Pogey at the Lower Deck Halifax

On Saturday we went to a Patio Party at the historical properties on the Halifax waterfront.  It is a great summer venue a few steps away from the Halifax harbour.  The warm evening encouraged walking so the waterfront was a busy spot.  Tourists visiting the city and those who call the Halifax  home were out enjoying the evening and the show.

Historic Properties Halifax

The Lower Deck, a well known Halifax pub and music venue in Privateer’s Warehouse had bands playing inside and outside.

Pogey was playing outside between two beautiful stone buildings. The word ‘Pogey’ is defined as financial or other relief given to the unemployed by the government.  Pogey has been touring since 2001 providing ‘relief’ to audiences with their enthusiastic Nova Scotia Celtic rock sounds, their exuberant instrumentals and their tight harmonies. The band, Ray Mattie guitar and lead vocals, Warren Robert guitar and vocals, Jonny Grant bass guitar and vocals, guest fiddler Anthony Rissesco and drummer Mike Carroll had the crowd dancing, singing and totally engrossed in their highly interactive show.

Band members have played at every major Irish festival in North America and are off again to the Kansas City Irish Festival next week.

Pogey Lower Deck Halifax

For more information on the band and their touring schedule visit their website at http://www.pogey.ca.

Privateer’s Warehouse photo from the Historic Properties website.

Dutch Mason Blues Festival 2012

Dutch Mason, 1986, Photo by Louis Siegal, from the Canadian Encyclopedia

When I first moved to Nova Scotia I was blown away by the richness and variety of the culture in this province.  I seldom missed an opportunity to see the Dutch Mason Blues Band.

Dutch played in rock and roll and rockabilly bands in Nova Scotia in the 50’s.  By the 70’s he had found his passion and performed in several blues bands.  During the late 70’s and 80’s he toured Canada developing a growing reputation for his tough urban blues style.   He was dubbed the Prime Minister of the Blues by BB King.  Dutch passed away in Dec 2006.  His son Garrett Mason is thrilling blues audiences from coast to coast these days.

Last night we attended the first night of the 8th Annual Dutch Mason Blues Festival in Truro, Nova Scotia.  As always it was a great experience.

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the RealLukas Nelson and Promise of the Real.  Lukas’ voice is similar to his father’s, but he has found his own style.

Lukas Nelson, Dutch Mason Blues FestivalLukas Nelson

Georgia Satellites, Dutch Mason Blues FestivalGeorgia Satellites.

The Sheepdogs, Dutch Mason Blues Festival Canada’s own Sheepdogs from Saskatoon.  The Sheepdogs won three Juno awards for Rock Album of the Year, Best New Group and Single of the Year.  They will be performing again in Nova Scotia in September.  Check them out if you get the chance.

SheepdogsTonight Charlie A’Court, James Cotton and Darrell Nulisch, the John Oates Band and Delbert McClinton hit the stage with an after hours Jam featuring Joe Murphy, Garrett Mason, the Dutch Mason Blues Band and special guests.  The music continues  Sunday until 7:30 pm.

Kudos to the people who put on this well organized event!

For more information go to:  http://www.dutchmason.com

A Storm in Cinque Terre

Nova Scotia is a province that is almost entirely surrounded by water, with a cultural and historical connection to fishing. As a Nova Scotian,  I marveled at the distance fishermen traveled in their sturdy and graceful vessels.

Bringing in the boats

While we were visiting Cinque Terre a storm blew in.   I stood with the rest of the tourists and watched as the men of the community worked together to pull all the boats out of the harbour.

The men from the town worked together

It was fascinating to see how the winch system worked to pull the boats up on the square.

By the evening the square was full of the beautiful fishing vessels of the area.

As the day went on the waves became more violent.  We were amazed to see one young fellow body surfing in them, scary. 

Yup, he is still in the waves. He gave up after awhile and swam to shore where his friends were waiting.

By evening the rain came and it poured.  After we ate we walked through a maze of alleys and up the stairs and made our way back to our room.

