Corrie Street 31 Dec. 2017

Chords of Melodrama

Tuesday the trampoline in Fiz and Tyrone’s back yard burns. Who did it? Had to be Beth, says Fiz. No, Liz gives Beth an alibi. So Fiz wonders, “what if somebody’s trying to scare us?”fiz-what-if-someone-is-trying-to-scare-us

Only a complete headcase would do that, Tyrone laughs. Fiz sees it! I  hear organ chords – the sound of old soap opera. That foreboding sound that signals the reveal of evil. It’s Kirsty! Tyrone’s ex, a headcase wreaking madness and mayhem.tyrone-complete-head-case

The organ thundered again in my head. It was warning me, I think, that Coronation Street is indeed crashing further down the dramatic scale to pure melodrama.

And thus the week began and ended. Contrived stupidity, dastardly deeds. Michelle’s ‘robbery’ of her own business. Kate and Rana sneaking around, asking to get caught. People overhearing incriminating conversations. Secrets shared in public places. Anna returning to the scene of the crime. Phelan lurking and smirking.

On Fiz’s accusations, not once did she wonder if either daughter (users of said trampoline) might have had a lighter or matches. And yes, indeed, after she and Tyrone had major ‘my daughter, your daughter’ fights, Fiz finds a lighter in Ruby’s stuff.fiz thinks and organ chords sound

Some stories don’t need resolving. Kirsty is one. The car accident of Susan Barlow is another. They are sufficiently finished.

And my wish for 2018? Being able to pick a scene of the week that I actually like. It wasn’t that long ago that I could. Can we go back or move on from this melodrama fest? Please, no more plots that conjure up the sound of crashing organ chords.

Getting Chicks

Our elderly hens will soon shuffle off this mortal coil. Time to get some chicks, we decided. For five summers, our hens have gone chick-atop-henbroody. Weeks of sitting on eggs that will never hatch, and nothing can dislodge them. It would be nice for them after such diligence to have chicks. Thus began 2017’s Major Project.

We find a loaner Phoenix rooster. Randy, as I thought of him, came with a hen. Their guys said, if he was Randy, the hen should be Madeleine. The names of their aunt and uncle. They warn that Randy could be nasty and doubted that good intentions and treats would change that.

Hello Sailor!

rooster-strutOur hens love Randy! They hate Madeleine. Randy seems nice. He picks food from my hand. He’s so magnificent we rename him: George Clooney.

He struts and preens. We admire. He attacks. Feathers fluffed out, head down in shoulders like a wrestler, flying straight at my legs – his legs and spurs in front. “Get away from me you asshole!” I scream as I kick out at him. And so that becomes that name that sticks.

rooster-stare-photo-j-stewartYou don’t know if or when he will attack. Sometimes I go out suited up for combat and he is fine. Other times, he eats the treats you throw to him and then comes at you like a feathered spurred dervish. You are the source of food and he doesn’t care.

newly hatched chicks photo-j-stewartHe does his job though. All the hens hatch out chicks. Now the fun time, with fluffy babies tumbling around together. Nope! Every mother hates the other mothers and their chicks.

We expected problems with Madeleine so had sequestered her. She and our hens had never sorted out the pecking order before everyone went broody. But our girls? Together their whole lives? Happy little band of sisters? They turn on each other, ready to fight to the death.

Hens behind the wire

Endless construction to make separate spaces for each family unit. An annex built on their enclosed run, further subdivided with large hens ready to fight photo-d-stewartcages. Cardboard attached to the cage sides so the hens can’t even see each other. If they do, they fight.

One hen doesn’t like even her own chicks. After seeing her peck them really hard, we kick her out of the nursery. She doesn’t care, and another hen adopts her babies. That gives rooster some company. He’d been wondering where the girls had gone!

As the chicks grow, they need more space and want to go outside. All the chicks get along with each other. But the mother hens attack each other and the other chicks. So their enclosed yard is subdivided with chicken wire to keep them separated.hens-behind-the-wire

They settle into their separate spaces. Five rooster and seven hen chicks, four moms. But how are we going to bring the flock together without bloodshed? Cautious integration attempts fail. Madeleine’s comb is so badly bloodied by a hen that, skittish as she is, she allows us to bring her into the house to patch her up.

