Category Archives: vernacular

Peri-urban domesticity in infrared

We chanced to spend the night in a motel in Vaudreuil-Dorion, at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, a half-hour commute to downtown Montréal.


St Lawrence1

Along the rivers are houses that enjoy docks on the water, and that give full scope to Quebecois architectural styles. Consider this magnificent faux-château Trianon, and imagine the pride of its owners:

StLawrence11

StLawrence10

StLawrence9

StLawrence8


This house’s dock is middling-modest:

StLawrence4

And other nearby neighbo[u]rs express themselves variously:


StLawrence3

StLawrence5

StLawrence2

StLawrence6

Another new project: Abandoned Ancestors

staring

Over the years I have collected lots of pictures of unknown folks, the most coherent subset of which is arrayed in Nova Scotia Faces and also configured as a book, Bluenose Physiognomy. The images that have no direct relation to Nova Scotia need their own site, so that I can begin the process of organizing them into a book. The springboard is a separate suite of web pages, which I expect will sprawl and interdigitate in the by-now-familiar mode. The beginnings are available at Abandoned Ancestors. Stop by for a look.

on the Harmless Drudge account

another passage from Jonathon Green’s Odd Job Man

The slang lexicographer is by very nature a voyeur. The lexis undoubtedly leans toward pimping and prostitution, crime and imprisonment, violence and cruelty, drugged and drunken debauches, but the lexicographer is neither whore nor thief, thug nor prisoner, addict nor drunkard. Or not professionally. They are linguistic reporters, except that unlike the tabloids’ traditional formula they make no excuses and they do not leave. The job is to collect knowledge, to explicate it, and to disseminate the information that emerges. As I say, a voyeur, but ideally an informed one. (pg 38)

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

A week or two ago I saw the announcement for Green’s Dictionary of Slang in its online version, and almost bit (at about $60/year). Intrigued, I looked on Amazon and (1) found that the 3-volume print version could be had for a bit less than $600 via Prime, and in used form for around $300; and (2) that Jonathon Green’s Odd Job Man: Some Confessions of a Slang Lexicographer (2014) was about $4, plus shipping. I ordered the latter, and started reading it when it arrived. Fantastic so far, and I’m only 20-odd pages in. His first substantive chapter (‘Beginning’) is a fascinating and utterly unique take on autobiography, raggedy bits of wry memory:

This is in no way a conventional memoir, but some things must be said. Or so it seems to me, whose working life is so committed to searching the past for origins and roots. It is a beginning that, without the memories that those from more settled lineages have on tap, has always seemed abrupt. Perhaps, like newly arrived immigrants looking forward to their future and rushing to move beyond the past, the young have no interest in asking questions about ‘before’? Perhaps that was merely me? I failed to ask and remain in ignorance. And since the past was quite literally another country, and that country no longer exists remotely as it was, I am not going to find out. I have been trying to make up for it, by proxy, ever since. (pg 15)

A quick calculation tells me that $60/year is not all that much more than $1 a week, cheap at twice the price for a subscription. So I bit. And it looks like a real winner, now that I’ve browsed a bit and tried out the various features.

Townscape in Göynük

We spent a few hours in Göynük, a small town that preserves Ottoman architecture and is built on the steep hillsides of a river valley.

Göynük hillside

Göynük hillside

Göynük architectural details

Göynük architectural details

Göynük architectural details

Many of the houses can only be reached by foot, via precipitous pathways that must be especially challenging in winter.

up and down in Göynük up and down in Göynük up and down in Göynük

Most houses have gardens, even if they’re just some soil in an empty tin or yogurt pail:

Göynük gardens Göynük gardens

Göynük gardens

Göynük architectural details


and some are more elaborate:
Göynük gardens

Göynük gardens Göynük gardens

It’s possible to see construction details in houses that await renovation


Göynük details

Hugh10wall

Göynük details

…but eventually entropy manifests:
Göynük details

There’s lots more to be said, of course, and quite a few more Göynük images, but I think I’ll get this one launched…

in the new year

I’d like to think that I’ll use this medium more, and more creatively. We’ll see how that works itself out in the light of various realities. The vernacular architecture project is the main arrow in the quiver at the moment, and here’s a recent contribution:

keeper's house at Marshall Point

vernacular architecture of a sort

David Malki captures an essence that I should have thought of myself (given that I’m thinking about how people construct the spaces they live in –and given that we now have a camera that can capture stuff in very low light). Not that there’s so very much Xmas decorating of this sort in the Midcoast, but I ought to collect some examples of what there is.


(he says permission to embed is granted)

on a walk in the rain

within a kilometer of home, along Route 131 in Martinsville:

Yule

a summer place:
Seaward

Pointed Fir, alluding to Sarah Orne Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs, written in and about Martinsville [“Dunnet Landing”] ca. 1896 (Jewett rented the schoolhouse building, next door to Pointed Fir -see text of the novella)
Pointed Fir

a bit of recent renovation:
Reshingled

nice big window:
Craftsman

Big C Big C from the side

not the color I’d have chosen:
Odd green