Before I go on, I forgot something when writing yesterday's entry...while sitting around the bonfire, I reached for my camera to take another photo of the sunset and knocked it off the table right into a bucket of water (which was there in case the fire got out of control)! Argh!! Now I had no camera, how on earth could I function on vacation with no camera? Unthinkable. Valerie joked that I was just trying to be like her...she'd left her camera out in the rain shortly before we arrived. We decided to go camera shopping if they didn't work in a day or two...
I didn't sleep much the first night in Newfoundland...strange bed, plus was awake at 6 am because of the light shining in the window (note to self: close the blinds in future!) How quiet and peaceful it was being up alone. I went down to the beach and sat listening to the clicking of the dragonfly wings, the call of the odd bird, the breeze rustling in the trees overhead and such very soft water sounds. This utopic moment was soon disrupted by blackflies, though! So I went for a walk down the road. By the time I got back, everyone was up and we soon headed off to church. Val's sister J is studying to become an Anglican priest, and was preaching this Sunday, so we went to the Anglican church. I was a tad disappointed not to be able to experience the United Church that Valerie grew up in but hey, I can't do everything in one trip! It was funny beforehand when Valerie, Mark and Kees were teasing J that they were going to show up with scorecards...or write scores on their palms and hold them up like judges during the service. Oh silly them! :) When we arrived at the small church, we more than doubled the size of the congregation. There were only three or four other people there, and we were a crew of six! Kees and Valerie each did one of the scripture readings. The service didn't do a lot for me, was largely responsive readings. Which I had a hard time following since, not being Anglican, I had no clue of the order of service so never knew which page they were on!
We came home and had beans and wieners for lunch, then Valerie suggested we go for a canoe ride. Her sister down the way (not J, another sister) had left her canoe available for family to use...the canoe was there alright, but no paddles! Oh well, we went back to J's house, and the three of us went down to the river for a wade and a swim and some sunbathing. Valerie and J chatted all the while, and I mostly listened, not contributing much to the conversation. Partly because they were talking of people I didn't know, and partly because I was feeling a bit unsure of myself. I knew that Valerie wanted me there, or wouldn't have invited us in the first place, and yet in the presence of the palpably close bond between these two sisters, I felt intrusive and unnecessary, like my presence was irrelevant. And I felt like my insecurity was glowing around me like a visible aura, which made me feel more awkward than ever...at this point, J was probably wondering why on earth would Valerie want to be friends with this idiot! I knew even at the time that I would (and did) adjust in a day or two and feel much more comfortable, but the first full day of our visit was a bit of a roller coaster for me emotionally. Of course, I was tired from not having much sleep and also PMS-y, so that didn't help either!
I was happy that Valerie really liked the butterfly wall sconce I gave her for her cabin. I told her it was a gift both for her and for me...I wanted her to have something in her Nfld home that reminded her of me. She hung it up right away in the front window. Looks wonderful there, and is so pretty with the candles lit. I had bought some apple scented tea candles to go with it, because they smelled soooo good in the store, although they don't seem to have much smell when lit. Oh well, they still burn!
M and K did their usual follow us around like shadows routine that first day. I really enjoy their bubbly company, but I have to confess that I wish they'd let us have more time alone. Not sure what it is with them...sometimes wonder if it's just that they feel the need to push us to make sure we are still and always there for them no matter what else we might be doing. I wonder if they feel they are losing some part of their mothers as Valerie and I grow ever closer in friendship, a friendship separate from our mother selves. Or maybe they just love being in our presence...who knows? They had a little spat earlier, but as usual it didn't last long and they were soon back to their normal comraderie.
We all went out to a Chinese buffet in Grand Falls for supper, then along to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre. It was amazing watching the salmon jump the ladders. I was fascinated to learn that they imprint the scent of their home river so they can always find their way back to spawn. Also wonderful to hear Valerie's stories of spending time in this place (before the Centre was built). She said she'd come with her father and swim in the river, etc while he was working in the woods...the woods roads were also where she learned to drive (long before she was old enough to get her licence!) M and K had their cameras with them (which was good since neither Val nor I had a working camera at this point!) So here are a few photos, and a couple videos that M took.
Eventually, we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the salmon (it was mesmerizing watching them), and headed home. We stopped in Bishop's Falls for ice cream...mmm, ice cream. This place has the best homemade waffle cones ever!! And they stick mini-marshmallows in the base to keep the ice cream from melting, what a great idea!
Valerie, Mark and Kees were in Val's car and Dave, the girls and I followed in our car. As we drove through Bishop's Falls, we passed the Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle in the full swing of a drive in service. The preacher sounded just like a TV evangelist...we could hear him loud and clear while driving by in our car! When Val first pulled off the road, I thought she was going to check out the service. But then I realized the pentacostal church just happened to be beside the Ice Cream Parlour, which was in fact her real destination! Mark and Kees actually wandered over out of curiosity to listen to the service...the rest of us stayed at the ice cream parlour. Then along home we went, watched the tail end of a movie (Troy, I think) and then off to bed.