As has previously been written on the blog this last week is hectic. More hectic than the last and the one before that. At times it seems like we won’t finish all our projects and work on time but right now there is a quiet determination throughout the convent. This quiet an interesting change as the convent is usually bustling with conversation and cooking. With eight “sisters” living in the space there always seems to be something going on.
It is also a bittersweet week as it is our last in Witless Bay. I’ve certainly enjoyed the convent life although at times we’ve questions whether we enjoy it too much (is listening to Gregorian chants during meal time taking it too far?). The communal way of living – cooking, cleaning and living together has been a great experience and I know I’ll miss my sisters when we return to St. John’s (although we’ll see each other four days a week in our two remaining classes when we return). I’m looking forward to presenting our work to the community on Saturday at 5:00 at the Recreation Centre. It’ll be great to be able to show what we’ve learned and who we’ve talked to.
This week I’ve learned a number of things from different people. I’ve had four interviews – including Bonnie’s which I posted about on Monday. Tuesday I had an interview with Vicki Walsh of Burnt Cove who members of the Fifty Plus club recommended I interview. It was a great interview and we discussed everything from her family in Witless Bay and her great-grandfather’s house close to Lower Pond to rug hooking and Newfoundland Ponies. Vicki was even kind enough to join Dena Wiseman and do an impromptu rug hooking workshop last night. I picked Dena’s brain on heritage while everyone practiced the techniques. I think we may have a few new rug hookers on our hands. The people here have really been wonderful – inviting us in to their homes, sheds, stables, root cellars, asking us to join them for bingo, craft nights and cards and dropping by the convent with gifts of fresh vegetables or bottled preserves. I really wish we had more time in the community to enjoy the warmth of the people. My last interview was this afternoon with the Mayor of Witless Bay Sebastien Despres. We discussed heritage in Witless Bay while his daughter Amelie explored the chapel in the convent.
Other than interviews my week has also been filled with finishing up a floor plan of Joey Yard’s shed. This shed has two parts – the rear part which was built by his father Henry in the 1930s or 1940s and the front part which was built by Joey in the mid 2000s. Joey said the shed once housed hay which had been cut in the nearby meadows to feed the Newfoundland Pony their family owned. The rear part of the shed now contains disused fishing gear such as caplin traps, a squid roller, handmade swivels, gill nets, and piles of rope. The front of the shed is used more frequently and has barrels of diesel for Joey’s boat, tubs for fish, and containers for lobsters. It was interesting drawing the inside building with all its studs but even more interesting watching Claire and Jacquey climb around the shed.
To clue up my last blog post and write what I’m sure we’ll all say on Saturday – thanks to the community of Witless Bay! It has been an incredible and packed three weeks. I’m thankful to everyone who made this experience as amazing as it was and I look forward to seeing you again soon!