Mr. Otto Kelland

A while back, I was looking online for a family in response to a query.  I found them. A note on their kinship chart said the wife was sister of Otto Kelland, maker of the model fishing boats displayed at the Fisheries College in St. John’s and composer of the song “Let Newfoundland Museum Duckworth Street St. John'sMe Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s”. I sat back, stared at the screen and said “Wow!”

Instantly I was back in the Newfoundland Museum, the old one on Duckworth Street, about 1982. I worked as a weekend attendant and we tried to have a staff person on each floor, to keep an eye on things and be available to visitors who had questions. One Saturday, I was on the 3rd floor, the Newfoundland history display.

Two men stopped for a long time at the display case of model fishing boats. The older man would point a finger to something on one of them while talking. Their conversation looked interesting, so I wandered over close enough that I could eavesdrop.

Model Boats

I had spent a lot of time studying those models. I loved the workmanship and I would compare all the Newfoundland Monkstown dory model by Otto Kellandlittle parts, seeing what made one type of vessel different from another.

Father and son, as it turned out they were, noticed me nearby and included me in their discussion. After knowledgeably talking about the models, the elder man explained to me: “I built these, y’see.” I thought, sure you did, just after you finished the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We had a lot of rather odd people who spent time in the museum. But the more he talked, the more likely it seemed that he really had built these model ships.

The son decided introductions were in order so he told me his name and “this is my father, Otto Kelland.” I sneaked a peak at the cards propped beside the model ships just to verify what I already knew: made by Otto Kelland.

Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s

Then another realization hit me: Otto Kelland also was the name of the man who wrote the most beautiful Newfoundland song I’d ever heard. I said “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s?” “Oh yes my dear, that was me,” he laughed.

panorama of Cape St. Mary'sMy eyes filled up as I stared at him, open-mouthed. I felt like a fool, but I was totally awestruck. The beautiful models that I had spent so many hours looking at. The song that moved me to tears every time I heard it. And the maker of both smiling at me.

Then we reversed roles up there on the 3rd floor. The museum attendant was given a tour by the museum patron. Mr. Kelland explained the design and equipment of the fishing vessels using his Otto Kellandmodels as illustration. Then he took me and his son around the other displays of fishing stages and stores, industrial equipment and household items. I learned more that day about my museum and about Newfoundland than I ever had before.

I’ve never forgotten the thrill of meeting him that day. And seeing that note about him on a genealogy page brought it all back fresh as the day it happened. So I’m proud to say that Mr. Otto P. Kelland is now entered in my database.

Amazon link for Dories and Dorymen by Otto Kelland*If you’ve never heard the song, here’s a beautiful version by The Irish Descendants. Also here’s a book written by Otto Kelland on Amazon: Dories and Dorymen.



Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 25/12)

It’s all about me!

Maria with arms around MarcusMonday, very first scene:  Negligee-clad Maria comes slinking out of the bedroom to the couch where Marcus sits looking fretful.  Hey big boy what’s the problem, she says.  Something to that effect anyway.  They had spent the night together and she wanted to resume their nocturnal activities.  And no, it wasn’t eating popcorn and watching chick flicks in bed

Marcus pulls away from MariaHe responds to her kisses by saying they have to talk about what happened.  He tries to do that, but she only wants to go back to bed – with him.

A gay man, in a relationship with another man, having just had sex with a woman, also in a relationship with another man.  And he had told her he loved her, and she said the same to him. “This is a really big thing for me” he says about the situation.  “Yeah I Maria tells Marcus it is difficult for her tooknow.  Me too” she says.  That is her response to Marcus’ unimaginable turmoil about his infidelity not only to another person but to his very self-identity and life history.  Bwaahaahaa was my reaction to her plaintive, yet clueless, whine.

I wonder how many takes were needed for her to get that line out with a straight face.  I cannot imagine the week will bring anything better.

Maria tells Jason it is difficult for herThen, on Wednesday, she does it again!  She tells Jason it’s over.  Poor Jason, dumped by every single female on the Street, trying to make sense of she is doing this and why it is happening again to him.  And Maria says, “It hasn’t been easy for me, you know.”  Like he should care?  “You’ll get over it,” he says.

