Sunday Snaps: Perspectives on Creativity

Do you agree with this quote?

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
~ Osho

But then, what of the following quote? Can a person who is low in spirit also be in love with life and create anything worthwhile?

“Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Many have theorized that there may be a correlation between sadness and creativity. Great talents such as Van Gogh and Virginia Woolf come to mind. The romantic poets described suffering as a precondition to writing anything of literary merit.

Angst has a creative upside! That said, I believe joy, heartache, or any strong emotion can stimulate creativity, just as one’s mindset can influence the mood of an artistic piece.

To look through the lens of a somber, troubled mind, one may imbue his or her own state of melancholy onto the subject. . .

Black and white image of Anglican church in Newtown, Newfoundland

. . . whereas, if the emotional perspective and attitude is lighthearted or happy, one might frame it in an entirely different light.

Anglican church in Newtown, Newfoundland framed by an outdoor bench in winter

Sadness and happiness are simply two sides of the creative coin.

Sunday Snaps: Ten Years in This Old House

Last week on December 7th, Paul and I celebrated our tenth anniversary of living here on Perry’s Point in Newtown. We had left the city behind in 2010 for the rural life and a new adventure.

Our house, which was newly built for Paul’s grandfather Perry in 1923, was in dire need of restoration and renovation before we could move in. The work that went into these first stages is clearly illustrated in these photos.

The beginning: gutting out the old
This one and the one below show the rot. We’d started not a moment too soon. 
Yikes!
We chose to keep the original staircase and the three stained-glass windows.
Stripping down the old kitchen for new counters and cabinets.
On the left, a view of the living room through the wall where the old chimney had been removed. On the right is a view of the front hall from the dining room.
The old porch was dismantled to make way for a new one and a half-bath. Goodbye, old appliances!
Construction begins on the new porch and half-bath extension. Pictured: cousin and neighbour Wayne, one of our carpenters.
Wayne and Paul hard at work. Fun fact: Paul lost 25 pounds that summer and fall. That happens when you’re constantly working and running to the lumber yard and hardware store for new materials. He’s kept the weight off ever since.
“A little help from my friends.” Pictured: Paul, neighbour Ben (may he rest in peace ), Randy (our other carpenter), and my husband’s Uncle Harold.
Many hands make light work!
Three brothers (Paul’s cousins): Randy, Wayne, and along comes Winston to inspect. 😉
Getting a shot of the first new windows. Reflection of yours truly with the Atlantic ocean behind me.
The roofers came next.
Layer on top of layer…
Insulation, clapboard, and paint. Colour name: Dipped in Sugar. We’ve painted the house blue since then.
Getting there!
Back view. Looks bare before the deck was added. New backdoor window broke and had to be replaced.
Tons more to do, but getting hooked up to the internet can’t wait another minute. 

In 2023, this old house will be one hundred years old, which coincides with our 25th wedding anniversary. Sounds like a great excuse for a party!

Sunday Snaps: the Old and the New

Most communities exist in a balance of the old and the new. Newtown, like every Newfoundland community, is no exception.

Friday was a bright and beautiful day, giving me the perfect opportunity to capture the contrasts.

First, the old:

This is the front view of a century-old fishing stage. If you think it looks ready to topple over in this photo, take a look at the side view:

I’ve shared this little shed on my blog before. It’s still hanging on to that rock for dear life!

A decrepit fishing boat reminds me of a beached whale.

Now for something new—a pretty spot to sit and enjoy the seascape:

A miniature lighthouse makes a picturesque addition.

Check out the new bird blind, a part of our wetland wildlife habitat:

A bird-watcher’s delight

Inside the blind

“There is magic in the old and magic in the new: the trick is to successfully combine the two.” ~ A. D. Posey

Thanks for tagging along!

Sunday Snaps: Buoys of Summer

In a fishing village like Newtown, you will often see brightly-painted buoys adorning fences, rails and walls, particularly in summer.

While buoys of all types are still used for fishing. . .

. . . many are adapted solely for decoration.

As fall approaches, most of the buoys will be put away until next summer, but some embellish the landscape all year round.

buoysWhen creating the title for this post, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Don Henley song, The Boys of Summer.

