A new friend called Tony

A few months ago I played with some cats that were in Pet Value looking to be adopted, and picked up a leaflet on fostering.  I couldnt do it until I had moved and had come back from Newfoundland, so last Wednesday, I filled in the application.  I had the telephone interview on Friday and Tony, my new friend, was delivered on Sunday.  

After my telephone interview, they said I would get a list of cats to choose from which is nice as I thought I would have what I was given.  I went out and bought supplies ready for my new arrival.  The list came the next morning.  I wanted a boy and thought a year or two in age would be good.  Tony is 1 year and 1 month, so the deal was sealed.

I wanted to foster rather than adopt as I dont have residency yet, and when I do, Mr Jinx will be joining me.  Also, they pay for vet bills etc, I just pay for food and cat litter, and toys.  It seemed the perfect way to save a cat from living in a shelter and to give me the pet love that I am craving.

Mavis is living in the bath for a few days until things are settled.  She is not happy and trashed her cage.  Trying to give her lots of attention so she knows she is still loved. 

Day 1.  Tony hid under the sofa.  He briefly came out and hid behind the fridge, before returning to the futon.  At midnight, I retrieved him for a cuddle and he sat on the bed letting me brush him for half an hour before going back in to hiding.  No food eaten, toys touched or toiletting. 

Day 2.  Tony wee’d in my bed.  After removing all the soft cosy areas I made for him, he decided to be my friend. He spent the night curled up having his tummy tickled and purring.  If I dared to go to sleep, he miaowed in my face until I woke up. 


Newfoundland #6: The End

The final day in Newfoundland offered me the worst weather of the week.  It was cloudy with poor visibility everywhere.  I went for a drive around Cape Spear and Bay Bulls for a last chance whale spotting attempt.  I ended up making my way to Witless Bay again to the Irish Loop cafe for a cup of tea and more of that fantastic  cheesecake.  I stopped in Petty Harbour and purchased a pulled moose roll with mushrooms and onions which was delicious, and visited a cute little gift shop where I bought some lovely sparkly snowman earrings.  There was a surprising amount of Christmas stuff around during my visit and they all just said it is because they love Christmas.  In fact the security lady at the airport had a little stocking on her badge!

Car returned, checked in at the airport and luckily my bag was one of the first off at the other end.  I felt mixed feelings returning to Toronto, it is home, but it smells and it is noisy! I really did enjoy my week away, although I can’t see much to do there in the winter or poor weather.  Newfoundland was a truly beautiful place and I treated my little adventure as a once in a lifetime chance to visit, though I do hope I get to go again some day.

I loved that the roads were not in grids.  I loved the coastal walks and views.  I loved the animals and nature stuff.  I loved the locals.  I loved their weird amount of lighthouses.  I loved their bizarre accents and their sayings that reminded me of home.  I loved the plants underfoot that reminded me of Dartmoor.  I loved my own company.   I loved the boat trips hikes. I love that the airport had rocking chairs! 

I came home and my friend had acquired lots of furniture and put it in my apartment for me which is great, and I had a post card and a letter from Dad.   A lovely ending.

Newfoundland #6:  Bay Bulls boat trip – whales, sea birds, icebergs, Torbay

Day 6 provided me with entertainment in the form of a boat trip with Gatheralls from Bay Bulls Bay.  It was around 2hrs and we went out around an ice berg and four islands covered with sea birds.  The islands are home to over 2 million puffins and other birds.  Lots of them looked like undergrown seagulls to me, but they were called kittiwakes.  I learned that puffins mate for life, they build burrows in the hills where they lay their egg, the burrow each have a bedroom and a bathroom, their bills are only orange during mating season and are black after that.  There were so many birds – in the sky, on the water swimming, under the water swimming, diving from a height into the water, nesting in the cliffs or burrows, flying over head, it was crazy.  At one point a bald eagle flew overhead and scared them all into the air screeching.

While on the boat, I also got to see minke whales in the water ahead.  It was a shame there were not more, but they said the fish they like to eat were not in the area much yet.

