the market at the yacht club

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I was sitting there, eating my lunch, when the folks sitting at the table with me starting singing a song in Gaelic. My Dad was eating samosas and mango lassi. I was eating German cheesecake. All around me there was activity – people coming and going, kids taking sailing lessons, people buying stuff at the market, people catching up with one another.

It felt vibrant, alive.

And I thought, Man, this place IS amazing. Right now, right this second, I am feeling it. Sitting right in the middle of all this awesome.

That’s all.

(Also awesome are the volunteers who work to put the market together, and the vendors who come to bring their wares. Without all this often-thankless work, this moment wouldn’t have happened.)

The Baddeck and Area Community Market website is here, and the Bras d’Or Yacht Club website is here.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Food + agriculture, Leah's thoughts, Markets, Towns + communities | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


photo photo-6 photo-5 photo-4 photo-3 photo-2 photo-1 The lake, the lake, the lake.

On my drive home, it’s there, a quick pull over and I tentatively walk in on slippery stones. I wait til I acclimatize at knee level, at hip level, at boob level. Then I push in. It’s always a shock, no matter how warm I am, or the water is. I breathe quickly at first, but then I relax and keep swimming. Then I pinch my nose – I never did learn how to duck under without pinching my nose – and go under, getting my face and hair wet.

I swim, swim, swim. I lie on my back, floating. I dip my toes up into the air. I do laps. I doggy paddle. I watch the sky, watch the happenings on shore. Last night there was a horse there! Along with the vet and his wife, who were cooling the horse down.

It is the Bras d’Or Lake, and it is home to me. Swim swim swim…


Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts, Outdoors | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Nick Phillips on hope in hard times


Last month I was feeling low about things. A couple of my close friends were either moving out West or talking about maybe having to go. It made me feel quite down on the Island, feeling like whatever we do, won’t be enough. And it’s not just that, it’s also the ‘bad news’ we hear a lot of (genocide, environmental disasters, economic disasters). So how does a person keep going in the face of low feelings, or discouragement?

This can be on a personal level, like just one person feeling low, or it can also apply to a whole community, when that community faces hard times.

So I got curious about various people’s ways of coping with these feelings. I contacted a Facebook friend, Nick Phillips, who is a reverend, a person I haven’t actually met in person but who I’ve connected with online a lot. I asked him to write his thoughts on hope. Here is what he wrote:


When Leah asked me to write something on “hope”, I wasn’t sure where to start. So many things went through my head. I needed more information, direction, context. She gave me some… not too much, so here’s my thoughts…

In my experience of life, few words hold the same emotional power and strength as the word hope.

I suppose love used to, but it’s been watered down at times. I love that show. I love broccoli. I love Pluto.

But hope… hope expresses something meaningful, something beyond our understanding.

Sure there’s things like “I hope I win at ping pong tonight” which can be meaningless. But in an emotional state, in a time of stress, “hope” is a powerful word. In fact few words offer more strength at these times, in my experience.

As clergy, I do a lot of funerals. Some are for people who are connected to my church, but most are people without formal church connections. As with any death, there is a lot of emotion, but there are also a lot of questions about what comes next.

This is where the hope comes in.

Most of us have some sort of belief in something greater than ourselves. For some of us that’s God. A God who has made a promise to never leave nor forsake us.

For others it may be a “power” or “energy” or whatever your belief system may be. It’s natural for us as a people with a limited life span to question our purpose on this spinning rock, and to try and connect with with the larger narrative taking place around us over millions of years. If you think on it too long, you may begin to feel insignificant, or hopeless.

I believe we do have a place in the larger narrative. I believe that what I do in my daily life does have an impact on the world. It may not be today, tomorrow, or even in my lifetime, but I have hope.

Hope in the world being far greater than what we see on the news. Hope in an island that does so much more than just send our young people to other parts of the country. Hope in our communities, our families, our churches and our future as a people.


Because we have a place in the story.

Because we have inherited a promise.

Because we are not alone.


Reverend Nick Phillips blogs over at Maritime Preacher. He lives in Sydney Mines, NS.

Posted in Guest posts | 3 Comments

good to go, good to come home

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A getaway is good. Even if the concert gets cancelled, the power goes out a lot, the heat is nearly unbearable and the hotel just isn’t that great.

It’s still a getaway. It’s still a new place, some time just the two of us, some time to see friends, and eat a few meals out. Some time to wander, to snap photos of random things, to make your way on new streets.

But coming home – ahhh, that’s the best. When we got off the plane last night in Sydney, it was 11:30 pm. The little baggage claim/arrivals gate was full to the brim with relatives and friends waiting to greet the people getting off the plane. While Adam went to smoke and I waited for my suitcase, I just stood and watched all the reunions. A little boy ran so hard into his grandpa’s knees and hugged him tight. Women passed a baby around a small circle, and my did they look proud of that little one. Two aloof young men grinned wide at each other, high-fived and did a quick man-hug. Love was there, for sure, in the airport last night.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts | Tagged , | 1 Comment

dream big is traveling

These pictures aren’t in any order.


I took this one right before the rain started around 5 pm yesterday. It then rained 90mm over the next hour and caused major flooding in the city, elsewhere.


The lines, the white on grey, the face. Love.


A portion of Cape Breton seen from the plane yesterday morning.


Haida-style bee I think?


I kind of want to try this.


I love anchors and red on teal.


This was a few hours before the rain started.


People have these postage-stamp sized yards.


Another postage-stamp yard, this one bricked-in.


What I’m reading in between adventures. Review to come soon!

