Kitchen Renovation

If you’ve ever had a kitchen renovation done you know what Andrea is living through!

A wall taken down, a patio door repositioned, new cupboards and appliances, and a much larger island installed – except at the moment only half of the old double kitchen sink is hooked up, the new counter tops still a couple of weeks away so there’s nowhere to lay stuff.

The hardest job – finding the “right” place to put all the kitchen STUFF you boxed up before the renovation began.

Yesterday we went to Kent to pick up a 4 x 8 piece of plywood for a temporary cover for the island – finally a place to lay things. This is the second go at finding the best place for dishes – they were in a corner cupboard before and while the dishwasher isn’t yet hooked up, Andrea thinks above the dishwasher is a more convenient location for glasses and dishes.

The kitchen is slowly coming together – in the last two days Charles has painted the ceiling (one coat), and put the bathroom and closet doors back up. There’s still work needed on the deck – a day’s work perhaps. The hardwood floor in the family room still needs to be selected (the plant that makes the flooring is closed for the next two weeks for summer holidays), ordered, delivered, and installed. The walls need painting, mouldings restored, new light fixtures put up, and the last of the electrical outlets hooked up and the kitchen will be done.

I think I need to book a return flight to see the finished kitchen – sometime in November?

The “Ugly Stick”

Have you ever heard of an ugly stick? I hadn’t until Andrea opened a closet door in her basement and hauled theirs out.

Wikipedia describes an ugly stick as follows:

The instrument’s main body is a mop or broom handle cut to approximately four feet. An old rubber boot is attached to the bottom and a cymbal attached at the very top. At strategic intervals along the length of the shaft, nails affixed with bottle caps, felt tins and other noise makers can be nailed into the shaft.

In other words it’s a one person percussion section! This one had an apple juice can affixed to the top as the “cymbal”, the obligatory boot with mop and beer bottle caps, and a piece of foam part way down covered with masking tape. A notched broomstick as bow creates yet another percussion accompaniment.

She and Charles both play guitars and sing for their own entertainment as well as for friends. So adding in an ugly stick was just a natural extension of a long-standing Newfoundland tradition. This stick (which Charles built 25 years or more ago) has travelled with them to many location across Canada.

Charles played it for me:

I tried playing it! The bloody thing is damned heavy – you are raising the stick and beating the boot on the floor, at the same time drawing the bow across the stick (making the bottle caps jungle like a tambourine), and hitting the juice can (cymbal) for emphasis all in time to the music. It is hard work.

You can see how an ugly stick livens up a good party!


Andrea and Charles are bikers. Charles spent a good part of the day today trying out his new bike in anticipation of a two week bike trip he’s planning with friends to mainland Canada and into the US northeast.

When he got back from his local jaunt this afternoon Charles asked if I was interested in a ride. Why not! Andrea outfitted me with jacket, gloves, and helmet and off the three of us went, Andrea on her bike, Charles and I on his, avoiding supper time traffic by sticking to roads in the neighbourhood.

Several things I discovered – you have very little view as passenger. Although the passenger seat is a bit higher than the driver’s, I’m too short to see much straight ahead. Also, if you’re older and have any hint of hip degeneration (which fortunately I don’t have), the passenger position with hips well turned out could be quite painful. I didn’t experience any discomfort but I know I’d be more than a little stiff after an hour or so.

Still I enjoyed the ride. All part of my Newfoundland experience.

Logy Bay

OK – I watched whales from the ocean-facing hillside on the headland beyond Trinity, encountered moose on the highway in the vicinity of Clarenville. Finally an iceberg in the distance at Logy Bay.

The iceberg was reflecting a bright sunshine when we arrived at the bay, but before I could get my phone out of my pocket and walk nearer the water’s edge, a passing cloud cast its shadow. That iceberg was a long way out…

Quidi Vidi

Said “Kitti – Viddi” – The harbour is an old fishing village within the precincts of St. John’s. Still an active fishing community (if small), with quite a bit of recent housing construction on the hillside and a busy pub at the waters edge.


The harbour itself is long and narrow and once inside boats are sheltered from the ocean swells.

The early evening sun gave the harbour a golden glow. And what’s a Newfoundland harbour without dorys!

Cape Spear

The coastal fog was rolling into Cape Spear late this morning. It lifted enough for me to get a shot of the lighthouse – the most easterly point in Canada/North America! From there you could see fog in St. John’s harbour (Signal Hill in the distance):

Downtown St. John’s:

MUN Botanical Garden

Memorial University has a lovely botanical garden – for research and education. A friend, who’s been following the blog wrote and suggested I visit. So this morning Andrea and I drove over.

The garden consists of some cultivated beds and woodland gardens, a couple of greenhouses and several nature trails depicting different aspects of the natural environment of Newfoundland.

The first thing you see is an herbaceous border – filled with plants happy in this damp, cool environment. Blue flag iris:


Cow parsnip (poisonous):

Leopard’s Bane (Doronucum):

Enter the garden trails and you see many varieties of Rhododendron (some still in full flower, others would have been gorgeous last week!). One whole section of a trail was lined with them:

We passed a slope covered with Cornus Canadensis in bloom:

We came across a crevice rock garden on a gentle slope (I would never have thought of using long slender rocks in that way):
There were California poppies:
A plant I didn’t know:

And several patches of lovely blue Mecanopsis:

I could go on – a lot of the plants were in bloom, making a leisurely stroll worthwhile.

Got any old, mismatched glass plates/bowls/glasses? I’m going to try making one of these when I get home!

St. John’s NL

When last I visited St. John’s, gotta be 40 years or more ago, it was a small, contained city. Today it’s surprisingly large and spread out. Not much in the way of high rise building, but the suburbs extend well into various regions of the Avalon peninsula.

Today Andrea and I drove through the western reaches of the city, through Paradise and St. Phillips/Portugal Cove. What used to be quaint coastal communities are today rapidly growing suburban areas with lots of large, expensive houses!

Downtown St. John’s, in spite of the building and modernizing going on retains a lot of its original charm.

Today was foggy:

From the fourth floor of The Rooms (Art Gallery), just outside the restaurant, downtown was barely visible.

The weather had brought a gazillion visitors to the gallery – the cafe couldn’t feed us for an hour and because we were hungry we decided to move on. But before leaving, we did a fast walk through the Christopher Pratt exhibit. Wonderful paintings.

On the first floor we came across this small billboard – volunteers knitting socks…

The Rooms – interesting architecture – worth visiting: