the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur

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Michaelle Jean

The role of Governor General in Canada is largely symbolic, but the larger than life personalities of the people who are often appointed to the post tend to keep it on the radar of our national consciousness. Our current GG is Michaelle Jean, who took on the role under a blanket of controversy surrounding her possible pro-separatist leanings in Quebec. More recently she made the news again when she took a stand supporting the Inuit seal hunt.

Say what you will about the woman, or the role of GG, but there is something slightly bad-ass about a lady who is willing to roll up her sleeves, gut a seal and eat its heart raw. The only thing that would have pushed this right over the top is if the heart had still been beating.

They taste best when they are still beating.

In other news, we took advantage of Open Doors Winnipeg to visit some of the older buildings in our area on the weekend. First we stopped in at the Seven Oaks Museum, a house owned by the Inkster family (a very prominent, early family in the area) until sometime in the early 50s. Any of the Winnipeg folks on my friends list will recognize the name for one of the prominent streets in this end of town.

The house/museum is located in one of the city's older neighbourhoods, surrounded by houses (like hours) that were built early in the last century. Even so, older photos of the house show that it was once an upscale farm house, sitting out in the bald prairie with a few support buildings around it. Although the house itself is very well preserved, it has very little of the original furnishings in it. As far as I know, they are all authentic pieces from the era, but they have been brought in from other museums and collections.

This would have been a pretty fancy farm kitchen in its day. I know the picture is dark, but it was very dingy in the kitchen and if I boosted the lighting any more I'd have risked blowing out more details (like the curtains), and lost much of the original feel of the room.
Quaint kitchen
Here is an obligatory outside shot of the house. There are two things about this picture that bug me a bit: 1) even after software compsation and cropping, you can see the lens encroaching into the picture in the top corners. That's one of the pitfalls of using a zoom lens for wide-angle shots, rather than a dedicated wide angle lens (like the 11mm one I have been lusting after). The two filters I have attached just exasperate the effect. 2) It was not my intent to centre the flagpole in the shot - in fact I didn't even notice it there when I was taking the picture. I mean, the flags look nice flapping against the sky, but I wish I was more attentive to details like that when I'm actually composing a shot.
Seven Oaks Museum
One of the cooler pieces of furniture they had in the house was the bison chair. It's made of bison horns... and evil. It does not look the least bit comfortable, but I'd love to have one for our change room. I think the sign was an unnecessary feature, I mean, would you want to touch this thing? In retrospect I wish that I had asked the guide if I could remove the sign for the photo. I don't think she would have minded.
It's made of bison horns and evil.
If I ever custom build a house, I also want it to have a trapdoor in the floor that leads into the cold, stony heart of Hell. Sadly they wouldn't let us explore this wonderful, stone cellar.
Trapdoor to Hell
As we were leaving the museum for the next venue, there were some signs in the museum grounds that spring is finally, reluctantly beginning to sprung in the 'Peg.
Spring has sprung

From here we wandered up to the Bleak House Centre. It's an old house that is being used as a seniors craft centre now. There was nothing really noteworthy, nor photogenic about the house. The elderly folks who were hanging around in the house were friendly, and more than happy to show us around (and try to sell us coffee and fresh-baked treats). They couldn't tell us much about the house other than that the fireplace and stained glass windows in the study were the only original pieces left in the house.

Finally we moved on the St John's Cathedral. We drive by this place every day on the way home from work (well, I do, and atara did too when she was working). The church was pretty typical of cathedrals built around that time, but the tour guide was very entertaining and knowledgeable. Not only did she manage to pack an astounding quantity of interesting information about Anglicans into the 30ish minute tour of the cathedral, but then she took us on a walk through the graveyard where she kept up a steady stream of history, with just the right mix of quirky irreverence. I think what the most fun was seeing the names of so many streets and municipalities carved into the gravestones, and realising that these were the people for which these roads and towns were named. It was slightly humbling, but at the same time, they're still dead.

Most of the graves have pretty unassuming marker, and unless you happen to read the names on them, you might not recognize the significance of the grave. One might not give this row of grave stones a second glance...
Unassuming graves.
... but when one of the locals gives this one a closer look, a familiar name jumps out.
I wonder if he drank trendy coffee?
Some of the tombstones were much fancier. While not a universal truth, I noticed that a lot of the more pretentious gravestones were over the graves of people who were the biggest douche bags in life. I don't know if Mr. or Mrs. Ashdown were douche bags, but I really like their grave marker. It's too bad they weren't around to appreciate it.
Pretentious grave marker
I wanted to take more pictures inside the cathedral, but even though she gave us permission to take as much flash photography as we liked, I was too interested in the tour to want to interrupt it with flash photos. I finally set up my tripod as we were getting ready to head outside for the graveyard tour, and this was the best of the three shots that I took. I wish that I had zoomed in closer and got some shots of the stained glass windows - then again, I doubt the church is going anywhere soon, so I can get back there again next year for more pictures if I like.
Even more, I'm kicking myself for not taking an HDR shot. This is the kind of picture that just screams out for HDR. Ah well - next year.
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