Tag Archives: Sussex

Très Jolie?…Non…

I will start this post with a disclaimer borrowed from Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory: “I am not insane!  My mother had me tested” (it’s been a while, though). 

Further disclaimer: any resemblance to actual people (except Jim and I and our kids) is completely coincidental…this piece is strictly entertainment (historical details are accurate).  If it makes you want to come and visit Saint John, it’s a bonus!

It’s all my friend, Omawarisan‘s, fault.  A few months ago, I stumbled innocently upon Oma’s blog after he was Freshly Pressed for the umpteenth time…Oma has his own nutty delightfully-skewed perspective on ordinary aspects of everyday life…things most of us never take the time to think about!  When I found out about his hare-brained brilliant plan to send an action figure of Angelina Jolie to bloggers around the world, I signed up right away to be a stop on “The Jolie”‘s Canadian Tour.  That’s how this box arrived in my mailbox last Friday:

Bad things come in small packages...

The Jolie is the “famous visitor” I referred to in this post last week.

I could hear The Jolie yelling as we pulled up to the community mailbox where Jim and I pick up our mail…it had been a couple of days since we’d checked it because of a snowstorm.  I decided to leave her in the box until she calmed down a little…I could see that Oma had spared no expense in sending The Jolie to Canada!

I prepared a pork stir-fry for the family…I had to turn on the exhaust fan to drown out the swearing coming from the box on the counter!  After supper, I released our guest.  I checked the box in vain for luggage…The Jolie didn’t even have a fanny-pack!  What kind of tourist comes to Saint John, New Brunswick without one of those?

Fanny pack...essential equipment for all Saint John tourists...

The Jolie drowned her sorrows in a cup of King Cole tea (made in Sussex, New Brunswick…it recently began using paper for teabags after its supply of gauze dried up…I swear I’m not making this up!) as she regaled us with the story of her trip.  Apparently, she was awakened to the sound of the packing tape on her box being cut by an eager young Canada Customs officer looking for contraband.  “He was no Brad Pitt!” The Jolie snorted.  “He just about ruined my boots with that box cutter!  I would have sued his ass!”  She paused to regain her composure before continuing.  “Then he wanted to look in my backpack!  I’ve got $1000 worth of the finest cosmetics money can buy in there…do you think I wanted his filthy paws rummaging through my personal things?  I told him to pick on someone his own size!”  I assumed that there had been no further incident, since The Jolie had been delivered without “paperwork” or phone calls from the federal government.

I showed The Jolie to her room to rest from her ordeal.  She wasted no time in soliciting sympathy from whoever she could find…this is how I found her a half hour later when I came to make sure she had everything she needed:

The Jolie in a compromising position with some green guy...he looks strangely familiar...

I sternly suggested The Jolie “get some sleep”, because we had a big day of touring ahead of us on Saturday.

The Jolie stumbled downstairs just in time for lunch the next day…I made her my usual Saturday brunch of “Toad in the Hole” (eggs fried in the middle of a bagel cut in half).  She ate all of hers and half of mine (in between mouthfuls, she whined about the trains she heard in the middle of the night, and “that mutt” which was scratching on her bedroom door)!  Jake had been remarkably restrained…he hadn’t tried to eat her even once!

Jim loaded his Nikon D90 into his camera bag, and he and the girls and I got into the Toyota Corolla to go to town.  Attempting to divert attention from her transgression the night before, The Jolie commented that she’d never ridden in an “economy car” before.  She wondered if our “regular driver” was on vacation.  She balked at putting on her seatbelt, but we told her the car wouldn’t move until she had it on.

Our first stop was guaranteed to remind The Jolie of home: the Saint John sign at Fort Howe…everybody refers to Saint John as “Hollywood North” (not really…that’s Vancouver!).

Hollywood North...except for the snow...

The next destination was where every tourist who ever visited Saint John wants to go: the Reversing Falls.  The Jolie posed with The Loyalist Man, who used to be the unofficial Saint John mascot before some marketing genius from Toronto “rebranded” our city:

Loyalist Man and The Jolie...

The Jolie complained bitterly when she saw the actual “Falls”, which are technically just rapids…they’re nothing like “backwards Niagara Falls”!  “That’s it?” she asked.  I hope she’s not planning to stop in Moncton while she’s here: The Tidal Bore will probably live up to its name…

The Reversing Falls with the Reversing Falls Bridge...

Then it was on to Carleton Martello Tower, which was built on the West Side during the War of 1812 to guard the land approaches to the city from the pesky Americans.  Unfortunately, it was closed for the winter…The Jolie was keen to check out the gun turrets!  She had to be content to pose outside, though.

The Jolie pretending to throw a grenade at Carleton Martello Tower...there used to be cannons sticking out those holes...

 We headed uptown to show The Jolie our premiere performing arts facility, the Imperial Theatre:

The Jolie in front of the Imperial Theatre...

The original Imperial began life as a vaudeville theatre back in 1913, became a movie theatre in the late 1920’s, and then a Pentecostal church in the 1950’s.  In 1982, the theatre was purchased by a dedicated group of volunteers who restored it to its former theatrical status over a 12-year period.  It was formally reopened on May 24, 1994.  The 900-seat venue has hosted musicians and theatrical performances from around the world over the past 16 years, and countless performers have declared it their “favourite place to play in Canada.”

*Special thank you to Jim, who lay down on the sidewalk on his stomach to get the last shot, and to the people walking by, who watched what we were doing, but didn’t call “the men in the white coats.”

More highlights of The Jolie’s tour coming up…


Filed under blogging, satire, travel

Flea Market Friday…

Picture this: a huge field full of tents, campers, tables, antique cars and car parts, and at least one of every consumer object ever sold in the last two hundred years.  Throw in a couple of dozen port-a-potties, 900 vendors from every province east of Ontario (and a few from the Eastern States), a few dogs, several thousand hot and sweaty customers, and some country music, and you have the Sussex Flea Market.  Organized by the New Brunswick Antique Auto Club, the annual market runs for three days over the third weekend in August.

This aerial photo was taken from a powered paraglider last year...

My dad and I have gone every year for about the last seven years…

My alarm went off yesterday at 5:30 a.m.  I jumped out of bed and donned my flea market outfit (skipped my shower – I knew I would need one after I got home): baggy shorts, an old tee-shirt, and my Birkenstock knock-off sandals (I put band-aids over my instep where they rub).  I put my hair in a ponytail, and pulled a black baseball cap over that, sticking the ponytail out the hole in the back of the hat.  Normally, I wear sunglasses, but having had a pesky eye infection for the last few weeks, had to wear my glasses instead of contacts.  I did rudimentary makeup and smeared sunscreen over all the exposed skin.

I went downstairs, and began packing our lunch: peanut butter/jam sandwiches on 12-grain bread, cucumber slices/baby carrots, blueberries/blackberries, and zucchini bread (chocolate and plain).  I put our frozen water bottles into a cooler, and the lunch in another cooler.  I grabbed a hoody in case it rained.

We left the house at 7, stopping first in Quispamsis at the bank and the gas station.  When we hit the highway, it was sunny, with very few clouds in the sky…awesome! 

We got off at the first Sussex exit, and headed to the market.  We were almost there when we saw her: “Hit the gas,” I yelled.  Trundling her wheeled cart purposefully towards the gate was our nemesis – I’ll call her Witchy-Poo.  Witchy-Poo had tried to bum a ride with my dad to the market, and he had told her “No” because neither one of us can stand her.  Let’s just say she’s paranoid, delusional, and could talk the side off a barn (and then spread your business all over town when she’s finished).  I don’t dislike many people, but she’s definitely on my list of people to avoid if at all possible!  I was happy that she had her cart so that I could hear her coming!

I loaded my essentials (money, phone, Kleenex, extra car key, and ID) into a small bag borrowed from one of the kids…then I put that bag, two more shopping bags, and a water bottle into a shopping bag.  Dad got his cart out of the trunk, and we arranged to meet back at the car at 10:30, and headed for the gate.

There was a rope strung along the edge of the parking lot, about 18″ off the ground.  I was halfway over it, when Dad decided he would lift it up to go under it!  He nearly dropped me right there!  I couldn’t believe he would try to go under a rope that low…

We made it to the gate.  One lady took our $3 admission, and another one stamped a big green dot with a bingo marker on the backs of our hands.  Dad set off towards the arena, where there was a guy who always had nice, clean books.  After a stop at the port-a-potty (which wasn’t too gross yet – it was early in the day), I started down the first row.  I found a nice Thornton Burgess book for a buck, and talked a woman into selling me a $10 book on New Brunswick history for $7.  That was all I got in the first hour – usually I have a full box by that time!  I saw more Danielle Steeles than I thought existed, and lots of other pulp fiction.  Then I found a vendor who Dad knew from the Flea Market in Saint John (he didn’t recognize me in my “incognito” outfit, until I introduced myself).  I bought two books for two bucks, and headed for the car.

Dad had fared better than I had – he found a bunch of nice Chip Hiltons for a buck each.  We unloaded our books into the trunk, and ate our zucchini bread.  I was starving, and feeling a little faint from the heat.  Dad had managed to lose his water bottle, so I gave him another one.  I had finished at Row O, and Dad had left off at Row K (we were meeting in the middle), so we didn’t have many rows left.  We set noon as our next rendezvous time back at the car.  

I approached one booth that I could see had books, but couldn’t see what they were from a distance.  The vendor started his sales pitch right away.  “This girl looks like a reader…I’ve got some love books over there.” 

I glanced dismissively at his pile of Harlequins and said in my snottiest voice, “I’m looking for old hardcovers…I don’t think you have anything I want!”  And I walked away.  Sexist bugger!

Eventually, I came to a table where about eight boxes of the type of book I was seeking awaited my perusal.  Apparently the vendor’s little old lady neighbour had cleaned out her shed and sent the books with her to sell!  Thank goodness for little old ladies who like to read!  I bought eight of them for $2 each. 

At another table, I spied four local books which I had never seen – I got them for 50 cents each – I suspect we will sell them for between $15 and $20 each.  That was probably my best purchase of the day.

I went back to the car at noon, and Dad and I ate our lunch.  About 12:30, Jim called and said he and the girls were at the other gate – I arranged to meet them at the arena, and Dad left for home.

By then, it had clouded over, and was starting to sprinkle.  We walked around outside for a while, and then I suggested we take shelter in the arena, since I hadn’t been in there yet.  The kids bought some movies, and some jewellery, while I went to the book guy and bought more of his books (which I ended up getting for about half-price, because I bought so many!). 

The rain stopped for a while, so we explored some of the rows close to the arena…Hope and Brianna got some soft ice cream: chocolate and vanilla twist.  I found a few more books (five for a buck).  Then the rain began in earnest.  My feet were hurting, the preventive band-aids were clinging by their last bit of adhesive, and I was starting to get a shinsplint (at this point, I’d been walking for more than five hours).   I begged to head home, and the rest of the family reluctantly agreed.  After a quick stop at McDonald’s to satisfy hungry kids, we were on the highway again.

Dad was making more applesauce when we got home.  I set the books down, and went upstairs to wash the brown dust of Sussex from my tired body. 

Can’t wait for next year…


Filed under books, family, memories, rants, shopping, travel

Eating Around New Brunswick…

Anybody who has ever read this blog knows that I love to eat, so I thought I would share some of the special places we’ve found to eat in New Brunswick.

