Monday, 9 September 2013

Quidi Vidi Charm

Last night we kicked off the field school at a quaint pub near the bay in Quidi Vidi. The room was filled with eclectic knickknacks – not a bare wall in the house -, sea shanti folk tunes filled the air, and a charismatic Newfoundlander named Linda welcomed us not only into her pub, but into her home – sharing stories about her life, beliefs, and art. It was a perfect prelude to the field school and a great introduction to the community as whole.

Linda's Pub. Her sign reads: "Linda's Stories,
 Beers & Wood Burning Stoves

This morning, John Mannion, a historical cultural geographer of Newfoundland demography, shared with us in detail the modern and historical cultural landscape of Quidi Vidi – a 400-year period, especially rich in the tradition of jigging for cod. Uninhabited by indigenous peoples nearing the 16th century, Quidi Vidi would become a seasonal point of resources for the larger transatlantic region – bringing in fisherman from Great Britain, France, Spain, Ireland, and New England. The community’s landscape has transformed drastically over the centuries but the scenic old world charm and traditional maritime culture is still what makes Quidi Vidi so attractive.

The Gut of Quidi Vidi Harbor 

After lunch we walked the village, Mannion shared with us some of the historically significant sites and introduced us to some great members of the community- all of whom to which I look forward to becoming more formally acquainted.

After our classes ended for the day, Kayla and I explored the village. Climbing the massive rocks that surround the bay we were able to capture a few picturesque shots of Quidi Vidi.

Christine overlooking Quidi Vidi Village

We also met Eric Snellgrove and his grandson Ethan who showed us their potato garden, and jigging equipment, which was stored in a shed Snellgrove had built adjacent to his garden. Although we did not have the opportunity to visit his home, which is the oldest restored home in Quidi Vidi, he did give us a tour of his cellar where the original stonewalls still stand. We plan on visiting again soon and perhaps receiving my first jigging lesson ever (since Kayla is already an old hand).

Eric Snellgrove and his great grandson Ethan standing
in front of his potato garden
The door leading into Snellgrove's Cellar 

As we turned toward the plantation (this is where the majority of our lectures are held) we saw Johnny Barnes standing on his ladder out side his home. We approached him, and he and his wife, Anne, warmly invited us to their backyard. Their yard runs parallel to a stream and overlooks the harbor. During our conversation, Johnny sat in his comfy armchair, which is interestingly placed in a shed (A shed he made with his own hands) and spoke about Quidi Vidi with warmth and nostalgia. He shared with us his hopes that Quidi Vidi would be preserved and its rich history along with it.

JohnnyBarnes sitting inside his shed 

Johnny and Anne Barnes with their sweet pup

We couldn’t have hoped for a better day.

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