The H Thing and other Newfoundland delights and curiosities

2009/07/05

 This is what I’m hearing: If a word starts with a vowel, add a “H” at the beginning. If a word starts with an H followed by a vowel, omit the H sound. When you talk about the letter, call it an Hay-ch. You can substitute a D for the odd TH as well.

 Now you’re talking Newfoundland.

Or at least you would be if you add “girl” or “boy” to every declarative sentence, as in “Hit’s a beautiful day out d’ere, girl.”

Lovely.

Don’t be surprised if, when you order tea, you’re asked if you want “fresh milk, canned milk or cream” every time, because, I suspect, canned milk is a great tradition based on earlier necessity.

That said, we were surprised to find that in St. Anthony, and, indeed, at the even-further-north Norseman restaurant, we found many fresh veggies along with fresh meat as well as fish in the restaurants and grocery stores. Much further south, in Rocky Harbour, it’s a very different story. The vegetables, what few there are, are so past their prime, you can’t believe they’re for sale. All meat is frozen in big chest coolers. A lot of it looks as though it’s been there for years.

Fortunately, on something of a whim, we’d bought and froze fresh meat in St. Anthony and brought them down with us. Damn good thing since our plan has always been to eat dinner in so Phil can do his caveman-cook-meat thing and we can relax at the cottage or suite after a day of touristy things. If we had to rely on food supplies in Rocky Harbour, it would have been impossible. Even so the end of our Rocky Harbour stay, we were down to frozen peas and tinned cranberry sauce!

The reason, we reason, is that St. Anthony is a regional centre but Rocky Harbour is less than two hours from Corner Brook….place of big shopping.

Interesting that we see precious little in the way of landscaping around the salt-box houses up and down the coast. Is life really too hard to plant flowers and shrubs or is it that it’s so windy so much of the time, they wouldn’t survive? The only spot of colour is often the washing on the line.

The houses themselves are picture book perfect as are the views.  Maybe when you have all that ocean and mountain to look at, you don’t have to tart it up with flowers.

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