Chicks on their own

Then, one by one, the mothers decide their babies are big enough to leave them. They fly over the fence and join the rooster. At first the rooster-hens-in-coopchicks squawk and scream for mom, so she goes back to them or we return her. Eventually the babies let her go without protest. At bedtime, they go to their usual spot and cuddle up together without making a fuss. And mom goes to the adult quarters.

Only one hen remains with her four daughters, who are as big as she is. Helicopter Mom, we call her. She now bosses all the chicks around.

Rooster-brothers-photo-J-Stewart.The young roosters are magnificent. Every one a George Clooney. Their father is looking more backyard rooster than show bird. But grooming his feathers requires getting hold of him. Ain’t gonna happen!

Mothering chicks

Future chicks from these hens ain’t gonna happen either. I’ve had hens, roosters and chicks before. Never has it been like this. Hens hatched their chicks, side by side, and shared mothering duties. Some hens even shared a clutch of eggs. They were poster hens for hen and chicks photo-j-stewart“takes a village…”. So how did we end up with this murderous circus?

One day, at my wits’ end, I go to J & P Feeds for advice. Nothing I say surprises the woman at the store. Then I say “I used to have bantams…” She laughs, “Oh, bantams! That’s different. They love everybody. ‘Babies? Bring them on, I’ll look after all of them.’ That’s bantams!” So that’s the answer. If you want non-stressful chick rearing, keep bantams.

Rehoming

young-rooster-photo-d-stewartMr. A and Madeleine have now left us, as have the eldest rooster chicks. Just the youngest rooster and hens – young and old – now. They’ve formed a new family grouping.

Young rooster crows, an off-key cracked song. You don’t need to wear heavy jeans and high boots around him. Still, I kind of miss his dad.

Corrie Street 24 Dec. 2017

Pelznickel

Roy Cropper was a complete flop as the community centre Santa – or Roy as PelznickelPelznickel as he chose to costume himself. The scenes of him in the café, for me, were also a complete flop. Indeed, I found it excruciating to watch. Poor David Neilson, having to take part in that travesty of “quirky Roy”.

“Have Roy do something odd with the idea of Santa Claus” you could almost hear someone say. Then somehow the job was given to someone who has never actually seen Roy in action before. And this is what they came up with.line-up-for-santa

So far over the top that it was embarrassing. Yes, Roy might go for a more folkloric representation of St. Nicholas. But taking it that far, and persisting in handing out fruit to children instead of candy and presents? No, he understands kids very well. Also he is a successful businessman and thus he knows the customer must be satisfied. Even Yasmeen has enough sense to know this is wrong.

yasmeen-hands-orange-to-liamWhether Roy has questions about the origins and purposes of the red-suited ho-ho-ho happy Santa or not, he would find a happy medium. He’d give kids a bit of history perhaps. Then he would give them the gifts or candy they expected, along with some fruit.

Maria and Liam perhaps reacted realistically, certainly as they needed to react in order to have the “humour” of the situation maria complains about pelznickelpointed out. Maria’s snotty behaviour (“I want my money back!”) did nothing to endear her to me. Nor Liam’s, but he has the excuse of being a kid. By the time the unknown mother and her brat were yelling about horrible Santa, I was wishing Pelznickel would haul out that bunch of sticks and use them!

Roy as Pelznickel wasn’t the only horrifying moment in Monday’s grandfathers-4-justiceepisodes. Norris in a Batman suit with a placard on the roof of the factory. Oh good Lord! Same person must have said “Have Norris do something funny”. The person who has also never watched Norris before came up with this. Somehow, these scenes made it through the writing chain and actually got filmed. If anyone said “hey, this stuff isn’t in character,” evidently nobody listened.norris-on-factory-roof

I always look forward to the Christmas episodes of Coronation Street. They always push the boat out a bit with décor, a bit of nostalgia, and a lot of drama. This year, I’m dreading it. Watching over the past couple months – since soon after the sixth episode started – has felt like work. And this week was just too awful for words.

Good moments? Tracy’s ‘get well from testicular surgery’ cactus to Robert. Well done, too, get-well-cactusthat Michelle didn’t find it funny at all. Also Jude and Mary’s talks about the whys of Jude’s origins, especially the one on Wednesday. Jude’s blow-up at Mary on Monday was good too, but was overshadowed by being interspliced with the Pelznickel and Batman nightmares.

So this is Christmas

From the St. Thomas Dog Blog, December 2011, this is my summary of STDOA events and animals of the year.

dog looking through decorated gate into yard D StewartChristmas – and what have you done. Looking back at 2011, I am proud of what STDOA has done. It has been a hard year in St. Thomas, with plant closures and the world economic debacle. A deluge of abandoned pets in the city reflects that.

It was last Christmas Eve that I put the first Caring Pet Cupboard blue donation bins in local businesses. In one year, we have collected 5,439 lbs of kibble in 11 bins and another 4,355 pounds from Darford Pet Foods and Royal Canin. We have distributed all of it, plus hundreds of cans and treats, to people who need help feeding their pets.

But the pound and rescue groups are overwhelmed with unwanted dog wearing reindeer antlers D Stewart STDOAanimals. The need to pool resources to deal with the staggering numbers of animals led to the formation of the Animal Coalition, of which STDOA is a member. The Rogers telethon we all hosted raised nearly $6,000. Our thanks to all who contributed.

City Council struck a committee this year to deal with animal welfare. City staff and volunteer rescue groups sit on it. Joe Spencer represents STDOA. Hours at the pound have been extended and the website has been redesigned in order to make getting pets home easier. Treatment of incoming animals, particularly emergency vet care for sick or injured animals, has been discussed and steps taken to have basic care done. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s an improvement.

The creation of the City’s Animal Welfare Committee and the Caring Pet Cupboard are due, in large part, to two dogs. In the fall of 2010, Bear was abandoned at Dalewood Conservation Area and Bosco was left tied to the St. Thomas pound fence. Their plight struck a chord for all of us. They have happy endings to their stories, both now with new homes.

the late dog, Myles, euthanizedOther dogs haven’t been so lucky. Myles, a dog at the pound (photo at right),  needed help to trust people. But he was euthanized. A sick small dog just two nights ago died from unknown causes: unknown because vet care was not authorized. I hope their deaths serve as a reminder that care is owed to all creatures.

STDOA + Cats

Through our new “subsidiary” Charity Cat, STDOA is now involved with homeless cats. When our Caring Pet Cupboard has excess food, cat with Santa hat D Stewartwe take it to rescue groups and cat caretakers. In getting to know those dedicated people, we found out their other needs. For feral cats, it’s money for spaying/neutering and vaccinations. While raising money for that, one member inadvertently became a cat caretaker. Someone left a box of cats, literally, on her doorstep. She’s looking after them and seeking new homes for lovely cats and kittens. Solved the problem of unwanted cats for some people and gave her the problem instead.

STDOA had the sorrow of the deaths this year of our first president, Luanne Demers, and friend and supporter, Gord Burt. We miss them dearly.

Happy Holidays to all. Enjoy Xip and John Lennon.

Corrie Street 17 Dec. 2017

Hello Henry

Eva and Rita when Henry walks in the Rovers on Tuesday with a great big bouquet of flowers. Wow – even better than they’d expected.

rita-advises-gemma-at-barActually, they didn’t expect he’d show up for Gemma at all. Rita had just being sharing the wisdom of her years, warning Gemma about great expectations and cads. Don’t get upset but don’t expect to see him again either.

henry walks in roversBut there he is, with brolly and flowers, oozing charm, and asking Gemma out. That was one big surprise for Eva and Rita. Plus he’s at least as good looking as Gemma said, and his charm seems genuine.

And now back to regularly scheduled Corrie. Because this story isn’t it. Another interlude, I think. Filler, perhaps designed to be one of the light-hearted stories and character exploration promised with the addition of a sixth weekly episode.

eva-stares-at-flowersWith our regular characters? Lots of stuff – some sad, some nasty, some you need a score card to keep track of. Too much to care really about any of it.

So this tiny scene was the best of it all. It’s Rita and Eva of course, who can convey miles of emotion and information with the widening of an eye. Gemma too, who can easily hold her own with them. Henry? Yes, he’ll do nicely, I think. But…

rita looks smitten with henryHenry and Gemma. Henry Newton – heir to the Newton & Ridley brewery empire. Gemma – a few steps down the social ladder from even Coronation Street. A Cinderella story. I didn’t have to think of that myself. Gemma’s shoe left at the party. Just in case you didn’t twig from that, Toyah named it when Gemma was at the Rovers telling the story of her posh party. And her posh guy is named Henry – as in Henry Higgins who fell in love with his rough-around-the-edges protégée Eliza Doolittle.

gemma-awed-by-flowers-and-henryEven though I like them, I won’t be investing much in Henry and Gemma. Like Moira and Colin, it’s a side story that doesn’t fit in the fabric of the show.

Gander Bay NL

decks-awash-1983-v12-no6-coverDecks Awash, in 1983, published an issue about Gander Bay and Hamilton Sound. Below are the pages about Charles Francis of Clarke’s Head in Gander Bay. He was a Mi’kmaw from Pictou Landing, Nova Scotia. In 1821, when he was maybe 12 years old, he settled at Clarke’s Head, where the Gander River meets the bay.

Click or tap the images to enlarge them. You can see the entire magazine online at the MUN Digital Archives.

Gander Bay area

gander bay intro…For the most part this 10-mile-wide bay, which was once part of the French Shore was overlooked by settlers until the early 1800s. This is perhaps because Newfoundland was valuable as a base for the fishing industry, and Gander Bay is shallow and too far from the fishing grounds of Hamilton Sound to have been seen as a suitable area for settlement…

The first settler was a Micmac Indian, originally from Nova Scotia. The first white settlers arrived via Fogo and Change Islands in search of farm land and timber, and by all accounts lived in harmony with the Micmac settler. In fact, intermarriage occurred and many residents of Clarke’s Head and other communities in the vicinity are of Micmac descent…

Clarke’s Head, Gander Bay

decks-awash-1983-clarkes-head-p-10Sometime in the late 1700s a Micmac Indian and his mother arrived in what is now Clarke’s Head by way of Conne River. Near the mouth of the Gander River he cleared a plot of land and set about trapping furs to earn a living. He also fished for salmon on the river to provide variety in his diet. His name was Charles Francis.

But his solitude did not last long. A few years later John Bussey came from Fogo in search of land suitable for farming. Being an industrious sort, he cleared an entire point and called it, not surprisingly, Bussey’s Point. He planted vegetables and raised livestock, and like his Micmac neighbor fished for salmon. His attempt at immortality did not succeed, however, for the area later became known as Tibbey’s Point and today it is no longer distinguished form Clarke’s Head at all.

Gradually, more settlers came, and by 1838 there were eight houses at Clarke’s Head with a population of 68. Somewhere along the way Charles married into the white community, taking a Gillingham woman from Greenspond for his wife. Their only problem was that he was Roman Catholic and she was a member of the Church of England. They brought that situation to a happy conclusion by agreeing to raise half their children in her faith and the other half in his. It is possible, however that Charles’ mother was none too pleased with the arrangement for she returned to Nova Scotia.

decks-awash-1983-clarkes-head-11As time went on Clarke’s Head became known for its lumbering. A shipbuilder named Saunders from Blackpool, England, came to Clarke’s Head in the 1890s and set up business premises. He invested in the fishery including the Labrador and operated a large sawmill which exported rough lumber. The operation of the mill continued until the 1950s. At about the same time a George Phillips obtained leases for 270 thousand acres of virgin timberland on the banks of the Gander River and began to operate mills at Botwood, Glenwood, Norris Arm and Campbellton. In the winter he employed between 200 and 300 men in his woods’ operation near Clarke’s Head. But the operation literally died with him in 1905, just ten years after it began. It was purchased by the Newfoundland Timber Estates which closed it down soon afterwards. Perhaps because of the importance of the woods’ operations, the fishery in Clarke’s Head began to die.

Clarke’s Head has the distinction of being the site of the first church in Gander Bay. In 1905 an Anglican Church was finished to provide a place of worship for the community’s 221 members of the Church of England. The Roman Catholic Church maintained its presence of 36 members which grew to 42 over the next 30 years. There were also 13 Methodists in the community.

Clarke’s Head is the place where the first moose was landed in Newfoundland. In 1875 the HMS Eclipse landed a buck and a doe to see if the animals could survive in the area. The following year the fisheries officer aboard the HMS Bullfinch arrived to find that the buck was dead and the doe had wandered off. At this point the oral tradition surrounding the story becomes interesting. One version has it that a man traveling by horse and sled to Clarke’s Head struck the buck and injured it so badly that there was nothing to be done but put the poor animal out of its misery. A more plausible version claims that the unnamed gentleman killed the moose intentionally for the supper table perhaps starting the tradition of setting out in winter to hunt for moose in the woods around Gander Bay. It was not until several years later that more moose were landed in the area.

It is also said that there was a great fire in Clarke’s Head in the 1890s which wiped out all the houses in the community. The fire is said to have cut a path a mile wide for a distance of five miles to an area known as Charles Cove.

One final note of distinction at Clarke’s Head is the development of the Gander Bay river boat. In appearance it is remarkably like an Indian canoe with a few modifications. it is designed to withstand rough waters and, since it does not sit very deep in the water is ideal for use in the shallow waters of Gander Bay and the Gander River. Today, the boats are made by Gander Bay Woodcrafts at Clarke’s Head operated by the local Indian Band Council.

Some definite opportunities

decks-awash-1983-calvin-francis-41decks-awash-1983-calvin-francis-42

Calvin Francis, above, is the great grandson of Charles William Francis, eldest son of Charles Francis and Caroline Gillingham. He represents Gander Bay on the Qalipu First Nation council.

Children of Charles and Caroline Francis

Charlie and Caroline had seven children, all born in Clarke’s Head. They are:

  • Charles William Francis, born about 1855. He married Rachel Wadden, born about 1862 in Change Islands. They had three sons and one daughter: Herbert, Simon, Edgar and Althea.
  • Peter Francis, born about 1856 and died 1922. He married Dorcas Gillingham, born 1866 and died 1950. They had seven children: Theodore, Angus, Katie, Ida, Beatrice, Florence and Elijah.
  • Fanny Francis, born about 1859 and died soon after her marriage to Azariah Snow, born about 1858 in Hare Bay, Fogo Island.
  • Thomas Francis, born about 1862. He married Julia Peckford, born 1865 in Change Islands. They had nine children: Caroline, Lewis Aquilla, Frederick Pierce, Alberta, Laura Bridget, Chesley, Winifred, Thomas Riley and Sidney Ralph.
  • Mary Ann Francis, born late 1860s. She married Levi Stuckey, born about 1860 in Herring Neck, New World Island in Notre Dame Bay. They had three daughters: Maud, Lillian and Daisy.
  • Andrew Francis, born about 1869. He married Isabelle Pinsent, born about 1885 in Pilley’s Island, Notre Dame Bay. They had three daughters: Henrietta, Amanda Matilda and Evelyn.
  • Edward (Ned) Francis, born 1869 and died 1948. He married Sarah Anne Taylor, born about 1875 in Carbonear. They had 4 children: Helena, Peter Alphonsus, Melvin and Veronica.

Corrie Street 10 Dec. 2017

Stoke on Trent

Monday, Moira and Colin left Weatherfield for Stoke on Trent. They have been the only bright spot for me the past few weeks. And they maintained their style right to the end.

moira-at-barThe telling of the tale in the Rovers, in blank verse. Undone by Cupid, Moira tells Liz and Steve, Norris and Mary. Stealing a vial of blood for a man. A man who knows how to kiss, oh, how he knows how to kiss.

liz-steve-norris-mary-speechlessBut now what future for her? Pastures new, perhaps, suggests Liz. Not what Moira wants to contemplate. But then the resolution. Enter Colin. He woos his lady and, on bended knee, he suggests love ever after in Stoke on Trent.