When driving up to Moncton for the Book Sale last night, we stopped for supper at a little place in Sussex we’d never tried before: The Broadway Café at 73 Queen Street (http://www.broadwaycafe.ca/). 

The café only has a few tables, but the atmosphere is cosy and inviting – the booths are made of light-coloured wood with rounded corners.  Since we arrived at 4:30, it was too early for the supper menu, so we ordered from the lunch selections.  We both opted for sandwiches – Jim got the smoked meat, and I had smoked chicken.  The sandwiches were served on beautiful homemade multigrain bread with cucumber and tomatoes (Jim’s had dill pickles slices on top too).  Instead of fries, there was a lovely side salad made with a variety of greens, and slivered carrots.  The dressing was pleasantly garlicky and tasted homemade as well.  If we’d had more time, we probably would have had dessert, but we were on a schedule.  We had water to drink (although the café is licensed)…with tax and tip included, two of us had a nice meal for $20!  We agreed that the Broadway will be added to our list of favourite restaurants!

Our favourite place in St. Martins is Fiori’s, the restaurant at Salmon River Bed and Breakfast (http://www.salmonriverbandb.com/) …it is on the main drag and only open March to November.  The dining area is small, but cosy.  The walls are covered with local art, and there are shelves around the room with lots of books (St. Martins is a “Booktown”).  The owners are Mike and Barb Fiori, transplants from Colorado.  Mike, a retired police officer, does the cooking, while Barb serves the meals.  Barb makes wicked desserts, which she delights in telling customers are calorie-free because they’re homemade!  The carrot cake is to die for, chock-full of walnuts and raisins – we split a piece because the serving is so large!  My usual choice for the main course is the Grilled Chicken Breast Platter…I choose fries instead of chips as a side.  There is also a small salad with raspberry vinaigrette.  Last time we went, Jim had the Fiesta Platter, a Mexican-inspired combo of a taco, a burrito and a tostada.  He enjoys spicy stuff more than I do!  Fiori’s is also licensed if you’d like to have a glass of wine or a beer.  With drinks and dessert, a meal for two comes in at around $35.

My favourite lunch place in Saint John is currently the Urban Deli at 68 King St. (http://urbandeli.ca/).  I love a good spinach salad, and the Urban makes the best one I’ve had in a while!  It has grilled portabella mushrooms, feta cheese, tomato, smoked meat bits, and egg, all drizzled with an amazing maple vinaigrette!  It is well worth the $10 it costs.  The service is excellent at the Urban.  It is recommended that you get there slightly before noon if you want to get a table!  They also have great soups and sandwiches, some served on Montreal-style bagels.  The Urban has a good selection of wines and beers on tap.

Our favourite pizza place is Pomodori at 83 Hampton Road in Rothesay (http://www.pomodori.com/Pomodori/Home.html).  The restaurant cooks all its pizza in a wood-fired oven, and all ingredients are as local and organic as possible.  Two types of pizza are offered: Pomadoro (tomato) and Bianca (white) – prices range from $8 to $13 each depending on toppings.  We usually get one of each and share them.  For the red: the Con Carne with Italian sausage, bacon and pepperoni.  For the white: the Chicken Pesto with feta and homemade pesto.  These are traditional Italian thin crust pizzas – the dough does not overpower the taste of the toppings.  For dessert, there’s homemade gelato and/or biscotti, which you can chase with a shot of espresso if you like.  Pomodori is also licensed with many local offerings on the beer list – the fittings aren’t fancy – wine is served in juice glasses.  While you eat, there is a large screen on the wall with a slide slow running – sometimes local photos, sometimes info on local food.  A few months ago, Pomodori introduced a rewards program for regulars like us, Casa di Pomodori – you get a reward for every four pizzas you buy.  Jim and I will celebrate our 2nd Anniversary at Pomodori on Sunday night – I’m going to try their Spinach Salad – they put spiced pecans in theirs!  Yummy…can’t wait!


Filed under food, tourism, travel