“I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone.”

Of course, if you are from anywhere besides the U.S., my play on words makes sense.
All other English-speaking countries pronounce buoy like “boy”, whereas most Americans pronounce it “boo-ee”. I wonder why.

And if that’s the case, how do Americans pronounce “buoyant” and “buoyancy”?

How do you pronounce buoy?
Do tell!

(And can you tell I’m not
ready for summer to end?)

Sunday Snaps: Skipper Alex

Alexander Perry

Alexander Perry, or Skipper Alex (aka Alec) as he was called by many, was my husband’s grandfather. For those that don’t already know, our home on Perry’s Point for the past ten years is the same home in which Alexander and his wife Mary Jane lived and raised their large family.

Alexander worked as a skipper  on a number of fishing schooners. He made many trips to Labrador to fish for cod, which he brought back to Newtown to be cured before it was carried by ship from St. John’s to England and sometimes Jamaica.

Although I never met the man, I’ve heard many good things about him.  Skipper Alex was widely admired for his seafaring abilities, his pleasant disposition and gentle spirit, and his flair for storytelling. Locals loved to visit with him—or he with them—to be regaled with colourful tales of his experiences. Of course, having a love of stories myself, I wish I could have known him back in the day.

Below is a letter from Pompano Beach, Florida that Paul found in a box in the attic when we renovated our house. It was written by John Maxwell Barbour, known as Max, the eldest son of Captain Alphaeus Barbour. I imagine the letter meant something to Alex for him to hold onto it like that. He would have been 81 when he received it, and Max, 69. I typed the letter out for easier reading.

Jan. 22, 1969

Dear Skipper Alex,

This carries to you and to your good wife my warm congratulations on your 56th wedding anniversary.

Seeing your excellent picture brought back many memories of my boyhood days in Newtown and of our many contacts, all of which were pleasant and helpful in shaping me for the years ahead. To put it quite plainly, during that period you were one of my favourite adults and without question your personality made a good impression on me.

To my mind’s ear the sound of the guns fired at your wedding still comes thru. I recall the happy occasion well altho I was not old enough then to be a guest.

My wife joins me in sending you and your wife best wishes for continued health and happiness.

Very sincerely,
Max Barbour.

Many thanks to Lester Barbour for giving me some background on Max.
Photo credits: James Maine

“Granda” Perry on the Point – b. 1888 – d. 1977

Perry Boys – a Look Back

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m having trouble concentrating long enough to compose an original post. So today I’ll share a post from exactly five years ago, a nostalgic look back to simpler times.

When my husband Paul was six years old, he and his family moved from Newtown – the little community in which we live now – to live in the capital city of St. John’s. Their parents relocated so that Paul’s oldest sibling David could attend the Vera Perlin school for his special needs.
On the day of the big move, Paul crawled up under the house – the actual house we live in now – in a show of protest. “Everyone should be able to live where they were born,” he argued through tears, but the die had been cast. He was pulled out and packed into the car with everyone else.

100_0534

On the very first day at their new school, Paul and his other brother Kevin, who is one year older, decided to walk home from school for lunch, despite being told to stay there and eat the lunch they’d brought. But when they saw other children going home, they wanted to go as well. Unfamiliar with their new neighbourhood, the two boys got lost, and Kevin started to cry.

Brave little Paul tried his best to console his big brother by distracting him. “Don’t cry, Kev. Look at the pigeons,” he said, pointing at a bunch of them as they waddled across the sidewalk, hoping the strange, tame city birds might cheer him up. It worked, and they ended up following a classmate to his house. Between the jigs and the reels, their dad had to leave work and go pick them up.

Let’s go back a couple of years when Paul was four and Kevin was five, to another time the younger boy displayed his wisdom. A new addition to the family of three boys had arrived, and this time, it was a girl! When their mom brought baby Julie Ann home, the boys crowded around to get a look at their new sister. Kevin’s eyes opened wide when her diaper came off to be changed. “Look, Paul,” he said, incredulous. “She ain’t got nar topper!” (penis)
“No, ya foolish,” Paul said, enlightened beyond his years. “She got whatever Mom got.”

