Monthly Archives: January 2016

Travel Favourites – England 1999

Winter has its doldrums too, so what better time to brighten the mind’s eye with some favourite images from travels abroad to destinations memorable for their fascinating history, natural beauty or personal significance.

In 1999, on one of several¬† trips to the British Isles,¬† we limited our scope to England, Scotland and Wales, driving stalwartly on the left side of roadways varying from high speed “dual carriageways” to single lane country roads in the more remote areas.Britain086NAVLW

We started with a nostalgic return to Bickleigh Cottage, a gorgeous thatched roof bed and breakfast hideaway near Exeter in Devon where we stayed on our first overseas trip in 1976.Bickleigh-1-025AVLW

Based there for four days, we rambled over southwestern England as far as Penzance, where we saw no pirates, but had a close look at St. Michael’s Mount, a medieval monastery on an offshore rock that resembles Mont St. Michel, its larger and more famous counterpart on the French side of the English Channel.Britain003RAVLW Visitors to the mount can walk there when the tide is low, but only go by boat, or risk wet feet, when the tide rises.









In Dartmoor, we snapped pictures of an ancient stone clapper bridge at Postbridge,Postbridge-016RAVLW and admired the famous wild ponies in Dartmoor National Park.Britain030AVLW










A fascinating site visited in Oxfordshire in southern England was the 3,000 year old Uffington White Horse,Uffington-1-024AVLW the figure of a white horse set in white chalk on high ground visible for miles around.

Further north stood the massive ruins of Kenilworth Castle,Britain034AVLW immortalized in Sir Walter Scott’s novel and regarded as one of the finest castle ruins in England. An outstanding feature is John of Gaunt’s Great Hall.Britain044NAVLW







Some of the most striking scenes of rural England were found in the Yorkshire Dales on the eastBritain070NAVLW and in the fabled Lake District on the west.

Well remembered images include an intriguing stone built road side pub, distinctively patterned landscapes, Britain080AVLWbedraggled sheepBritain029AVLW, a one-legged bird Britain060NAVLWand a uniquely ugly duckling.Britain061AVLW

St. FX Memories

I wonder if anyone with Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University connections would relate to my reminiscences of the two years I spent there in the early 1950s? Can’t say I didn’t try because a publisher’s report on my book: Gower Street: A Memoir has appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of the St. F.X. Alumni News.showcase-vt-campusmap3W St__Francis_Xavier_Universi

Referring to me as Nix Wadden ’52, it says in part:

“Gower Street is his memoir beginning with his growing up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the 1930s and 1940s and attending St. Bonaventure’s College. From there, he leads into the 1950s and his university years, including a complete chapter on his time spent in Antigonish attending St. FX, followed by his first job as a newspaper editor and eventually becoming one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s pre-eminent journalists. Nix worked as a writer, reporter and editor in Newfoundland news media before moving to Ottawa for a position in the federal government. He served as national chairman of the government section and president of the Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society, director of the Information Services Institute, and member of the National Press Club of Canada. He also handled communications for the Ottawa Folk Festival. Nix currently lives in Ottawa.”

My Antigonish sojourn in 1950-51 and 1951-52, as frankly acknowledged in the book, was neither academically nor personally successful, but it had its enjoyable moments and forged some lasting friendships. (I am second from right in the student group photo.)Book-2-pix005001PW

Noted for the distinctive golden X design of graduation rings its alumni proudly wear, St. F.X. University today serves some 5,000 students, drawn mainly from the Atlantic region but also from other parts of Canada, the United States, and countries around the world.

Boulders or Jackstones?

20160108_143252PcredWMaybe the perhaps mythological status of “Devil’s Jackstones” does not apply to them. They may indeed rank merely as big boulders but, in our family, fond hopes persist that two of them, lying close to our onetime summer homes in the Kelligrews-Conception Bay South area in Newfoundland, might lay claim to jackstone honours.

My late brother Brian’s family spent many happy summers in a cabin built on a park-like site beside a stream in what we used to call the Lower Gullies. One of its hidden charms was a large boulder surrounded by trees but often a target for climbing and resting under the summer sun. Marie Wadden, Brian’s daughter, says her father thought it was another of the Devil’s jackstones. “It’s not as large as the others but I think it is a contender,” Marie suggests.” We called it our ‘think rock’ because it was comfortable to sit on and contemplate.” Still on wooded land, it is located behind today’s Holloway Place.

From our family’s summer bungalow on Ledrew’s Road in Kelligrews, it was only a few minutes’ walk up the lane to a similar large boulder where we used to climb and enjoy the pleasant though limited view. We probably never equated it with the devil’s jackstones and usually called it merely “the big rock.” Our son Ron got his turn sitting there during a visit in 1975. Ron116PRcapW

Jackstones or not, big boulders dotting the landscape recall centuries past when a receding ice age left myriad such reminders across vast stretches of Newfoundland.