After the boat trip, I went on to the beach with two other ladies from the trip to be screeched in.  This is s ceremony performed in Newfoundland were visitors can become honorary newfies.  Traditionally it involves kissing an actual cod, but they used a teddy here.  We had to talk like a Newfie by answering the question “Are ye a screecher?” with “Deed I is, me ol’ cock! And long may yer big jib draw!” Translated, it means “Yes I am, my old friend, and may your sails always catch wind.”  Walk like a Newfie by putting our left big toe in the water and drink like a Newfie by drinking a shot of Screech – Newfoundland rum, poured straight into our mouths.  They do this in a few places and you get a certificate at the end.  I was glad I had a chance to do it on the beach as mostly bars do it and i felt that doing it in a bar would be a place to do it with friends.

Gatheralls recommended a little cafe in Witless Bay called Irish Loop.  I went for a cup of tea and toffee cheesecake.  The cheesecake was fabulous, so so good!  I chatted with a girl from Melbourne a girl from Germany in the cafe.   I popped to Water Street shops to quickly look for the book written by Captain Dave Harvey and found it in the first shop I looked in.  I kept seeing bricks along this street with names on, so asked and found out that when they did the paving, people could buy a brick with whatever name they wanted on it and where they are from.  It was still relatively early, so I took a drive around East of St Johns and visited Middle Cove, Flat Rock and Torbay before heading back to the city and the BBQ pub I went to a few days ago to get some chicken for my dinner before an earlyish last night.  

Newfoundland 5.2:  HM Penitentiary, St Johns

Before coming to Newfoundland, I had a quick look to see if there were any prison museums to visit.  The only one I could find was in St Johns and was a collection assembled by a retired prison officer, Captain David Harvey.  I arrived determined to find this man.  I asked at the University, a couple of tourist spots and then a taxi driver who suggested I knock on the prison door.  This seemed a long shot… It worked!  I explained the reason for my interest and my experience in prison work, and they put me in touch with him and we met at the prison on Monday evening.

Luckily he was a friendly sort and didn’t mind the hundreds of questions I threw at him.  There were many similarities with Dartmoor, as you would expect regarding prisoner behaviour, security issues and the balance between officers and civilian staff with slightly different aims.  There were also many differences that I was surprised at.  I think that, overall, they seem to be ahead of us with some ideas that we have recently begun implementing, having been in place here for some time.

  • What do they (prisoners) wear?  They used to wear khaki, then it was own clothes which families would drop off for them – this had obvious problems such as contraband and bullying, now they wear prison issue orange jumpsuits. 
  • What jobs do they have?  The have similar jobs in the kitchen and carpentry. They don’t get paid for jobs they do, families give them money to go in their prison account for anything they need.
  • What do they do all day? TV? They have a library and a communal TV on the wing.  They do not have TVs in their cells at this jail.  There is also a prison gym.
  • Are the prisoners separated into main and vulnerable location?  They are to a certain extent.  They tried to integrate them, but this had its obvious difficulties.
  • When did they stop the smoking? Around ten years ago.  The whole jail is scent free, so no joss sticks or scents of any kind.  No tobacco can enter the building.  He said this was accepted and adapted to really well by prisoners.
  • Are the doors just bars?  Some are.  The ones in the older buildings constructed in the 1940s are just bars.  The toilets are opposite the doors.  I was surprised at this, but heard they sometimes put blankets up for privacy, although not technically supposed to.  The doors in the newer bits constructed in the 80s have the solid doors with a window.
  • Do they have grass in the exercise yard? Yup.
  • How many prisoners does it hold? Around 170 men in mostly single cells, with a few doubles in the 1980s ‘new’ bit.
  • I learned that they have electric doors.
  • They have rubber tooth brushes to stop shanks being made – this amazed me!  Fantastic.  Why don’t we have rubber toothbrushes in our prisons?! Genius solution.
  • The landings don’t have netting to catch anyone who jumps or falls, or is thrown, they have chain link fence around the edges so you can’t climb over.
  • They only installed toilets in some cells in the 80s.  Prior to this some still had no plumbing, so would have buckets for the toilet and a jug of water to drinking and washing.
  • The prison is different to most other prisons in Canada because there is no Federal prison to house those sentenced to over 2 years, so they do mix remand with those serving over two years.  Those with significant sentences would be sent to the nearest Federal prison in New Brunswick.  This would be an 8 hour ferry ride or a flight for families to visit.
  • The drug culture is a little different as illicit use is more about prescription drugs such as OxyContin, which is also a big problem with abuse in the community in Toronto.
  • The prison was designed similarly to Pentonville in England and Dave said he recognised similarities she he visited London – nice to meet another person who uses their holidays to look at prisons!
  • The beds in the 5 cells in the segregation area are concrete, built in.
  • Officer rankings are very different and they use the same ranks as the police – Superintendant, Captain etc and Correctional Officer instead of Governors as we have.
  • All visits are closed, so there is a screen between prisoners and their families at all times.

Dave has made a really great collection under the prison administration building that he keeps adding to and working on.  There are prison made tattoo guns, an old needle from years ago that was found with a syringe made from an old tube, there are trainers with the heel hollowed out to hold pills from when they did wear their own clothes, lots of old record books and pictures of the changing inside of the prison through the years.  There are display cabinets and labels with items in cabinets and on the walls.  Clearly, a lot of time and work has gone into it and it was inspiring to see that his personal interest has gone to such good use.   He wrote a book called ‘Inside the Walls’ that I rushed out and bought, so I can continue reading even more about it.  

Newfoundland #5.1: Terra Nova Park

This morning, I headed slightly north from my hotel into Terra Nova park.  I kept a lookout for any moose or bears, but still none to be seen.  I decided to walk a few smaller trails rather than one big one.  My first stop was the Campground trail.  A 3km trail that was along a river and some ponds.  The wildlife was uber active and the whole trail was filled with sounds of birds, squirrels and other animals.  I was amazed by the work of the beavers and kept stopping to excitedly examine the trees they had felled.  A newfound respect and interest in an animal that I was fairly indifferent towards before.

Sandy Pond.  Another 3km trail following a boardwalk around a pond and bog.  Great view of the pond as the sun came out, but other than that, it had much less to offer than the Campground trail after the excitement of the Beavers!  There was also a sign saying how much mosquitos and black flies enjoy the trail, so I didn’t want to hang around.  I am every mosquitos best friend.

Ochre Hill.  Again, around 3km, this time a little more foresty.  A good brisk trail to walk.   I saw some moose poo.  I left the trail after doing the short loop and drove to the top of the hill to see the watch tower.  It is an old watch tower 200m above sea level and offered incredible views over Terra Nova.  Yes, it sways in the wind.  There were two park rangers climbing ahead of me, so I got to go right to the top with the promise of help if my legs turned to jelly!!  I am okay with heights if I feel stable – steps with holes and no back do not make me feel stable, but I was okay.  At the top of the tower, I chatted to Starlan and Dave who work in the park.  They were super friendly and, when I told of my woes around not seeing a moose up close or a bear, they took me off to have a drive around the park where both animals had been sighted earlier.  I also got some fun facts about Newfoundland.  They call the bonnet of a car, a  bonnet like we do, not a hood as other Canadians do.  They got their own flag in 1980 – the blue representing the sea, the white is the snow and ice, the red is the struggle of newfies and the gold is the confidence they have in themselves and their future.  The blue triangles are a tribute to the Union Jack and represent their British heritage.  We didn’t find any moose or bears, but it was a fun afternoon chatting and seeing the park.  Dave sounded more Westcountry than most I spoke with here – he knew where it was and wants to visit Devon and Dorset – I am an immediate fan if someone can identify places in England other than London.  He said “I knows” and “b’y”.  Starlan said “I don’t know where I’m too”.   I love the Newfie dialect.  They were proud to have it and said they try to encourage young people to stay proud of the strong accents and colloquialisms.

 We went to the tourist information centre and I saw the bones of a whale that they are in the process of pulling out of the sea.  I held starfish and crabs and touched some of the random sea animals in the touch tank which was pretty cool.  

I had my picture taken with Dave.  He is somewhat of a local celebrity in the park.  In fact Starlan had a fan tshirt on underneath her park ranger jacket.  He does some theatre sketches and has some great comedy songs on YouTube as the character Clayton.  He reminded me a bit of the Wurzels.

Check out the comedy Clayton style here or the Wurzels here.

I drove back from the park in good spirits and headed for the prison.  

Newfoundland #4: Twillingate, Iceberg Alley

I arrived in Twillingate, pitch black, no street lights and parked up to spend the rest of the night sleeping in the car.  It was surprisingly comfy, I have to say.  The main problem was the cold.  I didnt get much sleep as I kept waking up cold and having to put the engine on again until it warmed up.  I opened my eyes at 4.44am.  There was water a metre in front of where I parked, a lovely view.  Time for a drive around.  There were many many B&Bs with vacancy signs that I could not see in the dark last night.  I parked at a trail sight near French Beach and went for an hour and a half hike while the sun finished rising.  I saw iceberg number 4 and then many more on the horizon.  The view from the top of the coastal trail I was on was gorgeous and the village below was lovely in the early morning light. 

7am and still no places open.  I found a harbour office building that had public showers and had a shower and brushed my teeth.  Drove around a bit more looking for anything to open, until I saw signs of life at a B&B.  They let me have breakfast, and after hearing I slept in the car, wouldnt accept any money.  So lovely of them! 

The reason for coming to Twillingate was to visit Iceberg Alley on a boat trip.  I went with Iceberg Quest on the 930 trip.  There were three of us on the boat, plus two staff so it was nice and spacious.  The icebergs were incredible.  Huge and beautiful shades of blue. There were blue lines running through the icebergs where the oxygen levels were different.  The biggest one we saw was about 300 feet by 100 high above the water.  Huge with an ice cave in it.  I googled the size of the one Titanic hit and it was 200-400ft x 50-100 high.  90% of the iceberg is underwater.  Craziness.  The water splashed up again the icebergs, we saw seals swimming and sea birds overhead.  The water was really choppy and we stumbled around on the top deck like silly drunk passengers!  It was fantastic.  One of the guys that works there fished a piece of ice out of the water for us to hold and take a bite of. The trip was incredible.  There were so many icebergs, up close and all along the horizon.

I went to see Long Point Lighthouse in Twillingate whilst there. The sign was prettier than the lighthouse, but the great views showcased the icebergs again.  By 12.30, I was hungry and there were still no signs of life at the cafes or variety stores, so I left the sleepy village and drove south.  I missed lots of amazing causeways and sea views in my dark drive up and got to see them in the sunshine.  I had driven through a complex network of islands and connections to get there.  Still no pubs or restaurants on the road.  A guy I asked said not far and head for Lewisport.  Not far?  Not far?  It was 70km.  I found a hotel restaurant in Lewisporte and finally got to sit and eat food.  Lasagne.  Beautiful.  I was the only person in there which was a bit weird as it was a big restaurant.  It was 3pm though.

I booked a hotel and headed for Clarenville.  Sauna, swim, bath and an amazing nights sleep in a super comfy bed.  Chocolates and toiletries in my room.  Woke up so happy and cosy this morning.  

Residency setbacks

Among the fun and the travels, this week has thrown me a massive curveball.  I have had some legal advice around permanent residency application, and it is not the news I was hoping for.  I had pretty much decided, I would carry on as I am until November, then gain my last four months work experience and get the process going.  It seems that I need an employer to offer me a permanent contract and also they would need to pay for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.  This means they have to prove that they have advertised the role sufficiently to try and recruit a Canadian, but I am better suited to the job.

This means I will have to find a social work job in November, after four months, they will have to complete the LMIA and then give me a reference number.  I can give the reference numer to a lawyer who will get the application for PR rolling.  My current visa ends in May.  It is cutting it all very fine.  This is also assuming an employer will want me enough to go through all this.  I would also need to know how long I would be tied to them for as I think I would have to promise not to leave within a certain amount of years.

I got the email and felt devastated that I cannot apply based on experience.  I dont know if this will be my “forever home”, but I do know for sure that I want it to be my “for the foreseeable future home”.  I am not ready for this adventure to end in May.

 I was ready to sort out a chunk of stuff in England in November ready for a proper immigration. There is nothing I can do for now.  All I can do it wait until November and see what happens.  And maybe email my last employer to see if they know anything about the process.

Newfoundland #3: Skerwink Trail, Elliston, Bonavista

Day three was the start of a roadtrip.  I left my comfort zone of St Johns and drove just under three hours north west to the Skerwink Trail in Trinity.  With a distance of 5.3km, this seemed like the perfect trail for a brisk hike before continuing my travels.  With views like this trail had to offer, 5.3km takes 1hr30 mins! I stopped frequently for photos.  The trail had my second ice berg sighting and a gorgeous varied path along it.  Some bits were very Alice in Wonderland with dry old trees at all angles and pretty sections to duck under.

Along the trail, some girls told me about an iceberg in a village called Dunfield around the corner, I popped there and video called the bestie quickly and then headed for the highway.  I saw a car stopped at the side of the road and thought nothing of it until I passed and realised they had spotted a moose.  I executed the most effiecient u-turn known to man and hurried back to the scene to see my very first moose on the loose.  It was a lady moose and she ran before I could get a very good picture.  I stood gawping with excitement!

Onward.  To Bonavista via Elliston.  Elliston is the home of a huge rock covered with puffins.  It was only ten minutes from Bonavista, so a worthwhile detour.  Unfortunately without binoculars, you couldn’t see them as well as I had hoped.  I could just about see their colours and could see the white standing out making hundreds of the visible on the rock.  There were lots of root cellars in the landscape, used to keep veg cool.  Elliston calls itself the root cellar capital of the world, they claimed this title in 2013.   Serious stuff.

Root cellars and puffins were not enough to end my day as I had one more stop to make…. Bonavista.  At Bonavista, I bumped into the people I had chatted to at Elliston and another couple I chatted to along the Skerwink trail.  We all seemed to be on the same route from St Johns.   I made it to the lighthouse at 4.55 pm not realising they closed at 5, so the lady let me dash over quickly.  It was nice, but nothing compared to the surroundings and prettiness of the operational lighthouse at Cape Spear.  It was very similar in layout and had been restored to yesteryear, this one being 1870.  I asked the man about the rolled up cloths in chubby holes that I have seen at Cape Spear and the Cabot Tower.  Apparently they are flags from the countries and each represents a letter or symbol so they can be flown to communicate with ships. 

I liked a little shack that was in the landscape with a little fenced area outside. I could happily live there with Folly in the garden – complete peace and solitude.

The lighthouse was near to Dungeon Provincial Park, so I headed back via the park and saw iceberg number 3.  Everytime I see one, I want to shout “iceberg, straight ahead” like on Titanic.  I say it in my head and giggle.  There were some sea caves with collapsed roofs that they say people climb down into in attempt to find fools gold, and ponies running within the area the cattle grids allowed.  The sound driving over the cattle grids reminded me of Devon. I don’t think I have driven over one since I had been here.  There were empty shot gun cartridges lying around. 

My day of activities compete and I began to head north west to wards Twillingate.  I set off around 6pm and my plan was to stay on the highway until dark and then stop for food and to stay at a motel.  I wanted to be on the highway at dusk as dusk and dawn are apparenly the best times to see moose.  Eyes peeled, my luck was not in.  At around 8pm, I stopped and had a power nap in a gateway, then continued.  I had hoped I would see a moose standing proudly on the top of a rock, much like in the Lion King.  It was not to be.  There were also no pubs or restaurants along the way.  I eventually found a Tim Hortons in Lewisporte and got a chilli for dinner and excitedly discovered that the lemon and poppyseed muffins are back.  I was beginning to give up hope of finding  somewhere to stay and decided that I would drive for another hour and then sleep in the car if not luck.  I stopped after an hour and ate my Tims.  I was going to sleeping the car, but then remembered, I don’t like the dark and my overactive imagination is not helpful when attempting to sleep in the dark with no street lights.  I drove on in hope of finding somewhere a bit better lit. I discovered Dildo Provincial Park – a campsite.  The front booth was unmanned so I drove in and parked up next to the comfort station block.  Lovely. Until I needed to use the loo.  I phoned the Welsh one in Vancouver so I had someone on the end of the phone in case I met a gruesome death in the dark.  Getting ready to sleep, and I was moved along by park rangers.  My journey continued into the night, and into the darkness.

