Regatta Day

I swear, this mobile civic holiday is the oddest thing. The whole province getting up at 6m to listen to the radio and find out if the weather is good enough to row on one little lake in Quidi Vidi – and if it is, the entire province closes and everyone has a holiday. Nobody goes to work, no mail comes, everything is closed….Newfoundland is a really big place, and every city, town, outport and village gets a proper day off on Regatta Day and the whole thing gets decided in the morning based on the weather. I’d say it was crazy but I’ve been living their weather for a couple of days now, and I totally get it.

This morning the sun finally came out a little, and the Royal St. John’s Regatta went grandly ahead after a two day delay, full of pomp, history and outstanding good humour. From the Grandparents backyard in Quidi Vidi we could see one end of the lake, and sure enough, rowers appeared straight away this morning, turning at this end before heading back to the party end of the lake. There’s a whole lot of races run all day, whittling down the teams until there’s only the male and female championships left to run in the evening, so we did some other stuff before heading down. I for one, finished a sock.


That’s the first of a pair of Hibiscus for Hope socks (you can get the pattern by sponsoring Ramona in the 60k walk that is the Toronto weekend to end breast cancer fundraiser) in the very pretty and pink “Rosebud” STR – lightweight.


I left the other half of the skein balled up on my chesterfield in Toronto, but Ken launched a rescue by sending it along to me here…

Unfortunately, today was Regatta Day and no mail delivery (and Saturdays don’t have mail delivery in Canada at all – never mind in Quidi Vidi) so I’m hoping it will turn up soon. Pretty single sock non-the less. Finishing that meant I had to take another sock on our hike today – but luckily, I am a complete professional who packed more knitting projects than clothes. (I admit, on some of the nippier days here, I have regretted the proportion there.)

While Old Joe took the ladies to Water Street for a poke about, Joe and I walked to the old village of Quidi Vidi and into the harbour (“The Gut”)


and had a beer and a black horse in the oddest little pub down the lane.


When we got back, Old Joe, Joe, the ladies and I, set up a nearby hill, on a hike that Old Joe assured me was perfectly safe and a “walk for old ladies”.


He’s simply out of his mind. I want to know how many old ladies per year that hike kills. It ended up being another hike that gave me cramps while I watched the girls cavort on the edges of yet more cliffs of doom – although in a moment that I am sure took years off of their lives, it was me who slipped for a second and flirted with death. (Ironically, this moment occurred because I thought Sam wasn’t being careful enough and stopped concentrating on my own footwork so that I could urge caution on her part. I feel that the planetary shove in the direction of the cliffs edge was just the earths way of coming down hard on the side of Old Joe and my husband, who think that a little danger is good for kids and I should lighten up. They’re likely right. The kids are steady as rocks out there.)


The team gave a big rock a shove…


Old Joe thinks that it likely moves a little each time they do this, and that after years of effort his various grandchildren will eventually succeed in pushing the thing of the cliff and into the sea. (He is not the sort of man who needs instant gratification.)


The girls think it’s a grand rock for sitting on.

(I think that shoving it to make it loose and then sitting on it while it’s tipped to the sea like that is madness. Joe thinks I should drink less coffee.) We mad our final assault on the summit, then wound our way back down, looking over Quidi Vidi Harbour, Quidi Vidi Lake (where the Regatta is) and St. John’s on the way.


When we were all the way down, we went the whole way around the lack and took in the Championship races. (Very Exciting.) It was more than grand, and I’m going to let the rest of the pictures speak for themselves – with just a couple of captions.

Click to embiggen any shot.

Smiles: Constabulary, dog, coxswain of the women’s champions.


food – Chips, gravy, dressing… samosas…. moose burgers.


The Lake side Motel (Aka Her Majesty’s Penitentiary) overlooking the whole Regatta.


Games of chance:






Row, row, row a boat:


I don’t think there’s anything like it. The soundtrack for the whole thing was the CLB (Church Lads Brigade) Band playing grand Newfoundlander classics wafting along the water.

It was worth the wait.