Total Pageviews

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The A-team

our architect Duncan Patterson, and Eurithe
Each day their numbers grow...the folks who are committing to the work that Jean Baird has carried on pretty much solo for quite a while.

The Al and Eurithe Purdy A-frame is alive and well, despite a period where it felt poorly.
The energy is growing...the crowds at the Purdy Picnic gave the A-frame a needed infusion.

Today I learned of Leslie Kenny's great Descant blogpost about the A-frame picnic - Al, Fresco. Is that not the best title!?
Matti, our contractor - a rare quiet  moment 

 And Duncan Patterson, our architect, writes an occasional blogpost about developments at the A-frame at A Kind of Bump.

When Michele and I began organizing the A-frame picnic, we were astounded at people's willingness to sponsor stuff: food, outhouse, event tents...even a van to shuttle folks around the village!

It's happening. Ms. Baird has good vision. 20:20.

today Michele and I had our first 2014 picnic planning meeting!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The First Annual Purdy Picnic - a word for our sponsors

lawn courtesy of John Miller

At the historic Al Purdy Show A-frame fundraiser on February 6 at Koerner Hall, Toronto, Gordon Pinsent welcomed us and said "We'll try not to do the sort of thing that Al would have heckled."

Station Road

I'm wondering what Al would have thought of the First Annual Purdy Picnic held at the A-frame on Saturday July 27. Eurithe told Michele and me, who worked with a small but mighty group to organize the day, that she was very very happy with it. As were we.

Richard Turtle

Eurithe enjoying Geoff Heinricks

Al might have raised an eyebrow at the luxurious air conditioned West City Honda shuttle van travelling the road he walked between the Town Hall, the Purdy Library and the A-frame. But the visitors thoroughly appreciated it and its personable host and driver Denis.

Chris Faiers and Chase reading

Al might have thought the artistic posters and the program designed by the Prince Edward County Library and Archives' Christine Renaud pretty fancy for a lad from Wooler. But everybody else loved them. Collectors' items.

He loved bookstores, so he would have enjoyed David Sweet's Books & Company lakeside Purdy store.

He might have wondered about the spiffy portapotty his friend Geoff Heinricks sponsored....why not use the outhouse? Indeed.

photo credit: Douglas Scott
No doubt he would have been happy to see Campbell's Orchards fruit ready to hand, and he would not have been surprised at the industry and efficiency of the Ameliasburgh Working Group women who put together sandwich picnics in a brisk and friendly manner down at the Town Hall, and generously donated the proceeds to the A-frame.

photo credit: Douglas Scott

But I'm pretty sure Al would have been pleased to hear poetry echoing through the trees and over the lake, to have musicians on the deck, to see people enjoying the old place. And the energy. Yes, the energy. I think the A-frame got a needed transfusion that day. 'Til next year.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Obit for Angus et al

photo courtesy Marine Museum
of the Great Lakes, Kingston, ON
I've been trying to get this post done for a bit. I'll let Al Purdy tell the story of the little boat at the right. I'm snipping bits; the poem must be read in full to get the story of the boat and appreciate the layers in the writing - history, geography, sailing, reflections on mortality, and "the long human sweep of things".

",,,One grey Sunday Angus
found the skeleton
on a sand beach of Scott
Hutcheson's boat built in 1910
the same he saw being born
when he was a very young man...

...Then Angus found it again
derelict in  1968
and tore it apart lovingly
piece by piece tenderly...

...-the thing is boat & Hutcheson & Angus
and a fourth is me hanging around
for something to write about
and maybe some other ghosts..."

A 28 foot wooden sailing boat. Owned (built?) at one point by Scott Hutcheson, amateur boatbuilder and fisherman of Prince Edward County, discovered rotting on the shore near Barcovan Beach in western Prince Edward County. (Lots of PEC connections: Mowat Sr. lived at Northport, Farley had a place on Weller's Bay near Consecon). She was rebuilt (how expertly I ask myself) by Angus Mowat  in the 1960's, and donated to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ontario, in 1989. The boat is not currently on display, but I obtained the above photo from Lena Beliveau, curator. Isn't she a beauty?

Lena also made me aware of an academic paper written by John E. Ratcliffe, former Registrar at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston Ontario, and available through the site ''. This paper, entitled 'The Mowat Boat and the Development of Small Craft on the Great Lakes' commands a thorough reading (which I have not yet done, and which the sailors among this blog's readership may get to before I). I expect it will answer some questions, and reduce the excessive parentheses in this post. Do Mackinaw boats ring bells for any of you? If so, read Ratcliffe.

I love this multi-layered story of a Prince Edward County craft, that made its way into a poem by Al Purdy, first published in 'Poems for All the Annettes" (1973).