trump was neither honest nor trustworthy, but of that group, one in five voted for Trump anyway!
The reality is that lots of voters -- especially those who voted for Trump -- never thought he was an honest guy. They knew he was lying about things -- from the extent of his wealth to his many alleged golf championships to bigger issues like his conduct with women. They didn't care. Or, more accurately, they cared about other things more.
2) All politicians lie: Time and time again during the 2016 campaign, when confronted with Trump's record of false statements, voters would tell reporters some version of this: Sure, Trump lies. But all politicians lie! At least he's honest about it! Yes, that makes very little sense -- particularly because Trump wasn't honest about all the times he didn't tell the truth; he refused to acknowledge them at all.

But what voters were saying -- even if they were saying it in a somewhat convoluted way -- was that Trump was so different, so weirdly transparent about his willingness to say anything and do anything to win that they kind-of believed he was genuine. Even if they knew he wasn't, by any traditional standard, honest. And that mattered because it differentiated him from the way people saw all other politicians: Liars but so smooth at it that you never knew. Always trying to pull the wool over your eyes, to serve you food they got from the trash can and tell you it was from a five-star restaurant. Trump's lies were so over-the-top, so -- in a way -- laughable, that people found (and find) them endearing in an eye-roll-y, did-you-hear-what-he-said? way.
3) Many people don't trust the media: Trump didn't create distrust in the media. In 2016, just 32% of people told Gallup that they thought the media reported the news "fully, accurately and fairly." (That number, in late 2018, had risen back to 45%.) What Trump did do is weaponize the lingering distrust in ways we've never seen before. "Fake news" has become ubiquitous in the culture -- as an ironic punchline for some, sure, but nonetheless ubiquitous.
The rise of Fox News -- and its near-monopoly on conservative mind-share in the country -- has dovetailed with Trump's ascent and created both a political and economic model by which convincing people that the media isn't just unfair but is purposely not telling the truth is monetized for gain. Where we are in this country is that if someone at CNN says the sky is blue, a big chunk of Trump supporters will shout "fake news" while high-fiving. They revel in the idea that the mainstream media is totally obsessed with Trump, suffering from a severe case of TDS ("Trump Derangement Syndrome"). They don't even engage with the facts because those "facts" are coming from a messenger (the media) that they believe is dismissive of their way of life and their beliefs and will do anything -- including lying about the truth -- to accomplish some set of pie-in-the-sky liberal goals.
But the simplest reason for why Trump lies (and lies) is because he can. Because he faces no real penalty for his near-constant fabrications (22 a day!) and in some circles is rewarded for sticking it to the hated media and political classes. Is all of that not only depressing but worrisome when it comes to the future of our democracy? You bet it is.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

You Just Wouldn't Believe What Happened Today

For quite some time Bea has been thinking of visiting Germany again. Bea's mother is turning 90. As she has been in a nursing home for years she is not doing well. So this visit might be the last chance for Bea to see her mother. On March 1 she booked her flight from Boston via Iceland to Frankfurt. Air Carrier was WOW AIR, a low-cost airline based on Iceland. Today I was perusing the news on "NEWSWEEK" and was stunned to read that WOW AIR had ceased operations. 

WHAT????

Bea was not home so I got in the car to find her in the neighbourhood where she has started to prepare a garden for a customer.

I could see her distress right away. 
Being back home we tried to get to the bottom of this and found confirmation that WOW AIR was bankrupt. I literally saw 800 Bucks disappear behind the horizon. We tried to call various numbers at the online travel agency where she had booked the flight, but nobody answered. Finally, we called our CC-Company and were told to call the fraud department. Calling the 800-number we learned right away that VISA had already opened a separate phone line for the many people affected by the WOW AIR insolvency. After 40 minutes wait at the phone we got a very friendly gentleman who was nice enough to open a case # for us.

We then send an email to VISA's fraud department with our itinerary included.

Checking her email, Bea then found an email from the travel agency offering a refund claim on her behalf. So as of now it might look like that we will see a refund of our costs, even if it might take some time.

Meanwhile, Bea was lucky enough to "snatch-up" an Air Canada ticket from Canada for the same dates.  Though the "snatch" was coming at 1500 Bucks, the approximate double of the previous ticket.

Main thing is that she will still be seeing her mom. 