This was brilliant. Moira slipped easily into rhythmic Shakespearean style as she bemoaned her fate and her foolishness. The surprise came when Liz responded in kind. And then the others – Steve, Norris and Mary. None of them, except Mary, characters you’d associate with such a literary device. That’s maybe why it was so funny. Brian Packham, yes, joined by Ken and Roy. Maybe Norris too. He’d pooh-pooh it, of course, but he’d be able to fall into the cadence.

colin-talks-to-moiraLater Moira and Colin returned, bags packed and taxi waiting, and in natural speech said fare thee well. Waving them off out the door amid promises to visit Stoke on Trent as soon as – try stopping us – Liz and Steve heaved huge sighs of relief.

colin says come to stoke on trentThe loose ends of their stories had been tied up. Dr. Gaddas fired Moira for stealing Norris’ blood sample, despite Colin explaining why he had asked her to do it. Norris explained to Colin why his two weeks in Darlington in 1961 had been memorable. Not a fling, rather hospitalization due to a car crash. Colin sold the Kabin back to Norris. So, unencumbered, they were ready to exit the stage of Weatherfield.

moira-and-colin-kiss-at-barI preferred watching Moira and Colin to any of the other storylines at present. Not because they had become integral characters; rather, they remained unintegrated add-ons. However, even though you had to suspend disbelief a lot, they were more believable and pleasant than most everything else going on. A surprising thought in light of the stories they were given. Sketches, really, with sometimes a bit of framework thrown on to sort of explain the action. So, Stoke on Trent and Liz, your gain is my loss.

Halifax Explosion

Halifax Harbour, December 6 1917, two ships collide. An explosion, followed by a tsunami and a fire that burns much of the city. The next day, a major snowstorm.

Halifax Explosion blast cloud LAC wikicommonsA rare photograph of the actual explosion. The photographer is unknown. But other photos of the explosion turned up a few years ago. Royal Navy Lt. Victor Magnus was in Halifax. His daughter, Ann Foreman of Cornwall, UK, found his photographs of the explosion long after his death. You can see them and read the full interview in the Daily Mail. This is part of what she said in November 2014:

My father was a great photographer. He always had a camera around his neck… It was just a coincidence that he was at the Halifax disaster. The actual explosion was a massive amount of smoke. He was very lucky to survive, especially as it destroyed the town. He took some photos on the shore and it looked like the London Blitz.

W. G. MacLaughlan, Halifax Photographer

Looking-North-toward-Pier-8-from-Hillis-Foundry-after-Explosion-Halifax-1917-W-G-MacLaughlan wikicommons
Looking North toward Pier 8 from Hillis Foundry after Explosion Halifax, W G MacLaughlan

Many of the images of the destroyed city came from the cameras – still and film – of W. G. MacLaughlan. His daughter, Rose Edna, recalled the day of the explosion.

Just before war was declared in 1914, Dad opened a studio – he was a photographer- on the corner of Buckingham & Barrington, over the Royal Bank and [sister] Bea and I worked in the reception room awhile before she went to Normal College and I to Business College.

I was there on the morning of the explosion- a Belgian Relief Ship and another loaded with explosives collided in the harbour. The North end of the city was partly destroyed and a great many people killed. No one at the College was seriously hurt, although a number of the windows were shattered. The College was about three miles from the Harbour…

I knew Bea had gone to Dad’s studio uptown, so I went down and met her on Barrington St. coming for me. We went back to the Studio but Dad hadn’t come in. Mr. [George] Nason, who worked there had been in the developing room and had his head done up as he was cut when the skylight broke up, but not badly. We were living out at Armdale then, about five miles from Barrington St. and we had to walk home, as everything had closed in the city. The traffic was terrible – cars and trucks taking people, who had been hurt, to the hospitals. When we got home we found mama and sister Marguerite ok and Dad had been a few miles from the house on his way to work. He went back home to see if they were ok and then left for the city. Nearly all the windows in our home were shattered, but that was all the damage.

Benjamin Smith, Hillview, Trinity Bay, Royal Navy

A Newfoundlander, Ben Smith, was in Halifax on that day. His story was told in a 1977 Offbeat History column. Here’s part of it.

The account doesn’t say where Ben Smith joined the Niobe. Most likely he had to go to Halifax. In any case he was in the Niobe at the time of the cataclysmic explosion, December 6, 1917, when the city was half destroyed. Ben Smith was below decks when the blast occurred and perhaps he owed his life to that fact. As he hurried on deck in the confusion and terror he lost his cap, and when he reached the deck the first thing he saw was the bodies of two of his shipmates who had been killed. He thought to himself: “Well, they won’t need their caps any more.” So he picked up one of the dead men’s caps and put it on his head and wore it until the end of the war.

He saw a lot of grim sights on that terrible day in Halifax after the Niobe’s crew was allowed ashore but ordered to stay out of the explosion area. As the men were walking down the streets they heard a woman screaming from a window. They asked her if there was anything they could do. She beckoned to them to come up and three of the sailors went into the house and the woman asked them to take out her invalid mother, aged 80 years, and bring her downstairs so she could be taken into the country for safety. It was lucky they went in for there were so many dead and dying and injured people about that no one would likely have bothered to rescue the old lady.

Men who tried to save Halifax Harbour

From the Shelburne Gazette, Feb. 6, 1918 (complete article at Shelburne Co. Coast Guard). Nineteen of 24 crew members of the tugboat Stella Maris, including the Captain, died in the explosion.

Capt. Brannen’s Great Work

One of the outstanding characters who lost his life in the great Halifax disaster was Captain Horatio H. Brannen, commander of the S.S. Stella Maris, who was making an heroic effort to reach the burning Mont Blanc and tow her to a place of greater safety before the catastrophe came.

Captain Brannen was born at Woods Harbor, Shelburne County, forty-five years ago, and so was just coming into manhood’s fullest prime when his life was so tragically cut off…

Captain Brannen had never been discharged from the naval service and, on the morning of the great disaster, he was taking the S.S. Stella Maris into Bedford Basin when he was sent to the aid of the burning ship. Aided by British blue-jackets he was trying to reach the Mont Blanc with a line in the hope of towing her to a place of greater safety when the explosion came.

Corrie Street 3 Dec. 2017

Cheesecutter

back-room-kabinThursday, Moira comes bearing gifts for Colin. Norris’ blood sample, a flat cap, and herself.

The blood sample is so that Colin can find out if Norris is his dad. The flat cap – I don’t know why. Maybe Colin had been looking for one? It colin-puts-on cheesecutter capgave him the opportunity to say that in New Zealand, it’s called a Cheesecutter. Well, you just have to google that, don’t you? Yes, indeed, a Cheesecutter cap is a type of flat cap and you can learn more at Prohibition Hats NZ.

The third gift came from the hat. As Colin was about to try it on, Moira was overwhelmed by his lustrous locks. She ran her fingers through his hair, spurring him to do the same with her hair. “Titian” mutual-fingers-running-through-hairhe murmured, as he ruffled and mussed and apparently painfully tangled her hair, judging by her wince. Still, the flame of passion stayed alight. The last we see of them is a leg in the air as they fall to the floor in the Kabin’s back room.

I’ve said before that I think Moira and Colin are great. Comedy gold, you could say. However, it strikes me as significant that, in a week of dramatic and emotional events, this is the scene that stood out for me. Kate struck Robert with her car. Robert may have testicular moira-wincescancer. Kate and Rana became ‘Kana’. Sally was inaugurated as mayor. Bailiffs came to Sally’s door to collect on Gina’s debts. Sinead and Daniel did a mating dance. There’s more too probably, but they’ve all blurred into each other.

Adding on comedy

So only this one small scene stayed in my mind. And it is between two peripheral characters. Neither Colin nor Moira have been integrated well into the street, the show. The actors have done wonders with what’s been given them. Ok, you want us to do the comedy bits? We can do that.

colin-and-moira-sink-to-floorBut why is Colin there? I hope this is not a long-lost son storyline. We’ve done that with Mary just recently. Once might work, twice takes us way too far into American soap territory. A new person arrives in town; so how are we going to connect him/her to existing characters? I know! Father and son, mother and daughter, identical twins separated at birth. What I would rather know is why did Colin leave his presumably high-powered job that he had when we first met him at the radio station? Why did he buy The Kabin?

And Moira? She just recently left her husband. Doesn’t this distress her at all? Why have we heard nothing more about him or their relationship? He popped in to wrap up a contrived storyline with Liz and the vaping scam. That exposed him as Moira’s dearly beloved blur-of-a-footand most respected husband. In turn, that expanded Moira’s role outside the medical clinic. But, sadly, she is a vessel for funny lines more than a real character. Are she and Colin there simply so Corrie can say ‘oh yes, we still have comedy’? Extraneous characters there only for a laugh can work in a sitcom. But not here.