Sunday, 24 September 2017

Southampton boats, beaches and beer

A quick trip to Ontario included a visit to the family cottage in Southampton.  The town is an old Great Lakes fishing centre.  Most of the commercial fishery is gone, or changed over to the First Nations, but one of the old boats is still there.  An old commercial fisherman stopped by and told me about the history of the boat, from its 1930's construction in Milwaukee to the present day.  It's not really a working boat any more, but at least it is still floating.  It's actually quite a bit lower to the water, and with a blunter front, than my drawing.  I was too influenced by the very different-shaped ocean-going boats I'm used to seeing in Vancouver.

The big beach has a boardwalk that is the social centre of the town, at least for the cottagers.  Everyone strolls on it, and everyone says "Hello" when they pass.  If you're sketching, almost everyone will stop to talk, flip through your sketchbook, and tell you about their ink drawings, watercolours, photography or print-making.  It's that kind of a place.

Down past the truly enormous flag at the end of the main street, a marsh has formed in the last couple decades of low water, behind a gravel bar.  There were dragonflies, frogs, herons, and migrating shorebirds.  One of the town's iconic lighthouses stands on the pier across the river mouth.

The sunset is the other social centre, providing an almost-daily chance for painters to try their luck with dripping a sun-red spot of paint into the still-wet paint of the lake and sky.  Sometimes it works.

And, being a civilized place, there is a respectable micro-brewery in town.

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