Tuesday, April 08, 2008

St John's - Third Night

The Professor and the Musician had an engagement this evening, and the Italian wanted to work late, so we decided we'd have a late dinner and arranged to rendezvous at eight-thirty at Basho. In the meantime, my Man and I headed over to the Duke of Duckworth for a pint.

The poor old Duke seems to have fallen on hard times. The CBC Radio headquarters used to occupy a huge art deco building across the street - but has since moved out of the downtown core, taking a huge part of the Duke's revenue with it. Though the beer was good and the service was friendly, we were the only customers in the place when we left at eight-thirty.

Basho, however, was so busy that they had run out of sushi! Actually, they were short-staffed, having lost a chef unexpectedly, and so were unable to fill as many orders as usual. We ordered a variety of delicious appetizers instead - the tuna tartare, in particular, was heavenly...and the wine was delicious, too!

Our mealtime conversations are always interesting; I've enjoyed listening to the Professor talk about Newfoundland's cultural identity, Confederation, offshore oil, the fishing industry, politics, and just generally how things have changed in St John's over the years - not necessarily for the better.

So interesting the pride of place here. You can't imagine feeling as passionate about Ontario as Newfoundlanders do about their province - though, of course, to them it will never be simply "a province". But what strikes me, walking the streets of St John's, is the sense of a place whose time has passed. Everyone talks about the cod...how there is nothing without the cod - and I try to imagine these hilly streets crowded with sailors from all over the world instead of with tourists, and I think what a crime it is that it should have come to this.

When sun rays crown thy pine clad hills,
And summer spreads her hand,
When silvern voices tune thy rills,
We love thee, smiling land.

We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, smiling land.

When spreads thy cloak of shimm'ring white,
At Winter's stern command,
Thro' shortened day and starlit night,
We love thee, frozen land,

We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore,
And wild waves lash thy strand,
Thro' sprindrift swirl and tempest roar,
We love thee, wind-swept land,

We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, wind-swept land.

As loved our fathers, so we love,
Where once they stood, we stand;
Their prayer we raise to Heaven above,
God guard thee, Newfoundland

God guard thee, God guard thee,
God guard thee, Newfoundland

Words by: Charles Cavendish Boyle
Music by: C. Hubert H. Parry
In use: 1907-1949 (as provincial song since 1980)

No comments: