Thursday, 22 October 2009

Guest Post: Wind and Light

Here's another guest post from Jeff Doran, enjoy!

What are whirligigs without wind? There was no shortage of either at the 10th annual Whirligig and Weathervane Festival in Shelburne, NS, September 19. In fact, the exhibits had to be moved into the lee on Dock Street so they wouldn't take off.

I may have contributed to the gusts since I had come from breakfast at the Sandy Point Lighthouse Community Centre. It was also the 10th annual Lighthouse Festival.

I've always said September is the best part of summer.

I started at Sandy Point light just down the coast from Shelburne.
There were whitecaps in the harbour. The community centre has monthly
meals and a view which would cost you twice as much at a restaurant.
Rain showers cleared to a rainbow in the direction I was headed.
Baccaro light is stuck out at the end of a point of land past Port La Tour, next to the giant volleyball of the coastal radar station. It was windy and lonely out there. I saw one car leaving as I arrived and one car arriving as I left. The location blew us away.

Inland at Barrington, Seal Island light has been partially relocated and partially replicated. In 1979 the lantern was removed by helicopter from the island off the coast of Clark's Harbour. The lighthouse was recreated by the Cape Sable Historical Society and has been open as a museum since 1985. You can climb five stories to the Fresnel lens made in Paris.

The Whirligig Festival was a frenzy of twirling, jigging, cranking and clattering works of art. Anyone interested in wind energy should consider the possibility of using whirligigs to saw dowels and churn shotglasses of butter. In addition to the usual miniature industrial applications, there were complicated cog and wheel inventions which spun dancers and circuses. Traditional rural life was represented by blacksmithing, wood chopping, milking, ox driving, hunting and fishing, not without modern humour. An angler baited a humpbacked whale. A brace of ducks took aim with shotguns at a hunter distracted by a bathing beauty removing her top. Domestic violence was represented by husbands getting thwacked and pummeled. Folk art seems to bring underlying feelings to the surface, perhaps a result of extended solitary hours in the workshop.

When I left, rigging was slapping a tattoo on masts in the marina. I had planned to stop at three more lighthouses on the way home, but I ended up pulling into the parking lot at Summerville Beach for a nap.

Must have been the big breakfast.

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