To say it mild, the day has been exhausting and stressful, but tonight we are relieved of the outcome so far. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Oh Man, What An Awful Day

While I have been doing a little less than nothing over the last days, this really is the day where I can do nothing at all. Storm clouds are chasing each other over Campobello, and it is pouring down like crazy. Weather forecast announced a “Rainfall Warning” for our region. But as bad as it is for folks like us who like to be hiking with our dog, it also has its good side. We still have some ice and snow on the ground and this rain is actually helping to get rid of the last left-overs of winter.
Dixie might be the only one really suffering under this kind of weather as her beloved beach walks are not happening. We took her along when we drove down to Herring Cove to shoot a few pics of the surf coming in. The pics didn’t work out though as the windshield was full of raindrops. I show them here anyway.
Above: High Tide and the waters are swelling in the Lake Glensevern Lake outlet

So now Dixie is sleeping on the floor until she thinks it’s time to climb onto her bed and do another nap there.
And it is time to say “Good Bye” to Winter for this time, but I am sure the fellow below is right:

PS.: This posting was supposed to go online with Open Life Writer, but the program is again been messed with and we are again getting "Error 400" messages.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

It is supposed to snow right now, but nothing happens. The day began with some blue skies, but it’s overcast now.

Welshpool, Canada Weather Forecast and Conditions - The Weather Channel  Weather.com - Opera 2019-03-10 44620 PMLooking at that weather map you see the marker there? That’s us, supposedly sitting under a cloud of snow. The blue color is marking the area to be under snow. It goes to show that weather maps can be quite wrong. We had our 2 doggie walks but it’s cumbersome to step through the old deep snow. We found us a track where a few snow mobiles had gone compressing the snow, but yet we tired out after three quarters of a mile.

Spending the afternoon sitting back in the couch I decided to pull up a western movie on YouTube. And I say I found a good one.

(1) High Lonesome (1950) - Western Movie, Full Length, in Color - YouTube - Opera 2019-03-10 43953 PM“High Lonesome” was done in 1950 and is full of hard-working real stunts and chemically free of high-tech effects, which is really refreshing, given what is produced these days. You can click on the image and YouTube will start. What I also like with these old movies is the great inspiring music and the great western landscapes shown. High Lonesome was not made in Europe, but rather in the rugged mountains of the Texas Big Bend Country. Since we have visited that very same area I kind of feel “at home” there.

One day I want to return there, take a closer look, spending more time.

Right now we are waiting for a March warm-up the coming week. Maybe that’s when some of that unwanted snow will disappear.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Almost Too Much Of A Coincidence

Reading Al’s blog the other day we saw that Kelly and Al had met another dog while walking Pheebes. And it was that dog which caught our immediate interest.

Dixie sister1

We are 80% sure that that dog is a sister of our Dixie. Dixie was born in Oklahoma, but her litter was abandoned and in an effort to rescue 7 puppies and her mother, transferred to Arkansas. As the puppies were getting ready for adoption we found the entire bunch advertised on petfinder.com. Initially we chose the one with a black spot on the tail. When Dixie arrived, there was no black spot on her tail. Whether that was based on a misunderstanding or a mistake when naming the dogs, we don’t know, and it is not of any importance for us. Dixie is the world for us.

Dixie_puppies_Anatolian_Shepard_Mix             It is the puppy to the left, and the only one with a black spot on the tail.

DIXIE002                        Above: Is this the dog Al and Kelly met in New Mexico?

Dixie sister2

              Above: Pheebes meeting what possibly is Dixie’s sister. Below is Dixie.

DSC_0440

But back to Al’s pictures of the dog they met, it shows the same markings as the one with the black spot on the tail shown in the puppy picture. It also has the same mottled markings as our Dixie. The mottled spots appeared about 2 weeks after the puppy picture was taken. On top of that the dog shows a black spot on its forehead and has the same general size with long legs just as Dixie

It is almost too much of a coincidence that Al and Kelly should come across a sister of Dixie, but is it impossible? We think not.


Open Live Writer Test

DSC_0142Thanks to Dave https://goingrvway.blogspot.com for instructions on how to fix the OLW application. This has been a problem for many weeks. The clumsy blogger publishing app is terrible to work with if one pursues a certain layout of pictures and text. So here you have little Dixie just 3 months old in 2017.

Monday, March 4, 2019

I Am Still Baffled About This

Never think you know the weather in Canada. 

Yesterday we had the most fantastic day with a heat wave reaching 13C (55F) in the sun, which brought us out with the coffee mugs, today we are watching a blizzard unfold. As of 10am it has aleady brought down more than 4" of snow, and it is expected to continue until early evening. All I know we might get a foot or even more of this. :-(
Not good. Doggy walk got cancelled again, but Dixie joined us in our effort to clean up the mess down at the driveway. She put herself to bed afterwards doing the only sensible thing there is: SLEEPING.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Trip To Town

Living on Campobello means you are pretty much removed from everything most people would take for granted to have around them at just about any time of the day. (or night)
Example: We don't have a gas station, we don't have a bank, there's no big supermarket, and no public offices, (if you don't count the community clerk office). Then, of course there's no shoe-nor clothing-store, no Home Depot, no Walmart, no theater, no amusement park (we amuse ourselves). I'm sure you got the picture now. If not, you gotta come here and see for yourself.

