Thursday 9 October 2014

Sydney. No, not that one.

Who knew? Rocking really does make you sleep better! All those mothers have been right all along… So we slept late this morning before heading off on today’s outing onto Cape Breton Island.

We had anchored in the bay beside Sydney, Nova Scotia’s second city. “I’ve had a look around the town centre and they’ve named the streets like ours!” exclaimed an excited Aussie. “Pitt and George and so on!” He went a lot quieter on the coach trip when he heard that this Sydney was founded three years before Australia’s.

It was an hour’s drive to Baddeck, where our main focus was to be the Alexander Graham Bell museum – but it was impossible not to be diverted en route by the glorious autumn colours, which were just glowing in the sunshine, the trees set off beautifully by the lakes and sea with their artistically-placed and super-cute little lighthouses.
The Bell thing was a surprise: Scotland claims him so firmly that I had no idea at all that he did all of his important work and lived for most of his life in Canada, and specifically this little corner of it. He didn’t just invent the telephone: he was very active with helping the deaf (his wife Mabel was deaf) and was also very big in early flight as well as hydrofoils.

Having made his fortune with the telephone, he spent his life tinkering with inventions big and small, and chose to live here in Nova Scotia because he liked it cool, and also, rather endearingly, because he felt Baddeck was “far enough from fashionable centres to put our little girls in trousers”.

It’s interesting here. They even have a Gaelic College! It’s well worth a visit – even if the man I met with the Harley Davidson three-wheeler is only able to use it for 5 months in the year…

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