Sunday, February 19, 2012

       For blog visitors, I will be leaving for the Cook Islands on Saturday, 25th February returning to Canada on Sunday, 4th March.
       Polynesians claim that black pearls were the gift of the God Oro to his paramour when he descended to earth on a rainbow.  With such a romantic provenance it's hardly surprising that Empress Eugenie wife of Napolean III and Catherine the Great of Russia, both wore necklaces of black pearls believing they were symbolic of their station in life.
       Farmed in spectacular lagoons alongside the islands of Manahiki and Penrhyn the pearls are cultivated in the protective shell of the giant black-lipped oyster and nourished by a dark pigment exuded by this mollusk.
       For news about the fabulous Cook Islands: its black pearls, Polynesian feasts, candlelit dinners on a beach beneath the stars, fishing for bonefish from the idyllic atoll of Aitutaki, joining a lagoon cruise from One Foot Island, a cultural visit to "the lost village" Highland Paradise in the mountains, shopping at the Pungana'nui Market and more, watch my blog...

Image: copyright Maggie Tilley, a Canadian artist and Anne Gordon's daughter-in-law

Posted by Anne Gordon on Sunday, 19th February, 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wikwemikong Pow Wow on Manitoulin Island, Canada

          At Wikwemikong's annual Pow Wow in Canada it is time for the Grand Entry. The Grass dancers, as is customary, have prepared the arena with a vigorous foot-stomping dance. As we watch, men and women draw apart and wait silently.
          The compelling voice of the drums and a wild, wailing song sets the procession in motion and they move, slowly, deliberately in the circle. As the solemn line, including flag-bearing veterans of World War 11 pass a man and woman in beads, leather and feathers, a fragrant herbal smoke rises from a hand-held sea shell. The mixture of sweet grass and sage smoulders. Smoke trickles upwards and is brushed towards individuals with a feathery bird’s wing.
          Reaching a crescendo, the drums thunder. The lead singer’s voice soars heavenwards in a plaintive cry. Then, for a moment there is silence. Women, mesmerized, bob up and down. Long leather thongs decorated with beads sway in time to their movement. The rustle and muted jingle of silver cones whisper in the air.

Photo copyright Anne Gordon

Posted by Anne Gordon on Tuesday, 14th February 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

       Taking place every first and third Saturday of the month until March 2012, the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society and its vendors will be raising their tents to showcase local fare at the Winter Farmer’s Market.
       Located in downtown Victoria’s Market Square, the winter market runs from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. focusing on local food producers at every level: farmers, fishers, butchers, bakers, cheesemakers, preservers, brewers, vintners, florists and restaurants. From Haliburton Farms and Kildara Farms to Saltspring Island Cheese Company to the Vancouver Island Salt Company there is something for every taste and something to tempt every tummy.
       The Victoria Downtown Public Market Society was formed in August 2010 to raise awareness, support and funds for the establishment of a permanent year-round marketplace in the downtown core of the City of Victoria, B.C.
       For more information visit

Photo copyright Anne Gordon

Posted on Wednesday, 8th February, 2012

Charles Dickens
       Using sounds and projections, the Charles Dickens Exhibition at the Museum of London recreates the atmosphere of Victorian London that inspired the novelist's whimsical writing. Paintings, photographs, costume and objects illustrate the themes that Dickens used. Visitors can view some of his manuscripts including Bleak House and David Copperfield written in the author's own hand.
       Charles Dickens (1812-70) wrote about the great social questions of the 19th century including wealth and poverty, prostitution, childhood mortality and philanthropy. These are examined in the exhibition and an audio-visual experience brings to life the desk and chair where Dickens worked on his novels.
       A specially commissioned film by William Raban, one of the UK's leading documentary film-makers, explores the similarities between London after dark today and the nighttime city described by Dickens over 150 years ago.
       The Museum of London is open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. The Dickens exhibition will run until 6 June 2012, admission adults £8 (£7 advance booking), children and concessions £6 (£5), family tickets £18-£36, depending on numbers.

Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Tel: +44 20 7001 9844
Websites: dickens
Facebook: Museum of London
Twitter: @museumoflondon
YouTube: Museum of London
Flickr: museumoflondon
Blog: mymuseumoflondon

Post from VisitBritain

Posted by Anne Gordon on Wednesday, 8th February, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

          There was a time long ago when lights flashing in the darkness from Clovelly's lonely shore on the north coast of Devon were not for guiding ships in peril, but rather to draw vessels, floundering like captive fish, onto rocks guaranteed to tear hulls asunder. The keening of the wind, killer waves crashing on the beach and the rain, incessant drum beats on sea and sand, all helped to disguise the shouts of wreckers and the screams of drowning passengers.
          As I looked down from a cliff-top at the village of Clovelly, it was not surprising to me that for centuries the nefarious occupations of wrecking and smuggling had thrived on this wild and jagged shore. It seemed as if a giant hand had gouged out chunks of cliff and rock where land meets sea, leaving thousands of hidden cavities for illicit activities.
          Hereabouts, romantic tales of smugglers, pirates and wreckers committing daring deeds on moonlit nights abound. But in the real world, smugglers and wreckers operated mostly on stormy nights when gales turned the sea to a raging fiend and ships wallowed in its destructive turbulence.
An excerpt from my up-coming book...
Photos copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Monday, 6th February, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

NORTHERN IRELAND HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2012          Belfast’s notable ship-building heritage includes the design, building and launch of the most famous ship ever built – the Titanic. This April the city where she was built will mark the centenary of her tragic sinking on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic in the city’s Titanic Quarter. The new Titanic Belfast experience is the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction and is twice the size of Belfast’s City Hall. Opening on March 31, the six-storey attraction is filled with exhibitions uncovering the story of Titanic – its origins, construction, launch and history.
          In conjunction with the opening of the new Titanic Belfast attraction, the Titanic Belfast Festival will run from March 31 until May 2012 and will include plays, tours, exhibitions and talks all themed around the Titanic. Commemorations for the lives lost on the anniversary of the ship’s sinking will take place from April 14 to 15.
          MTV is coming back to Northern Ireland as part of the Titanic Belfast Festival this April after the enormous success of the EMAs in November 2011 to deliver not one but two major outdoor music events on the Titanic Slipways.
James Gordon, the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
          Beginning June 30, Northern Ireland will host the largest outdoor theatre and arts event ever staged as it celebrates all things associated with giants – from the mythical giant of Finn McCool from the Giant’s Causeway to the literary giants featured in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (which was inspired by Belfast’s landscape). Located in the Titanic Quarter on the very slipways Titanic was launched, the Land of Giants will include a carnival, circus and music celebrating this theme.
Musician on Derry's ancient city wall
          Coinciding with its own Maritime Festival from June 30 to July 8, Derry~Londonderry will welcome the 10-strong international fleet as it plays host to the final transatlantic stage of the 40,000-mile race, with teams arriving from Nova Scotia, Canada, during the last leg. The city’s own yacht, the Derry~Londonderry, is promoting the city’s UK City of Culture 2013 status on its travels.

Photos copyright Anne Gordon

Posted on Thursday, 2nd February, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

       Grenada, a part of the Windward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, is a popular year-round destination for Canadian travellers. Known as ‘the Spice of the Caribbean,’ Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers of nutmeg. This aromatic spice features heavily in many mouth-watering Grenadian dishes.
       The island is home to 45 white sand and nine black sand beaches, perfect for enjoying the warm Caribbean sun. Visitors can explore one of the 50+ dive sites, including the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean, the Bianca C. Yachting is also a favourite activity and the island offers some of the best sailing conditions in the Eastern Caribbean. Days in Grenada can also be spent hiking in the Grand Etang National Park, or exploring historical sites. Grenada offers an authentic Caribbean experience, one that keeps visitors returning year after year.

Photos copyright Granada Tourism and Anne Gordon

Posted by Anne Gordon on Wednesday, 1st February, 2012

About Grenada Board of Tourism