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Come from far away, part 2

June 20, 2007
Here’s a question for you, when you are standing on mile zero of the transcanada highway in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which city is closer; Victoria, British Columbia or Rome, Italy?  The answer is Rome by 20 kilometers.  We were certainly far away from home and loving every minute of it.

 
  The start of the conference for me was wonderful.  I met so many other nurses from across Canada and it was thrilling.  We started with a welcome reception that had another great, talented band and lots to eat.  One of the band members playing the fiddle was only 14 years old and she sang beautifully, too.  I got up and danced with some gals from Newfoundland and I had a great time. 
  The whole conference was really great.  I especially loved the two days of education before the business of the federation took place.  The opening of the business days started with a bagpipe band marching in followed by a Newfoundland and Labrador dogs and then the premier, Danny Williams who was the first speaker.  It is amazing how well he is liked in that province compared to our premier.  We had guest speakers from New Zeland, California, and Ireland as well as from across Canada.
  Before we left home, many of us had registered to attend a traditional dinner arranged by our Newfoundland hosts called a "Scoff and Scuff".  A scoff is a home cooked traditional dinner and a scuff is a dance.  We packed into buses and headed off to the local curling rink which of course did not have any ice, but rows and rows of tables. As we came in through the doors we were greeted by people dressed up and acting the part of folky locals.  They gave us each a personal and very warm welcome.  At the front of the rink was a band stand for the fiddle band, of course.  I never got tired of that music. On the walls were all the banners of the curling championships that had been acheived, and I realized that this was the home club of Brad Gushue who won gold at the Olympics.  Dinner was great, there were door prizes and sing alongs and we stayed dancing until after midnight. We learned about a local tradition at Christmas where people get dressed up in funny costumes and go door to door singing and asking for goodies.  A few came in for us and one pulled up Jeff to dance.  Here is few verses of "The Mummer’s Song,"
 
Hark, what’s the noise out by the porch door?
Granny ’tis mummers there’s twenty or more
Her old weathered face brightens up with a grin
Any mummers, nice mummers ‘loud in.
 
Now that one’s a stranger if there ever was one
with his underwear stuffed and his trapdoor undone
Is he wearing his mother’s big 42 bra
I knows but I’m not gonna say.
 
Don’t s’pose you fine mummers woulde turn down a drop
No homebrew or alkie, whatever you got
Not the one with this rubber boots on the wrong feet
Has enough for to do him all week.
 
 We all got a keepsake book with "songs, recipies and other stuff."
  Here are some exerpts:
 
An Irish blessing
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
 
 
Recipe for Fisherman’s Brewis
 
    2lbs fresh cod fillets
    3 cakes hard bread
    1 onion, chopped
    2 cups of water
    1/2 cup diced salt pork
 
  Soak hard bread in water overnight.  Fry pork in large saucepan, add onions and fish.  Cook 15 minutes.  Squeeze brewis and drain off water.  Add brewis to fish and mix well.  Serve hot.  Good with scrunchions, too.
 
Recipe for Scrunchions
    1/2 cup diced salt fat pork
    1 large onion
 
  Fry fat pork until browned, then add onion.  Fry until tender.  Pour over fishermen’s brewis.
 
Well known words of Newfoundland and Labrador and their meanings ( a selection )
 
Bare buff – naked
Come-from-away (CFA) –  a tourist
Copying – jumping from pan to pan of floating ice
Crackie – a small dog of mixed breed
Dodge – to walk in a leisurely fashion
Floaters – men who fished from the schooners using cod traps rather than jiggers
Laddio – a bit of a rascal
Mauzy – misty
Narn – none
Nipper – mosquito
Nish Tender – easily injured
Scoff – big cooked meal
Scruncheons – fried pork fat cubes
slob – ice newly frozen
squalmish – queasy
yarry – rising early, alert
yaffle – an armful of dried fish

 

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