Sometimes we sit lamenting as memory traces back The old familiar landmarks that we miss from off our track. They’ve built the railway stations where our feet were wont to skate, They motor over footpaths where our lovers used to wait. But there’s one left still – dear old Signal Hill.*
I’ve always loved Signal Hill. That’s probably why I incorporated into a couple of scenes in my debut novel, Calmer Girls.
Overlooking St. John’s Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean, it is the capital city’s most popular tourist attraction.
I take the time every summer to pay a visit, and this past July was no exception. Here are a few shots from that gorgeously sunny and breezy day – then again, as any tourist can attest, it’s always quite breezy atop this hill!
In the distant past, Signal Hill has been the setting for victorious battle, the location for Marconi’s monumental establishment of wireless telegraph communication, and a signalling station for approaching ships.
Today it is a National Historic Site under Parks Canada.
The best thing I like about Signal Hill?
The views, of course!
If you look closely at some of my pics, you can see the trail around the hill.
This is not a hiking trail for the faint of heart.
Thanks for taking a look at my throwback to July and one of the best-loved sites my province has to offer.
*Poem by Lydia Chancey, Book of Newfoundland, 1937
July is over! Whaaa?
Can you believe how quickly it whizzed by?
This month is shaping up to be
another busy one for yours truly.
First, there’s this:
I am honoured to be making three appearances during this Author Tour.
Getting to rub shoulders with the literary talent in our fair province is a huge part of the fun. Do drop by our libraries if you’re in Gander or Clarenville on these above dates, or if you’re in St. John’s for the Grand Finale. (More about the finale later)
I will also be busy with my two grandkids + one little friend, who are coming tomorrow for a week-long stay here on Perry’s Point.
And then there’s work on the new novel in between all of this, not to mention all those chances to soak up more summer.
I’m running an Amazon Countdown Deal
for Calmer Secrets from
August 2nd to August 9th.
Score a Kindle copy
of this sequel to Calmer Girls
at a discount on Amazon.com
Although Calmer Girls is a fictional tale, its Canadian setting certainly isn’t.
It was fun writing a pair of novels set in my birthplace of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and perhaps the following pictorial will better explain why it had inspired me. After all, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!
All of these locations are featured in scenes throughout the first novel. Calmer Cove is not included as it is semi-fictional.
Samantha and her sister took their first ride in Ben Swift’s T-bird to Signal Hill and along the harbourfront. Later, Samantha took pictures of a cruise ship in the Narrows.
Thanks for visiting my hometown, which is, in my opinion,
one of the most vibrant and colourful places on earth.
Photo sources: NL Tourism, Government sites, Wikipedia, Google (public domain)
Come back next time for Part 2: Calmer Secrets Setting
“Daily Post Prompt: Never Again – Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.”
On Saturday, I saw this photo on Facebook that brought back a memory for me. Also on that day, I read the above prompt from the Daily Post. So I couldn’t resist sharing said event from my childhood.
My friend Nancy, my younger sister Lynn and I were walking home from school one late afternoon in St. John’s, when we noticed from the Boulevard the many ice pans on the surface of Quidi Vidi Lake. I think it might have been spring thaw.
Quicker than you can say “last one in is a rotten egg,” the three of us ran down to the lake’s edge, dropped our book-bags on the shore, and proceeded to jump from ice pan to ice pan across the surface of the deep water. Not once did either of us think anything could go wrong. I guess we were so young and naive, we had no fear of the risk we were taking.
Luckily, Nancy’s father happened to drive along the Boulevard while we were playing there. Before we knew it, we were swiftly ordered into his car and driven home. At the time, we didn’t feel so lucky, but I shudder at the thought of what could have gone down if he hadn’t. Perhaps all of us!
Of course, our parents were outraged and we all received our punishment. The next time I saw my friend Nancy, she told me that her father gave her a good spanking.
“And that was it?” I asked, incredulous. My parents didn’t give spankings as discipline. They knew what really hurt: grounding my sister and me for a full week. No outdoors for seven days except to go to school.
I remember thinking at the time that Nancy had gotten off easy compared to us. Yes, she’d endured a spanking, but at least her suffering was “behind” her. 😉
Now I realize Mom and Dad had wanted us to appreciate how dangerous our activity was, by giving us a whole week to think about it. Never again did we dare to risk drowning by “copying pans.”
*copy: To jump from one floating pan of ice to another in a children’s game of following or copying a leader when the ice is breaking up in spring in a cove or harbour. A game of follow-my-leader over the broken ice, every cake of which, it may be, sinks under the weight of a lad. It is a training for the perilous work of seal hunting, which came later in the life of Newfoundlanders. You will see the merry young lads ‘copying’ as they call it—jumping from pan to pan till far out in the Cove in fearless rivalry. ~ Dictionary of Newfoundland English
Did you ever jump on ice pans when you were a kid?
Have you ever done something new and regretted it?
Last week, while I was sifting through old papers, I found this piece of writing from nearly twenty years ago. Thankfully, we have all made peace since then…
Once upon a time, there was a girl from St. John’s. At the age of fourteen, she moved around the bay with her family. She hated her curly hair, adored her Persian cat, and loved to get lost inside stories and songs.
When she grew older, she fell in love and got married. She was happy. She had a beautiful little daughter. Not long after, she gave birth to a handsome son. She liked to tease him and call him her little “curly boy” because he so much reminded her of herself.
A few times, when she and the husband had terrible fights, she had to take her girl and boy to her parents’ house. But the husband would always tell her how sorry he was, and she would go back because she loved him, and wanted to believe him.
Eventually, she stopped believing. She moved back to St. John’s and started a new job and a new life. She still had her beautiful daughter, but she lost her curly-boy to his dad.
She found someone who reminded her of her love for stories and songs. She loves her cats, still hates her curly hair, and misses her son with an ache that never goes away and leaves her pillow wet with tears every night. Still, she knows she is doing the only thing she can.
She hopes someday he will understand how, once upon a time, there was a girl from St. John’s who couldn’t fight anymore, and only wished for
a happily ever after.
Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Architecture.
While I was out and about in the older section of St. John’s last month, I stopped to admire some of the colourful Victorian rowhouses near the downtown. Tourists come every year looking for the street called Jelly Bean Row, but there is no one street. It is the nickname given to all the vibrantly painted row houses in the downtown area.
Now that the long-awaited summer has arrived in earnest in Newfoundland, your typical mortal starts thinking of getting out into the country. She may be planning a vacation in one of our lovely outports, or getting away from it all in a secluded cabin, or camping out and about in an RV or tent.
But where does a transplanted country mouse like me plan a summer getaway? Why, back to the capital city, of course. This Saturday, my husband and I are packing up our kitties, leaving his little hometown, and driving to my much larger hometown of St. John’s for a couple of weeks.
This change of pace also accommodates my mother-in-law and her son, who are switching houses with us for this period. I’ve been preparing my home for their stay, so that when they arrive everything will be ready for them, including some freshly baked bread and a pot of homemade soup. We hope they enjoy their holiday as well, in what we like to call our little corner of heaven on earth.
As for me, I know the time will fly by all too quickly. Between spending time with my mom in her nursing home, playing with our grandchildren, and visiting other family, that will barely leave time for much else. Somehow I must fit in some shopping, some outdoor fun, a dentist appointment, dining out, and partying too (husband’s birthday is fast approaching). George Street, maybe? We even have an out-of-town side trip planned to the Placentia Regatta celebrations with my siblings and their mates. Good times are in store, for sure.
Despite my temporary city mouse schedule, I will still do my best to post to my blog while I’m away. Have laptop, will travel!
What special plans have you made to shake things up for the summer?