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On travel: despite having done a fair bit of travel, big cities always surprise me with just how many people there are. Is it because I’m from a small town and a small island? Maybe. Good chance. There are just SO MANY people here! Millions! And all different shapes, sizes, skin colours, styles of dressing, styles of hair. Having conversations on phones just like there was no-one around. Living their lives that will likely never cross with my life again. Walking by, biking by, driving by, packing the streetcars, waiting on the sidewalk, filling the restaurants. All around. My curious side wants to stare, watch, check it all out. The polite side tries not to outright stare.

Travel is a funny thing. I love it, for sure. It’s inspiring to wander a place you’ve never been, looking on things you’ve never seen, smelling and feeling new and different sensations. It’s like collecting visual information, just by walking around.

It’s also tiring, all that newness. Figuring out what subway or bus to take, what street to turn down, where to go to eat or to buy wine. Wanting things to be both familiar, and strange. Wanting to make ‘the most’ of the time available.

It feels a bit like we’re in Thailand or Vietnam here in the Trinity-Bellwoods part of Toronto, to be honest. It’s so warm, muggy and rainy. There are a lot of Asian faces on the street and Asian languages on the signs. Our hotel is a bit sketchy and our window looks out onto a motley of rough roofs and odd-sized doors. The power kept cutting out last night and there was reports of flooding around the city.

But, it’s all good. A vacation is a vacation. Time to relax, sleep in, wander for breakfast, see friends, have fun. If my shoes get wet? That’s OK. Buy a big umbrella. Smile.

Posted in Leah's thoughts | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

dust and roses


Last night, swimming at Stony Beach (or MacManus’ beach) along the Bay Road. That water felt glorious.


Flowers outside the marina.


My best friend these last two days. Thanks Flossie for buying it and bringing it to me!


Do you need yellow boots? Cuz we got yellow boots.


Looking out the front door of the marina.


Nothing’s really in focus but I like this shot anyway. I feel like it shows how hot it has been.


We have amazing customers. One brought us all ice capps this morning. Mmmm…


I had to go over to Cape Breton Boatyard this afternoon for a meeting. I saw this there.


This was the sky last night when I got home from work and then swimming. It makes me think of the Daniel Lanois song “Under a Stormy Sky.”


I feel like this photo also is good for showing the hot, dusty feeling around here these days.

It’s been hot and quiet at work. Like feels-like-40-with-the-humidex hot. So I’ve given myself permission to take it easy and sit in front of the fan at work these last couple of days.

And so that’s how today I came to be reading the archives of a blog. I don’t do that very often; I mean, who has the time? And let’s face it, most blogs are pretty… well … they can get old fast. But this one gal, Elise, used to post daily and I got used to that. Then she had her baby, or something, and only posts a couple of times a week now! Sheesh..

Anyway, so I decided, hey, today I’m gonna go back and read her archives! From when she was in college and then when she graduated and was still just girlfriend to Paul, before she married him and had a baby.

(Also, it’s weird that I know all of this about a person I have not met. I know. But, the Internet is weird in general.)

Anyway, so I’ve been reading her archives. Posts about random stuff, and it’s inspiring me. To post more often. To worry less about “the point” of the blog (“meaning! community! who knows!”) and just post. Pictures. Thoughts. Whatever.

So there’s that. We’ll see how it goes but I think I might just say ‘fuck it’ (yep, I curse too sometimes) and post whatever I feel like. Whenever. And get a little goofy.


So yeah, I’m almost done work for the day. And a seven day work stretch. And tomorrow morning I’m gonna be on a plane bound for Toronto! I .. can’t wait. I know, it will be hot there too. But I can wear cool dresses and sip cool drinks and try to stay in shady spots.

And I get to be with my fella who I haven’t seen in a week. Which is lame because some people around here go months without seeing their partners, who work out West or wherever, and I can barely go a week? But, whatevs. I’ll have my turn at that someday, probably.

I’m gonna go read some more archives. And maybe have a snack. That is all for now.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

…and the livin’ is easy


Today was super warm. Somewhere in the high 20’s, and the Humidex made it feel like low 30’s. That’s a hot summer’s day around here.

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I walked uptown at lunch time and these are some shots I took with my phone. Baddeck’s main street, all lovely.

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I took this one the other night. This week I have been working 8 am to 8 pm, getting ready to take next week off for a sweet little trip to Toronto for some vacation time with my honey. It’s long days but the evenings have nice light and I get to play some music for myself. I’ve been playing India Arie’s new album “Songversation” on repeat, and it’s making my summer!



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I’ll admit that I found June hard. I think it was a mix of things: the switch from school all day every day, to being back to work (and working with boats, which, I’ll be honest, isn’t my passion in life). And the switch from being in North Sydney and my independent home, to being in Baddeck and living with my family again. And it was cold and rainy for the most part. And, I think I was burnt out just a touch.

So I stopped doing some of the things I’d been doing. I left the Writers Festival. I quit a part time job I hadn’t started yet. I decided on just a few priorities, the main one being myself and some down time. I’m not a machine. I’m a human being, one who loves and needs to just sit and read. Or stroll. Or whatever.

And I decided to be positive about things, like being in Baddeck. To welcome it instead of enduring it. (Baddeck is beautiful, I know, and the people here are lovely. But, when you feel like your life is going great in another place, and then you feel uprooted for several months to another place, well, it can be hard.)

So now that it’s July I’m happy to report that I’m much happier. It’s warm (most of the time). June is over. Summer is here. And the living? Well, it’s pretty damn easy, to be honest. Work and all.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments