The Long Way Home

So I’ve been up and down this last week.  I have been literally up and down: drove north to Charlottetown, then flew to Sault Ste Marie (my grandfather passed away), then back to Charlottetown, then back, as this post is about, to Halifax.  Also metaphorically: I haven’t been writing enough, which frets me in the same way not doing enough physical activity makes my sister antsy (sadly, although I feel it if I haven’t been outside enough in a day, exercise and I are still only nodding acquaintances).  I’ve been reading some novels — The Hobbit  and The Lord of the Rings again and a few from the pile I got from the library after discovering a set of reviewers of speculative fiction and YA called The Book Smugglers — so at least I feel a bit refreshed in that form. But I’ve missed writing this blog, and have only myself to blame for not doing it.

On my return from Charlottetown to Halifax on Monday I took the long way back.  Usually the drive takes between three and a half and four hours on the main highway; I took closer to six.  I drove along the main road from Charlottetown to the Confederation Bridge, then, on the New Brunswick side, took the Tormentine / Cape Spear road around the coast.  Along the way I stopped to look at various things.

The Confederation Bridge from the New Brunswick side:

Acadian dykes, according to the sign from the 1770s:

and wild irises, some of which I picked to bring home:

Just before Port Elgin I got back on the main road for a couple of kilometres, just enough to get to the roundabout, where I then took the Port Elgin exit and followed the signs to Nova Scotia along the top coast.  The North Shore: the Northumberland Shore (the  Northumberland Strait lies between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island).  The road passes quite close to the shore most of the way, through Tidnish at the border where there is a strange jog in the road and suddenly the surface, if you’re coming from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia, becomes far better repaired; the potholes in New Brunswick are quite impressive.

I stopped for a bank of roses, just draped there next to the road, perfumed and beautiful:

when I turned around the car a few hundred yards down the road after I’d passed it, when I decided I did want to take pictures of the roses, I saw these trees, which I’d never seen before:

Though yesterday in Halifax I saw a similar tree with bright purple flowers.  It’s certainly a legume, and I think might be a kind of locust tree.

And, although I saw other things, towns with strange and resonant names — Tatamagouche is always a favourite, Earlstown, Onslow — I was most impressed with the surprising street signs in Pugwash, home of Seagull Pewter and, apparently, a bilingual community:

There are Celtic speakers still in Cape Breton but I hadn’t known there were along the Northumberland Shore.  If the sign pointing up the coast to Irishtown is any guide, these signs are Irish instead of Scots Gaelic, but I’ll have to check with my friend who knows Old Irish and its modern variants to be sure.

And then the rest of this week I have been reading, thinking about my academic work, plotting my novel, contemplating the approach of summer and the beauty of June flowers, gardening and just a tiny bit of sustained writing.

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