Jason and Sean pondering what has happenedIt’s interesting that, after Sean catches Maria and Marcus in a kiss, and understandably has a less than accepting reaction, Marcus says that Sean makes everything “about him”.  Maria nods sagely in agreement.  Maybe Sean does, but he’s got stiff competition from Maria for the self-absorption championship title.

Jason hitting Marcus at barFight!

Oh and the fight between Jason and Marcus was great!

Reading History

Well-written and well-researched historical fiction gives the reader a two-fer: a good story and a history lesson that you may have slept through during school.

Amazon link for The Boleyn Inheritance historical fiction
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Recently, I’ve been living in the Tudor and Plantagenet eras courtesy of Philippa Gregory. I started with the Boleyn sisters books, made into movies that I haven’t seen but I hope do justice to the books and their subjects. I don’t know how it would be possible to make a bad movie out of the historical material itself and the treatment given the characters by Ms. Gregory.

Amazon link for The Queen's Fool
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Next I read the novels about the other characters in the Henry VIII saga: The Constant Princess tells of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. The Queen’s Fool tells of his children’s reigns; Edward, then Mary and ending with the ascension of Elizabeth. The Other Queen is about Mary Queen of Scots in the later years of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. It is the only one that I kind of wanted to end.  I knew what happened to her. She ended up “with ‘er ‘ead tucked underneath her arm”. With the interminable plotting and moving about the countryside, I found myself thinking “please somebody, chop her head off and be done with it.”

Amazon link for The Lady of the Rivers by P Gregory
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Then I moved to The White Queen and The Red Queen, books about the predecessors of the Tudors, the Plantagenets and the War of the Roses. There are two more books in this series, telling the stories of the mother of Edward IV’s Queen Elizabeth (The Lady of the Rivers) and the daughters of the Earl of Warwick (The Kingmaker’s Daughter).

History from women’s point of view

You’ll notice a similarity in topic here – these are stories told from the woman’s point of view. Even if you were the most dedicated history student, you may well have not been taught much about the queen consorts or dowager queens of England. Ms. Gregory will fill in those gaps for you as well as bringing to life the monarchs they married or mothered.

Amazon link for The Other Boleyn Girl dvd
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Dr. Gregory always appends a bibliography to her books. I read it thoroughly and make a list of the books I want to find. She also writes a note explaining what is historical fact and what is speculation or fiction. After finishing one of her novels, I always spend an evening googling the people and the era. She makes me want to know more about them. What I find matches pretty well with what I’ve read in her books.

Historical accuracy

A while ago, I listened to a CBC radio interview with a writer about his novel set in the American West (sorry, can’t find the details online). He said he doesn’t worry about historical accuracy because readers want a good story, not to learn about an era. So he just creates his own world. I guess that applies for some readers but not me.

Amazon link for The Last Templar by Michael Jecks
Amazon link

If I’m going to invest my time reading an era-specific book, I want it to accurately tell me about that era. I also want to know where it deviates from history. Philippa Gregory does that, as does Michael Jecks in his medieval England mysteries. I would think that if you are going to research and travel in order to get the flavour of a historical era and the people living in it, as the writer I heard interviewed said he does, you might as well present your fictional story in a historically accurate setting. As my father always said, if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 18/12)

Mrs. Guy Fawkes

I love Lewis when he ceases being Mr. Suave and Urbane.  Oh, I love him when he is Mr. Lewis waits in Rovers as comment cards are read outSlick too.  But this week, he showed himself to be the biggest scheming cat Coronation Street has seen in a long time.  He makes Tracy look like a rookie and even Gloria, who I think could teach Tracy a thing or two, “unraveled nicely” as he said.

Gail apologizingHe was absolutely wonderful all week, especially as he put his plan for revenge into effect.  But the absolute Kodak Moment for me was when Gail came to sort of apologize to him and speak on her mother’s behalf.  She said “I don’t know what to say,” and he, still charming and sophisticated, he spoke absolutely straightforwardly to her:  “Best zip it then.”

Bonfire Night may have had fireworks instead of a bonfire. But what fireworks they Gloria struggling with judge for plaquewere!  Lewis carefully orchestrated the unmasking of Gloria in the Best Pub competition.  Then, not being satisfied with that, he ensured that Leanne withdrew the offer of her couch for Gloria after Stella booted her out.