Newfoundland #2: Signal Hill, Cabot Tower, Gibbets Hill, Titanic @ the Geo Centre, The Rooms

Day 2 in Newfoundland and I am still in St Johns exploring.  I didnt sleep brilliantly as my room was freezing cold and I kept waking up and couldn’t get warm.  I dozed a little later than planned due to this, and made it to the breakfast room at 9.30 for a bagel and a cup of tea.  Off to Signal Hill and the Cabot Tower for a walk and some more touristing.   I went up the Cabot Tower and enjoyed the view across the harbour and downtown St Johns, then took a stroll around the rest of Signal Hill.  I went up to the highest point of Signal Hill called Ladies Lookout.  Apparently called this because the ladies would go up there so they could see when their loved ones were returning from sea.

I went down to the visitors Center and bought a chocolate and some hot chocolate in the cafe.  The White chocolate was amazing. I went back and told them and when I went back past later, they ran out and gave me an ice cream which was equally delicious.  My ice cream and I headed up Gibbets Hill for another view over the city.  I sat halfway and ate my ice cream in a sheltered bit by some rocks.  The hill was called Gibbets Hill after a process called gibbeting that apparently originated in London was adopted in the 1700s.  Gibbeting involved dipping the body of a criminal into hot tar and hanging it in a cage until it rotted.  At this point, the body would be put in a barrel and rolled over the edge of the hill into Dead Mans Pool below.  The gibbet was removed from here in 1795.

At the bottom of Signal Hill is a museum and science centre, Geo Centre, with a Titanic exhibit that I wanted to see.  I went and had a look at this.  I did look at the other stuff while in there, but it reinforced that they bore me unless there is something specific I want to see.  The Titantic exhibit had a video playing showing an image of the ship from hitting the ice berg to sinking in real time.  I got there at the right time and watched the last 20 mins.  A lady told me there were no people in the video as it would be disturbing, however, despite with it being mostly silently other than creaking ship sounds, it ended with lots of faint eerie screams.  The exhibit was good and really interesting to read about.  The couple on the film that lie on their bed holding ands to die together were based on a real couple who gave up their places on the life boats for younger people.  There was water that you could put your hand in that was the temperature of the water that night – it was fine when I just dipped it in, but when I held it there for a while, it was not!  I also learned that the crew that survived were not paid by the company after the ship went down, their wages reflected a shift end time of 2.20am.  There was a log book of names of everyone on board, all the names in grey in the picture died.

Titanic exhibition finished and I was ready for some food.  People keep suggesting I visit The Rooms, however, it is a museum and as we know, I don’t really care for them.  So I decided to go and visit the cafe there.  It was a lovely restaurant and I had a table by the window looking out towards the harbour with a cup of tea and a chocolate based desert with cream on top.  My bill came with a sweet.  In fact, my meal for my bill last night did as well – this is a sign of a thoughtful establishment.

I went to visit the prison quickly to make some enquiries…. Watch this space….  Then headed for Water Street to peruse the shops.  The parking meter were not something I was prepared for.  Luckily some passers by assisted me.  There is one machine for every space and you don’t get a ticket for the window, the attendant just checks that the meter for the car has money.  This must be how people talk on TV about putting money in the meter for people!   On with the shops, I found it amusing that there was a TShirt that said ‘Real men watch Coronation Street’ and fridge magnets with characters that haven’t been in it for 10-20 years!  Think Reg, last appeared 1995, Alma who died in 2001 and Curly who left in 2003.  I bought some English chocolate and some Mumming souvenirs.  More on this hilarious tradition later.  

I got a takeaway dinner from a friendly and welcoming place called Woodys.  I had chicken with bacon, cheese and a tasty sauce.  It came with what he called cornbread.  I asked what this was and he said pound cake.  I asked what this was and he gave me some to try – turns out, it is Madeira cake! Lovely.  I took my dinner ad headed back to Cape Spear to eat and watch the sun set.

Bed time. 

Newfoundland #1: Cape Spear, East Coast Trail, Bay Bulls Harbour, George Street

Day one in Newfoundland.  An early morning wake up at 5am and I landed in St Johns at around 12.30pm after discovering that there is a time difference u had not picked up on! First time flying with Westjet and it was lovely, spacious and comfy after the last flights I have been on.  Rental car collected, many circles driven due to not much signage and I eventually managed to find the right place to check in to my room.  Staying at the Memorial University.  Really nice clean room, helpful staff and everything easy to find.  I remember when I stayed at the Toronto Halls last year, and the first thing I saw was the sign asking people not to wee in the bin.  

