This is probably against all the rules but once I got this film title in my head, I could not shift it. The image is mine and was taken on the streets of Quebec – the rest of the poster layout is not. The original can be found here – I can’t imagine this was used outside the UK because unless you are familiar with the layout and significance of British cherished/private number plates, the subtlety of this poster may be lost.
Just to emphasise the link to this week’s challenge, my version of the edited poster is made up of eight Photoshop layers, including graffiti taken from a section of the Berlin Wall and housed in the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum, Boston:
For more detail on the film, click here.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is named after the wife of King George III, also known as Helen Mirren (The Madness of King George). It is an odd mixture of a place. There are brick built terraces and bow fronted houses which would not look out of place in a Manchester suburb. There are New England style mansions and clapboard houses straight out of small town America whilst the wide high street could be Lake Wobegon.
Next to the boardwalk heading out of town towards Victoria Park there is a memorial to the Irish Settlers. At first glance I misread the inscription and assumed it commemorated a particularly fine breed of dog. A Celtic Cross stands above a circular terrace comprising thirty two flagstones, one each for the thirty two counties from where the immigrants had originated, no doubt thinking themselves somewhere entirely different.
This puts me in mind of the EU meetings I once attended in Brussels – the administrative district of Quebec bears an unfortunate resemblance. These meetings were a perfect mirror of the various national traits. The UK delegation would always arrive early to an empty meeting room. The Irish would be there too if they had not gone to the wrong building. The rest were always late. Any of the southern European States could be relied on to complain vociferously that there was no translation into their own language – in perfect English. The French believing that intelligence is conveyed by the amount you say would ramble on for hours about nothing in particular. It didn’t matter where the Italians were, they would always be holding their own meeting, talking animatedly amongst themselves at high volume. The Baltic States would by and large follow the most vociferous line, usually the Germans, adding their support in unnecessarily belligerent terms; most of them with populations no bigger than Essex and therefore irrelevant. When and if progress was made it was in very small steps and at huge cost.
Europe may be just twenty two miles across the English Channel but Charlottetown, three thousand miles away, seems a lot less foreign. Having seen off the French, the town became the island’s capital in 1765 and in 1864 hosted a meeting which began the process of Confederation, by which the British colonies would become provinces of a united Canadian nation. How long would that have taken in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Leaving Charlottetown we are now heading for Southampton, five days away.
Quebec is a spectacular place even in the Fall’s mist and drizzle. It is very European, defiantly more French than France, if that be possible. Most are bilingual but much of the signage is not; the lady shopkeeper who relieved me of our last US dollars was actually from Belfast and though perfectly pleasant, she had to let me know she thought the British should get out of Northern Ireland. An interesting perspective.
Then, there are the steps – more than 300 to get you up from the waterfront to Terrasse Dufferin and then a load more to reach the Citadel (yes, another one). From there it is possible to walk the full length of the Ramparts, all downhill on the clockwise route. Northwest of the Old Port the Bunge silos dominate the skyline; in the evening as the light over Quebec dims, uplighters turn the row of silos into a purple curtain, converting the brutal industrial into the theatrical epic.
We arrived in New England too early for the Fall’s colours but timed it just right for the St Lawrence and Quebec. Around Chateau Frontenac, along the route of the ramparts and throughout the parks, the trees display the full autumnal spectrum and everywhere there are pumpkins and the orange hues of Halloween. The display outside City Hall is an intricate and artistic construction encompassing witches, warlocks, black cats, spiders and large volumes of Arachno Vino – a subtle blend of frog tongue, eye of newt and a hint of rat.
As an aside, this is the cost of blogging from ship – 250 minutes of MTN Internet satellite access for £65, roughly $100. I haven’t tested the download speed but would guess it doesn’t exceed 1Mb/sec whilst the upload is much slower. This explains my lack of other activity on WordPress so apologies to Tj and others.