He was still not content to just watch her slink off in her Lewis talks to Gloria in taxi backseatblack taxi.  He opened the door, and gloated over telling her that he had done this to her. Then telling her that he was moving on to Tweedledee, her partner in subterfuge.

Meanwhile he still has not forgiven Audrey for her knowledge of the set up Gloria and Lewis tells Audrey it is overGail did to him.  He is polite, even caring, but tells her it is over, sorry.

I do think he is overreacting. After all, he knows that he did a lot of conning of women while doing his legitimate gigolo job.  And there is a matter of £10,000 that Audrey paid to get him out of trouble with a conned woman, Penny, and/or the police.

Neither he nor Audrey, it seems, want to acknowledge that she might well be within her Lewis and Gazette reporter pleased with results in Roversrights to test his loyalty, to see if the leopard really has changed his spots.  Given that, she could have legitimately argued that forcing Gloria and Gail to stop their plan to test him, or telling him what they were doing, would have simply meant that Gail would never ever stop harping about him using her mother.

Better to let the ‘test’ run its course and, if he passed it, tell Gail to “zip it.”   She wouldn’t be in much of a position to do anything else. But Audrey, feeling so guilty about betraying “dear Lewis”, didn’t think to say that.  I’d have thought it would have crossed his mind.  If not, I’ve hoped that Gail would point it Lewis comes from shop with bottle and sees Leanneout.  But on Thursday, seeing Lewis in the full flight of revenge, I’m glad no one pointed out the obvious.

I think this Lewis is just wonderful. Still, I’d rather take my chances with crossing Tracy than him.

Hens movin’ on up

Hens movin’ again.  That’s what happens when you’ve got wheels on your coop, you get itchy claws.

hens movin and coop pulled into garageThere has been some awfully cold days and nights the past couple weeks.  The girls are hardy, but I’ve worried about them at night despite the insulation in their coop.  They still like to go out in their run during the day.  But the wind whips around our windblocks.  And the ground gets sodden.

One freezing night when Sadie, the outdoor-by-choice cat, came in out of the gale and sleet, I said to her “I wish the chickens could be in with us too.”  Then I thought hmm, there’s a great big garage right beside them, wonder if they’d like to be inside it.  Nah, I’d get laughed out of town if I suggested putting them, coop and all, in the garage.

positioning coop in garageA day or two later, my brother said, “It’s probably too crazy, but I was thinking…”  Yes indeed, he too had thought about moving the chickens indoors for the winter.

So last weekend, the girls were packed up inside the coop, the lawn tractor hooked on to it, and the whole works moved into the garage.  Boards were put down under the run to protect the concrete floor and give the girls a less cold ‘ground’, a bale of straw spread out for them to peck in.

MINI parked by coopAfter they got in position, the MINI was put in beside them.  There was one night of snow last week, not a lot but enough to let you know it was on its way.  So time for MINI to go to sleep for the winter, for the very first time right beside some chickens for company.

Checking on them after their first night inside, I see an empty run.  Where are they?  Had they got out and were roosting in the hens inside cooprafters?  Had the Chicken Rapture happened?  No, inside the coop, looking at me like ‘oh thank goodness, you’re still here.  We’re scared!’  All crowded together, they even let me pet them as I gave them potato peelings.  One peel flicked out onto the run ramp, and one was brave enough to go after it.  The others looked at her, then me, then screwed up their courage and went out too.

garage at night photo Dorothy StewartSoon they were scratching in the straw and kicking it in the air, pecking and clucking and cooing.  Happy girls again.  Of course the weather has become nice again so neither chickens nor car need the protection of a garage, but in mid-November it can change any time.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 11/12)

Greek Night

Tuesday:  Roy looking through the debris of Greek Night, picks up a broken object.  It’s a Roy holding broken model train carmodel train car – a 5th anniversary gift from Hayley.  Mary says “I’ll replace it”.  He explodes that it can’t be replaced, that she violated his and Hayley’s home, their belongings and memories.  Mary says “I did it for you.”  Holding the broken model in his hand, he says “Or is it just a convenient excuse so you could Greek Night - Roy asking Mary to please leaveselfishly enact yet another bizarre fantasy of Mary the restaurant owner?”

