Where the wild things are

There are barely words for the place I’m in. St. John’s is a beautiful town with candy coloured houses up and down the coast, and streets that slope down to the harbour in a way that is harrowing to a girl from Toronto. “Hill ‘o’ Chips” road, (I swear to you that I am not making that up) for example, if you were to misjudge things just a little bit in the winter, would surely slide you straight into the drink. Everytime I think I’m going take a turn driving the car I see a lane ahead that goes up at a 45 degree angle and think better of it.
We are staying in a little house on The Battery, looking right over the harbour. Somebody with a better arm than me could throw rocks in it, that’s how close it is. You can walk from there up Signal hill, and look down over The Narrows, the entrance to the harbour. The Dublin Bay sock and the family went up this “hill” (you wouldn’t believe what a Newfoundlander calls a hill). It was a very long hike, breathtakingly beautiful, but scary…the trail goes along the side of the rocky “hill”, and at one point the path is so narrow that there is a chain to clutch bolted to the rock face. The hike culminates with a flight of a hundred steps that takes you to the base of Cabot tower. (I have pictures of all this…expecially one of the sock overlooking the Narrows, but it turns out that Ken wildly overestimated my technical skills, and I’m unwilling to spend hours of prime Maritime knitting time beating my head off of a borrowed computer.)
Today we hiked to the point of Bay Bulls, following the East Coast Trail. (This again, though it takes hours and is breathtaking, and even though it has real “plunge to your death over a cliff and then have your body battered to bits by the waves” potential, is a “walk”). I can’t even begin to tell you how cool it all is.
I love Newfoundlanders, who have in recent hours, described my hair (which is bigger than it has ever been before, mostly due to something that I keep calling “water in the air”. It’s not rain, since it’s not falling and the sun is shining. It’s just water hanging there in the air. Joe says it’s “mist”. Weird.) as “a birch broom wi’ the fits”. It is a true measure of what a good time I am having that I felt that this was charming. Absolutely charming.
I’m on my way to “Wool Tyme”, if I can find it before it’s too late, and to wander NONIA. I may never come home. The Dublin Bay sock sends his love.
(PS. No sheep yet)

20 thoughts on “Where the wild things are

  1. I think it’s a sign of how much I hate my job that I am overwhelmed with joy that you managed to post today. Living vicariously through the Dublin Bay socks is probably not good mentally, but it sure is a blast to hear what fun their having! I was even thinking of taking some of my knitting to see the sights around here, but it’s all so jealous of the time your socks are having, it doesn’t want to be seen with me in public.

  2. It sounds *wonderful*. Enjoy and please keep describing it to us! 🙂 And my hair does that too.

  3. The first time I was in St. John’s, (2 years ago in October), I decided to walk Signal Hill. I started from the Delta where I was for a conference, walked up the hill, perused Cabot Tower and then walked down those wretched stairs ( Lord Liftin’ Love a Duck, those stairs!!!) and around to the Battery. Alone. At Dusk. The only thing I could think, as I passed that narrow bit of trail over the sea cave, was that if I fell, well, let’s not think about that!
    I’ve had 3 roommates who were from St. John’s, but picking up the bits of dialect from them was NOTHING like going there. It truly is like another world. The accent makes you feel like you’re in a country where they don’t speak English!
    Your blog posts have been making me laugh out loud… Thanks for that! And have a great vacation!

  4. It sounds marvelous, darling. Though I will admit that your description of the “hill” was enough to give me vertigo (yes, I’m *that* afraid of heights) and sweaty palms. Dutifully starting a miniature version of the Harlot Poncho for the littlest daughter. I obey the Harlot’s every command!

  5. Hooray! I’m glad you managed to post. I was dreading two weeks without a dose of the Yarn Harlot.
    Would you please tell Nonia to sell yarn on their webpage instead of just sweaters. I would rather knit my own than buy one.
    I feel for you about the hair. Here in the Houston area we generally have humidity in the 90% and up zone. At the last library post I was known as the One With the Hair. (Bigness implied).

  6. That’s too funny. My dad is a newf and he used to say that about my hair when I was a kid. I thought it was just a “dad” thing!

  7. I am so glad to hear you’re having a great time and that the Dublin Bay Socks are seeing the sights.
    One of my favourite people (whose son and daughter, incedentally, are the recipients of a lot of my knitterly attention)is a Newf from St. John’s. I will have to get her to read this post! She often waxes poetic about home and having read this I now feel even more inclined to visit. Thank you so much for finding the time to write!

  8. I could whine and moan like you did when I was at Maryland, but I will refrain.
    Don’t mind me. I’m starting to work now.

  9. Oh sweet Harlot. The planet owes you big time now. Hills that nearly break your neck and you still take the time to tink of us.
    I really want to go to Newfoundland now.

  10. Okay, gorgeous scenery. Check.
    Bracing misty air. Check.
    Invigorating climbs. Check.
    No sheep yet. Check.
    Well, hell, seen any lovely Newfoundlandish
    musicians yet?

  11. Yay! Harlotty goodness! With socks and scary “hills”!
    I love the hair description!
    *squirreling it away in my goodie bag of strange expressions*

  12. Yay!! Such a delight. A post from Our Queen while on Vacation no less. Today is Mum’s (the Other Queen) 78 birthday. She was feeling fine today as she enjoyed her ritzy birthday dinner out. Needing a little break from all that ‘Momness’ I checked to see if there was a posting from the Harlot, and there was!!! Yay!! I may go back to mom’s house and have a cuppa coffee with her now! Thank you Stephanie for thinking of your readership, and by writing while you’re away inviting us by proxy to join you!!!

  13. little harbour’s the place to go if you want to see sheep…try to make it to Ches’s fish&chips too..yum yum

  14. I was just in Nova Scotia last week. If you want to see some beautiful Fleece Artist yarns and locally spun wool, check out Baadeck Yarns in Baddeck Nova Scotia in Cape Breton. Lovely merchandise and friendly people. Fleece Artist is closed until mid-month, so I don’t know whether that will affect your plans to visit.
    Enjoy your vacation! Camping in the Maritimes can’t be beat!!!

  15. My mum (taswegian, aka Tasmania, Australia) used to talk about her hair looking like a birch broom *in* a fit….
    So somewhere along the line there must have been immigrants to newfie and tassie who took their sayings wi’ them.

  16. Hi
    By now your holiday is a wonderful memory no doubt – I totally enjoyed reading your news and letters from everyone – I am here in sunny Somerset England, well it is sunny at the moment….
    I found you all when searching for knitting patterns – my sister has sheep and we spin and weave (and knit) the fleece.
    Do you live in Toronto…I have brothers there and have enjoyed seveal visits.
    Bye now – going to knit the poncho!! It looks wonderful

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