“It was that time of year in Nova Scotia when after the bleak east winds of April and May the sun breaks forth with almost tropical heat, when trees, shrubs, and grasses have a lush green only to be matched in Ireland, when the open spaces by the water are speckled white with wild strawberry blossoms, when huckleberry, blueberry and lambkill bushes are in bloom; when the forest floor is bright with lady’s-slipper, bluet, sarsaparilla, starflower, and false Solomon’s-seal, when violets bloom along the brook sides and the swamps are a blue fire of iris, when small fruit has begun to form on the Indian pear branches and the leaves of young poplars make a silver flutter against the sober background of the pines. More important to the settlers, it was a time when the cod had moved in shore from the Banks, when haddock and pollack were schooling in every sea creek and salmon were swarming up the streams.”
Thomas Raddell, Halifax: Warden of the North
Another good day, but cooler and less sunny than before. Today I took my first drive over the MacDonald bridge (the old bridge, to the locals ‘old MacDonald had a bridge’ is my mnemonic to tell it from the other, MacKay Bridge) it was pretty easy to get around, I thought and a $1 toll doesn’t seem too much when a ferry ride is $2.25 (although if your trip is 3 hours or less, that will get you a round trip.)
The streets were pretty busy today with shoppers-the stores were pretty upscale-but I counted 3 homeless people begging for change. I suppose you might find that many in Northampton on a busy night, but somehow it seemed like a lot to me. I’ve got a couple of issues with beggars. First off, they are mostly men, and if you watch, they target women to ask for money. Another thing is the way they just stand in one place and beg. I mean, if I were ever in such a situation, I’d find/make a little broom and keep my area of the street tidy, or offer to give directions or have a funny sign or do something to earn it and not just stand there in one place with a cup and boo boo lips. So those are my two issues with beggars.
That notwithstanding, there were some nice shops in Halifax, but no one on the street struck me as being overly stylish or a la mode. That’s a good thing. I can’t imagine anyone walking around in Manolo Blahniks for very long here!
The highlight of the day was definitely dinner at Johns. John’s is a fish fry place right near the woodside ferry landing and it’s very good at what it does. We got there around 4:30 P.M. and had to wait for a table. By now, there’s probably a line going out the door. The placemat had testimonials from people from all over who raved about the fresh seafood. I was surprised that they didn’t have one of those ‘famous guests’ wall because there must be some if this place is such an institution. And the food is awesome. I asked if the clams were ‘belly clams,” what we call them in Massachusetts in order to tell them from clam strips. Whole belly clams must be fresh, while strips are almost always frozen. The handsome man at the grill said they are the whole clam. He added that he’d just recently found out what clam strips were (they come from giant deep sea clams that are chopped into small strips) I agreed, saying clam strips were the baby cut carrots of the sea world. He laughed. The clams were good, but tonight the scallops were better, Sea scallops but smallish. ‘Digby scallops’ my dining partner said, knowledgeably. Digby is a bay, but these were big for bay scallops. They were yummy though, tender and succulent inside and crisp and golden brown on the outside. Only one, no two tiny complaints: the tarter sauce was in those little plastic coffins. I like mine made on the premises served in a squeeze bottle, just like the ketchup is. The other tiny complaint was white vinegar instead of malt and no lemon served with the fish. I suppose I could have asked, but I’m not sure they would have had it. Next time, it’s take out with fresh lemon and homemade tartar sauce.
A good day: a free ferry ride, a nice bike ride to and from the ferry terminal (I can work it so it’s downhill both ways 🙂 then a nice pedal on the Halifax side down the boardwalk to the farmers market. It was about 65° and sunny this afternoon, or as I should say, 19° (I keep switching back and forth on my dashboard app because except for a couple of benchmark temps, I still can’t get Celsius). I spent the morning writing a bit, but mostly on my new facebook group.
We had a big thunderstorm last night, but nothing compared to western mass!
That tornado is about 19 miles from my house!
No problems with any of my friends, but on the Eastern Mass side of the state, my husband’s cousin’s daughter was on a bus on the Mass Pike going home from a school trip to 6 Flags. Brian Williams said the tornadoes basically followed the pike.
(the tail of the same storm that walloped western mass) and it was still foggy and ‘mizzlin’ this morning. It was a good morning to be inside, doing laundry and chatting online. By 2 p.m. It was brilliantly sunny and the moment I planned for arrived: it was time for adventure!
I saddled up ‘black betty,’ making sure I had a lined pannier for the fish I planned to purchase, and headed out.