Mary, much as I like her, does seem to embody some sort of passive-aggressive narcissism. What she wants to do takes precedence over any one else’s wishes. Indeed, it takes precedence over decent behaviour and common sense.  And it always ends up, somehow, with her blaming someone else for the fact that her plans for herself or for them didn’t quite work out.

Some on the street recognize this Roy challenging Mary's self-justificationin her.  Norris does and, after the past few weeks of working with her, so too does Anna.  Hayley knows it and, I predict, Nick soon will.  But no one has put it into words, especially in direct confrontation with her, any more astutely than did Roy.  And he is the man who doubts his ability to communicate.  He communicated the Mary leaving as Roy sits devastated at his tabledevastation he feels over her tromping over his café, his home and the trust that he placed in her.  He made it clear he won’t not buy into selfless ‘only wanted to help’ justification for selfish and deluded obsession.

If we could only turn Roy’s acuity on Michelle and Kylie

Michelle disbelieving of Ryan's excusesThanks to Kevin, Michelle realized that poor widdle upset Ryan was responsible for Sophie being hit because he was playing in traffic while stoned.  And for a split second, she lost her sympathy for his “I’m sorry” routine.

Michelle saying Tracy is to blameBut then she had a moment to think, and, in a justification of self and child worthy of Mary herself, she proclaimed that really it was all Tracy’s fault.  If Tracy hadn’t lied about a baby, hadn’t dumped him – whatever – then he wouldn’t have been so upset and Steve looks disbelievingly at Michelle blaming TracySophie wouldn’t be severely injured.   Yeah, Michelle, that works.  It can’t be Ryan’s fault, can it?  Even Steve, deluded as he is about both Michelle and Ryan, looked at her like “whah??”

And for our third denizen of de land of delusion, Kylie admitted to Nick that she had Roy apologizing to Nick and Kyliecalled the council on Mary selling liquor and that she had no evidence.  She had listened to Roy apologize for Mary’s dinner wars and his saying that he was liable if charges for selling liquor without a licence were upheld. If she didn’t realize the seriousness of that, Nick’s reaction to Roy’s words and later to her would make her realize this wasn’t petty neighbour squabbling.

Nick asks Kylie if she called CouncilBut still she was willing to let Roy be collateral damage – too bad, can’t do anything about it now.  Well actually there is, Nick pointed out to her.  He ordered her to get herself to council offices first thing on Monday and fix the mess.  And she gave her ‘poor maligned me’ pout and flounced off to wipe glasses or something.  Because like Mary, Michelle and Ryan, it can’t possibly ever ever be Kylie’s fault!

Bill Tarmey

Bill Tarmey in 2010 with his dog SaatchiOn Friday Nov. 9th, Bill Tarmey, our Jack, died.  He was on holiday in Tenerife and there’s something wonderfully Corrie about that.  I hope it’s ok with Mare’s Dad if I post his Oct. 3rd take on recent goings-on in Jack’s house on Coronation Street. “This entire situation with Tyrone, the Girlfriend From Hell, and Tommy would have been all straightened out in ten minutes if Jack were there”.  It’s a fitting tribute to Jack, and the character was very much the man Bill Tarmey.  Thank you, Bill, for the gift of your voice and the unforgettable character of Jack Duckworth.


My dad had a whole collection of poppies.  Mom kept the ones that we bought every year Black and green-centred poppiesand pinned them on the top of a wallhanging in the dining room.  Every November, Dad would just take one off the hanging and pin it to his jacket.  When I commented that annual poppy sale money supported the Legion, he said “I was in the war. I don’t need to give my money every year to those old farts.”

He had a point.  And since then, I’ve looked carefully at the poppies worn by people old enough to be WWII veterans.  Are they, like Dad, wearing poppies with green centres, years after black-centred ones replaced the green?  Do their poppies look like they themselves had been through the wars, as some of Dad’s did?  When I do see a battered old poppy on an old fella, I smile, happy to think there’s someone who shares Dad’s philosophy.

New Brunswick Legion car poppyBut for the rest of us who haven’t paid for poppies with the currency of our lives, we owe it to those who have, and are, to put money in the collection boxes every year.  If, like me, you lose your poppy or wear a different jacket – well, buy another one!

