The Legend of Sheila’s Brush

by @AnnieDaylon
Sheila's BrushSheila’s Brush is an idiom used in Newfoundland and it refers to the last big storm of the winter season, a storm that occurs around St. Patrick’s Day. The term comes from an Irish legend which says that Sheila was the saint’s wife (or sister or mother) and that the snow is a result of her sweeping away the old season.

On this mid-March day in this part of British Columbia when buttercups sweep meadows and spring-green tendrils of willows sweep the ground, it’s hard to imagine such a storm. However, I do remember it from life in Newfoundland.  I even referred to it in the following excerpt from my novel, Of Sea and Seed:

Finally, March showed up, in like a lion. Mother Nature gradually smiled, warming things up a bit, but she frowned again around St. Patrick’s Day, unleashing another storm, the annual Sheila’s Brush. It was the end of the month before the weather settled into lamb.”

According to The Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador, Sheila’s Brush usually follows a spell of fairly good weather. If the storm happens after St. Patrick’s Day, a fine-weather spring is on its way. If it happens before St. Patrick’s Day? The name of the storm becomes “Patrick and Sheila” and a bad-weather spring will ensue.

The legend of Sheila’s Brush is not to be ‘brushed’ aside. To this day, there are Newfoundlanders who firmly believe in this and fishers who won’t venture out until the storm has occurred.

I am certain there are many who, as the first day of spring approaches, hope that Sheila will just put away her broom!Happy St. Patrick's Day

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Fun Facts about My Native Newfoundland

by @AnnieDaylon

Canada Map 2

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is located on the eastern part of Canada; Labrador is on the mainland of Canada and Newfoundland is an island. I was born and raised on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula (south east corner) and I enjoy weaving stories through the history of that area. Here are a few facts:

  1. Newfoundland officially joined Canada in 1949 as the 10th province. Prior to that,  the residents had the opportunity to become part of the United States of America.

  2. Newfoundland equilateral triangle

    When it’s 7 a.m. here in British Columbia, it’s 11:30 a.m. in Newfoundland.

    The island of Newfoundland forms an almost perfect equilateral triangle on a map. Port aux Basques, L’Anse aux Meadows, and St. John’s are all nearly the same distance apart. 

  3. The island of Newfoundland has its very own time zone, one that it does not share with its counterpart, Labrador. Newfoundland time is thirty minutes ahead of Atlantic Standard Time.

  4. St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, is the oldest city in North America.

  5. 010309_0775_5614_nslsIn downtown St. John’s, there are many vibrantly-colored Victorian row houses, fondly known as “Jellybean Row.” When people ask how to find Jellybean Row, they are often surprised to learn that no one street has that actual name. Jellybean Row is a nickname for all row houses in that area.

  6. Often, news reports from Newfoundland warn drivers to be on the lookout for moose on the highway.shutterstock_193643531 I have even heard moose referred to as Newfoundland speed bumps. 🙂 It surprised me to learn that moose are not native to Newfoundland. One pair was introduced in 1878 and thought not to have survived. Two more pairs were introduced in 1904. Currently, there are 100 000 moose there, assumed to be descendants of the 1904 pair.

  7. Print

    Argentia, the main setting for OF SEA AND SEED, Book I of my Kerrigan Chronicles series, is one of the two foggiest land areas in the world; the other is Point Reyes, California. Both places have over 200 foggy days a year.

  8. Jerseyside, which is near Argentia, got its name from the large number of people who came from Great Britain’s Channel Islands– Jersey and Guernsey.

  9. Cape Spear, about fifteen km east of St. John’s, is the most easterly point in North America. It is a major tourist attraction and is also home to a WWII bunker.

  10. Screeching-in is a traditional way of welcoming first-time visitors to the province. It consists of a shot of screech (rum), a short recitation, and the kissing of a cod.

  11. April 2012 026

    I took this photo at Harbourside Park in St. Johns, NL. There are two sets of these dog statues in St. John’s. The other is on Signal Hill.    (Sculptor–Luben Boykov)

     Both parts of the province have a dog breed named after them: the Newfoundland dog and the Labrador retriever. (To learn more about the dog statues in the photo on the right, CLICK HERE.)

  12. Memorial University in St. John’s is the largest university in  the Atlantic region (18,000 full and part-time students.) 

  13. The oldest continuous sporting event in North America is the St. John’s regatta held on the first Wednesday of August

  14. Dictionary of NL and Labrador 001 (412x640)Due to unique dialect,  Newfoundland and Labrador has its very own dictionary. (To read former post, “Newfoundland Dialect: Derivation and Appreciation,” CLICK HERE.) The Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador, a “unique collection of language and lore” is both informative and fun, an absolute treasure amidst my book collection. For me, it is not only a valued reference for the Newfoundland language, but also, in a rapidly changing world,  a valuable record of that language. 