Oh, I almost forgot, we don't have a whole lot of people here either, at least not during off-season. "Off-season" is everything except June, July, August and 10 days in September.

Why do I mention this? Well, I thought it might make you understand our excitement when we finally decide to "take a ride to town".

"Town", means town, as opposed to city. I have to laugh every time when I fill out one of these forms and there is a line where you gotta fill in the name of the "city". Or sometimes it asks "closest city". I can really see people's eyebrows raise when I say it takes almost 3 hrs to get to the city. Hell, it even takes more than an hour to get "to town".

So yeah..."town" is St.Stephen, while "city" is St.John. Yup, our province is full of "saints". I guess it derives from the time the French were dominating these parts. They were mostly Catholics, while the Brits were Anglican.

So, we have to drive a lot, if we want to get somewhere. Life on this island is full of surprises. Let's just say you want to buy a new fridge, or a cook stove. Choice is you can buy it in Canada or in the U.S. If you buy it in the U.S. and talk the dealer around to deliver it, you gotta pay the guy 50 Bucks extra. If you buy it in Canada, the dealer can't deliver it at all.  That's because he has to drive the piece through the U.S., meaning he has to be bonded, which he is not. BUT, and now it gets interesting, if you should own f.e.x a pickup or a big van you can take it through the U.S. without being bonded. You just tell the friendly CBP-officer you have been shopping and he waves you on. Neat, isn't it?

Now let's say you wanna buy lumber from the building supply place. They are bonded and offer to bring the stuff to your house - for a fee. Of course our fellow New Brunswickers on the mainland enjoy free delivery of their lumber. Tis is life!

So the need for a big vehicle is the reason why we still had that full-size monster of a Chevy Ambulance. It has served us well over the years. But lately we ran into problems. Our vehicle insurance company, the CAA, kicked the ambulance off the policy. After years of having the thing insured in the same company and (get this) after 15 years of CAA-membership they found out that our van was a commercial vehicle. The CAA doesn't do commmercial insurance, which is fine with me, but the ambulance had its last commercial driving order when it picked up some seriously ill person 6 or 7 years ago. Ever since, it was cared for by loving owners who used it for private errands.

So this insurance matter forced me to sell the damn thing. Now, SELLING a vehicle on Campobello is about the same as if you want to reach the full moon on a ladder.

Advertising it on our area's many facebook motor group pages, many inquiries rolled in, and only one of them was special, as it mirrored some serious interest for purchase. The fellow was from up north in the province. We messaged back and forth and an appointment was made for him to get here today. This morning I noticed another message from him asking whether he HAD TO GO THROUGH THE U.S. ????

And here I thought we just had a lot of media attention about the missing ferry service from mainland Canada. 
So it turned out he had barely slept all night as he panicked about going through the border. I could literally see the deal go the way the chickens are kicking. So I was quick to offer a meet-up in St.Stephen.
It would just be 75 minutes to drive and...heck, the trip could be fun. I left first and took all the recycling cans and bottles with me for drop-off at the bottle depot. (another thing we don't have on the island)
Bea would follow with the other van an hour or so later, taking Dixie along for the ride. Later Bea told me that Dixie had scared the CBP-officer by letting out one of her deep-throated growls, when the officer got a bit too close for comfort.

At 12:30 the fellow from up north turned into the Irving-station where I had been killing time, enjoying a coffee and an apple-fritter from Tim Horton. Bea had not arrived yet. So I kept us busy with small talk about the van, until I finally saw Bea coming into the round-about next to the station.

So the van and the money changed hands, papers were filled out and the deal was done.

Then we went shopping. Groceries!

Gotta take advantage of "being in town".

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Canadian Cold. A German Rat Becoming World Famous. Bea Got A New Camera!

I just couldn't believe my eyes, but a second look at the thermometer confirmed my first impression: It was actually showing -20C (-4F) and it was still blowing like crazy out of the west. Wind chill was at -30C (-22F) Dixie got back in like a bullet. Just too cold for doggy paws.

Another day with a cancelled dog walk!

Seated comfortably in front of the blazing woodstove, I studied the news of this morning. That's when I came across a unique story from Germany. 

Can you imagine that a rat can get so fat that it gets stuck in a manhole cover? While rats are a known plague in many cities, the city of Bensheim, sent the fire department and animal rescue team to free the rodent from its precarious situation. The story made it to World News at the Washington Post, Fox News, the Guardian and the Huffington Post plus probably an array of more local papers. 