White or red poppies

A white poppy movement started a few years after the red poppies appeared – so that people could honour war casualties, civilian and soldier, without honouring the act of war.  I white poppy boxsuppose that’s ok.  There was a time in my life when I felt conflicted about buying or wearing a poppy.  It seemed like it was giving positive sanction to war to do so.  I even lectured a couple young cadets once when they were selling apples to raise money.  “I won’t buy your apple because I don’t support the war machine” I told them.  Oh, how absolutely pretentious was I!

I’d read soldiers saying that, in war, their primary concern was with the survival of each other. They were fighting for their own and their comrades’ lives.  Hooey, I thought back then, you wouldn’t have to worry about that if you’d just said “no to war” and not enlisted or accepted your draft call.

Canadian UN peacekeeping troops Rwanda 1994But after getting to know some soldiers, I realized that there are many reasons why people end up in the Armed Forces and few of those reasons involve wanting to fight.  But that possibility is real, and is accepted as part of the job.  When it happens, whether in war or peace-keeping missions, the danger is faced and bravery kicks in.  They do, every day, put their lives on the line.  They want to do their jobs well, stay alive and keep their buddies unharmed.

War itself may be a vicious response to green-centred poppyinternational problems, but when it happens, it’s good that there are men and women who do the job that’s necessary to end it.  And they may well pay with their blood.  And it’s their blood that is honoured by the red of the poppy.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 4/12)

There were a lot of great visuals this week.  The end of the week, of course. Sophie with sophie-on-highwaycoked-up, pity-partying Ryan on the highway as traffic whizzes past. Then Sophie splat on the pavement after pushing the waste of space out of the way of a car.

Mary at her Greek theme nightThroughout the week, great images from all of Mary’s café theme nights.   They build in complexity and drama as “Chef” becomes increasingly demented and her support staff more rebellious.

Wonderful ‘gurns’ from Steve in his maneuverings to get rid of Tracy.  I don’t know unhappy Steve with Lloydexactly what a ‘gurn’ is, but Coronation Street Blog has an open competition to submit Steve’s one of the week.  Vast riches this week.  Although, here at Lloyd’s flat, I feel quite sorry for him.  He was only trying to “do something,” as Michelle kept demanding he do.

Secret Shoppers

But I think, for me, the scene of the week in all ways must be the culmination of Dennis’ dennis sets up gloria for his free beer scam - secret shoppersscam for free beer.  I have no idea why Gloria was so easily taken in by him suddenly appearing with Lancashire Leisure under his arm purporting to be the “mystery drinker”.

I think she’s seen a charlatan or three in her life. She’d hedge her bets before doting on him in the bar, I think.  But then the story Gloria attends to Dennis and ignores real secret drinker judgewouldn’t have played out as it did.

And it was great.  She is attending to his every need and whim.  He’s getting absolutely wasted.  The real mystery drinker comes in, she ignores him.  He comes back from the bathroom, saying there’s no paper.  She says “let it drip dry like nature intended”.  You can see him mentally putting great big x marks in the NO boxes.

Gloria tells Eva that Dennis is judgeEva comes in and sees what is going on in the pub.  For, of course, yet another real Lancashire Leisure judge who can’t keep his mouth shut for five minutes helps her out.

You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard to hire real judge winks at Evasecret shoppers who could actually keep their identity secret.  The two real ones might as well have had a parade complete with balloons and a brass band preceding their arrival.

But even before she realizes who he is, she makes amends to the customer who is being Eva apologizes for Gran to customerso badly treated by Gloria.  She uses the excuse that Gran has gone senile but family is family and all that.  She might have saved their bacon in the competition, I don’t know.  I do know the real judge certainly got the full “local” bar experience, with Rita coming in and seeing the state of Dennis and rightly knowing that Gloria was the cause of it.

Rita sees Gloria and state of Dennis after his secret judge scam worksIt was wonderful. No one really understanding the full extent of what was happening. But everything that they said, and everything that the others heard, all made perfect sense in each context for every person.

Dennis just before falling to floorGloria, Dennis and Rita were the stars with their timing, reactions and lines.  But the supporting cast – Eva, the mystery drinker and all the Rovers’ patrons – were perfect too.