We were nicely tucked in bed for the night when I heard the singing.  A large group of tourists didn’t allow the rain to dampen their fun and were in the square way below us singing Waltzing Matilda and other familiar songs.  It was surreal to hear the violence of the rain and wind with all those voices raising over it all the way up to our room.

A year after our visit Cinque Terre was hit by a devastating storm.  The communities are still recovering from the damage.  For more information please visit www.savevernazza.com.

Ploughing Snow

Yesterday was a beautiful winter day here in Nova Scotia.   A sky full of great big fluffy snow flakes slowly, patiently made their way to the ground, then melted almost as soon as they fell.  It was peaceful and breathtaking.  It made me love winter and feel fortunate to live in Canada where we can count on snow in the winter.

When I work up this morning I had to clear the snow.  It had stopped melting when it hit the ground.  Our new house has a long, long driveway.

I guess at this point a bit of background information is in order.   I am a bad driver.  I have never been in an accident, but I really don’t like driving.  I don’t enjoy loud machines.    My family makes great sport of this. 

While my husband was home during Christmas he bought a used plow for the front of the 4 wheeler, so I could clear the driveway myself.  We were all very excited; this plow was going to work great.  It would make up for the past year’s invention, which was a plow made out of half a plastic barrel and some metal.  It did not work.  It just rode on top of the snow.  It was less frustrating to shovel the driveway myself.

The first snowfall after installing the plow, happened when my daughter and 7 year old grandson were visiting.   Both of them knew how to work the wheeler much better than I did.  I was pleased with this, until my daughter filmed me getting the machine started (after much muttering and pushing of unnecessary buttons) and plowing the driveway (so slow that a little boy and bull dog could run beside me).   I am always good for some family entertainment.  My husband said he watched it four times-YouTube here we come.

Today I was completely on my own.  First the lock for the shed where the wheeler is kept was frozen solid.  I blew on the lock to warm it up-being careful not to touch it (a lesson most Canadians learn early) until it melted the ice inside.


I lifted the blade of the wheeler and pulled the choke, turned the key and pushed the starter.  It coughed and sputtered but started.  I put it into gear and drove it down the narrow ramp and out of the shed.  One run up the driveway, put it in reverse gear, stall, start again, stall, start and back up.  Put it in first gear, stall, re-start it and ‘give’er’.  I made it all the way back, although I still went slow.  Feeling encouraged,  I thought I should have a back-up space for the car.  That is when the machine decided it no longer wanted to work in 4 wheel drive.  So, I put it in neutral, lifted the blade, got off the machine and pushed and pulled until it would back up in 2 wheel drive.  There was quite a bit more of the stalling, pushing and pulling before I got the machine back in the shed.  I shovelled the rest.

The forecast calls for 10 to 15cm of snow tomorrow.  I think I will wait and see if it warms up enough in the next few days to melt the snow.

Old Hippies Hit the Road


Off to EuropeSearching and researching a title for a travel blog is tough work.  My original idea was “Old Hippies Hit the Road”, my daughter christened us old hippies, but it doesn’t really fit. Then came “Bluenoser Travel” until I looked up the definition of Bluenoser (which is defined as a puritanical person-I always thought it meant from Nova Scotia!).  Other titles I tried included:  Frugal Traveller (taken), Inspired Wanderer (taken), Exhilarated Excursions (not really descriptive of my travel style).  After several days, I opted for The Inspired Packer.  Whether you are travelling for a few days in your own province or thousands of miles away, packing signals the start of your journey.

This site is about travel.  Something I am passionate about.

If you are under 30 and your travel style involves hiking for days in the wilderness and pitching a tent where-ever you fetch up, this site probably isn’t for you.  I’m not into that much adventure.

If you are over 30 and your travel style involves staying at 5 star hotels, using taxis and local guides, this site may not hold many answers for you.  5 star hotels can be nice, but I usually don’t have that much money to spend.

But, if your are moderately active, seek low-cost travel experiences and are not afraid to climb aboard local transport and discover a place on your own, you may find answers here.

Picture:  Here we are at the Halifax airport ready to hit the road for 6 weeks.