                                               HELP ME PLEASE!!!
 "She had a lot of winter flab and was stuck fast at her hip - there was no going forward or back," said Michael Sehr, a professional animal rescuer from Rhein Necker, according to BBC.

As the situation looked more and more hopeless, rescuers eventually were able to prop up the manhole and secure a safety loop around the rat, and popped her out of the narrow opening.


Bea had a great day yesterday. A big package arrived yesterday containing a new camera she had ordered. It is a NIKON P900. The camera was almost a revolution when it came out years ago. It features a staggering 2000mm or 83x zoom and  you don't have to carry around a 5-pound telelens, even though the camera body is heavier than the NIKON 5100 we also use.
And if the P900 is not good enough for you, there is now the P1000, which is much, much heavier, bigger and offers a 3000mm integrated zoom.

Bea is very interested in bird photography and hopefully, we will see some of her pics soon. Yesterday we took an explorative trip up to the Head Harbour Lighthouse to experience what the P900 can do. The below pics show the normal view one has from the parking lot, while the 2. pic is showing max zoom. The example from the Herring Cove Beach shows a couple of outhouses with me standing in front of one. The next picture is max zoom on me. The third one is a digital zoom right into my face and was done on Picasa. All pictures were done handheld without a tripod.
  Above: 55mm normal view, 
  Below: Max zoom




Tuesday, February 19, 2019

It's Still Winter

Waking up to a brutally cold day, we are reminded that it is still winter in these parts. This morning's thermometer reading showed -13C (8.6F) but in the wind it was -24C (-11F) Doggy walks got cancelled and it was Dixie who cancelled on her own. It was as if she knew from the first moment that walking outside was a no-no today. Usually she is bugging us right after her having breakfast to go outside. Not so today. Whereever you go around on the island you've got ice rinks, huge areas covered in concrete-hard ice.


   Pictures above of Herring Cove Beach

Stepping out into the icy wind hurts your face like thousand needles. I was rather quick in getting the firewood into the house.



While it is very cold, the weather also offers fantastic photo opportunities - that is if one is dressed appropriately.

Quite a different thing to do is baking rolls. Whenever the cold is getting to my nerves I place myself in the kitchen and produce something much more delightful. These turned out really well!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Leaving Behind

Many of us know the feeling. You have been born and raised a place and you left it later in life. Reasons for leaving can be many, but you will never forget the place you have been spending a lot of time at.

This morning I watched a drone video about Scotland, and I was in awe about the beautiful countryside there. It is not so long ago that we had a lady in our neighbourhood, who was born in Scotland. She kept the rolling Rs in her accent all her life. I mean you could hear where she was from. She immigrated to Canada and settled here. I am wondering whether she ever missed her beautiful home country.

For my own part, I was born in northern Germany, then lived 25 years in Norway. 

          Memories of home: Summer landscapes in Schleswig-Holstein
In my mind I still carry the pictures of my German upbringing and my later life in beautiful Norway. I am catching myself in bittersweet memories when watching videos about those areas. 
                                              Molde in North-West Norway

Leaving behind your surroundings for ever can cause you to develop homesickness. It's not that I am regretful about our moving around in the world and especially settling here on this beautiful island, but sometimes there is the urge to board a flight and go and reexplore where I once was happy. And obviously, it is also about meeting old friends and seeing again family members. 

It has always been my curiosity which was the motor for living in a different place, as it has also been for extensive travels.
It has enriched my mind and led me to meeting very nice people. Yet, sometimes I feel the urge to "turn back the clock" and reexperience what has been, or at least go to those old places and enjoy them to the fullest.

My grandma had a brother who moved to Canada in 1950. he ended up spending most of his life in Vancouver,BC. However, when he retired he got the urge to move back to Germany. Following this urge, he sold his apartment, got everything including his big Lincoln, into a moving container and off he went. Arriving near his old home town, he got a house built and settled in.

However, it didn't take long and he got regrets. Things had changed over 40 years. Germany wasn't anymore what he remembered. There were too many people, the roads were too narrow, too many rules and regulations and he couldn't find the freedom he had grown used to in Canada. He had gotten homesick for Vancouver and finally moved it all back to British Columbia. Sometimes following these sudden urges doesn't work out.

When visiting Germany I enjoy my visits, but after some time I am always longing back to Canada. The same would happen if I would go to Norway. Nice to see it all again, but it's not home anymore. With the example of my granduncle and my own experience I can withstand the feeling of having left behind something very familiar.
                            Beautiful Campobello Island