Now before you think I’m beating up on my brother-in-law, I’d like to share one more tale. Okay, two. When Paul was about nine and enjoying his summer vacation in Newtown, Kevin saved him from drowning. Paul was diving with some other boys off of Burnt Island, but he tired in the deep water and panicked. Kevin grabbed him by the hair on top of his head and pulled him to safety.

newtown

Years later, when Kevin was just beginning his teaching career, he and Paul were driving along in St. John’s one evening. Without warning, Kevin pulled over, stopped the car, and jumped out. He’d spied two teenage boys in a fist fight near the local hockey rink, and he wanted to stop them. Paul watched as he parted the boys, reasoned with them, and ended the scuffle.

It was a day he never forgot. Where most people would just keep going and not get involved, Kevin stepped in and tried to solve the problem. It made Paul really proud of his brother.

Paul confessed there were other boyhood fights where Kev stepped in and rescued Paul himself, fights my husband started and couldn’t finish. I would say he’s grateful for those too. And so am I. 🙂

L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
Thirteen-year-old Paul

Originally posted on March 24, 2015 here.

Weekend Visit

For the Labour Day weekend, my daughter and her family came for a visit. The weather was gorgeous, so we spent most of our time outside walking sandbars, trails and beaches in the area.

I wish I could take credit for the photography, but these were among the pics my daughter took.

Then and now: J on our backyard beach showing a tiny crab. Age 3 vs. age 11.
Walking the sandbar between Newtown and  Bennett Island
Hermit crab on Bennett Island
A walk on Cape Island Beach in Cape Freels along the Random Passage Trail
Beautiful Cape Island Beach
Sunset on Perry’s Point
Of course, Maisie and Vivian swooped in on their favourite spot. Who cares if someone else owns it?

We had a fantastic weekend together,
but I’m greedily hoping for nice weather all month.
I’m not ready for summer to end! Are you?

On the Mend

Vivian in happier times

Our dear little Vivian is recuperating from a coyote attack. At least that is our best guess, after her vet in Gander said the wounds under her tail came from four large canine teeth, too large to be another cat, weasel or mink.

There are no roaming dogs in the vicinity, but there have been plenty of coyote sightings around the shore and right here in Newtown. Needless to say, our cats will never go out in the evening or night again. After almost nine years of outdoor escapades since we moved here from the city, this is the first time anything like this has happened. Darn coyotes!

Chelsea the vet sedated her, stitched her up, and administered an antibiotic dose good for two weeks. We gave her anti-inflammatory medicine for seven days and oodles of TLC.

Her sutures come out on Wednesday, and we can’t wait. The past eleven days have been tough, mostly due to the joys of the Elizabethan collar. Vivian was depressed at first, but a few days ago she snapped back to her old silly self, chasing Maisie around the house. So funny to see Maisie run away, apparently spooked by the contraption on her sister’s head (she usually play-fights back).

Everything will work out, Vivian. We’re so grateful we didn’t lose you.

And I’m sure you have at least five or six lives left in you yet.

A little sisterly moral support from Maisie
A get well card and goodie bag from our friend Libby. Warm thanks to all for the calls and get well messages.

Frozen Time

Photography is the art of frozen time

“Photography is the art of frozen time …
the ability to store emotion and feelings within a frame.”

– Meshack Otieno

Newtown, NL

Photos were taken on the first of January while out for an afternoon walk.
Our faces felt frozen but our bodies stayed toasty warm.

Time to bundle up on those walks, my northern friends.
Happy New Year to all!

Sunday Snap: A New Perspective

Aerial View of Perry's Point
Aerial View of Perry’s Point

This cool photo of Perry’s Point was snapped last week on Monday, November 5th by Paul’s cousin, Winston Perry. He took it from a small plane and gave me permission to share. Check out the sand and the seaweed around the coastline.

That’s my house in the foreground, closest to the end of the point, the blue one with the shed and a little blue outhouse to the far left. A large portion of Newtown is shown in the background.

The sunshine that day makes the house colour look lighter from that angle, but if you click on my Facebook link below, you’ll see its true colour. Laundry and all! That photo was taken by Winston’s brother and our neighbour, Wayne Perry.

Thanks for the great captures, guys!

Home Sweet Home on Facebook

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Live