I discovered that it was too windy to kayak as I had planned, all trips were cancelled.  Not one to procrastinate when there is touristing to be done, I filled my bag with maps and leaflets and made my way to Cape Spear on the Avalon Peninsula.  At I drove up the steep hill, I left the city behind and the houses became more and more spaced out until I rounded a corner and was faced with a gorgeous view of the sea.   I parked and just sat in the car for a minute looking at the sea, bright blue sky and the waves crashing in the wind.  The whole area was just breathtaking and words cannot do it justice.  Stepping out on to the grass, I felt quite emotional and reminded of Devon and Cornwall.  Overwhelming feelings of home swept over me. It reminded me so much of home at Cape Spear – a mixture of Burrator, Cadover and Wembury all in one spot.  The weird thing is that, despite the emotion, it still didn’t make me want to go home.  The views were so fantastic I video called Mum and Sibling to show them the views.  I looked around Cape Spear lighthouse and heard how it was lit by seven lamps powered by sperm whale oil.  I couldn’t go up to the top as it is not open to the public, but it was only one floor extra anyway, so I didn’t mind too much.  The light house is no longer operational and there is a new taller light house a little further down the path that is used.  I actually found the new one to be prettier to look at.

Following the boardwalk down along the coast, I was able to see the underground tunnels and bunkers used in the Second World War.  I love looking around old underground places like this, and this was extra good being set in the cliff so you could look out at the sea from the Windows.  

A little further down the boardwalk and I was able to stand at the most eastern point of Canada.  I particularly wanted to visit this spot after my trip last month to the most southern point at Point Pelee.  The sign where it says you are on the most eastern point was a little misleading I felt as there as a path further east! And when I walked on the path, there was a fence and some rocks even further.  Obviously I stood on the rocks beyond the fence and took a selfie on the actual most eastern point.  From there, if you headed straight east, the next land you would hit would be Ireland  I climbed down and sat on the rocks watching the waves for a while before making my way back to the car to drive wherever the pretty views took me.  I think the crazy wind added character to the trip as I imagined people going going in by a fire in the lighthouse after being out in the cold wind.

I drove through a cute little village called Maddock Cove.  I was going to stop for a drink and snack, but was told the shop burned down during the winter.  I continued the drive and found myself at Bay Bulls Harbour where I spotted a seal chilling out on a rock, and an ice berg in the distance.  

I drove as far as I could to see the iceberg and then got out of the car and started walking on the East Coast Trail to find a closer spot.  Nearly two hours later hiking on an array of different paths, I found a great spot to climb down in my flip flops and see the ice berg as close as possible.  I loved the trail, it was so pretty by the water and had lots of cute wooden steps and footpaths.  I stopped to chat to a friendly couple from Lancashire on the trail.  He said oh, I would expect you to sound a bit more ‘oh arrrr’ from Devon.  Another lady I passed told me the ice berg was not very big.  I have not seen any real icebergs before, so I was delighted with this one.  The colours of it and the stillness of it are just not possible to capture in a photo.

Hike complete, I paid a quick visit to Shoppers as I left my after sun at home and the lovely lady gave me lots of samples of moisturisers and perfume for my trip.  With it nearly being time for sunset, I whizzed up to Signal Hill to take some photos as the sun was setting.  I plan to go back properly another day.

Time for a quick freshen up and a trip downtown for a nice pasta and a Malibu at the Gypsy Tea Room.  I managed to stay awake for two drinks at a bar called Greensleeves on George Street after dinner.  There was a band playing which was entertaining with a good atmosphere.  They had such strong accents, you could hear it in the singing.  All the old boys in the front row were joining in and at times I had to really concentrate to have any idea what they were saying!  George Street is known for having the most bars and clubs per square foot in North America.  It is open much later than Ontario laws allow and no traffic is allowed on the strip.  I heard it described as a place for your liver and morals to go to die.  It reminded me of Newquay back in the day.  

I intended to be down there a bit earlier, but it was too nice walking around enjoying my day, so the proper evening exploring will have to wait.  Aim to explore, and leave with morals and liver intact.