Monthly Archives: February 2016

Feedback Favourites on Gower Street

A great many kind and favourable comments have come my way since my Gower Street book launch back in October. An outstanding book review published in the Fall 2015 edition of the Newfoundland Quarterly is especially cherished. NQ editor Joan Sullivan commented “…Wadden’s brisk, evocative writing, apt and well-placed words and phrases, and his spirited nostalgic voice, make Gower Street an appealing and informative read.”

Individuals mentioned in the book prompted some interesting reader requests, including a call for further reminiscences about my summer playmate Tom Ryan for members of his family. I was glad to oblige.

Finding one’s name, or one’s family name, in print, is usually a bit of a treat, and of course it helps when the reference is a friendly or at least non-controversial one, as I think generally applies here. It helps that Flanker Press editors generously compiled an extensive index.

It was a thrill to hear the excitement one lady felt on making a surprise discovery in a chapter of the book describing our family’s summers spent in Kelligrews. Wenda Crummell put it this way:

“I have often heard that the unexpected can be the best or worst surprise you can receive…….I came across your book today and searching the chapters saw Kelligrews. Then I read the opening line “Aunt Emily” and got excited. I kept reading with disbelief but then I turned the page and my world lit up. Staring back at me was the picture of Emily and George Tilley……my Great Grandparents. Wow, I reread and reread again but so happy I found this book. I went directly to my Mom (Florence) and showed her this wonderful story and she was excited just like me. It was so nice to read about Emily and George. To see the picture was cream on the cake. I was wondering if you might have any more stories about Emily and George or pictures? Thank you so much for a Treasured Memory.”

Yet another surprise story emerged when two sisters, Lynn and Wanda Richards, asked if the Charlie Richards I mentioned among friends met at Jack English’s, a neighbourhood confectionery store, might have been their father. He was indeed, but I will save that interesting story for a new posting in the next week or so.

It has been encouraging, meanwhile, to see the fruits of continuing promotion of Gower Street by Flanker Press. Latest to catch my eye was the two-page (24-25) spread written in the Jan 31-Feb 6 edition of the Newfoundland Herald. Written by Wendy Rose and headlined “Sense of Coziness,” it features Gower Street and four other Flanker Press Books – A Beautiful Sight, Mr. Big, A Badly Misunderstood Dog, and The Story of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. Wendy writes “I love cuddling up on the couch, lighting a fire and sinking into some form of reality that is far removed from your own. Time to … consult this reading checklist and break out the reading glasses. Flanker Press has you covered this winter.”NQIMG_424W Uncle-George1captionsW

Travel Favourites – London 1999

London’s vast historic landmarks and tourist treasures can only be hinted at in any photo selection, as evident from our few days’ visit in 1999.

Aerial views while circling for landing time at Heathrow were an unexpected treat.

Bus tour views, even from an upper deck, offer fleeting glimpses of the bustling city.

Ever a fascinating destination, Buckingham Palace presents dazzling images by day and sometimes interesting silhouettes.

A dramatic surprise for us was finding a Newfoundland coat of arms embedded in a Buckingham Palace gate, sharing pride of place with other prominent corners of the British Commonwealth. Erected obviously before 1934, when Newfoundland was a self-governing dominion, it stands today as the only Canadian province so honoured on the Buckingham Palace grounds.

A comfortable tube ride from downtown London, world-famed Kew Gardens offered welcome respite from metropolitan London’s constant whirl of activity.

A unique monkey tree was fun to see.Aerial-London_1615AVLW Aerial-London_1616AVLWBig-Ben018AVLW Kew-137AVLW London003AVLW London006AVLW London009RAVLW London011AVLW London013RAVLW London020AVLW London022AVLW London041AVLW London042AVLW London057AVLW London059AVLW London062AVLW London064AVLW London076AVLW London080AAVLW London085AVLW London140AVLW

Travel Favourites – Wales 1999

Oystermouth-0029AVLW Wales006AVLW Wales0012AVLW Wales0014AVLW Wales0015AVLW Wales0020AVLW Wales0028AVLW Wales0034AVLW Wales0039AVLW Wales0040AVLW Wales0042AVLW Wales0043AVLW Wales0044AVLW Wales045NAVLWWales0018AVLWCelebrated Welsh poet Dylan Thomas had most to do with our 1999 visit to Wales as we limited our explorations to his home town of Swansea. Not even that as our quest for a bed and breakfast took us to a nearby seaside resort charmingly called Mumbles. Walking was a popular pastime here, as evidenced by the multitude of signs designed to keep walkers safely on the move.

Sailing craft idled offshore, not quite obscuring far shore views of nuclear power plants churning away in a countryside best known for its coal mines.

A colourful though somewhat gaudy waterfront structure beckoned vainly for customers to savour the pleasures of the Mumbles Pier. The ironwork was most impressive.

Best and most enjoyable feature of our Mumbles meander was discovering, on a perfectly blue skied day, the marvellous ruins of the 12th century Oystermouth Castle. Festooned with pink hued flowers emerging from every crevice in ancient stonework, the stately ruin formed a classic background to the playful antics of school children tumbling down its hilly slopes. One regret: never did send teacher some promised pictures.

 

Travel Favourites – Scotland 1999

The Highlands of Scotland were our primary objective on our 1999 driving trip to the British Isles, and two weeks exploring this enchanting land proved a continuing delight. A boat trip across Loch Lomond attracted a bold and noisy gull keen to hitch a ride. Northward through hill walkers’ domain at Crianlarich brought us into the brooding mountains of the awesome Rannoch Moor. A timely pause allowed us to catch pipers at play as adventurers set out to scale the steep trails into the high country. Then downhill through the Great Glen to discover the enormous length, and dearth of fabled serpentine monsters, of world famed Loch Ness.Loch-Ness-055AVLW Plockton-2-057AVLW Portree-021AVLW Red-Hot-Pokers-064AVLW Scotland017AVLW Scotland024RAVLW Scotland025AVLW Scotland031AVLW Scotland033AVLW Scotland038RAVLW Scotland039AVLW Scotland044AVLW Scotland058RCAVLW Scotland085AVLW Scotland091AVLW Scotland097RAVLW Scotland100AVLW Scotland104AVLW Skye-bridge-019AVLW

On then to the spectacular Isle of Skye, driving on its recently constructed bridge. In its lively capital, Portree, we bed and breakfasted in a charming pink house perched on the colourful waterfront, and comfortably explored much of the island. A day long walk along the scenic shoreline captured awesome views in all directions.

Venturing toward the northwest highlands, a quirky fascination for a popular TV show Hamish MacBeth drew us to Plockton, where it was filmed. A cozy B and B in Gairloch featured a scrumptious smoked haddock breakfast served up by the man of the house. Try as we might to make it make it all the way to John O’Groats, the furthest we reached was Ullapool, where we missed by one day a concert by a Scottish folk duo we had seen in Ottawa. Southward bound through Inverness, we checked out the battlefield of Culloden and admired occasional clusters of flowers known as red hot pokers. Brief but enjoyable stops took us through golfing country at St. Andrews and Howick before re-crossing the English border.

So many great places to see, so little time to take them all in!