And there you have it! A few tidbits about my pine clad hills. If you have interesting or fun facts to add, please send them my way!

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you and long may your big jib draw,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Adding a Map to a Novel? Here’s an Idea…

by @AnnieDaylon

If you are considering adding a map to the front or back matter of a novel, consider this idea …

My upcoming novel, OF SEA AND SEED, is set on the island of Newfoundland, located on the east coast of Canada.

Canada Map

Newfoundland and Labrador shutterstock.com

Newfoundland and Labrador  shutterstock.com

As an avid reader of books with varied geographic settings, I appreciate authors/publishers who include some kind of map to help anchor the story. In order to provide that visual for my readers, I hunted for the perfect image. None available.

I downloaded a map (right) of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. From there, I considered drawing, labeling, scanning, uploading… a lot of work.

A simpler solution came when I consulted a friend (author/graphic designer Brian Rodda ) who suggested doing it the way that National Geographic does. He did a pencil demo; I loved it.

The dedication for my novel reads simply: for love of Newfoundland. I decided the map could be placed below it.  The map is not greatly detailed; that is not required. The main areas in the story are shown: the community of Argentia and the city of St. John’s on the Avalon Peninsula, the Burin Peninsula (community not specified in novel,) and the tiny French island of St. Pierre

Print

Having just seen the interior proof of my novel, I can report that Brian successfully mapped out a solution to what was for me a dilemma. Maybe it is one that will work for you too.

Or maybe you have other ideas to share???

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Newfoundland Dialect: Derivation and Appreciation

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_118816366

How’s she goin’, b‘ys?
I have just published a novel set on the island of Newfoundland–OF SEA AND SEED— and am often asked about the dialect of that part of Canada. The language is no doubt unique. A while back, I wrote this post about  its source. If you have
 nare click nor clue about it, here (speaking strictly from me own neck of the woods which is Placentia), is the rights of it:

The dialect is owing to early settlers who hailed from Ireland, England and France. Groups arrived and settled together.  Hemmed in by sea, no roads on land, they didn’t shift much.

Placentia, NL, about 135 km (85 miles) west of St. John's.

Placentia, NL, about 135 km (85 miles) west of St. John’s.

Over the years, dialect evolved, due to:
1) World War II: An influx of American military personnel slowed the lilt of the language and added words such as ‘dime’ and ‘boyfriend’;
2) Resettlement: As fishing declined, people shifted from outports to larger areas;
3) Emigration: People moved away; some came back, talking large.
4) Immigration: People brought in new accents; and
5) Technology: The world is online and satellite TV is all over da place, b’y. Everyone watches the same shows and movies and, subsequently, speaks similar language.

Despite all of the changes, despite the fact that I now live in British Columbia,  I cherish opportunities to hear Newfoundland dialect; those occur thanks to CBC shows such as Land and Sea, The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Republic of Doyle. But nothing replaces the real thing, b’y, and every year or two, when I make the twelve-hour trip from Abbotsford, BC to St. John’s, NL, I look forward to the sound that is distinctly Newfoundland.

On such a trip couple of years back, I dashed from the St. John’s airport, filled my lungs with fresh air, hopped into the first available cab and leaned back, ears at the ready. When the driver opened his mouth, his accent fell out and my heart fell to me boots.  He was Eastern European. What the heck? Holy Lord tunderin’!  Was the dialect disappearing altogether?

I allow I was disappointed, and I had a like to forget about the whole thing. But I didn’t. I headed to the DownHome Shop and O’Brien’s Music Store. I listened to VOCM radio in the mornings. I heard smatterings of dialect but, by the last day of my ten-day trip, I resigned myself to the fact that the accent was dissipating. What was the world coming to at all?

A sense of loss pervaded as I rang up a taxi service to schedule my trip to the airport.

Newfoundland 001 (640x637)

Eastern Canada’s island of Newfoundland, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Where are ye at, me love?” asked the dispatcher.

With my heart fluttering to beat the band, I told him.

Sure, me darlin’, ’tis not us you wants now at all.”

I was some flummoxed (and right delighted.) “Excuse me?”

“Well, it’s like this. We’re way too far across town. Call buddy over at City Wide. He’ll get you there, guaranteed.”

So I thanked him profusely and called buddy.

The next morning, the driver arrived early. When I complimented him on his promptness, he said, “Ducky, when I has to be some place, I shows up like a bullet!”

I smiled the rest of the way to the airport. I was still smiling when the jet pitched in British Columbia half a day later. What a wicked time I had! 🙂

My best to you and long may your big jib draw!

Annie Signature Light Blue